Monday, February 28, 2011

Book ‘em, Danno…. To Hawaii

I used to watch Hawaii Five-O with my grandparents. Great scenery, good stories and terrific acting kept the show on for 12 seasons. It would probably be profound if I could tell you that the show played into my becoming a travel consultant, but that would be as fictional a story as any of the show’s storylines!

Although I enjoyed the original season, memories of it didn’t cause me to get excited about a remake of the series. I pictured a dated “cop series” that couldn’t compete with the many crime shows now on television. But one night I DVR’ed the show for the heck of it and finally watched it one night. I was hooked. This is definitely not your grandmother’s Hawaii Five-O.

With television’s advanced technology over the years, the scenery is fantastic. The theme music is addictive. The show is current, the stories are compelling, the acting is good and for some reason, I find that I really enjoy the theme song.

As an agent, I’m often asked, “What’s the most popular place to go for vacation?”

Hawaii has always been popular. It’s exotic, beautiful, welcoming, historical, cultural and offers many relaxing and exciting options for visitors. But its popularity has increased because of Hawaii Five-O. Many of the show’s fans aren’t content to sit back and watch the show when they can experience the islands of this state for themselves by cruise ship or plane.

Hawaii is made up of many islands with the five most popular ones visited by tourists being:

* Oahu - home of Honolulu, Waikiki and Pearl Harbor

* Hawaii - also known as “The Big Island”, has black sand beaches and an active volcano

* Kauai - where Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” was filmed

* Maui – visitors quickly experience why this is The Magic Isle

* Molokai – where Father Damian cared for the residents of the leper colony

Hawaii is a three hour flight from the west coast. Once there, you can island hop with a suggested minimum of three nights in each island you wish to visit if you will be staying in hotels, condos or villas. Or you can board Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) Pride of America to enjoy five ports without unpacking more than once.

You can also enjoy a more leisurely one way or roundtrip cruise between the west coast and Hawaii on lines such as Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. These range from 11 nights to multiple weeks in length that can also include other ports dotting the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawaii Tourist Board has a terrific website for those wanting to learn more about all that Hawaii offers to tourists and the agents at Connie George Travel Associates are anxious to help make your dreams of a Hawaii vacation come to life.

~ Connie

Monday, February 21, 2011

Four Important Tips Keep You From Missing Your Cruise

The anchor’s been raised, the steel band is playing, excitement is high for all of the guests booked on your cruise ship as they get ready for their adventure! Except for you---- you’re stuck in an airport watching your vacation dreams, days off from work and your financial investment go down the drain.

Maybe it was weather that delayed your flight. Perhaps it was a mechanical delay. Or a problem en route to the airport. Who do you get mad at? It was out of your control, right?

No matter the reason, there are things you can do so that any of those delays aren’t much more than frustrations and don’t ruin your vacation.

  • Fly to your embarkation port at least one day in advance. If there is a flight delay, it becomes an inconvenience but doesn’t keep you from missing your ship. It makes flying less stressful and has you start your cruise feeling more relaxed.

  • Buy travel insurance that includes trip delay. Various policies have different lengths of time qualifying or a travel delay coverage, but they can be invaluable for covering expenses incurred because of a delay or help cover expenses to get you to another airport to connect with your ship at the next port.

  • Travel with a passport. Even if you are on a closed loop sailing from the U.S. that qualifies you to travel with a birth certificate instead, opt for a passport. If you have to fly to the first visiting port to meet up with your ship, you will only be able to fly to a U.S. city or territory. Without a passport, you’ll be going home.

  • Watch the weather. If a storm is coming to your home or connecting airport area and it could affect your ability to reach your embarkation port, know about it and plan as best as possible. You may be able to fly out earlier or have the airline reschedule through a different connecting city.

“Stuff happens.” But with the proper planning, you can keep it from ruining your vacation.

~ Connie

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Keep That Loving Feeling Going with a Romantic Cruise

Guys, are you a romantic at heart? Or do you need help letting your wife or girlfriend know how special she is to you on the 364 days of the year that aren’t Valentine’s Day?

We’ll get you started with 12 suggestions relating to our favorite romantic setting:

1- Tell her that you want alone time with her…. No jobs, housework, phones, interruption, bills. It’s time to plan a vacation so you two can focus on each other.

2- Surprise her with flowers. You can order them through most cruise lines to have them delivered in the cabin with a note.

3- Book a couples’ massage to enjoy together on the cruise.

4- Order breakfast delivered to the cabin and enjoy it in bed together.

5- Hold hands as you wander around ports and on the ship’s deck.

6- Talk about your joint dreams while watching the sun set from your balcony.

7- Get a table for two for dinner in one of the ship’s specialty restaurants.

8- Get on stage during a karaoke contest so you can sing her favorite romantic song to her.

9- Offer to put sunscreen on her back while lounging by the pool or on a beach.

10- Slow dance together…. with or without music.

11- Tell her you love her and why.

12- Write her a note about how much you’re enjoying just being with her.

What are you waiting for? Visit your local florist or order flowers from a website like Put a card in it with a note saying how you love her and want to spend some time alone with her.  Then contact Connie George Travel Associates by email or phone (610-532-0989) to plan your romantic cruise vacation!

Guys, if you book your 2011 cruise with us by February 21, WE will even send flowers to her in the cabin from YOU. For FREE! Read details at  Get in touch now!

~ Connie

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

American History Still Afloat

I’m not a big nautical history buff and, though I have an appreciation for our nation’s history, neither would I be considered a huge American history addict either. But when it comes to beautiful old ocean liners or cruise ships that are wasting away, it pains me that a large chunk of “history” has been rusting in the Delaware River while awaiting a tow to a scrap yard.

As a long time veteran of the travel industry with a particular affection toward cruising, it saddens me each time I pass the SS United States as it’s been slowly rotting away in Philadelphia since her latest owner, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), towed it there in 1996.

The SS United States was the flagship for the United States Lines in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. She is one of the few passenger ships built in the U.S., is the largest ocean liner ever built in our country and is the fastest ocean liner ever built. The U.S. government underwrote a large portion of the building costs of the SS United States as she was intended to be able to be converted to a troopship for war if necessary. The Navy specs included interesting features of speed and war-participation survival, most of which was classified information.

She was sold to another cruise line in 1964 and was withdrawn from passenger service in 1969. Over the decades, she has sat through suggestions, rumors and failed plans which included casino, hotel, timeshare, hospital ship and cruise ship. The costs for reviving her were so great that she was scheduled to be scrapped.

I was thrilled to read in today’s Delaware County Daily Times that the SS United States Conservancy has been able to purchase the ship. They have 20 months to work with her redevelopment plans and raise funds for her restoration while she continues to be berthed here at Penn’s Landing. The article peaked my interest and I found a lot of information online about her history. I’ve barely covered her amazing story and encourage you to “google” her for more information.

The future of this ship is not secure, but let’s hope that this amazing historical lady does have a bright future and that she will again be seen in her glory while entertaining the public and providing employment.

~ Connie