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How to choose the right seat on your next flight

Let’s be honest, being crammed like sardines into a relatively small tube for hours on end isn’t exactly ‘fun’. With airlines, location is everything. I’d love to simply suggest “Always fly first class”, but that is a luxury that most folks can’t afford on a regular basis.

Here are a few tips for making the decision on where to sit.

Window Seat

Window seats are good if you don’t plan to move much. It’s nice to have the wall of the plane to lean into for a little extra room.

Aisle Seat

Aisle seats are good if you have long legs, or know that you will need to be up and down a bit. It’s always awkward to ask the 2 people sitting next to you to wake up so you can go use the bathroom.

Front of Plane

There are a few reasons why the front of plane seats are more sought-after, and often cost more money. If you have a short connection, it’s great to get off the plane right away. Actually it’s always nice to get off the plane right away, I mean who wants to spend extra time on an airplane? Also you are closer to the bathrooms, and these seats are often slightly larger than the seats in the back. And for whatever reason, it’s always much louder in the back of the plane.

Emergency Row

As long as you are not a child, you can sit in the Emergency Row. Some airlines charge a premium to sit here. But if you can grab an emergency row seat, do it! You need to be able to answer the questions the flight attendant asks about being willing and able to help in an actual emergency. So don’t forget how important that is. If you can answer yes, you’ll be rewarded with a few extra inches of legroom and seats near the front of the plane.

Upgrade to Premium Economy

Premium Economy seats are available on the major airlines, such as Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines. These seats have more legroom, are towards the front of the plane, and offer added amenities such as free alcohol, entertainment and early boarding. They come at a premium cost, but they are much less than the price of a First Class ticket. And oftentimes, you can justify the cost for the experience. Consider this option if you have to fly across the country, or take an overnight flight and go right to work when you land. It’s totally worth it.

Contact your Must Love Travel Planner today!

Norwegian Encore: Entertainment

I recently sailed on the brand new ship, Norwegian Encore, and I was completely blown away by the entertainment onboard. This is some of the very best entertainment at sea, including full length broadway productions and music that will have you dancing all night. Check out a few highlights, and contact your Must Love Travel Planner for more info!

Kinky Boots

Kinky BootsKinky BootsKinky Boots
Kinky Boots LogoWith music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots will have you out of your seat and asking for an encore. Based on true events, this irresistible musical tells the story of Charlie Price, who having inherited a shoe factory forms an unlikely partnership with Lola, a cabaret performing drag queen. Together they produce a show-stopping line of high-heeled boots to save the business. And along the way, they discover that they aren’t so different after all. Winner of six Tony Awards®, this vivacious, feel-good show is a must-see!

The Choir of Man

alt-img-card1Pull up a chair at The Choir of Man and raise your glass to high energy dancing and hit songs that flow as freely as the beer. You’ll feel right at home in The Jungle, the rockin’ English pub where the talented cast performs everything from classic rock hits and pub tunes to sing-along favorites. Leave your worries behind and toast to a memorable night at our fleet’s top rated show, live in the Norwegian Encore theater!

The Choir of ManThe Choir of ManThe Choir of Man

Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical

Happy Hour Prohibition
Happy Hour Prohibition

Set in world famous Madam Lulu’s New Orleans speakeasy, tantalizing madams will regale you with tales of bootleggers and some of the era’s most famous tunes that will have you dancing in the aisles. Savor five of your own Prohibition Era specialty cocktails, each with a modern twist, while enjoying an unforgettable night with Miss Lulu and her girls. Please note that this show is not suitable for children under 16.

Social Comedy and Night Club

Social Comedy & Night Club
Social Comedy & Night Club

Jump start the evening with two talented stand-up comedians that will loosen you up with lots of laughs. And then let loose on the dance floor as a DJ spins your favorite tracks late into the night.

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club
The Cavern Club

Pull up a chair in the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles performed. Sip your Scotch Sour during an evening of good company and great music with a Beatles cover band.

Contact your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY to book your next cruise vacation!

Passports 101: Guidance for International Travel

As Travel Consultants, there are lots of “top questions” we receive on a weekly basis. When is the best time of year to travel? What are the crowds like? Can you work with my budget?

If I had to figure out what the most popular questions are about, I would have to respond with “Passports”. Passport questions can be complicated, so let me break down two of the top questions and concerns about passports.

Question: “Does it matter when my passport  expires?”
Answer: YES! Most countries (including Mexico, the Caribbean and Bahamas) will require you to have a passport that does not expire within 6 months post travel. That means that if you are traveling in June 2018, your passport would need to be valid through January 2019. Otherwise, you may be denied entry.

Always check your expiration date before you book a vacation that requires a passport!

Question: “Do I really need a passport to Cruise? My friend said I only need a birth certificate.”
Answer: This is a tricky answer. Technically yes, you are allowed to sail on a closed-loop cruise, meaning departing and returning from a US cruise port, with a certified copy of your birth certificate. BUT – and this is extremely important – all cruise lines and travel consultants are going to highly encourage you to sail with a passport. The reasons are severe. If for any reason you would need to fly home from a foreign country, you must have a valid passport in order to fly. This includes flying due to a medical emergency. It also includes needing to get home because there is an issue with your ship!

A common myth is that if you need to fly home by fault of the cruise line, “the cruise line would take care of it”. This is false. Even if you are stuck on an island while a ship is being repaired, if you need to fly home, you will need a passport.

I just read a story about a woman who lost an arm to a shark bite while snorkeling in the Bahamas. She needed immediate medial attention, and the doctors wanted to med-flight her back to the US. Because she did not have a passport, she had to stay on the island and receive medical attention at a local foreign hospital.

I’m not telling you this to scare you, but to impress upon you the risk you take by cruising without a passport.

Passports are super easy to get, so do yourself a favor and go ahead and get a passport now; even if you don’t have a trip planned. What if your friend invites you on a last minute cruise? Or your relative decides to plan a last minute wedding in Mexico? You’ll be so glad you already have one!

If you would like more information about how and where to obtain a passport, reach out and ask your Must Love Travel Planner! We are always happy to walk you through the process. 

Norwegian Encore: Onboard Fun

Norwegian’s newest ship, the Norwegian Encore, has officially been christened and has set sail in the Caribbean! I had the pleasure of sailing on this beautiful ship for her inaugural sailing out of Miami, and I was completely blown away with all there is to do onboard! In additional to dozens of restaurants, lounges, bars, and entertainment, you will find the following activities to keep the entire family happy during your unforgettable vacation!

Speedway

Race Track

With over 1100 feet of pedal-to-the-metal action, the largest race track at sea is bigger, better and only on Norwegian. Watch the ocean blur by as you zoom around high-speed curves suspended 13 feet off the side of the ship. And spectators can get in on the action, too! Revolutionary interactivity lets you boost your favorite racer past the finish.

Laser Tag

Discover the secrets of the past in the resurrected lost city of Atlantis, where laser tag meets augmented reality. Hide behind ruins and run past the giant tentacles of the monstrous sea creature to complete your mission. With long lost treasures that virtually come to life with cutting-edge technology, this is an epic battle for the whole family to enjoy.

Laser Tag

Galaxy Pavilion

Galaxy Pavilion
Galaxy Pavilion

Step inside the Galaxy Pavilion and explore a virtual reality world unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Immersive VR experiences and thrilling simulator rides are just the beginning. Use your wits to solve the puzzles of an escape room featuring holograms and enchanted artifacts. Then come back and experience the excitement all over again.

 Aqua Park

Aqua Park
Aqua Park

Slide into the time of your life. With two multistory waterslides on board, Norwegian Encore keeps the thrills coming over and over again. Make it the best of three on Aqua Racer, our tandem waterslide at sea. And then get a thrill as you whoosh over the side of the ship on the double loop, Ocean Loops. Or call it a lazy day and lounge by the pool with a frozen drink in hand. However you like to make a splash, the Aqua Park is overflowing with excitement.

Main Pool

Main Pool

Go for a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub. Feel like making it a relaxing day? Lounge back with an expertly made cocktail in hand and catch some rays. Our main pool is the place to be for all the fun in the sun.

 Kid’s Areas

Splash Academy

Your kids will have a blast inside Splash Academy where they can enjoy complimentary creative play, active sports competitions, and engaging activities for kids of all ages.

Guppies

Guppies is perfect for Norwegian’s youngest guests. Parents and babies can enjoy self-guided play, including sensory activities and toy time. Guppies hosted activities are led by an Early Years Coordinator with parent supervision.

Entourage

Movies. Art. Music. Video games. Dance parties. Welcome to Entourage – a retreat for teens looking to have fun and hang out with people their own age. One thing’s for sure: absolutely, positively, no parents allowed.

Kids' Aqua Park
Kids Aqua Park

They’ll splish. They’ll splash. They’ll definitely have a blast. Whether they want to zip down a tube slide or get drenched by tipping buckets or water cannons, kids will have the best of times at our interactive Kids’ Aqua Park.

Spa

Mandara Spa Thermal Suite Norwegian Encore
Norwegian Encore  Mandara Spa

There are plenty of ways to be pampered. Unwind in the Thermal Suite with a steam or a dip in the Vitality Pool. Check out the Salt Room and chill out in our Snow Room. Or simply indulge in a hot-stone massage. Treat yourself. You deserve it.

Fitness

Norwegian Encore Fitness

Staying fit has never been easier at our state-of-the-art fitness center. Feel the burn in a high-intensity RYDE cycling class. Strenthen and tone during a Pure Form Pilates session. Or seek inner peace with ocean view yoga or guided meditation classes.

Casino

Norwegian Encore Casinos

Our award-winning casino offers plenty of thrilling casino games for every type of player, whether you’re a beginner or regular at the poker table. Find your lucky seat at one of our many slot machines and in our non-smoking area. Or play in the big leagues with any number of table games. No matter what you prefer, there’s always a way for you to get lucky.

 Ready to book your next cruise? Contact your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY!

Romance Travel to Mexico

Mexico is a wonderful vacation destination, with beautiful beaches, amazing food and high end Resorts. Here are my Top 5 Resort Recommendations for Romance in Mexico.

1. El Dorado Maroma

Photo Cred: El Dorado Resorts

I’m starting with the absolute best. El Dorado Maroma is home to the incredible Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows, in fact these are the only Overwater Bungalows you will find in Mexico! This is a perfect honeymoon destination, with exclusive Butler service and unbelievable views.

2. Zoetry Paraiso De La Bonita Riviera Maya

This is a more boutique hotel experience for couples looking for the ultimate Spa and Wellness vacation. You will experience a high level of holistic well being and overall luxury experiences. When I think of Zoetry, the words “tranquil” and “zen” come to mind.

3. El Dorado Casitas Royale

El Dorado Casitas is the perfect Resort for couples wanting to spend their days relaxing in a quiet oasis, but still having an active nightlight. Although Casitas tends to stay quiet at night, it is very easy to head next door to El Dorado Royale for nightly entertainment. Check out the over-water swings and salt-water pool.

4. Breathless Riviera Cancun

Breathless is the place to be for couples looking for a a perfect combination or relaxation and FUN! This Resort offers plenty of quiet spaces, but also an active entertainment schedule. This is a great spot for couples who want to par-tay!

5. Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

Adult Only with ultra-romantic dining options. You can even have dinner on the beach. Book a swim-up room and definitely splurge on Club Level.

There are dozens of ultra romantic resorts in Mexico. Contact your Must Love Travel Planner TODAY to plan your next vacation!

Travel Agent Appreciation Month!

We have a month!  Travel Agent Appreciation Month!  Yes, we still exist and service thousands of clients and their travel needs each and every year. When you use a Travel Agent or Travel Planner as we call them, you receive miles of value in return.  The world is big, there is a lot to see and do and each of us has their own idea of what they would like to do and how to do it to create their travel moments, but how do you sort it all out? Where to you look?  Who can you trust? Simple -contact your travel planner!

Here are just 4 or many reasons why you can appreciate a travel planner:

  1. Their time!  It takes a lot to research what is best for you.  There are no cookie cutter vacations. Your travel planner takes the time to talk with you about what you want to experience, discover your budget, and take some notes.  Then they are off to work, researching locations, promotions, and setting up quotes for you to review together. The average vacation can take up to 5 hours for this portion of your vacation depending on what you want to do and where you want to go.  Then the booking process and administrative work can add several other hours and so on. They are in the service industry so they are available for you, and many work far beyond their normal business hours to accommodate their clients needs.
  2. Their expertise!  Well, you may think we just travel the world for fun, but it is really for you.  We travel and learn at the same time. Attend conferences to learn from suppliers, visit locations to attend what the industry calls site inspections to view hotels, resorts, and ships. We may not have visited all the locations you want to go, but we know where to go and who to book your vacation with.
  3. Relationship!  You are not just a person that wants a trip — you are a client.  A person that your travel planner will get to know and you will get to know them.  They are with you for a lifetime of journeys. With social media now an everyday thing, you can connect and stay in touch in between traveling.  It is a great thing. They truly care.
  4. Advocate!  There have been times when clients can’t travel for unforeseen reasons. Best thing – you are not alone!  When you are in the midst of a crisis, the last thing you want to do is have to handle changing plans, you want to be in the moment of your crisis.  That is where your relationship with your travel planner comes in. Just a quick call will set them in motion to relieve that stress. You may be saying that won’t happen to me – but there is always a what if?  

If you have a travel planner, send them a note of appreciation!  If you don’t – let me know and I would love to talk to you and connect you with one of our expert Must Love Travel Planners so you too can experience what it is like to plan your vacations carefree!  Drop me a quick note at Laura@MLTGRP.com  and let me know you want to be connected!

Peek Behind the Scenes of a Travel Professional

Let’s address the myth out there about what really a travel planner’s job is. Many think we are always flying off to some wonderful vacation. True, we do take vacations just like you. However, many of our other trips are trips to educate, learn and discover new locations for our clients. These are long days of what we call site inspections. Granite they are in wonderful locations so that makes our work a bit more pleasant.

So what is behind the scenes of a travel planner? For many of us the day starts early when the home office is quiet and we can be prepared for the day. Many hours are invested into quoting and planning vacations. The quoting process alone can be 2-5 hours depending on the details of the trip. Even specializing in certain destinations, a travel planner will want to ensure they are matching up everything the client is looking for. It can even exceed the 5 hours it is an involved Itinerary to ensure the client is receiving multiple options just to get them started! From there the choices are narrowed down and then final quoting is done before completing the booking. Prices and availability can change at anytime so keeping up on it all is sometimes a challenge.

Once the client is prepared to book and deposit their vacation the administrative work begins. Reviewing and recording of information for accuracy takes time and is an extension to their customer service. Calendar reminders are set to ensure on time payments and important dates such as booking dining for a Walt Disney Resort guest. Once the booking is complete, then Itinerary planning begins! Meetings with clients to determine their most desirable activities and then research to find the best options to meet those needs. There are many hours of phone calls to make it all happen! They love it!! They do this for each of their clients and can be juggling many of these things each and everyday.

In addition, to servicing our clients, we are marketers and students. We spend time attending webinars, reviewing promotions from our preferred suppliers, and keep up on our social media, websites and local events. There are also occasions where travel planners have to troubleshoot and assist clients when things come up and plans need to change. This is a very important service we do as typically when things like this happen the client needs to be with family and just simply can’t focus on getting things done. There are times we joke that we dream about our clients vacations because the brain is always thinking!

Needless to say, there are many reasons to choose booking your vacations with a travel planner. They are you personal connection to your vacation. When using the services of a travel planner you don’t pay more money for the booking of a resort or a package as those are the same no matter how you book them. They can save you money as they receive the most updated information about various promotions and news about different destinations. Often, planners don’t charge a fee, however, when they do it is for the costs not covered by commissions. Just like we pay a lawyer a fee for their professional advice, travel planners may charge a fee for their research and itinerary planning. For many clients, this is well worth the money, as you can see it save many hours of time and headaches! You can always discuss this with your travel planner.

The real perk for a travel planner is the amazing people they meet. Lifelong friendships develop and knowing that they are responsible for helping their clients create moments that will last a lifetime is so rewarding. The best compliment for a planner is sharing their information with others and giving them feedback post trip. I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into some of the aspects of the job of a professional travel planner!

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