Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cheap or Value: The Choice Is Yours!

Down in the part of the world where I live when you say, "I am going on a cruise," everyone automatically assumes that you mean that you are going on a Carnival cruise. That's because in my little corner of the world Carnival is the "cheapest" cruise around offering 5 and 7 night cruises out of Galveston and New Orleans. An in the interest of full disclosure I have been on my share of Carnival cruises. However, because I am "in the business" I know that Carnival is the least expensive cruise out there but I also know it is not the best value in cruising. To be sure you'll enjoy your Carnival cruise . . . I always do. So, if all your interested in is "cheap" we are happy to put you on a Carnival Cruise of your choice. (Don't think that because the fare is low that your not going to spend some serious money. Plan on doubling the per person cost of the fare as a minimum cost).

However, if its value you want we have some recommendations based on our own experience. If you are not interested in on board zip lines, climbing rock walls or a lot on on deck physically draining activities we recommend you consider Holland America, Princess and Celebrity. All three of these cruise lines offer an elevated level of service with Celebrity leading the way. If you'd like a little pampering these cruise lines will provide it and do so a a good rate

I have sailed on all three and have to tell you that when your cruise vacation ends you'll be refreshed and not exhausted. The food is good, the accommodations excellent and the service a cute above the rest. These cruise lines are all distinctive in what they offer. What they have in common is the extra attention to the details of your cruise. For example, when we boarded the Solstace (Celebrity) and the Eurodam (Holland America) we were greeted with a glass of champagne and escorted to our cabin. On the Solstace room service answered the phone by saying, "How may I help you Mr. Appleby." I almost felt like the knew me.

Now if you really want to kick it up a notch or two there are some other cruise lines out there that offer all suite accommodations, everything is included in the fare, and off the beaten path destinations. My point is simply that unless you are just looking for the cheapest cruise out there going to the same tired destinations then we are happy to help put you hang in there with the mass market lines. But if you want value for you dollar and some extra pampering and new destinations we are excited to help you book that deluxe cruise your heart really craves. If you don't think the value is there you can always go back to the mass market lines.

My advise is don't just grab anything that happens to be close and cheap unless that is what your really want. Instead, explore your options with a trained cruise counselor and make an informed choice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Great Island Hotel - The GALVEZ

People who know me well know that I love staying in historic places. I'm one of those guys that will opt for an old castle in Europe over a modern luxury hotel any day. When I can I try and stay in historic hotels or boutique hotels. When I am in New Orleans just for some down time I always try and stay in one of the small hotels near the French Market and Bourbon Street area. However, my favorite historic hotel is nearby on Galveston Island. It's going to be even better now that the new Pleasure Pier is nearing completion. The hotel of which I am speaking is none other than the Galvez.

The Galvez Hotel is one of the nicest hotels in which I have ever stayed. It reminds me of an age where luxury was expected and no expense was spared. You will feel like you've stepped back into the past, back to the days when hotels were not only a place to lay your head over night, but a fully functional social club that catered to guest like royalty.

The Galvez was built 1n 1911 right after the devestation hurricane that all but obliterated the island. Known as the Queen of the Gulf she is a majestic structure located on the east end of the island looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. The style of the hotel is reminiscent of the gilded age in which it was built and her rooms have been home on the Gulf to such illuminaries as Jimmy Stewart, Frank Sinatra, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and General Douglas MacArthur among others.

With 226 deluxe rooms and 7 luxuary suites, a wonderful Spa Bernardo's Restaurant, a fabulous lobby and plenty of spacious public areas the hotel can meet your holioday needs. Add to that one fabulous Spa that includes a full-service salon, fitness facility, hydrotherapy room, Vichy shower room, couple's massage room, relaxation room, spa meditation garden and water wall, yoga, mat Pilates, and personal training. What more could one need.

Actually, for me the hotel is a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere that takes me back to a simpler time. A time when life was more elegant and slower paced. It is a great place to make your Galveston Island headquarters for a terrific vacation. It is also the perfect place to set the tone for a large ship cruise.