Stats: one-third of Americans more likely to use travel insurance post-covid

Stats: one-third of Americans more likely to use travel insurance post-covid

Almost half of Americans have faced fees or had to absorb the cost of losses when traveling without travel insurance, a survey commissioned by travel insurance provider Battleface found. The most common charges are for cancellation fees (19 percent), fees for changing travel dates (19 percent), fees for changing travel times (14 percent) and costs associated with baggage loss or delay (10 percent).

When purchasing travel insurance, Americans say their top priority is getting coverage for trip cancellations or delays (44 percent), followed by getting coverage for medical expenses (other than COVID-19) while traveling (32 percent). Other priorities include coverage for personal accidents while traveling (31 percent), delay or loss of luggage (30 percent) and for being returned home in the event of an emergency (26 percent).

Not surprisingly, Battleface’s research suggests that the likelihood that Americans purchase travel insurance coverage has increased slightly since before COVID-19. One-third of respondents (36 percent) said they are more likely to purchase travel insurance now than before COVID for a trip abroad, and 34 percent said they are more likely to do so for a domestic trip.

Almost half (45 percent) of Americans who have purchased travel insurance for a trip abroad consider the benefits, costs and services provided by travel insurance equally important. Among these offerings, benefits (e.g., reimbursement for lost luggage, replacing a lost passport, etc.) come out on top and are considered most important by 22 percent. This is compared to only 17 percent and 16 percent, who consider services and cost as the most important offerings, respectively.

The study, commissioned by Battleface and conducted by Opinium, surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older in March 2021.

Source: https://www.travelagentcentral.com/your-business/stats-one-third-americans-more-likely-to-use-travel-insurance-post-covid

 

Mardi Gras Feb 22

Mardi Gras Feb 22

MG at sea

Carnival’s newest ship, XL class MARDI GRAS is almost ready to launch, and we want to invite you to come.

We are not going in a travel agent capacity, we will not be doing much hand-holding, (this is our vacation too), but y’all are welcome to come. ?

The ship has some features worth pointing out:

Ultimate Playground

Summer Landing

Cool stateroom features

Red Frog

 

 

Street Eats

 

Big Chicken

 

Being its Carnival’s flagship, and bringing back the first cruise ships name, they have high ambitions for this ship.

I have expectations for it to be less of a Booze cruise, and more of an experience.

MG lobby

MG pool

 

MG attrium

Info from Carnival….

Mardi Gras sails in 2020 with a nod to where we’ve been and a salute to where we’re headed. Our vision involves inspiring you to have a great vacation! When we launched our first ship, 1972’s TSS Mardi Gras, we knew we were shaking things up. We made cruising a lot less stuffy, a bit less fancy, the kind of fun everybody could enjoy. Nobody expected this ship to change the cruise world, but here we are! In 2020 we’ll be launching a brand-new ship with a familiar name. You guessed it: Mardi Gras. We aren’t just paying homage to our first ship — in cruising circles this name suggests innovation, signals the start of something big. And it shouts “fun!” at the top of its lungs. Everybody can enjoy Mardi Gras, sailing from Port Canaveral in 2020!

“The new Mardi Gras will follow the trailblazing lead of her predecessor, introducing features and technological innovations that have never been seen before on a cruise ship while setting a new standard for seagoing vacations.” – Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line

 

MG pool deck

Carnival Cruise Line announced some details about the ship, including that it will have 20 decks and six themed zones.

 

MG attrium

The themed zones include Grand Central (Decks 6-8, midship), French Quarter (Deck 6, rear), La Piazza (Deck 8, midship), Summer Landing (Deck 8, rear), Lido (Decks 16-17, rear) and The Ultimate Playground (Decks 18-20, rear).

The Ultimate Playground will include the largest and most elaborate Carnival WaterWorks aqua park in the fleet, as well as an expanded SportSquare. It also will feature BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first roller coaster at sea, where riders will travel along an 800-foot-long track as speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.

 

The accommodations on Mardi Gras will include more than 20 stateroom categories and multiple levels of suites.

 

Carnival said the Mardi Gras also will include the most expansive open decks on any Carnival ship, and an atrium that will serve as the hub of the ship.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtAZY0LXGgs

Pricing:

Itinerary

 

Double occupancy, with taxes and fees included.

Pricing is per couple.

We have several categories booked at a special price.

Balconies start at $2300

Interior start at $1675

Includes a $100 OBC per cabin

Suggested deposit is $250 P/P

Rest due by Nov 29, 2021

There may be other rates available as well.

Contact me for other room categories for more, or less, than 2 people, or any other questions.

 

We only have Limited space at these prices which will go up as they sell out

Other categories may be available to be booked into the group as well. Email

[email protected]

for more info.

The benefits of booking as an Apollo Travel group are free On board credits, dining together and customized excursions.

MG side

Sailing March Feb 26, 2022

 

Itinerary

 

Misc facts:

Ship: Mardi Gras (First ship to not be named CARNIVAL something)

Year Built: 2020

Class: XL

Length: 1130

Guest Capacity: 6,630

Cruising Speed: 17 knots

The 180,000-ton “XL-class” Mardi Gras will have a maximum capacity of 6,500 passengers and about 2,000 crew members. It will be the first cruise ship based in North America to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

 

Port Canaveral is building a two-story, 188,000-square-foot cruise terminal that will be used by the Mardi Gras. It is part of the port’s largest single construction project in its 65-year history – the $163 million Cruise Terminal 3 complex on the port’s south side that also will include a 1,800-space parking garage.

 

—————————————–

Basic Suggested addons:

Gratuities: $98 pp

Cruise Insurance : $129 p/p

 

Hidden Cruise costs

Hidden Cruise costs

Let’s face it. Money doesn’t grow on trees and cruising, however fun, can be a costly experience.

You have finally saved up enough money to take your family on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise. With your heart excitedly pounding in your chest, you call Apollo Travel Orlando, and say “Lets do it”!

Cruising, here we go!

Next, you look and see “what are my options”, they bombarded you with a myriad of options to bump up your cruise experience. You’re on vacation, so why not indulge, right? You picked a few excursions and maybe a beverage package to spice things up on your cruise. These things add up to a hefty sum. Unless you have budgeted for these hidden costs, you might end up with a substantial credit card bill on the next billing cycle.

Especially for first-time cruisers, the final bill at the end of your cruise can be jaw-dropping. Hence, we came up with a list of 18 hidden costs of cruising that bumps up your cruising budget and leaves a dent on your savings account. Ouch!

23 Things That We've Learned From Our Royal Caribbean Cruise

Automatic Gratuities

Most cruise lines automatically add a $14–$18 gratuity charge to your account per person per day. In addition, an automatic 18% gratuity is added to all bar bills and spa services. They pool together and divide gratuities among all crew members.

Note:
a. If you think you have received sub par service, you can have the amount changed at guest services.
b. Some cruise lines will allow you to prepay your gratuities before your cruise.

c. You can always give a little extra to your favorite crew member for exceptional service.

Port Excursions

Excursions are fun, but they’re not cheap. Depending on the type of excursion activities you are into, excursion fees can quickly add up, especially if you have a sizeable group.

How to save:
a. Shop around and find the best deals. You don’t have to book your excursions through the cruise line. However, be wary of the schedule and transportation availability. You don’t want to be left behind when your ship leaves.
b. Save on dining by eating your lunch on board the cruise ship.
c. You can skip them. There are enough fun activities on board the cruise ship to keep you entertained.

Dining Onboard Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas

Specialty Dining

Some people (like myself) savor a little bit of culinary luxury on board a cruise ship. However, cruise ship specialty dining options charge an extra $40- $60 per person. Sometimes, even higher.

Here are a few things you can do to save:
a. Purchase a dining package.
 It is like prepaying for specialty dining offerings at a discounted price. You’ll end up paying roughly $25 per person instead of paying full price.
b. Skip specialty dining options. There will always be an abundance of complimentary dining options onboard.

Alcoholic Drinks and Beverages

Your throat will never run dry on a cruise ship. For meals there will be water, coffee, iced tea, juices and milk that are all complimentary to your cruise fare. However, alcoholic beverages, premium coffee and tea, soft drinks, beer and wine are not, and can quickly add up especially with the automatic 18% gratuity added to bar drinks.

How to save:
a. Purchase a beverage package. Just like dining packages, most cruise lines offer prepaid options for premium beverages. Depending on your personal preferences, beverage packages are priced differently, so you can pick what you want.
b. Purchase wine by the bottle instead of by the glass. You can always save what’s left for your next meal. Note: Some cruise ships allow you to bring a few bottles of wine on board. Be sure to read cruise policy and take advantage of it.
c. Check your daily cruise newsletter for drinks specials or something like a “Drink of the day” and take advantage of reduced prices on some drinks.

18 Hidden Costs That Bumps Up Your Cruising Budget

Internet Connectivity

If you would like to stay connected on social media, or stream movies and videos at sea, you can pay for your ship’s Wi-Fi service. This would typically cost around $15–$20 per day for unlimited access, depending on the cruise line. Some lines charge based on the amount of data you use. Take the time to read about what they offer on your cruise.

How to save:
Some cruise lines have a free access area that may come with a coffee purchase. Some even have internet cafes that offer free or discounted internet service on board.

Airfare

For the most of us, we do not live near embarkation ports and would need to fly to get there. This can be an enormous expense depending on where you’re at.

How to save:
a. Purchase your plane tickets as soon as possible. Airfares typically go up the closer you are to your planned date of departure.
b. Go on a road trip. Driving is a lot cheaper than flying as long as you don’t mind getting behind the wheel for hours on end. Yikes!

23 Things That We've Learned From Our Royal Caribbean Cruise

Ground Transportation

Now that you’ve arrived at the airport, you still need to get to your Port of Embarkation via ground transport. There are several options to choose from, but depending on how far the port is from the airport, it can cost over $100 per person back and forth.

How to save:
a. Go for a third party shuttle service around the area. This is a cost effective option. Paying for taxi or Uber can be costly depending on the distance between the nearest airport and your cruise’s embarkation port.
b. Ask a friend or family member who lives around the area to drive you to your embarkation port.
c. You can always take the bus (most economical)

Spa and Salon Services

Getting a massage on your cruise can be quite a luxurious experience, but paying for it afterwards can quickly pile up on your final bill especially with the automatic 18% gratuity added to the cost.

How to save:
a. Check your daily newsletter for special discounts on spa and salon services.
b. Some cruise lines offer bundled services at discounted prices. Watch for special discounts on embarkation and port days.

Onboard Shopping and Souvenirs

Cruise ships offer a lot of fun activities including duty-free shopping on board your cruise. With so many cruise memorabilia to choose from, it is at times tempting to buy that little figurine, or maybe that nice-looking T-shirt you’ve been eyeing as a souvenir. Remember that for the most part, cruise ship prices aren’t exactly deals. From spending $10 on souvenir key chains to spending thousands of dollars on jewelry, there are enough things to buy on a cruise ship that might burn a hole through your wallet.

How to save:
a. Research and compare prices online.
b. Have a budgeted amount for shopping. (Okay this doesn’t really help you save, but it helps you avoid overspending.)

Souvenir Photos

For immortalizing precious moments, souvenir photos are great and it might tempt you to buy a few prints to take home. However, 8×10 photos can easily cost over $20 each.

How to save:
a. Ask for deals and discounts. Some would offer discounted prices if you buy a certain number of prints.
b. Learn to take better photos on the cruise ship. You can take the photo yourself, or ask a fellow cruiser to snap a photo for you.

Gambling

Gambling on a cruise ship can be costly. According to some sources, the odds of winning slots on cruise ships are lower than that on land because some gambling and gaming laws don’t apply. I am not a gambler myself, and I have no way to prove the above statement. But if you rack up gambling losses, you’ve just made your cruise a whole lot more expensive than you budgeted for.

Tip:
Only tip I have on gambling is to have some gambling money set aside and stop playing once it is gone. Set limits and stay with them. Some cruise ships even give out free onboard gambling credits just to get you hooked into playing big.

Travel Insurance

Getting sick on a cruise ship can be very costly. This is completely optional, but purchasing a short-term travel insurance is the one thing you can do to offset unforeseen health care charges on your trip. Get you a travel insurance quote here

How to save:
Shop around and try to find the best deal for your state of health. Always read the fine print and read what’s covered or not. Travel insurance can cost as low as $20 for your trip to $400 depending on its terms and conditions.

 

 

Onboard Activities

Part of the allure of cruising is the plethora of activities on board the cruise ship. Although most of them are free of charge, some activities do incur additional charges. Some of these “non-free” activities include fitness classes, cooking classes, wine tasting events, and other fun activities like laser tag, Go Karts, IMAX movies and even ice skating.

How to save:
a. Watch for deals on your daily cruise newsletter. Some cruise ships offer discounted rates if you bundle.
b. There are others things to do on a cruise ship that will not cost you extra. You can watch Broadway-like productions, exhilarating game shows, comedy shows, trivia games, BINGO, karaoke showdowns, and other fun-filled activities to keep entertained.

Port Fees and Taxes

The cruise line pays for tax and port charges on every port the ship docks. These charges usually translates into a 12%–15% on top of your cruise fare depending on the cruise line.

Hotel Accommodations

To avoid the possibility of airline delays and the eventual outcome of missing your cruise, Apollo Travel always advise for would-be cruisers to arrive a day ahead especially if you’re flying in. However, that also means you’ll be staying overnight in a hotel.

 

Parking Fees

Whether you fly or you drive to your port of embarkation, deal with long-term parking fees is a real possibility. This will usually run around $8–$20 dollars per day depending on the location and the level of security they provide.

How to save:
The only way to save on parking fees is to shop around for the best parking rate in and around the area. If you have someone who can take you to the port, that’s even better.

Room Service

Most major cruise lines will now charge a small fee for room service to your stateroom account. For instance, Royal Caribbean charges around $7.50 per room service order. Carnival has recently announced that they are now charging a nominal room service fee per item effective mid January 2019.

How to save:
You can always enjoy the cruise’s complimentary dining options whether buffet style or at the main dining room. If you prefer, you can take some food items from the dining room to your stateroom as a snack for later with no extra charge.

Babysitting Services

In-stateroom babysitting services are no longer available on some of the major cruise lines. However, late night babysitting are still offered so parents can enjoy some late night activities while someone looks after their little ones. Typical charge is around $8 hourly.

Conclusion:

One of the few things I adore about cruising is the way you can define your own cruise experience. For the true cost of cruising, it all depends on how much you want to indulge and spend money on. Except for automatic gratuities, port fees and transportation costs, you can choose to spend nothing more than the cruise fare you’ve already paid for. There are plenty of things to do, food to eat, activities to enjoy and sights to behold on a cruise ship that makes them worth your while without having to pay anything extra.

This list should not discourage you from cruising. Rather, it should encourage you to plan your next cruise, calculate your expenses ahead of time and have a better perspective of what to expect from your cruise to get the biggest bang out of your buck. Bon Voyage on you

 

Travel tips

Travel tips

Your trip is booked and the anticipation of your upcoming adventure is building. As you plan and prepare for your upcoming trip, review these tips to make sure you don’t forget anything important.

  • Visit the tourism website for your destination country and review any new requirements they have due to Covid-19. Many countries have requirements in place for Covid-19 testing, minimum travel insurance coverage and more. You can also check the CDC or WHO websites for information. This website is a handy resource for finding Covid-19 testing locations all over the world.
  • Make copies of the endorsement page of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member. Take another copy with you, in a separate part of your luggage from the actual passport, or take a photo of it with your smart phone.
  • Take a small amount of cash ($100-300) in local currency for ease of transition at your destination. Many international currencies can be purchased from your own bank (if it’s large enough) or through a large, corporate bank.
  • Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. Most European banks have switched almost entirely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology. Fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards. You may also want to find a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, as this can save you a lot of money.
  • Acquaint yourself with the electrical voltage requirements in the country/countries you are visiting. If the voltage is different from the US, purchase a converter and/or adapter. Your best bet is to buy an adapter with different settings that adjust to most outlets, so you only have to bring one adapter instead of one per country.
  • Check with your cell phone provider about plans and pricing for international calling, texting and data.
  • Place any liquids (soaps, shampoos, etc.) that will be in your carry-on in clear 3 oz. bottles, together in a clear quart size Ziploc bag.
  • Make note of the telephone number for the phone number of services in your travel protection plan.
  • Call your debit and credit card companies to advise them of your travel dates and destinations. You can also do this by logging onto your online account.
  • Keep any prescription drugs in their original containers and pack them in your carry-on luggage.
  • Learn a few key phrases in the local language of your destination. (Simple things, like “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Thank you”, “Where is the bathroom?“)
  • If you have any food allergies or severe medical conditions, it’s important to learn how to inform others about those issues in a foreign language. If you don’t feel comfortable with your language skills, print out a document with relevant phrases or make flashcards to carry with you.
  • Do not pack your travel documents (itinerary, passport, paper tickets or vouchers) in your checked luggage.
  • Unless you are planning to attend a black tie or similar event, leave your valuable jewelry at home.

 

Safe and happy travels!

5 Reasons Why Travel Insurance Is a Must

5 Reasons Why Travel Insurance Is a Must

5 Reasons Why Travel Insurance Is a Must

Safe-Travel

If you’re like us, here’s how you prepare for a big trip: You pack way too much, realize your suitcase won’t close, then start taking stuff out. The snorkel gear, the sarong, that second jacket… you don’t really need those. But there is one thing you definitely, absolutely need to pack: Travel insurance.

A lot of people weigh the additional expense and ask, “Is travel insurance worth it?” Most of the time, the answer is an all-caps YES. This is why.

Reason #1 travel insurance is a must: Most of us can’t afford to lose our vacation investment.

Let’s say you pay $7,000 for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury cruise around the Mediterranean for your 25th wedding anniversary. The day before sailing, your mother suffers a serious fall and ends up in the hospital. When you call the cruise line and explain what happened, they’re sympathetic — but you’re not getting your money back. Company policy clearly states that there are no refunds if you cancel within 14 days of departure.

Situations like these are why travel insurance is a must. When you have travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits, you can get reimbursement for prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs when you must cancel for a covered reason. Covered reasons can include situations like the covered serious illness or injury of the insured person, a travel companion or a family member; the death of the insured traveler, traveling companion or a family member; a natural disaster or other event that renders your destination uninhabitable; etc.

Reason #2 travel insurance is a must: Medical emergencies overseas can be really expensive.

Consider this scenario: On a driving tour through Argentina, a truck slams into your rental car, leaving you with a broken leg and other serious injuries. When you arrive at the hospital, you summon the strength to pull out your health insurance card. The staff just shake their heads. You’ll need to pay up front for treatment — and your medical bills rapidly climb into the tens of thousands. If you require medical evacuation, that cost can hit $200,000 or more, depending on the country you’re in and the proximity to the nearest hospital.

As the U.S. State Department notes, “many foreign medical facilities and providers require cash payment up front and do not accept U.S. insurance plans. Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the United States.”1

When you have travel insurance with emergency medical benefits, it can pay for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies that occur during your trip. Emergency medical transportation benefits can pay for medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate medical facility, as well as the cost of getting you home following a covered injury or illness. The Allianz Global Assistance hotline staff may even be able to arrange payment in advance for covered emergency medical care. The upshot: When you’re wondering “is travel insurance worth it?”, weigh the small cost of buying insurance against the massive costs of a medical emergency overseas.

Reason #3 travel insurance is a must: You don’t want minor mishaps to ruin your trip.

A vacation is really an investment in your happiness. And when that vacation starts off with a canceled flight, a missed connection, a missing bag or another travel hiccup, that happy travel feeling fades.

Travel insurance can help make these situations better. Travel delay benefits can reimburse you for additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a covered departure delay of six or more hours. Baggage delay benefits can reimburse you for the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if a common carrier delayed or misdirected your baggage for 24 hours or more. Several more benefits address other common travel mishaps, so check your plan to see what’s included.

Reason #4 travel insurance is a must: The U.S. Department of State says so!

What’s the first thing you should do when you experience an emergency overseas? Most American travelers call the local U.S. embassy for help — but they often disappoint those travelers to discover that embassy staff’s powers are limited. They can help you replace a stolen passport; contact family or friends in the U.S.; find medical care or legal assistance; communicate with local police; and connect you with various resources. But an embassy cannot pay for your medical care, provide emergency transportation (except during rare, major catastrophes), or otherwise take care of any financial losses you suffer while traveling.2

That’s why the State Department advises American travelers to carry travel insurance — specifically, travel insurance that includes emergency medical benefits, emergency medical transportation benefits, and coverage for other unexpected expenses, like trip cancellation and lost or stolen luggage.

Reason #5 travel insurance is a must: It’s easy to find affordable travel insurance.

Cost is probably the number one reason people don’t buy travel insurance. We understand! If you’re already paying thousands for a long-awaited cruise or resort vacation, it’s tough to spend even a little more on insurance.

Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: Insurance can be really affordable. When you get a quote for travel insurance, we’ll present you with multiple coverage options, so you can pick the best one for your trip and your budget. Our least expensive plan, OneTrip Cancellation Plus (formerly the Essential Plan), offers three key protections — trip cancellation, trip interruption and trip delay benefits. If you know you’ll be taking more than two trips this year, your most cost-effective travel insurance option may be an AllTrips plan, which protects all your travel in a 365-day period.

The best way to find a low-cost travel insurance plan is to get a quote for your next trip and then compare plans. Remember: If you’re not completely satisfied, you have 10 days (or more, depending on your state of residence) to request a refund, provided you haven’t started your trip or initiated a claim. Premiums are non-refundable after this period.

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