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 right...bet 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 jlee@cruiseplanners.com 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!