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Which Hawaiian Island is Best For You?

Hawaii is a beautiful island island.  The question I get the most is “which of the various islands should I visit?” .  The answer all depends on why you are visiting Hawaii.   Hawaii has adventure, romance, culture, nightlife, shopping and more.  They also have valuable flights where you can do some island hoping.   If you want to see the most islands, you can take a cruise and you don’t have to worry your food, beverages and accommodations because they are included  in the cruise.   Here is a brief description of  some of the popular Hawaiian Island cities so you can make a choice for your next vacation:

Hawaii – Maui, Hawaii

Relax on Maui’s beautiful and secluded sandy beaches or wake up early to watch the sun come up at Haleakala, the sleeping volcano, rising more than 10,000 feet above the sparkling waters of the Pacific. Shop and dine in charming Lahaina, wind through a tropical paradise along the road to Hana, or visit the IMAX theater for an exciting journey through Hawaii’s history.

Maui also offers the lush, green Iao Valley State Park, some of the state’s finest golf courses, and gorgeous white- sand beaches and recreational pursuits ranging from horseback riding to sailing.

Hawaii – Oahu, Hawaii

For many travelers, their introduction to Hawaii and the start of a great vacation begins on Oahu. You’ll probably spend most of your time along Waikiki Beach, but beyond the beach you’ll discover much more to do-deep-sea fishing for mahi or marlin; hunting for souvenirs in open-air markets and high-rise shopping centers; and dining at a wide variety of excellent restaurants. Be sure to experience a traditional luau with Polynesian dance performances and dinner buffet, or take a sail while enjoying dinner off the shore of Waikiki. Visit the inspirational and emotional Arizona Memorial. Snorkel in Hanauma Bay. Take a lazy stroll in one of the tropical parks or hike the crater’s interior at Diamond Head State Monument. Or, do as many others do, and make Oahu the first stop on your Hawaiian vacation before heading off to Kauai, Lanai, Maui, or Hawaii’s Big Island.

Hawaii – Lanai, Hawaii

On Lanai, there’s everything from petroglyphs, rock formations, and 4-wheel drive trails to outstanding beaches, watersports, golf and much more. The Luahiwa Petroglyphs are one of the most exciting and interesting collections of such ancient writings in all of Hawaii. Hulopoe Beach Park is a marine sanctuary rich in sealife and the ultimate place for swimming, snorkeling, and tanning.

Hawaii – Big Island/Hilo, Hawaii

Twice the size of all other Hawaiian islands combined, the Big Island of Hawaii features striking black- and green-sand beaches, orchid farms, two active volcanoes, and a snow- covered mountain during the winter. Visit Volcanoes National Park and see preserved footprints in an ancient lava flow, and, if you’re interested and lucky enough to be there when one is happening, view an active lava flow from close up. For tamer sightseeing, visit Hulihee Palace, King Kalakaua’s summer palace, built in 1838, used by Hawaiian royalty until 1916, and now a museum. Or sample Kona coffee where it is grown and milled, and macadamia nuts where they are cracked and canned.

Hawaii – Kauai, Hawaii

Secluded beaches, fragrant flowers, cascading waterfalls, and an unhurried pace make the Garden Island of Kauai a tropical paradise. Numerous geological surprises await you including Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and Mt. Waialeale, located within a tropical rain forest. There’s also the rugged Na Pali Coast, which can only be viewed by helicopter or boat. Elsewhere on Kauai you’ll find familiar views – Lumahai Beach, where parts of South Pacific were filmed, the mystical Hanalei Bay, breathtaking Bali Hai and the waterfalls used in the opening scenes of Jurassic Park.

Cruise

Hawaii is a beautiful island and I hope this helps you find out which island(s) is the best fit for you on your next vacation.

Showtime Travel

sales@showtimetravel.com

(770) 495-8855

Source: Delta Vacations, NCL

How To Best Use a Professional Travel Consultant

Low angle view of two business executives shaking hands

A professional travel consultant is a valuable resource if used correctly.  If you are like most hard workers, your vacation time is limited so it’s important that you use your vacation time wisely.  Most Americans only receive two weeks’ vacation time if they are lucky.  And let’s face it; most of that allotted time is not used for your personal/family vacation.   Our motto at Showtime Travel is “You deserve a luxury vacation” because we assist many who want to maximize their vacation experience by using the services of a professional travel consultant.  Today I am going to give you 4 quick steps on how to best use a professional travel consultant.

Recognize Their Value:

Professional travel consultants are trained and certified by various travel suppliers and destinations to offer you the best service.   They also have a vast network which can include: travel consultants, clients, resort mangers, cruise directors, tour operators, business development managers and more.  When you hire a professional travel consultant you are privy to this network.  This network allows the travel consultant to better serve you and to resolve issues quickly.

I was able to get some of my guest upgrades for special occasions because of my strong network relationships.  It’s always a pleasure hearing their surprised response when they get back home.   I also was able to resolve issues quickly.  I had a client whose name was mistakenly omitted from the list for her transfer from the airport to the resort.  She didn’t have to call a call center and hope to get it resolved.  She contacted me and in a few minutes she was on the way to resort.  This type of personal service is invaluable and gives you peace of mind as you travel.

Time Commitment:

Using professional travel consultant also saves you time.  Most travel consultants have a service fee which is a mutual agreement that acknowledges the commitment, time and expertise that will be provided to customize your personal travel package.   There is a misconception that a travel consultant just gives you a quote.  A professional travel consultant will set a consultation time to discuss your travel goals and provide you with a proposal based on your request.  That research takes times and there may be a lot of “back and forth” until the right destination/resort/cruise is chosen.

Research:

To help expedite the process it’s ok to have done some of your own research.  Some of our clients have specific idea where they like to travel and others may rely on a few suggestions.  It’s fine with either case but lean on the professional travel consultant’s knowledge and expertise when it comes to making a decision.

I have clients who like to bounce ideas to me for Caribbean group getaways.  Sometimes we find out that the specific destination that they initial chose is not a fit for their group.  Although some of the informational you receive online is beneficial, it is not always correct, especially reviews.  I make sure that each client knows the pros and cons prior to making their decision.

Incentives:

Once you have made your decision on your vacation, ask your professional travel consultant if there are any incentives or promotions that you may be eligible for.   A lot of suppliers have great incentives if you get some of your friends and family to join you on your vacation.  Some of the incentives may be resort credits, discounts, complimentary dinner, room upgrades and even a free night stay.  Keep in mind not all suppliers may have an incentive during your vacation time but it never hurts to ask.

In conclusion, a professional travel consultant provides a valuable service for your limited vacation time.  Just like other service oriented professions, i.e. attorney, mechanic, hair stylist, etc., you can attempt to try to do it yourself; but why?  Don’t take a risk with your time because time is something you can never get back.

Author: Belvin Baldwin II – Showtime Travel -www.showtimetravel.com

The Top 5 Things You Need to Organize a Group Trip

I have helped my people who try to organize group travel with their family, friends, club members, co-workers, etc..  In the travel industry, we call this person a group leader.  The group leader has the best intentions but with out proper planning a group trip can turn into a nightmare.

It’s always a pleasure to travel with a group that has a common interest.  There are many advantages to group travel which can include discounted rates, special incentives, exclusive amenities and in some cases complimentary rooms.    So the question is how can YOU organize a group trip to to take advantage of these group rewards?

Here are the top 5 things you need to organize a group tip.

1. Travel Consultant

A travel consultant can help you filter through the many travel suppliers and destinations to find the right fit for your group.  He or she will be able to provide you with incentives and advantages that the travel supplier can provide your group.  Also, a travel consultant will give you peace of mind and ease because he or she can relieve you of all the travel payment collections and travel questions.

2. A Purpose

There are many reasons people travel with groups.  Each successful group trip has a very well defined purpose for the trip.    The purpose of the group trip can be to celebrate, learn, explore, raise funds, and/or just to have fun.  The group members need to know the purpose of the group trip so they can plan accordingly.

3.  A Group with a Pied-Piper

I have come across some group leaders that are a part of a group but they are not group leader potential.  Each group has a person where a majority of the group follows and respects his or her’s advice.  We will call this person the Pied-Piper.   The Pied-Piper may not be the person who thought of the vacation but this who the group will follow if  he or she goes on the group trip.   It is key that the Pied-Pier takes an active role in promoting the group trip.

4. Commitment

A group trip has to have a certain amount of travels to be considered a group.  If you don’t reach that set group amount,  various penalties and/or rate hike may occur.   So it’s important for the group organizer to get a  strong majority commitment on the destination, budget and the number of committed travelers.   By getting these three factors, it will help you in reserving the right amount of rooms which will insure you meet your minimum group space requirements.

5. Communication

You have to have a medium that the group will follow where you can promote the group trip.  Past groups have used a e-mail database, website, social media, newsletters and more. Whichever medium that you use, make sure that group consistently follows it.

By following these 5 tips, you will be on your way to organizing a successful group trip.

These tips were given by:

Showtime Travel www.showtimetravel.com
(770) 495-8855

Top 5 Things to Know Before You Cruise

If you’re a first time cruiser, here are some things to know before you go.

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1. First and foremost figure out what type of cruise would best suit you. Large ships with lots of activities and dining options where the vessel is as much the attraction as the ports; smaller boutique ships that can provide a more up-close-and-personal experience by getting into remote places; a river cruise where you hop off each day to wander European cities or even drive it yourself up the Murray…

2. Find out what is included. Meals will always be included but some packages throw in your drinks and excursions in the main price, others charge them as extras. Most cruise lines have a daily gratuity fee added to your room for service. Be aware of this and check to see if it’s already included in your total cost, or will be added daily once onboard so there are no surprises.

3. Do a bit research on the ports you are visiting before you travel. If you book the ship’s shore excursions you will be well taken care of, but they can be more expensive than pottering off and doing your own thing. You may find there’s shopping and outdoor dining (with free WiFi!) and is all you fancy. It is also a good idea to book your shore excursions before you go so you don’t miss out. You can usually do this on the ship’s website.

4.  Have a budget in mind for your onboard spending lest you swipe your card willy nilly and get a shock at the end. Budgetty types can get a daily printout from reception.

5.  Most cruise lines have a daily gratuity fee added to your room for service. Just be aware of this and check to see if it’s already included in your total cost, or will be added daily once onboard.

source: bloggeratlarge.com

Update: Carnival Expands Alcohol Beverage Package to Half Moon Cay, More Ships

Carnival Cruise Lines has again expanded its “test” of the Cheers! all-you-can-drink alcohol packages, this time to the private island of Half Moon Cay and several more ships. In total, the package is available on 13 of the line’s 24 ships.

Originally launched in August as the My Awesome Bar Program, the Cheers! package includes up to 15 drinks daily, from a wide selection of wines, beers and spirits, as well as sodas and nonalcoholic frozen cocktails for $42.95, per person, per day, plus 15 percent gratuity (if one adult in a cabin purchases the package, all adults over 21 years old in that cabin must purchase). The package also includes a 25 percent discount on bottled water.

The 13 ships offering Cheers! are: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Glory, Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Magic, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Pride, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Valor and Carnival Victory.

Source: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=5143

Why You Should Visit St. Thomas USVI?

I had a chance to visit St. Thomas and enjoyed this Island.  The island has culture, beautiful scenery, duty free shopping and no passport needed if you are an US citizen.

St. Thomas combines the natural beauty of the Caribbean with the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the United States. Here you’ll discover breathtaking white-sand beaches perfect for all of your watersports dreams or for simply sitting underneath the shade of a palm tree scanning the horizon of one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. You’ll also find elegant dining, upscale resorts, exciting nightlife, challenging golf, and world-class duty-free shopping. St. John is more serene and adventurous with many natural sites to see. On St. Thomas there are also many historical and cultural activities for travelers to enjoy.

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