What’s the best time to take a cruise ?

Anytime is the best time to take a cruise. It also depends on where you’d like to go. Some of the more exotic destinations are seasonal. For example, you can only cruise to Alaska between May and September; to Europe between April and November; to Bermuda, between April and October. The Caribbean is fantastic year round. You would want to cruise the Panama Canal between September and April.

Is cruising affordable and a good vacation value ?

Whether you are on a strict budget or want to spend a luxurious vacation, we have the cruise for you. Taking a cruise offers the best travel value for your money. The cost of your trip includes all meals and daytime activities, nighttime parties and entertainment. So for once, you’ll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. (Your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling. When is the most affordable time to take a cruise ?

Historically the best time for the least expensive rate will be from the end of August to right before Christmas. This does not include Thanksgiving or Christmas. Expect to cruise at rates that are better than 2-for-1 with reduced rates for 3rd and 4th passengers. If you’re looking for a senior citizen rate, a regional promotion, a past passenger promotion, or a last minute deal, you’ll likely find it during this period. Keep in touch with your Martin Travel agent for these rates. Where can I go ?

Wherever you want! We have cruises that visit practically every destination in the world. The Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Bermuda, Europe, Hawaii, the Greek Isles, the Orient, Australia, Tahiti, the Galapagos Islands, South America, India, the Panama Canal and more. You name it, we’ve got it. Are all ships and cruises fairly similar ?

Just as no two people are the same no two cruise lines are the same.There are cruise ships for those who do not want crowds and there are mega ships for those who love the excitement of casinos and crowds. Something for everyone. Our agents are experts at selecting the cruise for your preferences. I have never been on a cruise. Which is the best cruise line for me? This is a question we get many times, and the answer is – it depends. It’s like asking what is your favorite sport. The best cruise line for you might not be the best line for someone else because everyone has different priorities, interests, etc. Some of the things you need to consider are:

  • Price
  • Ships (age, size, accommodations)
  • Itineraries
  • Passengers (interests, ages, etc.)

Fortunately there is a lot of information. Your Martin Travel agent will be glad to help you. There are also cruising guides (library, book store); magazines (Cruise Travel); recommendations from friends; and one of the most important – the cruise brochure. Call or email us today for your Free Brochure. What’s there to do in port ?

Have you ever heard of duty free shopping? You can go off on your own and make your own tour. Or take a guided tour. Play golf or tennis. Learn how to windsurf Catch a record sailfish.Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. A cruise is the easiest way to see new destinations and meet new people. You never have to pack and unpack the destinations come to you! But I Don’t Want To Take A Tour!

On a cruise you are on your own, to do whatever you want to do. You can do what you want in port. You will either tender (small boat to shore) or dock. It depends on the port and how many ships are there. But if you tender it will usually be done quickly and efficiently. Just walk into town, or stay on the ship. You can have lunch on the ship – you can always come back, even with tender, they run all the time. If it’s an all-day tour, and they will usually include lunch. The half-day tours are timed to get you back for lunch (or leave after lunch). In the Caribbean and Alaska you certainly don’t have to take tours – but many people do and are quite happy with them. Ship tours are usually well organized and usually well worth the money. We know sometimes you can do it cheaper on your own, but remember that you are also paying for a guide, admissions, etc. Not to mention peace of mind – the ship won’t leave until all the tours are back. If you go on your own you may have to build in extra time to be sure you won’t miss the ship. Do cruise lines welcome families with kids?

35% of cruise vacations are booked by families with children. Most cruise lines make a special point of providing activities for youngsters, especially during school holidays. If your children enjoy swimming, games, movies, and the adventure of new places, they’ll love a family cruise. The common complaint we hear is “do we have to go home now?” In addition the children will cruise at a greatly reduced rate, making the parents even happier. What’s there to do at night?

When the sun goes down, the Ship really lights up. There’s dancing; live entertainment in nightclubs, discos and lounges; feature films; and parties with all your new friends. Most ships even have casinos. There are also many special events like the Captain’s Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, the Masquerade Parade, the Late Night Buffet. The night can go on as long as you want. Even until the spectacle of sunrise at sea. Best of all there is no charge for all this entertainment. Is cruising right for honeymooners?

Romance on the high seas, without a doubt this is what a honeymoon should be.Cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away (even under the stars) Most lines even provide special services for Sunday or Monday departures to welcome champagne and breakfast in bed. Most ships offer beds in double, queen, or king sizes, make sure your Martin Travel agent requests your preference. How do I book a cruise?

Simply request a proposal through email or call our toll free number and one of our enthusiastic, knowledgeable representatives will be glad to help you. We will help you pick the cruise that fits your vacation schedule, tastes, and budget; then make all the arrangements to get you from your doorstep to your stateroom and back. Why should I book with the Martin Travel Services?

There are a number of reasons to book with the Martin Travel. Among them: fast, courteous service with the best rates you will find. Martin Travel is in Fort Lauderdale. I’m in Chicago and I’ve never done business with you. How can I be sure you’re legitimate?

Very good question and one you should ask any agency you’re working with. We encourage you to contact the Better Business Bureau where you will find that we’ve had no complaints against us since our beginning. We’re a member of the Cruise Lines International Association, accredited with the Airlines Reporting Corporation, International Airlines Travel Network, and a partner with BTI Americas, the third largest travel company in the country. You may contact the cruise line that you are considering and ask them about us. We will be glad to give you any information that will make you feel comfortable with us. Why are your rates better than what my local travel agent is quoting me?

Top Producing Cruise Agencies have better buying power than most of the travel agencies across the country. Our rates are often better because we buy in bulk and we often we have group rates that your local agent does not have. We are informed immediately of special regional, last minute, and senior promotions. Our agents are trained to ask for the best rate on each booking. Is it better to book my cruise early or wait for a last minute discount?

Generally speaking it is much better to book early.The cruise lines will often lower your rate if a better promotion comes along after your book your trip. Some guidelines are listed below for when you should consider booking, but again what they really come down to is flexibility. Book early (at least 6 – 8 months in advance) if:

  • It’s an inaugural cruise
  • You want specific cabin, i.e.
    • suites or mini-suites.
    •  location (port, starboard, middle of the ship, bedding, etc.)
    •  handicapped
  • It is a unique itinerary (holiday, infrequent)
  • You’re not flexible with dates (honeymoon, vacation, etc.)
  • You need a cabin for 3 or 4 people
  • You need multiple cabins (family, group, etc.)

Book late if:

  • You have lots of flexibility (itinerary, dates), especially if only two people are cruising
  • You don’t care about the location of your cabin and you will take an inside cabin
  • You can drive to the port (and none of the other guidelines apply)
  • You feel it isn’t any fun unless you have lots of pressure 🙂

Most people book 8 months to as much as 18 months in advance. You can always cancel, but of course you have to lay out the money for the deposit. Refunds on deposits are slow, however, and may take up to two months. Can I book on short notice?

That’s what we are here for! Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of late cancellations. So, have your Martin Travel agent check or visit www.martintravelservices.com for periodic updates. But, to get exactly what you want in the way of ship, cabin etc. you should plan and book early. Most cruise lines also offer early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead. Then, just sit back and anticipate all the fun you’re going to have! Do the cruise lines have Senior Citizen Rates? Family Rates? Last Minute Discounts?

Martin Travel will post these rates as they become available on the Internet. They are usually available in the off peak booking seasons, right after the first of the year and between September and mid-December. Anyone can qualify for a senior rate provided one of the passengers in the cabin is 55 years old or older. These rate are usually $50 to $100 per person discounted. When a sailing is soft, the Family Rates are promoted. Cruise lines use these rates to fill the third and fourth berths on cruises. For example, the third and fourth person in a cabin may pay $499 per person on a typical seven night cruise. However, to help fill a ship, the cruise line may reduce this rate to $99 or even offer free passage to 3rds and 4ths. We will post these specials as well. Last Minute Discounts are less popular than in the past. Today, the cruise lines are trying to fill the ships with better early booking discounts like Royal Caribbean’s Breakthrough Rates and Carnival’s SuperSavers. They can now tell about three months prior to sailing if a sailing needs help. Either way, if you book early and the price comes down after putting down your deposit,the cruise line will often lower your rate to the new promotion. You’re always better off booking early. What about these rates I see in my Sunday newspaper? Why aren’t they ever available?

The rates you see in your Sunday newspaper in January are often for sailings during the most affordable week in the fall and on the shortest cruise. We can almost guarantee that when you do call that ship is sold out already. Furthermore, until this year, all rates were quoted without airfare and port charges. Martin Travel has never done that, we always quote the entire charge. It’s very misleading and we avoid such advertising. Should I buy cancellation insurance? Is it worth it? What does it cover?

Without insurance, you are taking a huge gamble. If you cancel after final payment, you will suffer penalties. There is no question about it. It could be $50 per person or could be the full cost of the trip. The cruise line doesn’t care if it was your life savings, if it was a heart attack, or a death. You will not get your money back after final payment without insurance.We recommend insurance to everyone. We don’t push it on anyone. But remember it is your money and if the unexpected happens you may lose all your money. Some things to consider:

  • Would losing the total cost of trip hurt?
  • Do you have family members who are ill or at risk of illness that if their condition turned worse you would abandon your travel plans? Young children or older family members?
  • Do you have a pre-existing medical condition?
  • Is your trip relatively expensive? Are you leaving the country for 10 days or longer?
  • Are at a point in your life where you are susceptible to accident or illness?
  • Have you ever experienced baggage delay or loss by the airlines?
  • Does your insurance cover medical expenses in a foreign country? Probably not?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider insurance. Insurance typically costs about 10% of your total trip cost and usually covers baggage, trip delay, trip interruption, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and more. The cruise lines’ insurance typically doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions but we have other insurance we sell to cover this situations. Ask your agent for a brochure explaining it in more detail? Is Insurance worth it? If you have to use it, definitely? But insurance also buys peace of mind, which is not a bad reason to have it either? How do I pay for my cruise? What are the deposit and final payment requirements?

We at Martin Travel always, always recommend you use a credit card to book your trip. . They’re convenient, they are safe, and you get extra protection for your vacation from your credit card company. But if you must, we will accept checks and certified checks payable to Martin Travel for payment. If you are booking your cruise early (outside of four months prior to travel) the cruise line typically requires a deposit ranging from $100 per person for a 3 or 4 night cruise, $200 – $250 per person for a 7 night cruise, and $300 or more for longer cruises. Your cruise must be paid in full at least 65 days prior to travel for most cruise lines (some require final payment even sooner). Your Martin Travel agent will discuss payment terms with regards to your particular cruise. You will get a comprehensive receipt for every payment and will receive a final payment reminder to keep you on top of your payments. If you would like to make periodic payments on your trip, you may do so provided all payments are completed prior to the final balance due date.