FAQ – Drag Stars at Sea Cruise – Caribbean Adventure

To All Our Valued Guests:

As you can all imagine, we have had many people calling us with questions concerning the change in plans with the upcoming Drag Stars At Sea cruise, spotlighting the hottest names in Drag on December 2, 2012.

We’ve noticed that many common questions are similar and can be answered in mass. We are happy to announce that many of your concerns have been handled directly by our customer service department to our passenger’s satisfaction. Thank you for allowing us that opportunity. We are also pleased that so many of you on our waiting list are now booked with this new itinerary. We are happy that we were able to accommodate you and are sure you will have an amazing time.

Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that have been posed to us by our current clients that might help in those in the process of deciding.

What if I have already pre-booked my flight to Tampa and it is non-refundable:

  • Please contact us immediately and directly. We ask that you provide us with your airline record locator, airline ticket number and final confirmation number. This will allow us to quickly locate your flight information in an effort to handle this issue directly for you to the best of our ability and your ultimate satisfaction.
  • If you have booked your flight through ALandCHUCK.travel, you are completely protected and should experience no problems. We will take care of the transfers for all our customers currently booked on flights through us.

We booked the trip because of the original ports of call….not because of the Drag performers?

  • We understand that the Drag Super Stars were not the only draw on the original trip itinerary. The MAIN reason to go on THIS particular trip is the sheer volume of Drag entertainment. It is truly a once in a lifetime event!

We are offering a full, no-questions asked refund with a 24 hour turn-around on deposits for those of you THAT ARE BOOKED and would prefer not to visit the new ports of call. This practice is unheard of within the industry. Most agencies take 4 to 6 weeks to refund any deposits. We understand that this change in itinerary is an inconvenience to a few of our guests and therefore want to make this transition as positive an experience as possible for them.

Please take advantage of this grace period with our compliments for any unintentional inconvenience.

Why was my comment deleted off of Facebook?

We removed some negative comments on Facebook for the following reasons:

  1. Many of the people making the comments were not even booked on the trip and therefore they had no real issues that we could correct for them. All legitimate posts have been recorded and are being addressed on a case by case basis.
  2. Some of the issues that clients had commented on were personally removed by them once we corrected their particular problem.
  3. We found instances upon investigation that rival companies were posting comments on our wall whose sole intention was to malign our reputation publicly. We have turned in this information to Facebook and those individuals are being investigated.
  4. The information that was being disseminated was false and misleading. We felt they were maliciously placed there to fan the flames of the minimal discontent that we have been experiencing.

Currently, our group page and event page are still up, even though they still have information pertaining to the previous itinerary. We’ve purposefully kept these pages up so that there would be a forum for our true costumers to ask serious questions or vent frustrations. Our hope was that by leaving these pages up we would able to prove our superior customer service. We are getting to all our customers by email, personal call or private instant message.

We implore that you please only take official comments from us as the honest state of this situation that we are trying to rectify as soon as humanly possible.

Why has my call not been returned yet?

  • We are returning calls in the order they have been received. The majority of calls have not been to cancel, but instead to ask questions about the new itinerary. Please remember that we have only had 2 business days since the change was announced to facilitate the many calls that have come in. We are doing our best to service everyone in a timely way.

Why was the name of the trip changed from Drag Race to Drag Stars?

  • Although we are presenting sponsors of Rupaul’s Drag Race, this trip is in NO WAY affiliated with LOGO TV or World of Wonder Television. We felt it was best to change the name to avoid any confusion. This change was made 3 weeks ago and had nothing to do with the change of ship or itinerary.

I live close to the Port of Tampa. Is there anything you can do to help me get Miami?

  • We understand this is troublesome for our Central Florida passengers. Please call us directly at our toll-free number so that we can make arrangements for transportation or offer you a comparable solution for the inconvenience. We are sure to come to a resolution that will meet to your satisfaction. Please have your invoice number ready. NOTE: This only applies to the transfers of currently booked clients before May 17th.

Are we still going to be able to enjoy interacting with the performers or are we only going to be able to see them from the main stage?

  • The entertainers are not just performing on this cruise – they are passengers as well! You will see them around the pool, at cocktail receptions and many other exciting events that we have planned to get you up close and personal with your favorite Drag Super Star!

There are also unfounded rumors that we would like to address as well.

RUMOR: ALandCHUCK.travel is going out of business.

TRUTH: No, we are not. In fact, we have many fantastic tours planned for 2013 and beyond.

RUMOR: Many of the Drag Stars are cancelling.

TRUTH: No, they are not. Below is a full list of the performers that have signed contracts. They are committed to performing on the cruise and are looking forward to interacting with their fans face to face. Additionally, many of the performers have stated that they are thrilled with the fact that this is a newer larger ship, with a more appropriate show venue.  These are all the entertainers that will be travelling and performing on the Drag Stars at Sea – Caribbean Adventure!

Alexis Mateo

Alisa Summers

Bebe Zahara Benet

Carmen Carrera

Chad Michaels

Delta Work

Dida Ritz

India Ferrah

Jade Chicago

Jessica Wild

Jiggly Caliente

Juju Bee

LaShauwn Beyond

Latrice Royale

Madame LaQueer

Manila Luzon

Mariah

Michelle Visage

Milan

Mimi Imfurst

Morgan McMichaels

Mystique Summers

Pandora Boxx

Phi Phi O’Hara

Phoenix

Raja Gemini

Rebecca Glasscock

Sahara Davenport

Shangela

Shannel

Sharon Needles

Sonique

Stacey Layne Matthews

Tatianna

The Princess

Tyra Sanchez

Venus D’Lite

Yara Sofia

RUMOR: Norwegian is a better quality cruise line than Carnival.

TRUTH: First of all, we are sure Carnival would disagree. However, we can assure you that both brands are comparable and each has their pros and cons. Carnival is just the best choice for THIS particular trip event. Again, the ship is larger, newer and can accommodate the size of our show better. Not to mention, the GLORY will be totally renovated in time for our sailing. Still if it is your preference not to travel on Carnival, please do not hesitate to contact us and take advantage of our full refund without penalty by end of business on Thursday, May 17th.

RUMOR: Most of the passengers are cancelling.

TRUTH: A small number of our currently booked customers have cancelled. We are in the process of returning their deposits within our self-imposed 24 hour deadline. These cancellations have already been replaced with new bookings for people that are excited to join us off the wait-list on this new cruise line to meet their favorite Drag Super Stars.

RUMOR: ALandCHUCK.travel made this change because they are greedy.

TRUTH: Nothing can be further from the truth. Yes, we were allowed to add additional cabins to accommodate the mile long list of names on our waiting list because this new ship is simply LARGER. But, this change was not motivated exclusively by that factor. Making a change of this magnitude would never have been worth it, when stacked against the countless man hours and possible risks of upsetting our current clients.

The reality is that we underestimated the capacity of the venue space of our previous choice. There was no way to accommodate all our clients at the previous venue. On-going showtimes would have been necessary every night so that ALL our guests would be able to see ALL their favorite celebrities perform comfortably and there was still a chance that some passengers would have missed the opportunity to see their favorite Drag Super Star.  We take ownership of that oversight. The scheduled shows now will accommodate all guests and performers in a proper venue for a show of this size.

THESE WERE THE ONLY FACTORS.

Please understand that we did not make this decision lightly. We really thought it would be perceived as an UPGRADE to all those attending. Truthfully, we are pleased to see how many of our clients have expressed excitement with the new change. But, we do not downplay the ones that are dissatisfied. We are doing everything within our power to accommodate the few, but important individuals that would prefer to cancel. Remember, NO OTHER TRIP OF THIS KIND HAS EVER BEEN ATTEMPTED. We appreciate your patience.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, we implore you to please give us the opportunity offer you the best in customer service by contacting us at 866-949-1429.

We hope this helps and thank you for your questions, See you in December and get ready for the best time of your LIFE!

Sincerely,

Francisco Garcia

Marketing Director

www.ALandCHUCK.travel

America’s #1 Gay Travel Specialists

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Travel Smart Mark – 2012 Plan Your Year In Travel

It’s said that the year of the dragon will be marked with excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity. As with anything, it is all what you make it to be. So why not grab life by the horns and make this year one you definitely will never forget. Now is the time to think ahead to see what you will want to do in 2012 (or even 2013). Make a list of all the places you would like to visit and things you want to do this year. Once you have your list, start researching now. In the travel industry we call the first three months of the year “wave season”. Basically “wave season” is to the travel industry as Black Friday is to the retail industry. Let’s face it, this is their busiest time of the year. Why? Because over 70% of the population plans their upcoming year within the first three months, many travel companies capitalize on this by providing Early Booking Incentives, Upgrade Offers, Two-For- One offers and more during “wave season”. Cruise lines, tour operators, hotels, etc. all want to sell out well in advance. This is why they offer so many early booking incentives and discounts during this time and these deals are worth your time to check out!

Another good reason to plan in advance is that certain destination specific packages sell out quickly. Especially keep in mind packages/destinations that only operate a few months each year.

Some examples would be Alaska (May through September), any Fall Foliage destination, or ChurchillManitoba (to see the polar bears) just to name a few. With these types of destinations, you need to think about it like this: THE ENTIRE WORLD IS ALL TRYING TO GO SEE THESE DESTINATIONS AROUND SAME TIME. But what if something comes up? What if I get sick? What if I can’t get off of work? Before you let yourself succumb in despair to the great “what ifs”, keep in mind that most travel agencies offer some sort of Travel Insurance. Be sure to choose a policy that has the coverage that you need. A great website is www.insuremytrip.com which checks approximately 14 different travel insurance companies. You can pick and choose the type of policy inclusions that best fit your needs and your budget. Typically travel insurance will cost about 7% of the cost of your travel package. Travel Insurance is the key to ensuring peace of mind while insuring the monetary investment you have made in your travel package. Don’t let 2012 pass you by as another ho-hum unpredictable year! Start planning now to make 2012 an exhilarating and memorable year!

TIPS ON HOW TO TRAVEL FROM THE PROs IN GAY VACATIONS!

Art by: www.IsmaelAlvarez.com

Article by: Mark Coones

Article Originally Published in What’s Happening Magazine – Florida’s Premiere GLBT Entertainment & Lifestyle Magazine

www.whatshappeningmagazine.com

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Travel Smart Mark – Travel Through the Holidays

For some, the holiday season is one of joy, happiness and spending time with loved ones. However for many in our community, the holiday season can be quite a depressing time of year. So why let yourself get down over the holidays? Pack your bags and go somewhere fun and exciting! Get out of town and have an adventure!

There are many destinations in the world to choose from. Paris can be magical during the holiday season! I can just imagine myself catching snowflakes on my tongue while standing under the Eiffel Tower. Just make sure you aren’t standing under any pigeons. Perhaps you see yourself walking through the 2,140 acre historical city center of

Prague, which in 1992 was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register. Walking through this ancient city is truly like stepping back in time. Not to mention that Czech men are HOT! Did you

know that the Czech Republic is second to the US for the world’s leading production centers for gay porn, according to a report by Globalpost.com and CBS News.

Maybe you want to party it up for the New Years? The island of Ibiza, Spain is world renowned as a clubbing mecca! With eight super clubs, and vast array of smaller late night venues and sunset cafés, this may be the escape you are looking for! You don’t have to leave the country, you can just pack up the car and GO! Maybe head to Charleston, South Carolina to spend time in this historic city, or party it up in HOTlanta! Being in Florida, you could catch a cruise ship from a local port and sail away for the holidays.

Regardless of where you decide to spend your holiday, I cannot stress enough the importance of making your reservations in advance. This advice holds true not just for the holiday time period, but year round. I know we are a spontaneous bunch, but many times we need to think ahead and make reservations well in advance, and by ‘well in advance’ I’m talking at least 3-6 months (if not more for certain destinations). I do not understand why so many of us have this “fear of commitment” when making travel plans. Have no fear, because planning in advance will ensure you get exactly what you want. If you wait until the last minute, you could encounter extremely high, or sold out airfare, hotel rates, cruise rates etc. Yes, you could luck into a good deal at the last minute, however over the holidays it can be doubtful you will find them. So take it from me, don’t let yourself be sad or alone over the holidays, there is a world out there! Create your own path and make new friends! Rest assured you will learn a lot and most of all you will not regret it!

TIPS ON HOW TO TRAVEL FROM THE PROs IN GAY VACATIONS!

Art by: www.JoePhillips.com | article by: Mark Coones

Article Originally Published in What’s Happening Magazine – Florida’s Premiere GLBT Entertainment & Lifestyle Magazine

www.whatshappeningmagazine.com

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Travel Smart Mark – Eating Abroad

Traveling abroad can be one of the most amazing experiences of one’s life and even more so if you are a foodie! Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best when he said “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail”. You can eat at McDonald’s or KFC anywhere! When you travel, your best bet is to forget the tourist traps and the familiar chain restaurants, and experience the native local cuisine! Sometimes the dingiest looking dive can provide the most amazing experience!

When I was 16 I traveled to Munich, Germany and walked into what looked to be a small hole-in-the-wall family run restaurant. When I sat down I thought, “OH, this is going to be interesting”. The decor needed some serious updating and in hindsight, the place looked like something right out of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. I decided to have the Wiener schnitzel, which is a traditional German dish made from veal that has been pounded thin, coated in bread crumbs and fried, served with potato salad. Based on how the place looked, I was expecting to get deep fried rat. Fast forward twenty years and that is still BEST schnitzel I have ever had!! My point is that you are on vacation, take a chance, try something new, eat at places you normally wouldn’t. Luckily that was Germany and I felt fairly confident that I could eat the food, drink the water without any issue.

Now, let’s say you are traveling to Mexico. Many of you know that you can’t drink the local water as it contains bacteria to which the locals are immune. However if Americans drink the water, or brush your teeth with local tap water, you would experience what some would call Montezuma’s Revenge, or specifically horrible diarrhea, cramps and vomiting. No one wants to deal with that when you are on vacation. And, drinking more tequila doesn’t keep you immune to the bacteria either. Trust me.

Some countries have very bizarre delicacies. When traveling through Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines, a common dish is balut, which is a fertilized duck or chicken egg containing an early-developed embryo that is boiled. Often times, the birds features are clearly developed and you eat it right out of the shell. In China, a common snack is scorpion on a stick. And, it is just that – a scorpion on a stick, deep fried in oil and sprinkled with spices. In Italy, perhaps you want to try some Casu Marzu cheese. This cheese contains live insect larvae which are deliberately added to promote a level of fermentation that is close to decomposition, at which point the fats are broken down. The tiny translucent worms can jump up to 6 inches if disturbed. This is why some prefer to brush off the insects before enjoying a scrumptious spoonful of this pungent cheese. Going to Iceland? Try the hakarl, which is made by gutting a shark and allowing it to ferment for two to four months. hakarl reeks of ammonia and is served in cubes or on toothpicks. YUMMY!

Before you travel to a foreign land it is always best to check with the World Health Organization (www.who.int/en) and the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) to see if there are any food outbreaks related to your destination. Most importantly, ALWAYS research the local cuisine on your own so you know what to expect before you get there. If you do have the displeasure of experiencing Montezuma’s Revenge, look on the bright side. You will lose about 10 lbs. and may be able to fit back into those skinny jeans without lying on the bed and holding your breathe.

Art by: J. Szekeres | article by: Mark Coones

Article Originally Published in What’s Happening Magazine – Florida’s Premiere GLBT Entertainment & Lifestyle Magazine

www.whatshappeningmagazine.com

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Civil union law set to boost LGBT travel to Hawaii – Destination News – etravelblackboard.us

Civil Union Law set to Boost LGBT Travel to Hawaii
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Maui hopes to lure LGBT travelers to its sun-drenched shores (image Hawaii Tourism Authority)

A new law legalizing civil unions in Hawaii is expected to lead to an upsurge in gay and lesbian travel to the state, meaning a windfall for the islands’ hotels, resorts and event planners.

News of the legislation, which came into effect on January 1, has seen a spike in the number of hotels actively reaching out to the gay and lesbian community, as same-sex couples look to the state to formalize their relationships, according to The Maui News.

Chuck Spence, owner of the Maui Sunseeker LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Resort in Kihei told the newspaper forward bookings at his property had risen by 50 per cent over the year before.

“We’ve had 10 ceremonies booked so far,” he said.

“Already we’ve also seen an immediate boost in bookings, and not just because of civil unions, but because the law also opens up the perception by the gay and lesbian community that Hawaii is truly a welcoming state.”

Among the resorts looking to lure same-sex couples their way is the Grand Wailea, whose managing director Matt Bailey said that reaching out to gay and lesbian travelers not only made good business sense, but was also “the right thing to do”.

“Maui has a nurturing and welcoming environment, with a small-town feel and open-mindedness to it,” he remarked.

“I wish I could say it was all altruistic, but we’re not trying to make a political statement.”

State Senator Roz Baker, who represents West and South Maui said she hoped the law would add to the appeal of Hawaii as a destination for couples.

“The wedding business has always been good to Maui,” she commented.
“Let’s face it, too, nowhere is the weather nicer in January, or are there as many beautiful places to visit year round, than in Hawaii.”

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H

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What’s Happening Magazine’s Frank Garcia & Peter Aguas Join ALandCHUCK.travel

ALandChuck.travel and What’s Happening Magazine are announcing today their excitement in a new chapter for both of their companies. Al Ferguson, President/Owner of ALandCHUCK.travel, have welcomed aboard the marketing and design talents of Peter Aguas and Frank Garcia as part of their in-house staff of more than 70 employees. Ferguson says,“We have been talking behind the scenes for some time now with Peter and Frank and found that our company’s  two business philosophies have many synergies that could benefit from working closer together. It’s a natural fit.” Both Aguas and Garcia come from corporate backgrounds with over 20 years of individual experience in creative, marketing and sales and are now looking forward to apply their skills to this new venture.

Garcia will come on to the team as the Director of Marketing for the ALandCHUCK.travel brand. He will oversee and help strategize the continued success of the company from a advertising and marketing standpoint. Aguas will come onto the team as National Brand Manager and  apply his considerable sales and marketing acumen specifically to the gay brand that has received the most visability in the USA in the last twelve months.  This is, in part because of title sponsorships with LOGO TV and the immensely popular RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag U.  Both will work hand in hand along with the amazing team already established at ALandCHUCK.travel to help bring America’s #1 Gay Vacation Specialist further in achieving new goals to be set for the coming business quarter and for years to come.

Of course, the question remains – What of What’s Happening Magazine? Worry not advertisers, readers and friends the magazine has no plans to discontinue. In fact, with the beginning of the 6th volume starting in October of 2011 you can expect many new changes to style and format that will evolve the WHM brand. Aguas explains,”As our magazine has continued to grow and expand in distribution around the entire state and quite honestly the world, we find that although we have been personally based in Orlando, FL for the last 6 years we have been producing the magazine from places as remote as Bora Bora and Rome. What’s Happening Magazine enjoys a great staff of individuals that help compose it on a freelance basis and without them the magazine would not have been possible to produce from the word “go”. So moving the operation closer to ALandCHUCK.travel’s home-base in Sarasota, FL is not going to be a huge stretch for us. We think of the whole state of Florida as our home.”

The one major difference that you will find in the new evolution of the WHM brand is a return to it’s roots. Garcia explains,“In the beginning, we imagined WHM to be a monthly magazine that would be worth keeping with amazing content and therefore give our advertisers more ‘bang for their buck’ as their ads would be seen over and over again in peoples homes versus being considered a disposable ‘rag’ that rarely makes it out of the nightclubs they are distributed from.” WHM is going to return to their original plan of taking the magazine back to being a monthly publication. Aguas explains,“We were on the right track 6 years ago. With the advantages of social media, people want more than just information out of their GLBT publications – they want quality and entertainment. And, that is exactly what we want to continue to give them.”

This new and challenging venture and transition is already in the motion. Aguas and Garcia’s starting date with the ALandCHUCK.travel team is set to commence in the middle of September. “We are just itching to dive into this already incredible company and learn it’s specific needs. We are eager at the opportunity to learn this business from the ground up.”

As many of you may already know Al Ferguson & Chuck Scott’s GLBT brand ALandCHUCK.travel, are America’s cruise/tour specialists. They provide everyone with special discounts for any of the world’s major cruise lines and tour operators. Additionally, at ALandCHUCK.travel they operate their own special tours and cruise-tours and even own their own motorcoaches. In a single year, they’ve offered more than 350 group specials! They are one of America’s largest travel companies with 11 offices to serve you and sales in excess of $30 million, and they are still growing! Out of more than 30,000 travel agencies in the United States, they are in the top 1% of producers for the major cruise lines, including Holland America, Carnival, Cunard, Seabourne, Costa, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Not to mention being one of the primary leaders in our GLBT community including Statewide sponsor of Equality Florida, presenting sponsor of Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, partner in St Pete Pride’s FIRE & ICE and many other projects.

For Information or additional details for ALandCHUCK.travel contact Gayle Fortin at 866-949-1429 ext 134 or What’s Happening Magazine contact Peter Aguas at 407-690-0809

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Official Sponsors!

ALandCHUCK.travel are official sponsors of the Tampa Bay International Film Festival 2011. This commercial will be featured during the festivals many activities!

“Lights! Cameras! …and me without a stitch of makeup!” – Drop Dead Gorgeous

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Trip Spotlight

DRAG RACE AT SEA

Enjoy a fun cruise event that has NEVER been seen before in the USA! ALandCHUCK.travel are national sponsors of RuPaul’s Drag Race on LOGO TV and now we offer you a different version of the art of drag aboard a cruise ship.

DRAG RACE AT SEA is hosted by dozens of the top Drag Performers from all over America. You will sail on the new 90,000 ton Italian Ship MSC POESIA. This magnificent ship includes some of the most modern appointments in the world. On this special cruise enjoy unique features including a Gay Bar at Sea with Open Bar, Dance Parties every night of the cruise, gay specialty dining aboard plus private shore excursions in every port. You will enjoy great ports including America’s gayest city…Key West…where a drag queen drops from a stiletto shoe at New Years; the Caribbeans best beaches and shopping in Cozumel, Mexico; unique Central America “pirate” port of call Roatan, Honduras; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. As a highlight you will enjoy the FIRST EVER Drag Show at sea on the ships main 1500 seat theatre! Ask your ALandCHUCK.travel agent for details.

With other travel companies YOU ARE GOING TO PAY MORE AND YOU ARE GOING TO GET LESS …GUARANTEED!

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Trip Spotlight

Equality Cruise

Special “Cruise Within A Cruise”

Gay Events while aboard

  • Support Equality Florida
  • FREE BUS Transfers & Avoid $140 Parking Charges
  • GaYBOR Bon Voyage Weekend Party
  • NCL’s Gay Bar at Sea including Seven (7) OPEN BAR Theme Parties Every Night of the Cruise
  • Special Gay Guest Only Restaurants Every Night of the Cruise
  • Special Gay Only Equality Shore Excursions in Every Port of Call!
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