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Carnival Splendor Adrift after Engine Room Fire

Posted by thetraveldoctor on November 9, 2010


Carnival Splendor At Sea

Carnival Splendor At Sea

Early in the morning of Monday November 8, the Carnival Splendor experienced an engine room fire. The ship had left the port of Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon headed for a 7 night Mexico cruise.

The fire was contained to the engine room  and extinguished and no passenger or crew members were hurt. But the Splendor lost all power and was adrift in the Pacific about 200 miles south of San Diego off the northern Baja California coast. Currently the ship is running on auxiliary power which allowed the toilets and cold running water to be restored but there is no air conditioning or hot water on the ship.

Two Mexican seagoing tugboats contracted out of the port of Ensenada are expected to reach the cruise ship some time on Tuesday November 9th. The tugs, which will be escorted by a Coast Guard Cutter will tow the ship to the Port of  Ensenada Mexico. The tugs have to move slowly because the Splendor is so large.

Passengers will be taken by bus back to the Port of Los Angeles. Carnival will be offering the passengers a full refund and a voucher for a free future cruise according to a Carnival spokes person.

UPDATE! The Splendor is being towed to the Port Of San Diego in California instead of the Port of Ensenada in Mexico. The ship is expected to arrive in San Diego late afternoon on Thursday, November 11. This will make it easier for the passengers to leave the ship due to custom regulations.

The Carnival Splendor is now docked in San Diego California. The ship was pulled and pushed into the Port of San Diego by six tugboats and escorted by US Coast Guard Cutters. The Splendor reached the dock at approximately 8:30AM PST on Thursday November 11. The first passenger were able to leave the ship at 9:30AM.

The Splendor cruise director, John Heald, posted in his Carnival Blog “While still a day from port, I don’t smell of roses at the best of times but as the laundry is not working and I only have two pairs of  underpants left, I smell like Paris on a hot summer’s day. That’s Paris the city not Paris the person.” Well said John!

And then there is always someone that knows how to make a quick buck. Lissa Letts of Overland, Kansas drove to San Diego to meet the ship to sell passengers T-Shirt that said “I Survived The 2010 Carnival Cruise Spamcation.” Passengers paid $20 for each shirt, and they went like ” A Ship on Fire!”

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Posted in Allure Of The Seas, Brilliance of The Seas, caribbean, Carnival, cruise line, cruises, luggage, Oasis of the Seas, royal caribbean, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Voyager of The Seas Cruise – Not the Oasis of The Seas but still Great!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on May 1, 2010


Voyager of The Seas in Cozumel

Voyager of The Seas in Cozumel

This is the Journal of my 7 night cruise aboard the Voyager of The Seas of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. We departed from the Port of Galveston TX on January 24, 2010. This was a family cruise which included my wife and I and my Daughter and Son-in-Law and my Son and his girl friend. We arrived in Galveston on January 23 and stayed at the Hilton Galveston Resort for the evening. The Hilton is an upscale hotel situated right on the water in Galveston next to the Convention Center.

Day 1 – Embarkation Galveston TX: January 24, 2010. We arrived on the Hilton Shuttle at the Port of Galveston at 1130AM. Getting a porter to take our luggage was a little challenging but we were able to find one and he took all of our luggage and we continued to the Checking area.

Upon entering the checkin area, we were given a form that asked if you have been sick in the past 7 days. The cruise line wants to cut down of the chance of a flu outbreak on the ship and that is why they have you fill out the form. I don’t know what they would do to you if you answered yes to any of the questions, and I did not want to find out!

We continued through the security check point, which was just like the airport security with xray machines for your bags and the walk through metal detectors for the passengers. Since we were Diamond Plus Members (24 or more cruises with Royal Caribbean) We were able to use the special express check in line. We were able to check in immediately and we then began to wander around the terminal. No one told us that Diamond Members and Suite passengers could board immediately. We found this out after I stopped a Royal Caribbean staff member after we wandered around for a while and found some chairs to sit down. The staff member said to me “didn’t the person checking you in tell you that you could just board the ship now? I said “No” and he showed me where to go to board. So we gathered up our carry ons and proceeded to board the ship. Once on board, we found that the cabins would be available until 1PM. So we all headed to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch.

Shops on Voyager

Shops on Voyager

The Windjammer is a buffet style restaurant located on deck 12, aft. They have a large selection of food for just about every taste. Since we are a party of 6 on this cruise, we were able to find a large table near the window and settled down for a very nice lunch. We finished lunch at 1:15PM and proceeded to our staterooms. We are on deck 9 midship. Our staterooms had queen size beds with a private balcony, which is very nice on sea days to be able to just sit there and enjoy the sun and surf. Since the Voyager is now 11 years old, it has undergone a major refurbishment in 2009. So the ship looks very good for it’s age. I remember the inaugural cruise which I was on 11 years ago. This ship, at that time was the worlds largest cruise ship. Today Voyager is considered a large ship but nowhere near the largest ship anymore.

We are on Second Seating on the traditional dinning track, so we eat dinner at 8PM. Royal Caribbean now has what they call “Any Time Dinning” which let’s you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner any time you like. Dinner for anytime dinning begins at 545PM and ends at 830PM on this ship. I personally like the traditional dinning where you sit at the same table every night and have the same wait staff the entire cruise. I must say that I was not impressed with the dinning room service this first night. Our waiter just did not have his act together and it took forever to get our food. And to make things even worse, they forgot to bring my daughter her soup and our waiter did not introduce himself to us until we were ready to leave the dinning room after the meal. The dinner itself was very good and the presentation was very nice.

After dinner we went to the “Welcome Aboard Show.” Since there was only one show tonight, we had a very hard time finding seats. But we finally found seat and settled down to enjoy the show. Our cruise director, Mike Szwajkowski introduced the weeks events and played a very old cruise game that I have not seen done at sea for a very long time. It was the “Hat Game” where 7 men are chosen from the audience. They are given 6 hats and when the music stops, anyone now wearing a hat is out! Well, it is extremely funny and every one had a great laugh. Next they had two acts that will be preforming in two of the lounges on the ship during the week. Both acts were very good and I will be sure to stop by the lounges they will be playing in this week. Mike then introduced the comedy of Hal Spear. Hal is the producer of “Who’s Line is it Anyways” and has appeared on Comedy Central and The Tonight Show. He was extremely funny. He will be doing an adult late show on Tuesday night at 11:30PM and I will be there!

After the show, I spent about an hour making my donation to the Royal Caribbean Casino and then headed to bed.

Day 2 – At Sea: Monday January 25, 2010. The sun is out and not a cloud in the sky! I woke up at 8AM to get ready for our Diamond Member special event. The special event was our personal bridge tour of the Voyager. We met the crew members that would escort us to the bridge at 8:50AM on Deck 10 at the forward elevators. We were escorted to the bridge where we had a wonderful tour of the High Tech Bridge. This tour is very special and we really appreciate the fact that Royal Caribbean gives Diamond Plus members the chance to take this tour.

After the Bridge tour I was off to breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe where I had a wonderful breakfast as I watched the ships pass us by in the distance. After breakfast it was off to the Cleopatra’s Needle lounge for Cruise Director Mike’s Madness Trivia hour. The first part of the trivia game was TV theme show songs, which I am an expert at. Yes, I know, I have to get a life! But the second half was just way out there really off the wall trivia questions. So my team won the TV theme show half, but we lost the second half. But I did keep my record as the only person in the room that knew two of the TV themes.

After Trivia, it was time to explore the ship and find out what has changed on this ship since my last time onboard. I always enjoy exploring the ship and finding great hiding places to just get away from it all. Royal Caribbean did take out all the chairs along the windows on the pool deck and replaced them with round tables with 4 chairs per table. I personally think they should have kept some chairs along the windows and alternated with two tables and then 6 chairs. I feel this would be a better use of the space as the tables are only used during meal time and even then they are not fully utilized.

At 1PM it was time for lunch. My daughter and Son in Law joined my wife and I for a very leisurely lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. I had the Pasta in red sauce with some veggies and a small salad. It was a very relaxing lunch and I enjoyed it throughly! After lunch I relaxed at the pool for a little while and then proceeded to the Schooner Bar for 50’s & 60’s Name that Tune game. My Daughter, Son in Law and I were a team to take on about 20 other teams. We did pretty well, with 19 points we came in 5 overall. Not to bad for 3 people who did really not know what they were doing!

Life Raft Rescue

Life Raft Rescue

Later in the after noon, we felt the ship make a sharp turn and head back north. The turn was so sharp that the pool emptied out onto the deck. The Captain came on the loud speaker and told us that he had to turn the ship around because the crew had spotted a life raft in the water. So we were on a rescue mission to retrieve the life raft in the water. We pull up along side of the raft and we launched a rescue boat to go and get  the life raft. The entire ship was along the rails on the Port Side to watch the rescue effort. When the rescue boat got to the raft, it found no passenger aboard. They then towed the life raft back to our ship and brought it on board. We don’t know if there were any people that were in the raft at one time but we do know the the raft and a smaller life raft that was attached to the big round one had flipped over. It was were interesting to watch a real rescue effort at sea.

Tonight is formal night and it’s time to down the Tux and get those special pictures taken!

We did get our pictures taken and Lil always blinks! We all really looked good tonight. There was a not so nice incident that happened in the Concierge Club. Lil and I are Diamond Plus members (24 or more Cruises) and we have access to the Concierge Club. My Daughter and Son in Law wanted to relax in the Club before dinner. I gave them my entrance card and they went in. The Concierge in charge then proceeded to tell them they were not welcome and threw them out! Wow, how rude! I take my family on this cruise, spend all this money and the Concierge has the nerve to throw them out of the Club. My kids are 26 and 30 years old! I just don’t get it. Nice way to piss off your best customers.

We did have a very nice dinner. The food was very good but the wait staff still does not have their act together. Our waiter gives everyone a menu except me and then when I finally track him down and ask for a menu, he looks at me and says “Didn’t I just give you one?” Well, I don’t have one so I guess not. It is still taking them over two hours to serve us our meal. Maybe by the end of the cruise they will get it right! We did celebrate my Son and Son-in-Laws 30th birthdays this evening. The wait staff did get the Birthday Cake correct! Thank goodness for that.

The entertainment for the evening was a very good production show in the main show lounge. Music in Motion was the name of the show and it followed music from the movies over the years. Good dancing and singing and a fun evening.

After the show I spent some time with the family in the Cleopatra’s Needle lounge listening to Karaoke, which my Son was one of the participants.  I then headed back to the cabin to turn in for the evening.

Day 3 – At Sea: Tuesday January 26, 2010. Well, it is getting warmer the farther we get into the Caribbean. I got up at 8AM and had a great breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe. After breakfast, I did some shopping in the shops on board. Then it was on to the La Scala Theater for a very interesting hour with our cruise director Mike about living and working on a cruise ship. It was a real learning experience and a glimpse behind the scenes of the day to day operations of a large cruise ship. After Mikes talk, I decided to hang out around the sports deck and ended up shooting some baskets on the basketball court.

Lunch in the Windjammer Cafe is always a pleasant experience. The nice part about it is the selection of food. Since it is buffet style, you have a large choice of items that fit just about everyones tastes. I love the pasta and there is pasta every day. So after a nice leisurely lunch I decided to spend some time just exploring the ship. I love the water slide on the kids deck in the aft of the ship. It starts out on deck 13 and winds its way down to deck 12. It’s great for kids of all ages.

Royal Caribbean has decided to offer WiFi on their ships. Now you have to pay for the privilege of using it, but thats ok, if it worked. Dozens of people are trying to get on the internet and they just keep timing out. It is the slowest service I have ever seen from a satellite internet provider. And to make things even worse, everyone is getting charged $0.55 per minute, even when you are not getting a signal and are still connected. It took me 8 minutes to download my email into my Mac mail client. This was for only 15 messages with no attachments. The total download was less then 50K. That is just highway robbery!  After about 15 minutes of trying to get on line and the signal going up and down, 6 of us that were in the internet cafe on board went down to the front desk to complain. The young lady at the front desk listened to our complaint and issued each of us a $10 credit. It did not make the internet any faster, but it did take some of the bite out of the cost. It todays always connected world, cruise ships should be able to offer decent satellite internet connect speeds. I don’t expect cable broadband, but I do expect better then a dial up modem speeds.

Later in the day I was talking to my Son-in-Law about a future cruise. So we decided to go over to the future cruise booking area to see if we could get a brochure. I saw that there was a cabinet that was open with cruise brochures in it. I started looking for a Caribbean and a Europe brochure. All of a sudden I was pushed aside and scolded by Mr. Peter Enns the Loyalty Ambassador no less! I was told that  I was looking at a private cabinet and that he did not have ANY brochures (which I knew was not true as I was just about to pick one out of that cabinet.) Some Loyalty Ambassador, he made me feel like an ass in front of my son and all the other people that were in the room. Really a great way to make friends and influence people. It really made me very angry. I will guarantee I will NOT be booking our next cruise with Mr. Enns.

It was then back to the cabin for a quick rest before the show and dinner time.

Day 4: Roatan Honduras: Wednesday January 27, 2010, The temperature is in the Low 80’s and the sun is out with not a cloud in the sky! We are off on our tour of the island this morning. Our guide was Spencer and there were 10 people on our tour. I liked the fact that we had the smallest group, as we were able to get into and out of places very quickly. We first went to the Exotic Bird and Butterfly garden. This was a rather small but very interesting stop. They had lots a very talkative parrots and a number of toucans. The butterfly garden was outstanding. I have never seen so many butterflies in one area in my life. We even watch 2 climb out of their cocoons. After about an hour at the Garden we were off to the West End of the island to watch a performance of the “Important Dance!” After the performance we had a chance to walk on the beach and I took some great pictures! It was then off to the Botanical Gardens where we received an education of all the native plants on the island. We were also give the ability to taste some of the fruit that is grown on the island. All in All I give this tour an A+, it was much more then I expected which was a pleasant surprise! Then it was back to the ship for a late lunch and a short rest.

The evening entertainment was very good. It was Ice Show night. The name of the show was Ice Odyssey. It is really something to watch an Ice Show on a cruise ship. The Ice Rink is not the biggest you have ever seen, but the cast members were able to do things that you would think that they could only do on a large rink. I really enjoyed the show and would recommend it to everyone. After the Ice Show it was time for the Love and Marriage Game Show. This is always a very funny part of the cruise. This game is basically the old Newlywed game with a twist. They take a newlywed couple, a couple that has been married for approximately 33 years and then a couple that has been married for over 50 years.  Well as you can expect, things get very funny! It was a good time for all. After the show, we sat in on the Karaoke night in the Cleopatra’s Needle lounge and then off to bed.

Day 5 – Costa Maya, Mexico –  Thursday January 28, 2010, Today is our first port in Mexico. Costa Maya is a fairly new port. This port was built approximately 9 years ago and a town has grown up around it. It is a very quaint port and very easy to get in and out of. We went on a shore tour to Chacchoben, which is a Mayan archaeological ruins dig site. This is a wonderful area, it is about an hour drive inland from the port. Royal Caribbean uses a tour company that has brand new motor coaches with all the comforts of home. From a restroom to video screens, this was the most comfortable bus I have been on in years. If you have never been to a Mayan Ruins site before, this is a great place to start. It is one of the best tours available in Costa Maya. I highly recommend it.

Day 6 – Cozumel Mexico , Friday January 29, 2010 – Today was a day to relax and explore around the port area. It was HOT today! I walked halfway from the port to the downtown area, but it was so hot that I stopped and sat in the beach for about 15 minutes and then headed back to the ship.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and I really enjoyed being with my family for the week. I have said it many times that cruises are the best vacation for the money. I really hope that Royal Caribbean takes a look at their current operation and maybe return to the kind of customer service that my wife and family remember.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, food, Hotels, luggage, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, pillows, restaurant, royal caribbean, ships, tours, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

That’s The Spirit – Screw Your Customers with Carryon Fees!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 29, 2010


Sprit Airlines Aircraft

Sprit Airlines, The All Fee Airline!

Ok, so the airlines started the whole fee deal with charging for food on the airplanes. Then they decided to charge to check a bag. But now one airline has crossed the line. Spirit Airlines has decided that to many people are bringing carry on luggage onto the plane. So to punish these passengers, they are going to charge them up to $45 to carry on a bag. That’s right, you heard me $45 to carry on a bag. What are they smoking over at the Spirit executive offices?

Spirit Airlines really does not understand that they caused the problem of to much carry on luggage in the first place.  This is how it happened. More then a year ago, Spirit decided that checked luggage was costing the airline too much money. So they decided to start charging to check a bag. The first bag would cost $25 to check and $25 for the 2nd bag. So passengers decided to carry on their luggage rather than pay the $25 to check it. Now Spirit feels that too many people are carrying on their bags. HELLO!!!  Are you idiot’s or just plain stupid Spirit! Have you ever heard of “Cause and Effect?”  You caused the passengers to carry on their luggage by charging them $25 to check it. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out Einstein!

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that executives from American, Delta, Jet Blue, United and US Airways called to assure him that they would not follow Spirit’s lead in adopting the new carryon  charges. “we have begun to put the brakes on runaway and out-of-control airline fees,” Schumer said.

Schumer and 11 other senators have introduced legislation called the Block Airlines’ Gratuitous Fees Act (or BAG Fees Act), which would subject any fees charged for carry on baggage to the excise tax imposed on fares. A similar bill was introduced in the House.

Good for the Senators! Thanks for taking the bull by the horn. The airlines deserves what it gets!

I will tell you that I will not be flying Spirit anytime in the near future. Any airline that wants to charge me gratuitous fees will not get my business period!

Let me know how you feel about the subject.

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Grand Hyatt NY Gets An “F” For Accommodations!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 6, 2009


 

Grand Hyatt Hotel New York City

Grand Hyatt Hotel New York City

I just returned from a business trip to New York where I gave a presentation to a group of travel industry professionals. The conference went well, but that is not my reason for writing this. The problem was with the Hotel.

The conference hotel was the Grand Hyatt in New York City. This is a very large business hotel located right next to Grand Central Station on 42nd street. I was excited about staying at the hotel as I really enjoy the Hyatt brand. 

 

I arrived at 1250AM in stead of 1030PM as my flight was late from Chicago due to weather in the New York area. So I am now very tired, somewhat wet as it has been pouring rain for the entire trip from Newark Airport to the Grand Hyatt Hotel and I had to wade through the rain to get to the Super Shuttle Bus. I walk into the lobby of the Grand Hyatt and proceed to the Registration Desk. Now remember it is 1250AM on Thursday morning and there are at least 12 people waiting in line to check in. Now that would not be so bad, but there is only one desk clerk handling the check in and to add insult to injury, there are approximately 15 self service check-in kiosk that all say “OUT OF SERVICE – SEE DESK CLERK TO CHECK IN.” So now I am very tired, I have a bad headache and I am standing in a line that is not moving at all. 

 

20 minutes later I make it up to the desk clerk. I give him my name and my reservation number. He types it into the computer and then I see that look on his face that I have seen to many times before. You know the look of bad news at 115 in the morning. So he tells me that the room I reserved was not available. My heart dropped! I said you have to give me a room. He tells me that he has a queen size smoking room. I said to myself, “how bad could a smoking room be?” So I say to the desk clerk, I just need a room to sleep in, I will take the room. 

 

So he gives me the key card and I proceed to the 15th floor room I was assigned. I get to the room and open the door and walk in and then it hit me. This room REAKED of smoke! Oh did it stink, it just knocked you over. It smelled like someone chain smoked no-stop for a week! But again, I was so tired and I had this terrible headache and I just needed so sleep. So I climbed into the bed and fell asleep. 

 

When I woke up, I really look around the room for the first time. The window shade was all stained and looked as if someone threw a cup of coffee on it. The lights on the night stands did not work properly. The Desk lamp shade was broken and had a hole in it.  There was a floor lamp that was leaning over like someone bent the base.  And the final straw, the wifi in the room did not work.

 

I walked into the bathroom to take a shower. The bathroom look pretty good, so I get into the shower, close the curtain and turned on the water. I adjusted the temperature and then the tub started to fill up. Ok, so the drain was running slow. I hit the shower button and the shower turned on. It started to spray nicely around the curtain and on to the floor. I could not get a good flow onto me, but it did a great job of making a puddle on the floor of the bathroom, which I could not stop.

 

I was really frustrated by this time. I got out of the shower and threw two towels on the floor to soak up the water. I then dried myself off with a third towel, at least they gave me 4 towels and they were not the usual fluffy Hyatt towels, they were very scratchy and thin towels.

 

The service was just fair throughout the hotel. The public areas were very nice, but the service was poor at best. I stay in lots of hotel rooms during the year and this was a stay that I want to forget. I cannot recommend the Grand Hyatt in New York until they do something to improve the quality control of the rooms and the attitude of the staff.

Posted in bags, Credit Cards, economy, first class, food, Hotels, luggage, lunch, news, options, PC, pillows, restaurant, seniors, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

No Customer Service at United Airlines Reservation Dept

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 30, 2008


 

United Flight Board at O'Hare Airport

United Flight Board at O'Hare

I just got off the phone with a United Reservation agent. I don’t know what country he was in, but it was no where near the United States. I was trying to use a denied boarding compensation ticket voucher I received because I was bumped off a United flight from Seattle to Chicago a few months ago. This agent did not know which end was up. I told him I was flying from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas. He then asked me if I was flying out of Ontario CA, I told him I just said I was flying out of O’Hare. He probably has never even been to O’Hare. I told him that I wanted to use my Denied boarding voucher. He told me I would have to mail it to a PO box and have it postmarked by Monday to use it. Well, I told him Monday was a holiday, Labor Day and there was no way I could have it postmarked by Monday Sept 1 as the post office is closed on Sunday and Monday. He said he was sorry but I had to have it postmarked by Monday. I could not believe it. I told him that he was making it very difficult for me to make this reservation and then he insulted me by telling me I was the one that was making it difficult. What a jerk! I then said, OK, I will go to O’Hare tomorrow to pick it up. He said I would have to get it ticketed at O’Hare by 7PM on Sunday as the ticket counter closes at 7PM. I told him that there are flight out of O’Hare after 7PM, how can the ticket counter close at 7PM. He told me people can check in but they cannot buy tickets. Now how ludicrous is that statement. What if you want to take a flight at 9PM but you don’t have a ticket. Well, if you talked to the agent I talked to, you could not buy a ticket. Maybe United should just close up shop and call it quits, as their employees don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Needless to say, I did not get my reservation and I just said thank you and hung up the phone in discuss. I will try this again tomorrow. Maybe I will get someone that can help me and not criticize me.

Posted in airlines, bags, Business Class, Coach, Hotels, Las Vegas, luggage, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Are Cruise Ships Getting Too Big?

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 3, 2008


 

Relaxing on Royal Caribbean

Relaxing on Royal Caribbean

This past week I have been reading up on Royal Caribbean’s new ship the Oasis of The Sea. This engineering marvel will weigh in at 220,000 GRT when it debuts in December of  2009. It will tower over the sea 16 stores. It will host 5200 people every week for 7 night Caribbean cruises out of the Port of Miami. The Oasis of The Sea will be the World Largest Cruise Ship ever built.

I am looking forward to seeing this ship. As a veteran of 86 cruises and 30 of them on Royal Caribbean, I am questioning if cruise ships have gotten too big? With more than 5200 people on board, will there be quiet places to relax? Will there be places to meet new people and make new friends? Will there be massive lines for everything? Will you need a segway to get around?

I love a smaller ship after sailing on all size ships. The reasons I like the smaller ships, you are able to make friends with the crew and passengers much quicker on a small ship. The walk from your cabin to the pool or anywhere else on the ship is much shorter then on the large ship and the smaller ships are able to get into some seculded ports that are not available on the large ships. But there are lots of pluses for sailing on a large ship and that is why the cruise lines keep building them.

The jury is still out on what people will like and dislike on the Oasis of The Sea, but I am sure the Royal Caribbean will do a “Royal” job on this new vessel.

Posted in airlines, bags, caribbean, cruises, disabilities, Hotels, investments, islands, sailing, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Avis Rent A Car Offers Mobility Scooters

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 1, 2008


 

One of the scooters you can rent

One of the scooters you can rent

For travelers with disabilities, Avis rent a car is now making mobility scooters available nationwide. So if you know people with disabilities that need a mobility scooter when they travel, let them know about the Avis program.

 

Avis tested the program in Las Vegas and Orlando and found that the customer response was extremely strong.

The Avis mobility scooters can be reserved directly through Scootaround at this URL http://www.scootaround.com/avis/

Posted in airlines, auto, bags, car, disabilities, gas, Hotels, Las Vegas, luggage, options, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Delta goes to $50 on Second Checked Bag!!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on July 29, 2008


 

Delta aircraft taking off

Delta aircraft taking off

Delta Airlines announced today that they are increasing the fee from $25 to $50 for a second checked bag. 

I have to give credit to Delta for not charging for the first bag. American, United and US Airways are charging $15 for the first checked bag.

Delta states that the fee increase is essential to generate the necessary revenues to offset record fuel prices. What they don’t get is that people will just stop flying or cut back on how much they fly. This is not the answer, it is just a ban-aid.

I don’t know when all of this airline fee nonsence will end, but it has to end soon or soon there will only be 2 or 3 airlines left. Until then, hold on to your wallets….it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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Open Letter to United Airlines CEO on Checked Baggage

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 18, 2008


                                                                            I sent this letter to Glenn Tilton, President and CEO of United Airlines. I guess the Airlines just don’t get it!Flying over America

Dear Mr. Tilton,

I am a loyal fan of United Airlines. I just completed a wonderful flight from Seattle to Chicago on United. Everyone from the gate agent in Seattle to the flight crew on the aircraft, were just great. It was the best flying experience I have had in months and I want to thank you for that.

And now for the main reason for this letter. I just received an email regarding United’s new baggage policy. I have to tell you that I am appalled. This is no way to run an airline. I have been in the travel industry for 37 years and I am currently a consultant to the travel industry. I wrote a piece on American’s $15 baggage charge where I questioned the policy and wondered if in fact the management at American were trying to put the airline in bankruptcy. The cold hard fact is $15 for a checked bag is a way to nickel and dime your customers away from your airline. This does not address the real problem, which is the escalating cost of running an airline. Fuel is now a major concern, but $15 per bag is not the answer. You have to price your product correctly. Charge your passenger what it costs to transport them from point A to point B and include the costs associated with that transportation, which includes at least one checked bag. You understand that you are forcing more and more people to carry on more luggage. A carryon suitcase clobbered me 2 weeks ago by a passenger that did not want to check her bag. She hoisted it up into the overhead and then it fell out and hit me in the head. With this additional carryon luggage, the boarding process will be slowed and there will be gate delays. It just does not make sense.

 I will give you some free advice. Don’t implement your $15 baggage charge, just raise your fares to cover your costs and make a profit. You will then have a profitable airline and you will have happy passengers, happy employees and happy investors. People will pay the price for a “Great Product” so make your airline a great airline by delivering a great customer experience. Try it, it works.  If you don’t, you will drive your customers away from your airline and then everyone loses.

I really hope that you, Mr. Tilton reads this letter and not one of your assistants because I would like to hear back from you, as you are the driving force behind this airline. Looking forward to your reply.

Posted in airlines, bags, Hotels, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, tickets, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

If it has wheels, some people think it’s a carry-on

Posted by thetraveldoctor on May 1, 2008


I guess this is my rant for this week. I just returned from a flight on American Airlines from Las Vegas. I was in boarding group 4, I don’t know how I always get in boarding group 4. I check in at home 24 hour in advance and I still get boarding group 4. But anyway, I board the plane and get to my seat, an aisle seat on a 757 and sit down. Within 30 seconds, this women comes down the aisle dragging this huge suitcase and bumping into everyone that has an aisle seat. She gets to my row, row 21 and stops. Now mind you, there are maybe 15 people behind her and now she is standing in the middle of the aisle with this suitcase (yes it has wheels) that should have been checked. I have no Idea how she got it through security. Now everyone is backed up out the door of the plane waiting for her to hoist this boulder into the overhead rack. So she tries to lift this thing by herself into the overhead rack. After the first try, it fell on an empty seat. The second try it fell on the passenger in row 20. I get up to try to help her and it falls on me. There was no way that the suitcase was going to fit into the over head rack the way it was packed. So she starts taking things out of this suitcase and putting it in her carryon bag. Well, to make a long story short, the flight attendant was able to finally cram that thing into the overhead after she emptied about 2 pounds of stuff into her carry on bag but now there was no space for any ones carryons except hers.

So, please the next time you fly. Be respectful to your fellow passengers and bring a small carryon that will fit without any problem in the overhead rack. And remember, just because it has wheels, does not make it a CARRYON!

Ok, I feel better now. 

Posted in airlines, Hotels, investments, Las Vegas, luggage, tickets, Transportation, Travel, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »