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Is the Allure of The Seas A Clone of Oasis of The Seas?

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 19, 2010


Central Park on Allure Of The Seas

Central Park on Allure Of The Seas from the interior Staterooms

The Allure of The Seas is due to set sail on its maiden voyage on December 1, 2010. This inaugural cruise is billed as a “4 Night Labadee Extravaganza” cruise. This cruise will include 2 days at sea and a day at Labadee Haiti, Royal Caribbean’s beach port.

The Allure of The Seas will make Fort Lauderdale Florida at Port Everglades its home. But the question on everyones mind is this. Is the Allure a carbon copy of the Oasis Of The Seas? Well, looking at the two ships brochures, you find that the layout of both ships are identical. But the Allure will be different in its Boardwalk neighborhood. Instead of the Seafood Shack, the Allure’s Boardwalk will have a Mexican restaurant, Rita’s Cantina. A specialty hot dog counter called the Boardwalk Dog House, will be located where the doughnut shop is on the Oasis. So where is the popular doughnut shop on the Allure going to be? Well, it is next to the premium ice cream shop. I have no idea where the ice cream shop is, but that’s ok. I am getting confused now.

There is going to be a first in shopping on the Allure as “Guess” clothing opens up it’s first Clothing Store at Sea! Guess will be located on the Royal Promenade, where the Focus photo store is on the Oasis and the Focus Photo Store will move to the new photo gallery area on the Allure. Are you throughly confused now? Don’t be. If you have sailed on the Oasis then you will be able to navigate your way around the Allure without much trouble.

So is the Allure Of The Seas a Clone of the Oasis Of The Seas? I will leave that up to you, the passengers to tell me.

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CSI The Experience Lands at MGM in Las Vegas

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 22, 2009


MGM Hotel in Las Vegas

MGM Hotel in Las Vegas

“CSI: The Experience” which has been touring the country has found a permanent home at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. This new attraction will give visitors the chance to be part of the CSI phenomenon. Guest will be able to survey their own crime scene, analyze evidence and crack the case. The experience starts at one of three crime scenes. After exiting the crime scene, the guests will head to the crime lab with their list of evidence and begin to piece together the mystery.

This is the first permanent exhibit for CSI, which has been touring the country for the past 2 years.

Rather than a “look-and-see” exhibit, this one lets visitors control the action. The interactive nature of the program and the technology are what sets “CSI: The Experience” apart from other museum exhibits

“CSI: The Experience” will be open to its first visitors starting at 10 a.m. Sunday September 13. The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with tickets priced at $30.

Posted in airlines, bags, car, duce, economy, first class, free, Hotels, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip, luggage, restaurant, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

United Airlines Needs Customer Service Lessons

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 20, 2009


United Terminal at O'Hare

United Terminal at O'Hare

This has got to be the height of how not to treat a customer. My daughters Mother-in-law purchased 2 round trip tickets for my daughter and her husband for their honeymoon. They were headed to Rome, Italy from Chicago. The best fare and connections were through Toronto on Air Canada. The entire itinerary was on Air Canada except for the first leg of the trip which was from Chicago to Toronto. This leg was a code share flight with United Airlines. That means that United Airlines operated the flight, but the ticket showed an Air Canada flight number but also said “Flight Operated by United Airlines.”

The tickets were purchased about 4 months ago. During that time, United Airlines had a major schedule change and canceled a large number of flights. One of those flights  was the Air Canada code share flight that my kids were on. Now you would think that United would have let us know that the flight was canceled. That would have been the proper thing to do, but remember, this is United, an Airline that does not know what the words “Customer Service” means.

So let’s jump ahead to the night before the flight. I ask my daughter what the flight number was so I can check the times and maybe even get them checked in and get a boarding pass. She gives me her itinerary and I proceeded to look up her flights, but I could not find her first flight number. So I checked all the flight from Chicago to Toronto and I found that her flight did not exist anymore. So I tried to check her in on the United website. But it was not able to check them in as the website said that they did not have a flight from Chicago to Toronto. Now I am really worried. So we call Air Canada. They tell me that they have rebooked them on a United flight to Toronto at 110PM. So I felt a little better, but I still didn’t trust United. So I  called United Airlines Reservations. By the time we got to a real person I was very nervous. I gave the United reservation agent the reservation number and I was told the flight was an Air Canada flight. I told the agent, “No it is your flight, because it is a 737 aircraft and Air Canada does not have any 737’s. The agents argued with me for a few minutes, but then agreed with me that it was a United flight. I hung up, but I still was not feeling very good about this, as it was still not showing the flight correctly in the United reservation system.

The No Customer Service Gate Check In

The No Customer Service Gate Check In

Fast forward to the next day. My kids arrive at O’Hare Airport at 11AM for the 1;10PM Flight. They get in the International check in line and they wait, and wait and wait. After 50 minutes in line, they get to the kiosk and try to check in. But my fears come true and it will not let them check in. It says on the screen “Cannot complete check in, Please see agent.” So they turn around and grab an agent and she tells them they have to go and stand in yet another line to see an agent. They have now been at the airport for 1 hour trying to check in. The next line has at least 40 people in it and only one agent working the line. It takes them 40 minutes to get to the agent. Once they get to the agent, they are told  by the agent “You are too late, I cannot check you in, there is only 20 minutes before flight time. Go to Air Canada, it’s their ticket.” Can you believe that! And she was rude on top of it. They told her that they have been waiting almost 2 hours in LINE! There was no response from the agent. So they gathered up their luggage and  walked from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2, which is a long haul.

The Air Canada Agent they finally checked in with could not have been nicer to my Daughter and Son In Law. She could not believe that United treated them so poorly. She apologized and booked them on an Air Canada flight at 2PM and up graded them to First Class. This is the sign of a Class Airline. United can learn a lot about customer service from the Ticket Agent at Air Canada. Because if you don’t treat your customers with respect, then you won’t have any customers. And if you don’t have any customers, you won’t have an airline. Just some food for thought United!

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Tix4Tonight in Las Vegas – Save Big Bucks!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on May 12, 2009


 

The Las Vegas Strip looking South from Flamingo Blvd

The Las Vegas Strip looking South from Flamingo Blvd

I love to go to the shows in Las Vegas. Over the past 5 years I have seen some wonderful entertainment. From Elton John & Bette Midler at Caesar’s to Penn & Teller at the Rio, it has been some of the best shows I have ever seen.

 

Tickets to some shows can put you back a few hundred dollars. I am the kind of person that likes to find a way to save money on shows. When I am in New York, I like to go to the Time Sq “Hot Tix” booth and get last minute half price Broadway tickets. Well, they have a ticket service for last minute show tickets in Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s called “Tix4Tonight” and you can get tickets for loads of shows in Las Vegas for the current evening at up to 50% off the box office price. They also offer up to 50% off a number of Las Vegas Buffets and Restaurants for a $3 charge for the restaurants and $2 for the buffet’s. It is a great way to do dinner and a show for a great price.

 

Tix4Tonight Logo

Tix4Tonight Logo

Here is how it works. You show up at the Tix4Tonight in the morning. Some days the line forms early. They post the current days shows they have tickets for at 9:30AM on 3 TV screens. These list the Show, Hotel, Time of Show and Price. Pick your show and pay for your tickets. It’s that easy. Be advised that there is a $5 service charge added to all the posted prices. Once you pay for the tickets, you will receive a voucher that you have to exchange at the box office of the show you are going to see. I suggest you go to the show box office as soon as you can, but you can exchange the voucher up to 1 hour prior the show time.

 

Now here is the really nifty part. Tix4Tonight wants you to come back. So if you bring your ticket stub and receipt from the previous days show, you get to use the Tix4Tonight VIP line, so you do not have to wait as long to purchase your tickets and you get a $2 discount on your ticket purchase. Such A DEAL! I loved it. I purchased tickets for Howie Mandel  at the MGM for half price and got GREAT SEATS! I also purchased tickets for George Wallace at the Flamingo, Steve Wyrick at Planet Hollywood and The Crazy Horse Review at the MGM all for half price. And they were all great shows and great seats. I figured I saved close to $200 off the retail price.

 

Ticket booth at Fashion Sq Mall

Ticket booth at Fashion Sq Mall

So you are now asking, where are these Tix4Tonight ticket booths. Glad you asked that question. Here are the 6 locations. 1. Fashion Show Mall, strip entrance in front of Neiman Marcus, 2. North Strip Just South of The Riviera Hotel, 3. Showcase Mall, South Strip at the base of the Giant Coke Bottle, 4. Bills Casino on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo next to the Flamingo Hotel. 5. Hawaiian Marketplace, south strip across the street from the new City Center development. 6. Downtown at the 4 Queens Hotel at Fremont St. Experience.

 

Just remember that not all shows are available every night and midweek is better then weekends. But it is a great way to see some of the best shows in town for up to 50% off. I tried it and I just loved it. The people that work at the booths were great and very helpful. So the next time you are in Las Vegas, try Tix4Tonight you won’t regret it! Remember, you can take the Deuce Bus to any of the Tix4Tonight locations.

Posted in deuce bus, Deuce Bus Las Vegas, economy, food, free, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip, lunch, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Great Restaurant in San Antonio-Central Park Pizza of N.Y.

Posted by thetraveldoctor on January 16, 2009


 

 

Central Park Pizza of NY in San Antonio Texas

Central Park Pizza of NY in San Antonio Texas

When I was in San Antonio Texas this past December, I stumbled upon a great little Pizza & Pasta Restaurant. My wife and I were walking around the Downtown area just sightseeing and we found “Central Park Pizza Of N.Y. off the Main Plaza about a half block west of the Riverwalk on Main Plaza.

We were getting hungry and it was about 1PM so we decided to go into the Central Park Pizza Of N.Y. Restaurant. Upon entering you are greeted by a very basic sit down area with very basic wood tables that seat from 2 to 4 people and painted walls that remind you of New York. You continue toward the back where you place your order. They have a young, friendly and very accommodating staff that made us feel welcome.  There is a large menu board with all the offerings above the order area. They have everything from Pizza and Pasta to Hot Sub Sandwiches and Salads. The prices are very reasonable. You can get a 14” Cheese Pizza for $9.99 or one of their specialty Pizzas for $12.99 or the “ Central Park Special for $15.99. They also have daily specials, which I had. For $6.99 I had the Baked Ziti, which is served with Garlic bread and a drink. It was some of the best Baked Ziti I have ever had. My wife had the Three Cheese Calzone, which was also delicious. If you want a great  Hot Sub, for $5.50 you can have a Hot Sub Sandwich with chips and a drink. 

So if you want a good meal for a great price, and you are in San Antonio you have to try Central Park Pizza of N.Y. at 136 Main Plaza in San Antonio. You won’t be disappointed.

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San Antonio, A Great City to Visit!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on January 8, 2009


The Rio San Antonio River Cruise

The Rio San Antonio River Cruise

just returned from a fantastic trip to San Antonio and the Alamo Bowl. I loved the City of San Antonio and its famous Riverwalk. The first thing you need to know if you are planning a trip to San Antonio is the San Antonio Airport is under construction and it is a bear to get around. The roadway in and out of the airport is all torn up and there are temporary entrances for all the terminals and the walk from the drop off point to the ticket counters is very long.

The City of San Antonio’s downtown district is always jumping. This is due to the Riverwalk that winds it’s way through the entire downtown area. You have to take the boat tour. The boats are run by the Rio San Antonio Cruise Company. The cost of the 30 minute river tour is $7.75 (cash only) and you can board at two different areas along the Riverwalk. Since we were there right before New Years, the Riverwalk was all lit up with thousands of Holiday Lights on all the trees lining the river. The lights come on at dusk. If you can take the river cruise right around 530PM, it is a beautiful ride.

The Alamo Dome was a great place to see a football game. We went to see our team, Northwestern University take on Missouri in the Alamo Bowl. It was a great game and we enjoyed cheering on our Wildcats. And even thou we didn’t will, we did cover the point spread, so in my book we won.
San Antonio gets two thumbs up from me!

Posted in airlines, cruises, economy, free, Government, Hotels, luggage, news, sailing, seniors, ships, State house, Texas, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

AirTran to Cancun starting in February

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 2, 2008


 

 

AirTran 737 in Flight

AirTran 737 in Flight

For all of you living in the Atlanta area and The Baltimore/Washington area, AirTran will begin service to Cancun from your airports. The Atlanta  service will be daily and the Baltimore/Washington service will be on weekend only. The Atlanta service will begin on February 25 and the Baltimore service will begin on March 7. 

 

 

A press release states “Cancun is a premier vacation destination, and we will begin offering flights just in time to drive down fares and accommodate heavy passenger traffic for Winter and Spring Breaks,” said Kevin Healy, senior vice president of marketing and planning for AirTran Airways.  “AirTran Airways is committed to providing our customers with high quality service and low fares to the destinations they prefer.”

Here is the schedule for both Atlanta and Baltimore.

 

Nonstop Service Between Cancun and Atlanta

From   To   Flight   Departs Arrives Frequency
Atlanta   Cancun   41   10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. Daily
Cancun   Atlanta   42   12:15 p.m.   3:50 p.m. Daily

The following nonstop flights between Cancun and Baltimore/Washington will be available beginning March 7*:

Nonstop Service Between Cancun and Baltimore/Washington

From   To   Flight   Departs   Arrives   Frequency
Baltimore /Washington   Cancun   84   11:35 a.m.   2:00 p.m.   Sat / Sun**
Cancun   Baltimore /Washington   85     2:45 p.m.   7:10 p.m.   Sat / Sun**

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Business Class, cancun, caribbean, Coach, economy, first class, free, Hotels, islands, Las Vegas, luggage, Mexico, news, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southwest New Boarding System Works Well

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 26, 2008


 

Southwest gate at Louisville Airport

Southwest gate at Louisville Airport

I just returned from a business trip to Louisville Ky on Southwest. I have to say that Southwest has their act together. I love the new boarding process they have instituted. When you check in at home on the web, or at the airport you receive a boarding pass with a letter and a number. The letter is the boarding group and the number is the boarding position within that group. So if you are in group A and position 15, you will board with the first group and you will be the 15th person on the plane. It worked so well and everyone was happy. We boarded quickly and we were closed up and out of the gate and in the air in no time. The plane was full and we were on time!

 

Southwest also does not charge you to check your first or second bag. They do not have any hidden fees. What you see is what you get. I love that. Clean, efficient transportation. I wish the other airlines got it. They should all take a lesson from Southwest. Thank you Herb! You know how to run a great airline!

Posted in airlines, airports, bags, Coach, Computers, disabilities, free, gas, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Update on United Customer Service Problem.

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 1, 2008


 

Sunrise over the west coast

Sunrise over the west coast

Well, I tried to use my FREE denied boarding compensation voucher but it was just such a hassle to get it booked, that I just went ahead the next day and bought a full fare ticket to Las Vegas on the website. That way I did not have to speak to anyone at United. I cannot tell you how frustrated I was and still am at United Airlines. I could not get a reservation agent to help me book this ticket. How can anyone run a business that way. The airlines need all the happy customers they can get. But all they do is Piss People Off on a consistent basis. I will try to use the voucher on my next trip, when I am not working on a deadline and I don’t need to get some where on a particular time and day. But the next time I call United I really want to talk to a person that I can understand and that will not insult me on the phone. Get a Clue United! Hire people that care about your customers! I really liked flying United, I want to like United, but they keep kicking me in the head every time I try to book a flight!

Posted in airlines, airports, bags, Business Class, caribbean, Coach, cruise line, disabilities, free, futures, Hotels, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When You “Got to Go!” There is Help…..

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 12, 2008


If you travel for business or pleasure, there comes a point in your day when you “Got to Go!” Yes that’s right, you have to find a toilet and you are in a strange city and you need one BAD! What do you do? Well fear not anymore, I found this great website that works on your mobile phone. It’s called MizPee and it will direct you to the closest toilet in the area. Just go to http://www.mizpee.com on your mobile browser, click on “Find toilet” then input your location and click “Find” and presto! a list of Toilets near your current location pops up. This can be a real life saver when you are on the GO! (no pun intended).

Check it out and let me know if it worked for you. It has worked for me, thank goodness!

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