Thursday, 29 March 2012

Travel & Cruise News April 2012,

 Alaska State Society

     Travel & Cruise News 
                   A newsletter from 
       Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, BC
             April 2012, Vol. 1, issue #2
Welcome to April’s issue of the “Rosswin Travel Newsletter. I will be changing the name of the Newsletter as there is another one called “Time Out” and we do not need two on the web to get people confused. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate them.
As the Alaska cruising season is coming up I was going to write a bit about cruising in Alaska but there is so much to do and see in Alaska that I could not do it justice in these few pages, therefore I am posting a blog that you can access, there are links through out the articles you can click on for more information. I have given a brief summery of what cruise ships are sailing to Alaska with a bit of information on them, click on the links to get pricing, more information. See the address to my Alaska blog information below. If I add more information to my blog on Alaska I will post a notice in the upcoming newsletters. 
      The Alaska Cruising season is almost upon us, if you haven’t already booked your cruise it is time to take action and book now to ensure you have a selection of cabins or even have a cabin as these cruises fill up fast, do not take a chance and wait for last minute deals.  The 2013 and some of the 2014 cruises are being advertised. 
You can book your cruise at or become a FREE Affiliate and earns 30% of the commission paid for that booking.

Alaska Travel and Cruise News 
Alaska Cruises - 
10 Tips for Finding the Cruise that's Right for You
With cruising becoming one of the most popular ways to see the world, we can narrow down your search for the perfect one. Enter in your trip details and we'll compare prices across the top sites to find you the best deal there is. It's that easy. And to make sure you make the right decision, check out our
Top 10 Tips for Finding the Cruise that's Right for You:
1) What's your style? Every cruise line has a different style, eg. Celebrity has a mature & luxurious feel, Carnival is just that - great for partiers, Disney is the ultimate family cruise, and Royal Caribbean specializes in activities on and off-board.
2) Choose your timing wisely to get a deal. January to March is the busiest booking period for cruises, where cruise lines make 35% of their annual sales and offer the best deals.
3) Keep the season in mind. Northerly cruises are very popular including Alaska & the Baltic Sea, but only run from late spring to early autumn. Warmer climates are generally offered year-round.
4) How long do you want to go for? Depending on the cruise line, you can cruise from one day to over 100. A general rule - the longer and more expensive the cruise, the older the clientele.
5) Budget is key. Most cruises don't include alcoholic beverages, tips, off-shore transfers and off-shore activities. Make sure to factor those into your budget when planning your cruise. Opt for an inside cabin for even more savings.
6) Are you nauseous? The larger the ship, the less chances are that you might be seasick. Try an inside cabin in the middle of the ship, where there is less movement to avoid nausea.
7) When do we eat? Choose a cruise that fits your dining style. They can range from cafeteria style buffets to elegant sit down dinners. Food is never lacking on a cruise ship.
8) Known when to go. School holidays and holiday times mean a ship full of children;
off-season is quieter and you'll often get a better deal.
9) Size matters. Smaller ships mean less crowded and less popular ports of call where you can discover 'off-the-beaten-path' gems.
  1. Check your itinerary. Some cruises will emphasize activities at the ports of call, while others are more focused on the ship/cruising. Be sure to pick a cruise that fits with your preferences.
 Mobile bookings expected to triple in 2013
By Danny King  Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly
Gross travel bookings on mobile devices by U.S. customers will triple from $2.6 billion in 2011 to $8.1 billion in 2013, when they will account for almost 3% of all travel bookings, travel-research firm PhoCusWright reported in a study.  
Mobile bookings will surge as the number of Americans owning either a smartphone that uses the Android operating system or a tablet computer surges over the next few years, PhoCusWright said. Mobile airline and mobile hotel bookings will accelerate at about the same pace, and, combined with car rental, will account for about 6.5% of the online travel market. 
About 52% of the mobile bookings will be made directly through suppliers in 2015, while about 48% will be made through online travel agencies, PhoCusWright said. 
Both leisure and business travelers said that finding hotels, restaurants and travel activities were the most popular functions they expected their smartphone to perform in the future, while getting flight alerts and receiving travel-discount offers were also popular functions. 
As for mobile operating systems, Android, which had almost a quarter of the market in 2010, will have a 49% share in 2015, PhoCusWright said, citing tech-research firm Gartne
Looking for Freebies while on vacation? Here are a few from

A Tube ticket might cost a small fortune in the British capital, but itʼs amazing how much there is to do for nowt. Some of the worldʼs best museums – such as the Natural History, the Victoria & Albert and the British – show-off their incredible collections for nothing. But for an even grander spectacle (and a glimpse of a world traditionally reserved for those with bigger budgets) head to Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House on a Monday lunchtime. This classical portico-fronted theatre, completed in 1858, runs special recitals, allowing cheapskates to hear top pianists tinkle and baritones bellow without paying a penny.
Some tickets can be reserved online nine days prior to concert; some are released from 10am on the day. See
Simply, the Musée du Louvre holds the greatest collection of art ever assembled, displayed in a building that is both a typical Parisian palace and a strikingly modern pyramid of glass. There are over 35,000 items in this matchless repository: from ancient Egyptian antiquities to Greek treasures, Persian trinkets and paintings spanning countries and centuries. Its depth and breadth is overwhelming; you really need more than a day. But if thatʼs all you have, make it a certain day: on the first Sunday of the month, the Louvre is free – something, surely, to make even the resident Mona Lisa crack a proper smile.
The Louvre is open daily except Tuesday from 9am to 6pm (to 10pm Wednesday and Friday); regular admission costs €10. See
Staten Island Ferry, New York City, USA
Cruises usually cost a packet. All right, this one only lasts 25 minutes. And thereʼs no quoits or cocktail lounge (though there is a bar selling beer). But it doesn’t cost a cent. Ferries have connected Staten Island and lower Manhattan since the 18th century. The tangerine-bright boats that run today have become NYC icons; one, the Spirit of America, is part-made of steel salvaged from the Twin Towers. And though the World Trade Center is now missing, the view of the New York City skyline – which shrinks as you pitch across the bay, and looms large as you return – is still world class.
Ferries run 24 hours daily, from South Ferry at Battery Park. See
City Bikes, Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is the two-wheeled capital of the world: every day 37% of locals cycle to work, and there are 390km of dedicated cycle lanes. So really, it would be rude not to join in – a gesture made all the easier by Bycyklen, the cityʼs free bike scheme. Stacked at racks around central Copenhagen, these complimentary cycles are the perfect way to get around the blissfully flat capital. You can pedal from the cafes lining the brightly painted harbourfront to hippie-hangout Christiania, the kitsch-but-cool Tivoli Gardens and around the grounds of 17th-century Rosenborg Castle – without it costing a single krona.
A 20 krona coin is needed to release a bike, which is refunded when you return it. Bikes are available from March or April to November; see


 The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
Robin DeFoe
Robin DeFoe distributor for Immunocal - Rocket Fuel for your Immune System, 250-898-8695

 Two new resorts opening in April in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mexico - New Resorts in Puerto Vallarta
 Secrets Vallarta Bay and Amber, Puerto Vallarta opening April 2012

 Images for Puerto Vallarta Pictures
Puerto Vallarta, Tips For Travelers 
(from the Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide.)
Currency, Banks &
Money Exchange
The peso is the national currency, although US dollars are widely accepted in businesses throughout town. Major credit cards are also accepted in most establishments. Banks offer currency exchange during business hours, which are generally Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with a few offering at least morning service on Saturdays. Universal ATMs are widely available for cash withdrawals from global cash cards; money exchanges and hotels also offer currency exchange services 24 hrs. BUSINESS HOURS: Most shopping malls and stores are open 9:00 A.M. To 10:00 P.M. daily.
Proof of citizenship is necessary to cross the border into Mexico. A current passport will suffice. Upon arrival visitors are given a tourist card which must be turned in upon departure at the airport; at that time a departure tax is payable in US dollars or Mexican pesos. Many airlines now include this tax when ticketing, but check ahead to make sure.
There are some great questions in this Puerto Vallarta FAQ web site)
What is that green/white piece of paper I received when entering Mexico?
The green and white (FMM) piece of paper you are given when you enter the country is your Tourist Card, and it's very important that you don't lose it. You can get another, but the process is a pain, and you'll spend too much of your vacation in government offices and line-ups. Keep it in a safe place until you leave, along with your passport and other documentation, preferably a hotel security box. If you can't find it on the way out you might be fined (more details in the passport section).)
Local Transport
Frequent and numerous buses service many routes on the town’s streets. They are identified by number and prominent signage (“Centro” for Downtown) but most easily by color: the blue colored buses run the route from Marina Vallarta to downtown. Fare is approximately $.50 cents US, which makes it the most affordable transporta- tion available (6 a.m. till approx. 11 p.m. daily).
Local Transport
Taxis are available all around the city (with a fleet of over 1,000 licensed taxis). They are not equipped with meters but instead charge by zones. They charge a minimum of
approximately $3.50 US and a set amount of approximately $1.50 US for each zone crossing. Therefore if you travel from downtown to Marina Vallarta you would be crossing 3 zones and the fare will be approximately $8.00 US. Tips are included in the fare.
Arrivals and departures
The Gustavo Diaz International Airport (code PVR) is located 4 miles north of downtown Puerto Vallarta. There are frequent taxi or van transfers from the airport at reasonable rates. Pay at the taxi booth and you will be assigned to a taxi/van that will take you to your destination
Air Services
Puerto Vallarta’s newly renovated and expanded Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport is well connected to North America’s main gateways. Its modern and spacious installa- tions double the number of available jet bridges for enhanced passenger comfort and moving walkways connect it to the main terminal. New and improved immigration facilities as well as an updated baggage claim system also allow for quicker arrivals formalities. The new satellite building also houses exclusive open spaces for art and photography exhibits by local artists. Year-round and seasonal service is provided by different airlines in addition to numerous seasonal charters.
Check List For Travel:
Before You Leave
- Make sure you have what  documents you need ex: Passport, Birth Certificate & Drivers License, Visas & Health Documentation (did you need vaccinations?)
- Air, Cruise, bus, train etc tickets, (Confirm at least 2 days before you departure in case of any time changes)
- Check Hotel and car reservations as well at least 2 days before leaving
- Did you buy Local Currency for the country you are visiting
  • Guide books, maps, directions if any printed out. 
  • Check voltage for country visiting (bring a voltage converter if you need one) 
- Credit Cards - contact credit card companies and the bank to let them know of your destination and where you are traveling.
  • Leave copies of itinerary with friends or relatives along with your credit cards numbers your passport number or what ever ID you are carrying (photocopies of all documents is a good idea to leave with relatives or someone you can trust.)
  • If you have a Block Watch or Neighbour Hood Watch program it would be wise to let the captain of your group know you are going to be away. 
- Stop newspaper, arrange for house to be checked for insurance purposes
Mail to be picked up if you have an outside mail box
- Lawns mowed & plants watered, Snow cleared.
-Turn heat down or off if the weather is warm, lock all doors and windows, 
  • Unplug all appliances that can be un-pluged, (exceptions would be freezer, sub-pump etc) 
  • Clean out all perishable food items in fridge.
  • With thanks to Orchard Park Travel, Kelowna. BC, for some of the above tips.
  • More Next Month

Time Share for Rent - Vacationing for a week or more, Think about renting a time share instead of staying at a hotel. Let us know where you are going and we will see if we have a time share available for you. No obligation. Contact us at

Artist of the month
Joe Smith, Union Bay, Vancouver Island, BC
 Pacific Shores - Acrylic 30" x 40" 
Joe Smith is a professional fine artist whose works can be found in both private and corporate collections in Canada and abroad. His art background began in Montreal, Quebec where he studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. From there he moved on into the business world working as a staff artist at the Montreal Gazette.
His job there involved the creation of ads for retailers as well as providing illustrations for news and feature stories. From The Gazette he was promoted to creative co-ordinator at the Southam Newspapers head office in Toronto. Continuing his climb up the corporate ladder he took on an executive position at The Hamilton Spectator.
In 1996 he decided to leave the corporate world and get back to his roots as a fine artist. In 2002 he moved to Vancouver Island to set up a studio and gallery in Union Bay.
He paints in a realistic style in both watercolour and acrylic. Focusing on landscape and seascape scenes he describes his work as capturing moments in time. Philosophically he says that his paintings are designed to help conjure up fond memories or simply get the viewer to take time to contemplate the grandeur that surrounds us.
His gallery is open to the public and examples of his work can be viewed his website.                

Joke of the Month
(This was actually reported by a teacher)

After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school.
One child wrote the following:

We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa.
They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Batemans Bay where everyone lives in nice little houses, and so they don't have to mow the grass anymore!
They ride around on their bicycles and scooters and wear name tags because they don't know who they are anymore.
They go to a building called a wreck centre, but they must have got it fixed because it is all okay now. They do exercises there, but they don't do them very well.
There is a swimming pool too, but they all jump up and down in it with hats on. At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts!
Nobody there cooks, they just eat out.
And, they eat the same thing every night --- early birds.
Some of the people can't get out past the man in the doll house. The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked centre for pot luck.
My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too.
When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house. Then I will let people out, so they can visit their grandchildren.

Thanks to Elaine for this joke.

I will be glad of any comments or corrections or if you wish to see something that is of interest to you please let me know. Thanks, Rhoda
“If you liked this newsletter then please pass it on”
Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, BC
1 250 338 6334 / 1 866 517 2113
blog: http:// 

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