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TheCruiseGenius with TheCruiseKid

I can’t tell you how many times that potential cruise clients will ask me, “If I get a bunch of people to cruise with me, can I go for free?” I’m here to show you how you can cruise for free, well, almost for free!

Nothing beats a cruise vacation, unless, of course, it’s a FREE cruise vacation. Be careful though, nothing in life is totally free! Unfortunately, the public has been mislead about that free cabin if you put a group together!

I’ve had many customers over the years that have earned their way just because they love cruising and are not afraid to talk about it. Cruise Lines will reward Pied Pipers with “almost” free travel just for bringing other friends and family along with them on their vacation. As a Group Leader, you can earn an “almost” free passage on a cruise as well.

Nothing in life is free! The More You Bring, The More You Earn

Here’s how it works… If you have enough people who are interested in taking a cruise together, then you can earn a “almost” free cruise. The cruise line will award a “almost” free “berth” for every so many cabins your group books. This can be as few as five cabins for longer Caribbean, Alaska and European sailings or as many as eight cabins for shorter cruises. There’s typically no cap on the number of “almost” free beds you can earn, so as long as you keep booking cabins, you group can keep earning “almost” free beds.

Here’s an example of the number of “almost” free beds you could earn if your group booked a 7 Night Caribbean Cruise:

  • 8 cabins (16 guests) traveling = 1 Free Bed (you still pay port fees and taxes!) 
  • 16 cabins (32 guests) traveling = 2 Free Beds (1 free cabin)
  • 24 cabins (48 guests) traveling = 3 Free Beds
  • 32 cabins (64 guests) traveling = 4 Free Beds (2 free cabins)
  • 100 cabins (200 guests) traveling = 12 Free Beds (6 free cabins)

Cruise Lines only award the value (base rate) of the cruise itself.

The group will have to pay for port fees and taxes for this “almost” “free berth”. 

Port fees and taxes can add up to hundreds of dollars!

So you see, nothing in life is free!

Here’s another great article about cruising almost for free from Forbes:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2019/03/09/how-to-take-a-cruise-for-nearly-free/#61ff83066c11

Email me at slara1961@gmail.com to book your cruise or all-inclusive resort vacation!

The post How to cruise for free, almost. appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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It’s ok, I’m here to help!

Many of us have been on many cruises, but all of us remember that first time! I wanted to share 5 cruise tips for first time cruisers that Costco, online discount travel sellers and your Uncle Joe who’s sailed around the world 100 times won’t tell you!

United States Passport
1. Bring proof of citizenship and a photo government id. (and have it in hand!)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in line at the cruise terminal hearing the person in front of me loudly complaining, “I wasn’t told I need proof of citizenship, here’s my drivers license, Chop, Chop!”
It’s probably true that Bill working at Costco didn’t mention it to you, but speaking as an experienced travel agent, I always tell my clients to be sure to have either their passport (preferably) and/or their birth certificate to show port officials before and after their cruise vacation. You will also need a valid picture government i.d. (drivers license).
Ever since 9/11, our government has stepped up efforts to ensure our cruises are safe and free from incident. Proper citizenship documentation is critical for any travel experience. Imagine if you get left behind at a foreign port of call? The only way to get home is probably by air, so a valid passport is truly your golden ticket to return to the USA!
No soup for you!

2. Expired passport and/or drivers license.

You’ve booked your 120 day world cruise! You’ve finished buying thousands of dollars in new clothes for the trip (I shop at Jos. A. Bank)! You’ve even purchased $1000 worth of new Samantha Brown luggage off of the Home Shopping Network!

Travel expert Samantha Brown!

So, you’re excited about trip, it’s about a week before you leave, and you decide to find your passport.

Boom! It expired 2 months ago!

Now what are you going to do?

My friends at FastPort Passport can help you out, but don’t delay! Tell them that The Cruise Genius referred you! https://www.fastportpassport.com/checkout/step-1;type=passport-renewal

Who loves Dr. Pepper?

3. Bringing beverages on board

Carnival is fairly liberal with their beverage policy. According to their website, “On embarkation day, each guest may bring a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages on board and only in their carry-on luggage. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 cans, 20 ounces each or less.”

On Carnival, you can also bring one bottle of wine per adult.
Don’t try to smuggle alcohol on the ship. It will be confiscated!
I’m special!
4.  Just because you are platinum, don’t think that your 100 family members sailing with you are also!
Here’s the dealio. I’m Platinum on Carnival. I’ve spent a lot of money to earn my Very Important Fun Person (VIFP) status. Yes, the other person in my cabin can share in my status before, after and during the cruise (with certain limitations), but anyone below Platinum level is out of luck! Granted, they can try to buy “Faster to the Fun”, but don’t try to tell the port officials, “I’m with Scott!”
Works every time!
5. Have a checklist 
You can spend a week packing and still forget something, and usually it’s something important!
If you have a checklist broken down by person, you will ensure you won’t forget important items.

Anyway, I hope that these tips will help new cruisers. If you haven’t booked your cruise (or all-inclusive) vacation yet, email me at slara1961@gmail.com. I’ll take care of you!

TheCruiseGenius with TheCruiseKid

The post 5 tips for first time cruisers appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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Freedom of the Seas

News reports are stating that an Indiana toddler is dead after falling from the 11thfloor of a cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to local news outlet Primera Hora.

The 18-month-old girl was vacationing with her family on Royal Caribbean’s “Freedom of the Seas” when the tragedy occurred.

One news report says the child was peeking out a window when she fell, yet other news outlets are stating that the grandfather of the toddler was dangling her over the side of the ship.

In any event, I can’t imagine the grief of this family.

Click on the link for more details: https://cruisecrazed.net/index.php/2019/07/08/toddler-dies-after-plunging-150ft-from-royal-caribbean-cruise-ship-while-being-dangled-out-of-window-by-granddad/

The post Indiana toddler falls to her death from 11th floor of Royal Caribbean cruise ship, reports say appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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John Heald, Carnival’s Brand Ambassador and Senior Cruise Director is currently onboard the Carnival Vista.

At approximately 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2nd, he posted the following on his Facebook wall

I can’t imagine being on a cruise ship and experiencing a power outage.

I’m certain the Captain and crew are doing their best to keep everyone safe, and to restore power as soon as possible.

*UPDATE Power has been fully restored as of 10:20 p.m.*

The post Carnival Vista experiencing problems appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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The Cruise Genius on WJXT Channel 4 in Jax

For many years, I branded myself as “scottlara1961” on social media. A few months ago, a friend of mine said that I should call myself, “TheCruiseGenius”. I’m glad I took his advice!

Check out my recent interview on WJXT, Channel 4 here in Jacksonville. I talk about cruise insurance, shore excursions and the recent news about the Dominican Republic.

For your next cruise, or all-inclusive vacation, shoot me an email at slara1961@gmail.com with the details of when you want to enjoy your trip!

Should I buy Cruise insurance? - YouTube

The post The Cruise Genius on WJXT in Jacksonville appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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The Cruise Genius on WJXT Channel 4 in Jax

I always talk about hurricane season from a cruise perspective, but today I’m inspired to share about preparing now for hurricane season from a homeowners point of view.

Did you know that Lowe’s gives all veterans a 10% discount? Home Depot gives only certain vets discounts, so to avoid any hassles at the check out counter, I always go to Lowe’s (I’m a U.S. Navy veteran).

Here’s the link for vets to sign up at Lowe’s : https://www.lowes.com/mylowes/register?context=military

For years, my wife has been bugging me to buy a generator.

After a few weeks of doing research online, I bought a Generac 3600 model.

The Generac 3600!

Granted, it won’t power the whole house, but it will do a great job of keeping the refrigerator running, along with a fan, one or two lights, the tv and most importantly, my internet modem!

The other things I needed besides the generator were a few heavy duty extension cords (not cheap), a couple of gas cans, (again, not cheap), and spending some time watching YouTube videos about generators!

No matter how many videos I’ve watched, I still feel like I don’t know enough about using my generator during a hurricane.

My main concern is the loud noise.

MAKE GENERATOR 90% QUIETER... Fast and Easy - YouTube

Yes, I know that you can’t put your generator in the garage due to carbon monoxide, yet I also know that some people are concerned about their generator being stolen right out of their backyard!

Besides the generator, it’s important to stock up on your prescription medicines, batteries, bottled water and keep those mobile devices fully charged.

Protect important documents and pictures of your grandkids, fill up your bathtub with water (great way to fill up your toilet tank if the water/sewer system fails) and check on your elderly neighbors to make sure they are ok.

Lastly, make sure your cars are filled up with gas in case you need to beat feet fast, and have a “grab and go bag” to have on your way out the door (don’t forget your wife’s cosmetics and hairdryer!)

In case you’ve forgotten about how bad a hurricane can be, watch the video below!

Hurricane Michael makes landfall with 155 mph winds - YouTube

The post Prepare now for hurricane season appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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Doug Parker of Cruise Radio

There are more than a few blogs out there that cover the cruise industry (including The Cruise Genius), but I wanted to let you know of the top 3 cruise blogs you need to follow.

1. Cruise Radio

I met Doug Parker when we were both working at a local Jacksonville radio station. I was in sales and he was an on-air personality. Doug did an amazing job telling listeners to avoid traffic jams and he did it with gusto. One day I ran into him in the hall and he asked me to be one of his first guests on his show Cruise Radio. That was 10 years ago! Doug was one of the pioneers of podcasting (much like my mentor Gary Vanyerchuk @garyvee).

Cruise Radio continues to dominate by offering listeners cruise news, interviews and tips. Check out Cruise Radio here: https://cruiseradio.net/

2. Cruise Maven

As Sherry Laskin states on her website. “For over 25 years I’ve traveled the world by ocean cruise ships, river ships and trains. Along my journeys, I’ve visited some of the world’s most amazing destinations, tasted local cuisine, and discovered new traditions and cultures. I hope to inspire you to slowly explore our world and introduce you to the people, places and traditions I discover along the way. Travel slow, travel far, always have a fabulous meal and a glass of wine along the way!”

Check out the Cruise Maven by clicking here: https://cruisemaven.com/

3. Cruise Addicts

Cruise Addicts is another great blog to follow that gives its audience great cruise information. John Shallo founded Cruise Addicts in 1999 and continues to provide great content. I’ve run into John several times and it’s always great to see online folks in person!

Click here to go to Cruise Addicts: https://cruise-addicts.com/

All 3 of these cruise bloggers have inspired me to share my passion of cruising online, YouTube and on my television interviews.

Check out their content when you get a minute and tell them The Cruise Genius says hi! 

The post Top 3 Cruise Blogs you need to follow appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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Elvis is on the ship!

While it’s not a full-ship charter, Cruising with the King is an Elvis tribute experience you will never forget!

Click on the link for all the details!

http://www.cruisingwiththeking.com

The post Cruising with The King appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Voyages

Cruise Industry News is reporting that Virgin Voyages has tapped Spice Girls star Geri Horner to test out its RockStar suites.

“With only 78 RockStar Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, among them are 15 Mega RockStar Suites, named the Massive Suites, Fab Suites, Posh Suites and Gorgeous Suites.

Virgin Voyages will also now have a dedicated hair and makeup crew available for them upon request.

In addition, guests in the 78 RockStar Suites will get all-inclusive access to premium drinks in all bars and eateries onboard, plus a free personalized bottomless in-room bar and premium WiFi. There will also be complementary sa access and laundry service.

There will also be “the option to curate bespoke activities in any port-of-call, tailored to fit individual needs and requirements. Be it foodie experiences or private tours of local landmarks, no ask is too big for the RockStar Agents. RockStar Agents will tend to their rockstar rider list, digging up whatever their heart may desire to make their voyage perfect– all red gummy bears, an electric guitar and beyond,” according to a press release.

The new offerings will complement the robust existing benefits of all RockStar Suite Sailors, which include:

  • RockStar Agent support from time from time of booking, to sail away and throughout the voyage
  • Backstage access at every corner, with early access to onboard entertainment, restaurants, Shore Things and more
  • Luxe private transfers to and from the ship in Miami
  • An exclusive express pathway to the ship during embarkation
  • Access to Richard’s Rooftop – RockStar Suite Sailor’s very own VIP private club, a secluded place for them to bask under the sun or have a drink under the stars
  • Access to an exclusive VIP area at The Beach Club at Bimini
  • A fully stocked in-room bar with the first round on the house
  • Wardrobe team to help unpack and repack
  • Complimentary pressing service
  • Nightly express swimsuit drying service
  • Premium linens and a plush European king bed
  • Upgraded bath amenities for pampering”

Click on the link below for the full story from Cruise Industry News including video:

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/21102-spice-girls-star-tests-out-virgin-s-rockstar-suite-offerings.html

The post Spice Girls Star Tests Out Virgin Voyages RockStar Suite Offerings appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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The Master of the Vessel!

Travel Pulse and other media outlets are reporting that Virgin Voyages has revealed their first Captain.

Virgin Voyages tells us, “The only thing that is going to limit you is your own imagination. A piece of advice Captain Wendy Williams’ parents gave her when she was a child, that she’s always held close. “Their message was that you can do and be anything you imagine,” she adds, “and I’ve always believed in that. You don’t have to be limited by anything.”

As it turns out, they were right. Her imagination was vast, focused and driven, guiding her through a successful dream career at sea, where only under three percent of the world’s mariners are female. That journey has led her to this moment, as she takes on the first captain role for Virgin Voyages’ premier vessel, Scarlet Lady, making her the first Canadian woman in history to captain a ship for a major cruise brand.

“If you’re the heart of the ship and your heart’s in the wrong place, then you’re not going to have a good ship. I’ve always been known as the captain with a heart.” she says about her approach to her new role, “I intend to be the best captain I can be and love every moment of it.”

Born in Sept-Iles Quebec, on the Northeastern Coast of Canada, Captain Wendy is certainly no newcomer to the sea. She has spent the larger part of the last three decades on the water, in different capacities. “I’m pretty sure I have sea water in my veins,” she says about her upbringing.

Commercial fishing was her first career at sea, starting out as a deckhand, then an observer and eventually working in all capacities, for her own vessels. During that time she became enamored with the sailing of the ships themselves and began to move in that direction.

She credits that background with giving her the confidence she has today. “Fishing brings you very close to the weather and how it changes,” she said, “I’ve learned a lot about reading the weather from being on a fishing vessel.”

After battling that very grueling industry for about a decade, during which time she met her husband, they decided to go to school together at The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Pacific Marine Training Institute, located in North Vancouver. Soon after Captain Wendy began her cruise ship career, still only one of very few women in the industry at the time. Though she has captained many vessels in her career and was a Staff Captain for 6 of her 15 years in this industry, this Virgin Voyages role will be her first time mastering her own cruise ship.

“I think we’re making amazing strides now,” says Captain Wendy about women in mariner roles. “When you walk onto the bridge you don’t have a gender. You’re a Mariner. You’re an officer, this is what you do. This is what we do together. There should be no bearing on what our gender is. And that’s the kind of bridge that we are going to have. There’s no space in our day to have gender bias.”

Captain Wendy says her primary focus at Virgin Voyages will be on Crew. “While structure is of utmost importance for safety and order on a ship,” she adds. “I’m driven to embrace inclusivity and set an example that all people should be treated with respect and integrity.”

A deep love for the sea drives all she does, and she’s described a life at sea as her calling, “For me, the sea is my religion. It’s where I think. It’s where I have clarity. I’m not afraid of it and I’m respectful of it.” When this position with Virgin Voyages arose, she had been looking for a fresh perspective on the sea travel industry, which is why this partnership feels so destined, both for Captain Wendy and for the team at Virgin Voyages.

“The whole thing for me is that [at Virgin Voyages] we’re going to do it differently,” said Captain Wendy, noting that she was drawn to the brand because of a shared drive for treating the sea with care and respect.

“I’ve encountered people in my career who feel being kind and smiling is a sign of weakness, but I believe it’s my greatest strength,” she says about her thoughtful approach to all she does. “I have to care about everyone and everything. I’m the Captain.”

Click on the link below for the full story from TravelPulse.com

https://www.travelpulse.com/news/cruise/virgin-voyages-announces-new-itineraries-first-canadian-female-captain.html

The post Virgin Voyages reveals female Canadian Captain of the Scarlet Lady appeared first on The Cruise Genius (Scott Lara).

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