Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Royal Welcome for the Royal Princess

Did you know that Princess Cruise Lines had another ship called the "Royal Princess"? She (the ship) entered the fleet in 1984, and was purchased from another cruiseline. The original Royal Princess stayed in service until mid 2011, when construction of the new began began. Her Godmother was Diana, Princess of Wales. Take a look at the attached link for more information.
Watch the naming of the new Royal Princess using the attached link.

Join Gripp Travel and many of their preferred clients as they set sail on the Royal Princess on November 17th.

Please contact Joe Gripp for more information.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bucket List

Bucket List

I was speaking to a coworkers last week about their upcoming travel plans.  I provided some advice, and money saving tips to someone who will be sailing in a few weeks on the Caribbean Princess.  During our discussion, she mentioned that she is excited about the itinerary, because the ports of call are not the average that someone would find on a cruise out of Florida.  She also said, "I always wanted to leave out of San Juan, and now I am finally doing it."

I heard other phrases from the group like:

 I always want to.....

Someday, I hope to.....

When I retire, I plan on....

 So I started thinking about all my other clients who say the same things, and the clients I have helped fulfill their dreams.  It appears, whether people realize it or not, they all have some kind of Bucket List.  Any why shouldn't they!

I took an opinion poll around the office, asking people for the one trip they want to take in their lifetime, and it was amazing to hear the answers, and how with the proper planning, and budget, most bucket list trips are attainable.

These were the most popular, and interested bucket list vacation spots:

Alaska                        Hawaii                        Europe (Rome/Paris/Athens)


South Africa                          Bermuda                    Tahiti


The Baja 1000 (car race in Mexico)          The Super Bowl (any location)


4 Week tour of the US South West           Prague

Its amazing to me, how the ten items listed above, are easily attainable adventures.  By using a travel agent, looking out for sales and promotions, what at one time might be considered impossible, can now be the basis of your next vacation.

 Your travel agent can find you great deals, and tours through reputable companies that will build you a custom itinerary.  As an example, Gripp Travel has an affiliation with, a company that specializes in sporting event packages, like the Olympics (2012), the Super Bowl, Indy 500, etc.

Make your bucket list become a reality; start planning your next best vacation today!

Don't just take the dog for a walk, take him on vacation!

Don't just take the dog for a walk, take him on vacation!

I have the best dog in the world, his name is Riley.  He is a brilliant silver miniature schnauzer, who from day one, captured the hearts of everyone that crossed his path.  Especially, Uncle Joel, who really does not like dogs.

Every year, we hit the road, and visit our family in Florida.  While we are down south, we always board one of the latest and greatest cruise ships, and leave Riley with his Uncle Richie.

Flying with a dog, even a perfect dog like Riley, is not easy.  Here are a few things everyone should know about air travel with dogs:

 1.     When you book your airfare, book the dog's also.  Airlines limit the number of               
       pets per flight, and they sell out quick.

2.    Review the airline's requirements for dog travel.  There are some restrictions and certainly a pricey fee.   Keep in mind, your pet will count as your carry on.  By the way, the "Companion Pet" trick will not get you out of paying for their ticket.  Too many people are traveling with pets these days, and honestly, how many people do you know really need a companion pet?

3.    Bring your dog to the vet for a checkup prior to your trip, and inquire about a sedative.  Although this may sound harsh, a relaxed pet on a plane will save you and your pet hours of grief, worry, and dirty looks from the person sitting next to you.

4.    Follow your veterinarian's feeding instructions prior to flight.

5.    Walk your dog before you leave for the airport! 

6.    Purchase / borrow a good quality carry case.  I try and buy things once.  Although a higher quality carry case may be expensive, it most likely won't have to be replaced, and will provide a safer environment for your pet.

Riley usually handles the plane ride well.  Though, there was one trip where his sedative didn't fully wear off after the flight/  He suddenly decided to take a nap in the parking lot of the rent - a - car facility.   When I woke him up, he looked at me like I was crazy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Travel Leaders Survey Finds Holiday Bookings On Par or Higher Than Last Year

The following article is from an industry organization called ASTA (American Society for Travel Agents).
I thought it would be good to post, with the hopes of providing some guidlines for booking holiday travel.
Travel Leaders Survey Finds Holiday Bookings On Par or Higher Than Last Year

By Mimi Kmet
September 10, 2012 2:09 PM

Travel Leaders Group has released a survey on trends for the upcoming holiday season that reveals that holiday travel bookings are on par with, or higher than, last year. Moreover, the survey, which polled Travel Leaders Group travel agents, indicated that the timeline for booking holiday trips — particularly those requiring travelers to fly to their destinations — is tight. Agents’ advice is to book holiday travel six months or more before departure, which means those still on the sidelines for Thanksgiving or end-of-year holidays need to act fast. Agents also are advising clients planning to travel over Spring Break 2013 to begin planning shortly.

This data is based on responses from 653 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who specialize in leisure travel. The results are part of the larger 2012 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 30 through Aug. 23, in which 871 travel agents participated from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Tzell Travel Group and units.

“The holiday travel advice of our travel agents throughout the U.S. undoubtedly factors in peak travel costs and restricted airline availability,” Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben said in a statement. “While we have been known to ‘pull a rabbit out of the hat’ for many last-minute requests, it isn’t in our clients’ best interest to take those chances, and it certainly isn’t cost-effective for them, either. If travelers want maximum flexibility with travel dates, times and prices, action is required.”

According to the survey, 72.3 percent of agents reported that Thanksgiving travel booking is on par or better than last year. When asked, “Based on your knowledge and expertise, when would you advise clients to book their Thanksgiving airline tickets,” 58.6 percent of agents surveyed said clients should book their Thanksgiving airfare six months or more prior to the holiday. Thanksgiving is now less than three months away.

When asked to compare end-of-the-year holiday travel bookings (those immediately before Christmas and through the New Year’s holiday) to their 2011 bookings at this time, 76.7 percent said 2012 bookings are equal to or higher than last year. When asked, “Based on your knowledge and expertise, when would you advise clients to book their airfare for travel taking place immediately prior to Christmas through the New Year's holiday,” 74.9 percent said they would advise booking six months or more prior to the desired departure date.

However, some clients are taking a chance that their desired flight dates, times and price-range will still be available closer to the holiday. When asked, “When does a majority of your clients start inquiring about Thanksgiving airline tickets,” 45.3 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents indicated three to four months prior to the holiday, while 21.8 percent said two months prior to the holiday. When asked, “When do a majority of your clients start inquiring about air travel for dates immediately prior to Christmas through the New Year's holiday,” 68 percent said clients inquire four months or more prior to the holidays.

For Spring Break 2013 travel, agents were asked, “Typically, how far in advance do you advise your clients to make their Spring Break reservations?” Of the respondents, 62.3 percent said they advise clients to book more than six months in advance, while 33.9 percent said they advise clients to book four to six months in advance. When asked, “What are the top three reasons why clients should not wait until the last minute to book their Spring Break travel,” the top responses were: reduced airline seating capacity (75.9 percent), lock in airfare costs (61.7 percent), and lock in hotel/resort pricing (39.4 percent).

Finally, the top ways agents said they are counseling clients on getting the most value for their dollar — particularly for peak air travel dates — are: be flexible on dates to travel (84.4 percent); be flexible on time of day (59.5 percent); and book air as part of a tour or cruise package (58.4 percent).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Royal Princess - June 2013

The spectacular Royal Princess joins the Princess Cruise Line fleet in June 2013.  As a travel agent, I have had the opportunity to preview some of the design and construction over the past few months, and am in awe of the new features and improvements since Princess’ last ship was built (Ruby Princess 2007).    Princess has finally released some new marketing materials, so here are some of the highlights:

Construction of Royal Princess began on 15 March 2011 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy when the first plate was cut.  She was launched in August 2012; fitting out continues, and Fincantieri expects to deliver her to Princess Cruises in June 2013.

The ship will measure 141,000 GRT and will have a capacity of 3,600 passengers. Her amenities will include a pair of public areas cantilevered over the side of the ship on the top deck. 

“The Sea Walk” will extend 28 feet off the edge of the ship, and is about 128 feet long. 

In addition, much like previous Princess Cruises ships, the new ship will feature expanded public areas, including the movie theater, the "Sanctuary" bar and the central Piazza atrium.

The Central Piazza is 50% larger than any other ship in the Princess Fleet, and includes eateries, unique to the Royal Princess.

Improvements to “The Sanctuary” include new offerings such as private cabanas with flat screen TVs, and refrigerators.  

Spa fare and refreshing drinks are available to guests, and are served by Sanctuary staff members that will be known as Serenity Stewards.

The Lotus Spa was not forgotten when designing the new ship.  An exclusive area of the spa, The Enclave at Lotus Spa, offers warm stone beds and a soothing hydro pool in addition to airbed recliners, neck and body massage jets and circular rain showers that alleviate stress almost instantly.    

The Royal Princess’ maiden voyage departs June 16, 2013:

7-Day Maiden Iberia Voyage


Southampton, Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Gibraltar,

Málaga (for Granada), Barcelona


Caribbean sailings start out of Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of November 2013.

Want to know more about the Royal Princess? 
Contact me through 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dear Joe Gripp........

Dear Joe Gripp,

I will be boarding the Allure of the Seas later this month. There will be two formal nights. How formal is "Formal Night?"

Thanks for your help Joe Gipp.

Chrissy from Long Island

Dear Chrissy,

My advice is to take the following into consideration:

It is what it is. But it will be what you make of it.

My traveling companions and I have been on several cruises, through varying cruise-lines. Believe me, we have seen it all. Beaded floor length gowns, ultra mini dresses, jeans, flip flops, sneakers, suits and tuxedos. Not to mention men wearing tuxedos and flip flops at the same time.

Ultimately, it is your vacation, and you can dress up or down as you see fit.

Things to keep in mind:

Some cruise lines will not allow you in the dining room if you are not within acceptable limits of what they think is acceptable. A bathing suit and hawaiian shirt is not considered acceptable dining room attire.

Don't become angry if you are wearing a very formal gown, and the person next to you is in sneakers. It's thier vacation also.

Gentlemen can get away with wearing the same suit twice. No one will notice!

Don't be afraid to change into something less formal after dinner. Everyone else does.

I hope my suggestions help. Enjoy your cruise.

Bon voyage!

Joe Gripp

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dear Joe Gripp,

I decided to post a few questions from some of my favorite clients. I hope you find them helpful.

Dear Joe Gripp, Which cruise line is the best? I am planning a summer vacation for my family, and want to make sure my teenage children will enjoy themselves.

Thanks, Oscar, Holbrook, NY

Dear Oscar,

Believe it or not, all of the cruisline in business right now are great. Each cruiseline has its own target market. At Gripp Travel, we ask probing questions to try and find out exactly what you want out of your next best vacation, then present you with a cruiseline and itinerary that best suits your needs.

Royal Carribean ships offer you and yours a true "adventure" on board. Most of their ships are equipped with rock climbing walls, "Flow Riders" (Which are surfing simulators. Oscar, if you try this, make sure you properly secure your bathing suit, I lost mine on the first attempt. It was very embarrassing), ice skating shows, over the top entertainment, Dream Works characters onboard, and on some ships, zip lining!

I hope this helps, please let me know if you would like some brochures.

  Joe Gripp

Dear Joe Gripp, I just got engaged, and am interested in a destination wedding. What do cruiselines offer brides and grooms who want a simple wedding at sea?

Thanks, Anastasia, Malverne, NY

Dear Ana,

Many of the major cruiselines offer a full assortment of wedding packages. You can have the ceremony on board prior to departure, allowing your friends and family to be with you as you exchange vows, then disembark before the ship sets sail.

Other options include a ceremony officiated by the Captain on a day at sea, or have a beach ceremony at the island of your choice. Each cruiseline offers different packages that include flowers, photos, dancing, and drinks. You can have as much or as little as you want.

Please contact me for more information. We can make you big day, truly spectacular. Congratulations!

Joe Gripp

Dear Joe Gripp,

My life partner and I want to go on a cruise, but are nervous about being onboard a ship with people who may not be accepting of our lifestyle. We are from a metropolitan area, where same sex couples are accepted as equals. Is cruising a good idea?

Jimmy - NYC!

Dear Jimmy,

Cruisers come in all shapes and sizes. Cruising is very social, where in most cases travelers make new acuantences and enjoy being away from the stress of their everyday drama.

Cruiselines are very sensitive to the environment of the GLBT community. They typically host a GLBT Meet and Greet within the first two days of sailing.

Not ready for a mainstream cruise? There are a few promotion companies that offer GLBT cruises. They typically serve specific groups within the GLBT community, and offer specialized entertainment, and have gay friendly corporate sponsors. BEWARE- these cruises can cost almost DOUBLE the price of a regular cruise.

If you have any questions, please contact me at

  -Joe Gripp