Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jennie + Justin

One of our newly-married destination wedding couples Jennie and Justin followed up with some great news they're kindly allowing us to share: They had a wonderful time! Here's that abbreviated news-flash in their own words:

Everything was absolutely amazing and perfect. I would definitely recommend both hotels for future visits. The staff at the Riu took care of everything for the wedding and were very organized with stuff, even though I was naturally a little nervous going into the trip. Rooms in Negril was also fantastic. The best thing about it was its location. It was right in the middle of the beach so you could get anywhere you needed to go. Thanks again so much for everything!

The specs: The bride and groom were married at the Riu Negril where the group stayed. Jennie and Justin stayed behind for a few days and enjoyed their honeymoon at the Rooms Resort, also in Negril.

Congratulations once again Jennie and Justin! I am beyond happy that you had a great experience and wish you both the very best in your married life!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let's Talk Repositioning Cruises

If you, like me, love to cruise and feel a cruise ship is a destination in and of itself, this time of year is the perfect time to take advantage of some great repositioning options. Many cruise lines move their ships to various parts of the world depending on the season. Rather than sail their ships without passengers to a new home port (say from the Caribbean to Alaska), these one-way sailings are oftentimes offered at a considerably lower rate.

Repositioning cruises not only offer cost savings and unique ports of call, they also allow for more 'sea days' which results in an incredibly relaxing vacation (compared to the port-intensive itineraries). Because the cruise has more days at sea they will usually feature themes that incorporate different subjects and on-board activities including wine tastings, enhanced entertainment and guest speakers. The downside to a repositioning cruise is although the cost is generally lower, the additional days on the ship can result in a higher bar and casino bill than you would typically experience. The other added cost is sometimes higher airfare, as you usually have to purchase two one-way tickets. 

Two of my favorite repositioning cruises offered this spring are the 11-night Transatlantic sailing from Miami to Barcelona aboard the Norwegian Epic, and the 12-night Hawaiian sailing from Honolulu to Vancouver aboard the Carnival Spirit.  

Let's talk Epic!  NCL was the first cruise line to introduce the concept of Freestyle Cruising, a vacation where you are free to do whatever, whenever. What better way to experience this concept than on an 11-night Transatlantic crossing?! The Epic is NCL's largest and most innovative ship to date with over 20 bars and lounges (including the only true ice bar at sea), more than 20 different dining options, an aqua park, a bowling alley, and some of the best entertainment at sea - Blue Man Group, Legends in Concert, Second City Comedy, Cirque Dreams and Dinner and more. Who needs Vegas, right?!  
Spa Suite
Spice H20 Daytime

You want Spirit?  Carnival Cruise Lines promises 'Fun for All - All for Fun!' The past several years Carnival has worked very hard to lose the 'party ship' image and I believe they have accomplished just that. Whatever you consider to be fun is what you can do aboard a Carnival Fun ship. Carnival Spirit was the first of the Spirit class ships and the first to introduce the two-level promenade. Who wouldn't be 'wowed' by an Atrium that spans eleven decks! And the fact that 80% of the staterooms have ocean views and private balconies make her the perfect ship to experience Hawaii on a 12-night repositioning cruise. While sailing, be dazzled by the most brilliant colors ever created, play in one of the largest casinos at sea, celebrate a special occasion with dinner in the Nouveau Supper Club and enjoy a different Las Vegas style show every night of your cruise!  You'll need a vacation following this vacation considering there is so much to experience on the Carnival Spirit.

Carnival Spirit
Premium Balcony Stateroom
Louis X1V Casino
I think you get the idea... When it comes to repositioning cruises there are many to choose from, so make sure the cruise you choose fits your needs. If you'd like to view pricing for the NCL and Carnival repositioning cruises, take a peek at our latest 'Snooze You Lose' here. With our help you can select the perfect repositioning cruise option for you! Bon Voyage!

Monday, March 21, 2011

MTS At The Wedding Fair

Happy Monday everyone! I wanted to share a few photos from this past weekend with all of you. Midwest Travel Service occupied a corner booth at The Wedding Fair, a great event hosted by the Twin City Bridal Association. 

We had such a great time meeting all of the enthusiastic brides-to-be (and the several exhausted-looking grooms who were undoubtedly dragged along) and talking about exciting wedding and honeymoon options. We loved how adventurous and open-minded everyone was~ Lots of talk about various Caribbean hotspots, all-inclusives in Mexico, Europe itineraries, over-the-water bungalows in Fiji, and even several inquiries about Africa! 

Forgive the lighting in these photos. Those fluorescents in the Minneapolis Convention Center are a little rough on the lens, but you'll get the picture (no pun intended!).

Our giveaway table- Visitors entered to win a free honeymoon at a 5-star resort!

One of our booth favors: neon handles for your luggage so you can spot it more easily on the baggage loop!

Another booth favor: 'Just Married!' Midwest Travel Service luggage tags. These were a total hit!

Lots and lots of take-home brochures for browsing later on...

The MTS owners Maria, Theresa and Andrea

Such a great time meeting the happy couples.

If you missed out this time around, no worries! We will absolutely participate in the next event later on in 2011. Stay tuned for the details if you're interested. It's a great place to get wedding ideas, fun little favors (and who doesn't love free stuff?!), and a chance to win a romantic getaway for you and your sweetie. 

Later on this week I'll be sharing some photos from a recent MTS destination wedding in Jamaica so please check back soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Nice To Meet You!

Wow, this is so exciting! I'm about to write my first blog at the ripe 'young' age of 47! My name is Theresa Williams and if you ask me who I am, I would say I'm a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and now a business owner! I am very passionate about travel and have been working in the industry for 20+ years. I began my career with the airlines, repositioned to a cruise-only agency, and several years later, landed at the largest travel agency in the Midwest.

After a heartbreaking closing last year I decided I was not ready to give up my career in travel just yet, hence Midwest Travel Service was born! I have two wonderful partners who are more like sisters than business partners- well one of them really is, and the other might as well be. J Since we started our business this past July, we've spent more time with each other than with our husbands, so we're thankful much of that time has been spent laughing and loving what we're doing. We now have ten agents working with us, all of whom we have worked with previously at some point in our careers. It was very important to us to bring on 'rock-star' agents who we knew would put together affordable and well-organized travel packages for our customers.

Our goal is to share our knowledge of the travel industry with our valued clients, and through that service create memorable trips that last a lifetime. I'm so excited to share this journey with all of you. Be you one of our valued clients, a family member, an industry friend or a fellow lover-of-travel (I think covers just about everyone!), visit our blog for travel tips, promotions, reflections and more. We hope to entertain, inform, and interact with you for many blogs to come. It was great to meet you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Allow Me To Introduce...

Welcome to the official Midwest Travel Service blog. We're finally live. How exciting!

My name is Christina and I am the destination wedding and honeymoon specialist for MTS. I invite you all to check back often to view the latest (and what we think are the greatest) travel destinations, properties and packages in the travel industry. Theresa, one of the owners, will be the other main blogger featured on this site. She will discuss all-things travel as I focus specifically on destination weddings and honeymoons.

I am personally very passionate about the topic of weddings considering I was just a bride myself a few months ago. Although planning a wedding and honeymoon is indeed a lot of work, I also found it to be incredibly fun, exciting and rewarding (and something I'd love to do again and again). Here are a couple snapshots from our recent event:

Photos courtesy of JM Photography

Considering I am incredibly happy and eternally committed to my groom (and my sisters are much too young to marry yet), I don't think I'll be planning another wedding anytime soon. That's where some of you come in! You can email weddings@midwestravelservice.com if you would like to discuss the possibility of working together to plan your destination wedding or post-event getaway.

As I share ideas on this blog and assist other brides and grooms-to-be in planning their wedding and honeymoon, I will give it as much thought and attention to detail as if it were my own (without being overbearing, of course!). 

I whole-heartedly invite your thoughts, ideas and reflections with each posting. After all, blogging is so much more fun when it sparks a conversation. Here's to planning some unforgettable weddings and romantic getaways!