What constitutes a group in terms of group travel? What are the benefits of group travel? These are all questions that come to mind when talking about group space, whether it’s on a cruise or a land tour.
A general definition of “a group” is people traveling together who have something in common. Actually, a group can be almost any combination of people that cruise or tour together. It could be a family reunion, bridge club, church group, country music lovers, Harley riders, scrapbookers — the list is endless. It may be as simple as people who want to travel to Alaska, or any other destination.
Group travel has many benefits: socialization with friends, meeting new people with common interests, and a feeling of safety and security that comes with traveling with people you know.
There are also monetary benefits. Almost everyone has heard about a group leader traveling for “free.” The technical term is tour conductor, and that particular person may do all the work of organizing the group, or may do very little, just acting as a “figurehead.” The most common example that comes to mind is a clergyman who travels with people from his church, and who receives a “discounted” rate. (If there is no designated tour conductor, the TC credit can be divided among the group.) Some tour conductor ratios are as low as one free fare for nine full fare bookings, but most common is one free fare for 15 full fares.
But what about the other members of the group? Some cruise lines offer discounted rates for groups. Additionally, there are Group Amenity Points that vary from sailing to sailing. They can be enjoyed by everyone in the group, and might include a bottle of wine, a fruit basket, an on-board credit (money that can be used for any onboard purchases), cocktail parties, activities that are limited to the group, such as private concerts and “meet and greet” with the performers, even special shore excursions can be organized for groups.
So it’s more fun, safer, and beneficial to travel in a group — it may even be less expensive. Group travel participants enjoy free little extras and a feeling of camaraderie. The nice thing is, you can be as “together” or apart as you want. Nothing says you have to spend every waking hour with your group.
You may be thinking, OK, where do I find a group? You can get a group of people together yourself or you can join a “ready made” group.
How about the “3rd Annual Remembering the King” seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise leaving Aug. 30 from Los Angeles? That happens to be the 32nd anniversary of Elvis’ passing. Mahwey Productions provides cruisers with a full Elvis experience, with several tribute performances from the many decades of Elvis’ career. Additionally there will be Sing Like a King Talent Night, Elvis trivia contests, and Elvis “sightings” around the ship.
Is country music more to your taste? Then join us for the first annual “Riders on the High Seas” cruise featuring the legendary Doo Wah Riders, a country group with a Cajun flair that has been performing in California, Arizona, and Texas for 30 years. This is a five-day Mexican Riviera cruise from San Diego leaving Nov. 16. You can hear their music at www.thedoowahriders.com.
There’s a “Whodunit Mystery Cruise” from San Diego on Oct. 29. This is a four-night Mexican Riviera cruise to Cabo San Lucas. Clues will be revealed at dinner until the guilty party is identified.
For crafters, we have a Quilters Cruise scheduled for Oct. 19, which is also a four-night cruise from San Diego to Cabo. Classes and kits will be available for purchase.
Veteran cruisers know that the bargains are on “repositioning” cruises, such as those taking place in autumn when a ship leaves Europe and moves to the Caribbean for the winter months. We have group space booked on the Nov 29 sailing from Barcelona, Spain to Galveston, Texas on Royal Caribbean.
Finally, there’s the trip of a lifetime: Imperial Jewels of China, a combination Yangtze River cruise with side trips by air to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai, starting Sept. 28.
For information on any of the above scheduled groups, or to create your own, call (928) 472-7878, or stop in at Cruise Port Travel, 408 S. Beeline Highway in Payson, or visit our Web site at www.travelpayson.com.