Chef/author John Howie, owner of Seattle’s Seastar
and John Howie Steak House, will host events for
Costco members on a 2013 Alaska voyage.
(LEFT) JOHN SCHULER; (RIGHT) CELEBRITY CRUISES
QUALITY | VALUE | EXPERIENCE | WOW!
By T. Foster Jones
SINCE ITS INCEPTION, Costco Travel has
been very successful, earning high marks for
initial service, follow-through and the vacation experience itself.
Cruises, in particular, have been wildly
popular with Costco members, and for good
First, there are a wide variety of destinations, covering just about every watery inch
of the globe.
Second, and more important for many, is
the value. For that, let’s travel behind the scenes
to hear from a Costco buyer.
“From a buying perspective we are always
looking for ways we can enhance a traveler’s
experience or create additional value,” says
Lauren Anderson, senior buyer for the Costco
Travel cruise program. “While Costco Travel
works with a wide range of cruise lines in an
effort to supply the members with a quality
selection, the reality is not every cruise line
meets our criteria. These are always tough
decisions, but ultimately it comes down to
having a discernible member benefit day in
and day out on every cruise that we offer.”
Costco member benefits range from exclusive
prices to shipboard credits to Costco Cash
cards, all at no additional cost.
In addition, Costco Travel offers another
category that layers even more value on top
of these everyday offers, an option many
Costco members may not be familiar with.
The category is Buyer’s Choice cruises.
What are they? Here’s a look.
Costco Travel is striving to create a cruise
that goes beyond the destination, that adds to
the experience and makes it more immersive.
This might entail a culinary cruise to
Alaska featuring a well-known chef along with
cooking demonstrations and a seafood luncheon. Another example might be a Bermuda or
Alaska cruise with Nickelodeon characters
attending private events or scavenger hunts.
Wine cruises, featuring well-known wineries
with private tastings, have sailed to the
Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Alaska.
“Wine tasting and cruising—a most
perfect pairing,” says Costco member Laura
Kemmish of St. Augustine, Florida. “Caymus
winemaker Chuck Wagner was a delightful
host, and the Celebrity staff made each new
wine reception a treat for the senses.”
“The Costco Caymus wine cruise was an
incredible vacation and experience,” agrees
Laura Tagle, a Costco member in Huntsville,
North Carolina. “We had the opportunity to
try a variety of wines from the Caymus fam-
ily vineyards while learning firsthand from
Chuck Wagner the meticulous nature of his
craft. We would highly recommend this type
of cruise—and already have!”
As a rule, Buyer’s Choice cruises are
advertised in mid- to late summer for the fol-
lowing calendar year and again in January, and
are featured on Costco Travel’s cruises home
page. “However,” Lauren says, “we are always
negotiating, so keep an eye out, because there
is always something in the works.” C
WINE CRUISE SERIES:
Seven-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
$1,047 PER PERSON* FROM EXCLUSIVE WINE EVEN TS Concierge Class Balcony Stateroom. Valid on 2/3/13 sailing aboard Celebrity Silhouette®.
COSTCO MEMBER VALUES:
• $140 shipboard credit†
• Welcome aboard wine reception
• Four-course wine pairing luncheon
• Two private wine tasting events
• And more!
Look for other Buyer’s Choice offerings
with exclusive member bene;ts, including:
Alaska Culinary Cruise • Alaska Cruise Tours
Wine Cruise Series: Mediterranean, Alaska or
For a cruise to make the Buyer’s Choice
tier, Costco Travel requires its buying teams
to start with the already great Costco value
and find a way to make it even better by an
additional 15 percent.
With Buyer’s Choice cruises, says Lauren,
*Price shown is per person based on double occupancy, is valid for select
stateroom categories only, and does not include government taxes/fees and
gratuities. Prices are in U. S. dollars, are true and accurate at time of printing,
are valid for travel as speci;ed, are valid for new bookings only and are available
to Costco members residing in the United States. All offers and inclusions are
subject to availability and may change or be terminated without notice. Seasonal
surcharges, fuel surcharges, availability, blackout dates and restrictions may
apply. Any unused portion(s) of inclusions are nontransferable, nonrefundable
and not redeemable for cash. Cancellation and change fees may apply. Unless
other wise noted, offers are not combinable with select rate codes, coupons or
other offers. Travel purchases are not included in the Executive Membership
annual 2% Reward program. Offer shown is cruise-only. Costco Travel disclaims
liability for any inaccuracies or typographical errors. Ships’ registries: The
Bahamas and Malta. Celebrity Cruises reserves the right to reinstate a fuel
supplement at any time. †Shipboard credit is per stateroom. Value of shipboard
credit is determined by the speci;c category booked. For bookings made within
three weeks of departure, shipboard credit is not guaranteed. Unless otherwise
noted, all inclusions are valid once per stateroom for 1st and 2nd passengers
only. Costco Travel is registered as a seller of travel in each of the
states listed: California registration number: CST 2054248-50 ; Florida
registration number: ST 32555 ; Hawaii registration number: TAR 5595 ;
Iowa registration number: TA 620 ; Nevada Seller of Travel registration
number: 2007-0060 ; Washington registration number: WST 602042600.
Registration as a California Seller of Travel does not constitute
approval by the state. 12TR0907 5/12
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers an exciting selection of
Buyer’s Choice and other specialty cruises
and cruise tours. For information, click Travel
at Costco.com or call 1-877-849-2730.