Nautical Narratives: Charting the Seas with NCL’s John Chernesky

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Today we set sail with John Chernesky, Senior Vice President of Sales at Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). Dive into our treasure trove of travel stories, from the Alaskan wilderness to luxurious destinations, and hear John’s personal anecdotes, including a touching trip with his mother. Discover the allure of NCL cruises, from the exclusive ‘Haven’ to the innovative ‘Viva’, and learn how they’re navigating towards sustainable cruising. John shares his expert travel hacks, from overcoming jet lag to packing essentials, and we explore the enriching experiences of cruise excursions. As the holiday season approaches, we offer essential tips for festive travels, and don’t forget our Virgin Voyages cruise giveaway!

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Mike Putman:
[0:00] Hello everyone, I’m Mike Putman.

James Ferrara:
[0:02] And I am James Ferrara. And Mike, you have the 70 years and I have one, right? That’s not the way.

Mike Putman:
[0:09] I was actually, as our producer Nathaniel was going through that, I was calculating in my head. I think that number might be a little bit low.

James Ferrara:
[0:18] All right. It’s all where we will admit to though, right?
Well, welcome everybody. Welcome to No Tourists Allowed. And you know this is the podcast where we try to help you travel better, travel in a more authentic way, a more memorable way, and maybe steer clear of some of the more typical touristy things to do.
So we try to pepper in some very specific tips.
Mike and I I have been known to enjoy a meal now and then, so we often have restaurant recommendations for you, hotel recommendations for you, experience recommendations for you, and we’ve been sharing our manifesto with you this season.
About a dozen points, our advice, certainly our view on the kind of travel we’d like to see you enjoy. Right, Mike?

Mike Putman:
[1:18] Yeah, just to open up your eyes and see things a little bit differently.
And I think if you experience travel in a real authentic, what my kids call a non-touristy way, You expose yourself to more and more new cultures and it really can open your eyes and it can change your perspective on life.
That is a real part, a big part of my why, why I’m still doing this, is that the change that you can see through people who haven’t had the opportunity to travel in a real way. This is called a real way.
And when you see those people come back or you actually see them in the middle of their travel and they’re seeing these new cultures, new foods, new things, and their mind just opens up and it becomes less about them.
You know, oftentimes when we’re pushing things away, we call other people, them and more about us.
And that’s what drives me.
That’s a big, big part of my driver to stay in this wacky business.

Introducing John Jernesky from Norwegian Cruise Lines

[2:28] But we do have a senior person with us today who’s part of this wacky business.
And that wacky business is Norwegian Cruise Lines, one of the premier cruise lines.
And we’re so happy to have the senior vice president of sales, John Jernesky on. Good day, John. How are you?

John Chernesky:
[2:46] I’m doing great, Mike. Thank you and James for having me.

James Ferrara:
[2:49] Great to see you. Great to see you, John.
We’re going to get into it with you because you’ve got what it must be 25 years in the cruise industry.

John Chernesky:
[3:03] You’re very kind. I’m older than that. It’s I think I’m going into year 32 right out of kindergarten.
And here I am.

James Ferrara:
[3:12] Yeah. Well, that’s great. So we’re gonna try to make use of that.
But we want to start out by helping our listeners get to know you a little bit.
We have a little tradition here of Mike asking some rapid-fire questions, kind of putting you in the hot seat, about your personal travel style.

John Chernesky:
[3:32] Love it.

Mike Putman:
[3:32] Exactly. So just the first thing that comes to your mind, John, and we’ve got five or six of these questions, so just a short answer is fine, but one we normally start with is, what is your favorite hotel brand or individual property and and why that might be.

John Chernesky:
[3:53] Oh, it’s a property that no longer exists. It was on the island of Moraya.
And it was, now I’m forgetting the name of it. Oh my God.

Mike Putman:
[4:05] There was an intercontinental there.

John Chernesky:
[4:07] It was the intercontinental. Thank you. And we did a few nights there.
And it closed right before the pandemic, or maybe during the pandemic.
Just a wonderful overwater bungalow experience to my family, you can’t go wrong.
But having just stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua on Maui, I guess I’m pretty spoiled. Love that experience.

Mike Putman:
[4:28] Yeah, those are- Two great examples. Yeah, Mare’a is a beautiful place.
And for our listeners, a lot of people say, I’m going to, I wanna go to Tahiti.
Well, Tahiti is a place in the French Polynesians, right?
So it’s kind of similar like saying, I wanna go to Hawaii, but you go to Maui, Hawaii.
Not exactly the same, but Amorea is an island very close to Tahiti with a lot less commercialism.
It’s just a gorgeous place and one of those islands that have the over-the-water, bungalows, which is a really, really cool experience.
So John, what’s your favorite destination? And when you’re thinking about that.
Is there a restaurant or two or an activity that makes this your favorite destination?

John Chernesky:
[5:22] Well, I feel very spoiled that I’ve been able to travel and it’s hard.
It’s like picking your favorite child when you say, what’s your favorite destination, honestly, for me, although I have twin boys and I have a dog named Murphy and Murphy, I typically say is my favorite son because he’s much nicer.
But I will say I’ll get a little sentimental.
My mom passed about five years ago, and one of the trips we did with her before she died was going to Alaska.
And I’ve been very fortunate through my career to spend a lot of time in Alaska, both on work trips and on pleasure trips.
And so Alaska is a broad destination. If I won the lottery, I’d own a home in Alaska. It’s that meaningful to me.
And so whether you’re in Glacier Bay, or just in the town of Juneau, or Ketchikan, wherever you are, I just, I love it there. There’s something about it.
In terms of restaurants, that’s a great question.
If you’ve got some cash and you like crab, which I do, Dungeness crab in particular, or King crab, the Tracy’s Crab Shack in Juneau.
It’s this little hut, right? It’s not even a proper building.
You could easily spend $1,000 on crab just for lunch, which is nuts, but it’s pretty special.

James Ferrara:
[6:35] No, gonna have to look that up. I mean, Alaska is, you know, it’s beautiful, physically beautiful, right?
The nature is incredible there, But also, there’s a kind of frontier spirit.
There is a bit hard to define. But I agree with you really compelling.

John Chernesky:
[6:56] There’s an interesting history on Skagway, if you want to go look that up.
That was known as the place where anybody that was either trying to escape something, whether it was an ex wife or husband or the law, somehow ended up in Skagway.
So that’s got that rough mentality there, which is quite fun.

James Ferrara:
[7:14] I’ll make a note of that, Mr. Skagway.

Mike Putman:
[7:18] For a future destination.
So John, what is the coolest shore excursion you’ve ever been on?

Thrilling Adventures in Alaska and Galapagos Islands

John Chernesky:
[7:30] Well…
It wasn’t a you’re talking short course and off a cruise or just like a day trip that I’ve done Either one either or anything well I would say a combination of I’ll give you two answers.
One is a true short excursion up in alaska helicopter trip out to the men in hog glacier, and then we were basically alpine mountaineering for a couple hours with the helmets and the ice axes and the crampons on our feet and It was fantastic And that we did not that long ago with my family.
Before we had kids, back when we had a lot of fun, we would go scuba diving a lot. And I’ve been to the Galapagos Islands.
And so to be scuba diving there and seeing everything there is on steroids. Everything is bigger.
Whether it’s a sea lion or a penguin or a seahorse, the whales, whale sharks, in particular sharks.
Yeah, that was magical. I just wanted something years ago. I did that and I still remember it Well sounds great except for the sharks.
Oh, they’re fantastic. They’re mostly harmless James Just don’t poke them the mostly part Yeah when you’re when you’re when you’re in the water and you got like a nine-foot, Galapagos shark and it’s a called a Galapagos shark as It’s endemic to that region is it doesn’t find anywhere else in the world, You tend to give it its birth, but it’s really not looking out for you.
It’s looking out for other things. So Yeah.

Mike Putman:
[8:58] Interesting. You know what’s funny, James, is a few weeks ago we had another guest on and we asked the excursion question and they said the same thing about that trekking in Alaska.
Exact same thing.

James Ferrara:
[9:12] I did one helicopter to Mendenhall and I had like a crazy ex-Vietnam helicopter, pilot and we were doing like stunts and barely made it back to the ship.
So it was memorable too, but for a different reason.

Helicopter Adventures and Surprising Wildlife Encounters

John Chernesky:
[9:30] I remember doing a helicopter trip in Alaska years ago, where it was, it was called the pilot’s choice.
And the pilot would land on two different spots out on the ice fields or on the glacier, it was up to him to decide that day or her.
And the pilot landed, and we were in this crevasse and on this glacier coming down. And I said to the pilot, we’re walking around and drinking the glacier meltwater.
And I said, Are there any animals around here? You get bears running.
He’s like, Oh, no, he said, Look, run. It is nothing to eat.
It’s all just bear and rock and the ice. And so, okay, so we get in the helicopter, we’re taking off.
As we’re taking off, a bear runs right in front of, this is a grizzly bear, right in front of our helicopter.
And I said, Didn’t you just say there’s no, we would have been eaten if we left two minutes later.

Mike Putman:
[10:12] The fun of travels.

James Ferrara:
[10:13] Close to nature, a little too close.

Mike Putman:
[10:17] So John, when you travel for business or personally, do you, are you an aisle or window guy?

John Chernesky:
[10:24] Well, I’m a window guy because I don’t want to be disturbed, but I also have the bladder of a hamster.
And so I have to really schedule my liquid intake.
And I’m also a considerate traveler. So I don’t try to bother the person next to me. If I do have to get up, I wait for them.
And hopefully they do get up because if not, I have to climb over them or ask them to move.

Mike Putman:
[10:46] I think you might be our first window person that we’ve had on.
But good for you. Yeah, and one last thing. Do you carry on or do you check your luggage?

John Chernesky:
[10:55] Typically, I do everything in my power to carry on.
I have a trip coming up That’s gonna take me 10 days on three different sections two of two different cruises one land thing and I’ve got multiple outfits and I am, Strategizing how I can avoid checking that back because I’ll never see it again Right on done.

Mike Putman:
[11:16] You’re in my camp, clearly in my camp on that one.

James Ferrara:
[11:19] You know, I used to say, I mean, obviously, the three of us travel, you know, professionally, I travel every week.
And I used to say, I’ve never lost my luggage.
And then on a recent trip, this year, my luggage went astray in one of these airport meltdown weekends.
And it showed up on my doorstep a week later with no communication from the airline or anything.
I just happened to open my front door and my suitcase had found its way home.

Mike Putman:
[11:55] Amazing. John, let’s talk a little bit about your company.
So, NCL, for a lot of our listeners may not know about NCL, what’s your brand promise at NCL?
What are you about?

John Chernesky:
[12:09] Yeah, our brand promise is really about giving you the freedom to choose what you want to do when you want to do it.
We used to be a cruise line that only went to kind of, I would call it fun in the sun environments and shorter cruising.
And we now go 421 ports around the world, 118 countries, 19 ships.
Europe, Alaska, Caribbean are our biggest. We’ve got a year round ship in Hawaii.
We go to Asia, Australia, the exotics.
So we kind of cater to a very wide audience when it comes to the destination.
We are a contemporary cruise line, but we go to what I call premium destinations, the places I just mentioned, which people book a year or more out because they want to plan their next summer and they’re doing that right now pretty heavily.

[12:54] We also have, I would say, a great multi-generational travel opportunity because we have what’s called the haven on our ships, which is a suite experience, and it’s a ship within a ship, meaning you have a key card to get into that space.
You’ve got your suite, you’ve got your concierge, you’ve got your private butler, private dining, bars, observation lounges, all for you. You never want to leave it.
James is nodding along. I know he loves that kind of special attention as he should, who doesn’t?
So imagine you have the grandparents who have the money, they want to take care of themselves and the rest of the family stays in a nice balcony cabin.
You’ve got water slides, racetracks for the kids, good shows, good food. We truly try and appeal, give something for everybody.
But those grandparents at the end of the day can escape from the rest of the family and just lock themselves away in the haven, which I recommend.

James Ferrara:
[13:42] Yeah, I’m a haven guy. I mean, you’ve got your own restaurant on most of the ships. You’ve got concierge assistants, got a bar in there.
It’s quieter, it’s private. The fitting out of the cabins is more luxurious, and the rest of the ship is beautiful also, but there’s just something really special about the Haven.
So, I’m a big fan, John.
So our listeners who are watching us on our YouTube channel will see behind you a big sign and that says Viva.
And tell us a little bit about that. What’s going on?

John Chernesky:
[14:31] Well, it’s our brand new ship, our 19th ship in our fleet. James, you and I are gonna be there next week for the inauguration.
Very excited. She’s the second ship in that class. The first ship was the Prima. It’s a really, a wonderful design ship, really bringing the outdoors and captivating, you know, people into that experience of, let’s dine out outside, let’s enjoy that experience. When you’re at sea, there’s nothing quite like it.
And to take advantage of that, plus the interiors are gorgeous.
And more billion restaurant. Yeah, especially restaurants are fantastic.

James Ferrara:
[15:06] And the sign says, Beetlejuice.

Broadway Show Beetlejuice on a Cruise Ship

John Chernesky:
[15:09] Yeah, don’t say that three times. But yes, we are doing a the Broadway show Beetlejuice. For those that don’t know, Beetlejuice went to Broadway.
We all know the movie and the show is fantastic. And we’re actually premiering that show next week for us, James, it’s been out for a little while now and the cast and crew are doing an amazing job delivering that. Looking forward to seeing that.

James Ferrara:
[15:29] And if we have listeners who haven’t been on a big ship cruise in the last number of years, I mean, when you say you’re doing the Broadway show Beetlejuice.
It’s not some like skinny down version.
These are full productions with full sets. And I mean, it’s really like you’re on Broadway.
And it’s incredibly fun. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a cruise ship.
And I know that isn’t particularly about no tours allowed or sense of place or anything.
But it’s just incredibly fun and enjoyable. And I love to do it.

John Chernesky:
[16:10] And usually, if there’s a couple of performances, um, on the cruise, I, I go to more than one, you know, yeah, that’s a great point you raised about it’s not just a traveling road show where they’re going to do, you know, one 10th of what you’re going to see on Broadway, it is a licensed product where the owners of the producers that show want to maintain that integrity.
And so everything about it, the costumes, the staging, the lighting, the talent has to go through all the rehearsals, yeah, it’s a full-fledged production and it’s for free.
So you pay a lot of money to go see these things on Broadway and to have that experience. Like you say, why not see it more than once? It’s really a special experience.

James Ferrara:
[16:47] But bringing this back around to our ethos here at No Tourist Allowed, how do you get a real sense of place if you’re traveling on a cruise?

John Chernesky:
[17:02] Yeah, so you imagine you’re on a ship and you’ve got, let’s say, 3,000 people. And you think, oh my God, 3,000 people, you know, that’s a lot of people.
Well, keep in mind, these ships are are very large and there is a tremendous amount of space.
The way these ships are designed is to create multiple venues with smaller capacity so you never feel like you’re on a ship with 3,000 people.
That’s the ultimate goal for when our team is designing these ships.
You want to feel it. Ultimately, it’s about connecting with the people that you travel with or making new friends on a cruise.
And that is the beauty of a trip, that you’re going to run into random people that may have that same affinity for the same bourbon at a bar at night or going on that short excursion together and you start and create could be lifelong friendships.
Or you’re just there to connect with your family and you find those intimate spaces.
You tend to kind of find your own path and you get into your routine with the people you’re traveling with.
And I have been on many, many cruises and I’ve never felt, wow, there’s so many people here.
I just feel like the service is great and I feel catered to.

James Ferrara:
[18:14] I’m always sort of struck actually in the elevators open and there’s nobody in them, you know, and you think 3000 people, 4000 people are going to be crammed in with people, but actually you’re right because of the design of the ship and just how much space there is. It doesn’t feel that way at all.
But let’s say we’re on a cruise and the ports of call are interesting islands or places we haven’t been before.

Excursions and Ports of Call on a Cruise

[18:45] There’s an opportunity to, I mean, the ship itself is a destination, right?
So there’s that. But there’s an opportunity to get a good sense of other destinations, the ports of call you visit through, what? I guess, the excursion programs on board.

John Chernesky:
[19:05] Yeah, yeah. So I think let’s pick Europe as an example.
I recommend people who have not been to Europe before go on a cruise.
Obviously, a Norwegian cruise would be preferred.

[19:16] And I say that because you have a chance in a short window of time to visit multiple countries with multiple ports and feel like you.
I would almost say it can be overwhelming because we at Norwegian spend so much time in port. There are many cruises where there’s no days at sea.
It’s port after port after port, because we want you to experience as much of that destination as possible. That can be exhausting, so bring your comfortable shoes.
And I highly recommend you take a post-trip sabbatical a couple of days, maybe in that city before you fly out, so you can relax, and obviously you get to experience that city.
But the short excursion program you talk about is an amazing way to feel.
Like that you’ve seen if you have a limited window of time, let’s say you got 12 hours in port That I recommend to people the last thing I want to see people do is pull into that port and say honey What are we going to do today?
I think you’ve then missed out on the chance to maximize your time and experience whether you want to do a museum tour in The morning or whether you want to walk around the city Or whether you want to go on You know, whatever it is in the afternoon that you really are packing as much in or just you want to go to a local restaurant.
You don’t have to do an organized short excursion. That’s totally up to you.
You can get into the city.
You know, if you’re in Barcelona, as an example, you can just walk the Rambla and just go from tapas to tapas and maybe hit the, you know, Picasso Museum, whatever it might be. There’s so many options.

James Ferrara:
[20:40] I have to admit, sometimes I do feel like that, like I’m not going to get on and organize.
I’m just going to go get lost on my own. Right? Yeah.

Mike Putman:
[20:49] Yeah. You know, and, and, and that really, um, rings true when people ask me about going to Hawaii that, uh, and from the East coast, you know, it’s not a destination that people go to every year, like they might from the West coast just because of the distance.
But if, if people are, if it’s going to be a once in a lifetime trip, I say, take a cruise because you’re gonna get so much benefit from being on a ship unpacking one time.
Um, but being, being able to travel at night and see lots of different ports.

John Chernesky:
[21:23] Yeah, or even overnight. You’ve got on our Hawaii trip, it’s a seven-day trip.
There’s no days at sea. You’ve got overnights in Maui and in Kauai.

James Ferrara:
[21:29] I love those.

John Chernesky:
[21:30] You can really get a sense of the destination, having that meal ashore if you want to do it. Go to a luau.

James Ferrara:
[21:37] Stay out a little bit.

John Chernesky:
[21:38] Yeah, not feel pressured. Yeah, there you go.

Mike Putman:
[21:42] I’ve been to Hawaii many times and I went on insta.

James Ferrara:
[21:45] And had trouble many times too.

Mike Putman:
[21:46] Yeah. Well, for another time, but, um, but doing the cruise and doing the NCO cruise was without a doubt, hands down the best way to do it.
And, and are you guys still the only ones that are able to do that?

Unique Cruise Experience with American Crew

John Chernesky:
[22:00] We are, we’re the only company that has a, the way the ship is flagged, which means we have a certain percentage of our crew are Americans on board, which is not usually the case, based on foreign flag vessels, we have to, we don’t have to call it a foreign port.
And so we have a very easy way of experiencing all the major islands in one week, whereas other cruise lines have to sail quite a bit across the ocean to come from the mainland to do it.
And just for our listeners, John, can you kind of explain a little bit more that that that rule that would Give you the ability to do it and not a foreign flag carrier Yeah, it’s a very old law, That basically they call the Jones Act, which means that if a foreign flag vessel is calling on, American ports You have to also have a foreign port as part of that trip So whether like let’s say you’re doing Hawaii and you had to sail out of Los Angeles You would have to stop back in Mexico on the way or on the way back or on the way there to qualify For that rule you see it a lot in Alaska.
Do you sail out of Seattle?
You can’t just go from Seattle and only do Alaskan ports You typically see a call in Victoria part of British Columbia, which last I checked is in Canada beautiful island, by the way Beautiful spot the Bucard Gardens.
I’m not a garden guy. But if you’re in Victoria go to the gardens I tell you what it is fantastic.

James Ferrara:
[23:26] Yeah. Um, so I don’t want to leave out that cruise lines also bring the the sense of place on board.

John Chernesky:
[23:38] Right?

James Ferrara:
[23:38] So if you’re cruising in a particular part of the world, through what menus through onboard entertainment, maybe even lectures, right?

John Chernesky:
[23:48] Yeah, all the above. I mean, your weather and depending on the length of the voyage and how many days are at sea.
We try to infuse as much as we can from a culinary standpoint, drinks, which I’m a big fan of, having those folkloric shows.
When we’re talking Hawaii and having people come on and do the folkloric shows is always a big hit.
But those speakers, they could be an expert in that region and they’re there to talk about whatever the subject might be.
We’re really trying to bring as much of the destination onto the ship.
Mike, when you sailed Hawaii, did you feel like you were in Hawaii throughout your trip on the ship or did you?

Mike Putman:
[24:24] Yes, absolutely. And they brought on dancers, not just dancers, but they brought on local performers at every point.

James Ferrara:
[24:30] And you got laid, right?

Mike Putman:
[24:32] Several times.

Shifting Conversations: From Pandemic to Environmental Responsibility

James Ferrara:
[24:37] All right, let’s move on to something a little more serious, because I think this is top of mind.
I see this anyway with our customers at Intel Travel.
We now are past the pandemic, which was the conversation for several years, right?
And thankfully, it’s not anymore.
But the new conversation seems to be about, environmental responsibility, and taking care of this world that we are traveling around and seeing, or in our case, the three of us, the world that we’re out there selling, actually.
So, some people have criticized cruise lines for being environmentally, not environmentally responsible.
What do you say to that, John, as a knowledgeable 30-something, year veteran of the cruise industry?

John Chernesky:
[25:35] Well, it’s interesting when I look back on my career, as you say, and from early 90s when I started to now, and how our industry has really shifted in such a positive way.
Everything from reusable plastics and the recycling efforts on board and eliminating reusable like single-use, I should say, plastics, eliminating single-use plastics, the types of fuel that’s being used and how technology and innovation and technology will, I think, be constantly integrated into the cruise ships moving forward.
And you see every cruise line now has, because we’re all in this together.
This isn’t something where I personally want to stand up on a stage and say, we’re the most involved.
Like, nobody wins in that regard. We really are all aligned on this.
And every cruise line is doing the best we can to minimize our carbon footprint, minimize the waste that takes place on board, and the energy consumption, the fuel consumption, through technology, LED lighting, all the little things add up to big things.

Cruise Lines’ Efforts: Minimizing Carbon Footprint and Conservation Initiatives

James Ferrara:
[26:49] Even the way the hull is painted sometimes, right? All of these things.

John Chernesky:
[26:54] Yeah, the fuel efficiency and, yeah, absolutely. It’s a very important part of our focus, and we’ve got a dedicated team that does nothing but that. Yeah, it’s important.

James Ferrara:
[27:05] I want more travelers to be aware of it.
Even beyond that, cruise lines, I know this is true of Norwegian also, donate to oceanographic conservation organizations and just do a lot, spend millions and millions of dollars, to protect the oceans and to limit.
And now, you know, what’s been happening lately is some even destination stewardship, we call it.
So, there are cruise lines that are not pulling into certain ports that are more fragile than others and using alternate embarkation places, right?
So, I just, I’m not sure our listeners are aware of all that.
And if you are interested, if this is of concern to you, be an educated traveler and consumer.
Go to the website of the cruise line you’re considering traveling with, or the vacation partner, or whomever.
And you’ll find lots of information about this if you seek it out.

John Chernesky:
[28:15] Yeah, absolutely.

Personal Stories and a Funny Bobblehead

James Ferrara:
[28:19] Let’s go to some personal stuff.
And I don’t know, did you have a guest with you, a special guest with you for this podcast?

Mike Putman:
[28:32] Oh my word.

John Chernesky:
[28:33] So those are audio. I’m showing a bobblehead of myself, which kind of looks like Joe Pesci and John Travolta had a baby.
It doesn’t look anything like me, which is why it’s funny.
Yeah, I’m known for having this stupid bobblehead and love him dearly.
He’s got a bit of an attitude, so I don’t really want to have him feature too much.

James Ferrara:
[28:50] Okay, well, whether it’s you or bobblehead who answers, we want to get some tips from you for our listeners to travel in this more authentic and more memorable way.
So is there anything special you do when you go to a new destination or a favorite destination?
Maybe when you arrive at the hotel?
Anything that, you know, increases your enjoyment or helps you get to know a place better?

John Chernesky:
[29:22] I tend to, I’m a researcher and I like to plan in advance when I go on trips.
Not everybody’s like that.
Some people just spur the moment you want to take it as it comes.
And that’s fine. I’ve done it. I’ve done it both ways.
And I remember just a random thought when I was on my honeymoon, we were in Australia.
And we had one night in Sydney, we had done most of our time scuba diving and beautiful resorts up in the northeast in the Cairns area.
We have one night in Sydney and we hadn’t had any plans. We know we’re here for dinner.
Talk to the it It was the guy who was bringing our bags to the room. And I said.
So the answer is talk to somebody who lives there, right? Get some input.
And I said, where should we go for dinner? And he said, there’s a great Thai restaurant down on the key overlooks the opera house, there’s a balcony.
And we’re like, okay, so we just wandered down there.
Got lucky with a wonderful seat and overlooking the opera house for dinner on our last night in Australia.
So talking to people locally about what do you recommend? And I get the Yelps of the world are meant to represent the aggregation of all those comments.
But there’s It’s just something about talking to the concierge at your hotel or the valet or the bellhop who’s lived there. What do you recommend?

[30:36] And ask the question to say, where do you recommend that isn’t as popular for tourists but is more for locals?
Because the first sign of success of a restaurant is when I walk in, and let’s say I’m in Japan, and all I see are Japanese people.
That’s what I want to see. If I walk in and see a bunch of American tourists, I tend to feel like it’s not as authentic, which is exactly what this whole podcast is about, right, is getting the flavor of that local culture and it can be a hole in the wall place.
Those are often the best places, but getting that advice from the local, I would recommend.

Mike Putman:
[31:13] Great advice. Great advice.

James Ferrara:
[31:14] Yeah, we’re with you on that.

Tricks and Hacks for Flights and Travel Essentials

Mike Putman:
[31:16] John, just one last question. Is there anything you do, any tricks or hacks that you do when you take a flight that you could share with the audience?
Anything you pack special or?

John Chernesky:
[31:28] I actually have a little travel pouch that I bring with me that James came from the Japan, the Japanese Tourism Association that we got on our trip to Japan several years ago.
And in there I have my eye mask, my earbuds, all my chargers, all that kind of stuff. So depending on the flight, if it’s an overnight flight, like a red eye flight, I tend to go into the flight, I have made sure I’ve gone to the bathroom, I have not drank any water, I have fed myself, I am not reliant upon anything, but I am going to go to sleep to maximize my time of sleeping while I’m on that nighttime flight.
If it’s a daytime flight, I’m enjoying the heck out of it.
And I’m, you know, going to load up my iPad with some movies.
Actually, if my boss is listening, I’m on my laptop working usually.

Overcoming Jet Lag: A Personal Story and Tip

[32:20] Jet lag is the is the issue. And my tip for jet lag is when you get there, I’ll tell you a story.
I went to Italy to get on a ship outside of Rome in the little town of Civitavecchia.
I’d never been to Rome before, and so I stayed at a hotel right in the city center there.
And I landed, and I was at the hotel at 12 noon.
I had about an hour and a half of sleep. It wasn’t the lie-flat beds back in the day on Alitalia.
It was a horrible night of travel. I’m absolutely exhausted.
I knew if I went to bed, I would sleep until 10 p.m., and then I was screwed.
So, I just got my stuff, I was by myself and I walked Rome until 9pm, having lunch, having coffee, having dinner, going to museums.
I was so tired, I was a walking zombie.
My head hit the pillow that night, I slept for 8 hours sound and I immediately forced that acclimatization or whatever the word is of getting used to that time zone. That’s my tip, is don’t go take a nap.

James Ferrara:
[33:19] Yeah, I agree. I agree with you there. I’m actually suffering we Mike and I were in Spain together last week and for some reason I, think when you get older too, it changes it’s a bit harder to to get your body back in shape and, Mike is suffering from some kind of bug he picked up.
I’m suffering from just messed up sleep and and jet lag.
Years ago, I used to follow The Jet Lag Diet, which was a book that came out in the 80s and supposedly used by American presidents and diplomats for how to manipulate light and carb, intake in the days prior to your trip to get your body ready for that shift.
Particularly at that time, I was traveling to Asia, like 12 hour time shift, which is really brutal. You know?
Anyway, I don’t use that diet anymore. I basically eat carbs 24 seven. And it’s not working.

John Chernesky:
[34:26] My tip is I have a little travel sound machine. It’s much better than what you’re the app on your iPhone. And it’s it’s like 30 bucks on Amazon.
And this thing emits a white noise sound.
So when when you do get to go to sleep in that foreign place, of that strange bed, make sure that sound and light, which is why I wear an eye mask, those will mess with you more than anything. So that is my hot tip.

Mike Putman:
[34:48] All right. Well, that’s good stuff. A lot of good tips.

James Ferrara:
[34:51] It’s great to have you here.

John Chernesky:
[34:52] Thank you.

James Ferrara:
[34:53] I am, it’s good to see Bobblehead again, also, I’ll say.
And look forward to seeing you next week on the beautiful new Viva, getting to see it firsthand and getting to spend time with my friends at Norwegian Cruise Lines. Thanks again, John.

John Chernesky:
[35:15] Thank you, James. Thank you, Mike. Pleasure to be here.

Mike Putman:
[35:17] Thanks so much.
Well, James, it was great to hear from John. What a what a good guy.
Great guy to have in the business. And we’re lucky to have him on the podcast.

Bobblehead’s appearance and cruise giveaway announcement

James Ferrara:
[35:28] Yeah. Bobblehead was a little tame in this appearance. You never know where that’s going to go with John.
I really enjoyed talking to him, and he is an extremely knowledgeable guy, one of the most in the cruise business. So it was a pleasure to have him here.
And, Mike, we should take a minute. And just speaking of cruise, remind everyone that we’re doing this incredible cruise giveaway, Virgin Voyages Cruise for Two.
And all our listeners need to do is go to our website, which is oddly titled
And there you’ll find the ways that you can get entries into the drawing for this free cruise by telling your friends about our podcast, by signing up for our newsletter, and so on.
And then in a few weeks, just before the holidays, we’ll be drawing for a free cruise for two people on Virgin Voyages, which is like, you know, really special.

Mike Putman:
[36:33] Yeah, and one of my friends just came back from a Virgin Voyage last week, and he said he had the time of his life.
But there’s only nine days, nine days left to enter.
And if you do go to the website, and scroll down on the homepage, you’ll see when a seven night dream voyage with Virgin Voyages cruise.
And if you’ll click into that, there are several ways that you can enter and do some things that will help increase your chances of winning this fabulous cruise.
Uh, we’ve had a tremendous, uh, amount of people that are really getting excited about this and we’re, we’re happy to give it away and somebody will get a, early Christmas present from No Tourist Allowed.

James Ferrara:
[37:13] Absolutely. So we’re at holiday time already, right?
So Happy Thanksgiving, we should say, to everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mike.
And we’re very thankful for you, our listeners.
And we’re very thankful for the opportunity to travel the world for all the reasons, the values that Mike shared at the beginning of the podcast, and especially at this time when there is trouble in the world, although when is there not trouble in the world, right?
But we have some conflicts and wars, frankly, in the world.
And that always reminds me that travel is the solution, right?
Travel is the antidote to the ills of the world, because travel, as Mike pointed out, helps us to understand each other and value each other.
We learn about other cultures.
We learn about people who live and think differently.
We develop empathy and compassion.
We grow as people.
And that’s the true value of travel. And we really need travel in the world right now.
So, I’m very thankful for that.

Mike Putman:
[38:35] Yeah, no doubt about it. And Mark Twain has a great quote that’s been part of my email signature for quite a while and he says, travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

Preparing for a busy week of travel

James Ferrara:
[38:54] I love that.

Mike Putman:
[38:55] That is so true, so true. But we do have a very big week ahead of us in travel.
You know, for us who distribute travel, we’re not necessarily as busy this week selling travel because we’ve already sold the travel, generally speaking.

James Ferrara:
[39:11] And we’re eating.

Mike Putman:
[39:12] Yeah.

James Ferrara:
[39:14] We’re busy eating, right?

Mike Putman:
[39:16] Yeah. But we do have some additional customer service demands, making sure everybody gets, you know, their flights are okay and their hotel accommodations are right.
And so we we tend to have a peak in our customer service departments in dealing with some, you know, some people want to change your flights or whatever because there are a lot of people traveling.
And we know this year, the U.S.
Government has just come out with some really interesting facts about how the travel economy has really come back.
And our Secretary of Transportation came out with some stats.
James, do you want to share those with our listeners?

James Ferrara:
[40:01] Sure. Just the TSA, who runs the security in airports, keeps a count of people, basically.
And in the last, well, in the first 20 days of November, I think about 14 of those days had more people than the same days in 2019.
So when people wonder, has travel come back, it’s more than come back, right?
We’re way ahead of passenger counts from prior to the pandemic.
And we’ve seen the results of that in the past year or two have been real problems at airports during peak times and problems with airlines and technology and so on.

[40:49] Secretary Buttigieg’s press conference yesterday was about some of the things the government has done to help airlines and the airline system strengthen over the past year so we don’t have that kind of fragility in the system that led to those Armageddon weekends.
So, it’s good news. The test of it is right now, right?
So, at the time you’re listening to this podcast, we’ve just passed Thanksgiving.
The day before, the couple of days before Thanksgiving, are peak travel days of the year.
The days coming up, just after Thanksgiving, same thing. the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving are peak travel days.
And keep your fingers crossed, and we’re hoping that we don’t see the kind of stress and difficulty in the system that we saw at other peak times earlier in the year.

Mike Putman:
[41:55] Yeah, and Sunday will be the the most traveled day of the year.
It always is, the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
So if you’re traveling even on Saturday or Sunday, And I’m not one to say go to the airport early, but in this case, I would go to the airport early.
Give yourself a little bit of extra time to get through TSA, because there will be, you know, all the planes will be flying that can fly as the airlines try to garner as much revenue as possible.
So the airports are going to be maxed out.
So get there a little bit early. get through security with time to spare so you can go have a cup of coffee or have a drink or something and relax so you’re not stressed out getting through that.

James Ferrara:
[42:40] Yeah, try to carry on. Mike will always tell you that. Oh, yeah, rather than check your luggage.

[42:47] And if you haven’t joined either TSA pre check, or you know, my favorite, which is clear, you can do it, you can do it right at the airport, you can join clear, it takes five minutes, you walk over to the clear people, and they’ll take care of you.
And and you cut the line, basically. You skip the whole security line.
So I think now is a good time of year to say, to be thankful that you joined CLEAR, you know.
Or if you’re traveling internationally, Global Entry is the program you want to join.
Have both of them if you’re traveling a lot, and boy, it’ll take a lot of time out of your difficulties at the airport.
And the other thing that I’ve been doing more of lately than I ever did before is using a car service to go to the airport, because then I don’t have to deal with the parking, or, you know, dragging my luggage around, getting from the parking to the airport.
At the new, where I live in New York, at the new Terminal A at Newark, which is a beautiful Terminal, that service is mostly, mostly United, um, I checked the.
Parking garage is a quarter of a mile from the front of the terminal.
So it’s really long.

[44:12] A car service drops you off right at curbside.
And for me, that does save time and stress and my shoulder.

Mike Putman:
[44:22] Yeah, well, especially when you’re lugging three or four bags in.

James Ferrara:
[44:26] Like I am.

Mike Putman:
[44:26] The one thing about clear and TSA is if you have clear and you don’t have TSA, you still have to go through the normal lines, which means you have to take your shoes off and put your feet on those grubby little spots that everybody else puts their disgusting feet on.
And if you can imagine, you know, tens of thousands of people putting their feet on those same spots, it doesn’t sound real appealing.
But I will tell you one tip if you have to do that.
And that is to wear two pairs of socks.
And so you wear two pairs of socks, take your shoes off and then you stand in the security thing, hold your hand up, and then when you get done, as you’re getting ready to put your shoes back on, you take the grubby socks off and stick those in your bag.

James Ferrara:
[45:12] Throw them away. I think that’s a great tip, Mike.
But what troubles me more is I see a lot of people who go through those security lines, they take their shoes off, they have no socks on, and they walk barefoot through that.
See, who are those people? What are you doing? Stop, it’s disgusting and you’re going to get a terrible disease. Don’t do that.
Anyway, so some holiday travel tips. If you’re bringing gifts, by the way, do not wrap them going through security because they will make you unwrap them sometimes in order to check them.
So don’t wrap your gifts. They don’t like that.

Holiday Travel Tips and Ideas

[45:54] We have lots of other holiday travels. You can google them. There’s lots of lists out there On my company website.
We have holiday travel tips some good good ideas to get you Through without any trouble and kind of speed your way through the airport But in any case we hope you get to family friends or whatever You’re doing for fun for the holidays without any trouble at all We hope you use this week to travel around a little bit or the coming weeks in the coming holidays in, December it’s a great time to travel there are great things to do you could be on a Mike did this you could be on a river cruise in Europe visiting the Christmas markets in Austria and Germany, this is the land of Christmas. This is where Christmas comes from.

Mike Putman:
[46:43] That’s right Chris Kringle Yeah.

James Ferrara:
[46:46] Or doing any number of other things for the holidays. Get out there and celebrate with travel.

Mike Putman:
[46:55] But I will say this, if you’re interested in going somewhere over the Christmas break, you need book now because space is really really tight.

James Ferrara:
[47:03] You’re late already.

Mike Putman:
[47:06] Yeah, you’re definitely late, but there are some things to be found.

Cruising as a Popular New Year’s Eve Celebration

James Ferrara:
[47:10] People like to do cruises.
They you know, and celebrate New Year’s Eve on the cruise.

Mike Putman:
[47:19] Yeah, it’s a great way to do it.

James Ferrara:
[47:20] Talk to a professional travel advisor. They’ll have tons of great ideas for you and take good care of you.

Mike Putman:
[47:29] Yep, and this week being Thanksgiving for those listeners in the U.S., you know, take some time to give thanks for all the good things that we’ve got.
You know, we’ve got a lot of freedoms. We have, you know, a great country to live in that, despite what others say, do good around the world, for the most part, and something to be proud of.
But give thanks for your health and your family, and enjoy your summer.

James Ferrara:
[47:56] Count your blessings. I will be on the new Norwegian Viva for the inaugural and the christening next week in Miami, and then we’re doing a short sailing.
Mike and I will be in Orlando and then Cancun for some industry events, looking forward to that.
I mean, we’re traveling right up the next three weeks.
I’m on the road the whole time, right up until the Christmas holidays, then back in New York with my family.
So really looking forward to that. We thank you guys for joining us at No Tourists Allowed.
Hope you had a good time. Be with us again next week and try to win that cruise, that Virgin Voyages cruise for two.

Mike Putman:
[48:39] Absolutely. Thanks. Goodbye.

James Ferrara:
[48:41] All right. Thanks, everyone.

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