January 31st, 2012 by Amanda Shapiro
Cruising remains an attractive vacation option for millions of North Americans
ORLANDO, Fla., (Jan. 31, 2012) – AAA Travel cruise experts say cruising remains a popular choice for North American vacationers. More than 16 million cruise passengers sailed the world’s waterways last year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and a passenger total in excess of 17 million is forecast for 2012.
While most AAA Travel cruise passengers remain loyal to cruising, the Costa Concordia tragedy has sparked debate about cruise safety in some industry and public sectors.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations, mandates global regulations for the safety and operation of cruise ships. The most important of these is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which includes comprehensive information on safety equipment and procedures. To help ensure the safety and security of cruise line passengers, AAA recommends all cruise lines meet the industry standards included in the SOLAS treaty.
“There is value in having reasoned dialogue to examine whether current maritime laws governing the cruise industry are sufficient or should be modified,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “Meanwhile, cruising remains an attractive vacation option for millions of North Americans each year.”
In the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard has the responsibility for ensuring that ships embarking passengers in U.S. ports meet all international conventions and domestic requirements for safety, security and environmental protection. It conducts announced and unannounced safety inspections for every cruise ship that embarks passengers in U.S. ports. More than 10 million people boarded cruise ships in the United States last year.
AAA Travel experts offer cruise passengers five important safety tips:
- All cruise passengers, even seasoned cruisers, should actively participate in and pay full attention during the ship’s muster drills as evacuation procedures vary by cruise line. Currently, ships are required to hold safety drills within 24 hours of boarding new passengers. If the ship’s emergency muster drill is not scheduled prior to departure from the embarkation port, take personal responsibility for safety by locating life vests and identifying assigned muster stations.
- Register all international travel with the U.S. Department of State’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This will enable the State Department to provide better assistance in an emergency.
- Travel with a small waterproof pack that can be easily secured around the body in the event of an evacuation. The pack should include, passports, cash including local currency, credit card, medications, small flashlight, cell phone, nutrition bars, and a bottle of water if possible. Prepare the pack upon boarding the ship so it is immediately accessible in the event of an emergency.
- Don’t let common sense take a vacation. Avoid participation in risky behaviors like excessive consumption of alcohol and admitting strangers to your cabin, and report any concerns to ship security. Personal safety is a consideration while on a cruise vacation, just like it is while at home or when traveling on land.
- Book all cruise vacations through a trusted travel counselor. In the days following an emergency, the travel counselor can be a trusted ally providing critical, timely and valuable assistance. A travel counselor can provide guidance to customers already booked on future cruises that may be affected by the original cruise ship emergency
February through March sees the highest demand among consumers for purchasing cruise vacations to sail to top summer cruise destinations like Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe as well as cruises throughout the world for the remainder of the year. Prospective cruise passengers should book early and take advantage of special buying incentives to secure their first choice of ship, itinerary, cabin location, and sailing date.
AAA is committed to providing members with everything needed to plan the best cruise vacation. AAA Vacations® – a customized collection of cruise and tour packages designed to provide AAA members with unique, exclusive and engaging experiences – is an exclusive product of AAA Travel. For the nearest AAA Travel location or for more information visit AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
January 3rd, 2012 by Amanda Shapiro
Customized cruise and tour vacation packages enable travelers to fulfill bucket-list dreams with ease
ORLANDO, Fla., (Jan. 3, 2012) – AAA Travel announces the expansion of AAA Vacations® – a customized collection of tour and cruise packages designed to provide AAA members with unique, exclusive and engaging life experiences. The collection now includes vacation options to faraway, exotic destinations throughout the world and close to home in the United States and Canada. AAA members can purchase AAA Vacations products from one of the more than 3,178 professional travel counselors located at AAA Travel offices nationwide. Each departure features AAA’s Best Price Guarantee and 24/7 AAA Member Care.
“AAA Vacations is the perfect ticket to fulfill bucket-list dreams,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “AAA members will enjoy unique experiences like private cooking demonstrations with top local chefs, VIP access to the Vatican Museum and priority embarkation on some cruise lines.”
Vacation planning can be a daunting task. Utilizing the expert services of a professional travel counselor to book a pre-packaged trip that includes unique experiences such as a AAA Vacations destination product, will save vacationers countless hours of research time. Travel counselors at AAA receive frequent travel updates and stay abreast of price changes, document requirement changes, travel alerts and continuously monitor the overall travel landscape. Their time, personalized service and first-hand destination knowledge that enables them to offer valuable destination tips and sightseeing recommendations adds irreplaceable value to the vacation price.
AAA is committed to providing our members with everything they need to plan the best vacation. AAA Vacations is an exclusive product of AAA Travel. For the nearest AAA Travel location or for more information visit AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.