Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Fines Possibly Coming to Americans Traveling Without a Passport

A new report suggests that American travelers returning to the United States without a passport could be subjected to fines when reentering the country.
According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has proposed a new "non-compliant traveler fee for American citizens who return from other countries without the proper documentation.
The government is hoping that the fees charged to travelers without passports would offset the cost of the agency being forced to verify their identities. The proposal didnt reveal the cost of the fee, though.
Dubbed the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the rules and regulations require citizens from the United States to have the proper documentation or passports when coming back from countries in Europe, North or South America.
For those travelers without a passport, Customs and Border Protection officials are warning of long wait times when returning to America and now the extra non-compliant traveler fees.
The Customs and Border Protection agency recently sent the proposal to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which could be approved as soon as May.

For more information and to make reservations on any Cruise Line  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: for exclusive rates and amenities, 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Disney adds Rhine river cruises

ORLANDO - Adventures by Disney will begin cruises of the Rhine next spring. The seven-night journeys, offered in partnership with Ama Waterways, will sail on a new ship, the AmaKristina. The ship will accommodate 160 guests who will be accompanied by eight Disney adventure guides. 
With eight adventure guides onboard the ship, we have the ability for people to do whatever they want, Potrock said, noting that guests will be able to take small guided tours or go in bigger groups for more popular excursions. The cruises will pass through Germany, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.
For more information and to make reservations on any Disney Cruise or Park,  with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Regent to include business-class air in cruise fare

Regent Seven Seas Cruises now can state it is the most inclusive cruise line by adding complimentary business-class air, starting in 2017.
Passengers will be able to take advantage of the offer from 26 North American gateways and it will apply to all European, Asian and South American voyages where a guest would need to travel on an intercontinental flight in order to board, or return home from a Regent ship. Every class of cabin on Regent ships will be included. The offer makes Regent the only cruise line to offer business-class air to every passenger flying on an intercontinental flight. Previously, Regent offered free coach-class air fare and business class was offered for upper suites to Europe. Some 80% of Regent passengers take business class already when flying to meet a Regent departure. Cruise prices will rise "marginally" to reflect the cost of the perk. 
Passengers who want to use points to pay for air, or don’t need the bundled business class for some other reason, can get a cruise-only fare with an air credit of between $2,500 and $7,000, depending on the destination. 
For more information and to make reservations on a Regent Seven Seas sailing  with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Coast Guard: Fathom ship had inoperable fire doors

The U.S. Coast Guard said that the Adonia failed several parts of an exam conducted before what was to be the ships first sailing for Carnival Corp.'s new Fathom line on April 10. Fathom first delayed then canceled the cruise after the Coast Guard required a series of further tests. A statement from the Seventh Coast Guard District office in Miami said the most serious remaining problem is with numerous sliding fire screen doors that are inoperable. "The Coast Guard will continue to work with the cruise line to ensure both vessel and crew meet the standards to protect passenger safety, the statement said. Prior to Fathom, the Adonia had sailed for Carnival Corp.s P&O Cruises line in the United Kingdom. After a drydock, it was brought to Miami for its regular schedule of seven-day sailings to the Dominican Republic and Cuba.When ships enter U.S service, the Coast Guard conducts an Initial Certificate of Compliance exam, which verifies they comply with Coast Guard regulations. They are retested annually in Control Verification Examinations.
It is rare for a ship operated by a major cruise line to be prevented from sailing as a result of one of the inspections.
In a statement, Fathom said the Adonia arrived in Miami directly from drydock. It said the Coast Guard administered "a number of tests that had not been previously performed on the ship.The statement said Fathoms official inaugural sailing will depart on April 17 as scheduled. Fathom had described the now-canceled April 10 sailing as a "soft launch."
For more information contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: which has   exclusive rates and amenities for all Certified Cruise Lines.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

When you are looking for a Quality Cruise, look at the New Viking Ocean Ships

Viking has successfully combined what passengers love about river cruising with the benefits of a larger ship on the Ocean.
The light and airy decor on the Viking Star presents itself as modern  yet intriguing  with hints of Nordic culture infused throughout (such as a display of Viking clothing). In the stunning Explorers Lounge, there are antique typewriters, telescopes and nautical items thoughtfully displayed without feeling cluttered. In the evenings, the lighting takes on a magical illumination  particularly in the retractable-roofed solarium and indoor pool. When it launches, the Viking Sea will be identical to the Star.

Cruises are All-Inclusive - In addition to included shore excursions at every stop, specialty restaurants are no additional charge  just be sure to make reservations in advance. Complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day and wine is included at lunch and dinner. Free, functional Wi-Fi can be found throughout the ship, and most rooms come with handy items like binoculars, mini fridges, bathrobes and single-serve espresso machines.

Almost immediately upon arrival, the cabin steward gave a welcome-aboard tour of the cabin to show all the features it offered. Any questions I had throughout the cruise were answered, and the Explorers Desk (guest services) was open 24 hours for assistance. Feedback sheets were given after each excursion and at the conclusion of the cruise. There was rarely a long wait for anything in the restaurants  even during the busiest dining periods.

Attention to Detail is Everywhere. Ever stumble along those long cabin hallways when the boat is rocking? Viking installed handrails to help guests keep their balance during high seas. Other thoughtful touches include automatic closet lights, a jewelry/vanity drawer in the desk and even a tiny washing machine in the spa for bathing suits. Hot towels were presented every time guests returned from shore (it was chilly on my voyage), and umbrellas and bottled water were readily available near the exit.

Prior to arrival, you are able to make online reservations for dining, spa treatments and shore excursions. The flat-screen television in my stateroom had a channel that showed a calendar with my selections. Coffee tables in the Explorers Lounge have digital touch screens with information about Viking destinations, and screens near the elevators provided a schedule of the days events and dinner menus.

Not only is the cuisine delightful, the flexible dining options allow passengers to mingle or have a table to themselves. At the World Cafe (buffet) options on my voyage included sushi, chilled shrimp, crab legs, a salad and cold cut bar, daily soups and made-to-order stir-fry dishes. I often find cruise ship desserts to be subpar, but on the Star I looked forward to them  not to mention the changing menu of gelato. Both alternative restaurants were unique  Mamsens specialized in Italian cuisine while the Chefs Table offered a five-course tasting menu. 

With a 930-guest capacity, the ship doesn’t feel crowded. Areas like the whimsical Wintergarden lounge, the outdoor infinity pool on the aft, or the three-deck atrium, offer a quiet area to unwind. Every stateroom comes with a private balcony, and the minimum stateroom square footage is 270 — significantly larger than the average ocean-going ship.

The Spa is Outstanding (and Complimentary) & is the one of the best I’ve seen on a ship  with the buzz worthy snow grotto adding to the experience (a small, snowy room to cool off in). Unlimited access to the steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, snow grotto, and hydrotherapy pool (and adjacent fitness center) is included in the fare  yet during my cruise there was never a large crowd in the spa.

Although Viking does not have an outrageous number of entertainment options (as compared with other ocean ships), it is ideal for those who prefer a quieter cruise experience instead of a floating amusement park. That’s not to say there aren’t things to do: there are enrichment lectures, trivia nights, live music, evening performances in the theater, yoga and Zumba classes, and other scheduled events. Vikings port-intensive schedule allows guests to spend most of the days on shore  or they could opt to relax on board and enjoy the ship.

Onboard enrichment lectures with experts and port talks before arrival give guests a better sense of the area. In addition, excursions are included (although optional tours can be booked for an extra charge), so cruisers can learn about the history and culture while they explore without having to make their own tour arrangements.

For more information and to make reservations on this, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:  For  exclusive rates and amenities.

French America Line > A New river cruise line to sail the Mississippi

The Louisiane will have a U.S. crew of 64 and will scheduled to embark on its inaugural cruise on Aug. 22, 2016. A team of river cruise veterans has launched what they are calling a deluxe U.S. river cruise company, French America Line, and has purchased the former Columbia Queen boat. 
The company is refurbishing the 150-passenger vessel to be relaunched in August as the Louisiane. 
French America Line is headed by Christopher Kyte, chairman and former president of the American Queen Steamboat Co., and Tom Markwell, president of French America Line and former managing partner at Haimark. 
The Columbia Queen is a former Majestic America Line vessel that was built in 2000 and had been purchased along with the Delta Queen by Xanterra Holding Corp. in 2011, three years after Majestic ceased operations.It is undergoing a multimillion-dollar refurbishment and will sail the Mississippi.  
French America Line is creating a French-inspired ambience onboard, a nod to the French influences in and around the Louisianes homeport of New Orleans. The Veranda, a casual French-style bistro, will be one of two dining venues on the Louisiane. 
It will sail a variety of cruise lengths ranging from five to 10 days, along the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red rivers, as well as along the Gulf Coast. 
There will be two dining venues  the main Orleans Room, and the more casual French-style bistro Veranda  offering regional, French and standard American favorites as well as healthy options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and 24-hour room service.  Laduree macarons will be served onboard and Vosges chocolates will be offered at turndown. The Orleans Room will be transformed nightly to host a cabaret show. The full-service Currents Spa will offer massages and body treatments, and nail and hair services. 
Prices, which the company executives said will not be discounted, includes a one-night pre-embarkation stay at a deluxe hotel; transfer to the vessel; all meals; unlimited wine, beer and spirits; coffee and tea; still or sparking Natura water in the staterooms; nightly live entertainment; onboard lectures; complimentary Wi-Fi in all public areas; and shore excursions in every port of call. 
Bicycles, helmets and maps will abe made available to passengers in every port of call. Privately guided experiences can be added for an extra charge. Optional pre- and post-cruise packages are available.
The 75 suites and staterooms in seven categories, many will have private verandas or French balconies, and all staterooms will have individual climate control, deluxe mattresses and high-end linens, an in-room safe, 24-hour room service, and a flat-screen LED television with satellite programming. 
The Lounge will host nightly jazz, and the Great River Room will host card games and private events. 

For more information and to make reservations on this boat or others sailing the Mississippi and other US rivers,, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:  For  exclusive rates and amenities.