“All I need is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”

John Masefield,
Sea Fever

“... and a buffet, a hot tub, a show lounge, a cigar bar, a thermal spa, a large menu and a good waiter.”

Mike Brais
The Cruise Geek


26 August 2009

“One for you, two for me. Two for you, three for me!”

Yes, yes, I know, five months between posts is deplorable, sloppy and unprofessional. Boring too. What can I say, I've been head down working on a million things, staring with longing at the Alaska-bound cruise ships, and plotting escapes involving shimmying down ropes dangling from Lions Gate Bridge.

I had a wonderful 14-day Hawaii cruise, round-trip Los Angeles, on the Golden Princess in April. This was her last passenger cruise before dry dock and they were already busy getting ready for the upgrades. Some passengers weren't too keen on the work going on, though truthfully I didn't notice much of it. I arrived back home with something of a tan, a few plus sized Hawaiian shirts, and a beautiful mahogany concert soprano ukulele. So far, I can play "Pearly Shells," "My Fat Baby Loves to Eat," and parts of "By the Light of the Silvery Moon."

Don't book Carnegie hall quite yet.

Meanwhile, the cruise industry certainly had a slowdown as consumer confidence waned, but I'm seeing things picking up and ships filling up, so I have the feeling a recovery is on the way.

I've added a few new clients to my little stable of regulars, and they've managed to talk me into joining them on another cruise next year. I'm pleased, it's a small ship transatlantic, in December 2010, on the small Pacific Princess, from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale, and I've always want to cross on her. I intend to pack plenty of Bonomine.

On the short cruise side, Janet and I are doing a one-day inspection cruise on the Pacific Princess next month, from Seattle to Vancouver, then a seven-day coastal on the Golden Princess from Vancouver to Los Angeles, via Nanaimo, Victoria, San Francisco, Catalina, and San Diego. It gives us a chance to revisit the Golden, now four months out of dry dock, and see how all the new features are working out.

Now, to the headline topic of this post. Ok, I realize I'm only a part-time travel agent, but I have become a victim of the number one occupation hazard of Cruise Counselors everywhere - the One-for-You, One-for-Me syndrome. I'm having trouble booking a trip for a client without booking one for myself.

The most difficult part is not being overwhelmed the incredible number of fantastic consumer deals that cross through my email every week. By the way, I actually only travel on agent fares maybe once every 18 months. I just received an email offering a 16-day Trans-Pacific crossing, with return airfare home, for $1,150. Oh my.

So, tell me again, how valid is a business plan for a successful travel agency when I'm my own best client? Lol! 

26 March 2009

“… and bless all who sail in her!”

Swing the champagne bottle out, TheCruiseGeek.com blog is being re-launched.

Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m a cruise geek. There is something so relaxing about cruising over the waves, with nothing to see but blue water everywhere, and the warm glow that comes from knowing there is a staff of hundreds dedicated to meeting your every unreasonable whim.

Although the cruising demographics having been changing from the days when it was primarily for the newly wed, nearly dead and overfed, I am firmly in the last camp, and for me, cruising is an ideal vacation. As a matter of fact, since I started cruising again in my adult years, I have become so delighted by it that I have become a travel agent specializing in cruises.

I intend to use this blog to highlight some fun cruising information, keep in touch with the fine folks I meet onboard, and post some nice vacation pictures. I will warn everyone at the outset that my posting habits can be a bit…. um … erratic. I will probably post a lot when I have a cruise upcoming or have just returned, but don’t be shocked if months go by without a post. A stint in journalism school when I was younger may have improved my syntax a bit, but did nothing to motivate me to write more often.




Tendering back to the QM2 in St. Lucia

Who is
The Cruise Geek?

The Cruise Geek is Mike Brais, a seafaring software developer, liner addict, and travel agent specializing in... ashram getaways? Afghanistan Yoghurt and Yurt exchanges? Land tours of the Gobi Desert? No, no no, cruises of course! Ones with more dessert than desert, he informs us.

Of course he has also been grudgingly arranging land and air vacations since 1991, but his heart belongs on the open waves.

He's also hard at work researching some travel guidebooks for the cruise industry - at least that's the story we keep hearing to explain all those days at sea each year.

On the final QE2 transatlantic from New York.


 © 2009 Mike Brais, The Cruise Geek