Newsletter – February 2018
February 2, 2018 by Brenda Fairfax No Comment
Yes, the month of February has slipped in fast, and as it is still winter, the chill/freeze is in the air. So far we have survived the snow and ice, and hope your plans for travel will take you to warmer climates with the assistance of Nomadic Star Travel, LLC.
The owners of Nomadic Star Travel traveled to Seffner, Florida to spend time with their RV Group (Blue Ridge Discoverys). The outing was hosted by the Mason Dixie Chapter at Seffner RV Resort. We had an enjoyable time. Temperatures ranged in the high 60s and mid 70s the entire two weeks which definitely was much better weather than most places on the east coast. This should remind us that climate change is for real!
Effective immediately, when requesting a quote from Nomadic Star Travel, LLC your quote will be provided verbally and not in writing. Only quotes with a service fee and/or deposit will be provided in writing due to the dedicated amount of time agents at Nomadic Star Travel provide to your individual requests.
All travel requests can be submitted online though the website’s Reservation or Contact link. The requests come directly to our inbox and one of the agents responds within 24 hours of receipt acknowledging your request with follow-on questions, if necessary.
The hours for Nomadic Star Travel, LLC are:
- Monday – Thursday, 9:00am-5:00pm
- Friday – 9:00am-4:00pm
Tourism Update on Puerto Rico (5 months after the hurricane season) Puerto Rico’s cruise ports are forecasting 1.7 million visitors this season, as recovery efforts are bringing more tourism infrastructure back online, including new and renovated hotels representing about 2,600 rooms.
- This winter season, 14 vessels – four more than the previous season – are now homeporting in San Juan, including Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas, the Windstar Pride, Silversea’s Silver Wind, and Viking Sea. The 2018/2019 cruising season is set to witness a record-breaking 1.7 million passengers (including more than 1 million by the end of June), which is expected to generate roughly $250 million in revenue for the economy.
- Today, there are on average 110 daily flights at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, representing about 391,000 seats per month. By July 2018, seat capacity will increase by 81,000 more seats per month, with the island expecting to reach last summer’s levels.
- Currently, there are more than 120 hotels in operation, representing about 12,460, with another 2,670 more rooms undergoing renovations at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve and El San Juan Hotel. New hotels in the pipeline are the JW Marriott, Aloft San Juan Convention Center, Aloft Ponce, Serafina Hotel, and Four Seasons Cayo Largo.
- El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, Puerto Rico’s premier luxury lifestyle property, announced this week that it will officially reopen its doors on Oct. 1, 2018, following its closure in September 2017 due to Hurricane Maria.
- The Puerto Rico Tourism Company said 13 golf courses, 4,000 restaurants and 15 casinos are open, and there is $1.9 billion in investment in Puerto Rico’s lodging development pipeline, creating 3,500 new jobs.
- The country recently hosted the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the 15th coming together of this important regional tourism event, and a number of organizations are continuing with plans to host big-ticket events in Puerto Rico through the first six months of the year, including the PGA, Ironman, and Major League Baseball.
Passports Price Increase Starting April 2018 Starting on this spring, getting a passport will cost $10 more for all U.S. travelers. The Department of State announced this week that the passport execution fee will be $35 starting on April 2, which means that adult passport books will now cost $245, up from $135, while child passports (aged 16-years-old and young) will now cost $115, up from $105.
According to the Department of State, the increase is due to the fact that two studies done by the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and the U.S. Postal Service determined that the cost of processing a passport was “higher than the current fee of $25.”
The passport execution fee will be $35 starting on April 2, 2018. This rule increased the fee $10 from the previous $25 fee. Individuals who apply for a passport renewal by mail will not see a fee increase. Most of the $135 fee for adult passports and the $115 fee for child passports is the passport’s application fee. The State Department said that there will be no changes to that fee at the moment. The $10 increase does not apply to people renewing their passports through the mail.
Meanwhile, passport cards for travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, will now cost $65 for adults and $50 for children.
Passports. Please check the dates on your current passports. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six (6) months after the last day of your travel.
Identification for Flights. Check with your airlines. In a few months some states will no longer accept your driver’s license as formal identification when you enter the Transportation Security Administration’s line for flights.
Tips – security preparedness when flying. You may want to consider applying for the TSA Precheck or other trusted travel programs. Tweet or Message AskTSA to receive information on items that are allowed through security. Avoid overpacking your carry-on bag, and always consider checking bags when feasible. Have your valid ID and board pass readily available. Follow the liquids rule for liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes – they must be 3.4 ounces or less.
Top Selling Destinations for 2018
Alaska has been hot for years and with the economy doing well, more people can afford Alaska. Florida is visited for its beaches and theme parks. The history in Charleston, South Carolina is unmatched … visiting Charleston during any month is a great time. We enjoy the Low Country Jazz Festival over the Labor Day weekend. Do not forget Savannah, Georgia … filled with history.
Travel Warnings – International Travel. The U.S. Department of State introduced a new travel advisory system for sharing information with travelers. Instead of travel warnings and travel alerts, every country will have an overall Travel Advisory level, with levels of advice ranging from 1 to 4. This is the meaning for each level.
- Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions – This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel.
- Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution – Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.
- Level 3: Reconsider Travel – Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.
- Level 4: Do Not Travel – This is the highest level, due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time. A Level 4 travel advisory is not a ban on travel, but advice. North Korea is currently the only country under a geographical travel restriction.
All-inclusive Resorts. If you are interested in booking travel for all-inclusive resorts (adult or family), the airfare must be paid for in full within 24 hours, plus a $100 deposit per adult. It is important to provide the following, and a personalized quote will be provided:
- Complete names as appears on passport (no initials for middle name)
- Complete birth dates
- All adult or family resort
- Airport interested in departing from
- Type room (garden or ocean view)
- Interested in insurance
Membership with Travel Leaders Group. Being a member of the Travel Leaders Network provides access to whatever our agency needs
- CruisePro where we can easily search, compare, book and manage cruises online through an all-in-one platform
- Amenity departure dates provides an exclusive group space cruise program with special amenities like shipboard credit and prepaid gratuities
- Culinary collection with food and wine-themed cruise itineraries on premium and luxury sailings with bonus amenities
- Distinctive voyages provide exclusive packages that include Distinctive Voyages Host, exclusive shore event and private cocktail reception
- Hotels are booked using our hotel booking tools
Solo Travelers on Cruises. Often we are asked about cruise lines for solo travelers. We are happy to share some of he best cruise lines for solo travelers where you are able to wander the world and contemplate life on your own terms! Just think, you do not have to be responsible for anyone’s pleasure but your own! If you are interested in your “time” here are some of he cruise lines that we recommend you considering booking your next cruise through Nomadic Star Travel, LLC as we have conducted business with all of these cruise lines:
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Holland America Line
- Royal Carribean International
- Crystal Cruises
Travel is a huge investment … let us help you please.
Nomadic Star Travel would like to be
“Your Passport to Adventure”
“You did it again! The Disney cruise was wonderful. My entire family had an amazing time. The adjoining staterooms and verandahs gave us plenty of room for the grandchildren to run and play and made babysitting so convenient. If this trip wasn’t as good as St. Lucia it was very close. Thank you for your expertise and attention to detail. Hawaii here we come!”Dr. S. Carraway (Winterville, NC)
W. Carlton (Durham, NC)
“The cruise was more than I expected, although I had issues with my knees. Services from your agency was good, although I had a glitch with receiving my documents (Oceania’s problem). The experience was great. Long range goal is to do this again. Thank you for working with us.”
Brenda and Jim,I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the marvelous service you provided to me and my group for my retirement cruise. Working with a group of 35 was no easy task but you went above and beyond expectations to insure that everyone’s needs were met. You gave new meaning to the term full service travel agency. I will cherish the many memories of our group as I move into retirement. Thanks again for you attention to details and for the way you pampered us. Please know that Nomadic Star Travel is now the official travel agency for Union Baptist Church.I am looking forward to planning more cruises and travel opportunities in the very near future.Wishing you all the best,Kenneth Hammond, Senior Pastor (Durham, NC)
“The Mediterrean Cruise to Monaco, France, Italy and Spain was a dream of a lifetime. Doing a cruise like this one was on my bucket list. The seven days on the Riveria were beautiful even though the weather was hot!!!!!! I’m used to hot weather, but the weather In those countries seemed a wee bit hotter than in Norh Carolina. The excursions and the visits in the cities were exciting and remarkable; however, the Riveria was something to behold. The hospitality and service were excellent and we enjoyed “our butler”, Leslie. Again, thanks for the opportunity to sail with you and Jim and we look forward to doing it again.”E. Edwards (Durham, NC)
Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC is in the infant stages of its international study abroad global initiative. This program includes sending Livingstone College students to other parts of the world and having students from institutions abroad come to Livingstone. To date there have been two students who travelled to Peru, South America, six students to Invertis University, Bareilly, India, and six students from Invertis University to Livingstone College from August- December 2016 and three Livingstone students for summer 2016 study in China.
Livingstone College used Nomadic Star Travel as the travel agent of record for Livingstone College student travel. When there are students and faculty travelling to distant parts of the world many things can happen to interrupt travel plans. For example, two students travelling to China arrived in Chicago only to discover their American Airlines flight to Beijing had been cancelled. Within minutes after being notified by my students, the Nomadic Star representative had me on a three-way call with the agent at the gate assisting my students. I was kept on the telephone until the students were re-routed via Japan to Shanghai, China.
Other instances of changes of departure and return flight times and dates were performed well by Nomadic Star Travel. Through this agent, Livingstone College was able to secure all of the necessary insurance coverages for international travel. Livingstone College is very pleased with the performance of Nomadic Star Travel, LLC.
E. M. Brown, Jr., Director, International Program
“Dear Brenda,A note to thank you so much for your extraordinary work in arranging our family trip to South Africa!! It was a beautiful, fun, fantastic adventure and we will remember it forever! That you took such great care, with grace and ease, in working out all the logistics for our group of ten is truly appreciated.Oceania is a wonderful company and does many things absolutely top notch on their beautiful ships. We especially enjoyed the terrific service, yummy cuisine, interesting excursions, the guest speakers and music groups and the very nice rooms with balconies that were awesome for viewing whales and sea lions! We had a delightful experience that included many individual, thoughtful surprises – including balloons in our room, singing and a special cake for Mom’s birthday celebrated on the ship. The holidays were also celebrated beautifully and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.South Africa is an awesome part of the world – not to be missed. The beautiful people, breathtaking and diverse environments, spectacular animals in the wild and in the sea…so much to enjoy and experience deeply. We were welcomed everywhere and treated kindly in every port. The days at sea on the Indian and Atlantic Oceans were beautiful and peaceful with an abundance of sights to observe and enjoy.We had SO much fun!!!Again, many thanks for your skill and efforts in making this wonderful trip possible of our family! Hope you like the pics…Nomadic Star Travel rocks!!With gratitude and appreciation,Dee and Daureen”Dee (Oregon) & Daureen (Chicago)
“WOW! What great help, for a great trip. Brenda and Nomadic Star helped the fifteen of us that traveled out to San Diego from Raleigh. We didn’t have one question about anything! Everything flowed together vey nicely for our trip. Thanks again!”L. Pippin (Greenville, NC)
“Thank you so much for all of your help with making this trip possible. Everything went very smoothly on the hotel end and we have no complaints. We had a very pleasant stay at the Double Tree. Thank you for your assistance I am so very appreciative as this was a huge commitment. We are very much looking forward to working with you again!”B. A. (Farmville, NC)
Just wanted to take a moment to send you a Heartfelt Thank You! I soooo enjoyed the Smooth Jazz Cruise and enjoyed both you and your husband Jim even more. I truly had a FANTASTIC time and look forward to doing business with you in the future. I will be recommending you to anyone that is in need of a GREAT Travel Agent! I am also extremely happy to be a part of the “family”!!!! Again, thank you so very much for all your help! I had a BLAST!!!!”S. Fondren (Lansing, IL)
“Hello Brenda, winning the cruise in the silent auction was truly a blessing for us. We are travelers, and once we got on the ship, a great time was had by all. We took full advantage of most cruise activities. We dined most meals in the formal dining room – all meals served and prepared to the finest. We now plan to incorporate additional cruises in our future. Thanks again Brenda!”Renee D. B-H. (Greenville, NC)
“We had a wonderful time on the Smooth Jazz Cruise 2015, and look forward to joining you again in the future.”Mel & Marsha W. (Naperville, IL)
Still on a cruise high since returning from Smooth Jazz Cruise. I had a great time.D. Pattani (Philadelphia, PA)
Thanks for everything.
“Oscar and I had so much fun on the Smooth Jazz Cruise, January 11-18, 2015. You and Jim were the perfect hosts from the time we met at the hotel with friends we had not seen since the last cruise. We especially liked you greeting us each night at dinner with great conversation about the fun activities of the day. Oscar and I really appreciate the reserved seating each night at shows. Nomadic Star Travel, YOU ROCK!”I. & O. Little (Baltimore, MD)
I am writing to thank you for our marvelous experience in the Bahamas on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Nomadic Star Travels provides the extra level of customer service that travelers need. From proactively sending me passport applications to checking on my family once we returned, Brenda Fairfax goes the extra mile. Mrs. Fairfax is courteous and prompt which adds value to time-starved mothers like myself who do not want to be involved in non-value added activities related to excessive follow-up. My sons are still talking about the cruise three months later. I would strongly recommend using Nomadic Star Travel to meet all of your travel needs.
Dr. M. Patterson (Greenville, NC)
“Many thanks to Mrs Fairfax for making my summer vacation worry-free and very affordable. I recently had to travel to Providence, RI and Baltimore, MD. I had limited time and funds for the trip. I attempted to make arrangements but had trouble coordinating flight schedules to be compatible with my need to be at several places at specific times. Arriving in Providence in time for my meeting without having to spend extra time there gave me the extra time I needed for Baltimore. I tried to do this myself without much success and my wife suggested Mrs. Fairfax who had successfully arranged other travel for her. Once I contacted Mrs Fairfax everything was handled more efficiently and inexpensively than what I was able to do on my on. The next time I travel I now have to make only one call!!Mr. E. German (Riverside, CA)
“Thanks Nomadic Star Travel for excellent service. Our graduation cruise in June 2014 was very nice. We enjoyed every thing and thanks for the t-shirts.”B. Matthews (Ellenwood, GA)
“Excellent service provided by Nomadic Star Travel. Wore burgundy t-shirts while onboard Queen Mary 2 in July 2014.”Dr. J. McKenzie (Hampton, VA)
“The cruise was wonderful! Everything went well. The food was delicious, the weather was very nice, the beach at Great Stirrup Cay was very relaxing for us. We enjoyed the straw markets on shore at Nassau and other shopping areas. NCL is the way to cruise! Thanks Nomadic Star Travel.”V. Boyd (Falkland, NC)
“The hotel was great. They even had complimentary cookies for all of us. They were extremely accommodating to our needs. We thank you for all that you have done as well. – Middle High School Trip to Washington, DC”L. V. (Farmville, NC)
“My first travel agent happens to be my very dear friend, Brenda (Nomadic Star Travel). All of my personal trips are completely taken care of by Brenda. I do not have to worry as she takes care of all details as if she was booking her own travel. I highly recommend Nomadic Star Travel if you are looking for travel agents that have that “personal” touch. Thanks Brenda.”G. Fanning (Alexandria, VA)
“I took my first and certainly not my last International trip to Spain and Europe with Jim and Brenda Fairfax of Nomadic Star Travel. It was an awesome experience, stellar service. You’re not just a client; you’re a friend and part of the family; the Nomadic Star Family! From the onset (booking, reservations) to culmination (departures, return), the trip was well organized, planned, and executed. Jim and Brenda are committed to their clients having a good time, their comfort, safety, and ensuring that your needs are met! They go above and beyond…From Artist to Entreprenuer, I can’t begin to tell you the people I’ve met while traveling with them and places I’ve experienced. Nomadic Star Travel is always my first travel choice!!! They provide that personal touch of elegance and luxury; service above and beyond.”S. Bymun (Chicago, IL)
“Awesome Smooth Jazz Cruise in January 2014. Wonderful group hosted by our friends, Jim and Brenda, owners of Nomadic Star Travel (NST). Delightful company, great music, fantastic food (group treated to specialty restaurant by owners one night while onboard), and superb service by NST. We were notified of all required actions from documentation, payment status, check-in status, and lodging accommodations prior to the cruise ~ kept abreast of every thing! If you have not traveled and want an agency that will provide personal attention to your travel needs, I highly recommend Nomadic Star Travel … they are true professionals! Your experience(s) will be memorable.”Oscar & Irene L. (Baltimore, MD)
“The services provided by Nomadic Star were personable, professional, efficient and all details were covered. Brenda is thoughtful and communicates everything needed for a successful trip. On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being the highest, I rate customer service for the company a 10. Thanks Brenda and James!”Jacqueline E. (New Jersey)
“Fantastic, outstanding, fun-filled nonstop entertainment on Smooth Jazz Cruise 2014. Dinner sponsored by Nomadic Star Travel owners for group was outstanding. Service impeccable!”Dallas & Pat P. (Port Orange, FL)
“Brenda expertly arranged everything for a seamless vacation! We greatly appreciate her attention to detail and her availability by text, email, phone, and in person to meet our needs. Brenda took the stress out of planning a vacation so we could relax and have a wonderful time together. Thank you so much Brenda.”
Dr. L. Surles (Greenville, NC)
“Nomadic Star Travel Agency provided their excellent services for my group trip to the Bahamas via Carnival Cruise lines. With their services we were able to obtain flexible payment plans, conveniently have our staterooms located near each other, and a hassle free planning experience. Not only did we use their travel services they most importantly built a wonderful relationships with us! Nomadic Star Travel Agency is the way to go! We will be using their expertise in traveling in the near future!”D. Day (Arlington, VA)
“Nomadic Star Travel provided us with outstanding TLC in the planning of our cruise on the Oceania cruise ship, Marina. For almost one year before the cruise, we were contacted about upgrades and other information relevant to making our travel experience including the flights and cruise to Greece, Italy, France, and Spain, a carefree one. Congratulations and thanks to Brenda and James Fairfax, owners, for an excellent travel experience.”Glen & Betty S. (Yeadon, PA)
“I used Nomadic Star Travel on my last trip. The service I received was outstanding. I got prompt service, competitive pricing, and staff went the extra step to ensure my total satisfaction and enjoyment while traveling.”K. Greaves (Alexandria, VA)
“Nomadic Star Travel guided our school through the entire planning process. They were essential in providing a great educational trip at an affordable cost.”S. Jones (Greenville, NC)
“I travel to Poland every 6 months for several years. Since I started getting very friendly help from Nomadic Star Travel all my problems with making reservations disappeared. Thank you.”M.S. (Greenville, NC)
“We were very happy with Nomadic Star Travel. Brenda knew which cruise would be perfect for us and made all the arrangements. All we had to do was show up. Brenda went above and beyond to be sure all our questions were answered and expectations were met. She even checked in with us while we were on the cruise to be sure we were having a good time. We had a fabulous time and look forward to the next cruise booked through Nomadic Star Travel. P.S. If you like smooth jazz music, have Brenda sign you up for the Smooth Jazz Cruise. Amazing!”L. Gies & C. Finfrock (Tucson, AZ)
“I really did not know what to expect, but I can tell you I was never caught off guard or lost sight of important developments during the booking process. … The cruise was wonderful and I have Nomadic Star Travel to thank!”Barby J. (Alexandria, VA)
“Nomadic Star Travel took care of my airline reservations promptly. All I had to do was provide the payment information … all was handled with ease. I will certainly use NST again … courteous, professional personnel.”Carolyn J. (Montclair, NJ)
“Nomadic Star Travel booked several cabins on the 2010 Smooth Jazz Cruise for me. Rest assured, NST personnel will keep you updated. [They] displayed exceptional energy and drive. I will not hesitate to contact in the future for future cruises.”Norma J. (Ft. Washington, MD)
“Our last minute travel plans to the all-inclusive Runaway Breezes Resort in Jamaica were made so quickly with Nomadic Star. Service was superb! Definitely plan to contact them for future travel needs.”Franklin M. ( Alexandria, VA)