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WHY IT MAKES SENSE TO UTILIZE THE SERVICES OF A TRAVEL AGENT

In today’s digital age, many people assume that the internet has rendered travel agents obsolete. However, working with a travel agent can provide numerous benefits that simply cannot be found through online booking sites. Here are some of the top advantages of working with a travel agent:

Expertise and Knowledge

Travel agents are trained and experienced professionals who have extensive knowledge of the travel industry. They can help you plan the perfect trip based on your preferences and budget, and can offer valuable advice and recommendations on destinations, accommodations, and activities. They have insider knowledge of the best times to travel, the most affordable flights, and the top attractions to visit.

Time-Saving

Planning a trip can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are not familiar with the destination. Travel agents can save you time by handling all the research, planning, and booking on your behalf. They can also take care of any issues that may arise during your trip, such as flight cancellations or changes in itinerary.

Personalized Service

Travel agents work with you on a one-on-one basis to create a customized itinerary that meets your unique needs and preferences. They take the time to get to know you and your travel style, and can recommend activities and accommodations that align with your interests and budget.

Cost Savings

Contrary to popular belief, working with a travel agent can actually save you money in the long run. They have access to exclusive deals and promotions that are not available to the general public, and can negotiate better prices on flights, accommodations, and activities. They can also help you avoid hidden fees and charges that can quickly add up when booking online.

Peace of Mind

When you work with a travel agent, you can rest assured that all aspects of your trip are being taken care of by a professional. They can provide you with emergency assistance 24/7, and can handle any issues that may arise during your trip. This gives you the peace of mind to enjoy your vacation without any added stress or worry.

Insider Knowledge

Travel agents have access to information and resources that are not available to the general public. They have connections with local vendors, hotels, and tour operators, and can provide you with insider tips and recommendations that can enhance your travel experience. They can also advise you on local customs and etiquette, helping you to navigate unfamiliar cultures with ease.

Convenience

Booking a trip through a travel agent is a convenient option for those who are short on time or have limited internet access. Travel agents can handle all aspects of your trip, from flights and accommodations to car rentals and activities, saving you the hassle of having to search for and book each component separately.

Tailored Recommendations

Travel agents can provide you with tailored recommendations based on your interests and preferences. For example, if you are a foodie, they can recommend restaurants and food tours that will allow you to sample the local cuisine. If you are a history buff, they can recommend historical sites and museums that will satisfy your curiosity.

Protection

When you book a trip through a travel agent, you are often protected by travel insurance policies that cover issues such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost luggage. This can provide you with added protection and peace of mind during your trip.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to book a trip online, working with a travel agent can provide numerous benefits that cannot be found through online booking sites. From expertise and knowledge to personalized service and cost savings, travel agents can help you plan the perfect trip while also saving you time, money, and stress.

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ALGARVE: A TOURIST HAVEN

The Algarve is a stunning coastal region located in the southernmost part of Portugal. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and has been attracting visitors for many years. The region is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning coastline, fantastic weather, delicious food, and vibrant culture. I am sure that by the end of this presentation, you will be inspired to visit the Algarve.

Let’s start with the geography of the region. The Algarve has a diverse landscape, ranging from rugged cliffs to long sandy beaches. The region is also home to several natural parks, such as Ria Formosa, which is a wetland area that stretches over 60 kilometers and provides a habitat for a wide range of bird species.

When it comes to beaches, the Algarve has something for everyone. From secluded coves to vast stretches of sand, you will find a beach that suits your preferences. Some of the most popular beaches in the region include Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau, and Praia da Marinha. These beaches are not only stunning but also offer a wide range of activities, such as surfing, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Algarve is also known for its rich history and culture. The region has a long history dating back to the Romans, who established settlements in the area. Today, you can still see the remnants of the past, such as the ruins of a Roman bridge in Tavira and the Moorish castle in Silves.

When it comes to culture, the Algarve is famous for its traditional handicrafts, such as pottery, lacework, and basket weaving. You can find these crafts in the region’s local markets and shops, where you can buy unique souvenirs to take home.

Another highlight of the Algarve is its cuisine. The region’s coastal location means that seafood is a staple in the local cuisine. Some of the must-try dishes include grilled sardines, octopus rice, and cataplana, which is a seafood stew cooked in a copper pot.

Finally, let’s talk about the climate in the Algarve. The region has a Mediterranean climate, which means that summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild and rainy. The best time to visit the Algarve is during the summer months when you can enjoy the beautiful beaches and warm weather.

In conclusion, the Algarve is a beautiful region that offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for stunning beaches, rich culture, delicious food, or a warm climate, the Algarve has it all. As travel professionals, we highly recommend this destination to anyone who wants to experience the best of Portugal. Simply give Dancing Moon Travel a call and we’ll be happy to explore travel options with you.

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REVIEW OF HOLLAND AMERICA’S NIEUW STATENDAM

The Big Hand (my husband Marvin) and I recently had the opportunity to sail from Fort Lauderdale on Nieuw Statendam. I wanted to share a few words about our experience, especially as I hadn’t sailed with Holland America (HAL) since sailing resumed post-pandemic.

Embarkation. Embarkation was quick and painless, as is generally our experience when sailing out of Ft Lauderdale. Pier personnel were unfailingly pleasant and efficient and we were through security and check-in quickly – despite some sort of issue with Marvin’s passport that for some reason didn’t want to be scanned properly. All in all, getting aboard was a breeze and our stateroom was ready by the time we boarded, which is always a plus.

Accommodations. We sailed in a standard balcony stateroom in a “guaranty” category, which meant HAL assigned our location. We were in 8187, far aft on the starboard side of Deck 8 which proved to be an excellent location for making our way to the dining room, located directly below on Decks 2 and 3. As usual, the regular balcony rooms are more “cozy” than “spacious” – but well organized with plenty of storage. Once emptied, the luggage went under the bed, not to be seen again until needed to prepare for disembarkation. There are drawers, shelves, and more than enough space for hanging clothes. The bathroom was a typical compact size, but the glass shower was comparatively large by cruise standards. We had a small sofa, and the desk provided an exceptionally good workspace for yours truly, with a good solid armchair for seating. The balcony was quite typical with comfortable seating for two, along with a small table. Our room was directly beneath the Lido restaurant … and yes, we did note some occasional noise from chairs scraping overhead, but it was barely loud enough to be noticeable, didn’t occur at hours when it would disturb our rest, and certainly nothing that I would consider problematic.

The onboard décor and ambiance are quintessential Holland America … warm, and intimate, with a certain traditional elegance. The ship is lovely, very easy to navigate, and features beautiful artwork and décor throughout. I did find the décor in the dining room a bit off-putting with a burgundy patterned carpet, red chandeliers, and bright yellow walls – Marvin, on the other hand, described it as “cheerful” – so just a matter of personal taste there, I suppose.

Entertainment and Activities. Entertainment onboard Nieuw Amsterdam was solid. Just don’t come aboard Holland America sailings expecting bumper cars, multi-media aerial performances, roller coasters, and aqua theater – that is simply not their thing. Their onboard dance troupe did an excellent job with several production shows. The BBC Planet Earth presentation was exceptional. Music Row featured extremely talented musicians performing everything from classical scores to classic rock – HAL is an outstanding choice for passengers who love a variety of live music. Performances at Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King Blues Club, and Billboard Onboard were very popular and well attended – you can translate that to mean “get there early if you want to get a seat”! Other activities included talks & lectures, trivia, bingo, movies on the outdoor big screen – art auctions – and most of the usual assortment of activities that are popular with cruisers.

Dining. We had selected late seating in the main dining room which is scheduled at 8 pm. The food was very good … beef dishes especially consistently exceeded expectations. Soups, appetizers, and entrees were all good with lovely presentations, and we never had a problem finding something appealing on the nightly menus. One significant issue: evening dining service ranged from slow to excruciatingly slow. With dining scheduled at 8 pm, attending the early show wasn’t possible … and the late dining ran too late for us to get seating at the second show. After the first couple of evenings, we solved the issue by simply switching ourselves to “anytime” dining and went at an hour when we could make one of the performances. I suspect that inexperienced cruisers might not be able to “solve” this issue and would miss out on much of the onboard productions. We splurged on lobster a couple of times during the cruise … the broiled tails were huge, but unfortunately, just a tad over-cooked each time. Not terribly so, just enough that they were slightly tough, and a shame to do this to beautiful shellfish like this. As to Alternative Dining, we splurged one night at Rudi’s Sel de Mer where food & service were absolutely impeccable … an experience definitely worthwhile. Unfortunately, our experience at Canaletto was disappointing. Other than the salad, neither of us cared for any of our selections – we ended up splitting a club sandwich ordered from room service later that evening – which, by the way, was excellent.

Surprises. We saw a significant percentage of younger passengers, i.e., under age 40 – and there were even some families with children aboard our late February sailing, which was definitely an anomaly just a few years ago. HAL has made a concerted effort to appeal to a broader demographic without diluting the pillars of their brand – if my observation on this cruise is typical of other sailings, it appears that their efforts are meeting with a measure of success.

Conclusion. There you have it, a quick rundown of our experience when we sailed aboard Holland America’s lovely Nieuw Statendam. Does this sound like a cruise that would suit your preferences and travel style? Reach out to me with questions … we would love to provide a custom quote for your preferred travel dates.

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ANSWERS TO EIGHT COMMON CRUISE OBJECTIONS

When The subject of cruising comes up – and it inevitably seems to in many of my conversations! – I frequently hear a fairly predictable list of objections from the “I’m not a cruiser” crowd.    In most instances, these objections come from people who have formed preconceptions without ever setting foot aboard a cruise ship.   On rare occasion, I do encounter someone has had a less than perfect cruise experience, most generally as a result of booking a ship that was a poor match for their preferences and travel style.

My list of common objections:

I have children and need a more family-friendly vacation option.   Actually, it’s hard to imagine a more family-friendly vacation than a cruise.   Today’s ships offer an array of activity and entertainment options for all ages – including age-appropriate children’s programs from toddler to teens, all at no additional cost.   Programs vary by cruise line so be sure to select one of the lines and ships that are geared for family cruisers.  Of course, Disney is a given in this category.   Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity are also great choices for families and multi-generational groups of travelers.

There are too many children on cruise ships.   Just as there are cruise lines that cater specifically to families, there are ships and cruise lines that are perfect choices for empty nesters looking for a serene environment.  Holland America, Oceania, and Azamara are excellent choices for couples seeking peace and quiet.   Or, book one of the family-friendly cruise lines during months when children are in school – by avoiding the summer months, major holidays and school break times, you will usually find just a smattering of children onboard the sailing.

I can’t afford a cruise vacation.    Cruises can be surprisingly affordable and offer tremendous value since so much is included with your fare.   Timing is everything, of course – so for best fares, whenever possible book your cruise when families are tied up with school activities and unable to sail.   November and December can be exceptionally good to snag a great fare if you avoid the popular major holiday periods.  To optimize the cruise experience, we encourage clients to book a minimum of five nights onboard – better ships, better itineraries – and some would argue better shipboard staff as well.   All of our cruise vacations can be booked with a modest deposit and we’re happy to take payments over a period of time.  Book early to lock in the best fares!

I’m motion sensitive and afraid I’d be sick the entire time.    I’m a passionate cruiser – also one who is also exceptionally prone to seasickness.   As one who has fallen prey to the misery of motion sickness, I can commiserate with this concern.   Thankfully, today’s ships are larger with extremely effective stabilization systems to minimize motion and improve passenger experience.   I personally swear by the prescription “patch” … it totally controls any symptoms for me – I’m convinced I could ride out a hurricane in a rowboat when wearing the patch.   There are also very effective oral medications as well as a number of alternative remedies that some swear by.  There are also strategic approaches such as booking staterooms mid-ship and on lower decks – although I have sailed in staterooms forward and aft, upper and lower decks and – at least for me — room location played no significant part in whether or not I experienced discomfort.

I hate crowds and these huge cruise ships are a turn-off for me.   There are SO many small ship options that there is something for every taste and travel style.   River cruises offer vessels with approximately 100 passengers … and many ocean-going vessels accommodate just 600 to 1200 people.   Great choices are Oceania, Viking, and Azamara … even Royal Caribbean offers smaller ships at  with  competitive fares.    You might also consider Norwegian’s “ship within a ship” Haven experience that offers a private conclave with an intimate small-ship environment combined with all the fun & entertainment of a mega-ship just an elevator ride away.   These luxury suites come with front of the line access for boarding and disembarkation, offering passengers the opportunity to have the best of both worlds.

I’m afraid there won’t be enough to do and I’ll get bored.   No way!   Today’s ships come with such an amazing array of  entertainment and activities and enrichment programs that this objection just won’t hold water.   Gyms, spa services, production shows, ice skating, bumper cars. Cooking demonstrations, destination lectures. climbing walls, surfing simulators, comedy shows, piano bars, sky diving simulators, zip lines, carousels … today’s ships literally offer something for every interest and preference.   Talk to your travel advisor and make sure they guide you to a ship that will suit your interests and you’ll have an amazing vacation experience.

I’m afraid I could fall off.   I really do encounter this as a real concern!  And from media reports, you might think that people are accidentally tumbling off their balconies on an almost-daily basis.   The truth is that a “man overboard” is extremely rare.  It takes a concerted effort – and usually an extremely excessive intake of alcohol – to fall off one of these ships.    Those who fall from a cruise ship are inevitably engaging in some incredibly reckless behavior – or is the victim of some sort of foul play.

Norovirus is epidemic on cruise ships and I don’t want to catch it!  Probably the biggest misconception in the industry!  In actuality, less than one percent of norovirus cases occur on ships.   You are far more likely to pick up norovirus in healthcare facilities, restaurants, and schools than you are to contract it aboard a cruise ship.   Still, no one wants to be among those unlucky few and ruin a vacation.   Use the hand sanitizer … wash your hands frequently — be aware when you touch common surfaces and don’t touch your face until hands are thoroughly washed.

If you are cruise curious … ingtrigued by the potential of a cruise vacation  but hesitant to take the plunge  … we would love the opportunity to address your concerns and clear up any lingering doubts — with no obligation or high pressure selling.   Give us a call … use the contact us button on our site … or look up Dancing Moon Travel on Facebook and use our chat button.   We would love to hear from you!

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14 Great Cruise Tips

Great info from a person who has worked on cruise ships for several years

Click Here

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Carnival Sails Again!! – July, 2021

Carnival Cruise Line kicked off its first cruise in almost 16 months from Port Miami today with the departure of Carnival Horizon.

It’s the second Carnival ship back in cruising action in two days as the Vista sailed from Galveston on July 3.

Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald and Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald kicked off the festivities with a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially welcoming guests on board. Prior to Duffy’s remarks, a moment of silence was held to honor those affected by the tragedy in Surfside.

“PortMiami is our number one homeport in terms of ships and passenger embarkations and today’s return to cruising with Carnival Horizon represents an important first step in getting our company back to business while infusing much-needed capital to the thousands of workers who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood,” said Duffy. “The past year has been challenging to say the least and I wish to thank our state and local officials, Port Miami, and our business partners and suppliers for their incredible support and patience during this time.”

“The restart of cruise ships from Miami is an exciting day for Miami’s longshoremen. We have approximately 800 members at Port Miami and their wages dropped as much as 80% during the nearly 16-month cruise suspension. Today with Carnival Horizon’s first sailing, we get back to work and look forward to supporting our families again,” said Torin Ragin, president, International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1416.

Carnival Horizon will set sail today at 4 p.m. for a six-day cruise with stops in Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.

In addition to Carnival Horizon’s departure this afternoon, Carnival Vista departed Galveston yesterday, with Carnival Breeze departing from Galveston July 15 and Carnival Miracle kicking off the line’s Alaska season from Seattle July 27. Mardi Gras, the line’s newest ship, sets sail from Port Canaveral July 31. Other ships in the Carnival fleet will begin service in August.

Celebrate your next cruise with a tee from Lido Deck Tees

Cruise Industry News

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Find the Perfect European River Cruise For You

What is a River Cruise?

A river cruise is a relaxing journey down a river. The passengers can enjoy the sights and sounds of the river while the crew provides commentary and entertainment. Some cruises include stops at scenic overlooks or historical sites. River cruises are a great way to see a different part of a country or region.

Which European River Cruise is the Perfect Fit For You?

River cruises are a great way to see different parts of a country while relaxing on the river. Different European river cruises offer different amenities, such as food, entertainment, and excursions. Some popular river cruises include the Danube River Cruise, the Rhine River Cruise, and the Nile River Cruise. When it comes to European river cruises, some factors to consider are the length of the cruise, the destinations visited, and the type of cruise.

For example, a three-week cruise on the Rhine will take you to many different destinations, including Cologne, Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Koblenz, and Ludwigshafen.

This type of cruise is great if you want to see a lot of different places in a short amount of time.

On the other hand, a seven-day cruise on the Danube will take you to some of the most famous cities in Austria and Hungary, including Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider what you’re interested in and what type of experience you’re looking for.

Many cruises offer great value for your money – especially if you book early!

Find the Perfect European River Cruise For Your Travel Desires!

Choosing the right European river cruise for your travel needs can be a daunting task. There are so many options to choose from, and each one offers its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your perfect river cruise:

1. Length of the Cruise: Most cruises are around 7-10 days long, but there are also shorter cruises available as well. If you have a lot of time to spend in each port, a longer cruise may be the better option for you. However, if you only have a limited amount of time available, a shorter cruise may be more convenient for you.

2. Number of Ports: Some cruises visit multiple ports while others only visit one. Which type of cruise is right for you will depend on your travel goals and preferences.

3. Duration of the Excursions: Many cruises include optional excursions that allow you to explore different parts of the country or continent visited by the ship. These excursions can be very interesting and provide you with a lot of opportunities to see different parts of the country or continent.

4. Cost: The cost of a river cruise is usually based on the length of the cruise, number of ports visited, and number of optional excursions included in the cruise package. The cost of a cruise can vary greatly, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

5. Age Restrictions: Some cruises are designed for adults only, while others are suitable for kids as well. You’ll need to decide if you want a cruise that is specifically designed for adults or one that includes both adult and child-friendly activities.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when choosing a European river cruise. If you have any questions about which cruise is right for you, please feel free to contact Dancing Moon Travel. We would be happy to help you choose the perfect river cruise for your travel needs!

Dancing Moon Travel knows all the River Cruise companies and can suggest a variety of trips that will take you on a journey down some of the most beautiful waterways in Europe. From Amsterdam to Vienna, there is something for everyone.

Conclusion

River Cruises are full of entertainment, including music, art, and delicious food. You’ll also get to see some of the most famous landmarks and attractions in the area, all while cruising along at a comfortable pace. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery while the cruise crew takes care of everything else.

So why wait? Get a great European river cruise today from Dancing Moon Travel.

Here are links to a few of our favorite River Cruise Companies 

AmaWaterways

Avalon Waterways River Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises

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41 Percent of America Did THIS Last Year!

Americans are known all over the world over for their hard work ethic. In fact, we’re infamous for working toohard. Our dedication to our careers and success often takes a toll on our health, both physical and emotional, and overwork has been proven to contribute to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and heart attacks.

The one thing that we can all do to turn these statistics around, that guarantees relaxation, is not even taken advantage of. I am talking about taking a vacation! In 2015, 41 percent (that’s almost HALF!) of Americans admitted to NOT taking a vacation.

Reasons for not stepping away from the desk were pretty consistent: the people surveyed (the 41percent) admitted that they feared coming back to a mountain of work or simply that they couldn’t afford a vacation. But the consensus is clear: vacations are beneficial to overall health and stress levels. Even your boss understands taking some time off!

John Donahoe, C.E.O. of eBay, is quoted to say “As helpful as thinking days and re-calibrations are, there’s still no substitute for taking a legitimate vacation.” The C.O.O. of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, agrees, encouraging employees to take off ALL of the vacation days they have allotted.

The majority of employers are also keen for their employees to take vacation because they realize that working non-stop will eventually lead to burnout, which is both a professional disaster and will undoubtedly cause additional stress at home. Taking some time to unplug with family or friends will likely make you less stressed at work, and having a planned vacation on the calendar to look forward to can improve your spirits tremendously.

Vacations are also good for your cardiac health – studies show that men who don’t take regular vacations are 32% more likely to die from a heart attack … and women who don’t take time off are eight times more likely to suffer from coronary disease than their vacationing counterparts..

A “legitimate vacation” doesn’t have to be three weeks in Europe. At Dancing Moon Travel, we specialize is creating custom vacations that will give our clients the relaxation they need, with a pre-scheduled time and on a budget they can afford.

Cruises are the perfect solution to those who have tight budgets or limited vacation days: there are great four and five-night Caribbean itineraries, and with the inclusive amenities, you will spend far less than if you try to cover food and lodging on a vacation you plan yourself.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential to overall happiness and physical well-being, and at Dancing Moon Travel, we want to work with you to help make it happen.

The vast majority of our trips can be booked with a modest deposit and we’re happy to take payments over time – we consider this our “Dream Layaway Program.”  Call our office at (404) 913-4386 or visit our website to learn more about the dream vacation packages we offer, and plan the vacation you deserve today!http://www.dancingmoontravel.com