Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Do What You Need to Do and Write What You Need to Write.

I know I have been on sort of a role about being a bit kinder to fellow travelers.  I also know I have been a bit harsh in putting forth the message; I guess, in large part, because it seems like the ones that actually need the message won't hear it otherwise.

You may recall the other day I posted on the Goldring Travel Facebook Page about a truly inspirational speaker I saw with my family by the name of Michael Fowlin.  He had many great messages for teenagers, but also for adults.  One of them was, "Stop doing what you are supposed to do and starting doing what you need to do."

I really took that to heart and have really tried to change the way I do some things.  Without trying to sound too virtuous, and without getting into specifics, I have done things like letting some important people know that they are really appreciated rather than just sending them a Christmas card...and they probably never actually perceived themselves as important to me.  And rather than say to a waitress whose customer walked out on their bill, "Sorry", I did something to assist.

So today I received another of the many emails I get from my 79 year old mother.  (Remember when your grandmother would cut out articles from the newspaper and mail them to your parents?  This is the modern version of that.)  Anyway, she sent it because the video was shot in Red Bank, New Jersey (the home of Goldring Travel...and formerly a really good cigar bar seen in the background, but now closed). 

This video, by Life Vest Inside, speaks to the same thing.  Coincidence?



Sometimes people board luxury cruise ships and believe it is all about them.  They paid their price and they demand all they believe they are entitled to.  Sometimes those people forget that they are dealing with human beings and that the stewardess is doing her best, the hotel manager is trying to correct things for you, the food served by the waiter may not be perfect, but they are people.

So before you start yelling.  Before you start posting how bad they are.  Before you start adversely affecting other's dreams of their cruise.  Before you write as if your singular experience is authoritative and the dozens of more positive experiences must be a thing of the past or a sign of things to come (rather than an isolated instance):  THINK.

Do you really think you NEED to yell, or berate or castigate? Or is just something that you decided you should do? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Do People Believe Bad Comments More Than Good? A Word of Caution: The Poster May Be Trouble.

There is an interesting, though disturbing, phenomenon that raises its ugly head too many times:  The Thrill of Writing Negative Cruise Reviews.

On Cruise Critic (the website of so much inaccuracy and social dysfunction that it boggles most minds), there is presently a woman on the Seabourn Pride (posting as "Caroldoll") who typifies how an obviously ill-informed person who loves the limelight gets her 15 minutes of fame by engaging in various rants and then becomes offended because she was called out on it

What mystifies me more:  There are people that take what this one - ill-informed and not terribly well centered woman's - opinion and deem it to be truthful, relevant and, to be sure, a virtuous death knell.  Why? 

Let me set the stage: 

Granny Lorr has just completed an 88 day cruise on the Seabourn Pride and had the time of her life...again.  You can read her travelogue with details of her experience on the Seabourn Pride here:  Granny on The Pride 2011.  Raves and compliments abound.  She disembarks as the Pride is going into drydock.

Caroldoll embarks on the Seabourn Pride the day it gets out of the same drydock.  She starts out by stating, in part, "The check-in was handled quickly and professionally. However EVERYONE was sitting in a very small theater type room. There were small coldcut sandwiches..not even good cold cuts and with very dry bread and cookies. After about a half an hour someone came to take us to the suite. We are in the OS 6. This is mid-ship with a very very obstructed view."

It is at this point I stop, pause, and determine that whatever else she has to say is definitely going to be of the "Why did you step under my foot?" rather than the "I am sorry I stepped on your foot" variety.  It is, to someone who is knowledgeable (like a good travel agent) that:

(A) One never should arrive at a Seabourn ship before 2:00 p.m. and more preferably at or after 2:30 p.m.  So why did this person arrive before then?  Obviously she didn't have a clue either because she didn't use a travel agent or she used one that didn't know or didn' tell her.

(B) The midship Owner's Suites on the smaller Seabourn ships have a somewhat obstructed view from the balcony.  The Seabourn website makes the condition very clear, "Suites O5 and O6...Living rooms windows have an obstructed view due to ship's equipment; as well the private verandah will have an over head obstruction due to the overhang presence of the ship's life boat.".  Oh, heads are going to roll!  To bad she did not use hers before the cruise to actually read something or ask questions.

So I read on - already tainted by her failures...and they are failures...and read her comment, "I could go on and on, but their internet package is $400, so I won't!" And I pause again because in the top suites on Seabourn the interest is included in the cruise fare (or, if you will, complimentary...just as it says on its website.)  But then I think, "If she bought the full cruise package, then it wouldn't matter." 

Then I say to myself, "Self:  Why would someone who just boarded a ship spend the time ranting on Cruise Critic rather getting herself together and having any issues addressed in a productive fashion?"  I figure it is because she is seeking vengeance, retribution...or, possibly, she needs to blame someone other than herself because she just doesn't belong on that ship.

This last point plays itself out when she complains of the age of the Seabourn Pride, which was launched in 1988 and then compares it to her yachting experiences.  But again, lack of or bad travel agent aside, the Seabourn website clearly states, "And in 1988...the sleek, 10,000-ton Pride emerged from the...shipyard".  If this person was looking for modern or something comparable to a new superyacht either ignorance or visions of grandeur were present. (BTW, I tell all of my clients that the service and cuisine...the "Software" if you will...is what makes the small Seabourn ships special.  If you want state of the art "hardware", the newer Seabourn Odyssey-class ships are probably for you.)

Then there is another point:  This is the first cruise since the drydocking of the Seabourn Pride.  While it made some major technical enhancements to the ship there is absolutely no way things would be running perfectly.  The drydock is run by a shipyard (not Seabourn) and things go wrong and need to be corrected...especially when on a compressed schedule.  In addition, the staff are spending their first days putting things back where they belong (or in new places), working the kinks out of the new equipment, etc.    Just like taking a Caribbean cruise during hurricane season, you should never book such a cruise without expecting problems...Ever.  Guess she was never told that!

So now with all of this background I am reading about those poor souls reading her rants who have booked their first Seabourn cruise and it is on the Seabourn Pride.  They are unnecessarily worried because they are clearly not getting a balanced perspective.  Why would Caroldoll do this to these people?

But I also must ask, "Why are there so many other posters rooting her on to complain more?"  Do they not see that what she says may or may not be true, but even the faults are probably blown way out of proportion.  Or, of course, if they are not like her, would the issues she is legitimately having  be perceived as dire by themselves? Of course they do.  If they read Caroldoll's thread they already know how ill-informed and/or perverse her perspective is.  To me it is like a those people that see someone under the influence and nonetheless buy them another drink because they think that person is amusing.

Before I end this I would like to refer you to an article I wrote back in July 2009:  Let's Get Back to Basics - Why Do We Do This Stuff???? .  It talks of "The List":  the list certain people make of everything that is not right (not even wrong) with their cruise.  It ruins their experience and, when they decide to share their List, it ruins it for others; something I wrote about a few days ago.

Do yourselves a favor when looking to book a cruise:  Use a quality, knowledgeable, travel agent.  Don't book online (unless you plan on handing it off to that agent afterwards).  Don't book directly with the cruise line.  Don't read the review of one person and believe it to be true. And, don't believe everything you read.  (Unless, of course, you read it here!)

Do have a great time and know that your experience is what is important.  That other person's:  Usually, not so much.


Join the discussion on The Gold Standard Luxury Travel Forum



Thursday, December 22, 2011

What a Wonderful World (To Travel) - Happy Holidays from Goldring Travel

This has been quite a year for me, personally, and for Goldring Travel.

I have traveled from the mountains of Lake Tahoe, California to the beaches of Sardinia; wandered the streets of Rome and was among the first to cruise on the Seabourn Quest; relaxed in a beautiful villa in remote Turkey; took in much during the Global Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam; embraced the east coast of Canada and the United States on the Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise aboard the Seabourn Sojourn and in my special event at the New England Aquarium.

I have enjoyed my children's growth and happiness (even during some trying times) as each blossomed and developed as either an incredible writer or computer whiz, while becoming more independent and self-assured.  One traveled to Europe this summer as part of a People to People Student Ambassador Program, then to a high tech course through Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, then on to Washington, D.C., all the while snowboarding and computer gaming.  One spent the entire summer at camp in Vermont, learning to kayak and hiking and camping, but also becoming quite a compassionate young woman whose stories can make you cry or just think.

But even with this all of this great stuff I have encountered more negativity than I have in the past.  Some of it surely is based upon the worldwide economic problems.  But some of it is just an unhealthy approach to those things that are really wonderful. It has become so rampant that I even wrote a few articles on this, including one earlier this week.

In contrast, I find such peace and enjoyment with my children, but do you have any idea how many hours I have stayed up late just to schlep a bunch of kids from here to there?! I am enriched by my cultural experiences, but do you know many hours were spent sitting in an an airline's economy seat?  I love my Goldring Travel business, but do you have any idea how many "discussions" I have had with cruise lines making sure you, my clients, are treated better?  It will never be "all" good, but I am truly blessed and can find no reason to complain.

So, at this time of the year when some are looking for gifts, parties, resolutions for the new year, and how next year is going to be better than this year...I look around me, reflect - think of the Jimmy Buffett lyric, "Some of its magic.  Some of its tragic.  But I have a good life all the same." - and then I say, "What a Wonderful World!"





Happy Holidays from Goldring Travel!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

'Tis the Season - Your Demands and Comments Can Degrade Everyone's Holiday Cruise

As I read things on the web I am seeing that annual overtone of some folks that seek to dampen the joys of holiday cruises and other vacations by complaining about a single incident that happened weeks or months ago as if that single incident is going to be repeated regularly...And then they complain about children and/or crowds.

Let me float this by those "lovely" folks:  Do you ever consider that being a Grinch isn't helpful and, in fact, not only makes the other guests uncomfortable and beats down not only the attitude of those serving you, but makes their ability to service you and others as they wish impossible.

Example: You are upset because your stewardess didn't give you all three types of designer soaps or there was a service issue in the main restaurant.  You complain to the head of housekeeping, the maitre d', the head of Guest Services and then the Hotel Manager.  You want it right and, gosh darn, you are entitled to it!

No matter what anyone does it just isn't good enough.  And everyone is doing everything possible to please you.  They, in fact, are not doing other things for other guests because they are so focused on quieting the storm around you.  To you the issue isn't that everyone is falling over you to make things right, it is that it wasn't right in the first place (the impossibility of perfection aside)...so, in fact, to you it will never be right.

But the issue (not to you, but to everyone else) isn't that your issue can, to your mind, never be made right.  The issue is that your issue has caused a negative impact on so many around you.  Not only the other guests that have issues that could otherwise be quickly and easily addressed (if the needed staff weren't constantly dealing with yours), but that the staff is disheartened because no matter how hard they try you won't be satisfied.  (You may recall a certain person from another cruise website the cruised on Seabourn earlier this year that fits this profile!  You can also find a number of people that fit this profile on Cruise Critic.  Coincidence?  I think not.)

But there is more to your degradation of everyone else's cruise experience:  Now that you have negatively impacted other guests and the staff on your cruise, you then publish your one-sided complaints on various websites and/or forums...and then you interject them onto any person about to take a cruise that asks a question that just might hint at being an opening for you to repeat your singular issue and perspective.

And then there is the issue of children and crowds.  Two quick points on this:

First, the sun rises every single day.  No one complains (except some teenagers who sleep until 2PM) because it is what happens no matter what.  During holiday cruises and other vacations, like the sun rising, children - who are off from school - will be there.  So don't be like a sleeping teenager and complain about an obvious thing that is going to happen no matter how much you complain.  The same holds true for crowds.

Second, some people actually (a) have children; (b) are children; and/or (c) like or are not bothered by children.  And some of them actually enjoy the vibrance and energy of crowds (rather than the carpets being rolled up at 10PM or the pool being an object merely to be observed). So don't get into complaining about things that are the joys of others...especially when you aren't going to be part of their experience/cruise/vacation.  It not only isn't helpful, it can be offensive.

So before you interject your opinions and "warnings" this holiday travel season, remember it is not all about you, but THEM and what THEY want.

Just sayin'!




Friday, December 16, 2011

Silversea 2013 Itineraries Announced...and The World Cruise is Back!

Silversea has announced its 2013 itineraries and some of the highlights.  At the outset, there are a few worth mentioning:  The World Cruise is back; and, Silversea is continuing with its combining an "all inclusive" product with additional onboard credits.

The 115 Day World Cruise will be on the Silver Whisper, departing from Los Angeles and ending in Fort Lauderdale.  It is both good and interesting for the North American market, but more on that in a minute.  This voyage will visit 28 countries and 52 ports starting out with a beeline to French Polynesia, then on to New Zealand and Australia before heading along Australia's western coast to Southeast Asia (including Borneo, Viet Nam, Thailand and Indonesia),  and then on to India,  East Africa (including Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa) and then up the West Coast of Africa (Nambia, Gambia, etc.) before heading transatlantic to the Caribbean and then ending in Fort Lauderdale.  It is a great itinerary (save one leg in the middle which is many sea days...but that is simply unavoidable) and definitely worth considering.

BTW, Silversea is offering a 16 day pre-cruise extension allowing you to sale roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, a 3 day post-cruise extension allowing you to sail directly to New York and a 15 day post-cruise extension allowing you to sail to Southampton.

If you can say only one thing, it is that Silversea has put a great deal of thought into this itinerary as well as the demographics of its probable World Cruise guests!  (OK, it is two things, but they are intertwined.)  Hint:  It is set up to be very easy for North American guests...and not so bad for those from the UK.

I do not have pricing on this as of yet, but if you are interested, please call or email me and I will get it for you.

The other interesting aspect of Silversea's 2013 approach is that it is continuing its "Onboard Spending Credits" as follows:

6-7 Days - $500 per suite
8-21 Days - $1,000 per suite
22+ Days - 41,500 per suite

Personally, I would like to see those amounts taken off the cruise fare, but I understand that there is a good portion of the market that thinks they are getting something free, when they are actually paying for it 120 days prior to their cruise and then getting it back when they are onboard...and then are faced with having to spend it, when otherwise they might not.  (It is a small point, but one worth considering.)


I have also taken a quick look at some of the itineraries and there are quite a few creative ones.  Luxury in Alaska, a few trips to Iceland, Japan and China, roundtrip Singapore, and more.

As you know, I call it as I see it and I am liking what I am seeing!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Your Order Room Service With Your Telephone, So Why Not Your Vacation?


This time of year I received many e-mails from clients and potential clients seeking advice for their next vacation. While that is great news, and I love to help them, there is a problem…A Big Problem.

The problem is, well, e-mails. Too many of us have become so reliant on shooting off a quick e-mail that we have forgotten how much easier an actual conversation can be when trying to plan a complex trip, or even just to figure out what sort of vacation one wants.  E-mails simply do not allow for the necessary "give and take" or an easy understanding of what a client’s desires really are. 

Eventually what can happen is a sense of frustration develops because either I do not really understand what a person may be trying to express in their e-mail or they do not understand fully what I'm trying to express in mine. That said, I can't tell you the number of times I have written in an e-mail, "Please give me a call" or "When would it be convenient for me to call you?" yet I only get an e-mail in response.

Am I complaining? No. My concern is not spending the time, but rather causing confusion – with prices and vacation options flying everywhere – rather than focusing on pricing and options that the inquirer truly desires.

There is a reason that Goldring Travel has:

A toll-free number in the United States: (877) 2GO – LUXURY;

A telephone number in London, England: 020 8133 3450;

A telephone number in Brisbane, Australia: (07) 3102 4685;

An International telephone number: +1 732 578 8585; and, of course,

Skype (egoldring).

It is so that I can talk with my clients and prospective clients. Not only is it the most effective way to communicate and discuss vacation plans, it is far more enjoyable, personal and, hopefully, informative.

Seriously, don't you get more of the information you desire more quickly when there is dialogue rather than:

                        Ask a question in an email.
                        Wait.
                        Read a response.
                        Ask a second question.
                        Wait.
                        Read a response.
                        Get frustrated because the answer wasn't really what you were looking for.
                        Ask a third question.
                        Wait.
                        Read a response.

Seriously, something that can be accomplished in a five minute telephone conversation can take hours or even days via email.

Is this more time-consuming for me? Yes and No. It may take more time up front, but in the end it is far more efficient, far more enjoyable and, of course, far more likely that you (my client or prospective client) are going to receive the information you desire and, ultimately, the vacation of your dreams.

To me it is, many times, similar to online booking engines where there is very limited interaction to travel agent, too much interaction with the computer, and ultimately frustration and dissatisfaction set in.

For example, how do you effectively explain in a brief e-mail the differences between Uniworld, Viking and Avalon Waterways when considering a China river cruise? Or, how does one discuss differences in cuisine, service styles, ambience, etc. as it relates to the inquirer's personal tastes, desires and culture.

The fact is that every person pretty much wants the same information, but wants it delivered in a different way. These differences exist from person to person, but become magnified when different cultures are considered. Trying to deliver the desired information in an e-mail considering these factors does not always result in a great experience.

There is another problem as well. That is the proverbial chasing of one's tail. Can you give me a price on Cruise A, All-Inclusive B and, by the way, what about a River Cruise? To me this is most interesting because the people that are relying upon e-mail generally spend a good bit of time surfing the web. And, for some reason, there is a hesitance to click on the "Fare" button even if it is to merely get a general idea of pricing. 

Do you want to know the “some reason”?  Understandably, it can be an overwhelming experience for someone to sort out all the prices and the differences.  And that is where a good travel agent comes in.  So my question is, “If that is the reason, then why not let me (your travel agent) sort things out in a more efficient and understandable way?  A way that I know will deliver the information you really want in the way that will not be so confusing or overwhelming?

So while I am happy to quote 10 different options, the reality of it is that eight of those possible options probably are not something the client ultimately is even interested in.

By all means, please send me e-mails. You know I will respond quickly! But, if you really are unsure, please follow that e-mail up with a telephone call or, if you wish, don't bother with the e-mail and just give me a ring.

In closing, let me ask you a question:  Do you prefer to order your room service request via a television monitor or by calling it in?  If you are a luxury guest, you make the call.  And why should you order your vacation any differently because…? 

Just remember my motto, "Be Treated By Your Travel Agent As You Will Be Onboard!" the next time you are looking for a vacation and you will soon hear, “Hello! Goldring Travel.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Seabourn Quietly Makes Some Improvements...And a Word of Caution


John Delaney, Seabourn Cruise's senior vice president for sales and marketing, announced in Travel Weekly UK some things that I have and aware of, but have not been able to share with you until now.

The first exciting bit of is that Seabourn intends on having the Seabourn Sojourn spending a significant amount of time in the Amazon Basin during  the fall of 2013. This is something that John Delaney and I discussed during my time on the Seabourn Quest's inaugural cruise this past June. I have told many of you that you will see some  new, and pretty exciting, itineraries starting in the second quarter of 2013 and this is just one example.

John also announced that Seabourn's past guest program is going to be significantly revamped. It is not going to dilute the present program but, in fact, will focus on Tiffany jewelry and, importantly, lower milestones to gain benefits.

As you may know, Seabourn's present program awards a free seven night cruise after 140 days of sailing or a free 14 night cruise after 250 days of sailing.  In today's market, especially with six ships, most of Seabourn's guests will sail on average 14 days or less per year, so a requirement of 10 years to receive any benefits no longer works. (To be sure, many of my clients sale for extended periods of 40+ days per year, but even then it takes years to reach a milestone… even merely receiving a 100 day pin.)

You should also be aware that with Seabourn's combining with Holland America's sales force, it is looking to increase its demand and, therefore, it's pricing.  While I do not believe travel agents selling Holland America generally have a clue about Seabourn, as it's mass-market travel agents are pitching luxury cruises, the fact is that there is a potential for Seabourn to raise its prices in anticipation of increased sales. Therefore I would urge anyone interested in booking a Seabourn cruise to do so sooner than later.

I would also like to remind you that the terms upon which the book your Seabourn Cruise are significantly more restrictive in the UK than book them through a US travel agent.

So you are interested Seabourn cruise I would suggest…strongly suggest…that you use a travel agent that truly knows the Seabourn product, provides you with excellent service, great pricing and the most flexible terms.  obviously, I believe Goldring Travel provide you with all of that...and more.

If you would like more information, or are interested in booking a Seabourn Cruise, please call me at (877) 2GO-LUXURY in the United States, 020 8133 3450 in the United Kingdom, (07) 3102 4685 in Australia or   +1 732 383 7398 elsewhere worldwide or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Seabourn's Small Ship Luxury Cruising - Where Do You Want To Go?

I have compared, in a number of articles, some of the differences between the various luxury cruise lines.  One of those points is that Seabourn's smaller ships can go places other cruise ships simply cannot.  This recent photo of the Seabourn Legend as it transits the Corinth Canal in Greece speaks for itself.


Where do you want to go?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Global Superyacht Forum 2011 - What Is It About?

Many of you have read about my annual participation in the Global Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam, but really did not have much of an understanding about what goes on in what we discuss.

The Superyacht Group has just released a video that I think you'll find interesting. (And, yes, I am briefly in the video!)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Euro and The Greek Bailout Plan - A Joke...Really

One of my clients sent me the following and I thought, this isn't funny, but it is a joke.

But before you read it, I want to look back to when the Euro was first being put in place.  I said then, and believe now, the currency must fail.

The very premise of it made no sense to me:  Take a multitude of cultures, with a multitude of economies, with multitude of currencies and then combine all of them, but allow them all to negotiate the base exchange rates (the first round of self-enrichment) so that eventually the countries with the strongest economies can seek to impose their philosophies upon cultures and economies that are inapplicable (such as taking a German industrial-based approach to Greece's tourism based economy) in order to assure that their economies are not hurt by the ones they are actually trying to exploit through increased sales of their goods and services (the second round of self-enrichment).

I mean, for example, how on earth could Greece's tourism economy get back from Germany the same amount of benefit as it gives to Germany from its purchase of German goods and services?  The math seemed and seems pretty simple to me.

That said, now  read this:


This may help clarify the Greek debt situation.

It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. 

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a 100 Euro note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the 100 Euro note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. 

The butcher takes the 100 Euro note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. 

The pig farmer takes the 100 Euro note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. 

The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the tavern. 

The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit. 

The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the 100 Euro note. 

The hotel proprietor then places the 100 Euro note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the 100 Euro note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town. 

No one produced anything. 
No one earned anything. 
However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seabourn Top Experts, Critics & Guests Evaluations

I regular refer people looking for objective evaluation of cruises and cruise ships to avoid magazine polls (Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, Porthole, etc.) and look to objective experts like Douglas Ward (Berlitz) and Stern's Guides. The reason is that the magazine polls can easily be skewed by improper voting, readership that doesn't actually sail on the particular line and a host of other reasons.  

But...as I usually say...when there is significant consistently between the popular polls and the expert evaluations, it is something to take note of.  Such is the case with today's press release from Seabourn.  

SEATTLE, December 1, 2011---First-place awards and honors keep accumulating for Seabourn's intimate all-suite ships in 2011.  Recent announcements by the editors of the twin Cruise Critic websites in the U.S. and U.K. confirm the opinions resulting from earlier readers' polls at both Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, naming Seabourn the best small-ship cruise line in the world. The readers of the popular consumer cruise magazine Porthole have also once again expressed their praises for Seabourn's ships and accommodations. In addition, Seabourn's fleet of six elegant ships also represents six of the ten highest scoring ships in the world, according to the ratings in the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships.

"All of us are tremendously gratified by these honors" said Seabourn's President, Richard Meadows. "We're extremely proud of our hardworking crew who truly deserve the recognition for these awards."

The editors of Cruise Critic's authoritative web presence have collectively spent thousands of days at sea on hundreds of cruise ships. So when they single out Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest as the "Best for Luxury," they know whereof they speak. They also must have sampled the sublimities in quite a few shipboard spas before selecting Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest as being the "Best for Spa-Lovers."  Cruise Critic's U.K.-based sister site also selected Seabourn as representing the "Best of Luxury" for the second consecutive year.

The newly released December issue of Porthole magazine announced that its readers had named Seabourn Best Luxury Line, and Seabourn Quest as the Best Small Ship in its 13
th Annual Readers' Choice Awards, and had also cited the fleet for offering the Best Accommodations afloat.

Douglas Ward, the longtime editor of Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, is renowned for the meticulous and detailed scoring system he uses to rate ships of all sizes and shapes. In the 2012 edition, he once again rates all of Seabourn's ships five-stars-plus, and also includes all six of Seabourn's vessels on a comprehensive list of the ten highest scoring ships overall.

One thing you may want to keep in mind as you begin cuddling up for the cold winter and say, "You know, we should start thinking about our next cruise", I am finding quite a number of 20121 Seabourn cruises with extremely limited inventory.

So for all of you that insist on following the flawed philosophy of waiting because the price may drop, I want to offer these two points:  

     (A) If the price drops, but the category and/or suite you want isn't available, you probably have saved nothing...and may ultimately pay more; and, 

     (B) If you book with Goldring Travel and you find the price of your Seabourn cruise drops, just let me know and I will get you that lower fare...right up until the date your final payment is due.