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100% Off! Sale” on select 3- and 4-day roundtrip Los Angeles, Princess Getaway cruises.  Book with me a qualifying voyage by October 31 and get 100% of your cruise fare back as a credit on a future 7-Day Princess cruise departing in 2013 or 2014.  

Qualifying voyages on Golden Princess: 

  1. 3-day, Monday, October 21, 2013 departure with Ensenada
  2. 4-day, Thursday, October 24, 2013 departure with Santa Barbara and Ensenada
  3. 4-day, Monday, October 28, 2013 departure with San Diego and Ensenada
  4. 3-day, Friday, November 1, 2013 departure with Ensenada
  5. 3-day, Monday, November 4, 2013 departure with Ensenada

So pull out that credit card, call me, gather your family & friends and get sailing!!!

Call me at (650) 906-6000 or e-mail me at lauren@aticket2travel.com, to get you booked TODAY!

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Ladies!  Ciao Bella Getaway Club

Mother’s Day Cruise May 9-12, 2014

Princess Cruise Line – Star Princess
3-Day Pacific Coast Cruise

Vancouver – Victoria – San Francisco

Perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day!!!

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day then on a cruise?  We’ll start out from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, to exquisite Victoria, BC and then sail along the Pacific Coast to San Francisco.  There is nothing more breathtaking than sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge!  This special cruise will make the perfect Mother’s day gift! 

Perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day Mothers, Daughters, Grand Daughters or any women who want to join us on this very special Ciao Bella Getaway cruise!

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Prices start at only $249.00* per person for all 3 Days!!!  Includes meals, ship’s entertainment, stateroom accommodations and so much more.  

 The staterooms on this special Princess Pacific Coastal Cruise are very limited and on a first-come basis.  A $100.00 per person deposit will hold your space. 

 

 For more information, or to book your cabin today, contact lauren@aticket2travel.com or call 650-906-6000. 

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*Please note that prices are listed per person, non-air cruise-only and based on double occupancy. Gov’t taxes and fees additional. 3rd and 4th person in stateroom rates may be available.

Ciao Bella Getaway Club is a division of Ticket To Travel – CST#101-000040 

To find out more about the Ciao Bella Womens Getaway Club at http://www.ciaobellagetawayclub.com/

Today I got the privilege to take a tour and inspect Princess Cruises renovated Grand Princess.  I sailed on her 11 years ago and I was looking forward to seeing her after Princess spent so much money to update her.   Overall, Princess Cruises…you have failed.

So what is the big deal about the removal of Skywalker’s lounge?  Passing off the extremely small One5 Nightclub as the solution…fails.  Perhaps a little sprucing up of the Princess Theater should have been placed into the budget?  It is small, dark and dingy!  Since we are talking about dingy…the kids club is sad.  Why would a kid want to spend 5 minutes in the small, dark and outdated play rooms?  Princess?!?!?  I think you forgot about the staterooms too!  With the exception of new sheets and a duvet, THEY LOOK TIRED AND WORN.  Don’t get me started on the old and dated tile in the bathrooms.  The only true upgrade to the rooms are the rather small and disappointing flat screen T.V.’s = fail!

I do have to admit that the new Atrium is quite lovely.  ****that’s all I got****

Alfredo's Pizzeria in the Atrium

Alfredo’s Pizzeria in the Atrium

I kept hearing today on how Princess Cruises is “Innovative.”  Huh?  10 years later, Princess is still hanging onto the “innovation” of having the “Movies Under the Stars.”  It’s a very large T.V.!  Whoopee Doo.  Then there’s the mention of “innovating” the concept of Anytime Dining.  Wrong – NCL did that first.  And, lastly the addition of specialty restaurants.  Yeah, every cruiseline has those.

Bottomline, there is reason Princess has not released a new ship in 5 years…They simply do not have the creative imagination to be truly “innovative” as their competitors in Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and even Royal Caribbean (The King of Innovation).   I saw a preview of the Royal Princess.  ****yawn****   The most exciting thing I learned today is that her God Mother will be HRH Dutchess of Cambridge – YAY Kate!

So Princess Cruises, continue to keep your die hard loyal to the end cruisers, I will be placing my client’s on cruiseships that really give them the full cruising experience for their money.

Super Bowl XLV to Star on Princess Cruises “Ultimate Big Screen”
Poolside Parties Offer Top-Deck Tailgating Combined with Dramatic Viewing Experience on Giant “Movies Under the Stars” Screens

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (February 3, 2011) — Football fans aboard all Princess Cruises ships around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy a super tailgate party at sea this Sunday February 6, with prime viewing of the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. The “Big Game” will be broadcast fleetwide to passengers, including viewing on the ships’ 300-square-foot super-size “Movies Under the Stars” screens.

Passengers will be able to follow the action between the AFC and NFC Champions, plus see the halftime show with a performance by the Black Eyed Peas. Fans can enjoy the game with an array of tailgate treats including specially prepared chicken wings, pizza, pigs-in-a-blanket and other game day “munchies,” plus beer specials.

“The Super Bowl has become one of the favorite special events we show on our Movies Under the Stars screens each year,” said Jan Swartz, Princess’ executive vice president. “Passengers can also enjoy the exciting halftime show, so we expect a festive party around our poolside big screens.”

Super Bowl broadcasts are planned for all ships in the Princess fleet, subject to satellite availability.

The Super Bowl is one of several special events shown on the Movies Under the Stars screens, which will also broadcast the Academy Awards on February 27. The giant LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed — offering cruise passengers a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater. In addition to regular movie showings, other special programs presented on the giant screens include sporting events such as the college football Bowl Championship Series, video game contests, a variety of event concerts, and even midnight showings of cult films such as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

So contact me today, to book your next Superbowl Party!

Last month I discussed the good, the bad & the ugly in regards to the Sea Princess.  Feel free to re-visit the post, but let’s just say I was less than impressed.

After having a telephone conference with my rep for Princess this morning, I think there might be hope for the Sea Princess after all!  She is going into dry dock in September for about 2 weeks.  Oh my, what in the world could this mean?…. Well, let me tell ya:

A new piazza-style atrium with an inviting street cafe atmosphere and a new dining option – The International Cafe which will serve up specialty coffees, fresh baked cookies, pastries, panini sandwiches and tapas;  an adults-only Sanctuary aka, the “pocket of tranquility” (see below for more details).  For the Staterooms – Flat screen TV’s; new mattresses; new bedding; and new lampsoms.  There will be a revamped menu in the main dining rooms. Of course new carpet paint and varnish, where needed.

For those moms out there who need a little get-away from cruising with the family, there is a place to hide –  The Sanctuary!   Guests will lounge amidst lush greenery, with the presence of gentle breezes, ocean waves, and softly piped-in spa music combining to further insulate the area with relaxation sounds.  Guests can relax on plush outdoor furniture including double loungers for couples (yes, bring the hubby along and check the kids into the Youth Program), as well as, deluxe chaise lounges and chairs. Passengers also enjoy the personal attention of Serenity Stewards in The Sanctuary, who are on hand to provide everything from a chilled face towel and Evian water atomizers, to a menu of healthy beverages and fare. Serenity Stewards also have personal MP3 players with noise canceling headphones available loaded with themed playlists focused on relaxation for those who want to escape with music.

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Guests can also refresh with a variety of special drinks and snacks created exclusively for The Sanctuary.  Each day Serenity Stewards will be on hand to offer guests an array of drinks and snacks.  Signature Sanctuary beverages include healthy smoothies, energy drinks, iced flavored waters and freshly made lemonade.  A menu featuring a selection of light bites such as refreshing fruit skewers, lettuce wrapped spring rolls, and spicy tuna pate with baked pita wedges will also be available through the Serenity Stewards.

Half-day passes for The Sanctuary are available for $10 per person, for 8 am to 12:30 pm or 1 pm to 5 pm.

So next year, when I stop on by and take a gander at her new fresh look, perhaps my review of her will be much better!

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Just when you didn’t think the wonderful dining experience on a cruise can get any better!   Princess Cruises now takes gourmet to a new level -Chef’s Table!   In putting together today’s blog, I found my tummy grumbling…

Designed as a unique treat for “foodies,” Princess Cruises has introduced a new Chef’s Table experience on select ships, and will expand the program across the fleet. Chef’s Table offers a select group of gourmands the rare opportunity to be welcomed into the ship’s galley to enjoy a full evening of memorable sights, tastes and conversation hosted by the executive chef.

While many passengers are able to enjoy galley tours during the quiet off-hours, the Chef’s Table experience takes interested diners behind the scenes during the height of dinner preparation where they’ll also enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a special multi-course tasting dinner paired with selected wines at a special table in the dining room. 

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The chef previews the details of the menu he created for that evening, and the group is welcomed to their special table in the dining room.

Here’s an example of what your dinner menu can be for the evening:

Hors d’oeuvres and Champagne in the Galley

  • Blue Crab Margarita with Avocado and Mango
  • Foie Gras Terrine on Toast, Apple Chutney
  • Fontina Mini Quiche with White Truffles
  • Buckwheat Blinis with Caviar and Creme Fraiche

Dinner, accompanied by Red and White Wine

  • Asparagus Risotto with Lobster Tail and Claws
  • Lip-Smackin’ Bloody Mary Sorbet (topped with a splash of Grey Goose Vodka)
  • Trio of Beef, Veal, and Pork Tenderloin on Medieval Spiked Flambe Roastie
  • Jus, Salsa Verde, Bearnaise Sauce, and Cafe de Paris Butter
  • Dirty Rice with Corn and Pine Nuts, Grilled Asparagus and Charred Cherry Tomatoes
  • Potted Stilton with Port Wine and Walnuts, Rosemary Biscotti
  • Iced Amaretto Parfait, Vanilla Plums and Brandy Snap Tuile
  • Coffee or Tea and Homemade Gourmandises

The multi-course menu is specially created by the chef, and is not offered anywhere else on the ship. During the dessert course, the chef rejoins the group at their private table to participate in a discussion about the evening’s meal, answer questions, and share culinary secrets perfected during many years of experience at sea and on land.

Additionally, each couple at the Chef’s Table will receive a personalized autographed copy of Princess’ best-selling cookbook, Courses, A Culinary Journey. 

The Chef’s Table experience can be reserved by up to 10 passengers per night, at a cost of $75 per person.  

Contact me about further details on planning your next cruise!

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Sorry everybody, but I have been down for the count with one of the worst head colds I’ve had in years.  I just got this info from my Princess Rep and I thought I would share the info with you.  I love having San Francisco as a departure port for these cruises!   For those of us locally it does not require any flying.  For those out of town, it gives you the opportunity to come in a day or 2 ahead and experience this very cool city!

So drop me a line if you are interested in any of these itineraries!

ALASKA

  • May 22-Sept. 19, 2010 SEA PRINCESS  10-day round-trip from SFO.

           (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm/scenic cruising* &   Victoria)

            *some itineraries call on Glacier Bay, June 1, June 21, Jul 11, Jul 31, Aug 10   

MEXICO

  • Sept. 29, 2010  SEA PRINCESS  10-day round-trip from SFO (Catalina, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego)
  • Apr 8, 19 & 30, 2011 STAR PRINCESS  (3 voyages) 11-day round-trip from SFO (Acapulco, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas)

PANAMA CANAL

  • Sept.16, 2009 ISLAND PRINCESS 15-day SFO to FLL (Acapulco, Huatulco, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Fuerte Amador for Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba)
  • May 7, 2010 SEA PRINCESS 15-day FLL to SFO (Aruba, Cartegena, Panama Canal, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Hualtulco, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas)
  • Oct. 6, 2010 ISLAND PRINCESS 15-day SFO to FLL (Cabo San Lucas, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Fuerte Amador for Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba)
  • Oct. 9, 2010  SEA PRINCESS 16-day SFO to FLL (Cabo San Lucas, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur Nicaragua, Fuerte Amador for Panama City, Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba)
  • April 25, 2011 SEA PRINCESS 16-day FLL to SFO (Aruba, Cartagena, 2-day Canal experience, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Cabo San Lucas)

EXOTICS

  • Sept. 22, 2010 SAPPHIRE PRINCESS 30-day SFO to SYD (Honolulu, Lahaina, cross the Equator, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Pago Pago, Apia, Fiji, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Fiordland Nat’l Park/scenic cruising) 

COASTALS

  • Sept. 20, 2010 SAPPHIRE PRINCESS 2-day Vancouver to SFO (no ports)
  • May 11, 2011 STAR PRINCESS  2-day SFO to Vancouver (no ports)
  • May 14, 2011 ISLAND PRINCESS 2-day SFO to Vancouver (no ports)
  • May 19, 2011 CORAL PRINCESS 4-day SFO to Vancouver (Victoria)

So today I headed up to the Port of San Francisco, with a few of my favorite colleagues, to do a ship inspection of Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess.  The Sea Princess is doing 10 day round-trip Alaska sailings this summer from San Francisco.  She is 10 years old and I was expecting her to look rather tired.  Much to my surprise, her public areas did not reflect this.  However, she is in desperate need of updated mattresses, bedding and flat screen TV’s in the staterooms.  I was actually shocked on how tiny the TV’s were.  I know as a society we have become spoiled with our Mega Flat Screens, but frankly, I truly believe those were 10-inch monitors…

She holds 1,950 passengers and simply without the travelers on-board yet, it felt cramped with just the 200 or so agents, plus the staff.  I’ve been on plenty of other ships with the same capacity including other Princess ships and my preferred line – Celebrity Cruises are far more spacious than the Sea.

The spa was the most disappointing I have ever seen on a cruise ship!!!  It was dull, lifeless and very small.

Now let’s address what they refer to as the Grand Casino…There was NOTHING grand about this!  It was tiny!!!  I think it only had 30 slot machines?  A majority of the room was geared toward just plain seating.  Am I mistaken, but isn’t the casino on a ship a huge moneymaker for the cruiseline?

Sea Princess Casino

Truly the 2 things I was very pleased with were the size and layout of the mini-suites and the buffet area.  I’ve been on the Coral Princess twice in a mini-suite, in which they are just oversized staterooms.  However, on the Sea Princess, they are large, have wonderful flow between rooms and the bathrooms are the extremely beautiful.  The buffet area and dining room, I thought was a nice size, bright (surrounded by windows) & airy – perfect for Alaska!

Sea Princess Mini Suite

Finally, let’s discuss the food…We were invited for lunch in one of the main dining rooms…I almost would have preferred to eat their pizzeria.  The Shrimp with Melons was bland; the Chateaubriand was overcooked and tough.  The bread & chocolate soufflé were the only things that were worth eating.  If this is what they serve us, what in the world do they serve clients for 10 nights?

Now don’t get me wrong…I am a huge advocate for the 10/11 day roundtrip Alaska itinerary out of San Francisco.  I just think that Princess should put in place a much better ship than the Sea Princess.  When you look at the quality of the competitor’s ships, this cruise ship truly fails.  I highly recommend Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas or Serenade of the Seas (departing out of Seattle & Vancouver, respectively).  These ships were specifically designed for viewing the beauty of Alaska and are a far better value and cruising experience!

Contact me to discuss booking that last minute Alaska cruise for 2009 or locking in a stateroom for 2010 at 2009 rates on either RCCL or Celebrity!