Hi All and Greetings from Tennessee, Maryland and Delaware,
Yes, we are in the Nashville area; And six of our Outside Sales Agents (see them on our website: hilltravelcentre.com) are in Maryland and Delaware. We continue to be here to assist you with any travel needs, or questions that you may have; And other than airline tickets, there is never a charge for service.
As we move halfway through 2023 we find that the travel business is beginning to pick-up.......Especially in the Cruise Market; And in the Tours of the USA, Canada, and Western Europe. Auto Rentals and hotel bookings are beginning to come down from excessive (in our opinion) rate increases over the past two years-while Rail Travel Programs (AMTRAK Vacations; Rocky Mountaineer; VIA Rail, and Rail Bookers) are slowly increasing bookings in the USA and Canada. In the meantime, Resort Vacations in the Caribbean and Hawaii continue to increase; And Resort Parks throughout the USA are increasing customers( somewhat) in proportion to a number of admission rate increases: Slowly. Last, but not least, with energy prices seemingly being somewhat accepted by the public, Holiday Makers (as the British say) are driving again, and flying again in larger numbers than in the past two years. So, where it goes is anyone's guess; However, it is obvious that the traveling public has become much more price conscious....And we are mindful of that when we work with you to find the best deals for your tastes and pocket books.
The Cruise industry in the past three or four years, is slowly dividing itself into two parts: Ocean Cruising, and River Cruising. *Ocean Cruising* features names you may well know: Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Cunard, Celebrity, Holland America, Costa, Oceania, Regent, The Disney Cruise Line and more. *River Cruising* (using world famous rivers) offers American, Viking, Avalon, Scenic, AMAWaterways, etc.
Ocean cruise ships have increased in size from 1,000 guests years ago, to The Wonder of the Seas (Royal Caribbean's newest) which will hold 9,000 guests and crew....Amazing! In addition to The Wonder of the Seas, there are four more large vessels soon to be launched and all will run on LNG (Liquid Natural Gas). You will also be surprised with these new ships in that they have mini amusement parks featured on the upper levels of some of them; Flying without wings; 40-45 restaurants; Robotic Bartenders; Ice skating rinks; Water Surfing; Roller Coasters that ring around the vessel...............And MORE! Just ask us.
By comparison, River Cruising offers a much smaller venue (approx.150-170 guests) with more elaborate dining, and much quieter entertainment with limited sightseeing. On the other hand, these cruises sail on natural rivers (not oceans); may traverse locks, and tend to dock in quaint, small river towns and villages. Some of these cruises offer bicycles for their guests to use. This uniqueness, however, does come at a price: River cruises are definitely more expensive than the much larger ocean going vessels who carry many, many more guests. Another however; River Cruise lines tend to offer free or heavily discounted airfare. Ocean Cruises, as you know, sail and dock all around the world.
River Cruises, as the name implies, do not sail in open water...Like: The Chesapeake Bay, The Hudson River, The Cumberland/Tennessee River, The Mississippi, The Columbia, The Snake, The Shannon, The Seine, The Rhine, The Moselle, The Danube, The Volga, The Yangtze...and many more.
So, Ann and I have set the table for some possible travel for you. If you want to talk to us, email us, text us, talk to our Outside Sales people (who have been with us for years and we love them!)-Look at our websiteL hilltravelcentre.com As I said, there is never a charge for service: We are here to make sure that you have the best service in the travel business as we have been working at since 1969 (hard to believe, I know)............And we thank you all.
Ann & Wayne Hill
Well, here we are just entering September of 2021; And the travel world is still trying to deal with the Pandemic, Supplies, Employees, Customers and Clients et al. While it is true that we have never been down this road before (if you do not count the Depression, and World War II)...It is equally true that Americans have never been ones to run from a fight; And I do not see us running from this. Yes, it is very difficult to fight the unknown, but travel agents are stubborn, and will not give up.
We have one client who has had a CIE Tour cancelled three times, but (undaunted) they are now rescheduling it for 2022. So, while we will not give up...Nor will our clients. To show you more of this American tenacity, we are proud to tell you that we have group space booked for a 12 night Celebrity Cruise-Departing Amsterdam (Netherlands) on 01 August 2022, and in the ensuing 12 nights will sail into Iceland and Ireland before returning to Amsterdam on 13 August, 2022. I can tell you that Ann & I are going "Come hell or high water," and we invite you to join us. We will be delighted to send you a Flyer with all of the details. For those who have never been to The Netherlands, spending a couple of nights prior or after the cruise will be a fascinating experience: Ann & I have been there four times and have loved it. So, join us.
Cruise lines are beginning to open-up U.S. ports (i.e., Los Angeles, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Galveston, Boston, Seattle, and Bayonne.........................Soon Baltimore will welcome both Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and NYC will not only open Bayonne (Cape Liberty), and Manhattan; But the Brooklyn Port as well. In addition Disney is soon to open Orlando itineraries into the Caribbean. In addition, we are seeing small ship cruising (approx. 120-140 passengers) increasing in U.S. waters: i.e. American Cruise Line, Victory Cruises, and Viking River Cruises. Some of these small ship itineraries include The Chesapeake Bay, the Snake and Columbia Rivers, The Mississippi River, The Cumberland River, The Tennessee River, Alaska's Inside Passage, and The Great Lakes ( a number of itineraries).
The Caribbean Islands are all open for vaccinated guests and off an amazing array of choices. New in the Caribbean is SANDALS & BEACHES (fantastic-all-inclusive with world class dining, etc.). Also, Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt are all joining the All Inclusive "parade" at a number of properties throughout the Caribbean. All of the above join other All-Inclusive Resorts- i.e., Iberostar, Palladium, and Wyndam-To name a few. Airlines like Southwest, Delta, American, United and Spirit are increasing their schedules to the Caribbean to make it easier for vacationers to get there.
I know that some people are not too keen on rail travel, but tour operators such as AMTRAK, VIA Rail (Canada), Rocky Mt. Railway, etc. are not only offering some amazing rates, but lots of opportunities to see the USA. If rail is not your forte, and driving is, ask your travel agent what unique resorts are within a day's driving reach for you. In the East, there are Dude Ranches, historic resorts like Greenbriar, Ashville (Blowing Rock), The Smoky Mountains as well as the Poconos, and Nemacolin Springs...Add to that The Outer Banks, The TVA Lakes, Deale (Smith and Tangier ) Islands in the chesapeake Bay...............WOW!
Want to travel? You have lots to choose from, and we can help create any itinerary that you would like....Foreign and/or domestic.
Please stay safe, and if you have any questions, just give us a call or email. We do NOT charge for the
amazing service that we offer. Travel Agents are paid commissions for most all Tour Operators, and we will NOT charge any additional fees except airline tickets by themselves...BUT not if it is part of your package.
Please stay safe,
Ann & Wayne Hill
Greeting from Hill Travel Centre in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee,
Yes, we are finally here and after six weeks we are slowly, but surely, settling into Middle Tennessee life (approx. 20-25 miles east of Nashville). We are in a Del Webb 55+ Community at Lake Providence; And we are taking care of business as well. While our telephone number (above) has changed, our email addresses remain the same:
As does our website: www.hilltravelcentre.com.
So, the travel business is definitely not booming as most people would realize; However, we have been booking things for late 2021 and through 2022. If you have any questions and/or need a quote on anything, feel free to call or email us and we will respond accordingly. Ann & I have a group sailing from Cape liberty (Bayonne, NJ) on August 01, and making port calls in Halifax, Canada, Greenland, two in Iceland, one on the Shetland Islands in Northern Scotland before disembarking in Southampton (London) on 15 August. If Celebrity is sailing, we plan to lead the group: If not, we will reschedule it for 2022.
While it has been a very chaotic year with most travel operators not knowing what to do, most have come through with many, many environmental and technological upgrades that will not only be a big improvement; But it will make it possible for many people to travel with much more confidence and lack of fear. In addition, when you receive your "Jabs" (What the English call shots) be they Pfizer, Moderna, J & J, Novovax, or Astra-Zeneca peace of mind cannot be far away......Ann and I have had both shots.
While there are thousands of possibilities for travel around the world, some may prefer to stay in the USA and travel. If that is your idea, we can assist with everything from organized group tours, etc; OR with individual itineraries that we can put together for your consideration. If you are just looking to fly somewhere, you will note that airlines have really stepped up to the plate by developing pre-boarding tests; And onboard newly installed electronic filtration systems to compliment the use of much more outside air on all newly constructed aircraft. Cruise ships have also increased their anti-Covid air and medical systems; And hotels, motorcoach operators, etc., have also spent a great deal of money to create safe travel options.
Baltimore will soon welcome a new cruise ship to replace the beloved Grandeur of the Seas: The Enchantment of the Seas. RCCL offers a wide variety of itineraries including Canada, New England, Bermuda, and into the Caribbean with three different itineraries (East, West, and Southern Caribbean). If you want a slightly different embarkation point, try Cape Liberty (NJ), or Boston: All of these departure points are easy to reach and you do not have to include airfare. If smaller ships are your forte, try the following: American Cruise Line (summer itineraries on the East Coast including the Chesapeake Bay, New England, The Mississippi River; And the West Coast).......Victory Cruise Line offers neat Great Lake itineraries............Princess, Holland America, and RCCL offer neat 7nt Alaska (Inside Passage) cruises that sail from and back to Seattle. Currently, the USA and Canada are in negotiations regarding the reinstatement of sailings using Canadian ports.
In addition, you can sail from NYC, Charleston, S.C., Jacksonville-Ft. Lauderdale-Miami-and Tampa, Florida (as well as Galveston, TX, Los Angeles, and San Diago)into the Caribbean, Hawaii, The Panama Canal; And even some Trans Atlantic and Pacific itineraries. So, if you want to See The USA (more of it), try one of the above cruises AND/OR take a number of amazing motor coach Tours by Globus, Trafalgar, Mayflower, Rocky Mountaineer, and others. All of these operators follow strict Covid protocols. Ship and/or motor coach tours not your thing? Well, AMTRAK offers a number of USA rail tours as does VIA Rail (Canada); And these are a great way to really see this amazing country (as well as Canada). Ann & I can also suggest that you look at regional tour operators who do Day Trips all over the place. For many years we have set-up, escorted, and hosted over 37,000 guests on the motor coach tours throught-out Maryland's Eastern Shore and several sites in Harford County as well as nearby Delaware. Don't worry, these tours will still go on with DJ Fasick (operator of Chesapeake City Watertours) as our heir apparent.
Please stay safe and if you have any travel questions; Are seeking information; Or just want to talk to us, let us hear from you by telephone,
email, website, our outside sales people (contacts listed on our website), or by cell (443-553-5223-Ann.......443-553-8029....Wayne)...........We would love to hear from you.
Ann & Wayne
Greeting from Hill Travel Centre,
Yes, it is a time for great uncertainty; Yes, it is a frustrating time; Yes, we have been through bad times before and have always fought our way through: So shall we this as well.
I am sitting here on hold (for a long time now) trying to cancel, change, etc. a client booking. I am also sitting here thinking of all of the travel that we have done since 1969 (when Cancun wasn't even there!) and we flew into Merida for an amazing Mayan week. I look at 1970 when we took 45 people to Portugal, Spain and Italy for two weeks at a cost of $450.00 pp. (air and land)! I also look at the tours to Scandinavia, Central Europe, The UK, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, the Azores, Costa Rica, Cayman and more. I also think of all of the cruises that we have taken around this beautiful world; and the many visits to the Caribbean...Especially SANDALS and BEACHES!
With all of these thoughts and memories, we do not intend to stop going and hole-up as hermits. Even at our age we have more of this world to explore; And we think that you should also. No, it would be better to wait a bit; But you can start now to make your bucket list. Perhaps the following will give you some possibilities: -Least expensive cruises: Carnival and RCCL Cruise Lines sailing out of Baltimore (no air involved); And sailing from Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ): RCCL and Celebrity Cruise lines-OR NYC sailing on Norwegian, Carnival, Cunard, Princess Cruise Lines. No air involved
-Best Air Deals: Southwest, and Spirit Airlines to the Caribbean from BWI: And a host of domestic and foreign flights from EWR (Newark NJ) and JFK (NYC).
-Best Railroad experiences in the USA: AMTRAK Vacations, Rocky Mountain Rail tours, VIA Rail Canada; And you can board in Wilmington, Delaware to make all of the connections needed.
-Best Motor Coach Tours available: Delaware Express, Avalon Tours, Elite Coach, Perkioman Tours, Cecil Travellers, and local tour groups. You can google for contacts to these, or call us for more contact information.
-Best local experiences that you can do in the comfort of your own car: Visit the Conowingo Dam (base), and not only watch the many Eagles, Osprey, Cormorants; But view the fish and the dam itself////Drive to Chesapeake City and enjoy a wonderful and relaxing day or half day....Also visit North East, Port Deposit, Havre de Grace, Chestertown, Rock Hall, Easton and Cambridge and a host of lovely and neat little town up and down the DELMARVA Peninsula (Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware, and Tidewater Virginia). You can drive to all of these places and enjoy the history and culture as well as have excellent and reasonably priced Bay Food. So don't stay home all of the time and become board: As noted above, there are a number of things you can do that do not involve large numbers of people.
-So, as you can see, there are things that you can do to get out and about. If you need more suggestions or contacts-Do not hesitate to call and talk to us.
Sincerely, Ann & Wayne Hill
Once upon a time (until the early 1990s) there were some 47,000 travel agencies in the USA. Since WWII these travel agencies first wrote and then printed (issued) approx. 85% of all of the airlines' tickets. That percentage (at least) is also the approx. number of tours, cruises, resort vacations, hotels, rental cars, and travel insurance booked by those same Travel Agents. The Travel Agent was (and still is except for airline tickets) paid a commission for making those bookings, and taking care of the whole process for you (the client). If you book something through a tour operator directly the rate would be the same as your Travel Agent told you, but you would not receive the commission...AND you would not have a local Travel Agent there to work on your behalf.
Unfortunately, everyone didn't live happily ever after: The airlines and online booking sites have slowly but surely eliminated a large number of agents because people have gone to the Internet thinking that the deals were better (in some cases they are); But they also lost their best travel friend and advocate: Their local Travel Agent. Now, if you can find 12, 000 travel agencies you would be lucky. The really sad part in all of this is that the airlines stopped paying Travel Agents commissions thinking that they would make a fortune- not paying those commissions....Look Again: They could not pay employees, and provide benefits for what they were paying the agents to issue those tickets. So, they were forced to sell allotments of ticketing seats to various online booking agencies: i.e., Expedia, Travelosity, Kayak, Priceline.com, etc. at prices that literally change every day!
If you thought that airline ticketing has gone off of the deep end, take a look at hotels, even some cruise lines....and you guessed it: They are also dealing with allotments. That simply means that if you go online to most hotel sites and do not find room...Fear not, you can simply go to one of the above sites like Trip Advisor-etc. And they may have space. This is becoming the norm, and it is quite sad. Not only are you forced to jump around all over the place, not have anyone who will answer a questions for you...............When you do book something and have questions or a problem...Who can you call who will answer? Yes, your local Travel Agent......However, she or he cannot help you because you didn't go to them in the first place, and they cannot touch anything that you have booked.
It is hard to imagine that many people would turn-down the solid advice that a professional Travel Agent would offer (for the most part free). These Travel Agents have spent years acquiring these skills and knowledge, yet many people simply do not take advantage of this. The least you can do is to contact your local Travel Agent and ask them to price something for you and to make suggestions....I suspect that the advise is extremely good and worth consideration.
What can we do for you? One of the best things we have done for our clients is this website. This is an amazing website, not just for unique pricing comparisons but a host of special travel information from around the world. Look at this page and see the words BOOK RACK..click on it and fine over a hundred electronic brochures for you to read and do your research: It , like our agency, is free at no charge to you. I even have school classes use this side based on what it contains. Check it out!
More to come......................Let us know if you need any assistance...Ann & I will be here for you.