Welcoming Kate Cox – World Travel Consultant

Today we are pleased to announce a new addition to our Travel On A Dream team. While we have helped many clients with international travel, Kate’s specialty is international travel. We have asked Kate to share a bit about herself:

Travel is the greatest investment people ever make. The payoffs are numerous and the experience priceless!

Being a World Travel Consultant and assisting in each client experience becomes personal to me each and every time. I take so much pride in what I do and how I do it!

It is a journey daily.

I have several years in the industry and never tire of listening to the incredible memories clients make. I am so grateful to share my passion and knowledge.

My specialty is International Travel: Tours, River Cruises, Safaris, Ocean Cruises and much more.

I give a part of myself and my own dreams when I am building a clients trip in this great big world that I love so much!

I say “Come along with me… the best is yet to be”!!

I am Kate Cox and excited about joining the Travel On A Dream team.

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Disney Cruise Line Early 2018 Itineraries Announced!

Disney Cruise Line has just announced their upcoming itineraries for Spring 2018 sailings. Bookings for these sailings will start on Thursday, October 27, 2016 with one day advance sales to Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members. If you would like to make a new booking, please let your consultant know as soon as possible so they can take care of this for you. You can also click on the “Request A Quote” on the menu above.

Here is what we are seeing:

Disney Dream
Sailing from Port Canaveral
4 night Bahamian sailings on Mondays and 3 night Bahamian sailings on Fridays

Disney Fantasy
Sailing from Port Canaveral
Alternating 7 night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings on Saturdays

Disney Wonder
Sailing from Galveston, Texas in early January, repositioning to San Juan, Puerto Rico for three Southern Caribbean sailings. She will then reposition to Port Canaveral until it’s time to go to the West Coast for some sailings from San Diego.

January 5 – 4 night Western Caribbean from Galveston with a stop in Cozumel
January 9 – 5 night repositioning to San Juan, with a stop at Falmouth
January 14 – 7 night Southern, visiting Antigua, St. Lucia, Curacao & Aruba
January 21 – 7 night Southern, visiting St. Kitts, Martinique, Antigua & Aruba
January 28 – 7 night Southern, visiting Antigua, St. Lucia, Bonaire & Aruba
February 4 – 4 night Repositioning to Port Canaveral, visiting St. Thomas & Castaway Cay
February 8, March 15, 22 – 3 night to Nassau and Castaway Cay
February 11 – 7 night Western, visiting Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Castaway Cay
February 18, March 4 – 7 night Eastern, visiting St. Maarten, San Juan and Castaway Cay
February 25 – 7 night Western, visiting Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Castaway Cay
March 29 and April 5 – 3 night, visiting Castaway Cay
March 11, 18, 25, April 1 – 4 night, visiting Nassau and Castaway Cay
April 8 – 14 night Panama Canal cruise, visiting Castaway Cay, Cartagena, through the Panama Canal, Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and ending in San Diego
April 22, 29, May 6 – 5 night sailings, visiting Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas
May 12 – 3 night sailing to Ensenada
April 27, May 4, 11 – 2 night sailing to Ensenada

Disney Magic
Miami, Florida
January 7, 21, February 4, March 18, April 1 – 5 night sailings to Cozumel and Castaway Cay
January 12, 26, February 9, March 9, 23, April 6, 20, May 4 – 5 night sailings to Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay
January 3, 17, 31, April 25, May 9 – 4 night sailings to Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay
February 14, March 14, April 11 – 4 night sailing to Nassau & Castaway Cay
February 18, April 15, 29 – 5 night sailings to Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay
March 28 – 4 night sailing to Key West and Castaway Cay

Please contact your Travel On A Dream agent or email vacations@travelonadream.com for your quote.

Working with a Travel Professional

In late August, we were looking for a few people to be in a focus group for us.  We wanted to see what our current clients’ and fans’ impressions were when it came to working with a travel professional.  I can tell you that we were very surprised by the responses.  It was clear that many people really don’t understand a lot about the travel agency business from how we work to the value that we provide.

This made me reflect on the industry and how, over time, we have gotten away from what it means to be a professional in this business.  I came to the realization that our industry has done a lot of harm to the professional agencies and agents out there.

There are too many people who I have talked to over the years as a business owner who have said “I want to be a travel agent, you guys all have so much fun.” or “I plan things for my friends already, why shouldn’t I get paid for it?”.  While it might be true that anyone can hang a shingle up and call themselves a travel agent, it takes a real dedicated individual to be a true professional.  And this doesn’t come cheap.

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More Sailing Fun Facts

Last month we went over the Passenger Space Ratio, and this month we will continue on with a few more interesting numbers that describe cruise ships. We’ll take a look at the crew to passenger ratio, why we have nautical miles, some of the dimensions of cruise ships, and a pet peeve of mine.

One easy number is the crew to passenger ratio. I think of this as the “How much will I be pampered?” number. While I wouldn’t use this to decide that I’m not going on a particular ship, it does give an idea of how many passengers each crew member needs to ‘take care of’. Some crew may not be directly involved in guest service, but they need to be included because they keep the air conditioning running, emergency equipment in order, etc. The math for this one is as simple as taking the number of passengers (double occupancy) and dividing by the number of crew.

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Cruise Ship Comparison: Passenger Space Ratio

Editor’s Note: This will be part of a series that presents a few fun facts, figures and comparisons about cruise ships, and how to use them to help with making cruising decisions with your ToaD Travel Consultant.

When I board a ship for a cruise, I’m always interested in how roomy the ship is and how it will “feel” once I’m on board. I’m going to be there for a while and since I’m from the Midwest, I need a certain amount of personal space to feel comfortable.

Before I retired I used to do a lots of math. Now I’ve had some time to look at some interesting and simple calculations that help me to see how much elbow room I’m going to have on a cruise. It is a simple ratio that relates the total volume of the ship to the number of passengers. In simple terms, how much space can I expect?

This magic number is called the Passenger Space Ratio and it is easy to calculate to get a feel for how crowded you might feel on a certain class of ship. It is the simple ratio between the size of the ship (Gross Tonnage) and the number of passengers onboard. It is easy to compare with other ships since these two numbers are generally available across all cruise lines. At least now we can compare apples to apples.

About the numbers involved… Gross Tonnage (gt) is a bit of a math nightmare, and doesn’t really have anything to do with the weight of a ship. Instead, it is a measure of all of the enclosed spaces within the ship. There is a lot of history (and math) behind it, but all we really need to know is that it is a “fair” number that makes a good attempt to represent all ships properly for all sizes and usages. Since we only care about cruise ships, all of that math is done.

Since we usually don’t know how many guests will be on any given cruise ahead of time, we need to have a ‘standard’ number of passengers for each ship. It’s nice that almost all ships have a capacity number that is generally the number of staterooms with two occupants in each. This is sometimes called the ship’s capacity or double occupancy. The ship may hold many more people if every single bed, bunk and berth is occupied, but double occupancy is a reasonable number to use for comparisons, and is often used by cruise lines to determine a “full ship.”

Finally, we can calculate the Passenger Space Ratio. It is simply the amount of space on the ship divided by the number of passengers. There, done. If we only had a table with some of these values filled in, it would be interesting to see how different cruise line ships have designed, built and outfitted their ships and how each design, level of luxury and service offered changes this ratio.

The following table shows the gross tonnage, number of passengers (double occupancy) and the calculated passenger space ratio for several ship classes across several cruise lines.

PsgrSpaceRatioTable

Many ships fall within a reasonably close range, and some ship design features will affect this number. For instance, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has a Boardwalk and Central Park areas that are within the confines of the ship, but since they are open to the sky the space is not include in the Gross Tonnage figure. On the other hand, the atmosphere of having a few birds along for the ride and having an open park-like setting to eat lunch is amazing.

If you are looking up the Gross Tonnage for yourself, be sure that it is the Gross Tonnage, and not one of the other similar numbers that only help with the confusion (Gross Register Tonnage, Net Register Tonnage, Displacement, Compensated Gross Tonnage, etc.). Gross Tonnage is the number to use for all ships built after July 18, 1982, but sometime sources may round up, or the number could change over time if the ship has a major upgrade during dry dock that affects the number of passengers or the volume of enclosed space within the ship.
I wouldn’t make a decision to not go on a ship because the Passenger Space Ratio seems too low, or is a few hundredths lower than another ship, but it is useful.

Remember that there are several other numbers and statistics that we can look at that give us more information on everything from how a ship will ride in rough weather, how many crew are there to serve you, and a host of other things that can be compared across cruise line, ship classes. Taken together these can help to give an improved perspective on what you can expect on your cruise.

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Did You Know? Payment Plans Possible with Travel Agents

One reason we have heard that potential clients are unsure about using a travel agent is because they need to make a payment plan.  They feel the only way to do this is by dealing with the various travel company directly.

While some travel agencies may not be willing to do partial payments, we certainly can handle payment options.  There are a number of ways to handle this with you.

You can set up a regular payment by authorizing us to use your credit card on file to make a regular payment on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

Another option would be to submit payment information to us when you want to make a partial payment.

The only exceptions to making partial payments are with the deposit as these are usually required to be paid within a short amount of time (usually 3-7 days after booking).

Under nearly all cases, payments are made directly to the travel company through your agent.  This means that any form of payment accepted by the cruise line/travel company, will be accepted through us.

Check with your agent if you are interested in making a payment plan.  Some travel companies may have minimum amounts that we can do in a partial payment, but those would be the same restrictions you would find going to them directly.

Many of our clients do this to make bite-sized payments on a regular basis so final payment isn’t quite as difficult to chew.