Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Family vacations buoy cruise ship popularity

Family vacations buoy cruise ship popularity
Cruising for years has been one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry — the fastest by some measures. Since 1980, the number of people taking a cruise has risen by more than 7 percent per year. What’s behind the growth, and can it continue at a similar pace?

USA TODAY assembled five of the industry’s top executives in Miami earlier this month for a roundtable discussion on the topic: Adam Goldstein, CEO of Royal Caribbean International; Dan Hanrahan, CEO of Celebrity Cruises; Gerry Cahill, CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines; Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line; and Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line.

With the exception of Celebrity Cruises, the other lines are key components of Port Canaveral’s thriving cruise industry. Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean are basing some of their biggest, most technologically advanced ships at Brevard’s port, which is among the busiest cruise ports in the U.S.

The port now hosts three 4,000-passenger ships and millions of annual cruise customers.

Q:What’s driving the growth in cruising, and can it continue?

Goldstein: You get a mix of benefits that you don’t get anywhere else, and people are gradually discovering that … in terms of the entertainment value, the service … the ability to see multiple destinations on a single voyage without having to pack and unpack all the time. Because it’s not an easy thing to sample, it's taken us longer probably than we would all have liked (to gain acceptance), but slowly, but surely … we’re penetrating the vacation population.

Q:Even with the rapid growth, 4 out of 5 Americans have never been on a cruise. For those would-be first-timers, make the case for cruising.

Hanrahan: The quality of the service and the experience, and the variety of experiences that you can have on board (from) dining to entertainment to activities, is just so much broader than most hotels could ever offer. (Also) it’s easy. People are so busy these days, and (with a cruise ship) you walk on and, from there, things are taken care of.

Cahill: If you go to most land-based vacation spots, they’re selling a room. We don’t sell rooms. What we're selling, or creating, is a vacation experience. When the guest goes home, they go home with memorable experiences, whether it’s a simple little thing like a family going back to their cabin after dinner at night and seeing a towel animal on the bed.

Q:What are the most common misperceptions about cruising?

Sheehan: One is (that cruising is for) an older demographic. Each of the brands has really done a good job of trying to show that this is meant for every demographic. For instance, with (Norwegian Cruise Line's new ship) the Epic, with the introduction of (such entertainment as) the Blue Man Group and Cirque Dreams and Howl at the Moon and Second City, we're showing this is really something for (a wide age range).

Q:Is seasickness holding back some of these 4 out of 5 Americans who have yet to try a cruise?

Cahill: I think price is a bigger issue. People have a perception that cruising is expensive, and they're comparing us to a hotel. What they don’t realize is the cruise price includes all the food (and) all the entertainment on board, and we go to all these great places. If they were to compare it (in an apples-to-apples way) to a comparable land-based vacation, the land-based vacation is probably more expensive.

Holz: One of the misconceptions that exists (for) Disney Cruise Line is it’s all kids, all families, and they’re all over the ship, and there's nothing for adults. We work hard to ensure there (are) adult options.

Q:One area that really has taken off is family cruising. How has that affected the way you design ships?

Cahill: I have two daughters, (and) what I quickly learned is when you’re going on vacation, whether or not you enjoy that vacation is dependent on whether or not your children enjoy that vacation. If it bombs for the kids, you’re toast. We very much gear our products now to provide a great experience with the kids. We all have (kids) clubs and activities, and we have these ropes courses and the water parks and things like that.

Holz: I was talking to some guests recently on a ship, and they were complaining because they never saw their children (due to all the activities). (Disney) is first an entertainment company, and so the way we think about things comes from how do we tell the story. So, obviously, the content that we have (at Disney) we put into play (on the ships), whether it's classic movies, contemporary movies or the latest from Disney Channel.

Source: http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20110927/BUSINESS/309270008/Family-vacations-buoy-cruise-ship-popularity

Also made a visit to Florida villas

Monday, September 26, 2011

Australians the world's biggest spenders on holidays

Australians the world's biggest spenders on holidays

AUSTRALIANS are the world's biggest spenders on holidays and the UK is still our preferred destination, a new survey has revealed.

Aussies forked out an average of $3715 a trip, almost double the global average spend on holiday of $1507, according to Visa's latest Global Travel Intentions Survey.

And they're not expected to ease off, with the research predicting travel budgets will remain above $3562 for the next two years.

The global average spend, meanwhile, is only expected to rise to $1928.

Despite the gloomy economic outlook, Australians plan to make at least three international trips between now and 2013, the survey revealed, and intend to spend an average of 16 nights on their next holiday.

The UK remains the most popular destination, with almost a third of Australian respondents (30 per cent) earmarking it as a likely holiday spot in the next two years.

"Of those who want to visit the UK, 27 per cent said they are likely to attend a sporting event," Visa's Ross Jackson said.

"The upcoming London 2012 Olympic Games could be a pull factor and it is an indication that sport tourism is proving to be a growing attraction for today's travellers".

The US ranked a close second (26 per cent), followed by New Zealand (21 per cent).

The survey of almost 12,000 people across 23 countries also found that almost half (47 per cent) intended to arrange their trips themselves by booking directly with hotels and airlines.

The internet has become the preferred travel research tool, with 55 per cent choosing it over more traditional means.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/australians-the-worlds-biggest-spenders-on-holidays/story-e6frfq80-1226147518648

Also have visit to Florida villas

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good News For Travelers With Disabilities

Traveling with a disability may become a little bit easier.

Earlier today the Department of Transportation proposed a regulation that would require airline Web sites and automated airport kiosks to be accessible, and a new federal rule announced last week strengthens protections at train station platforms.

Under the proposed air travel rule, airlines would be required to make their Web sites accessible over a two-year period, and ensure that their ticket agents do the same. If passed, the requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers with Web sites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United States. Small ticket agents would be exempt, according to the Department.

“I strongly believe that airline passengers with disabilities should have equal access to the same services as all other travelers,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement released today of the proposed rule.

In addition, airlines and airports that use automated kiosks for services such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags would have to ensure that any kiosk ordered 60 days after the rule takes effect is accessible. This requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers and U.S. airports that own, lease or control automated airport kiosks at U.S. airports with 10,000 or more annual boardings.

The proposed regulation is an important step, said Eric Lipp, executive director of the Open Doors Organization, a nonprofit group in Chicago serving people with disabilities. “I’ve never met an airline that hasn’t wanted an accessible Web site. It just comes down to money.” The exorbitant expense, he said, has precluded the airlines from developing sites, even though the technology is readily available. “People want to see Web sites be accessible. Isn’t it overdue?”

Open Doors estimates that people with disabilities spend about $15 billion annually on travel.

And with the growing population of aging baby boomers, the number of people with disabilities in the United States is expected to increase.

But while technology for accessible kiosks exists, the kiosks themselves have not been manufactured and are not yet available in the marketplace, so providing them will be a much greater challenge.

Currently, the Department of Transportation requires that carriers make discounts available to passengers who cannot use inaccessible Web sites and must make telephone or in-person reservations. Also, if passengers with disabilities are unable to use the kiosk because it is not accessible, carriers are required to provide equivalent service, such as having an airline employee assist in operating the kiosk.

The proposal is the latest in a series of rules to implement the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), originally issued May 2008.

The new rail station rule is intended to give passengers better access to intercity, commuter and high-speed train travel across the country.

“By putting this protection in place, passengers with disabilities will be able to get on and off any accessible car that is available to passengers at a new or altered station platform.” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement issued late last week by the Department of Transportation, which is amending its Americans with Disabilities Act regulations (ADA).

Amtrak has been proactive in recent years in making train stations in large cities ADA compliant, said Lipp, the Open Doors executive, but the smaller, often privately owned stations, have often been slow to implement change.

"I think this law will put pressure on the small stations to get this done."

To learn more about the rail station rule, view: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-23576_PI.pdf. For more about the accessible Web site and kiosk proposed rule, visit: www.regulationroom.org.

Also visit : Florida villas

Travel Guide to Orlando, Florida - USA

Also Visit : Florida villas

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Experts declare the world's best amusement parks in 2011 competition

Experts declare the world's best amusement parks in 2011 competition
And the winner is: Cedar Point!

The honor will come as no surprise to diehard amusement park fans who track these things, seeing as the Sandusky, Ohio, park has ranked No. 1 in the annual competition since it began 14 years ago.

Sponsored by Amusement Today, a publication that covers the amusement and water park industries, the Golden Ticket Awards recognize the best parks in 25 categories as ranked by "experienced and well-traveled" fans who know their way around the amusement park world.

Winners include industry giants like Universal Studios and Disney, as well as family run enterprises like Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Ind.

Curiously, though the results were tallied from an international database of fans, according to Amusement Today, not a single non-U.S park landed on the "best" list.

The full roster of 2011 Golden Ticket Award:

Best Amusement Park – Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Best Waterpark – Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Children's Park – Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.
Best Marine Life Park – SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Seaside Park – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Best Wooden Coaster – The Voyage at Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Steel Coaster – Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Best Kids' Area – Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio
Friendliest Staff – Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Cleanest Park – Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Halloween Event – Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Landscaping – Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
Best Christmas Event – Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Food – Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Shows – Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Outdoor Night Show Production – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Walt Disney World's Epcot, Orlando, Fla.
Best Water Ride – Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best Waterpark Ride – Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Dark Ride – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Ride of 2011: Amusement Park – New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas
Best New Ride of 2011: Waterpark – The Falls at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Carousel – Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Indoor Roller Coaster – Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Indoor Waterpark – Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas
Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction – Noah's Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

Here's your chance to cast a vote. What's your favorite amusement park and why?

Source: http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2011/09/the-worlds-best-amusement-parks-/547884/1

Also visit: Florida villas

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Holiday villas in Florida

It’s no secret that Florida’s successful theme parks and attractions have assisted the state in earning the title of “Top destination state of 2011”. If asked to think of Florida, most people would visualise the highly acclaimed Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey Mouse or even Shamu but how and why did Florida earn its nickname as “The Sunshine State"?

Florida was discovered in 1513 by a Spanish explorer called Juan Ponce de Leon who pronounced the area “La Florida” (Flowery Land) in honour of Spain’s Easter celebrations “Pascua Florida” (Feast of the Flowers). However, a pivotal moment for Florida’s economy was in 1965 when Walt Disney announced plans for a new theme park in the USA to be named after him which changed tourism rates dramatically. Due to the happiness, fun and weather which the state provided, the nickname “The Sunshine State” slowly but surely began to take root.

Today, Orlando contains more than 12 major water and theme parks which are all of equal importance and not one should be missed! These include Disney’s magic kingdom, Sea World, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Wet ‘N’ Wild, Aquatica, and more. But how in this current economical climate can people afford a holiday to Florida? Perfect Getaways is offering a vast array of holiday villas in Florida for bargain prices such as Sunny side Villa, Penelope’s Paradise Villa and Ward Florida Villa and all are available directly from the owner, giving the best possible price.

However, there is more to Florida then meets the eye. For example, did you know that Walt Disney’s original theme park plans were to build the attraction on the Florida East Coast resort of Miami? Due to hurricane threats, however, Orlando was selected as a safer place for the park and all the subsequent holiday homes to be sited. Although not completely free from hurricane damage, the region is less at risk.

Miami more than makes up for its lack of theme parks with its high profile celebrity, fashion and music culture. Miami Beach and South Beach has long been the chosen destination for celebrities ever since Sylvester Stallone and Madonna bought holiday accommodation in the State in the 1990’s. Since then Miami has been painted as a picture of celebrity lifestyle in various television shows such as “The Hills” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians”. The top Miami clubs such as Cameo, LIV, and Mansion often see stars including Christina Aguilera, Eva Longoria and Bruno Mars walk through their doors. So if you fancy living the lavish lifestyle without the celebrity price tag, visit our website where you will find a wide range of properties to suit you.

Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/travel/perfect-getaways/8720547/Holiday-villas-in-Florida.html

Also visit : Florida villas