Sunday, 10 January 2016

15 Day Cruise to Hawaii on the Grand Princess

 Newsletter - Dec.  2013

Vol. 2,  Issue #7

        Travel & Cruise News and Items of Interest
               A Newsletter from Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC
                       Business Opportunity:
                       A Pictorial View of the Comox Valley Blog: 

Hawaii here we come. Hawaii has a been on our bucket list for a couple of years and while studying for my Princess Commodore yearly exams I came across a mention of a 15 day cruse to Hawaii with a visit to each of the four ports that the cruise ships can enter.   It is on the Grand Princess with five sea days going and five sea days coming back, round trip from Vancouver, BC, a distance of 2, 703 miles As we love to just lounge on the ship the sea days will suit us just fine.  The price was great and it did not take us long to secure an interior cabin.  We have been in a balcony cabin on two of our cruises and barely used the balcony, certainly not worth the extra cost, at least for us.  We leave the cabin in the morning and usually only return to change clothes or to sleep.  There are always activities to attend and watch folks having fun doing what we wish were hd the courage to attempt.  We have not been on a cruise for a couple of years and were due to go.  Admittedly the cruise is not until next October but the time will soon pass and we will have something to look forward to. 
We thought about going to one of the islands for a vacation and then decided a cruise would give us an idea of the different areas that comprise Hawaii.  We have a full day at most of the ports. If we like a particular Island then we can always come back for a vacation and spend a few days or a week or more.  
If any one would like more information on this cruise please contact me at


The following information & pictures are from the 
Princess Cruise Line web site.

The 4 ports we will be stopping at:

Kauai (Nawiliwili), Hawaii

The fourth largest island in the Hawaiian group, Kaua'i is known as the "Garden Island." The terrain ranges from the volcanic slopes of Mt. Waialeale and the desert-like beauty of Waimea Canyon to the Wailua River's lush Fern Grotto. Ironically this once isolated island was the site of the first meeting between Europeans and Hawaiians. On January 19, 1778, Captain James Cook anchored his ships off the mouth of the Waimea River, becoming the first in a long line of enthusiastic visitors.

Kaua'i was never conquered by the great warrior King Kamehameha.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Home to nearly half a million people, Honolulu is Hawaii's state capital and only major city. The city of Honolulu and the island of Oahu offer a wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions. Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head are two of the city's enduring symbols. Pearl Harbor, site of the USS Arizona Memorial and the "Punchbowl," are haunting reminders of the tragic events of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor forced America into World War II. Honolulu is also home to the historic Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii's last royals. Beyond the city lie tropical rain forests, the Pali Lookout and the North Shore known for its surfing beaches.

A draw card to visitors of all ages, from all corners of the globe, Honolulu's appeal ranges from it's magnificent beaches, countless well-stocked shops, tempting restaurants and a multitude of historic, cultural and scenic attractions.

Maui (Lahaina), Hawaii
Maui has always occupied a special place in the hearts of Hawaiians. The great warrior King Kamehameha, who united the islands under his rule, chose to make Lahaina his capital and Ka'anapali was once the favorite playground of Hawaiian royalty. And no wonder - Maui boasts stunning landscapes and superb beaches. Mt. Haleakala, a dormant volcano, rises 10,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Once hailed as "The Valley of the Kings," Maui's Iao Valley is a tropical paradise dominated by the Needle, a volcanic monolith towering over the valley floor. Then there is Lahaina, once home to a royal court and a raucous port-of-call enjoyed by 19th-century Yankee whalers.

Haleakala means "The House of the Sun." To the Hawaiians, it appeared that the sun both rose from and set in the depths of its massive crater. Today, the centerpiece of Haleakala National Park, it is one of Maui's major attractions.

Note: Lahaina is an anchorage port. Transportation from ship to shore is via the ship's tender service.

Hilo, Hawaii
Welcome to the Big Island of Hawaii - a paradise of black-sand beaches, tropical rainforest and volcanic mountains. Mauna Loa, the largest mountain on the planet, soars above the bleak lava fields of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In the heart of the Big Island's lush rainforest lies the remote and stunning Wai'po Valley (Valley of the Kings). Hawaii's history matches its incomparable landscape - it is a saga of mighty Polynesian kings, sugar barons, war and treachery.

The landscape of the Big Island ranges from black-sand beaches to tropical rain forest to the alpine terrain of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. At 13,796 feet above sea level, the summit of Mauna Kea is the highest point in the entire Pacific basin.


Are Travel Agents Useful Anymore?
Posted: 11/18/2013
Up Dates from Grace McClure, Senior Writer, Flightfox

Throughout the changing landscape of all industries, one thing has remained amazingly untouched: the local travel agency. Sun-bleached Bermuda posters still adorn the walls, fax machines carry on purring their tinny tune, and atlases continue to be referenced during flight routing. Seemingly against all odds, these small businesses have remained intact.
Walking to work, I noticed two local agencies within a few short blocks. If these small businesses could survive recessions, overcome a complete industry overhaul by the internet, and still pay rent, they must be on to something.
I decided to construct a mock trip to compare the price and experience when using a travel agent against the high-and-mighty internet -- a multi-city itinerary that could use some human manipulation. Online algorithmic searches often fall short when pulling up multi-city trips, so this is the exact kind of trip I wanted to test.
A Multi-City Experiment
My trip would visit Berlin and Reykjavik from Toronto in the first two weeks of February (dates being pretty flexible). I had smugly decided, in the words of Bob Barker, that if the price was right I'd book the flights, thinking that this would lend some authenticity to my face-to-face interactions.
Before hitting the streets in the hopes of meeting a real-life travel agent, I decided to make some calls. I called 10 travel agents throughout the city, and each time was met with vague questions and unenthused voices.
Regardless of this initial impression, all of the agents assured they would circle back with a quote by the end of the day. So, while waiting for an influx of phone calls and emails, I boldly hit the streets. I envisioned being met by agents with open arms; or at least be given a few travel pamphlets and stale mints.
15% Response Rate
By 6 p.m., I had virtually nothing. I had received only a few superficial quotes and one phone call.
What had gone wrong? Could these agents sense my lack of commitment? Why had the agents who pinky-sweared they would call me back not follow through? Isn't not returning a call completely defiant of the meaning of customer service?
From the few quotes I did receive, the total cost for my Toronto - Berlin - Reykjavik - Toronto trip ranged from $1,400 all the way up $3,000!
With these limited results, I opted to call a few larger travel agencies that have an online presence, but are heavily focused on delivering live customer-friendly service.
My best encounter was with Aussie-accented Luke from Flight Centre. Our conversation was over-floMy best encounter was with Aussie-accented Luke from Flight Centre. Our conversation was over-flowing with "awesomes" and "cools." His reassurance made me feel like yelling out my credit card and passport numbers from the rooftop.
The one thing stoping me: the price. His quote was $1,626.
Dare to Compare?
With a quick Kayak search online, my DIY flight itinerary came out at only $1,251.
This would mean a savings of $375 from Luke's price if I booked on my own. Sorry, but no one is $375 worth of charming. Couldn't there be a happy medium?
Hey, Price. I'd like you to meet someone special, Service.

Without having much travel agent success, I asked one of the most seasoned experts at Flightfox, a human-powered travel hacking platform, to take a look at my itinerary. After answering a few questions, she quickly came up with an itinerary.
Finding My Itinerary for 40% Cheaper
Her itinerary was the only one that deviated from the others. Instead of first flying into Berlin, her itinerary would take me straight to Iceland, then onto Berlin. After a week in Berlin, I would return back to Reykjavik for a few more days, and then catch my return flight back to Toronto. The Flightfox Hacker total came to just $855.
This is $545, or 40 percent cheaper than the best price I received from a travel agent, and $396 or 30 percent cheaper than my DIY itinerary.
What Does it All Mean?
According to Kelly Monaghan, long-time travel expert and author of Home-Based Travel Agents, "booking airline tickets is one of a travel agent's most difficult jobs." In fact, in his chapter "Booking Airlines," he actually uses the word "hassle" 10 times (not including synonyms).
The general gist: independent travel agents do not make enough money booking flights.
Instead, agents have carved out a place for themselves in booking package vacations, cruises, and luxury and VIP getaways. These bookings generally serve a smaller, but loyal niche group of customers.
In short, traditional agencies are still very much alive -- I saw them. However, they just aren't interested in me, or my petty flight itinerary.
Perhaps the answer to confidently booking travel lies in a hybrid system; a system that requires "man" to properly and creatively guide the "machine." In a contemporary setting, the operator of this machine may no longer be the travel agent, but the hacker.

Artist of the Month
Welcome to Brenda Calhoun Artworks
Quote for today:  “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso

Hello and welcome to my art blog…Brenda Calhoun Artworks
I am a realist painter (a wanna be impressionist – not easy for a detail oriented former bookkeeper) with over twenty years of painting experience. I paint still lifes, florals and tranquil scenes in acrylics, and occasionally in mixed media and watercolours. I like to experiment with attaching various papers – mulberry (rice) paper, kuji paper, etc. – on my painting surface to create texture.
  • See more at:

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

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Rosswin Travel,  
1 250-338-6334 / 1 866-517-2113
420 Harmston Ave, Courtenay, BC, V9N 2X2

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  1. a great & interesting newsletter, keep up the good work. looking forward to Hawaii.

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