Archive for June, 2013

“Did you know…Which airline offers most WiFi on US Flights?”

(Dallas Morning News – Aviation Blog)

Airlines with most WiFiAccording to a recent report by travel website, Routehappy, Delta Air and Southwest Airlines offer the most Wi-Fi connectivity on U.S. flights, respectively.

The Dallas Morning News Aviation Blog reports, Southwest’s numbers are actually higher if you include AirTran Airways. The two airlines merged two years ago, but their systems are still being integrated.

Overall, fliers will find Wi-Fi on 38 percent of U.S. flights if they want to use their smartphones, laptops and tablet computers when allowed, according to the report. The service seems to be more prevalent on longer flights.

Click here to read more interesting findings from Routehappy.


“Did you know…’TWA Flight 800′ documentary raises questions about official explanation of explosion?”

(CBS News)

TWA flight 800 news storyCBS News discusses new documentary called, “TWA Flight 800,” which is raising questions about the doomed New York to Paris flight that exploded 17 years ago.  The film features former investigators and doubts about the official explanation: a fuel tank explosion.

Watch the video here.


One-on-One with Douglas Ward, Cruising Expert & Author of Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships 2013

In this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with Douglas Ward, author of Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guides, about some of the positive and not so positive trends affecting the cruise industry, and where leisure travelers should look for the best value and quality experiences on the high seas.

Douglas fell in love with cruising in 1965 when he worked on Cunard Line’s largest cruise ship, the RMS Queen Elizabeth. Since then, he has logged more than 5,900 days at sea and participated in more than 1,000 cruises, including 158 trans-Atlantic crossings.

Douglas Ward, cruising expert“I always enjoy cruising in the Mediterranean region, oh, and any trans-Atlantic crossing. And, in case you ask, my favorite cruise ship is always the one I’m on!”

— Douglas Ward, author, Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2013

Cruising has always been an attractive vacation option for folks who are budget conscious, but many questions concerning safety, quality control and maintenance have been raised lately based on several incidents of ship breakdowns.  Should potential cruisers be concerned and what are the cruise lines doing to prevent these unfortunate vacation disasters?

Cruise lines don’t plan disasters or mechanical breakdowns, but they can happen, just as they can to your automobile, computer or mobile phone. Potential cruisers should not be concerned, but should be aware that things can go wrong, but rarely do. The cruise industry carries more than 20 million passengers each year and few experience inconveniences, like the complete breakdown of Carnival Triumph in 2012. Over the past 48 years of cruising, I have experienced several such breakdowns and mishaps, but I always find they are merely inconveniences, like luggage lost by airlines.

What advice do you give to potential cruisers? What should cruisers be aware of in advance of booking?

First, think of where you want to go, your time frame, your personal preferences for the size of ship and facilities (large resort ship, mid-size, small, or boutique) and then prepare a budget (remember to include insurance). Then, find a cruise specialist agency to match you to the right ship, for the right reasons.

While the Internet is popular for research, it pays to find a specialist cruise agent with a physical location. Some Internet-only “agencies” with slick websites have been known to disappear without trace – with your money. Continue reading →

Cruising – Part 2: Best Port Cities & Cruise Lines

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In Part Two of our Cruising Series, Douglas Ward, author of Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, takes us to the optimal cities for cruising in to and out of, and he offers his list of cruise lines that consistently offer the best quality.  If you missed Part One about the trends in River Cruising, click here to catch up.

Cruise from New York

Photo: (cc)Counselman Collection via Flickr

Are there some cities that are better to cruise from than others?

Some simply have better access and connection to airports, rail stations, and roads, such as New York’s Manhattan Cruise Terminal or Brooklyn’s Red Hook Point. Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades) is also good, as are Seattle and San Francisco, and Canada’s Vancouver. I won’t include Los Angeles and Miami because I (and countless other passengers) mostly come across staff with ‘attitude’ – like the tip-seeking porters and check-in and security staff, more into the hostility business than the hospitality business.

There are so many good ports from which to cruise in the rest of the world that space would not permit listing them all. However, my choice would probably include (in alphabetical order) Auckland (New Zealand), Barcelona (Spain), Bergen (Norway), Cape Town (South Africa), Copenhagen (Denmark), Hong Kong (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Melbourne (Australia), Palma de Majorca (Spain), Singapore, Southampton (UK), and Stockholm (Sweden).

Least favorite check-in ports: Athens (Piraeus), Civitavecchia (Rome, Italy), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Rio de Janeiro, and Sydney (Australia), mainly due to a lack of hospitality or location.

Which cruise lines are consistently ranked best in quality and value?

As for value, I believe that you get what you pay for.  And that’s precisely why, in automotive terms, Rolls Royce doesn’t discount! I am of the opinion that all cruise lines offer some perceived value for money.

For quality, the list should include Asuka Cruise, Crystal Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, Seabourn, and Silversea Cruises.

At the end of the day, what you get is a comfortable, hassle-free vacation – that’s value for money in itself.

For more information about Berlitz Cruise and to keep up to date with the latest cruise news, visit the Insight Guides website or sign up for Douglas Ward’s CruiseLetter“Like” us on Facebook and enter our Travel Giveaway Sweepstakes to win a copy of Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships 2014.

Bon Voyage!


“Did you know…Elite flyers pressure United Airlines to act on climate change?”

(Reuters – Travel)

United Airlines

Photo: Flying Clean

On Monday, Flying Clean, an alliance launched by several nongovernmental organizations seeking to reduce carbon emissions from airplanes, hosted a panel of United Airlines’ most frequent elite flyers, including billionaire investor Tom Steyer, imploring the big airline to stop blocking climate change actions.

Read the full story here.