Category Archives: Travel Research

Royal Caribbean to Drop Corkage Fee!

Rumor has it that Royal Caribbean will be dropping their $25 per bottle corkage fee for personal wine consumed in the dinning room. Royal Caribbean currently allows each passenger to bring aboard two bottles of wine or champagne which previously had to be consumed in your cabin or pay the $25 corkage fee for the dinning room.

This is a positive move for RCCL!

How Smooth is the North Atlantic?

We recently completed a North Atlantic cruise from London to Boston via Iceland. The first question that we seem to be asked is how “Rough” was the cruise …….. as the North Atlantic is known for its storms and rough waters!

Well our cruise was an exception …… we only had one day of “rough” waters …….. and that would be “rough” with little “r”! We did deviate our route slightly to the east of Greenland because of high winds and we did encounter 25 to 30 foot swells ……. which were very noticeable …….. but not overly uncomfortable for me! In addition to the pitch (movement aft to stern) of the ship due to the swells we had roll ( side to side) of about 3 degrees maximum. Our Captain said this was the smoothest crossing he has ever had in the North Atlantic!

I asked the Captain what was the maximum “roll” that our ship, The Brilliance of the Seas, could safely handle. To my surprise he said 42 degrees ………. which is a lot! The ship actually had to perform this roll during sea trials! No need to worry …….. most ships are now built with stabilizers which would prevent any severe roll! Our Captain also said the maximum roll for passenger comfort is about 7 degrees!

While it normally a bad sign when the sea sickness bags are placed on the stairs ……… it doesn’t always indicate a rough night ……. but better be prepared!

Whose Space is it?

With the incident on the United Airlines flight yesterday, the seeming never ending debate on airline space comes to the forefront! So whose space is it? Well …….. in my opinion it depends, so let’s review each space category:

Overhead Space: Overall overhead space is first come ….. first served …….. however with a few guidelines. First you should use the space in the class of service you are flying. Second, try and locate your overhead items as close to your seat as possible, and third try to assure it is between you and the exit and not behind you.

Under Seat Space: In my opinion the space under the seat directly in front if you is yours! Use it for smaller items or in my case I tend to use it for my feet!

Seat Recline Space: This is the tough one! I would like to see some changes to the current system. Believe me I understand the need for my space between me and the seat in front of me as I have long legs. First on domestic, daytime flights, I would suggest a “no recline” policy. Overnight and international flights could allow recline, with the exception of meal service. Now the problem with my suggestions is of course enforcement! So that being the case I guess I would go to a “no recline” policy on domestic flights and a limited recline on international flights. Personally I do not recline my seat on domestic flights and I try to get seats in the first exit row since the seats in the row in front of me have limited or no recline.

Always be courteous to your fellow travelers and as we were all taught in kindergarten ……… it is nice to share!

Have You Visited All 50 States?

A lot of people have a goal of visiting all 50 States, and I am one of those people! Unfortunately I made this decision late in life and missed a few opportunities! I still have Idaho, Vermont, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska to visit. Obviously the road trip mentioned in yesterday’s post is designed to take care of all these with the exception of Vermont.

Why the desire to visit all 50 States? Maybe it’s because they are there! You get nothing except the self satisfaction that you accomplished one of your goals ………….. no certificate ………. no trophy!

My brother-in law’s family has just completed their 50 State quest. They celebrated not only visiting their 50th State, Hawaii, but also the high school and college graduation of their son and daughter! They were unique in that they accomplished this goal as a family!

So whether as a personal goal or a family or couples goal, set your objectives and dreams ………. and then make sure your actions make them reality!

Delta SkyMiles American Express Gold – 50,000 Bonus and other benefits!

A friend asked me a question about which airline credit card might be best for them for an upcoming trip. I shared some thoughts with him but afterwards thought I should probably do some research so that I might offer a better answer.

First, which airline credit card you use should probably be for the airline that you currently fly with or plan on using for a trip once you have accumulated the necessary miles.

Second, I would look at what additional benefits the card might offer: free checked baggage, discounts, priority boarding, etc.

In my research I found an American Express Deal for Delta SkyMiles that might be worth considering. American Express is offering the Delta Gold SkyMiles card on a promotion through September 8th with a 50,000 mile bonus (normally 30,000 miles). In addition there are other nice benefits that come with the card:

– 50,000 bonus is credited to your account after you spend $1000 during the first 3 months.

– The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

– You receive a $50 statement credit.

– You get your first checked bag free for you and up to 8 traveling companions on the same reservation.

– You get double miles on Delta purchases.

– You get 20% discount on In-Flight purchases.

– You receive priority boarding for yourself and companions on the same reservation.

– You can use “pay with miles” to offset some or all of a paid ticket.

– Reduced rate on 1-day pass to the SkyClub.

– No foreign currency exchange fees.

This card is available in both the Personal and Business versions.

More details can be found at

The 10 Cities that should have been on the Top 50 List!

There are a few cities that I feel should have been included in the Top 50 Cities to see in your lifetime! My additional 10 cities are:

St. Petersburg, Russia – Museums and history!

Brussels, Belgium – For the food and beer!

Auckland, New Zealand – Home of beautiful harbours and of course “one tree hill”!

Vancouver, BC – Beautiful city and gateway for Alaskan cruises.

Barcelona, Spain – Food, architecture, with a mixture of new and old.

Dubai, UAE – A modern city in the middle of the desert, but still a taste of the old!

Papeete, Tahiti – Beaches and beauty!

Shanghai, China – Mixture of old and new!

Hong Kong, China – Food, markets, lights (lots of lights), and awesome views!

Chattanooga, Tennessee – I couldn’t have a list and not include one of the most beautiful cities in the South!

Top 50 Cities to see in your lifetime!

Next 10:

Lyon, France – Cathedrals, gardens, and thousands of lights!

Oia, Greece – On the Greek island of Santorini. White and blue homes overlook the sea!

Siem Reap, Cambodia – Worth the trip just for the great food!

Vienna, Austria – A majestic city full of beautiful palaces, gardens, and elegant cafes!

Cusco, Peru – Gateway city gor exploring Machu Picchu!

Cartagena, Columbia – Located on the Caribbean and filled with history!

Zanzibar, Tanzania – On the sea and great cultural blending!

Mexico City, Mexico – Lots of people and great food!

Singapore – Worth a stop over or a vacation!

Lad Vegas – Sin City!