TO LISTEN TO CURRENT OR PAST SHOWS, CHECK OUT THE LET'S TALK TRAVEL PODCAST PAGE! CLICK HERE
Check out Sandy's ongoing Patriot-News special travel features. Go to www.PennLive.com/travel - look for "Fenton's Favorites."
ALL SHOWS ARE SATURDAY 3PM-4PM
SATURDAY, MAY 18TH, 3PM-4PM - "PA TOURISM SUMMIT, Part 2 of 2" Our beautiful Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers both residents and visitors a wide variety of unique travel opportunities. From world-class entertainment to all-season indoor and outdoor sporting and recreational activities to getaway weekends at cozy B&B's and historic country inns. Pennsylvania has it all! Big city celebrity chef fine-dining or small town mom and pop restaurants specializing in traditional local foods. Pennsylvania offers any escape or adventure imaginable. Tourism is more than a vibrant industry in Pennsylvania...it is critical to the economic well-being of our state...and our lives. Tourism ranks as the second-largest industry in Pennsylvania - accounting for more than 452,300 jobs. In 2011, visitors spent more than $37.2 -billion dollars and generated over $3.8 -billion in state and local taxes. Next Saturday you can discover why 175-million people travel to and within our Commonwealth as "Let's Talk Travel with AAA" features the third annual Pennsylvania Tourism Summit with part two of a two-part series broadcast. Interviews include Kim Schaller, the executive vice president of the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company ; Mark Preston, Northeast sales manager for Trip-Advisor ; Michael Stershic, President of Discover Lehigh Valley ; Joseph Meade, Director of Government & External Affairs for Philadelphia Museum of Art ; Jim Werner, Partnership Director for Visit Philly and Joe Massaro, General Manager of Hilton Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has spectacular natural scenery, popular cosmopolitan cities , historic towns , rolling farmlands and more award-winning museums, cultural events and seasonal festivals than I can count. We will tell you what to see and do during your next local getaway or statewide family vacation in the Keystone State. www.patravelandtourism.org
SATURDAY, MAY 25TH, 3PM-4PM - "The All-Inclusive Regent Seven Seas Cruise Experience" Having recently returned from extensive Bahamas/Caribbean cruises, travel events and site inspections - I learned that the best value for upcoming summer and fall vacations may be the excellent discounts, particularly in the luxury travel brands. One of the best is the all-inclusive luxury cruise market and one of my favorites, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, continues to offer exceptional values on many worldwide sailings. Regent Seven Seas is an award-winning , all-suite , all-inclusive cruise line with three luxurious mid-sized ships (Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator), carrying 490 or 700 pampered guests, to some of the most glamorous and off-the-beaten-path places on the planet. Some of Regent's all-inclusive experiences include roundtrip air, unlimited shore excursions, pre-paid gratuities, specialty restaurants, unlimited beverages plus open bars, lounges and in-suite mini-bar replenished daily…and so much more. Kate Otto, Regent Seven Seas sales director, will be my in-studio guest next Saturday at 3 p.m. on "Let's Talk Travel with AAA" on WHP-AM580. Before you settle for the "same old - same old" vacation, be sure to tune in and learn why a Regent Seven Seas cruise may be a perfect fit for you.
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I'm often asked if there is really a difference in sailing onboard an all-inclusive luxury cruise ship versus the majority of all the other popular ships. My on-going answer - you bet there is.
And then of course the follow-up question - is it worth the extra money?
My answer - you decide.
So - what is the difference?
Based upon my personal experience cruising several times onboard the all-inclusive luxury lines of Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea - listed below are some of the notable differences :
* Size. Most are smaller, more intimate (200-750 passengers) and club-like. Expansive open decks and public spaces for lounging or conversation without crowds.
* Itineraries. Unique and off-the-beaten path. Many ports-of-call are hidden gems where larger ships can not go. Less people. Less waiting.
* Quiet. No unneccessary ship-wide announcements or pool-side waiters trying to sell you the drink of the day or onboard photographers wanting to take your picture. And although we've sailed with multiple families onboard, (especially during the summer in Alaska and Europe), all-inclusive ships cater mostly to adults and/or older children.
* Personalized attention and gracious service. The staff knows you. You are looked after by thoughtful, professional and award-winning crew members that truly do care about every aspect of your cruise vacation. Your pleasure really is their pleasure. (I'm still amazed when most of the staff greets you by name on the very first day…and then all of the staff the following days.)
* Spacious, all-suite and all-oceanview accommodations. Most have private verandas, marble appointed bathrooms and all are designed as luxurious homes away from home.
* Complimentary premium spirits, soft drinks, bottled water, beer and fine wines. Open bars throughout the ship plus your private in-suite bar stocked according to your preference. (When you meet fellow guests for pre-dinner cocktails - no one ever has to reach for the tab or leave a tip.)
* Tipping. There is none. It is neither required or expected.
* Gourmet dining rivals the finest restaurants anywhere. Period. And it's your choice. Dine when, where and with whom you wish. From casual to elegant, indoors or on deck.
Of the three all-inclusive cruise lines I am the most familiar with, Regent Seven Seas is the most all-inclusive. Regent offers complimentary air, unlimited sightseeing port excursions and pre-cruise hotel packages. Both Regent and Seabourn include all on-board specialty dining restaurants, while Silversea does have a dining fee for two of their dining venues.
I recently asked Mark Conroy, the President of Regent Seven Seas, why he thinks the all-inclusive, ultra-luxury cruising market has become so very popular and he answered - "Our ships attract fascinating people who are not interested in collecting "things", but rather collecting experiences…one-of-a-kind travel experiences, without compromising their lifestyle when they go on vacation. They enjoy traveling the world with like-minded people and appreciate the value they receive onboard our ships for their hard-earned dollar."
Many travel experts believe the best cruising value in today's market is the luxury, all-inclusive cruise lines. I agree. (Crystal Cruises just announced they are also offering all-inclusive sailings in Spring 2012.)
So before you book your next cruising vacation, sit down and spend some time with a cruise expert at your local travel agency. Ask about the different offers available. Ask about the 2-for1 fares , the free air programs , the onboard entertainment. Compare all of the costs…and then you decide.