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Weddings/Honeymoons/Anniversaries

What's your dream wedding? We can arrange weddings on cruise ships or at all-inclusive vacation resorts. Tropical island wedding ceremonies on a lagoon overlooking the ocean on the bluffs of Kauai, Maui, Mexico or the Caribbean. Special honeymoon and anniversary packages that reinvigorate those deep feelings. Whether it's small and private or large and detailed, we can help you make it very special and memorable.

We work with the wedding departments at Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Disney and a host of land-based resorts. Make your special day hassle free. Wedding coordinators handle the details so you can enjoy the event in a less stressful way than traditional weddings. Packages can be tailored to fit every budget. Airline arrangements, limousine service, pre and post hotel packages, flowers, photographers, we cover it all.

 If a wedding at sea isn't what you had in mind, ask about Hawaii, the South Pacific, Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and other exciting and romantic destinations.

Indulge in an all-inclusive resort celebration. Visit Jamaica, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, and other Caribbean islands. Check out Cancun, Mexico or visit Hawaii, the South Pacific Islands and more. We'll help you choose the perfect resort to fit both your dreams and your budget.

Cruises offer a world of pampering. On a cruise celebration, your floating resort takes you from one exciting port of call to the next, yet you pack and unpack just once. Call today. We'll help you navigate your cruise choices.

If you have 10 or more adults traveling together, you will qualify for special group rates.

Call Manon at 480-752-2184 and find out more about these romantic opportunities.                               

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Hurricanes & Cruising

Technology and flexibility are used to ensure complete safety. Read the view from the bridge by some of the most experienced captains in the Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center has revised downward its prediction of the number of tropical storms expected in the upcoming hurricane season. That's good news for cruisers. Passenger safety is always the paramount concern of the cruise lines and you can be sure they are not going to put you in harm's way. The following information should help you better understand the approach cruise lines take to managing this annual problem.

 It's no surprise that nearly every ship cruising the Caribbean during the fall is steeply discounted. Fear of hurricanes keeps some of the most experienced cruisers from even venturing near the region. However, while it's true that ships do directly encounter these climatic behemoths in the oceans of the world, it's a different story in the Caribbean.

Probably no one has more experience with Caribbean hurricanes than a ship's captain. We asked Carnival Destiny Captain Leonardo Francolla to tell the story from the bridge.

According to Captain Francolla, hurricanes never arrive by surprise. "Ships receive advisories by radio, satellite, fax and e-mail from the U.S. Weather Service, the Hurricane Center in Miami and the U.S. Coast Guard," he says. "On the bridge, the position, speed and direction of the storm is then tracked on a computerized nautical chart. Making allowances for possible changes in the direction, speed and storm force, the future positions of the storm are compared to the itinerary of the ship," Captain Francolla explains.

If a hurricane does threaten a port on the ship's itinerary, the Captain will consult with his senior officers and decide to alter the ship's course in the interests of safety, also advising the cruise company so that new port arrangements can be made.

According to Captain Francolla, "The advance timing of a decision to alter course is based on the size of the area affected by the storm, its force and the distance of the ship from an alternative port. It also depends on how much time is needed to notify the alternative port and make arrangements.

"Staying in port during a hurricane is never an option, according to Captain Francolla. "A ship is much safer at sea, where she has room for maneuvering. A hurricane's tremendous wind can cause the moorings to break and push a ship aground or against another vessel in the harbor. Another threat is ocean surge, which may come with a hurricane," he says.

When new ports of call are substituted, what are your chances of experiencing at least some bad weather? It depends. According to Captain Francolla, "It is possible but, since we've selected a new course to avoid the storm, the effects, if any, will be minimal. Of course we try to comply with the printed itinerary, but there have been instances when the whole cruise has been rearranged with different ports. This is due to passengers and ship safety or the inability of a port just affected by a storm to accommodate the ship following a hurricane."

The Carnival Destiny Captain says he's yet to directly encounter a hurricane in the Caribbean. "So far the timely advisories of the Hurricane Center in Miami, which keeps a watchful eye not only on the Caribbean but also on the Atlantic where most of the hurricanes are generated, have given us the advance notice necessary to successfully avoid them," he says.

Mike Moulin, Captain of Princess Cruises' new Grand Princess, summed it up well: "It would take a pretty stupid captain to get caught in a hurricane," he said.                                                                              

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Motion Discomfort (Seasickness)

Think you might feel a little out of sorts on your cruise? Remember the "Pygmallion Effect." It is simply that the expectation of an event may in fact cause the event to occur! Try not to worry about it too much. To be on the safe side though, here are a few words about Motion Discomfort (Seasickness)

Motion Discomfort (seasickness) is a common affliction that can turn a cruise into a nightmare. The name is actually a misnomer. Seasickness is just another form of motion sickness, much like that of "car sickness" or "air sickness". The "sickness" occurs when the body's receptors - - the eyes and the balance centers of the inner ear - - are receiving conflicting information. In short, when you are on a cruise ship you lose a stable point of reference because the inner ear is receiving information that tells your brain that you are moving in a lot of different directions - - forward as the ship sails the sea, rolling side to side and perhaps a yawing motion as the ship twists on its axis. While this is going on, the eyes are telling you that you are standing still. This contradictory information can produce seasickness, resulting in dizziness, nausea, clammy skin and headaches.

 "Seasickness is not uncommon," says Dr. Michael Morris, associate professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. "It is the inability of a person to cope with changes in the environment. It's not too different from motion sickness. Balance is a very central factor, and the motion [on a ship] overwhelms the system."

 "The single most helpful therapeutic action is to look at the horizon," said the doctor. By looking at the fixed horizon, the body can begin to "fix" its center of balance, and thus counteract the motion sickness.

Several medications are available to treat seasickness. Over-the-counter antihistamines, said Dr. Morris, reduce the reaction of the inner ear to movement, and Dramamine, another over-the-counter medication, suppresses central nervous system activity and reduces the feelings of nausea.

Another treatment we have used with success is an accupressure bracelet worn on the wrist. A "button" on the inner side of the bracelet presses against the nerves on the wrist and somehow counteracts the feeling of nausea. "The wrist is a center of nerve transudation," Dr. Morris explained, "though I can't explain why [the accupressure bracelet] works."

The cloth-and-elastic bracelet sold in travel, drug, marine and boating stores is very effective. Better yet, the bracelet has no side-effects, can be used over and over and can be shared.

There are other non-medical ways to combat seasickness, Dr. Morris added. "Avoid heavy foods, fatty foods and alcohol, which exacerbates the feelings of balance," he explained. "Try to keep your stomach empty. Have smaller and more frequent meals."

One popular remedy, "The Patch," has returned to the market after a three-year hiatus. Pulled off the market because it was releasing uneven amounts of the drug scopolamine, the new -- and fixed -- patch is like a circular bandage that is worn on your skin, usually behind your ear. The patch dispenses the drug scopolamine into your system. It's easy to wear, and it works for three days at a time. The patch is available only by prescription.

Best yet, of course, is to consult your physician before you get on the ship and ask for advice on what treatment is best for you. If you are on a ship, visit the ship's medical office, where treatment will be provided, sometimes free, sometimes for a fee, depending on what action is taken.                                                                  

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Cruise FAQ's

Things you ought to know about cruise vacations.

With the continued increase in the popularity of cruise vacations, there has been a similar increase in media attention on cruising. A vast majority of this media is extremely positive and focuses on the great value and new developments of today's cruise vacation. However, occasional news stories regarding ship safety, security and sanitation do occur which may generate questions from your clients and prospects.

The U.S. Coast Guard has declared cruise ships operating from U.S. ports to be one of the safest forms of transportation. Because safety -- of both passengers and crew -- continues to be the cruise industry's number one priority, the Cruise Line Coalition offers CLIA affiliates the following points to help respond to customers' potential questions and concerns regarding shipboard safety.                                                                  

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Safety Standards

All cruise ships must meet standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Ships operating from U.S. ports are also subject to U.S. federal and state regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard inspects all ships sailing out of U.S. ports four times a year.

The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) sets guidelines and mandatory standards for cruise companies seeking or maintaining membership in the association. These standards meet or exceed international and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to cruise ships.                                                                                        

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Safety Equipment

The average cruise ship has more than 4,000 smoke detectors; More than 500 fire extinguishers; More than 6 miles of fire fighting hose; 5,000 sprinkler heads; 400 fire stations or hydrants and sufficient lifeboats and life rafts for more than the number of individuals onboard.

In addition, the average cruise ship has more than 170 fully trained firefighting personnel, and many with advanced firefighting training., Emergency and medical crews are only a few hundred feet from any possible incident. This means that the average response time in an emergency is a matter of minutes.                   

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Onboard Security

A cruise ship is comparable to a secure building with a 24-hour security guard. It is a controlled environment with limited access. Once underway, only documented employees and fare-paying passengers are permitted onboard. In addition, highly trained security personnel are employed on every vessel. U.S. laws protect American cruise line passengers. The FBI and federal authorities investigate and prosecute alleged crimes involving Americans in international waters. According to FBI statistics, cruise ships are safer than virtually anywhere in the U.S. in terms of crimes of any type.                                                                                  

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Sanitation

Sanitation standards on cruise ships far exceed those of any land-based facility. The industry and the U.S. Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have jointly established construction guidelines and operational procedures to maintain those high standards. The cruise industry voluntarily works with the CDC, which oversees health and sanitary conditions on all passenger vessels visiting U.S. ports.

Ships are subject to unannounced inspections by CDC officials, concentrating on fresh and drinking water, spa and pool systems, food storage, preparation and service areas, general hygiene, and waste management equipment and facilities. Ships are also periodically rated through the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) and must meet industry standards.                                                                                                             

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Answers to FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions and other important information that can save you money and reduce anxiety.

You should never pay full brochure rate for a cruise. Experienced agents can save you considerable money off the brochure rate

There are cruises available for every budget. Cruising is one of the best vacation values because it includes your stateroom, meals, transportation and entertainment

From 3 days to 100 days, cruises fit every vacation schedule.

95% of the people who cruise are completely satisfied with their cruise experience.

85% of the people who cruise repeat with future cruises because of the high value received for dollars expended.

One thing you will never see on the menu is price. All meals are included.

All entertainment is included. No cover charge ever!

See many different areas without packing and unpacking. There are over 1800 cruise ports throughout the world.

The world is 2/3 water. Until you go on a cruise, you haven't seen the world.

You can do as much or as little as you want to do on a cruise. You follow your own schedule. If you want to stay casual and informal you can do that. If you want to dress up for formal nights it's your choice.

Ships are not all alike. They range from under 200 feet to over 1000 feet long. You can sail with fewer than 100 passengers to over 3,000. Atmospheres range from very casual to very formal.

You won't get bored. There are a wide variety of shipboard activities and shore excursions that can appeal to any interest.

On most cruises, you will need a passport. You will need picture identification and proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.

One of the newest innovations in the cruise industry is Freestyle Cruising from Norwegian Cruise Line.

Freestyle Cruising is proving extremely popular with guests aboard the Norwegian Sky, the pioneer ship for this concept. Freestyle Cruising changes the fundamental way cruises have been structured in the past and gives guests many more options. In a nutshell, the main components of Freestyle Cruising are:

- The dress code has been changed to "resort casual." That means that while you are on vacation you don't have to dress up if you don't want to. You can if you choose, but dress resort casual is acceptable in dining rooms and other functions that previously required or encouraged coat and tie, etc.

- Open dining and open seating. Instead of going to first or second seating at assigned tables, Freestyle Cruising allows you to eat anytime between 5:30 PM and midnight. You can sit with whom you want or make arrangements to sit with the same people all the time. Crew size has been increased by over 150 to meet the additional demands of this structure for you, so you don't have to rush around to be at dinner at a certain time.

- Disembarkation is different. For past cruisers, you know that one of the most unpleasant experiences is getting off the ship on the last day. No more sitting in designated areas waiting to be called and no more vacating cabins early in the morning. Checkout is handled like a resort hotel. You can disembark at your leisure.

- Freestyle gratuities are now much easier to manage. Instead of the age old process of trying to get change and remember which envelope to put it in, a standard gratuity of $10 per person per day will be added to your bill. At checkout, if you are satisfied with the service you received you need do nothing. If you didn't like the service, you can reduce it by any amount you deem appropriate, totally your option. If the service exceeded your expectations, you can increase it. Whatever you choose to do, the process is a lot more hassle free for you.

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Group Advantages

RMK Travel hosts a number of successful group cruises every year. Whether it is a family or class reunion, church or other nonprofit group or just a group of friends who want to have a great vacation together, we can work with you to design a program that best meets your interests, budget and time frame.

Is your church or nonprofit interested in doing a fundraiser? Are you aware that Carnival Cruise Lines matches funds for non-profit organizations such as churches? On a 7-day cruise, your church has the ability to earn up to $160 for every cabin that books. That doesn't include any additional funds that can be earned through our Tour Conductor program.

Affinity groups such as civic organizations love to travel together. Here is a great opportunity to provide a wonderful value to the members of your organization and earn some meaningful fundraising dollars.

Additionally, there is very little cost in advertising this program. We can provide the flyers and mailers to the members of your group.

Our Group Sales staff can help you plan a variety of events that are extremely cost-effective and easy to administer. Plus, it will be a memorable event for the participants and a huge success for you. Opportunities for free or reduced cost travel for group coordinators. Some of the benefits include:

1. Simplified coordination - details are taken care of for you.

2. All transportation, meals and entertainment are included.

3. A variety of activities for all members of your group.

4. Plenty of activities for spouses and children.

5. State-of-the-art equipment and facilities.

6. Less costly than land-based vacations. A great value.

7. Special amenities can be tailored to best serve your group.

8. The opportunity to visit several places without the hassle of packing and unpacking.

9. Security is greater on board a ship than at a land-based facility.

10. If you're having a business-related meeting or seminar on board the ship, you will have higher participation by attendees who can't skip out of your program to go play golf or be interrupted with phone calls, etc.

Because groups are more complex to book, please call 480-752-2184 and we can begin planning your event. 

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RMK Travel   info@rmktravel.com Mesa, AZ 85210

phone: 480-752-2184  *  toll free: 877-335-6991 

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