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#Cruise4Haiti departing 11.14.2010

CruiseSource.us has teamed up with The Family Travel Network, CruiseBuzz.net, Airline Ambassadors, For Haiti with Love and many more to raise money, donations of goods, and increased awareness for the progress of the Haiti Relief Effort.   We’re excited to utilize our experience in planning large group cruise events and social media promotion for such an important cause. Cruise4Haiti

The Caribbean is still the number one destination for cruisers and with Royal Caribbean calling on the port of Labadee Haiti weekly, Haiti is always on our minds.  We’ve noticed that as time as passed that Haiti is rarely mentioned in today’s news cycle.  We feel that it is our responsibility to remind people of the continued need in Haiti.  

We’ll be sailing on the November 14th, 2010 Liberty of the Seas 7-night Caribbean Cruise.   For Every Cabin who books in the Cruise4Haiti group we will donate $75 to the Haiti Relief Effort.   We recommend everyone come into Miami, FL a day early for the big Airline Ambassadors BonVoyage Fundraising Event.  Passengers traveling with the group will have the opportunity to assemble gifts for orphans on our sea days.  We will also have an optional tweetup event in San Juan, benefitting a local orphanage. As Carrie Finley Bajak (www.cruisebuzz.net) says, “This is a wonderful way to make a difference, meet new people, and have fun on one of the most exceptional ships afloat.”

Please help the Cruise4Haiti by sharing the site with friends, making a donation, or by joining us on the Liberty of the Seas on November 14th, 2010.

If you’re looking for information on planning your own fundraising cruise please contact me rtucker [at] travelleaders.com.


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#SilentClark Making Waves on the Internets

I met Clark Harris, aka @SilentClark, for the first time in person this evening. Clark has challenged himself to be silent for the entire month of May using only Social Media to communicate. His goal is leverage social media to raise $100,000 to fight Leukemia in the memory of his mother who passed last year after a battle with the Cancer.

@MatthewSimpson @SilentClark @CruiseSource

Thanks to Matthew Simpson, Social Fresh Cruise attendee, I’ve been involved with the #SilentClark Social Media Experiment since May 3rd. It’s been exciting to watch the experiment grow from @SilentClark from groundzero to Clark being interviewed on Atlanta 11 Alive news and Mashable.com with 2 week remaining in the experiment. Clark and Matthew were driving from Atlanta to Raleigh and we took the opportunity to tweetup and grab a beer in Charlotte, NC. I’m so glad I got to meet Clark in person, although he remained silent. Taking offline relationships offline is the key to making the most out of the Social Media…I’m sure I will see Clark again when he can speak. Online friends are great, but when you share a once in life-time experience in person you take relationships to completely different level.

Getting to experience the experiment offline this evening gave me a much better understanding of how extreme the challenge to be silent for whole month is. It is more of a Social Experiment than a Social Media Experiment. It tests many of the social norms that we take for granted and its impact is felt more offline than online. Following along online is entertaining. Clark gives business cards to everyone he interacts with explaining why he must use Twitter or some other Social Media tool to communicate with them. Our waitress was enthralled by the whole concept and asked atleast 20 questions. Clark has 11 more days of silence. Follow the Twitter hashtag #SilentClark to keep up with the whole conversation. Share the Social Media Experiment Blog with your friends on FaceBook, Twitter, and Email (people still use email?).

As the momentum continues to build through Social Media and traditional media for #SilentClark, reaching the goal of $100,000 is not out of the realm of possibilities. He will need your support. Become a friend on of SilentClark Harris on FaceBook, become a fan of Silence Cancer on Facebook, and Share the Social Media Experiment Blog with your friends!

Good Luck Clark!!


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Nation Ford High School Visit, Recap

Yesterday, I visited Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, South Carolina to talk to the Virtual Enterprise class about the cruise industry and the ins and outs of running an online cruise agency.   The Nations Ford Virtual Enterprise class, taught by Lou Anne Cornwell, chose to be an online Cruise Agency for their virtual business (great choice).  They interact in a virtual economy with the other Virtual Enterprise businesses from around the US.   I was impressed by how well this program is preparing students for the real world.  They have to write a business plan, write resumes, interview with local business leaders, develop websites, create commercials, and almost any other function that is required to run a business.  

Checking out the Website

I showed them how we market CruiseDeals.com online and how we use social media to interact with our customers and continuously provide free information to help make the cruising experience better for all cruisers.   I explained to them that Travel Agents provide value by using their expertise to match up clients with the perfect cruise based on the client’s preferences.    Vacations are in most consumers’ top 5 most expensive purchases and a good travel agent ensures that their client gets the most out of that investment.   After answering a few questions, I toured the class to review their website, 30 second commercial, accounting tools, invoices, brochures, and company policies.

What I Learned: My fellow Travel Professionals, take this as your fair warning.  If this group of students is any indication of what the future holds you better step up your game.  15 – 20 year olds grew up on the internet and creating a professional website, editing video & pictures, using social media, maximizing mobile devices all come naturally to this generation.  Their strong base of technical knowledge will give them a huge advantage as technology development continues to move forward at light speed.   We have to adopt new technology quickly as it becomes available and push ourselves to continuously experiment and learn. 

Prior to meeting the Nation Ford High School Virtual Enterprise class, I’d become jaded about high school curriculum.  I felt that US students graduate high school without basic real world skills like how to buy a house, how to write a resume, how to fill out their tax forms, and other basic finance skills.  I’m glad that I went to “teach” this class about the cruise industry because I learned that there are programs teaching students real world skills, teachers like Lou Anne Cornwell who enthusiastically teach those classes, and that these students come naturally loaded with a base of technical knowledge that will help them compete in the real world.

The HR Department

All Smiles in the Virtual Enterprise Class

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SinglesCruise.com Refreshed

SinglesCruise.com New Homepage

Last Week, SinglesCruise.com unveiled their new online digs…the website has a fresh new look, but more importantly flows better and is very user friendly.  During the design and buildout of the new SinglesCruise.com website, they were able to receive feedback from their strong community of single cruisers. 

“We understand if you have never been on a singles cruise or a regular cruise for that matter, that you probably have a lot of questions on what to expect and we tried to provide a lot of those answers upfront on our new website,” explained Chris Parker, vice president of SinglesCruise.com. “We want to make it as easy as possible for someone to learn about the unique vacation experience we provide as well as find the best singles cruise for them. Once an unattached traveler goes onboard and actually experiences our singles cruise program, that’s it, they are hooked!”

Whether you are an internet cruise geek like me or you are actually looking to join other singles on a group cruise, go give SinglesCruise.com’s new website a spin for yourself. 

For those North & South Carolina singles over 35 years old you should check out the Carolina Singles Cruise departing on November 13th for 5-nights, rates start $333.57 including all taxes and fees! The Carolina Singles Cruise is a CruiseDeals.com and a Heart&Soul Matchmaking Event.

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Oil Spill, Cruise Line Impacts

As the situation with the gulf coast oil spill continues to worsen, my initial concerns are about the massive damage to the wildlife & environment as well as the impact to the gulf coast fishermen and their families.  Being a Cruise Industry blogger, I also quickly wondered if this would impact the Carnival Cruise ships that sail roundtrip from Mobile, AL and New Orleans.  

Just as CruiseSource.us has always kept you informed about the potential impacts to your cruise vacations from natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, we will keep you up-to-date with potential impacts from the oil spill.  As of 9 PM ET, this is the latest statement from Carnival Cruise lines:

We are closely monitoring the situation with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the potential impact to our operation in the Port of Mobile.

Based on the information we have received from the local port officials and the U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, we do not anticipate any disruption to the Carnival Fantasy cruise departing on Monday, May 3, 2010. We are expecting the Port of Mobile to remain open and the cruise to operate as scheduled.

We are looking forward to welcoming our guests aboard the Carnival Fantasy on Monday. The Captain, officers, staff and crew are dedicated to providing our guests with fun and memorable cruise vacations.

~ Subscribe to get the latest Cruise News.   Unfortunately, the only good news about the oil spill that I’ve seen today is that the Carnival Fantasy will sail out as scheduled… which seems pretty insignificant compared to all the bad news.  But I know that if you are scheduled to be on the Fantasy tomorrow getting to go on your planned vacation is important to you and I wish you happy sailing!  ~ Rich Tucker

Related Post: Will Oil Spill Boost Summer Cruise Sales?


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CruiseSource.us representing at #SXSW

I’m flying out tomorrow, Friday March 12th to go to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest to attend sessions & panels about Interactive Media. South by Southwest is the yearly Film, Music, and Interactive Media Festival. The 1st week of the festival is focused on Interactive Media and is considered by many to be Geek Spring Break. Lyell Petersen, @93Octane on Twitter and the dot com in CruiseDeals.com, and I (@CruiseSource on Twitter) will possibly be the only 2 people representing the Cruise Industry at South by Southwest.

We’ve been leaders in trying to get ‘Cruising’ into the Social Media Conversation. Lucky for me, I love to talk about Social Media as much as Cruising! In the last couple of years, I’ve helped lead the way by being one of the first cruise industry bloggers, the first one to tweet from a cruise ship, the winner of the Shorty Award in Travel for my use of Twitter, the first to giveaway a cruise on Twitter and Facebook, and hosting the Social Fresh Cruise, the premier social media conference at sea. Now, I am excited to go learn the answer to the question: What’s Next?

@93Octane aka Lyell Petersen

@93Octane aka Lyell Petersen

Social Media is just a catalyst for face to face meetings and by attending South by Southwest, I will finally get to meet many of my long-time online friends in person . I also get to see many of my friends from Social Media Week, Shorty Awards, SoCruise, and other social media conferences in person again. I’m stoked (which is a good sign I am probably a geek)… feel free to follow along with my personal twitter account @RichTucker.

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Next Cruise: Celebrity Solstice

I’m getting excited as our next cruise is just around the corner. Last December, I experienced the Celebrity Treatment for the first time. On the Celebrity Century, I seriously felt the Celebrity difference in the high quality of their food & service. The Celebrity Century is an older, medium sized ship in the Celebrity fleet. Celebrity Century had recently undergone a refurbishment and I was very pleased with all aspects of the onboard experience.

Celebrity Century in Jamaica, 12.14.09

Celebrity Century in Jamaica, 12.14.09

We’re taking the Celebrity Experience to the next level. The first week in April, Jess and I are taking our 8 year old son on his first cruise. We will be Cruising 7-nights to St. Kitts, San Juan, and St. Maarten on the Brand New Celebrity Solstice. The Solstice Class of ship is much larger than the other ships in the Celebrity Fleet. The Solstice has many innovative design features including the first grass lawn at sea. The Solstice has been describe to me as a floating W Hotel. Although the Celebrity Solstice is a Premium Cruise Ship, thanks to the recession the Solstice is not fetching a premium price tag. In April and May you can sail 7-nights from Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebrity Solstice starting at only $599! The best value is actually on the Balcony Cabins thanks to freebies.

Balcony Cabins start at $799 with a $50 Onboard Credit and CruiseDeals.com is paying for your Gratuities ($150 value) must book by February 28th, 2010.

Let me know in the comments if you will be joining us on the April 4th, Celebrity Solstice. I’ll buy your first Fruity Adult Beverage! ~ Happy Sailing Rich Tucker

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