Will Cruise Ships Go All-Inclusive?

Norwegian Cruise lines recently announced it will be selling an all-inclusive package on a limited basis. The package would include unlimited premium drinks, specality restaurants, $200 credit for shore excursions, some photos, 250 Internet minutes, and more.

The package would cost around $899 for a 7-day cruise, but would also get you a 10% discount on your base fare.

There are a few cruise lines that currently offer drinks and other amenities in their price. Others offer various drink packages for purchase.

Do you think this could be the start of a trend to see more cruise lines/ships to go to an all-inclusive format? I guess having a “Couples” or “Sandals” on the sea would be appealing to a large number of passengers, however I feel there are probably an equal number that would not find value in an all-inclusive offer. We will probably continue to see cruise lines experiment with various packages and combinations, but going forward I would think that these would be offered and available for purchase on an individual basis.

Italy! 8 days with Airfare $999


Is Italy on your bucket list? If so this just might be your chance! This Amazon Local deal offers an 8 day trip to the Tuscany region of Italy and includes airfare from New York, as well as lodging, rental car, and hotels. Check the details on the web site and book your dream trip to Italy!

Norovirus! When you hear this word …do you first think of cruise ships?

Well ……. think again! Yes there are cases of norovirus on cruise ships, and when there is an outbreak it gets lots of attention in the media.

According to a recent report by the CDC, more than two-thirds of the outbreaks can be traced back to restaurants and infected food workers!

The CDC estimates that only one (1) percent of outbreaks happened on cruise ships in the four (4) years covered by this study! Let me repeat that …….. only 1% of the outbreaks happened on cruise ships!

Do we need to be aware that there can be, and are, norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships? Of course, and the cruise lines, and we as passengers, must take precautions to prevent an outbreak.

The norovirus can spread quickly in closed spaces like schools, daycares, nursing homes, dormitories,and cruise ships. The virus is highly contagious and is spread in three ways:

– Person to person
– By ingesting contaminated food or water
– By touching contaminated surfaces (bathroom fixtures, etc.)

So what should you do? What we do on a cruise ship is to be proactive!

– We avoid person to person contact where possible (knuckles instead of handshakes)
– We avoid buffets when possible or either try to be there at opening or utilize stations where the food is either cooked for you or servered by an attendant. On Azamara, there buffets attendants serve all the food on their buffets for the first couple days to assure no one might have brought the virus onboard. If you ever watch people and some of there poor and inappropriate habits at the buffet you can understand why caution is needed.
– We practice proper restroom habits. First we try to avoid public restrooms if possible. If not possible, we use paper towels to avoid touching surfaces. As with buffets, if you watch people and their poor or inappropriate restroom habits, you can again see where caution is needed.
– We use anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, but remember this will not protect you from a virus!
– When sneezing or coughing use proper habits. Use tissue or sneeze/cough into your armpit and not your hand.

I personally think the cruise lines do a pretty good job in keeping their ships as safe as possible from the norovirus. Will there be outbreaks in the future ……… probably ……….. will the media take advantage of it ……… probably! Just remember the statistics from the CDC and continue to practice proper habits for prevention.

Random Thoughts: Airline Pricing, Ebola, Chattanooga Rail Service, Flight Safety

Just some random thoughts:

Airline Pricing: Good news and bad news! Good news, the House has passed the bill to allow the Airlines to show fares without government taxes and fees. The airlines will show the amount of taxes and fees separately in a footnote or pop-up adds. Bad news, total airfare will be the same and you may think you are getting a lower fare than you do at checkout!

Ebola: With the news of the Ebola issues should passengers be concerned? Probably not, but you should always practice safe habits when flying, such as keeping your hands washed, avoid surfaces where others might leave a virus, avoid person to person contact when possible. The virus cannot be transmitted via airborne methods.

Chattanooga rail service: There continues to be talk about getting rail service for Chattanooga . With Chattanooga’s rail history it would be great! However our politicians want to go for “high speed rail”, which of course would be nice. Wouldn’t it be more more feasible to start off slow and then move to high speed? Use existing rail to see if people with actually use the service, then move forward from there!

Flight safety: With the news recently of the MH 17 downing and two other aircraft crashes, the question is raised, is it safe to fly? Without question it is still very safe to travel …… probably the safest way. Should you take precautions? It never hurts to. Know your aircraft’s route and if it flys over a potential trouble spot you can always consider other airlines/routes. US airlines sometimes have stricter limitations than foreign carriers, but I think with the MH17 incident all airlines will error on the safe side of routes!

Help TSA Design a Better Checkpoint and Win $15,000!

The TSA is asking the public to help redesign their queues and they are offering rewards up to $15,000 for the best ideas!

Those interested in submitting a proposal for the TSA’s “Next Generation Queue Design and Model”, can do so through InnoCentive. The deadline is August 15th.

So stop complaining ……….. now you can be part of the solution …….. and get paid for it!

Delta to offer more free entertainment on flights!

Effective August 1st, Delta will offer more free entertainment options on over 1000 flights worldwide for flights over 1.5 hours. Entertainment will be offered through seat-back systems and in-flight streaming directly to customer’s own smartphones, tablets, and laptops! This will be offered on all domestic aircraft and regional jets with two-cabin seating. Customers in BusinessElite, First Class, and Economy Comfort will have free, unrestricted access to inflight entertainment on all international flights. Customers traveling international in economy will have access to the free content.

Domestic customers traveling in First Class, Business Elite, and Economy Comfort will have free access to all entertainment content. Economy customers will have access to all free content which will include live satellite TV channels, music selections and game options through seat-back entertainment systems, as well as movie and TV selections on seat-back systems as well as streaming content through in-flight Wi-Fi.

Check Delta.com for more details.