celebrity cruises

Perusing Cruise Options

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 With WAVE season around the corner, cruise lines are gearing up to feature their best offers. To prepare for the wave of deals you’re about to see, here are some tips on benefits and features of cruising.

A cruise is a pleasurable way to travel as you sail to your destination or destinations. Taking a cruise is one of the most exciting ways to vacation, traveling around the world and having everything at your fingertips. Ask for it, and it will be there! Clubs, retail stores, beauty salon, spa, different restaurants, movie theaters, bars, pool, luxurious bedrooms and the best part is that it’s all inclusive (except alcoholic beverage). Some cruises do include alcoholic beverages for an additional fee but most of them do not and others, depending on the type of cruise, will charge you fee for an all you can drink package.

There are many cruise lines that offer a variety of different cruises, from one day cruising in the surrounding area up to months of traveling around the world. You can take a cruise from almost anywhere in the world. Each cruise line has different activities and amenities and all the cruises are different, but one thing that they have in common is their great customer service. Each employee makes a promise to give the best customer service in the world, making you feel like a superstar. Since there are so many cruise lines the best way to choose a cruise that will fulfill your dream vacation is by doing some research and working with a travel agent. They have a lot of activities and excursions to offer on and off of the cruise. If you like to explore they can take you hiking, snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins, etc. Otherwise you can just stay on the cruise ship and enjoy the various activities on board like contests, spa, gallery, shopping, shows, or just relax at the pool.

cruise activities | Thl vacations

One of the most important things that travelers should know is that they must have the proper travel documents. Most cruises require a passport, and depending on the places you are traveling to or your nationality you can travel with your birth certificate and state id. It’s important to talk to a travel agent before booking your cruise to be sure that you have the proper documentation to travel.

When preparing for a cruise you should pack carefully and bring appropriate outfits for each occasion, that’s the beauty of a cruise you can do everything while you are sailing. Bring a bathing suit for the beach and the pool; formal attire for dinner, sport clothes if you decide to go to the gym or play tennis or basketball. There is a bit of everything on a cruise for your enjoyment.

packing for a cruise | thl vacations

At moments you’ll forget that you’re on a ship until you leave your room and see that you’re surrounded by water. Before cruising was a luxury that not everyone could afford just wealthy people, but nowadays it has become very affordable and convenient to almost everyone. Imagine being on a ship that has everything you need as if it was a mini city. You can go to different restaurants, engage in exciting activities, and lodge in a comfortable environment all in the same place.

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Destination Spotlight: Clearwater

Visit Clearwater, Florida

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Clearwater Beach has beautiful beaches, tropical environment and picturesque sunsets. It is agreat romantic getaway and an entertaining family vacation.

Clearwater’s best offer is its beaches.  It is voted the best beach on the Gulf Coast, with clear water, large sand areas and activities including parasailing, boating, fishing and swimming. The beaches in Clearwater are a great family vacation; during Spring Break the city is a large party scene. The beach has swimmers, suffers and sun bathers alike. Clearwater beach has great sunsets.

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Pier 60 on Clearwater beach offers rides, waterslide, games and entertainment for kids.The pier area has street performers and local vendors selling beach fare, woodcarvings, inexpensive jewelry, shells, etc. There are several sweet shops, hot dogs stands and restaurants within walking distance.

Visit Clearwater Municipal Marina and take daytime, dinner, family, sailing or snorkeling cruises. Cruises show history and wildlife including commonly seen dolphins. Try Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise a party cruise with bright lights,and loud karaoke music.The harbor also offers deep sea fishing outfitters and fresh seafood.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit working animal hospital for injured marine animals including sea turtles, coral reefs and stingrays.  Exhibits, presentations and animal encounters happen daily. CMA is home to the famous dolphin, “Winter”, who has no tail.

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Head to the South Beach of Clearwater and visit Bird Island. You will see large flocks of White Ibis, Blue Herons, Double Crested Cormorants, and Sandhill Cranes. Head to the north beach and visit wild Caladesi Island.  The island has 3 miles of beaches, nature trails and seashell hunting. Rent kayak and paddle to Island, go on kayak tour or go by boat.

Clearwater city has miniature golf courses, movie theatres and other entertainment.  Clearwater has plenty of beach shops along the water. For retail shopping try Westfield Countryside Mall or Northwood Plaza with chain retail and restaurants.

Dining in Clearwater consist mostly of beach grills and bars offering seafood, burgers and beers.  Try crowded Frenchy’s restaurant, Cooter’s, Rumba or The Bait House. For something fancier try Crabby Bill’s, Chore, Caretta’s or Clearwater Wine Bar & Bistro. There are a number of waterfront, burger and pizza restaurants.

Nightlife in Clearwater has several clubs and bars. Enjoy spots like Shipwreck, Shephard’sTiki Bar & Wave Nightclub, The Brown Boxer Pub and Crabby’sBeachwalk to name a few.

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Clearwater is packed full of lodging-ranging from small local motels to 5 star hotels and residential homes or condos. Good motels in the area are Coconut Grove, Frenchy’s Oasis and Chart House Suites. There are large chain hotels and luxury hotels ranging from Holiday Inn to the Wyndham Garden and the Redington Ambassador.Clearwater is 30 minutes from the Tampa International Airport.

Nearby cities Largo, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and larger Tampa have plenty for a day trips including Busch Gardens amusement park, water parks, The Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, restaurants, live music and nightlife.

5 Reasons Why Cruising Is The Best Way To Travel

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What is your idea of a dream vacation? Does it involve a hassle-free, relaxing accommodation without having any transportation issues? Do you love great food? Are you looking for a variety of activities that you can choose from, which may include scuba diving, sight-seeing; the luscious white sand beach relaxation or a dip in the pool? If your answer is yes to all, then a cruise is your perfect travel getaway.

As we celebrate the National Cruise Week, here are 5 reasons why cruising is the best way to travel:

It’s hassle-free. We know planning a vacation may be a headache to some, most especially if you are planning for a family trip. You have to consider the places to dine, the transportation schedule, the airport and train transfers and the traffic along the way, check-in time for your accommodations and the list goes on that can keep you busy for days.

With a cruise travel trip, you can just book a reservation and think of all activities you can do while on it. Never mind the hassle of a conventional trip at all.

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You may sample destinations for your future travel. Not everyone is a Florida person, and it’s safe to say that not everyone loves the Caribbean. What if you booked a week-long reservation to Florida only to find out that you prefer being in the Caribbean. With a cruise, you can experience a little of each place and then decide where to stay next time!

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You get the same accommodation, always! How many times do we hate packing and unpacking our things after every time we decide to visit a new place while on vacation? Cruising is all about relaxation, you will be in a different place by the time you wake up and all you have to do is to step out of the cruise ship and enjoy. You don’t have to worry about getting your rooms clean as it will be made ready by the time you call it a day!

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It’s your money’s worth. Traveling conventionally can get pricey once you add up the cost of accommodations, airfare, food, transportation and activities. When you are on a cruise, you don’t have to worry about any of that. Entertainment is provided for you. The food served will always be as great as if you were dining in a luxury 5-star restaurant, and it’s all included in one low price.

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It’s kid-friendly. How many times have you dreamt of having a quality, quiet time with your beloved better half while enjoying the scenery? You would not like to spoil that by chasing your kids all day, right? Most of the cruise ships employ highly-qualified staff to look after your children as you relax and spend time alone with yourself or with your partner.

Cruising used to be only for the extremely wealthy and the popular crowd, now anyone and everyone can cruise on any budget to just about anywhere. Enjoy big saving when you book your cruise through THL Vacations today!

Christine’s Corner – Finding the right cruise deal

Ever wish you knew the inside scoop on how to find the best cruise deal? Now you can! THL Vacations travel advocate Christine has reached out to her favorite travel agents for tips on how to get the most bang for your buck when searching for cruise offers. She will let you in on a few secrets that every traveler should know about.

Ready to learn?

One of the first tips on finding a great cruise deal is search during the time travel agents term as “Wave Season”. Wave season is promoted during the first quarter of the year. This is when all the cruise lines promote their best deals to potential customers to entice them to book right away.

During wave season you’ll find different cruise lines promoting travel deals such as: up to $400 in onboard credit, 2-for-1 sailings, free drink packages, free shore excursions or kids sail free on select sailings. How do you know which offer will save you the most money overall? Ask yourself these questions before you begin your cruise shopping.

  1. Who is going on vacation with you?
  2. Where do you want to go?
  3. What are your top 5 priorities while on vacationing?
  4. How much do you want to spend?
  5. How much vacation time do you have?

Asking yourself these important questions and listing them in order of priority will guide you to the perfect deal for your vacation! Don’t make impulsive decisions and let a number like $100 OFF your deposit sway you at first glance. Always read the fine print. Many times there are better deals out there that are not attached to a monetary figure.

For example: “Book before May 3rd and receive $100 OFF your deposit” may not be a better deal than “Book before Feb 28th and receive a free shore excursion” because many shore excursions are well over $100 per person. Here is another example: if you’re taking the entire family on a vacation and you have three kids a deal promoting a “Free Shore Excursion” wont save you as much as a deal promoting “Kids Sail Free”.

With so many cruise specials out there, how do you know which one is right for you? My advice is to call a travel agent.  A great travel agent will guide you to the best deal for your vacation at no additional cost to you.

Here is a great example of a cruise deal that offers a lot of bang for your buck!

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