Cruising is all about having your patience deliciously tried. It’s like when you were a kid and you had to wait for your birthday and Christmas. You knew those events would finally arrive, but it was o so hard to wait.
Sometimes I envy those people who live in port cities and can sign up for a cruise just days before the sailing date. We cruised with a couple from Canada that kept their “cruise bags” packed and waiting in the hall closet, as they could find that “great deal” and be gone tomorrow. But yet, when you have months to prepare for your “yearly” cruise, the waiting, the researching and the planning are what adds to the value of the cruise.
Many who read this blog know that we anxiously await for our weekly email from our travel agent; Alan Schiller at travelwithalan.com. We booked our current trip way back in the fall of 2010, and it especially appealed to us because Alan would be escorting the “herd”, and offering his own shore excursions in addition to what the ship offers. Experience has proven that because of his experience and his relationships with companies all over the world, not much can go wrong that he can not fix. On our voyage to the “Top of the World” last year, two shore side vendors in Scotland failed to book our scheduled luncheon venue, within no time Alan came up with an alternative that was equally as good or better than the original. His ability to “fix” things is uncanny. We like his umbrella. Through the years Alan has fine tuned the way he operates his tours, to ensure all get treated equally as there are some who feel rules were not written for them. The following is a quote from his latest tour information package:
“As you can see, we have put together some very nice tours for our port visits. These have been very popular and well received in the past. Just so that there will be no “hard feelings” later, I would liked to go over some information about how we operate our tours:
- We rotate seats on the buses every day.
- Smoking and cellular phones are not permitted on the buses or anytime that the group is gathered with the guides.
- While we try to get the best licensed guides for each tour, some will be better than others. (Of course, the one on the other bus is always better!).
- English is not the first language for most of the guides. Some will be easier to understand than others. We ask that while the guides are giving their narration, either on or off of the coaches, that all conversations, even whispers, are discontinued. This will allow everyone to concentrate on what the guide is saying. We will ask you to hold your personal conversations even if you cannot understand the guide, so that others have a chance.
- Sometimes we have some of the coaches do the tour in a different order to minimize crowds in one area or at one attraction.
- We reserve the right to modify any of the tours, based on local conditions”
Now these rules do seem a little strict and one would think that he is hauling around a bunch of school children, but let me tell you, some folks who cruise do have “attitude” that is at times contrary to those around them. These rules are what keeps folks returning cruise after cruise with Alan.
Next: The Waiting Game – Part II