Quick Links:
- Australia
- Cruises
- Honeymoons
- Hawaii

Australia

Q. I'd love to go to Australia, but it's too far away.

A. Australia is less than a day away. In fact, from the West Coast you can be there in under 15 hours. Think of the flight as three delicious meals, two great movies and a relaxing nap.

Q. Why should I go to Australia?

A. It's beautiful, unique, fascinating and fun.

Q. Can we afford it?

A. It costs less than you think! Airlines are more competative than ever these days. And the good values start when you reach Australia. For example: favorable exchange rate, no sales tax, tipping is not mandatory, accommodations are available to suit every budget from B&Bs to five star hotels. In general, day to day expenses are comparable to ours. Wonderful food, quality accommodations and beautiful Australia, all at an affordable price.

Q. When is the best time to go?

A. Australia is a year round destination with seasons opposite ours. The climate is generally pleasant without extremes. 60% of the country has a temperate climate with all four seasons. Spring is September- November, summer is December- February, Fall is March-May, Winter is June-August.

 

Cruises

Q. Is cruising affordable and a good vacation value?

A. Yes! There are cruise vacations to suit every budget, from the cost-conscious to the most luxurious. Even more important, a cruise offers the best travel value for your money. Your fare includes all meals, your cabin, onboard daytime activities, nighttime parties and entertainment. So for once, you'll know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. (Your only extra expenses will be drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as massage or hairstyling.)

Q. How long are cruises?

A. As long or short as you want. There are cruise lines that offer itineraries from three days to three months. Whatever your schedule, we'll do our best to find the cruise for you.

Q. What's the best time to take a cruise?

A. Anytime is the best time to take a cruise, but it also depends on where you'd like to go. The Caribbean is fantastic year round; however, some of the more exotic destinations are seasonal. For example, you can only cruise to Alaska between May and September; to Europe between April and November; to Bermuda, between April and October; the Panama Canal, between September and April. So you see, no matter what time of year it is, it's a perfect time to cruise.

Q. When is Hurricane Season?

A. If we could only predict the future. Officially, the National Hurricane Service states that hurricane season starts on June I and ends November 31st. That's 6 months of the year. However, history has shown us the greatest concentration of hurricane and tropical storm activity tends to be between late August and mid-October. Since we've been in business, we've only seen one sailing date was cancelled due to hurricane activity.

Q. When is the most affordable time to take a cruise?

A. If you are looking for the very, least expensive time to take a cruise, then consider sailing between the end of August and the sailing before Christmas, but not over Christmas or Thanksgiving. Most families have children that are back to school, folks begin saving vacation time for holiday travel, and everyone's saving money for the holiday season. Considering all of these factors, expect to cruise prices that are better than 2-for-1 with reduced rates for 3rd and 4th passengers. A 7 night cruise that normally sells for $899 per person in the summer could be $499 pp during this period with the 3rd and 4th sailing for $99. That's a potential average of $300 pp for a one week cruise.

If you're looking for a senior citizen rate, a regional promotion, a past passenger promotion, or a last minute deal, you'll likely find it during this period. Not the Winter, Spring, or Summer.

Q. Where can I go?

A. Where do you want to go? Cruises visit practically any destination accessible by water - the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Bermuda, Europe, Hawaii, the Greek Isles, the Orient, Australia, Tahiti, the Galapagos Islands, South America, India, the Panama Canal and more. If you can name it, we can probably get you there by ship.

Q. Is motion discomfort a problem?

A. Not really. The most popular cruise areas boast some of the calmest waters in the world. In addition, stabilizers on modern ships, advance availability of accurate weather information, and development of effective preventative medications have, for the most part, eliminated the incidence of motion discomfort.

Q. What's there to do in port?

A. So much you'll have a hard time choosing! You can go off on your own. Or take a guided tour. You can search ancient ruins or hunt for shopping bargains. Ride a raft over river rapids, a bicycle down the side of a 10,000 foot volcano, or ride a horse across miles of hills and beaches. Climb a waterfall or pyramid. See the birthplace of civilization or listen to steel drum bands. Follow the footsteps of history or the wake of a waterskiing boat. If there's still time (and you aren't ready to rest yet), enjoy a folkloric show. Play golf or tennis. Eat native foods. Learn how to windsurf. Sun and swim at some of the world's best beaches. Catch a record marlin. Sail, snorkel, or go scuba diving. Go to a nightclub or glittering casino. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain. Explore dark catacombs. In short, a cruise is the easiest way to see new places and do all the things you dream of. Cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of destinations that you may want to return to for another vacation ... and you never have to pack and unpack the destinations come to you!

Q. What if I don't want to take a tour?

A. You can do what you want in port. You will either tender (small boat to shore) or dock. It depends on the port and how many ships are there. But if you tender it will usually be done efficiently.

You can take tours arranged by the ship, take your own tours (rent a car, cab, etc.), just walk into town, or stay on the ship. You can have lunch on the ship - you can always come back, even with tender, they run all the time. If it's an all-day tour, and they will usually include lunch. The half-day tours are bmed to get you back for lunch (or leave after lunch).

They will review all the tours for you on the ship and you should go if you're interested. Even if you want to do it on your own, you may pick up some ideas.

In the Caribbean and Alaska you certainly don't have to take tours - but many people do and are quite happy with them.

If you are cruising in Europe and some other parts of the world it may be different. Unless you just want to go into the city. They usually run shuffle buses which will take you 'downtown'. But this is only to the port city. For example, the port for Paris might be Le Havre. If you want to get to Pads, you're on your own. Sometimes you're close to a train station - all depends.

Ship tours are usually well organized and usually well worth the money. We know sometimes you can do it cheaper on your own, but remember that you are also paying for a guide, admissions, etc. Not to mention peace of mind - the ship won't leave until all the tours are back. If you go on your own you may have to build in extra time to be sure you won't miss the ship.

If you're highly independent we're sure you can always do things on your own. But for the rest of us - the tours are just fine. And if you're worried about waiting for stragglers, this rarely happens in our experience, especially if you are on a cruise in Europe, Asia, etc. Experienced cruisers know how to behave. And if they don't they are brought in line very quickly - believe me!

Q. What's there to do at night?

A. At night, life aboard a cruise ship really turns on. There's dancing, live entertainment in nightclubs, discos, lounges, feature films, and parties with all your new friends. Most ships even have casinos. There are also many special events like the Captain's Cocktail Party, Passenger Talent Night, the Masquerade Parade, the Late Night Buffet (for one last bite to tide you over until breakfast). And the night can go on as long as you want. Even until the spectacle of sunrise at sea.

Q. Is there a charge for entertainment?

A. NEVER. On a cruise vacation, the entertainment is on the house. There's no cover. No minimum. No charge for an admission ticket. The shows are live. The movies are first-rate. The variety is limitless.

Q. Is it easy to meet people?

A. A cruise ship is a great place to make new friends, because everyone's so friendly. The atmosphere is cordial, relaxed. And you'll have all kinds of things in common to talk about. At dinner. At cocktails. Around the pool. Or along the promenade rail. And don't be surprised if you find yourself making arrangements to meet them aboard ship again next year.

Q. Will there be people like me?

A. No matter what you've heard to the contrary, there's no such thing as a typical cruise passenger! ALL kinds of people take cruises ... of all ages ... from all walks of life ... singles, couples and families. Passengers can vary from ship to ship and cruise to cruise. Just ask one of our agents for advice on the best ship for you, based on your tastes and lifestyle.

Q. Can singles have fun on a cruise?

A. Cruising is ideal for people traveling alone, because it's so easy to meet other people. In fact, most ships have parties just for singles early on, so you can start to be involved right away. Most ships also have single cabins as well as single rates for double staterooms. In many cases, a cruise line will even find you a roommate to share a double if you ask them.

Q. Is cruising right for honeymooners?

A. Without a doubt. Cruising offers an atmosphere thats just right for romance ... cozy dinners for two, strolling on deck at sunset, dancing the night away (even under the stars) and so much more to remember forever. Most lines provide special services from Sunday or Monday departures to welcome champagne and breakfast in bed. (And, speaking of beds, most ships have them in double, queen, or king sizes!) Also, some ships offer special programs for performing a marriage ceremony or renewing your marriage vows in port. By the way, honeymooners should email us for our Honeymoon Planning Guide with special rates for our passengers tying the knot.

Q. How do I book a cruise?

A. Simply call us at 1-800-967-5583. One of our enthusiatic, knowledgeable travel consultants will be glad to help you. We will help you pick the cruise that fits your vacation schedule, tastes, and budget; then make all the arrangements to get you from your doorstep to your stateroom and back.

Q. What should we budget?

A. There's no easy answer. However, your honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is not a good place to cut comers. If you are concerned about money, you probably will prefer an "all inclusive" resort or a cruise so that you don't have any budget surprises. Because meals and entertainment are included, these are usually the best value. No matter what you have budgeted for your honeymoon, the experts of Touraine Vacation & Cruises will have lots of wonderful options for you to choose from.

 

Honeymoons

Q. What is a honeymoon registry?

A. A honeymoon registry works just like a bridal registry, but instead of a toaster or a cheese tray your friends and relatives can make a contribution to the cost of your honeymoon. This is becoming a popular trend and it is not uncommon on a bridal shower invitation to have a travel agency listed under other registration locations. Your personal travel consultant at Touraine Vacations & Cruises can assist you to set up your own registry.

Q. I've heard that leaving the day after the wedding can limit our choices? Is that true?

A. This can be a challenge, particularly with cruises. For example, only 4-day cruises leave on Monday, making it virtually impossible for a couple getting married on a Sunday to leave for a 7-day cruise the next day. Even for Saturday weddings, Sunday departures may require getting up earlier than you would like. You might consider taking your honeymoon a few days or more after the wedding. This gives you a chance to relax and recover from the wedding (not to mention catalog the gifts) and take your honeymoon when you're less tired and stressed. Tradition no longer demands you leave the next day. If, however, you want to "get out of town" right away, your Touraine agent will outline all your options. Staying overnight at the airport, for instance, might be one solution to an earlier morning flight.

 

Hawaii

Q. When is the best time to go to Hawaii?

A. Anytime! Seasons are very subtle in Hawaii with year-round temperatures ranging from 73 to 88...so the weather is always warm. And, the tropical tradewinds keep humidity low to provide natural outside air conditioning.

Q. What should I pack?

A. Most airlines allow two pieces of checked baggage plus a carry-on without an additional charge. That should be ample, since you'll only need lightweight clothing. Hawaii is extremely informal so take plenty of casual wear and a few dressy items for big occasions. Take comfortable walking shoes, sports equipment (Hawaii offers great tennis and golf facilities) and, if you are going with youngsters, their favorite toys and books. But don't worry, Hawaii is just like home, so you can get anything you've forgotten anywhere in Hawaii.

Q. How much spending money should I take?

A. About $50 per person per day should cover your daily expenses. You'll want walking around money for personal expenses such as laundry, telephone or food. There are fast food and inexpensive restaurants all through Hawaii but you might occasionally want to splurge on more costly dining experiences. Travelers checks can be cashed and major credit cards are generally accepted all though Hawaii. And, ATM machines are readily acceptable.

Q. What time do flights leave?

A. Usually early or mid-morning, arriving in Honolulu in late afternoon. But coming from the mainland don't forget, you'll be "going backwards" through time zones, so afternoon in Hawaii could be late at night back home. Coming home, you'll typically leave late afternoon or evening and arrive home the next day. If you're coming back home to the Midwest or East Coast, you might enjoy a stopover in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or even Las Vegas. It's a perfect transition which adds to your vacation experience while avoiding the pitfalls of jet lag.

Q. How much will my vacation cost?

A. Your two major costs are getting there (and back!) and staying there. There are super discount airfares available from just about all major cities to Hawaii and there are hundreds of hotels and condos to fit every budget. We can assist you in finding a custom vacation that fits your desires...at a price that pleases your pocket.

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