Branding Mobility

Miami is recognized as the world's cruise ship capital, but it is also a capital of a different world: that of Cuban exiles who stay in South Florida. Here you can drink freshly-squeezed orange juice, dive your teeth into a mouthful of Pastelitos, a Cuban pastry filled with guava and cheese and wipe up with a famous Cuban coffee. This for the all-too-reasonable price of $ 2.35!

So why would one with a business sense and an empty stomach betray the local culture by paying $ 3.75 to drink coffee that has served in a paper cup, has a title that requires linguistic talent to decode its purpose, and which consist of an obscure combination of water, coffee and supplementary additives? It is for the same reason that one is willing to part with $ 195 to spend a single day with Mickey and Minnie in an amusement park, or pay almost three times more than he / she would have paid to the US Postal Service to mail a registered letter from Miami to Seattle.

What Starbucks, Disney World and Federal Express are selling are not their services. They sell something for which we are willing to unflinchingly pay a premium, something through which they make an emotional connection between us, the consumers, and their companies. It is a perception that resonates with us, and is articulated through a short sentence, usually consisting of less than five words.

Our "Peace of Mind" is well-secured when we need reliable shipping services, and our family is guaranteed to have a "Magical Experience" when we visit Disney's parks. Try a Caramel Macchiato with a friend or a business college and you'll enjoy the "Social Experience" that Starbucks had in mind for you. You will seriously find these subliminal messages emerging in front of your eyes in any colorful glossy magazine or an entrancing TV ad, yet the messages resonate with the right consumers. So how do they do that?

It is called Branding. While there are many different definitions to what a brand is, I prefer the following one: A brand is the relationship that secures future earning through customer loyalty. With a marine spin, branding is like propeller design: it is about finding the balanced harmony between experience, science and art.

But do not take it lightly. Branding is powerful, and it has been utilized both for launching new products, as well as reviving existing ones. It strongly brings "old" products to life in a big way, just look at the rebirth of the Volkswagen Beetle and the Mini Cooper.

Most of these companies are using one sentence, called a mantra, to introduce a concept that sustains itself in the consumer's memory. It is worth noting that many companies are electing to use this mantra as their conventional mission statement! The need for a mantra arises from desire to communicate with our quakeholders quickly, efficiently and emotionally, before someone else does.

What was once the conventional business wisdom of price and quality differentiation is now evaporating in front of our eyes because differences are too small to recognize and the consumer is becoming far more educated. This is why we see a down trend trend in customer loyalty, a rare commodity nowdays.

The niche market of waterborne transportation for passengers can substantively benefit from an effective use of collective branding, similar to the cruise line industry, but not before there is a change in the paradigm of doing business. If one requests leaders in our market, whether a shipbuilder, ferry operator or head of an engineering firm, what the reason for their business' existence is, the trivial answer one gets is "to make money", "be profitable" or "service our customers ". Conventionally, these responses would hold water. However, the challenges of getting to the heart and minds of consumers are now of a different nature and require a different approach.

Contrary to conventional business wisdom, the contemporary approach to the question of why businesses exist is because they need to deliver relevant value to their stakeholders. Stakeholders are the individuals or organizations that have a vested interest in the existence of our business. They include more than just our customers, they are our employees, vendors, the communities we serve and the professional organizations to which we belong, just to name a few.

We need to think about the next generation of naval architects who will be interested in designing small ferries and passenger vessels, or where the next captains and crew will come from. Who can we attract to work at the shipyard in light of lucrative propositions by other competitive industries? Only by branding our industry with results that impact our message will we be heard substantively louder than as individual organizations. The progress made by the Passenger Vessel Association on these grounds is well-appreciated.

Our industry needs to brand across cultural markets, language barriers and geographical boundaries. One great example of branding is Carnival Corporation. From its inception, Ted Arison and his team came up with the slogan The Most Popular Cruise Line in the World, to later meet this expectation. They changed the perception that cruise ships are all about moving people from port or embarkation to the port of destination by changing the focus and the perception into seeing the cruise ship itself as the destination! They also were the first to read the writing on the wall with respect to demographics and health trends, by designating the first smoke-free vessel, Carnival Paradise.

Learning a lesson from Carnival Corporation, it may a good idea to consider looking at waterborne passenger transport beyond its intended use as a mere water taxi that moves people from point A to point B. New York Water Taxi already reorganized itself by providing mixed uses, such as sightseeing and special events, which are great ideas, but may fall short of meeting the thresholds of creating the "woo" effect for which the consumer will be willing to pay a premium.

Among the ideas floating around are promoting the idea of ​​mini vacation time during the daytime, or for locations that have a potentially large single population, "We Are Your Partner For Dating ©". Alternately, for a ferry service, a slogan such as "A Pleasant Way to Begin Your Day ©" may be more appealing.

Branding should be approached with careful consideration and preparation. Organizations must be prepared to reflect a consistent corporate identity, train their employees to buy into these cultural changes at all levels and nurture an envrinment that supports the brand. Companies usually fall short on employing their customers and vendors in these endeavors. Good customers are very powerful in transmitting a great message. Do not forget to track branding efforts and take corrective measures, if and when necessary.

But the real key issue is to create a believable mantra that encapsulates the entire mission statement of the company. When GEICO tell us that "15 minutes will save us 15%" they send us the message that it would be a short process and give us the incentives to try it. When Avis made the plea "We Try Harder", American believed them because they like to see ordinary people fighting for success against the giant corporations. When Wal-Mart declares "Always Lower Prices. Always", by repeating the word "always", they are making a key emphasis! All of these messages were designed to send sustainable messages to the consumers with the hope of grabbing their undivided attention.

Before concluding, this is the first in a series of articles on business aspects and organizational issues specifically related to the maritime industry. If you enjoyed reading this article, and would like to see more articles covering areas of your specific interest, please join the dialogue on how we collectively shape and improve the future of the passenger vessel industry.

What Could You Possibly Put On Your Real Estate Blog

Are you running out of creative juice for your needed daily or weekly blog? Are you having some sort of repetitions just after two months or so? If you are in this situation, you're probably thinking of how you can possibly sustain readership with writing ideas or topics that are sure to entice readers to follow you. Here are some topics you can write about for the next days.

Local activities which kids and teenagers would probably ask permission from their parents to join. Every community conducts activities for children and teenagers. These activities are geared to enrich the knowledge and skills of the participants. Most of them are connected during summer months. But there are also some activities conducted during the other months of the year. These activities can range from art workshops, sports clinics, dance competitions, talent shows, and a whole lot more.

Current news in your local community and even important events of the nation. News affects all. Whatever is happening in the community and in the nation has an impact to everyone. Discuss how these events can affect the families and individuals in the community. Assert your point. Give insights on how these events can shape the local real estate industry.

Present places of interests to your readers. Make your real estate blog a reference for readers to familiarize them with the community's various interesting places. Let your writings take them to the vest restaurants, entertainment hubs, museums, shopping destinations, and even tourist spots. These local crowd-drawers deserve to have their spotlights on your blog. It will also help if you'll notify merchants, establishments or entities which you'll mention in your writing. Through this, you are getting them fueled to share your writings in their relevant platforms. This will eventually increase redirects from their spaces to yours.

Dissect local market studies. Different studies present various insights. They send signals to buyers and sellers alike. Present statistics, data, and other information which will be valuable and influential to the decisions of your readers. Will this month be good to buy a house? Will next month see home prices increasing at least for your market?

Give tips, suggestions, and advises. Your blog can also serve as a communication line between you and your readers. Engage them in your posts through tips about home staging. Suggest ways on how they can better rearrange the room of their sons or daughters. Give advise on how to deal with noisy neighbors. There are plenty of topics in which your expert opinion and advise are warranted.

Cruising the Caribbean

My wife and I just returned from a western Caribbean cruise. We landed in three ports. Following are details of our trip including information about the ship and the ports.

Getting There

We traveled Vancouver – Toronto-Miami via Air Canada. This part of the trip was uneventful and went smoothly. The only potential glitch was a US immigration officer that appeared to want to pick a fight. When we did not respond to his taunts and innuendos he stopped his attempts to engage us and grunted us on.

We stayed at the Airport Hilton. Getting there was the part of the trip that was most poorly organized. We seemed to wait forever in the airport for the Greyhound bus that was to pick us. The Carnival crew that was orchestrating the transfer did not seem to be anymore knowledgeable as to what was happening than we were.

Our experience at the Hilton was pleasant. We found the people to be helpful. I did speak with one other person whose experience was different. His luggage had not made it through and so he asked the hotel staff for a toothbrush and toiletries. He reports that they were annoyed with his request and were rude to him. He experiences a lot of pain from cancer so he may have been overly sensitive to the responses. We did not see any rudeness or annoyance.

Since we had a few hours before bedtime, we took a taxi out to South Beach and enjoyed the night. The prices there are certainly inflated but we enjoyed ourselves.

The Ship

Our cruise was with Carnival cruise lines and we were on the Carnival Victory. We left port at 4 PM and spent the next day at sea. Some things become prominent in my mind that day:

(1) This cruise was a party cruise. Entertainment and drinking were the keys. Drinks were pushed on every part of the ship except in the cabin areas. The entertainment was designed to keep people from getting bored and there was entertainment for all ages and likes. There was a karaoke lounge, a lounge with 60's music, a piano lounge, casino with entertainment, lounge with classical music, a disco, outdoor stage with a live band, bingo, trivia games, shows at night with singers, dancers and comedians, dance lessons provided by the cruise director, video games room for the youth, teen disco, gambling contests, singing contests in the karaoke lounge and dancing on the open deck. There were swimming pools and jazzuci tubs. And there was a lot of sun tanning !!!

Although drinks were pushed, there was not a lot obvious drunkness or obnoxious behavior. Only once did I see ships officers breakup a situation and that was a fully clothed sex simulation on the open deck. Alcohol was, I believe, a factor.

(2) The ship consulted of many obvious profit centers. I already mentioned the drink pushing. On the price of each drink was added a 15% gratuity so there was incentive for the staff to sell as much as possible. Other profit centers included the casino, bingos, the spa and gift stores. It became obvious that the shore excursions sold on ship provided a kick back to Carnival and these were pushed hard. Also, the Carnival approved shops at the ports of call provide a source of revenue for Carnival. Passengers are encouraged to swipe their ship card in these stores. A jewelry store in one of the ports confirmed for me that he pays to Carnival a fee for every passenger that buys from him. Photography appears to be a big profit center. There are photographers are everywhere and they are in your face a lot. They begin before you even board the ship. Processing takes hours and then the photos are up for display. The photos are not cheap but a lot are sold in the name of memories.

(3) Staff. The staff on the ship are truly international. I remember people from Philippines, Indonesia, Romania, Canada, United States, China and other countries that are now escaping my memory.

(4) Gratuities. Gratuities are added on at two times. The first is 10 dollars per day per passenger added directly to your account. The bulk of this is for cabin staff but some is for dining room servers and a small portion is for miscellaneous and assistants. There was confusion as to whether or not this gratuity constituted the full salary for the cabin staff. We had been told by staff that this was the case – that if the gratuity was not paid there would be no salary. Other people seemed to have different information. So we are not certain about that. The second gratuity is on the drinks as previously mentioned. There is an expectation that passengers will tip the dining room servers and cabin staff as well – but this is not required.

The time on the ship does not need to be expensive if you do not drink a lot or spend in the gift shops or the other profit centers.

All in all, the time on the ship was fun and relaxing. My wife enjoyed the karaoke (of course, she always does) and was chosen to sing Madonna at the last night entertainment in the main entertainment center.

One interesting exit of the cruise for us was that we each lost any aches and pains that we previously had. That has caused us to re-evaluate our plans for the future.

We visited three ports of call; each with its own personality and features.

Costa Maya, Mexico

The first noticeable feature of this area as our ship came into dock was the stretching flat coastline with sandy beaches. Behind the coastline was lush green vegetation. The second noticeable feature was a manmade cement enclosure that housed commercial establishments. Beer was $ 9USD per bottle !!! There were conflicting reports as to whether this was constructed by the cruise lines or by the local government. We received both conflicting reports. It did the shops recommended by the cruise line. It also was fenced off with security guards at the gates. We were advised by people we me in the community outside this area that the local people were not allowed in unless they were going to work.

We did not book a tour on the ship, as was recommended. The tours were heavily pushed on the basis of safety and not being left behind if a tour got back late. The ship would leave without you if you were late and not on a ship booked tour.

We went outside the walls and rented a golf cart for $ 55USD for the day. Golf carts are allowed to drive on the "streets" and roadways. Four people were allowed per golf cart – otherwise, there was a hefty fine if stopped by the police.

We then spent a wonderful day driving the area. We stopped at different beach areas where Americans and Europeans had purchased the land and build a home and bar. By far, the best was The Women's Center with Susie. Susie made the best margaritas of anyplace in the world and the company was relaxed and fun. As we were leaving her place, our golf cart broke down. Susie quickly telephoned the owners who came out and replaced the cart.

On the way back to the ship, we saw a young alligator on the road. He was small – maybe two feet long. We stopped and then a local came by and picked him up. We then got to hold him before he was taken to water. That was an exciting experience.

There was a commercial flea market in the town. Prices are very negotiable and most of the items seem genuine. This area has an assortment of setups from one table stands to kiosks to bars and food outlets to massage setups. The merchants were openly inviting but not aggressive.I would buy from here before I would buy from the commercial encampment promoted by the cruise line.

I believe we had much more fun doing our own tour than did the people who paid much more money on the ship. Those who went on prearranged go-carts did not go any place we did not go. There were a few people who traveled some of the way we did but most stayed in the commercial enclosure or on ship.

Georgetown, Grand Cayman

The second port of call on the cruise was Grand Cayman Islands. So as not to damage the coral reefs, the ships do not dock. They anchor off shore and smaller boats (holding 200 to 300 passengers) transfer the passengers to the island. We arrived on the island shortly after 7 AM so there was little to do except walk around and window shop. Again, we did not book a ship excursion but took our chances on finding excursions once we arrived. Again, we were very happy we did it that way. We hooked up with a private tour. Richard owned the taxi that took us to the boat which he also owned. His wife was doing the marketing onshore and Otis was his employee who took the passengers to Stingray City.

There were 10 people on the little speed boat which passed all the large tour boats on the way. Otis was a real "water rat" and in the water with us feeding the stingrays, showing us how to hold then, putting them on our backs and setting up picture taking scenarios. He was an absolute delight. As I glanced at the large tour boats, I saw a lot of bored people. A few of them actually came to join our group and partake in the fun. There was no boredom in our group. After Stingray City, we stopped at the reef for snorkeling. All the necessary equipment was on board the boat. Again Otis had food to draw in the colorful fish. On the way back, Otis detoured to show us homes of famous people (Bill Gates, Sylvester Stalone) – the ship tours did not do this. He also stopped to look at the lizards and even tried to catch one. This trip was well worth one half the price we would have paid for a ship-sponsored excursion.

One benefit of Georgetown was a store that provided free telephone service (5 minutes per person) and free internet service (15 minutes per person). We were able to call our children back in Canada and make sure everything was right.

Things are expensive in Georgetown. We did very little shopping but did check out the stores. We had two less than happy experiences in Georgetown. The first was that I left my hat at the dock after coming back from Stingray City. It was a special hat my daughter had given me and I had become quite attached to it. Both Richard and Otis looked for it after being called but it was not to be found. I grieved its loss for the rest of the trip. The second slightly unpleasant experience was in a restaurant where my wife did not receive her food order and the server became rather snotty about it.

Grand Cayman is a wonderful place and we both look forward to returning. Our memories are so wonderful (except for my hat !!!)

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Our third port of call was Ocho Rios. Again we arrived at 7 AM before any stores opened. And again, we did not book a ship-sponsored excursion.

The merchants, taxi drivers, street vendors – anyone trying to do any business at all – are very pushy. They are aggressive and push to the very edge to try to sell to you. At times the situations can be uncomfortable as the aggressive selling borders on intimidation.

Poverty is everywhere and it is understandable that the people desire to get money when the possibility exists.

After walking around for a while we were approached by a taxi driver that we felt comfortable with. Cedric drve us around for two hours and showed us sights that other passengers did not get to see. He talked about the people, the country, politics, schooling, vegetation and so on. He was a taxi driver who became a very knowledgeable tour guide. At the end of our tour, Cedric took us to a store where we could buy the gifts we wanted to take home and introduced us to the clerk. I was suspicious that this was just another way of him getting more money but at the end of the day after we had checked all the other stores, this one gave us the best prices.

We saw two different markets – one was a commercial flea marker selling trinkets, crafts, t-shirts and the like. This appeared oriented towards the tourists and I saw no local in there. The second one sold fruits, vegetables and some trinkets. This was for the locals and there were no tourists in there – except us. This was the one time that we let our guard down and approached a potentially dangerous situation. We could have kidnapped or worse and no one would have known.

The one suggestion I have, if you go to Ocho Rios, is to be willing to say "no thanks" a lot and to say it firmly.

This cruise was fun and relaxing. We would recommend it to everyone.

10 Exciting Attractions in Florida

Known as the "Sunshine State", Florida is a popular tourist destination, thanks in large part to its subtropical climate and its beautiful beaches.

Here are 10 must-see attractions when visiting Florida:

1. Busch Gardens Africa (in Tampa): A 335-acre theme park with an African theme. The park is home to many animal exhibits as well as exciting thrill and family rides.

2. Cypress Gardens (in Winter Haven): Originally a botanical garden, and known for its water ski shows, Cypress Gardens is today a modern theme park.

3. Daytona USA (in Daytona Beach): Daytona Beach is well-known as the home of the famous Daytona 500 race. It is also home to Daytona USA, a motorsports attraction which incorporates an IMAX theater, a racing simulator and other racing and motorsports exhibits.

4. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (in Key West): The famous house at 907 Whitehead Street where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote many of his classics. The area is still today home to the six-toed polydactyl cats descended from those of Hemingway's days.

5. Gatorland (in Orlando): A 110-acre alligator theme park and wildlife reserve.

6. Kennedy Space Center (near Cape Canaveral): The Kennedy Space Center has served as America's spaceport for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. The center is home to a wonderful Visitor Complex with many exhibits, two IMAX theaters and offers bus tours around the complex.

7. Monkey Jungle (in Miami): Monkey Jungle is a 30 acre reserve that is home to about 400 primates of 30 species. Visitors walk through cage tunnels while the monkeys run free outside.

8. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (in Delray Beach): A center for Japanese arts and culture. It incorporates two museums as well as Japanese Gardens, and is also home to various Japanese festivals held at various times throughout each year.

9. Salvador Dali Museum (in St. Petersburg): A museum dedicated to the life and work of the famous surrealist artist. The museum is home to 7 masterwork paintings by Dali.

10. Walt Disney World Resort (in Lake Buena Vista just outside Orlando): Walt Disney World is a massive complex of several theme and water parks, including the famous Magic Kingdom.

Miami – A Spring Break Story, Part Two – Bar Hopping

After a day of lounging on the beach there's nothing better than taking a power nap and heading out for a night on the town. Miami is crowded with trendy nightclubs, bars, and lounges. Unfortunately you can not visit them all. Fortunately, you have me, the girl who can tell you were you must go when you're in Miami. Miami has an unbelievable nightlife and these are the places that make Miami after hours alive and exciting.

  1. Lobby Lounge in downtown Miami is part of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel , one of the most elegant and expensive hotels in Miami. If you can not afford to shell out a few hundred dollars a night, you can still get the experience by visiting the Lobby Lounge. Order some of their delicious hors d'oeuvres and snazzy champagne cocktails. It's the perfect way to start off the night … before the night gets too crazy!
  2. Brick's Nightclub and Sky Lounge is the perfect way to see Miami. Sure you're inside but the rooftop sky lounge has the perfect view of Miami's skyline. Brick's is a typical Miami nightclub. 10,000 square feet, an outstanding lighting system, three floors, five bars, and some of the comfiest zebra print couches I have ever sat on!
  3. Churchill's is a unique bar that brings a little bit of England into the all American town of Miami. If you are a beer fan this is the place to go. They offer over a dozen picks of your choice. This is not a place for all night dancing, but if you want to see a live band or play a little pool you have to go straight to Churchill's!
  4. Nocturnal. Now here is a place to dance the night away! Nocturnal has three different themed floors, each with their own DJ and bar. This "state of the art" 20,000 square foot nightclub has a café, a dozen plasma TVs, and a rooftop dance floor complete with waterfalls and a killer view.
  5. Studio A is for those of you who love a little rock and roll. Or, for that matter a lot of rock and roll. A lot of live rock and roll! Party and dance to the live bands or sit back in a comfy chair, sip a drink, and enjoy the show. Concerts and live shows are on stage almost every night.
  6. Dave and Buster's Miami . Like pool, arcade games, shuffleboard, darts, video games, and just plain fun? Well if you do not, stay away from Dave and Buster's! Make a night out of it. Start off your evening by indulging in one of Dave and Buster's delicious steaks. Head for the bar to order one of their famous drinks and watch some football. Then let the games really begin! I could probably spend the whole day at Dave and Buster's -a few hours never dreams like enough!

It is impossible to go to Miami and not have fun. Get a tan, have a few fruity drinks, and then dance the night away in this tropical and lively city!

Top Notch Quality on Cheap Miami flights

Are you planning on a vacation to Miami? Well, that must be a specially-anticipated for experience. Many cheap Miami flights are very much so 'in' for several reasons. As winter approaches and fall comes to an end, we all know that there are thousands of travelers all over the United States of America looking for cheap deals to reach the city of warmth and sea-shore fun. Low airfare and easily-affordable tickets is one thing while being cheated on at such offers is another.
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Many cheap Miami flights are easy to find but hard to differentiate on basis of quality. This helpful and concise guide will assist you through your choice of airlines and other requirements.

Miami is famous for its summery beauty and beach entertainment. Citizens of comparatively colder states will always jump in Miami for a warm dip in the sea.
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However to let these special people to the state is identical another ordeal. We know how hard it is to spend money on flights that offer inferior service and terrible journey. Here are several airlines that offer cheap Miami flights. Do not worry; these offers come along with impressive services.

America West is an airline that proudly offers the cheapest deals with the best offers made. Ticket prices range from $ 180 to $ 210.
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Travelers are promised healthy food, friendly staff and a smooth journey, for certain. Departures usually take place on the Western Coast of United States of America. Travelers care allowed bringing bulk of luggage for their convenience. The air hostesses of American West continue to gain respect and admiration from the eyes of the world for their helpful and kind manner of making their passengers feel at home.
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Air Canada is famous for its premium quality and affordable rates. Canadian travelers, certainly tired of the cold at home, love to experience Miami heat and exciting fun when it is the winters in their own country. To keep them deprived of such fun would be almost criminal. Therefore Air Canada offers the cheapest rates for Miami flights. They start from a small amount of $ 190 to an affordable $ 280.
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Helpful staff is always present at your service. If you are in the mood, you can even play board games in the plane. Air Canada promises to make you feel at home.

Air Jamaica offers cheap Miami tickets. If you are looking for affordable tickets that will not go heavy on your wallet then Air Jamaica offers Jamaican fun and cheap rates all in one ticket. At a low price like $ 170, you can fly from Jamaica to Miami in a few hours.
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The non-stop flights are not as uncomfortable as other flights are. Special discounts are made on special occasions. Who thought Jamaican fun and Miami heat could have been combined in one go?

Air Transat offers premium deals at the lowest rates for Miami. On special occasions like festivals or Easter, it slashes the zeros off your ticket and makes it less than ever. That means the price goes lower for your sake but never the quality of the airline. All cheap Miami tickets by this airline come along top notch packages for future use.
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Tickets range from $ 190 to $ 250. Healthy and fresh food is offered at all three times. Desserts and other delicacies are provided to the travelers for the sake of their entertainment. Air Transat proudly claims to come up to the expectations of travelers.

American Eagle sticks to first class quality at lowest prices. With its swift service and smooth journey, you are bound to feel as if you are riding an eagle to Miami.
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Premium deals are made at the price of $ 185 for business and leisure travelers. First class quality is not barred by the low price. That is precisely why American Eagle takes pride in being hailed as America's soaring eagle on the international front. Christmas and Easter offers are made during the festive season. Travelers are informed well in-time. Friendly and helpful staff is always present at your service. Pampering could not have been priced less than this.

It is safe to remember that enjoying your journey to Miami is what matters the most but always consult local travel guides for more information and accuracy on cheap Miami flights. Your money and time is well-valued.