Our first speaker today was Juli Parrott of Table Mountain Travel in Lakewood, Colorado. Juli started off by asking us a couple questions. Could I go to Walmart and buy a box of hair color and do it myself? Sure, but what if it turned my hair orange? Who would I call to ask questions about how long it should stay in my hair?

Or – could I go online and buy window coverings? How would I know that I ordered the right color? What would I do if a string broke?

I could go buy Turbo Tax and do my own taxes. How would I know that this has the latest version of the tax codes? When the IRS sends me that dreaded letter in the mail – what do I do then?

So can you go online and buy a vacation cheaper the calling an experienced travel agent? How do you know the difference between cruise lines? How do you know which cruise line will be best suited for your family vacation? Do you always base your decision on price? Do you get what you pay for?

The point of this is to show you that, yes, you can do things on your own, but when it comes to those things that are really important, you should go through a professional that knows their way through the maze of technicalities you encounter along the way! Juli Parrott knows her cruises. So many cruise ships – finding the proper ship – whether a floating resort or a yacht size schooner – can turn your cruise into the vacation of your dreams.

First of all – Size Matters:

Do you want a vessel small enough to port at the off the beaten wake ports or one large enough to offer the 2 page daily activity list.

Second – Consider your itinerary:

Do you prefer a vessel that stays in port until late at night so you can sightsee past sunset? Or do you that by 5pm you will zonked and ready to hit the hot tub?

Third – Consider the ships features:

What matters to you the most: a state of the art spa, a lively casino, inventive tasting menus, cabaret shows or teen and child specific programs?

Are you traveling with extended family, do you need a well equipped child care center with age specific programs and plenty of kids for your children to meet? A selection of kid friendly places to eat and never having to dress up.

Let Juli find you the cruise that will answer your vacation prayers.

Best cruise for traveling with children:

Disney Wonder –

2600 passengers

Disney excels with infants and toddlers – starting at three months ( most ships require that your child be three years old and potty trained to be left at a child care facility). While most ships do not allow swim diapers in any pool – the Wonders Wading Pool is an exception.

There is also an adult only pool, hot tub, spa, fitness center and restaurant, as well as the kid free beach on Disney’s private Castaway Cay.

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas –

3634 passengers

This ship really stands out from the activities for teens.

Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to install on board climbing wall and the Flow Rider surf park.

For the Luxe Life:

The Yachts of Seabourn – Seabourn Legend –

This all suite ship’s staff will know your name by the first day and your favorite wine and deck chair by the second. They offer “Caviar in the Surf” – uniformed stewards wade into the water balancing trays of caviar and champagne, the first course of the Legend’s silver service beach barbecue.

For the Movable Feast:

Gourmet meals on a cruise ship were once unheard of. But with the new breed of vessels and itineraries have made this a thing of the past.

Crystal Cruises – Crystal Symphony-

940 passengers

Itineraries – Asia, Central and South America, Europe, Transatlantic, Transpacific

For wine and food sailing Crystal Cruises rates as on of the top lines. They offer Ultimate Vintage Room dinners perhaps the most over the top options at sea – a seven course meal, accompanied by 13 extremely rare wines for just 1275.00 per person.

Sea Cloud Cruises – River Cloud-

90 passengers

Itineraries: Europe

Meals aboard the River Cloud make the most of the bounty in the surrounding countryside. The vessel’s chef features the dishes from each region visited, picking up the fresh ingredients at the local farmers markets. The Cologne-Nuremburg itinerary includes a tour and wine tasting at the Robert Weil Vineyard. Every cabin on this sleek all suite vessel has its own balcony. If you are planning a cruise for this fall or next spring now is the time to start planning, give Juli Parrott at Table Mountain Travel  a call!!

 Juli Parrott * Table Mountain Travel * 303.277.1580 *tablemountaintravel.com

Our second speaker today was Lori Bush-Engel from Modern Woodmen of America – think of Lori for your financial planning needs.

Lori Bush-Engel * Modern Woodmen of America * 303.880.4084 * Lori.Bush-Engel@mwarep.org