Every Monday we ask a few questions of a St. Louis travel professional. Today, we are talking to Stephanie Turner, President of Brentwood Travel.
What's your travel specialty? Customized and unique groups, Europe and river cruises, cruises in general and Hawaii
A lot of people are worried about the safety of cruise ships, what do you have to say to that? It’s the safest way to travel. The ships are cleaner than any hotel and safer than any car or any other mode of transportation
Excursion or no excursion at ports of call on cruises? It depends on where you are. We do many custom excursions. That way people can see more things in a shorter amount of time and no crowds waiting to get on and off a large motorcoach. There are ports where it is nice just to wander and enjoy a drink or lunch in the port or perhaps just enjoy time wandering, shopping.
What's your biggest tip for someone booking a cruise? Plan early. If prices go down, you generally get the benefit of the lower pricing or you may get upgraded to a higher category at no extra charge. Have someone help you choose the right ship for you. They are not all the same. Physically they are all lovely, but it may be the clientele, food, entertainment, size, type of accommodations or even length of time in various ports that help you choose what is best. A cruise expert can help you narrow down to the best choice. There is not a bad cruise line out there — they are just all different from each other. Try not to make it just about the price. It’s your time that is most valuable.
What destinations or trips do you recommend for people with disabilities? Cruises are very good for people with disabilities. Most ships are well equipped and they will also help in the destinations with facilities that make it easier
If you had to choose (for yourself) all-inclusive resort or cruise? That’s tough. The cruise will give me a taste of a destination, but the opportunity to see and explore many different places around the world. The all-inclusives are generally in resort areas, so sun and beach. Though you can certainly sightsee and experience some adventure opportunities in these destination, they are often more about sea and sun. The all-inclusives are a great value because everything is included. With cruises there will often be many other expenses added on to the cost of the trip, but also many opportunities. There is no one right answer.
If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be? The islands of Hawaii — so relaxing and beautiful.