Friday, October 4, 2019

The Real ID Act

Is Your ID Approved For Travel?

These Are The Latest Rules!

The Real ID Act Requires That Driver’s Licenses Meet Standards Set By The Department Of Homeland Security By October 2020. Many States Are Already Compliant And Others Have Been Given Extensions.

 T.S.A. Agent Checks A Passenger's Identification At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Credit Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Article Written By Shivani Vora – New York Times

In The Past Several Months, There Has Been Plenty Of Conversation About The Real ID Act And How It Will Affect Air Travelers. Passed By Congress In 2005, The Act Is Intended To Prevent Identity Fraud, And Starting On Oct. 1, 2020, All Fliers Who Reside In The United States, Even If They’re Flying Domestically, Will Need Real ID Identification To Pass Through Transportation Security Administration Security Checkpoints At Airports.

Who Exactly Is Affected And What Exactly Is Real ID Identification? Here, Answers To Questions About What The Real ID Act Means For Travelers And Why Having A Passport Now May Be More Important Than Ever.

What Exactly Is The Real ID Act?

The Act Is Intended To Enhance National Security By Establishing Minimum Standards For The Secure Issuance Of Driver’s Licenses And Identification Cards, According To Steve Yonkers, The Director Of The Real ID Program For The Department Of Homeland Security. “The Act Is Meant To Stop The Production Of Fake Ids,” Mr. Yonkers Said.

Why Is The Act Being Implemented?

Congress Passed The Act On The Recommendation Of The 9/11 Commission, Which Advised That The Federal Government Set Minimum Security Standards For How States Issue Identification And For How That Identification Is Used. “The Commission Recognized That Sources Of Identification Are The Last Opportunity To Ensure That People Are Who They Say They Are And To Check Whether They Are Terrorists,” Mr. Yonkers Said.

When Does It Go Into Effect And For Which States?

Currently, All 50 States Are Either Compliant Or Have Extensions, Meaning None Of These Residents Need Alternative Identification. There Are 28 States That Are Now Real ID Compliant, Including Texas, Ohio, Florida, Nevada And Colorado, While 26 States And Territories Have Been Granted Extensions Until Oct. 10, 2018 By The Department. Note That Travelers From States With Extensions Will Not Likely Need To Have Real ID Compliant Identification By Oct. 10 — The Date Is Only A Deadline For The Department Of Homeland Security To Receive A State's Request For A Renewed Real ID Extension, If Needed. In Past Years, The Agency Has Provided A Grace Period For Approximately 90 Days Before Enforcement Would Begin For A State Not Granted A Renewed Extension. The Department Will Issue Information About The Next Extension Cycle Later This Year. For A Complete List, Visit Dhs.Gov/Real-Id

“Every State Is Working On Getting Compliant With All Real ID Requirements,” Mr. Yonkers Said. “The States That Aren’t Yet Compliant Are The Ones That Are Requesting Extensions To Give Them Additional Time Necessary To Complete Implementation Of Secure Identification Standards.”

How Does A State Work To Get Compliant?
According To Mr. Yonkers, The Department Of Motor Vehicles Employees In A Compliant State Have To Undergo Background Checks. Employees Also Have To Be Able To Verify An Applicant’s Identity And Lawful Status — They Can Do The Latter By Checking An Applicant’s Immigration Status With The United States Citizenship And Immigration Services. Also, The Licenses The D.M.V. Produces In A Compliant State Must Have Anti-Counterfeit Technology Built Into Them Such As A Hologram. “They [Licenses] Have To Be Very Secure Documents,” Mr. Yonkers Said.

But What Does The Real ID Act Mean For Air Travelers?
Right Now, Nothing. On Jan. 22, However, Residents Of Two United States Territories, American Samoa And Northern Mariana Islands, Could Be The Subject Of Real ID Enforcement Because They Are Still Under Review To Get Extensions. But As Of Oct. 1, 2020, The T.S.A. Will Ask All Travelers To Have A Real ID-Compliant Driver’s License Or Alternate Acceptable Identification To Fly Domestically.

"Travelers Won’t Be Able To Pass Through Security Without This Acceptable Identification."

Will I Have To Apply For A New, Compliant License? Or Will My State Send Me A New, Compliant One Automatically?
In Order To Get A Real ID-Compliant License, Residents Must Physically Go To A D.M.V. Office With Their Identification Documents Such As A Birth Certificate And Passport.

What Exactly Qualifies As Acceptable Identification?
The Department Of Homeland Security Has Designated More Than A Dozen Forms Of Acceptable ID, Including A Passport; A Border ID Card; A Trusted Traveler Card, Such As Global Entry; A Real ID-Compliant Driver’s License; And A Permanent Resident Card. For A Complete List, Visit Tsa.Gov/Travel/Security-Screening/Identification.

Is One Form Of Acceptable Identification Better Than Another?
The Department Does Not Recommend Any Particular Form Of Acceptable Identification, But Brenda Sprague, Who Oversees Passport Services For The State Department, Encourages All United States Residents Without A Passport To Apply For One Now. The Turnaround Time To Get A New Passport During The Winter Is Usually Around Four Weeks. In The Summer, When Passport Applications Peak, The Wait For A New Passport Could Be Up To Eight Weeks.

Around 136 Million Americans Have Passports In Circulation, According To The State Department — That’s Only Around 40 Percent Of The Population In The United States.

O.K., You’ve Convinced Me, And I’m Ready To Apply For A New Passport. What’s The Best Way?
Ms. Sprague Said That There Are More Than 8,000 Passport Application Locations Around The Country. Around 60 Percent Are Post Offices While The Rest Are Courthouses And Libraries. Visit The State Department’s In Addition, There Are 27 Passport Agencies, Where Travelers Can Apply For Rush Passports. “These Agencies Are For People Who Are Traveling Within Two Weeks,” Ms. Sprague Said.
This Link Has A List Of These Agencies; Applicants Need An Appointment For A Visit And Can Make One Online At Passportappointment.Travel.State.Gov.

Also, The State Department Is Collaborating With Hilton Hotels & Resorts On The Hilton Passport Project, An Initiative Meant To Encourage More Americans To Apply For Passports. Every Few Weeks, A Hilton Location In The United States Will Have A Passport Concierge Booth, Where Guests And The General Public Can Have Their Passport Pictures Taken For Free And Apply For Or Renew A Passport. Between One And Three Employees From The State Department Will Be On Hand To Answer Passport-Related Questions And Help Fill Out Applications. The Next Passport Concierge Will Be At The Travel And Adventure Show, In Washington, D.C., On Jan. 20 And 21. At This Event, Applicants Will Actually Be Able To Submit Their Applications To A State Department Employee. For A List Of Coming Locations, Visit

How Much Does It Cost To Get A New Passport?

First-Time Applicants Pay $110 And A $25 Application Fee. Passport Renewals Cost $110 And Expedited Passports Are An Additional $60. If You’re Renewing Your Passport, You Can Do It By Mail, But If You’re Getting A New Passport Or If Your Existing One Is Lost Or Stolen, You Must Apply In Person.

Credit For Writing This Article Goes To Shivani Vora - New York Times

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Why Do You Need A Travel Agent?

With All The Online Booking Engines Available
Why Would You Book With A Travel Agent?

1)   People Are Not Always Aware Of All The Options, And Can End Up Spending Wasted Hours Researching Something They Are Not Sure Of. Concierge Cruises Travel Agents Have The Knowledge To Place You & Your Group On The Right Vacation.

2)   Concierge Cruises Has Extensive Knowledge Of Travel Destinations. Our Owner & Travel Agent Has Been On Over 100 Cruises To Destinations Around The World. We Have Experienced First Hand The Places You Wish To Travel.

3)   Concierge Cruises Travel Agents Will Research To Find The Best Deals & Discounts Including Military, AARP, Senior & Residents Rates. We Research For Any Promotions The Cruise Lines Are Currently Running.  

4)   Concierge Cruises Is A Full Service Travel Agency. We Complete Your On-Line Check In, Book Shore Excursions, Drink Packages, Provide Transportation & Bon Voyage Parties. We Invite You To The Office For A Personalized Meeting To Ensure All Documents Are In Place. This Extended Service Ensures A Relaxing Vacation At No Extra Charge To You.

5)     If You Book Online & You Have An Issue The Computer Doesn’t Talk Back. Concierge Cruises Travel Agents Are With You Every Step Of The Way. From Beginning To End. If There Is A Problem We Handle It. We Even Call You When You Return To Ensure The Vacation Was A Successful One. 

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Destinations Around The World

What's On Your Bucket List? 

















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How Will You Travel The World?

Concierge Cruises Is A Full Service Travel Agency. 

This Means That We Sell All Types Of Travel! 

How Will You Travel The World? 

AMTRAK VACATIONS - Travel Through The United States & Canada By Train

AMERICAN CRUISE LINE - Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly! Traveling To East Coast Waterways, Mississippi River & Pacific Northwest

AMA WATERWAYS - River Cruising Traveling To Europe, Asia & Africa 

CRYSTAL CRUISES - Experience Redefined Luxury Aboard Our All Inclusive Cruises. Traveling To Destinations Around The World

CIE TOURS - Specializing In Pre Planned Escorted Tour To Ireland & Britain 

G ACTIVE - Hike, Bike & Kayak Your World Adventure - For The Active Traveler 

GOGO WORLDWIDE - All Inclusive Resorts Including Air, Hotel & Transfers - United States, Canada & Caribbean

INSIGHT VACATIONS -  Pre-Planned Tours For Europe Destinations

MAYFLOWER TOURS - Pre Planned Escorted Tours To Destinations Around The World Including The United States

PAUL GAUGUIN - Luxury Small Ship Experience Sailing To Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji & South Pacific

RAIL VACATIONS - See Europe By Rail 

SANDALS - Five Star Luxury - All Inclusive Resort Packages For The Caribbean Including Air, Hotel & Transfers

WINDSTAR CRUISES - A Yacht Experience. With Destinations To Caribbean & Mediterranean

Call Our Office To Receive A Quote & Start Traveling Today! 

Concierge Cruises - Travel Agency
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17 Reasons Why Travel Is Good For You!

1. Traveling Is Easier Than You Think

2. Travel Opens Your Eyes

3. Traveling Helps You Learn Who You Are

4. Travel Creates Meaningful Relationships

5. Traveling Develops Skills You Didn’t Know You Had

6. Travel Helps You Learn New Languages

7. Travel Means Adventure

8. Traveling Gives You Perspective

9. Travel Helps You Move Forward

10. Travel Is Education

11. Travel Challenges You

12. Travel Shakes Things Up

13. Traveling Proves That Dreams Do Come True

14. Travel Gives You Cool Stories

15. Travel Is Literally Food For Thought

16. Travel Gives You A Sense Of Accomplishment

17. Traveling Just Because You Can

Thank You To AirTreks For The Article

10 Reasons To Upgrade To Luxury

1. Pre- and Post-Cruise Pampering

Every traveler wants convenient ground transportation from the airport to port and back. Unlike mass-market lines that generally offer bus transportation, high-end lines feature a range of options, from shared vans and buses to taxis and private luxury cars or SUVs.
Luxury lines also tend to have robust pre- and post-cruise land packages so you can make the most of your vacation experience. (Cost is additional to your cruise fare.) Silversea in particular offers fantastic options with its "Silver Shore Land Adventures," which take you to places like Australia's Outback, Southern Africa's game reserves, Peru's Machu Picchu and India's Taj, among other destinations.
And some lines, like Regent, even offer a free pre-cruise stay in a luxury hotel in the embarkation city for passengers booked in a Concierge Suite or higher.
Regent Suite

2. Luxury Accommodations

Here's something to love about luxury ships: Most offer all-suite accommodations with ocean views (no inside cabins!), and a majority of staterooms have a balcony. Easy access to the outdoors is especially important when you're sailing Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Chile, Norway, French Polynesia or anywhere where you just can't get enough of the spectacular views. (Psst! Look in the dresser drawer in your cabin and you'll probably find a pair of binoculars to use throughout your voyage. It's just a tiny example of how high-end lines try to exceed your expectations.)
All luxury ships offer staterooms and suites that tend to be quite spacious and feature niceties like a dressing table with magnifying mirror; a full tub and shower in a bathroom that's generally decked out in granite or marble; black-out curtains; and high-end toiletries from purveyors such as Bulgari, L'Occitane, Ferragamo and Molton Brown.

3. Attentive Service

Luxe lines such as Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea take pride in their crew. In fact, these lines have rigorous training programs for their crew members, much as butlers and stewardesses do in their respective industries. Each crew member is trained on the fine art of intuition, so he or she can often discern a passenger's desire before being asked. That might mean drawing a bath prior to your return on a busy port day, or cleaning your dress shoes on the morning of formal night. Need those sunglasses cleaned or your luggage polished? These tasks are proactively tended to -- no need to ask. In addition, you can bet that luxury cruise staff members will do whatever they can to make your voyage special and personal. On SeaDream yachts, for example, cabin stewards, bartenders and waiters seem to magically know your name from the moment you set foot onboard.

4. Included Gratuities

Despite the high level of personalized service you'll encounter, you are not required to tip on luxury lines such as Azamara, Crystal, Paul Gauguin, Regent, SeaDream, Seabourn and Silversea. Gratuities have already been built into the fare. Of course, if someone goes above and beyond, feel free to offer something extra by making a donation to the crew fund at Reception.

5. Free Beverages

On most of the luxury lines (think Azamara, Crystal, Regent, Paul Gauguin, SeaDream, Seabourn and Silversea), there is no charge for alcoholic beverages, premium coffee beverages or soft drinks -- at the bar, in the restaurants and lounges, or even in your stateroom, where your mini-bar will be stocked with a bottle of wine or Champagne, beer and soft drinks. It's true that if you have expensive tastes (for example, the only thing you can drink is Chateau Mouton Rothschild or Opus One), you'll pay extra -- maybe a lot extra. But most people don't have that problem.
Luxury cruise lines also cater to caffeine junkies. These lines provide premium coffee, cappuccino and espresso for free -- in the restaurants and in dedicated cafes like Seabourn Square, the coffee bar on all Seabourn ships. Many suites aboard luxury ships are equipped with coffee makers. For example, Silversea outfits Silver Suites and higher with Illy espresso machines, and Regent puts them in Concierge Suites and higher.

Food at Silk Road on Crystal Symphony

6. Fine Dining

Many renowned chefs have teamed with luxury lines to develop memorable dining experiences. Most recently, chef Thomas Keller -- who has multiple Michelin-starred restaurants in the United States -- partnered with Seabourn to offer The Grill by Thomas Keller on all of its ships. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has a longstanding relationship with Crystal Cruises and created the Japanese-centric Silk Road, which is a popular favorite aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Silversea's Le Champagne is a member of the luxury hotel-and-restaurant global fellowship Relais & Chateaux, while Parisian chef Jean-Pierre Vigato developed signature cuisine for Paul Gauguin Cruises. Oceania Cruises also has a famous French chef, Jacques Pepin, at the helm as its executive culinary director and the mind behind several of its restaurants, including Jacques (aboard Oceania's newest ships, Marina and Riviera) and Jacques Bistro aboard Sirena.
Beyond famous chefs, you'll find incredibly accommodating maitre d's who are happy to fulfill your special requests. Just give the chef a bit of a heads-up, and he or she can create a magical meal to your specifications -- be it a feast of king crab legs, Indian biryani, Indonesian nasi goreng or just your favorite flavor of homemade ice cream.

7. Less-Traveled Itineraries

Smaller ships, including those in the luxury category, are able to visit places their bigger counterparts can't or don't. In Alaska, that means spots including Petersburg, Haines and Misty Fjords. In the Western Mediterranean, expect more exclusive ports such as Portofino and Capri. In Southeast Asia, look for exotic stops like Indonesia's Komodo Island. Another trick: When luxury ships visit very popular ports, such as Greece's Santorini, they usually plan it for a day and time when the village isn't overrun with tourists from the mega-ships.
In a growing trend, luxury lines also tend to overnight in popular ports so travelers can get a real sense of the place and enjoy both daytime and nighttime shore excursions.

Windstar passengers snorkeling in Bora Bora

8. Free Shore Excursions and Exclusive Events

Everyone appreciates a freebie, and some luxury cruise lines -- such as Regent Seven Seas and Viking Ocean Cruises -- offer free shore tours in every port. Likewise, the yacht Crystal Esprit also packages a shore excursion in each port into its cruise fares. (Crystal's traditional cruise ships do not include shore excursions in their fares.)
Even when luxury cruise lines don't offer complimentary tours, they still place an emphasis on developing special shore events for passengers. In addition to regular paid excursions, lines including Azamara and Seabourn host complimentary outings. Azamara takes passengers on an "AzAmazing Evening" once per cruise. Experiences range from a visit to the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, to a polo match and reception in St. Tropez, France, and a festive gala at the Titanic Belfast museum in Northern Ireland. Seabourn also offers one free event on certain itineraries; its most famous complimentary excursion is a lovely evening of classical music at the Odeon theater at Ephesus in Turkey. If you're sailing with Windstar Cruises, you'll find free private beach parties or cultural events on select sailings.
And the perks don't stop with shore-sponsored tours. Lines such as Silversea and Azamara offer free transportation from its ships to most town centers so you can explore independently.

9. Incredible Shore Experiences

Sailing aboard a luxury ship often gives you access to experiences that aren't available to the general public. Lines work had to forge connections with tour providers on land that can really "wow" passengers. Crystal Cruises, for example, programs shore tours called Crystal Boutique Adventures and Crystal Overland Adventures. The tours aren't cheap, but you'll be able to say you've flown at twice the speed of sound in a MiG fighter jet over Moscow or spied a mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Oceania Cruises' Culinary Discovery Tours are limited to 18 people and are all about discovering the cuisine of a region in an intimate way. The ship's master chef accompanies these tours, which could include a visit to a local market, winery, cooking school or restaurant.
Well-dressed passengers in Seabourn's Veranda restaurant

10. Getting to Know People

On big ships, especially those with freestyle dining and alternative restaurants, you often meet people once  and never see them again. On a smaller ship, you tend to be thrown together more easily and more often. It's easy to meet people when you join a trivia team or small-group shore tour, or gather for complimentary drinks around the bar or coffee cafe. Many cruisers make friendships that last long after the journey.

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