Thursday, November 12, 2009

Re-Post from 4/18/09!

Good morning to everyone today! I hope everybody had a productive week and have had the opportunity to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we are having. As all of you are well aware, this 75 degree sunshine will only last maybe a couple more weeks here in Southeast Alabama. This week I am going to talk about the one topic that I feel has been touched on WAY more than others, but I have to do it again because every single week I have been in the travel industry I hear the same thing: Why should I use a travel agent instead of booking myself online?

This is a very fair question that 2 years ago I asked myself. Linds and I wanted to go to Walt Disney World for a few days during her Christmas break. So, just like I am sure most of you would have done I went to the Disney website and begin to click away. Two days later and what seemed like a million clicks, I had at least 10 different quotes on what I thought was the same trip and gave up and called a local agency. I told the young lady what we had in mind for our trip and she said to give her a few minutes and she would call me back. Sure enough, about an hour later she called with everything laid out for me along with a price that was a little bit lower than any of the ten quotes I had gotten online. Whew! How easy was that? Also I knew if there was a problem of any kind that I could call her, a local person in a local office with my issue. Trust me on this one...try calling an 800 # and understanding the language the person on the other end speaks. Plus if you do manage to master their language what happens if you get cut off? I know, you call back into a huge call center and no one has a clue what you were just discussing with the other guy. This one experience two years ago is where the idea of becoming a travel agent myself was born.

I am going to try to explain exactly what I do and how I get paid for my services as shortly as I can. First of all, let me explain my name sake. The name of my business is Wiregrass Travel, the franchise I purchased is Cruise Planners. I am assuming the reason the founders of Cruise Planners took on this name is because of the fact that they had worked in the cruise industry all of their careers and the fact that cruising has become the most popular, profitable form of vacation. To me, however, the name is very misleading. It tells, in my opinion, the customers that we only plan cruises. Cruise Planners is partnered with American Express travel and we have the same access to everything AMEX has to offer. I am sure all of you know that American Express has been the leading authority in travel for years and years. We book just about anything you can think of (European tours, hotels in NYC, Disney, all-inclusive, ski packages) at the same, or most of the time a few dollars cheaper than you can doing all the work yourself online! It does not cost you one penny more to use an agent, plus you get to talk to only one person, me. The only thing I would like to add to this is if you just need a standard hotel room for a couple nights in anywhere USA(not a major city or resort), yes it is easy and yes you may as well book it yourself.

Now here is the next question out of every one's mouth after hearing all that: Wow that's great but how much of a fee do you charge for your time? NOTHING!!!!!!! The tour companies, cruise lines, resorts, hotels, ect. pay the agents a percentage of the amount you spend in commission. Well do they raise the price to us the consumer to offset that percentage? NO!!!!! The vacation companies realize just how vast the travel industry is and they feel it is worth it to them to lower their amount of profit by the amount of commission paid to have us, the travel agents, help the customer sort through everything out there and recommend their form of travel. It is very literally a win win for both you and me.

Please do me a favor, if you hear anyone talking about any form of travel, tell them about this blog and how a travel agent can help. I promise it will help them feel better about their vacation and help me be successful. Like I said win win.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Little Catching Up!

Good wet morning to all! I decided to write a rare mid-week blog to follow up one the previous one where I left you hanging. If you remember I abruptly ended that one due to the fact the hospital staff had brought my grandfather's breakfast in and he needed some help eating. As for an update on him, me and my grandmother went to the rehab hospital where he has been since that same Saturday and received some great news yesterday. He is doing really well and we get to bring him home tomorrow! As for today it will be catching up on as much work as possible because we all know how hospital discharges can seem to take ALL day, then we have to get him home and settled.
Boy, it is wet outside if you live in the great state of Alabama today. It has pretty much rained all night long thanks to TS Ida. We all should be very thankful because to the best of my knowledge there has been no damage from this storm. The one major concern I do have is for the cotton farmers. Some of you probably know that my dad manages a cotton gin and he was really worried yesterday that the heavy rain and/or wind would ruin what is looking like a great crop. Whether you good people from the Dothan area know it or not, even though there aren't that many farmers in the area percentage wise they have a HUGE impact on the local economy. I have been in several different type of businesses and in everyone of them there is a direct correlation between good crop years and upswings in business...not to mention the guys really need these "bumper" years to offset the bad ones.
OK I know you didn't come here to hear all about the economy. I want to run through some specials that are going on right now in the travel industry. Disney cruise lines are running their "kids sail free" promotion on select cruises for most of the spring. Walt Disney World has a buy four nights get three free promotion going for any of their moderate resorts and above as well as buy five get three free at their value resorts. As is the case almost always this time of year all the cruise lines are making their way to the Caribbean for the winter and that means prices are getting dirt cheap for sailings all the way through mid-May. I strongly encourage all of you who are on a budget(like most of us are) to seriously think about taking a cruise now while the prices are low, just to experience it once. I think you will fall in love with the idea. Alaska group bookings are in their prime right now through the end of the year and I have a couple groups blocked for late next season(Aug.-Sept.) so let me know if you are interested in those. Sandals all-inclusive has a 65% off sale going on now and if you know me you know this is one of my favorites! I have also been getting some really good specials via email from the ski resorts out west. And last but not least did you know you can have a four day weekend to Vegas in March and stay at the Bellagio for less than $600 per person including air fare and transfers? Just some things to think about this rainy day. As always thank you all for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Oh yea, I almost forgot...The week of Thanksgiving the office of Wiregrass Travel will be closed all week. Gonna have a little family time and I encourage you to do the same :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 10/31/09

Good morning blog world. If you actually follow this blog you have probably wondered what is going on because it has been several weeks now without a post. Well I will give my excuses but that is all they are because most of it is laziness combined with lack of creativity. For those of you who blog yourself you probably know what I am talking about when I say I get into a slump. Nothing will come to my mind and if something does it just sound all that interesting to me so I know darn well you don't want to hear it. On top of all that I have actually been really busy finalizing the largest group I have ever booked. 31 cabins and 62 passengers are paid in full and ready to go! Boy they have been a great group to deal with and a lot of fun, but all that said it takes a lot to track down that many mostly retired folks for payment. I have told just about every one of them that if I had the money and time I would go with them just to watch. They are an alumni group from Panama City that graduated HS in 1961 and seem to be a real close knit bunch. One of my favorites is a lady who chose not to eat with the main group @6P.M. because that is cocktail hour! Oh yea and she has about 8-10 that have chosen that route too. Also, today I am writing from a hospital on my Aunt's laptop because my grandfather had a pretty major back surgery on Wednesday and is still having a hard time mentally recovering from the anesthesia. I haven't had more than 2 hours sleep if that so if this all sounds senseless I will blame that and not my ignorance. I know today is Halloween but I don't really get all that into it, however being awakened @ 510AM to a freaking bunny walking into the room to take his blood pressure was just about the weirdest thing I have ever experienced!
As far as travel news goes I will run through the highlights pretty quick. Royal Caribbean is really pushing the unveiling of the Oasis of the Seas which will be the largest cruise ship afloat. I think all of you experienced cruisers out there really aught to consider giving this one a try this year. I really believe it will blow you mind, just the sheer amazing. Got to run he is awake, breakfast is here and so are the nurses.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 10/3/09

Hello from the back room of my house, also known as my office. The first thing on my mind today is the same thing I have seen on every one's FB status' and that fall is here! At least this week anyway for all of us Alabamians. It really has been like a burst of energy for me. I know by late February I will be just as ready for spring as I am now for fall but the biggest difference is there will be no football on and no major holidays right around the corner. Oh well, I am sure some of you get tired of my "pre-blog" rambling so I will get right to it. This week my home office, Cruise Planners/American Express, announced an extension of it's CP cares program and I am very proud of what we have accomplished. I am especially proud we, along with Royal Caribbean, have chosen Fisher House Foundation as our charity to donate to. Just last week I was at the VA hospital in Montgomery with my Grandfather so I have seen first hand the needs of some of the veterans. Seeing as how I am not the best blogger in the world anyway I am going to add the details below from my home office. They set this up for us to use as our own but I do not like to take credit for someone Else's' work so here it is.
Chances are good you probably have a close relative, friend of neighbor who served in our Armed Forces. Now you have an opportunity to assist the thousands of veterans and their families who require extended care at a VA medical facility through Cruise Planners’ Voyages for Veteran’s program. When you book a selected cruise on Royal Caribbean, we will make a $50 donation in your name to Fisher House which provides free housing to the families of veteran’s while they undergo extended treatment. This donation does not affect the cost of your cruise, so it is a “painless” way to donate. For more information on Fisher House you can visit To see a list of departures for this exclusive Cruise Planners/American Express program please visit my web site at

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 9/26/09

Good Morning Wiregrass and beyond! I hope everyone had a great week and are as ready as I am for some football today. Today I am copying and pasting an email I sent to several ladies this morning about some deals in Cancun this March. They all asked for the details on my fan page with Facebook yesterday so I figured that if there were three hand raiser's then there were many more that really wanted to know. Here is the meat of the information:
I am going to give you two resorts to check out that fall in the price range. I used the date on March 22nd-March 27th(Mon-Sat) flying out of ATL. I can't remember, but I believe the flights were direct and I know they were at decent times. Any way the resort that came in under $800 was the Oasis Palm Beach resort. It priced out including air and taxes for $777.74pp. The other was the Barcelo Tucancun Beach Resort. It was priced $832.76pp with everything else remaining the same. I will provide links to both at the end of this email. As with most, the web sites look great but sometimes you don't know what you get until you get there in foreign country. The good news is I have been to the Barcelo myself about 6-7 years ago. The resort wasn't by any means luxury but we were all very pleased. It was right on the beach and clean. The beach itself was actually a nicer beach than the one at Sandals in the Bahamas. The staff did a great job with activities both day and night. There was constantly something going on during the day(volleyball,kayak race,pool games, and even beer pong). Every night there was also some form of entertainment in their courtyard area. There were variety type shows to cultural Mexican dancing girls to a one man band singing Spanish songs we didn't know! Long story short, pending it is still the same, I would go again. The only knock I had was the was pretty mediocre but still got the job done. Oh yea, it didn't matter to us at the time but your choices for beer, which is included, was Dos Equis or Dos Equis. Tip...after spending WAY to much time at the bar one afternoon me and another guy made friends with the bar tender and asked him if he knew how to make Sangria and boy did he ever. He only made us about 4-5 pitchers that afternoon!

Thank you so much for reading, Jeremy

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 9/19/09

Good morning and I am way behind! As you all know two weeks ago I went up to Auburn for the day and we had a blast. Last week I had to take my niece to a birthday party followed by a Sunday school social. Well needless to say I haven't taken the time to sit down and blog. I do actually have some travel news to share with you this morning. After keeping you in the loop with the latest ship changes and one "interesting" new cruise, I am going to list at the bottom some group space I have blocked for this year's spring break for 95% of the Wiregrass area.
I received an email from my Carnival BDM yesterday letting me know that in May 2010 the Fantasy would be replaced in Mobile with the Elation. Wow, we have gone from the old Holiday for years to two new ships in less than six months. That's right you will have only about 5 months if you want to experience the Fantasy out of Mobile. The good news is the Elation is a sister ship to the Fantasy(same deck plan) but is a few years newer. The reason they are making this change is because Carnival is starting a year round itinerary our of Charleston, S.C. and that is where the Fantasy will be headed in May 2010. I really appreciate the fact that Carnival really does try to use as many ports as possible to try to give everyone the chance to cruise without the added expense of air-fare. If only I could get the rest of the cruise lines to get on-board! How awesome would it be if they ALL docked in Panama City or Destin? I bet my business would double or triple. Oh well, I can dream I guess.
As far as the interesting news goes, well it involves Carnival too. I spotted this on Fox news yesterday and Lind's and I had a good laugh. There is going to be the first ever "cougar cruise" coming soon! Yep, you are right, they are talking about that kind of cougar...over 40, single, and in to young men :). There are several companies out there that put together singles and gay cruises all the time but this one is a first. I believe one of the companies mentioned above has come up with this idea. As of the interview the cougars are heavily out numbering the "cubs" on this inaugural sailing so the odds are looking good fellows. Here is the bad news for us here in LA, it is sailing out of San Diego for a weekend trip. However, I am sure there is someone out there that would not mind making this trip. I know I have one friend in particular that will be counting his pennies.
Thank you for reading today and like I stated above I am going to list some specials for spring break in 2010. Jeremy

3/15/10-3/19/10 Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise $364.90, including all taxes and fees.

3/15/10-3/20/10 Royal Caribbean Belize and Costa Maya $602.93, everything included.

3/22/10-3/26/10 Royal Caribbean Bahamas $364.90, everything included.

3/22/10-3/27/10 Carnival to Grand Cayman and Cozumel $473.67, everything included.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 9/5/09

Early good morning,
I am excited today which would explain why I am up blogging at 5:20 on a Saturday morning. I am going to Auburn in a little while for the first time in over three years! I had really gotten burnt out from years past mostly due to it taking an entire Saturday and into Sunday, like tonight, to go have the game experience. I have said it before but is worth saying again, I would have told any one that they were nuts if they thought I would ever miss 3 years of Auburn football. I guess the simple fact is I am getting old and it sure is nice to sit in my recliner, in the air conditioning, bathroom within 10 yards, and watching all the other action before and after my game. Like I stated above I am really excited about the game today, but even more excited about who I get to go with and see. I have my college roommate and my may as well been our roommate driving up from FL to go with me. Getting back to the older issue above it will be nice to spend time with these guys since marriage and babies(for one) limit the amount of times we see each other in a year, esp. without any ladies around! I am guessing there will be at least one story that starts "do you remember that night when we were up here that..." fill in the blank. Also my brother-in-law is going up with us and he is one of the funniest guys I know. If he warms up to the other two pretty quickly he will keep us in stitches all day. We are leaving Dothan around 8:30 and headed to Buffalo Connection for lunch and some other games on TV before we head to the stadium about 2. Then I am going to set out to find yet another reason today will be a good day, John Nelson. I met this guy way back in Nov. at training for Cruise Planners. We were assigned seating in class and ended up right next to each other. Well it didn't take John long to figure out how much I loved college football and the Auburn Tigers. He told me that his son was a high school kicker from Ciblo, TX and was signing with La Tech this past spring as the starting kicker. He also said you have to come to the game and we will hook up/hang out. Well, I have to admit I knew he was a heck of a nice guy and I did believe his kid was signing with La Tech but I said there is no way he knows that his kid will be the starting kicker. Either Coach Dooley is blowing smoke and they believe it or he is just "one of those dads". Well long story short, he was named the starting kicker as a true freshman and has one proud papa. So not only do I get to spend the day with some of my best friends in the world, I also get to see one of my newest friends and watch his kid run onto the field at Jordan Hare for the first game of his college career. His name is Matt Nelson and according to CBS Sportsline he will be wearing #33. It also says he weighs a whopping 155lbs. As a friend of his dad and die hard Auburn fan I hope he kicks a minimum of three Field goals but Auburn wins 42-9! War-Eagle and Matt Nelson.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 8/29/09

Good morning to the Wiregrass area and beyond. It has been a pretty good week here at Wiregrass Travel. I did have one major hick-up yesterday with my computer. For several weeks the monitor would go to sleep and then not come back on until we re-booted the system. Well bright and early yesterday it was off and didn't come back on. After lots of great advice and tips from my Facebook friends and a visit from my neighbor who is an IT guy for an engineering firm, I knew it wasn't going to be a cheap fix. Long story short, two trips to Best Buy and $130 later I was back in business about 12:30. For those who are wondering what it was, the video/graphics card was dead. Apparently there is a fan mounted on it to keep it cool and the bearings had gone out causing it to over heat, which explained why it went out slowly.
Enough of the technology talk, I have some major news about a Carnival ship. The Fantasy, that is being moved from New Orleans over to Mobile late this year is undergoing a complete renovation in January and they are adding 98 balcony state rooms! This is really big news for me. A ton of my customers who have never cruised always want to sail out of Mobile. As some of you already know the Holiday that is in Mobile now, is Carnival's oldest and smallest ship, not one I would necessarily recommend for a first time cruiser even though some still choose it. I have been knowing for a long time about the change to the Fantasy which is a good bit larger but the fact that they are adding the balconies gets me excited. I think everyone should get a balcony state room every time they cruise. Yes it is more money but the benefit versus the cost is not comparable. The problem with the class ship the Fantasy is in is older and the only balcony state rooms available were in the form of a suite, which was quite a bit more expensive. Now I believe I will be able to book my customers on a nicer ship, closer to home, in a great cabin! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 8/22/09

Good morning everyone! I hope all my readers have evaded the swine flu this week and continue to do so. It seems that is all that is being talked about this week. For those of you not located here in "LA" we are hearing astronomical numbers of kids getting sent home with the flu and of them several confirmed cases of H1N1. By my best guess I figure that puts about 80% of us at a very high risk of at best getting the regular ole flu this year.
I know you are thinking what in the world does this have to do with anything? Lucky for you I will tell you. I am just sitting here thinking this morning about a blog post I made some time back before June about the swine flu. You probably remember that Mexican ports were closed for several weeks and everyone was freaking out about H1N1. In that post I basically said that I wouldn't wish it on anyone but that I felt everyone was over reacting and even though some people had passed away from it, there were people that die every year from the"normal" flu. I ended the post back then saying that my personal opinion was that is was perfectly safe to travel to Mexico, but you should always use good common sense. Well low and behold just before school starts back up this month the CDC comes out with a statement saying there most likely will be a major outbreak here is the U.S. but that closing schools would not affect the outbreak either way. They also said the best way to avoid getting it yourself was lots of hand washing and bathing in general! Boy I hate to say I told you so.....but I did. It's almost like since it is here in the U.S. like we perceive it as not as bad. Folks it's the same nasty flu that was in Mexico in May, it did not take a bath,cut it's hair, and put on a suite just to come into the states. It's all about perception and I believe, just like I did before, that the media here in the states are so starved for stories/dramatics that they LOVE to blow things way out of proportion and stir our citizens into a frenzy.
In closing, let me say this to everyone who thinks I do not have a heart. I hate that the H1N1 has come into the world in general. I do not wish being sick, or worse, on any one. I personally may be the next one catching the H1N1 and reserve the right to change my mind. I am simply saying that we sometimes need to take a deep breath, relax, and think before we absolutely flip out believing every thing that the media reports, causing us to make rash decisions like closing ports and rearranging cruise itineraries. I haven't heard one single report, now that it is here, about anyone thinking about stopping business in any way. Perceptions, perceptions...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brand New Sandals!!!!!

Hello everyone,
I am copy and pasting an email I just got from my Sandals rep. Yep there is going to be a new Sandals next year in the Bahamas. Here are the details!!!!

We are most excited to announce that Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas has officially become the fourteenth Luxury Included® Sandals Resort! Please see the official announcement release below which will be distributed to media this afternoon.

~Sandals Resorts’ Luxury Included® Concept featuring 18-Hole Golf Course and Marina
Set to Debut in New Year~

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, August 20, 2009 – Sandals Resorts International (SRI), parent company of Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, The Royal Plantation Collection and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, today announced the purchase of the recently shuttered Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay for an undisclosed sum. According to Sandals Resorts founder and chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the 500-acre property, which features a championship Greg Norman golf course and world-class marina, is set to become a Sandals Resort and will be called Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas. Following certain enhancements customary to the Sandals Resorts brand, including an expansive new pool complex and additional dining establishments, the resort will open January 22, 2010.

“This is a remarkable moment in the history of Sandals Resorts,” Stewart said. “We are acquiring one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate in the Caribbean, which was operated by one of the world’s most highly regarded hotel companies. This is a reflection of all that Sandals Resorts has accomplished and a tremendous opportunity to further demonstrate our commitment to providing the very best vacation in the Caribbean. We look forward to bringing our Luxury Included® experience to this special property, which has been kept to impeccable standards.”

Unfolding like a grand estate, Sandals Emerald Bay is set along a one-mile stretch of white sand beach on Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas. According to Stewart, the all-suite resort will offer a selection of 190 “magnificently-appointed” luxury accommodations with styles that range from beachfront villas to charming bay house settings – all oceanfront, all extremely spacious and all serviced by butlers trained by Sandals Resorts through the company’s exclusive partnership with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.

Other amenities include a fully-equipped tennis center featuring six Har-tru courts lit for night play with professional stadium seating fit for competition; a full-service Red Lane® Spa with 22 indoor treatment areas and six exotic outdoor sanctuaries; plus six gourmet restaurants including four new concepts introduced by Sandals Resorts, a fine-dining seafood restaurant, an authentic Italian brick-oven pizzeria, a French-style café and a traditional British pub complete with a pool and snooker room. To complement its sublime ocean views, the property will also debut three pools including a brand new freshwater pool. Encompassing over half an acre, this spectacular pool will entice guests with a Jacuzzi, swim-up pool bar and unique fire-pit seating area in the center. Flanking the pool will be misting columns and luxurious cabanas equipped with wireless Internet access. Whether poolside or on the beach, all guests will receive a full complement of butler services. In addition, the resort will cater to business and meetings customers, offering 13,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space. This includes three large ballrooms with separate event entrance that can be converted into smaller rooms, all with access to a dedicated conference facility kitchen and two meetings rooms, which are all supported by round-the-clock conference and technology services.

Unique to the Great Exuma property is a stunning 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course, reputed to be among the best in the Caribbean as well as a 17-acre, stand-alone Emerald Bay Marina by Sandals, the first-ever marina for any Sandals Resort. This fully-protected, deepwater marina offers 133 slips and is equipped to accommodate and service yachts up to 300 feet in length. Open to the public, the marina also features a welcoming clubhouse with a full-service restaurant including al fresco dining on a spectacular wraparound terrace, pool, a world-class Lane® Spa and facilities to accommodate families with children.

Continued Investment in the Caribbean
Sandals Emerald Bay is the fourteenth Sandals Resort in the Jamaican-based company’s portfolio and the third investment the company has made in The Bahamas, already home to Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island in Nassau and Royal Plantation Island at Fowl Cay in the Exumas. “We have deep roots in The Bahamas. We know the people and these islands well and it is our distinct pleasure and honor to further our partnership in tourism here,” Stewart said.

Stewart credits receivers, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the government of The Bahamas on their efficiency in bringing this deal to a speedy conclusion. Stewart recognizes the impact the closing had on the local economy and is anxious to get people back to work. “We take enormous pride in our Caribbean legacy and specifically, our Jamaican heritage. Through job creation, real training and community involvement, spanning healthcare initiatives to education and the environment, we have worked hard to improve the countries where we operate and in turn, have become a better company and our employees, better citizens. Our commitment to the people of The Bahamas remains strong,” added Stewart.

Unwavering Confidence
“This resort has captured the imagination of trendsetters around the world, gracing the pages of influential magazines and welcoming some of the world’s wealthiest to its vast amenities. We will reignite this excitement because we know the Caribbean better than anyone and we know when we’ve found something extraordinary. This is that resort. We are incredibly proud to add Emerald Bay and are confident that our tradition of exceeding expectations through innovation and unwavering service, which is the hallmark of the Sandals Resorts brand, will continue to serve us well. We are eager to share the magic we found here with our guests,” Stewart concluded.
# # #

Sandals Resorts:
Sandals Resorts has earned a worldwide reputation for providing two people in love with the most romantic vacation experience in the Caribbean. Currently, there are 14 Luxury IncludedÒ Sandals Resorts located in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia and The Bahamas. Each offers stunning beachfront locations; a choice of à la carte restaurants, from white-glove dining to barefoot elegance; all premium brand wine and spirits, including an exclusive partnership with California's legendary Beringer Vineyards; luxurious accommodations in a range of categories; unrivaled watersports including the Caribbean's largest PADI certification program; Butler Service for truly indulgent pampering; Preston Bailey Signature WeddingMoons® and signature Red Lane® Spas, with services and treatments inspired by the region. In July 2007, the five-star, all suite Mediterranean Village debuted at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, offering two people in love the ultimate romantic getaway

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 8/15/09

Good morning and happy Saturday to everyone. I hope you have had a good week this week and are having a good weekend so far. It has been a good week here at the Lee's for the most part. Linds had a birthday yesterday so we went to the movies last night to see the Time Traveler's Wife. It was pretty good for a chic flick if you have a decent imagination. I say decent because I generally do not like movies that are too "out there" with things going on in the movie. For example I will not watch Star Wars but really enjoyed the movie K-PAX. Both are about things out of this world but K-PAX seemed more believable in my twisted brain. Switching gears, I got the tickets I purchased on EBay for the first Auburn game this year yesterday! I am more excited than I thought I would be. I haven't been to a game in Auburn in three years now. If you would have told me that ten years ago I would have told you that you were crazy. I still love them and watching them just as much but the hassle of going up there and fighting the crowd to sit in the blazing heat has really lost its excitement for me the older I get. Give me my recliner, the fridge, the bathroom, and Auburn on the TV and I am as happy as they come. The main reason I even looked for tickets to this is because I met a good friend at our training to become travel agents last November in Ft. Lauderdale who's son is the place kicker for LA Tech. We actually sat next to each other in a class of about 30 and along with about 5-6 other men in the class bonded and became friends for the week, still keeping in contact fairly regularly. His family are really excited because this will be his son's first college game, he is right out of high school. I think they are bringing about 20 people to the game from Texas and Florida. I can't even imagine how it would feel as the kid, or his family to get to experience college football for the first time as a player in Jordan-Hare...umm it just give me chills. Any way his name is Matt Nelson, if you are there or watching, you can tell who ever you are with when they say his name on ESPN that you kind of sort of know his dad through your travel agent :). Am I the only one who does stuff like that...becoming a fan of a team or player because I kind of sort of know someone that knows someone???
Oh yea this is a travel blog. This will be short and sweet. I have a book your own feature on my web site now. It has a link on the left side called "book your own trip". It is operated by Travel Impressions(American Express Travel)with whom I book 95% of all my land packages through anyway. Now, if you are just kind of wondering what it would cost to go somewhere or do something and are not ready to call me you can use this feature to get some ideas of what it may cost you. If you are really comfortable booking your self you can do it here as well but I still recommend giving me a call to let me look it over because I do it every day and may spot something in the booking that could be a potential problem and fix it for you. The good news for me is I get credit either way you choose to go, but I much prefer personal interaction with my customers. Here is the link directly to the page if you would like to play around with it and see what you come up with.

Via my web site :

Thank you,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 8/8/09

Well I can tell school is back, or almost back, in session! It amazes me just how much we, as humans, typically follow the same pattern of planning and spending. This is the second business I have owned in two completely different areas, but I now have watched business turn on and off like a water spout in both when school is in session or out. I have been hoping all summer that this would be the case because it has been pretty darn slow. Well out of the blue yesterday the phone started ringing off the hook! I had four bookings, two very good possibilities, and when I got back in last night from a social I had four messages that were left after 7 P.M. Thank you Lord for getting school back in session way before we use to have to go when I was a kid. It actually excites the heck out of me to know that I will spend most all day today working. My only concern is how early I should call the four back on a Saturday morning??? I am thinking I should wait until at least 9. Oh well, I have plenty of paper work/emailing to catch up on from yesterday to keep me busy until then.
I also wanted to share with everyone today that I have started a fan page on Face book for Wiregrass Travel. It is amazing that as of this morning there are already over 250 fans! Even more amazing is the fact a large part of them are either not my personal friend on FB or I do not know them at all. If you are a part of the page I would like to thank you dearly for your support and if you are not I would like to ask you to join. I will post the link below for you to see. I have posted a couple things so far pertaining to travel but primarily been spending most of the week pushing for new fans. Ideally I would love for fans to post their pictures and tell about their vacations and experiences. Everyone loves to know what everyone else has done and look at their pictures...hence the Face book craze. I will also use the page to put up any specials or articles I think fans would be interested in. I have made a commitment to all fans, however, to only make one post per day hoping they will keep my news feed up. I know I really hate to have one person/company to post stuff all day and that is all I see when I sign in. Well that wraps this up today, here is the link and I have to get busy now.

I hope that works and Thank you all!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 8/1/09

Good morning to you all. It is hard to believe it is August already and football season is only 1 month away!!! Today I am going to post something very different. I am copy and pasting an article from Travel Trade magazine on July 30, 2009. It concerns my home office and their effort to support our veterans and it makes me very proud to be a part of Cruise Planners. Another unique quality my home office has versus so many other large franchise systems out there is that I have met and talked with Michelle Fee, our co-founder and CEO. Anyway here is the article and I hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

Cruise Planners/Am Ex Donates Franchise, Charitable Partnership
Thu Jul 30 2009, by Travel Trade Staff

Cruise Planners/American Express is celebrating the donation of an $11,000 Cruise Planners franchise to an Air Force veteran and the announcement of the company's year-long charitable partnership with Royal Caribbean International and the Fisher House Foundation.

In late 2008, Cruise Planners hosted a nationwide franchise giveaway to celebrate the launch of the company's CP Cares program, which provides veterans with more than $2,500 in discounts toward purchasing a franchise. As the deserving recipient of the franchise, Air Force veteran Chris Silman was presented with the "key" to his new business as well as a $500 donation towards his marketing efforts by Cruise Planners co-founder and CEO Michelle Fee. In addition, Royal Caribbean International matched the contribution for a combined donation of $1,000.

Cruise Planners also announced "Voyages for Veterans," its yearlong charitable partnership with Royal Caribbean International and the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that provides no-cost housing to families of veterans who are undergoing extended medical treatment at VA medical centers. Cruise Planners and Royal Caribbean executives kicked-off the partnership by presenting the foundation with a $2,000 donation. In addition, Fee announced that charitable efforts will continue into next year with the companies donating $50 for every booking made through a Cruise Planners agent on select Royal Caribbean Voyages for Veterans sailings throughout 2010.

"Cruise Planners believes in bringing positive impact to our industry, customers and the community that we've called home for our entire 15 years in business," said Fee. "Not only is it our civic responsibility, it is our privilege to honor those that serve our country."

Event attendees included representatives from Broward County's Veteran Services and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"Companies like Cruise Planners and Royal Caribbean set the bar for social responsibility," said Marjorie Valdes, public affairs specialist for the Miami VA Healthcare System and Fisher House Foundation representative. "Much of what the Fisher House Foundation accomplishes is a direct result of charitable contributions, and we are so honored to be the recipient of their generosity."


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Benefits Travel Insurance!

I bet you were reluctant to even read this blog today weren't you? I would have been too a year ago but boy have I changed my opinion. I think in general we hear the word insurance, or as they like to refer to it travel protection, and we all turn our noses up and think it's just a way for someone to get more money out of me. Guess what? You are exactly you didn't expect to hear that did you? I love, love, love to sell travel insurance because percentage wise it pays almost triple in commission versus the actual trip! Am I here today to tell you "travel protection" is a rip off? Nope, I am here to tell you that I believe in it so much that I purchased it for myself on our last trip(at full price). Also sold it to my parents, and if you happen to know my dad he is the tightest man in America. He squeaks when he walks he is so tight!
All right here is why you should always purchase the insurance. Price, it is cheap when you look at the benefits. I use a company named Access America and for their standard policy it runs from 5-5.5% of the total cost of your trip. What you get for this premium is far to extensive for me to sit here and go through so I will hit the highlights. The first thing it does is protect you if something comes up once final payment has been made and you must cancel the trip. There are stipulations on the standard policy so it has to be a valid reason such as sickness, death in the family, etc. They do offer a cancel for any reason policy for a little more that is self explanatory. Once your vacation actually starts is when the benefits really kick in. If you get delayed in any way on your way and miss your flight or ship, Access America will pay what ever the difference is to catch you back up with the vacation. Once on the vacation the most important feature and the part that really sold me is the medical coverage. The majority of our insurance companies here in the U.S. either do not cover you in a foreign country or if the do only a percentage. I have heard horror stories about people having to be put into the hospital in a foreign country only to be handed a huge bill before they leave and demand payment before their release. Access America will cover you in this situation. They have a 24hr hot line so you can call as soon as there is a problem and they will tell you the steps to take to get the claim paid. Also a huge benefit for all of those with family back home is that if there is an emergency back home while you are gone, i.e. death in the family, they will pay for your flight back home early. I can't imagine being in Mexico and getting a call from home with bad news and no way to get back. Now for my very favorite one! If something major was to happen to you medically and you had to be hospitalized outside the U.S. and you are not comfortable with the services you are receiving be it a language barrier, poor facilities, or anything else uncomfortable, they will pay to have you flown back to the U.S. via medi-vac! That is pending you are in stable enough condition to make the trip. That alone sold me. No one ever thinks it will happen to then but the simple truth is things do happen and it is worth every penny for me to know if something did happen that I would not have to be in a hospital, in a third world country for weeks, with a bill I couldn't pay, miserable.
I have to lay down a disclaimer now. There are coverage limits and restrictions, so before purchasing I will be more than happy to send all the details to you personally. Have a great day!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 7/18/09

Good Saturday morning, I hope all of you had a good week at work or play. I know there has been a lot of people going on their summer vacations over the past few weeks and have enjoyed hearing about them. It doesn't seem like it but it is almost time for school to start back really soon, depending on where your kids attend. I am pretty sure Linds/Dothan city are only 2-3 weeks out. The bad news is I will be all alone all day again but the good news is business should pick back up. I am learning that just like in my previous business that when the kids are out of school my business drops and vice versa. Actually it makes perfect sense in the travel industry because you hope everyone is traveling while they have the chance, hence not thinking about their next trip until this one is over. Do keep in mind, however, just like the summer has flown by so will the school year so you need to get spring break on your minds. Since most only get a week for spring break I think the two most sensible choices are Disney World and a Caribbean cruise. Both rates are still not into peak season so both are better deals. As for Disney World the weather is still tolerable and the crowds not too bad. I was going to tell you all about our trip to Pigeon Forge, TN this morning but as usual got off on a tangent. Trying not to make my blog so long it gets boring I think I will stop here. Have a great rest of the weekend and like I begged in my previous post send me a line if you read, I would really appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Need a Blog Favor!

Good Wednesday morning to you all! I have a big favor to ask of everyone reading that I will ask at the end of this blog. First let me tell you why I am asking. If you have been reading my blog you have probably noticed that the number of blogs I am posting has progressively gotten to be less and less. Well there are a couple of reasons for this. I have been on Face Book way longer than blogger and as most of you know, on FB you post way less meaningful information ranging from what you had for supper to how you feel, yet you get instant gratification. People will give you the thumbs up or make a comment so you know people actually are reading what you post. On here, not so much! I can honestly say that I can count on less than two hands the people I know for sure read this blog...most of them are close family and friends. Combine the fact I type with my two fingers very slowly it really takes away my motivation to sit down for an hour and do it. Believe it or not I actually enjoy the blogging part of the equation I JUST HATE TO TYPE!
I have rambled on about all the above to let you know yesterday I had the second person contact me that I have never met, but has been reading my blog. A very nice lady that actually goes to church with me emailed me about an Alaskan trip next summer based off two blogs ago information. I did recognize her and her husband from our directory but to the best of my knowledge have never met them. This gave me renewed hope that people that are not close to me actually read the blog and motivated me to keep going, thank you Mrs. F.
Now for the favor part... if you read this blog please, please either comment on here or email me at letting me know you are out there. I promise I will not contact you, except for a thank you. I just would really like to know how many of you that there are for my own personal motivation. All you have to do is say "I read" and I would love to know where you are from. You don't even have to give your name if you don't want too. Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Norwegian Cruise Line

Good afternoon to all! I am just wrapping up another day here in the big city of Dothan and decided to continue with my series on the different cruise lines. Today we take a closer look at Norwegian Cruise Lines, also considered a first-class line. From this point forward I will just refer to them as NCL because my elementary brain is having an extremely hard time spelling Norwegian.
Freestyle Cruising, that's the theme and these guys do a great job to make sure this is what they live by. I love their commercials from a couple years ago where they have people who look like robots walking around a ship because they are told when and where to eat. I am very glad NCL did break that trend in cruising because I, for one, do not like to have to pick a time to eat and then be seated with complete strangers. On a NCL cruise they have the most encompassing dine as you wish program out there. You have the choice to call in for same day reservations at the dining venue of your choice or they have live monitors all over the ship with the restaurants listed and their capacities/wait time. That way you can choose when you are ready to eat, where you want to eat. Even if you choose a restaurant with a wait all you have to do is get on the list, they give you a pager, when your table is ready you are paged. Freestyle Cruising does include other free choice things from entertainment, dinner in your cabin, and others but the dining is what put them on the map as a "different" cruise line. This, in my opinion, has forced most all other cruise lines to change their dining policies and slowly but surely they are making the transition. People truly do not want a schedule on a vacation.
NCL also has the only ship, Pride of America, that doest a 7-day Hawaiian cruise that starts and ends in Hawaii! This cuts out a lot of sea days you will spend if you leave from the west coast to Hawaii due to sheer distance. I did learn an interesting fact about Pride of America recently on the travel channel. It is the only U.S. flagged cruise ship sailing right now. I do not know the laws but where you flag the ship is by whose laws the ship is operated under. NCL was really trying to cash in on America's patriotism and hit a home run with this ship...well it back fired. With the minimum wage laws and the fact they couldn't put a casino on-board they almost went under. I don't think anyone is going to flag another ship in the U.S.
NCL's cabins are smaller than the industry average but they make up for that in other areas. They do a really good job with entertainment. They have themed parties like the Monte Carlo party in the casino and a "white hot" party complete with smoke and all white costumes. NCL's newest ship, the Epic is due out in June of 2010 and looks really nice. It will be based in Miami year round and even has an ice bar!! Yes, real ice and you are issued a faux fur coat at the door. I can't get my mind around how this will work but I bet it will be really cool :). One more unique feature is there will only be interior and balcony cabins...NO ocean views. This baby is balconies from the first floor to the top and I like it.
I haven't been on a NCL cruise but I sure do want to. Those of us located here in the Southeast have a great opportunity to avoid the dreaded flight to a cruise each winter because NCL has a ship in New Orleans for a couple months. One more tid bit of good news is that NCL is very competitive with Carnival in pricing, which at the end of the day we all know price does matter!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 6/27/09

Good morning everyone. My Saturday started a little earlier than usual for me today for some reason. Maybe because Jaylee, my 5 year old niece, stayed with us last night and slept with her aunt Lindsey in our bed. The other bed in our house is actually the one I grew up with but I must have been a lot tougher back then because it makes my back hurt now. Boy, getting old stinks. Any way we have had a good time playing, making pizza, and lemonade.
Instead of talking about the 3rd cruise line in my little mini-series, Norwegian, I am going to put that off until one day next week. I want to spend today talking about what types of trips you will need to be thinking about now to get the best deals and availability as we head into late summer all the way through next spring. As with every thing I have dealt with so far in the travel business, the earlier you plan the better! I have this question presented to me on an almost weekly basis, "If I wait until right before I travel will I get a better deal?" My answer is always possibly, but I sure wouldn't risk it. Here is the short version, if there are any great last minute deals it is normally within 3 weeks of the travel date. 90% of the people I know have jobs and families, thus ruling out short notice vacations. My goal in life is to be young enough, free enough, and financially stable enough to be that kind of retiree one day. This doesn't even take into consideration that a lot of the most popular forms of travel sell-out. As far as the pricing goes during normal booking periods, it is always cheaper to book early. If possible up to a year in advance will net you the best deals. It is simple economics. Lets just use cruising for an example. The cruise lines look at their capacity 12 months before any sail date and see they have only booked 5% of the cabins on board. Well it only makes sense to put out to the public a rock bottom cruise rate, hoping to attract groups and buzz about the fare in general. It works, and now 8 months from sail date they have 60% of the cabins booked...guess what? Yep now the rates are creeping up, up, and up, all the way until the last couple weeks when they realize there are only 10 cabins left at which they put on that fire-sale that the rich retiree's, mentioned above, gobble up. I have seen this first hand with a large group I have cruising in Jan. 2010. I first held the space in Feb. and rates have gone up three times since then for a total of about $100 per person! Enough of the economics here are some things to think about going forward:

Fall Idea: New England foliage tour! We have several tour companies that have these tours. Most of them start in Boston and are from 7-9 days long. The best time to see the best color is from late Sept thru mid-Oct. Most go into Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Winter Idea: Snow skiing! Anywhere in the Rockies will do. Maybe Utah, Colorado, or Wyoming. The best season is Jan. thru March.

Spring Idea: Since a large majority of you have children and have to work around spring break Disney World is a great choice for our area! Usually in March the weather isn't unbearable yet and the crowds are smaller. One tip, try to avoid the week of Easter, it is one of Disney's busiest weeks of the year.

Summer Idea: Alaskan Cruise!! This is one of my must do before I die trips. I have never heard one bad word from anyone who has taken an Alaskan cruise. The season runs from late May thru early September and the best accommodations sell out quick. If this is a trip you want to take summer of 2010 you seriously need to call me now!

In closing, I will say due to 95% our geographic location the Caribbean and all its forms of travel are open year round. This is a good thing because winter rates are cheaper at resorts and cruise lines. Since we are situated so close to most every cruise port we can really take advantage of some great deals that normally begin after Labor Day weekend and run through mid-May.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 6/20/09

Good morning, as most of you already know it had been a wild week here in Dothan for the Lee's. Not to tell this story for the 1000th time I will just say we had to put all 4 of our cats down due to a fight with a rabid raccoon. The good news is that Linds nor me got bitten/scratched in the whole ordeal so we have that to be thankful for. If there any readers out there not living in our area let me tell you that this has been the hottest week I can ever remember this early in the summer. For the last 3-4 days we have hit triple digits with an even higher heat index. I literally walked over to my neighbor's house and back yesterday and had wet my t-shirt when I got back in. It reminds me of a sauna and we are not going to have any relief for a couple more days!
Today we will carry on with our cruise market-segmentation from our last post. I would like to tell you about Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. RC is also considered a first-class cruise line and, in my opinion, along with Carnival the most popular cruise lines out there. Let me preface all the following information by saying that I am Royal Caribbean "cruise-expert" based on tons and tons of online training and reading, however I have never been on a RC ship at all. I do think that I have talked to enough customers, trained, and booked plenty RC cruises to have a firm grip on what they have to offer.
Like Carnival, RC is a very up-beat ship with lots to do on-board. Their slogan is "the nation of why not?". RC is the only cruise line that has both an ice skating rink and a surfing simulator on board some of their ships! They also have a rock climbing wall on all their ships. They use these features heavily in their advertisements asking "why not" ice skate in the middle of the Caribbean? They also, in addition to tons of other eating venues on-board, have a Johnny Rocket's 50's style diner on every ship. One key difference between RC and Carnival is the decorations on-board RC's ships. You may remember I told you in the previous post that Carnival's decorating was very gaudy, almost over bearing in my opinion. That is not the case with RC. RC ships have a more subtle approach that appeals to me much more, but maybe not the kids as much. The closest RC port to the Wiregrass area is Tampa or Pt Canaveral, FL. They also have medium to extremely large ships in their fleet. This November the Oasis will make her maiden voyage coming in at 230,000 tons!! That is 100,000 tons larger than Carnival's newest ship. I can't even get my brain around how huge this thing will be. The cruise we went on in March was a 55,000 ton ship.
The staterooms are about average size as compared to other first class cruise lines, comfortable but not lots of extra space unless you book a suite. The activities and entertainment are top notch and there is plenty to do all day and night. I have people who have never cruised say they would be bored on sea days and my response is only if you choose to be. RC has an extensive kid program that caters to all children up to 18 years old so parents can enjoy a little alone time on sea days. I always like to ask my customers which cruise line they prefer between RC and Carnival and 95% always choose RC. I know one thing for sure, if I ever get the money set aside for it I will definitely be taking a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 6/6/9

Good morning to everyone today. Boy, 5:15 A.M. has come entirely too early today. I participated in a charity poker tournament last night in Hartford, my home town. I didn't win, or even get close for that matter, but I did have a great time with some people I haven't seen or been around in a long time. I didn't get in this morning until about 12AM only because I wisely chose to leave them going strong. The reason I had to get up so early is because Linds and I are helping with the Poplar Head Farmer's Market downtown today. Our church, First Baptist, and the Downtown Group and joined together to start this event and it will go on every Saturday in June and July. I really hope everything goes really well for the participating farmers. There are also going to be some arts and crafts there but since they are calling it a "farmers market" I hope that is predominatly the theme. I guess I have, and always will, a soft spot in my heart for farmers since that is what my dad did until I was 18 years old.

What I would like to start today and then continue for the next several post is a more detailed description of each of the most popular cruise lines as a follow up on the market-segmentation blog from a few weeks back. I will start in the "first-class" segment of cruise lines. These are the most recognizable, affordable cruises offered today. Carnival Cruise Lines is a name I am sure all of you recognize. Baring any specials or promotions I have found them to also be the least expensive cruise line. They are retiring their ship currently in Mobile, the Holiday, this year which will put their smallest ship afloat at around 70k tons. That means all of their ships are mid-sized or larger. The trend now in the first-class segment with their new ships is bigger is better! Carnival's newest ship, the Dream (due out in November this year), is going to be 130,000 tons! Also a good piece of information is she will be docked in Port Canaveral so we will have easy access from the Wiregrass area.

Carnival's theme is "fun for all, all for fun"! That is a very true statment. I have not actually been on a Carnival cruise but I have toured a ship. It is very festive from the time you step onto the ship until the time you get off. The decorations, atmosphere, and overall mood of the ship is always upbeat. If you are looking for a quiet, laid back, relaxing vacation Carnival is not for you. However, if you enjoy a lively good time or have children it may be the perfect match. Carnival really goes all out to make sure the kids have a blast. Like most cruise lines they have activities all day every day just for kids. They also have them divided up by age group and the activities are always age-appropriate.

Carnival's cabins are actually a bit larger than the industry's average and very comfortable. Everyone loves the food and entertainment onboard. I have clients from 21-83 for whom I have booked a Carnival cruise and they love it! I have a huge group going on a high school reunion cruise next Janurary and most of them are older than 65, been on Carnival before, and can't wait to get back on. I could go on and on but due to the fact we have to leave in 20 minutes to head downtown I will stop here. I hope I have shed some light on Carnival for those of you who have not cruised with them. For those of you who have but it has been a long time or on one of their older, smaller ships I highly recommend considering giving them another try...they are doing some really exciting new things these days.
Thank you,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 5/30/09

Good morning, good morning! I apologize to any of you who may be regular readers out there for the long delay in posts. Last weekend I just couldn't motivate myself to sit down and do it. I figured most people were out of town for the holiday all the same. I am glad to be back in the chair with my coffee today, I guess I needed a blog vacation and it worked.
May has been a decent month for me business wise. It certainly could have been better but considering I am still only 6 months into this I am very thankful for what I do have. My problem is, and always has been, I have to be the best at whatever I do immediately. I know, I know, most of you are saying what is wrong with that? Well I will tell you. While it is good to strive to be the best, you also have to realize Bill Gates didn't become a billionaire in 6 months...a concept I can't wrap my brain around. My brain knows the slow, steady way a business should grow and knew it very well going in, but some other part of me(emotions I guess) drives me nuts about it. I sat down yesterday afternoon with my spreadsheets and kind of did my own "state of the union" for the first half of the year. Great news, I am exceeding my goals so far for the first year! I know break out the champagne right? Wrong, the last two months have fell short of what I feel I need to average for bookings and I can't stand it. It doesn't matter to me that Jan.-Mar. I absolutely blew the doors off, that just proves I can do more and set a higher standard for myself. It also doesn't matter that my home office calls me to tell me how amazed they are for a guy who knew nothing about the travel industry in November is # 70 out of over 900 agents for the entire company as of mid-April. Sure that made me feel really good at the time, but now two ho-hum months later and I am sitting here whining. Why has business slowed down so much? If I worked harder I bet I could be #1 by December. Then I tell myself "wake up you idiot, if you would have been told back in October where you would be today you would have been pure giddy."
When I woke up this morning I had something totally different I planned on blogging about(it's time to start planning winter travel). Most likely it would have been far more interesting. However, when I sat down my mind went WAY off into left field and you get what you get. The good news is there are three facts to take away from this blog. Fact #1 I told you in my very first blog I would sit down on Sat. mornings and post what ever was on my mind...well you got it today. Fact #2 It is almost like self therapy telling the world about your inner demons because you realize how silly they are and how blessed you are to have what you have. Fact #3 I absolutely love what I do, probably more so than I even thought I would, and will continue to do it for a very, very long time.
Thank you,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NYC Customer Review.


I wanted to thank you for all of your help and your wonderful service! When we first decided to go to New York City I looked online to find a room. I discovered two things very quickly: 1. The city is absolutely huge and I had NO CLUE where to stay and 2. The rooms are not inexpensive. I needed help so I called you. Can I just say you made this the most pleasurable travel experience I have ever booked? The hotel you booked for us was so perfect!

From the time we got out of the car from the airport until the time we left, the staff at the hotel were wonderful. The hotel itself was extremely impressive. The décor was very modern and chic. We even spotted a celebrity staying there! The location couldn’t have been better. We were right in the heart of Times Square. There was a metro station right on the corner so transportation around the city was no problem at all. We were also literally right next to the place to buy tickets for all of the Broadway shows and we were located where most of the New York City tours originated. We just walked out the door and were ready to see many of the things New York has to offer.

This was the most effortless trip I have ever taken. Not only did you get us a room in the most perfect location for us based on what we like, you got a better deal than I could have ever gotten trying to book the room myself. Wiregrass Travel / Cruise Planners will be the first place I call for all of my future travel needs. I am also going to recommend your services to all of my friends.

Thank you again for all of your help in making this the perfect trip!

Heather and Bo Manry
Locust Grove, Georgia

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 5/16/09

Good morning. Boy I didn't sleep very much last night at all. Linds and I kept my nephew Tanner, who always sleeps perfectly. Well, that didn't exactly happen . To give you the short version at 2 A.M. he was in here with me playing on the computer. That was the 3rd time he had been up since 9 P.M. He is one of the funniest kids you will ever meet and has a way like I have never seen to "work" his Aunt Lindsey. She came searching for him a few minutes later since he had not returned to the bed from the bathroom...he gave her that mischievous smile and told her we were playing and he wanted to continue to play. He accomplished something that I have never been able to in the 3 years we have been married...a smile at 2 in the morning. Those two have a special bond and even tough I know he loves Uncle Germy I will always be second in this household. That's OK I guess, our oldest niece Jaylee is her Uncle Germy's. Ask anyone in the family and there is no doubt who belongs to who in the special category. For those of you who do not know my family there is also another baby niece named Jenna Kate that will be 1 next month...I have really got to work hard to make sure I secure her love and not her Aunt Lindsey's :) Right now she acts a lot like her daddy and doesn't care if the sun comes up tomorrow, so as of yet she has no favorites. I do know one thing that scares me to death. I am scared to have children of my on because I know how much I love these 3 and can't even imagine what it must feel like when they are your own flesh and blood. I am very much a worrier when it come to the people I love. It drives me nuts if someone in my family is on a road trip and I do not hear from them within the time I think it should have taken to get there.
Anyway, this has had nothing to do with travel, I know. Simple fact is I couldn't think of anything travel related that I felt like getting into today so I went with what was fresh on my mind. What the heck, it's my blog anyway. If nothing else you will know a little more about your travel agent than you did before. As always thank you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From Someone Else's Prospective

Hello everyone,
A good friend/associate in Texas found this article and I think it is too good not to post the link. It says alot of what I have tried to say in some of my posts, but a whole lot better. I hope you enjoy and as always thank you for reading.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 5/9/9

Good morning, good morning! First of all let me say happy Mother's Day to every mom out there reading. I know my mother is extremely special to me and I bet you are to your children as well. Today I am kind of cheating by copying some information from my home office. The reason I am doing this is because it is a great break-down of all the cruise lines available and what style cruise each offers. It is a great follow-up to my last post so here you go, and thank you for reading! Jeremy


The cruise industry is segmented into four types of cruises based on certain characteristics that define the on-board lifestyle and overall vacation experience.

The First-Class cruise lines and the Premium cruise lines are resort-style vacations offering a broad base of services, destinations and amenities that are affordable to most travelers.

Over the past few years these lines have mimicked one another’s successes so much that the two segments have merged in their “mass-clusivity” to create a large contemporary segment of the cruise market.

But there are still some definite differences as outlined below.

First Class Cruise Lines:

Carnival Cruise Line
Costa Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean International

General Characteristics:

Large ships
Pax capacity 2000-3500 people
Small cabins
Good food
Family friendly
3-7 night itineraries
3-4 star service
Price point $-$$$
Key Word: Quantity

Premium Cruise Lines:

Celebrity Cruises
Holland America Line
Oceania Cruises
Princess Cruises

General Characteristics:

Medium-sized Ships
Pax capacity 1500-2000 people
Large cabins
Fine dining
Family friendly, but more adult-oriented
7-14 night itineraries
4-5 star service
Price point $$-$$$
Key Word: Quality


All cruise lines provide a level of luxury, but a true luxury cruise is defined by the highest levels of quality and personalized service. Luxury cruisers are discerning travelers who desire the best of everything. Expensive when compared to the rest of the industry, luxury lines deliver great value by offering more inclusive pricing than other cruise lines and opportunities to travel to exotic destinations. They are also often surprisingly informal.

Each of the Speciality cruise lines focus on a destination niche or a special style of cruising including expedition-style cruises, sailing ships and a growing number of river cruises. The Speciality lines all offer a unique experience that guests find educational and adventurous, and may take them to some of the world’s most remote and unspoiled places.

Luxury Cruise Lines:

Crystal Cruises
Cunard Line
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Seabourn (The Yachts of)
Sea Dream Yacht Club
Silversea Cruises

General Characteristics:

Small Ships
Pax capacity 300-800 people
Huge cabins or all suites
Gourmet cuisine
Not family-friendly
10+ night itineraries
5-6 star service
Price point $$$$$
Key Word: Exclusivity

Speciality Cruise Lines:

Amadeus Waterways
Cruise West
Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
Discovery World Cruises
Norwegian Coastal Voyages
Orient Line
Peter Deilmann
Star Clippers
Viking River Cruises
Windjammer Barefoot Cruises
Windstar Cruises

General Characteristics:

Very Small ships
Passenger capacity 100-300 people
Mixed cabin accommodations
Mixed dining options
Not suitable for most families
Few fitness or spa options
3-20 night itineraries
3-5 star service
Price point $$$$-$$$$$
Key Word: Adventure

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cruise Options

I want to make this post short and sweet as well as informative. Something I hear every day from customers when inquiring about a cruise is "I don't want to have to go very far to get on." I completely understand where they are coming from because I hate to drive or fly myself. There is a problem with this school of thought, you are severely limiting yourselves to choices. We are spoiled here in S.E. Alabama by having 5 ports within 5-6 hr drives. The rest of the country that wants to cruise pretty much has to fly or make an extremely long road trip if they want to cruise period. For us here in "L.A." we have a choice of three (four in the winter) cruise lines for ports we are willing to travel to. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney, all of which are great cruises but until you experience what the others have to offer you may be selling yourself short of an even greater cruise experience. Even within these lines only 2 ships, as of today, are what you would call a modern cruise ships in the ports we love. As I continue to blog I will go into each cruise line and what their particular niche is. For today I will list the ports and what they have to offer.

Mobile: Carnival-1 ship
New Orleans: Carnival-1 ship (Norwegian 1 ship in winter)
Jacksonville: Carnival- 1 ship
Tampa: Carnival-2 ships; Royal Caribbean-1 ship
Pt. Canaveral: Carnival-2 ships; Royal Caribbean-2 ships; Disney-2 ships.

Ft. Lauderdale/Miami: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Cunard, and depending on the time of year more! I am not going to attempt to sit here and count the # of ships to choose from in south Florida.

I think you get the idea here, the further you are willing to travel the more choices you have. This doesn't even take into consideration all the other destinations cruises travel all over the world, just the Caribbean.
Thank you as always for reading,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee-Sunday Edition

Good morning again, I first of all would like to apologize to my readers for the lack of posts this week. It has been a little bit of a strange week for me. I must say I am glad April is over and Friday brought a clean, new booking month. The reason I didn't post yesterday morning was because Lindsey and her mother get some sort of great thrill out of having yard sales at our house. We have only been married for almost 3 years now but I am pretty sure this is at least yard sale #3 or 4. In addition to the yard sale I am also on the rec. committee at out church and yesterday was our annual 5K. Long story short, I got up at 5AM and didn't sit down until about 1PM and blogging was far from the brain. One quick plug for my church, Lindsey and I are members of First Baptist Dothan. If you are in the area and do not have a church home we would love to have you. Much to our surprise after getting married, moving to Dothan, and beginning to "church shop" we fell in love with FBC. The funny part is we were kind of dreading visiting there, thinking we were not "FBC material"...we are from Geneva county and poor as gully dirt. We were dead wrong. The people at FBC were by far the nicest, most down to earth people we had met and we have been going ever since!
Now for my thoughts for the week. I can't believe I am even going here...swine flu, swine flu, swine flu! I said it, now I am just like every other media outlet in the country. Personally I am sick of hearing it. Yes I know this is a very serious potential problem but I think it is being blown WAY out of proportion. I sat through a webinar on Thursday afternoon that was put on by my home office and our insurance provider, Access America. The whole gist of the thing was to show us actual information from both the World Health Organization(WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I am not going too far into detail because it is a lot of boring information. The one thing that really stood out to me is the fact that the defense for the swine flu is Tami flu! The exact same thing used to treat the regular flu. I know it probably has a great name but I don't know it. The way I see it is people die every year from the flu. That is very sad and I do not wish it on anyone but it is a fact. I also found out in the webinar that the child that died from the swine flu in TX had been sick for several weeks in Mexico before going to visit his family and being hospitalized in Texas. Obviously I'm no doctor but I am guessing that there are many illnesses out there, if left untreated that long, that will kill you. I said all that to say this, there are dangers of all kinds associated with travel all over the world. I think we, the travelers, just have to use common sense and be aware of our surroundings when traveling, not lock ourselves inside our houses and panic.
To finish this up and keeping with the Sunday theme this is what I believe: God already has the time set when he will call you home, but he also gave you enough sense not to run down to Mexico and kiss a pig! My Uncle Frank told me one time when I was about 15 years old, playing golf, and a storm blew up. He said "yep, when I was a young man I would have played right through this lightning, I believed and still believe that when the good Lord is ready for you he will get you.....but I figure at my age and all the things I have done wrong in my life, there is no need to temp him". All I can say to that is amen!
Thank you,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 4/25/9

Hello everyone, I think today I will tell you all about my recent cruise experience with Holland America. We originally had other plans for Lindsey's spring break, but decided that since I had never cruised before along with the fact my parents had already booked themselves on this cruise as first-timers it would be a great experience. I am very glad we did because we ended up having a blast.
Our cruise was set to depart on Sunday, March 22 out of Tampa, FL. My nephew Tanner's birthday is the 21st so on Saturday morning we went to his birthday party. Immediately following his party the four of us headed out toward Ocala, FL. The reason we left a day early is mostly because me and my dad are just alike. Being that is was our first cruise and not knowing exactly what to expect or how to get there we felt like it would be a good idea to get pretty close to Tampa the night before. We later found out that you can make the trip to Tampa in 5.5-6hrs which isn't bad at all but it would still require an early wake up call to drive in the day of the cruise. I had booked us into a room at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Ocala based on price and location. I didn't really have a clue about the hotel other than the chain had a good reputation. This ended up being a home run choice. The hotel was the most unique thing I had ever seen. It basically had an atrium all the way to the top floor and was very modernly decorated. The room was very nice and had Temporpedic mattresses! It was located right on the interstate in a very safe location with access to just about any restaurant you could want. All for about $110.00 including taxes.
On Sunday we took our time getting to Tampa, it was only a little over an hour from Ocala, and arrived at the port about 11AM. Boarding didn't start until 12PM so we figured we would just have to mill around the port area and see what we could find. A co-worker of my mother's had told her about an aquarium there and we had that on our minds. When unloading our luggage we were told we could go ahead and check in to our surprise. Being the on top of it, don't want to miss anything guys we are we went upstairs and checked in. Between parking the truck, unloading, and going through the security and check-in process it was already 11:45. That was just enough time to go to the bathroom and get some free refreshments in the terminal. Shortly after 12 we were on the ship exploring!
The name of our ship was ms Veendam. It is a small ship compared to the newer ones that are being built. The Veendam is just over 55,000 tons compared to Royal Caribbean's new ship, the Oasis, coming in at 220,000!! After exploring and checking our cabins out the first order of business, as with all cruises, was the life boat drill. Then it was off to the navigation pool for a sail away party with a band! That night by the time dinner came around we had made it far enough into the gulf to feel the motion. If you have never been on a cruise and your friends that have has told you "oh you don't even know you are moving"...THEY ARE LYING!!! I know what some are thinking, well ya'll felt it because of the size of the ship. Wrong, only after the cruise would all of the people who had told me you couldn't feel it admit that "well maybe you can feel it". I seriously think it is like a secret cruise society lie. The good news is no one got sick at all and you do get use to it as the cruise progresses.
I could give detail after detail of each day of our 5-night cruise but it would take entirely too long. From here out I will hit the highlights. Day 2 of our cruise was at sea and there was plenty to do. Lindsey and daddy primarily hung out by the pool, I played in a poker tournament, and mother played bingo. BTW me and my mother won! Day 3 was a port of call, Georgetown Grand Cayman. We all absolutely loved it there. G.C. is by far the nicest foreign country I have ever visited. If I had the time and money I would go back tomorrow. We did an island tour for an excursion. It was great as well and out tour guide was the best part. He was very friendly and would answer any question you could think of. The next day was another port of call, Cozumel Mexico. Lindsey and I went to a local beach club for lunch and a beach day. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but I can't say the same for the parents. They decided to go to lunch and shop in town. Their lunch they did enjoy but the shopping had my dad about to loose it. If any of my readers know my dad you know exactly what I am talking about. I think as soon as they started shopping a local was screaming at them to come in his store and then kind of grabbed my dad's arm to pull him in....thank you God for not having to bail him out of Mexican prison! That pretty much ended their day in Cozumel and they went back to the ship. The final day was spent at sea and we all primarily relaxed. I did enter another poker tournament that day to defend my title unsuccessfully, I placed 4th. On the final morning we debarked the ship around 8:45AM and was headed home.
I feel like this post doesn't do justice to the cruise and what a great time we had. We went to the live shows every night and loved them along with a lot more entertainment. You can eat all day if you are a mind to and the activities are pretty much non-stop. All in all I would give my first cruise experience a two thumbs up. I highly recommend everyone try cruising just once, then you will be hooked.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New at Walt Disney

Here is something Disney emailed me this morning that they are doing now at the Animal Kingdom park. It sounds like a pretty neat idea, especially if you have the dining plan(which I highly recommend).
Enjoy a Picnic in the Park at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park


Your Clients on the Disney Dining Plan now have a new way to use their Quick Service Meal entitlements at Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park: The new Picnic in the Park option lets them take their adventure a step further by dining in the wild!

Each Picnic in the Park is packaged in an "Every Tree Has Character" reusable bag, and includes plates and utensils so Guests may enjoy their meal at one of the many picnic spots in the Park. Meals include a choice of entrées, side dishes, desserts and bottled water. Your Clients may select their entrées from one of two tiers:

•Tier 1 features a choice of chicken wrap, ham grinder, tuna pita or turkey focaccia sandwich for each member of the party.
•Tier 2 offers a choice of rotisserie chicken or ham.
Depending on the number in the party, your Clients may select from one or more the following side dishes: chips, coleslaw, corn medley, green beans, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, orzo pasta, oven-roasted potato wedges, seasonal fruit salad, or tomato and cucumber salad.

Dessert options include an apple, orange, brownie, cookie, cornbread or crisped rice treat.

Guests may order a Picnic in the Park at a podium located at Guest Relations in the front of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, or at Tusker House Restaurant. Picnic in the Park is available for same-day orders only. Orders must be placed at least two hours prior to the desired pick-up time. Payment will be due upon pick-up of the order at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery in the Africa region of the Park.

Pricing for Tier 1 begins at $24.99 USD plus tax for three Guests. Pricing for Tier 2 begins at $29.99 USD plus tax for three Guests. Prices vary by party size. Guests on the Disney Dining Plan will need to use one adult Quick Service Meal entitlement per Guest (e.g., a meal for three requires three adult entitlements).


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 4/18/09

Good morning to everyone today! I hope everybody had a productive week and have had the opportunity to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we are having. As all of you are well aware, this 75 degree sunshine will only last maybe a couple more weeks here in Southeast Alabama. This week I am going to talk about the one topic that I feel has been touched on WAY more than others, but I have to do it again because every single week I have been in the travel industry I hear the same thing: Why should I use a travel agent instead of booking myself online?

This is a very fair question that 2 years ago I asked myself. Linds and I wanted to go to Walt Disney World for a few days during her Christmas break. So, just like I am sure most of you would have done I went to the Disney website and begin to click away. Two days later and what seemed like a million clicks, I had at least 10 different quotes on what I thought was the same trip and gave up and called a local agency. I told the young lady what we had in mind for our trip and she said to give her a few minutes and she would call me back. Sure enough, about an hour later she called with everything laid out for me along with a price that was a little bit lower than any of the ten quotes I had gotten online. Whew! How easy was that? Also I knew if there was a problem of any kind that I could call her, a local person in a local office with my issue. Trust me on this one...try calling an 800 # and understanding the language the person on the other end speaks. Plus if you do manage to master their language what happens if you get cut off? I know, you call back into a huge call center and no one has a clue what you were just discussing with the other guy. This one experience two years ago is where the idea of becoming a travel agent myself was born.

I am going to try to explain exactly what I do and how I get paid for my services as shortly as I can. First of all, let me explain my name sake. The name of my business is Wiregrass Travel, the franchise I purchased is Cruise Planners. I am assuming the reason the founders of Cruise Planners took on this name is because of the fact that they had worked in the cruise industry all of their careers and the fact that cruising has become the most popular, profitable form of vacation. To me, however, the name is very misleading. It tells, in my opinion, the customers that we only plan cruises. Cruise Planners is partnered with American Express travel and we have the same access to everything AMEX has to offer. I am sure all of you know that American Express has been the leading authority in travel for years and years. We book just about anything you can think of (European tours, hotels in NYC, Disney, all-inclusive, ski packages) at the same, or most of the time a few dollars cheaper than you can doing all the work yourself online! It does not cost you one penny more to use an agent, plus you get to talk to only one person, me. The only thing I would like to add to this is if you just need a standard hotel room for a couple nights in anywhere USA(not a major city or resort), yes it is easy and yes you may as well book it yourself.

Now here is the next question out of every one's mouth after hearing all that: Wow that's great but how much of a fee do you charge for your time? NOTHING!!!!!!! The tour companies, cruise lines, resorts, hotels, ect. pay the agents a percentage of the amount you spend in commission. Well do they raise the price to us the consumer to offset that percentage? NO!!!!! The vacation companies realize just how vast the travel industry is and they feel it is worth it to them to lower their amount of profit by the amount of commission paid to have us, the travel agents, help the customer sort through everything out there and recommend their form of travel. It is very literally a win win for both you and me.

Please do me a favor, if you hear anyone talking about any form of travel, tell them about this blog and how a travel agent can help. I promise it will help them feel better about their vacation and help me be successful. Like I said win win.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Customer Review


I just wanted to drop you a line and say how great our cruise to Cozumel was over Spring Break! We were able to keep it a complete surprise and the kids were so excited! I know Carnival's "Holiday" may be one of the smaller and older ships, but the room was great. The nightly shows were top-notch - we didn't skip one! Our kids made friends easily with other kids and kept themselves entertained. The highlight of the trip was definitely our excursion we booked through you. We did the "3 reef snorkeling trip" and I swear it was like swimming right in the middle of a huge aquarium stocked with thousands of beautiful fish. We got to eat at a beach club and it was delicious - even better that it was included in the nominal price of the snorkeling trip!
I'm so glad to have rediscovered what it's like to have a REAL travel agent... after so many years of thinking I could do it all online, I have fallen in love with your service and the personal touch Wiregrass Travel provides! (You know I have because I've already booked another cruise with you!) We will be repeat customers for life! Even though we're hundreds of miles away from your office, we feel like we're right next door. Thanks for being available and for figuring and refiguring a zillion packages before we decided on one. You get an A+ for patience as well as service!

Paula Brahan
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 4/11

Good morning everyone. I hope you all slept better than I did last night. It is 6:10AM on a Saturday morning and I have been up since 5:30. It really hacks me off when this always happens on the days I could actually sleep in. The good news this week is that I actually do have a cup of coffee near by but the bad news is my brain hasn't absorbed it yet.
This week has been an interesting one concerning business. The phones and email have been relatively slow but the few that have contacted me were all serious and most have booked. If there are any men reading, I think most of you will appreciate what I am about to say from here on. When I started the travel agency, well actually before, I figured out exactly how many dollars in bookings I needed to make each week to make this a successful business. If I fall short one week I will drive myself nuts the next week trying to make up the difference. I said all that to say, this week I exceeded my goal which should be and is a great thing! The problem is since everyone pretty much knew what they wanted and I have learned more about the best companies to use to find what they are looking for, these did not take up enough of my time. Lindsey was reading a book at some point early in our marriage about what makes men and women tick. As with ALL books she reads, she feels a great need to share everything she has learned with me. Well surprise, surprise she told me that we men take the most pride in our work and the fact that we provide for our families. I have accomplished the providing part this week but I still feel like I have cheated on work or something. This is the first time since starting the business I have felt this way. I have had slow days but normally the next would be very busy and at the end of the week I felt as if I had worked enough hours(usually more than 40) to consider myself a manly man. That ain't happened this week! I dare say that I haven't put in 20 actual working hours this week with the exception of having the phone near by and checking email frequently.
I know this has been a very random post that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but to sum it all up I'd like to say: Thank you Lord for providing for my family and a successful business but next week, even if the customers are not serious let them call so I can feel like a manly man.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Honeymoon

Here is a post that I composed back in December for my website, but I felt it worthy to be added on here as well:

My wife Lindsey and I went to the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas for our honeymoon in June 2006. We flew out of Tallahassee, FL, made a connecting flight in Charlotte, North Carolina, and landed in Nassau. The total flight time was less than three and a half hours. From the airport in Nassau, it was a 15-20 minute drive to the resort. Our ride was made easier because a Rolls Royce took us to the resort to begin our honeymoon and back to the airport when our vacation was over. We stayed five nights and had an incredible time.
Because we were on our honeymoon, we decided to stay in the Royal Bahamian Ocean View One Bedroom Suite. It was one of three butler service level accommodations. Included with this accommodation was the Rolls Royce pick up, fully stocked mini-bar, a candlelight dinner on the pier, and butler services from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. The room had a large balcony, separate living room, and a spacious bathroom. For anyone who knows Lindsey and me, you know that we are not "butler kind of folk". It was quite an experience having someone wait on us hand and foot. He probably had it made with us because we really did not utilize him as much as others may have. However, he was helpful in making our dinner reservations for the week the day we arrived. He also brought breakfast to our room every morning, and gave us tips about leaving the resort and exploring downtown Nassau. I have just brushed the surface on what he could have done and did do. I will end by saying that we had something special in our room every night. From chocolate covered strawberries, to rose petals on the bed, it was always exciting to see what was waiting for us!
There are eight restaurants and nine bars at the resort. My favorite restaurant was The Crystal Room. They serve international cuisine and was the most formal dinner we experienced while there. I had the Cornish game hen and Lindsey's left over grilled pork chop. Unfortunately, I cannot recall all the sides, but it was by far my favorite meal. Lindsey's favorite restaurant was Kimonos. She had the hibachi chicken, steak and rice. As with most Japanese restaurants, you are seated with other couples. We had a great time meeting and talking with a couple from Canada. Overall, we were pleased with all the food we ate while there, but just wanted to mention what we liked best. As for entertainment, you can do as much or little as you would like. You can lounge on the beach or in the pool all day. They have a daily list of activities that you could participate in if you are so inclined. At night, you can hang out in the piano bar, sing karaoke, dance in the club, or catch a live show.
There are many other details about our honeymoon stay at the Royal Bahamian that we could share with you. However, that would take up a lot more space and more of your time! Our main point is that we had a wonderful time!


p.s.- All-inclusive really does mean all-inclusive!