Monday, August 27, 2007

737-800 explodes in Okinawa

Last week a Boeing 737-800 caught on fire in Okinawa. China Airline (Taiwan) flight 120 from Taipei to Naha with 165 passengers and crew onboard landed safely and then the aircraft caught on fire while taxiing. All crew and passengers evacuated safely before the plane was engulfed in flames. Check out the video. It is amazing that everyone got safely.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Costa Maya Port Damaged

As Hurricane Dean came through on Tuesday morning, Costa Maya, one of Mexico's fastest growing destination, was seriously damaged. The port's infrastructure was estimated to be 50% distroyed, including the cruise ship pier. An early estimate indicates that the port will remain closed for 6 to 8 months. For more information visit Costa Maya's website And for a complete story on the Hurricane Dean check out the Environment News Service.

Trust the Pilot

A friend, Todd, who is a pilot, forwarded me these photos and his caption was "Times when you Just have to Trust the Pilot". click on the individual pictures to see a large version and when you see how small the runways are, you will see why he titled the email "trust the pilot"

Now my question is, "why is the pilot taking these pictures instead of paying attention to landing the plane?"

Friday, August 17, 2007

NWA Buy Midwest

NWA and a group of investors have bid $16 a share to buy Midwest Airlines. It is a counteract effort to AirTran's hostile takeover bid valued at $15.75 a share.

“The board concluded that the TPG offer presented greater value and certainty for Midwest shareholders than the AirTran offer,” officials at Midwest said in a statement today.

Interline Story

Drunk Attendant arrested

It just wasn't her day. Sarah Mills was arrested before takeoff for drinking. Even though she is her blood alcohol level was .032 - which is lower than Kentucky's legal limit of .08. She still faces a civil review by the FAA on charges of being a crew memeber of airplane while drunk.

She pleaded not guilty, well you be the judge...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2 day Interline Cruise Sale is having a 2 day Interline Cruise Sale with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. August 15 & 16, 2007

- Deposit Reduced 50%
- Best Available per Super Category
- New Dates for Sale through March 2008
- "ITP" Promo Codes only

Call for details. (800) 298 8688

Interline Cruise Sale

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Disney Park Tickets Increase

It just got a little bit more expensive to visit Walt Disney World. Disney increased their one-day park pass to $71 from $67. This is the second increase in seven month.

But what choice do you have? If you want play, you got to pay. At least Interliners still get discounts on Disney Resort stays. Check out for details.

Walt Disney World Hikes Ticket Prices
Disney ticket price Calculator

RCI - Genesis Class Ship

Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale may become the homeport for Royal Caribbean's $1.2 billion, 5,400-passenger Ship, when it debut in 2009 and 2010. In order to accommodate these megaships Port Everglades will have to undergo a $37 million expansion of Terminal 18, said Ellen Kennedy, port spokeswoman. The port predicts the ship's year round presence would create 3,800 jobs, producing total income of $172 million.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Alaska Cruise - Holland America - Noordam

Holland America – Noordam – Alaska Cruise (7-29-07)
This week we are leading a group to Alaska onboard Holland America’s Noordam. Our trip is round trip from Seattle and we will visit Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, & Victoria.

We stayed at the Westin Downtown, and I was pleasantly surprised that we were so close to so many of the local attractions. We were able to walk just about everywhere. Pikes Market, the Space Needle, the Mall, and China Town were all within walking distance. One can always catch a cab or the monorail if you wish. An alternative to the Westin might be the Sheraton Hotel, both provide excellent rates ($150 – 250 per night ). Cheaper than the cruise line’s pre stay package. We caught a taxi from the airport for about $30 and then $10 from hotel to pier 32. (A footnote: Free WIFI internet in the lobby of the hotel)

Day at Sea
Today was the first full day at sea and the Noordam has packed the day full of activities – the highlight for us was the galley tour followed by the culinary cooking demonstration. Holland America, and Food & Wine Magazine had built a state of the art Culinary Arts Center in the Queen’s Lounge. Chef John, from the Pinnacle Grill, was our instructor. He was funny and entertaining. Afterwards I spoke to John and he said cooking is suppose to be fun, so you “have fun” and don’t take it so seriously. I like his attitude toward food. The Noordam also offer classes on garnishing, and a personal hands on cooking class (only 24 slots and it fills up fast, so book it the first day - $30)

One change Holland America has made to this Vista Class ship is the newly design Exploration Café. It is like Barns and Noble meets Starbucks meets Internet Café. It is a great place to hang out, have some coffee, read, and surf. I especially like all the travel books available to help you plan your excursions and future trips.

Glacier Bay National Park
This day started early, with the boarding of a naturalist who has been keeping us inform with announcements over the intercom system. It is a great way for us to see the wildlife that might otherwise go unnoticed.

When we entered Glacier Bay, a park ranger and Native American lecturer boarded the ship and they took over telling us all about the National Park and the native habitat and the history of Glacier Bay. They even had an inter-active display in the Vista Lounge where you can touch and feel what the silk from the glacier might be like.

While there at the Marjorie Glacier were were able to witness the power of the glaciers. Massive chunks of ice would fall into the bay, I can see what they call it "White Lightning". The roar of the thunder which followed was amazing - what a highlight.

Juneau is the Capital of Alaska. Hemmed in by Mount Juneau, Mount Roberts and Mendenhall Glacier, there are roads within the borough, but you cannot drive to Juneau from somewhere else. This Capital’s access is strictly by air or sea. Maybe that is why nobody bothers to lock their cars here. Where are you going to go after you steal the car?

There was schedule bus service from the pier to Mendenhall Glacier for $6 each way and very inexpensive trip. Mendenhall Glacier can be fun and the observation building is a great way to get oriented before starting on your trek. There were also a City & Glacier Tours from $25 and a City Trolley Tour from $17. The Gondola ride is also right there, it gives you a bird’s eye view of the town. All the tours were available from Pier side. Holland America docks right in town, Princess was one pier away and NCL was a bit farther.

If you are into something a more expensive, check out the float-plane trip to Taku Lodge. It is a great shore excursion, interline discounts are available. Call us or their office for details. I believe the company is run by an Alaska Airline pilot.

Juneau is also the largest of the towns were visited and there were plenty of Jewelry and t-shirt stores available. One find was a Jewelry store right in town, Majestic Gems, at 108 People’s Wharf. Raj & Jennifer just opened this store this year and they have a promotional “Northern Lights” Topaz pendant for only $20. It is a great find and fantastic gift. Check it out, ask for Judi when you are at the store, she was my sales person.

Sitka is known as “Alaska’s Little Russia”, even though at a glance not much about the port looks Russian. Look a little closer, however, and you will find some unmistakably Slavic elements. Check out St. Michael’s Cathedral, a small Russian Orthodox Church, right in the middle of town. You can go in and see some of the art work, such as the silver –bound 19th-century Bible for $2. The Orthodox priest was also there to answer question about the church. We just walked around town and I like going to Castle Hill at the edge of town. The steps to the top are on the side of the Post office. The short climb is rewarded with a sweeping view of Sitka Sound and the ships docked in the bay. We did not do any shore excursion but there were plenty of vendors who are willing to sell you a tour to the nearby sites. There was also a Kayak trip from the harbor. People loved it. It took them from the pier to the Fish Canary, a bit stinky, but you are rewarded with sights of Sea Lions, Bald Eagles and Otters. I walked over and was able to see some Bald Eagles close up and personal. What a majestic animal.

Alaskan call Ketchikan the “First City”, not because of its size or population but because in the days before air travel it was always the first Alaska port of call for northbound steamship passengers. Despite it’s “untouched” appearance this area is really not “new” to tourism. The Pacific Coast Steamship Company began operating southeast Alaskan excursions in 1884.

Today is a beautiful day here, and we wandered over to "Creek Street". With their small little shops on stilts over the water, this area is a quaint as it gets. We also hiked up on "married man's trail" if you go to the end toward the street side, if you slow down, you can see the salmon jumping. What a great way to end our trip to Alaska

We arrived at Victoria at 6pm which does not leave us with much time in Victoria but on this trip our only plan was to see the fireworks at Butchart Garden (only available on Saturdays). We signed up for a shore excursion with Holland America and it was worth the $60.(even though I just found the same trip on Grayline tours for $41). We were able to see part of Victoria by motorcoach and still had time to see some beautiful flowers and gardens before it got dark. FYI, get to the seat early if you want a good view.

Overall, I would say it was a wonderful trip and I look forward to seeing Alaska again in the very near future.