This week was filled with angry behavior in the media. Serena Williams flipped out at a line judge (threatening to shove a ball down her throat), Roger Federer— usually a calm guy— was actually heard cursing on camera, and, of course, there's Kanye West's erruption at the Video Music Awards.
One would think that with the excrutiating heat of summer now behind us that people would be chilling out. Guess not. Though, fortunately, our readers seem to be keeping a cool head when sharing their opinions. Let's check them out.
Happy Times at Happy Places
We'll start with the most positive comment this week. When Travel Agent recently profiled Ecuador as an increasingly popular eco-tourism destination, the story appeared to strick a chord with one John Edwards, who wrote:
We went to the Galapagos Islands non-stop service into Guayaquil, Ecuador, we had the opportunity to visit the Historic Park which we found it very interesting and we love the structure of its ancient park, we spent three days on this beautiful coastal city of Guayaquil then we took our flight into the Islands and found the most unique experience ever in our life, this islands are magic and we have the opportunity to be face to face with mother's nature, awesome experience.
I assume this is not the John Edwards who ran for President and had an affair while his wife battled breast cancer. So, in that case, it's great to hear someone enjoying the fruits of the destination. However, if it is indeed that same John Edwards, I would like to know if he took that trip with his wife or mistress?
Keep the Kids Informed
Oasis of the Seas could very well be most highly-anticipated cruise ship to enter the industry in quite some time. It will have features never seen before on other ships, one of which is a nursery at sea for infants and toddlers, according to our report. But a reader, Diane Garrison, begs to differ, commenting:
Oasis does not have the first nursery. Disney has had a nursery at see since it first began sailing. They have increased the size twice and I believe they accept children three months old.
So, fellow readers and users, what is your take? Is Oasis the first to produce a nursery at sea or has Disney been ahead of the game the whole time? Throw us a bone, please.
Clean California Cruise Ports Sought
Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, and New York City are popular places on the East Coast from where travelers take cruises to the Caribbean and beyond, and it appears as if the West Coast is getting a little jealous. Two months ago, we reported that there's a chance that Los Angeles may get a billion-dollar cruise terminal sometime in the future, and it has excited some of our readers— particularly bfraz, who posted:
The Port should be involved in establishing better accommodations for the influx of cruisers - current choices in San Pedro are mostly dumps.
I've never been to San Pedro, so I can neither agree nor disagree with bfraz. In fact, I've never even heard of the San Pedro cruise port, and I was born in California. Perhaps that lack of awareness of the port is a testament that it may in fact be a dump. With that in mind, California would definitely need a cruise terminal in the City of Angels. Meanwhile, even if San Pedro is not a dump, an extra port to generate travel and stimulate the economy could be a fantastic thing.
Grinding Gears through Economic Woes
Not sure if you heard, but there's a recession going on and everyone is doing all they can to keep their heads above water until it seeps away. Agents face challenges in a lack of demand as many are holding back on vacations. But that apparently isn't the only major problem. Readers Joanne and Dave shared some insight into how commissions on cruises are affecting their business during the economic downturn.
THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL AND IT ISN'T PRETTY, ALL THE CONSORTIUM'S AND ITS MEMBERS NEED TO TEACH THE CRUISE LINES A LESSON AND LET THEM KNOW IF THEY KEEP RAISING OUR NON COMMISSIONABLES AND DIRECT MARKET OUR CLIENTS WHOM HAVE SAILED WITH THEM, WE WILL TURN THE FIRST TIME CRUISER INTO A LAND TRAVELER. IF WE DON'T STICK TOGETHER SOON IT WILL BE TOO LATE. THE CRUISE LINES ARE NOT OUR FRIENDS.
Case in point....I booked clients on a transpacific 15 day cruise this spring. Total price $4900....my commission $117. Of course on a long voyage my clients expect that I will gift them with wine for dinner or spa service. Subtract that expense from my earnings. Now something is really wrong with that picture!
Considering that cruises are supposed to be one of the best products from which agents can earn their dough, this is some disturbing news— especially considering reports we've been filing that cruise vacations are the best value for consumers. With that in mind, I agree with Joanne that something is wrong with the picture. If the best travel options for vacationers during a recession are cruises, and if agents are having trouble profitting from said cruises, what's going on?
I'd like to hear from more agents on this issue, as the recession does not appear to be going away anytime soon.
Until next week...