Monday, October 23, 2006

The Mail Buoy Episode 23

In our feature show this week we talk about accessible cruising. While we have a lot of great tips and things to keep in mind, the bottom line is that if you have accessiblity issues talk to your travel agent (us) and let the work with you to put together a cruise that will be able to accomodate your needs.

In addition by letting your travel agent know just what your needs will be, they (read: us) can make sure that the cruise line is ready for you when you arrive from embarkation. That includes reserving an accesible cabin, providing you with assistance at the pier during embarkation, accomodating special meal requirements, and insuring that vehicles with ramps and lifts are available at ports of call.

We also give a quick list of the most accessible ships, however you need to remember that cruise ships (as well as foreign countries) aren’t bound by the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means that some ships are less accessbile than others. Over the last several years ADA complaint designs and buildings have become quite common, however once you get outside the US you’re likely to run into fewer ramps and other devices commonly used to make public areas more accessible.

Just a reminder, there won’t be a show for the week of October 30 or November 6. We’ll be onboard Vision of the Seas on a working vacation. Expect to see pictures and a review of the ship and itinerary when we return.

You can find the show in iTunes, or head over to the Cruise Planners site to download the show or play it right in your browser and don't forget to check out the Deal of The Week!

Just when you thought it was safe....


Nessie inspired me to make these for you!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Mail Buoy Episode 22

I'm not sure why we haven't been talking more about our weekly show over here. There's no reason why you guys should get left out! If your unfamiliar with our show we do two a week with the first show of the week always our cruise news podcast.

This week we have a small handful of stories for you including:

Remember this is your last chance to get in on the Seasocks group at the special group rate. We’re running a waiting list that we are hoping to be able to clear. After that waiting list closes, we’ll have to book you onboard at the current rate offered by Royal Caribbean. Call us right away at 888-286-9827!

As a reminder there won’t be a show for October 30 or November 6. We’ll be onboard Royal Caribbean’s Vision of The Seas and will have limited access to the internet. Expect lots of pictures to be added to the photo gallery and a review of the ship as well when we get back.

As always you can find the show in iTunes, or head over to the post on The Mail Buoy to download the show or play it right in your browser by clicking on the appropriate link.

Episode 23 will go online sometime tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Did you know...

I am getting some calls with questions, and I thought I'd do a quick bullet point list to let everyone know. As always, if you have questions, let me know --either e-mail me OR call

  • There is one formal night on our cruise. No one is expecting ballgowns, but if you wish to dress up that would be the night to do it. Also, note that jeans, tank tops, and swim wear will not be acceptable dress at dinner, even on casual nights.
  • If you NOT flying home from Vancouver, you currently will not need a passport to travel on this cruise. However, I have to say, I still recommend one anyway.
  • I am going to be out of town beginning October 27th. I have someone covering the phones in my office, but e-mails will be waiting for me when I return. If you have anything urgent, please call -- Gail is helping me out and she's wonderful. I will get back to you when I return.
  • I do a podcast everyweek? It is on cruising and destinations, but I thought you guys might be a little interested in it. You can find it here.

What else am I missing?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sold Out!!

Yes, you heard/read me right. We are full. We have sold every SINGLE cabin Royal Caribbean has given us to sell. We have one LARGE group of knitters. And since I've spoken to most of you on the phone, I know which cabins are the party cabins and who the "serious" knitters are.

We are now currently sold out! Wow. You guys are amazing! And thank you all for helping me with the computer conversion. I'm almost through all of your corrections (I took the holiday weekend off to spend time with the family). Since I was split on if champange or cookies appealed more -- you are all getting BOTH. Hey, what is better than drinks AND cookies? But, I hereby announce I'm not responsible for any dropped stitches or mis-crossed cables because of sugar highs or champagne buzzes. Ok? Glad we all understand.

Back to being SOLD OUT. Here's the thing, I'm not one who wants anyone to miss out if they want to join us. So, I spoke to my friends at Royal Caribbean. Provided I begin a wait list TODAY and run it for a month and one month only, they are willing to work on a first come - first serve basis to get as many folks on the ship as possible. (Basically, I get one shot to tell them how many more cabins we need and I can not be high or low in this count.) But as with all wait lists, there are no promises -- but Royal Caribbean is going to try to help us. The ship itself is filling up, so if they have the space you will have a cabin.

So, this is going to be how this works. I am taking e-mail requests to be put on the Wait List at seasocks AT Gmail DOT com ---- please note the AT=@ and DOT = . You MUST include in your e-mail, your name, the category cabin you are looking for (inside, outside, balcony), and your phone number. I will e-mail you back with your number on the wait list; if you don't get an e-mail back from me within 24 hours -- bug me, e-mail me again, or call me. I assure you, that before Thanksgiving we will know how deep in the wait list we can go. I hope this makes sense. However, once that last group of cabins is alloted, there will be no more space available.

If you are worried that you made a reservation and don't know if you "REALLY" are with the group. Just e-mail me and I'll confirm. I can say this, if you have seen ANY confirmation e-mail, old system or new system, you are in the group. I've still got a few more confirmations in the new system that I'm working on fixing or getting out. But if you have any questions, I'm happy to help.

Finally, if you happen to be the person who made a reservation online this weekend, it did NOT go through. Please e-mail me directly and I'll take care of you, I just have no information on you and thus can not contact you. Please accept my apologies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Passports, the Question

Ok, this is complicated, and I'm sorry. If you are confused, feel free to write to Congress as it is all their fault. :)

Here's the deal.

The current rules are that to travel to the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico you need only a birth ceritificate instead of a passport. However, shortly after September 11th, Congress passed the first law that stated by January 1, 2006 passports would be required for ALL international travel. Late in 2005, the target date was moved a full year out to January 1, 2007. For the past year, I've been telling all clients "Get your passports now, folks."

Then last Friday (late in the day before the break for elections), Congress passed a new bill that changes everything again. (Currently this bill is waiting for President Bush to sign, so it is not 100% official -- but I have serious doubts he'll not sign it.) So the new rules separate air travel from land and sea travel. The basics are you need a passport for all AIR entries into the US from any international location, beginning January 8, 2007. (This means, if you are FLYING home from Vancouver, get your passport NOW.) Currently, sea entries into the US will not need a passport until mid-year 2009 or when State Department gets a new "PassCard" system up and running, whichever comes first. Land entries are not requiring passports until January 1, 2008. This is where it is confusing. IF you are taking the train or bus down to Seattle to fly home (remember those cheaper flights?), you will not (provided Bush signs the bill) need a passport. If you are flying home from Vancouver, you will. If you are Canadian, NONE of this applies to you :)

Short version? Get a passport if you don't have one. They are easy to get, good to have, and you can stop following the moveable dates of the passport rules.

So, how? Go to; print out an application; follow the instructions. Pretty simple right. You'll need 2 passport size photos and $97 for the passport itself. Adult passports are good for 10 years, children's are good for 5.

Anyone else confused?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Invoices and Statements

Have you been missing me? Oh, the places I've been....actually, no. I've had my nose stuck in my computer for about three weeks now. I've completely changed computer systems and the process may drive me to drink --- which does not aid in my goal to reduce errors in my knitting. Thus this is where you come in.

Over the next few hours, I'm working on sending everyone an e-mail. This e-mail contains an attachment which hopefully is the latest version of your Sea Socks Reservation.

Here's the thing. I recently upgraded my software. (Oh the pains of this process -- I promise not to bore you with all the details.) In the process, I tried to make sure that everything transferred correctly, but I fear as this was entirely manually and I'm entirely human, there are errors. These are JUST ERRORS in my system, nothing that would cause a problem to your ACTUAL reservation. However, if we don't catch it now, I am concerned it may cause my final lists to be wrong in the end --- which no one wants, right?

Please when you get your e-mail, take a minute and double check that everything looks right to you. Of particular concern to me is the add-ons (shore excursions, insurance, pre- and post- cruise hotel information, and that it states you are looking for a roommate if you told me you are). If something is wrong, looks odd, or isn't how you'd like it in the final version, please either e-mail me or call. I'd rather iron this all out now and not face any surprises as I shut down my old "system" (which I hesitate to admit may or may not be a series of post-it notes and sheets of paper.)

I appreciate you all helping me proof this new system and your patience in the process. To that end, for helping me out with this little proofing process, I'll add a welcome aboard gift to everyone's stateroom!!! (I'm thinking either cookies or champange --- if you have an opinion, and who doesn't, let me know)

And if you DON'T get an e-mail and are expecting one --- e-mail me or call ASAP. Give it until tomorrow to get through -- there are quite a few of you and one of me --- but still, I make everything right -- just help me know what that is.