Friday, November 18, 2016

Tipping Your Servers- Cruise Style

Many people love to travel the world by cruise. From small luxury yachts to large mega boats which are destinations in themselves, a cruise is a great way to unpack once and visit many destinations with unique experiences available. If you are new to cruising or it has been a while since your last one, there are aspects about life on a cruise ship which can be confusing. One such daunting subject is tipping protocol. America is a land of hard workers, whom we as a society, reward through monetary tips for good services rendered.  Below is a summary of what you can expect when it comes to tipping while on a cruise vacation.

While many amenities on cruise ships are included in the cost of your stateroom, there are often specific restaurants, excursions or services which cost extra. Most cruise companies offer an on-board account to cover these incidental purchases. You add funds from your personal banking account, and then sign off on charges to your stateroom throughout your cruise. These accounts are a hassle free way to cover these charges. Shipboard accounts often include an automatic charge to cover a "tip fund" for the cruise personnel who see to your customer service needs and requests. Typically this includes restaurant workers, cabin stewards and other personnel who serve passengers. The tips are split among these personnel as a group, with around $10-$15 per day, per passenger being the standard charge. Some cruise lines allow for guests to adjust this amount based on their experience with the service received.

Examples of cruise companies which include an automatic tip charge to on-board accounts:

Carnival
Celebrity Cruises
Cunard Line
Disney Cruise Line
Fathom Impact Cruises
Holland America Line
MSC Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line
Oceania Cruises
Princess Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Windstar Cruises

There are some cruise companies which have kept the "old tradition" of accepting gratuities from passengers in the form of cash tips on the last day of the trip. Some cruise companies also accept credit card payments for these tips as well.  It is up to you as the guest to determine how much you want to tip your servers for each day of your cruise. The typical recommendation for discretionary tipping ranges from $8- $15 per passenger, per day. Whatever you tip, the monies received are divided among the crew as a whole.

Examples of cruise companies which request cash tipping at the end of a cruise :

Ama Waterways
Star Clippers
Viking Cruises
Un-Cruise Adventures

If you are wanting to leave the worry of tipping behind, there are a few cruise lines which offer truly all-inclusive pricing, and yes, this includes tipping. There will be gratuity charge included in the final price of your cruise, this is just one way some luxury cruise lines differentiate themselves. When travelers are seeking true luxury and pampering, there is sure to be a ship with your name on it. Examples include:

Azamara Club Cruises
Emerald Waterways
Seabourn
Scenic Cruises

Of special note to keep in mind, on most cruises, bartenders, wine stewards and spa attendants typically receive tips in the standard fashion, with 15% being the standard for these services. Some
cruise lines will automatically include the gratuity charge on your bill, covering those services not paid for through an on-board account.

When you are ready to plan a cruise, working with a travel professional who understands the fine print and details of cruising, can make a big difference. For a small feel, C.P, Trips is here to help you enjoy the vacation of your dreams. Call or email us today at 503-658-5646 or cptrips@aol.com.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!)- Travel Made Easy

I am excited to announce the re-launch of a travel program dear to my heart. C.P. Trips' Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) is a series of hosted vacations ranging from around the state, to around the world. Classy Ladies Getaways provides a fun way for solo traveling women to join up with others who are ready to explore a destination or enjoy a specific experience.

We say couples too as my husband Tony and I host some of these trips ourselves.
We truly love to travel, and enjoy being able to share our experiences with others. These small-group vacation packages are geared toward independent women who love to travel, or are ready to begin a new adventure, yet friends or partners are always welcome along.  We are working up 2017 and 2018 itineraries over the coming weeks. Check back here often as I post details of what you can expect on the various Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) packages.

You may wonder if one of our getaways will be right for you. Ask yourself a few questions to get an idea. Do you often travel solo but don’t want to go it truly alone? Do you have a group of friends ready to travel somewhere together, but have not decided where? Are you looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, or simply have your curiosity peaked, a Classy Ladies Getaway is worth checking out. Let us take care of all the details while you enjoy a vacation like no other. Some itineraries in the works include:

o   Exploring Cuban culture
o   The Yukon by Sea & Land
o   Whale Watching & Gardens in Victoria B.C.
o   Fiesta Siesta & Balloons in Santa Fe
o   New York: Broadway & Fall Foliage
o   Southern Hospitality in Savannah
o   Shakespeare & River Rafting in Ashland
o   San Francisco Long Weekend
o   Cook Island Tropical Retreat
o   Tahitian Paradise Getaway


Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) offers concierge services with your travel plans, to ensure all your needs are met and you have a memorable vacation. Physical Limitations are not a restriction or disability when it comes to travel, and Classy Ladies Getaways are all about helping you have a wonderful and memorable experience. Whether you have dietary needs, or accessibility concerns, or room & board specifics,  I will work directly with you to ensure your travel on  a Classy Ladies Getaway is worry free. I have set up this unique travel program of specific destination itineraries to help make travel easier for you. I am passionate about travel, and my clients too, both of which are the inspiration behind Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!). Call or email C.P. Trips today to learn more: 503-658-5646/ cptrips@aol.com. You can also check out more travel ideas, including Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) itineraries, at our website.



Friday, July 29, 2016

Impact Travel- What is it and What Does it Mean to You?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/frontierofficial/15081626288
Travel has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the days of tourist traps and big sight seeing tours. Travelers are looking to experience a destination, not just visit a place. Through travel, lifetime memories and connections are made. Our global world can become smaller when we can immerse ourselves in a culture or location other than our own.

Travel has the power to transform the soul, and Impact Travel is one way to experience transformation with a purpose. Destination tourism boards, travel companies and tour operators have heard the call of people wanting to get more from their vacations. More and more there are opportunities to get off the beaten path, to enjoy one on one, face to face and in-depth interactions with the people, history and culture of a place.

You can now travel with intention, planning a vacation that goes beyond an excursion at a port of call or taking in the major sights of destination. Impact travel offers you a chance to make a positive difference in your own journey, as well as in the places you go to. Impact travel allows more people to make a difference on a global level which is then experienced and shared on a personal level.

C.P. Trips has recently reserved space on board a Fathom Impact Travel cruise around Cuba. Fathom cruises are designed to give their guests cultural immersion both on board and on shore. With their cruise around Cuba, you can engage in lively exchanges with Cuban artists, musicians, local businesses and families. Your interaction with the people of Cuba will be part of an ongoing exchange of cultural awareness.

Another type of impact travel are volunteer vacations. There are a wide variety of destination itineraries designed to give you a chance to make a direct difference in a short amount of time. Biologists need help releasing animals back to the wild, archaeologists need help digging into our past. From clearing hiking trails across America, to helping restore habitat in Costa Rica or Peru, if you want to help the environment, there is a volunteer vacation for you. These types of journeys also provide opportunities to help those in need, such as helping to dig a well in a village, or trekking in needed medical supplies in the depths of the jungle. The world is a big place with plenty of ways you can make a positive impact when you travel.

We all have charitable organizations we like to support, some of us even volunteer or help out specific groups. Did you know that travel packages make a great charitable auction item? I have worked first hand with several charities in helping plan a vacation as an auction item for a fundraiser.

When it comes making a donation that makes a difference, with a reward that can include a villa vacation in Italy or Bali, these auction items can make a big impact on fundraising. The next time your favorite charity is looking for auction items, perhaps a villa vacation will be just the thing. With my extensive experience in this type of travel planning, I would be happy to help you and your organization create an vacation package for auction.

Travel transforms the soul, now you can hep transform the world through Impact Travel. Call or email C.P. Trips today to begin planning your next vacation: 503-658-5646/ cptrips@aol.com. Check out more travel ideas and options at our website: www.cptrips.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Vacation Ideas for Kids & Teens

Summer has arrived and with it the ever pressing question- “What are we going to do while school is out?” If you have kids and teenagers in your life you know it can be challenging to plan a vacation for the whole family. Summer is also the time for great vacation deals. Whether you are looking for a last minute vacation in the coming weeks or beginning to plan a big trip for next year, there are some great deals around that also cater to families providing memorable experiences for everyone.

Part of planning a family vacation is the budget. If you are ready to take a family cruise and want to maximize your dollars for activities and excursions, cruise companies such as MSCCruises have several sailings where kids aged 11 and under cruise free. Norwegian Cruise Line also offers free cruising for a 3rd or 4th passenger in a stateroom, making it easier to cruise with the whole family. Both of these cruise lines offer a variety of age appropriate programs and activities sure to keep a smile on everyone. Cruises offer a lot of
activities for every age group, making this option and ideal choice when it comes to multi-generational travel. Most cruise companies have special programs and events just for kids and teens. Princess Cruises offer their Youth Centers and Teen Lounges, and Holland America Line has Club HAL, the Teen Loft and even specialized culinary experiences for kids ages 3-18. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has an award winning Ocean Adventure Youth Program and age appropriate activities on board. Cruise companies understand the value of vacationing with your family, and the benefit of providing activities and experiences geared towards different ages and tastes, making traveling with your kids and teens relaxing and fun.


Many travel and tour companies have realized the value of creating unique experiences when it comes to travel. This includes kids and teens. When you travel with your family you are creating life long memories. For many today this includes personal travel opportunities where the world is brought alive through up-close interactions.

Tauk Tours, an award winning luxury tour company, has created TaukBridges, travel with the whole family in mind. They offer a variety of adventurous vacations from African safaris to Costa Rica zip lining and river rafting, and the Galapagos Islands as destinations. Special Tauk Bridges tours even include on-tour film vignettes with BBC Earth natural history experts. If you have a film buff or naturally history scientist in the making, the jungle rafting trip along Costa Rica could be just the ticket with hands on field equipment and experiences.  


If you and your kids love Disney, take your next family vacation a step further with Adventures by Disney. These specially catered travel excursions bring destinations around the world to life like only Disney can. From movie themed trips, such as a Frozen® tour of Norway, to personal Adventure Guides and activities for kids of all ages and adults too, Adventures by Disney brings families together as they travel. 


Both Tauk Bridges and Adventures by Disney have expanded their family vacation offerings to 
include river cruises. Tauk Bridges’ all-inclusive family only river cruises brings families together from around the world, giving kids the chance to make new friends and enjoy age appropriate amenities together. There are shore excursions planned with the family in mind, from bike riding to culinary classes, or exploring the catacomb mazes of medieval Devin Palace on the Rhone River. There is always something to do and exciting places to explore.  


Adventures by Disney has ventured into to River Cruising in partnership with Ama Cruises. With cruises along the Rhine and Danube rivers, these make for a great way to experience northern Europe. Toboggan or zip line your way through the Black Forest on one of their newest river cruises, along the Rhine river. Have chocolate lovers in the family? On the Adventures by Disney Rhine river cruise there is a special stop in Cologne Germany where you can learn to make chocolate from the masters.


Traveling with your family can be a rewarding experience full of great memories and lasting connections. When you are ready to take the kids and teens on an adventure they are sure to remember, contact C.P, Trips and we can help you plan the perfect family vacation. 



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hello From Hawaii

2016 marks a very special occasion for my family, this past June, my husband Tony and I celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss.  Well, being realistic it is not always so blissful, but we have had a long and strong marriage full of love and laughter, and much of it has been experienced through our travels. To celebrate our 50th anniversary we decided to make a special trip to one of our favorite places in the world, the Big Island of Hawaii. We love to spend as much time on the island as we can, and have been known to spend many a week or long weekend in Kona where there is incredible diving, fishing, lovely museums and unique cultural experiences to be found. 

We were also lucky enough to have several family members join us for part of our time on Hawaii and treasure the time we get to spend with loved ones. We enjoyed some time at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Research Center where conservation of these delicate and endangered species is their top goal. The flowers were fragrant, the wildlife vibrant and the atmosphere relaxing, what more could you want from paradise?  Below are just a few photos from some of our time spent in Hawaii.  If you have not been to the Big Island yet, perhaps its your turn to go.....

One of the many species of Seahorses being cared for at Ocean Rider

These little guys are quite social

To feel the tail of a seahorse around your finger... Priceless

The air was fragrant with Plumeria

Rainbow Eucalyptus found at the World Botanical Garden near Hilo- so lovely

A Hawaii Waterfall

One of our Geko housemates in Hawaii
From left to right, my Granddaughter, my Daughter and Myself


Monday, May 2, 2016

Summer Family Vacation Ideas


May is here, and that mean Memorial Day is just a few weeks away, along with the start of the summer season. Summer is an ideal time for family vacations. With the kids out of school it is easier to spend some time creating new memories together by taking a trip. There are a lot of options to choose from, including some great destinations and travel companies that offer incredible experiences for every age. Whether your vacation includes just you and the kids, or with grandparents as well, you will find some inspirations listed below to get you on your way to planning a summer vacation.

Tauk Bridges Family Adventures

Tauk Tours has been in the business of guided tours for over 80 years, and as a true family company, they understand the benefits of families that travel together. The Tauk Bridges Family adventures is all about bringing families together to experience unique destination and cultural journeys. Working with partners such as BBC Earth, families are transported to a new world, whether it is a river cruise in Europe, an American National Park tour, a rain forest trek in Costa Rica or a once in a lifetime journey to the Galapagos Islands.

Theme Parks

Universal Studios and Disney Parks offer one of the best ways to spend a family vacation. With plenty of things to do, there is never a dull moment at these places where happiness rules. No matter the park you are going to, there are always exciting deals and promotions going on to help you save on your travel budget and get more from your vacation. Theme parks are in the business of family vacations, they know there are multiple generations coming to visit, and they provide activities and benefits for everyone.  From special character breakfasts or lunches, to incredible and fast rides, and amazing exhibits, a theme park makes for a great vacation on its own.

Travel Impressions

One of our travel industry partners, Travel Impressions, works with destination hotels, resorts and tours to provide travelers with incredible deals. Their buying power is our buying power and that means incredible deals on exciting places to take a vacation. They have a new program for this year called Steal of a Deal. Each week they share with us, the latest in last minute deals to all inclusive resorts, exciting destination tours and more.  If you are looking for someplace tropical, think about an all inclusive resort, along the Caribbean, in Mexico and Hawaii, an all inclusive resort gives you a home away from home for the entire family.


Cruising

Taking a cruise offers a lot of different choices for everyone everyday. A cruis gives you one place to unpack and multiple places to visit and explore. Cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line had specially planned kids activities and excursions suitable for every age. With a cruise, a multi generational family vacation becomes the ideal vacation for everyone. Of special note, Royal Caribbean has recently become the first cruise line to be certified as Autism Friendly by the Autism on the Sea Organization. This means if you have a child with autism, the specially designated benefits, such as priory boarding will help ensure everyone can vacation with ease.

MSC Cruises are another great choice, they offer a variety of short cruises all over the Caribbean and Mexico, and kids sail free on board MSC. Right now they have 3 and 4 night cruises in the Bahamas, the Caribbean and along the coast of Mexico.

Disney Adventures is now offering river cruises in Europe with Ama Waterways, where the whole family can experience cultural immersion in Disney fashion, with story tellers, personal guides, culinary and adventure experiences everywhere you turn.

These are just a few ideas for summer family vacation fun. We have more ideas, and are regularly adding to our Vacation Ideas for You and our Cruises pages on our website. www.cptrips.com. When you are ready to begin planning your next vacation, take a look and see what inspires you. For a small fee, we at C.P. Trips are here to help make your travel dreams a reality.  Call us at 503-658-5646 or email at cptrips@aol.com.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrate Shakespeare in Ashland

April 23rd mark's Shakespeare's birthday. What better way to honor the Bard than to tell you about a great trip I have planned for this summer. Each year I love to take in as many different theater productions as I can. I devote a long weekend spending time at the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. This is a weekend of adventure and fun as those that go caravan down from Portland to the Southern Oregon. This year is extra special as we will have my good friend, News Talk 860's Travel Bug, Terry Travis with us!


Thursday July 28 – Sunday July 31, 2016, meet up with News Talk 860’s Travel Bug, Terry Travis, Cindy Passannante and others to caravan down to Ashland Thursday Morning from the Portland Area. Take in some of the best Shakespeare productions around. The OregonShakespeare Festival has been an annual summer attraction for over 80 years, providing some of the region’s best theater offerings.

Package includes: Three night’s accommodations at the lovely Stratford Inn, Continental Breakfast at the hotel, Saturday Dinner with the group at Amuse restaurant in Ashland, and Tickets for 2 Shakespeare Festival plays of your choice. Return Home Sunday. Package rate: $ 530.00 pp/double. 2-night option also available: Friday- Sunday package rate $435 pp/double occupancy. Single and triple package rates available, but space is limited- Call for details.


With plenty of free time included, you can explore Lithia Park or the North Mountain Park Nature CenterAdd in a third play for the weekend, a round of golf, a massage, or take an historical walking tour of Ashland. Feeling adventurous for this incredible getaway? How about adding in a rafting trip down theRogue River? 

You can also enjoy some of the spirits of Southern Oregon with a wine or beer tasting. Downtown Ashland is the place to find the area’s best local artisans too. Pick up a new piece of art or an amazing antique find at one of the many galleries in town.

The Caravan to Ashland is a perfect getaway for a weekend of entertainment, excitement and discovery. With News Talk 860’s Travel Bug, Terry Travis and Cindy Passannante of C.P. Trips as your hosts, this trip will be even more spectacular. Space is limited so reserve your seats today. Call 503-658-5646 or email at cptrips@aol.com