Consumer Lookout: News You Can Use


AAA unveils 10th Travel Store

Your friendly AAA has opened up its 10th travel store within its popular AAA offices. This newest store, based at the Santa Clara site, features approximately 500 square feet of products including luggage, accessories, safety products, and travel toys for children.

According to Faith Loo, manager of retail operations, the store offers members 10 to 50 percent off retail prices and costs are extremely competitive with travel specialty and department stores. "We started this program about fiveyears ago when we wanted to offer new benefits for our members. We wanted to offer them more face-to-face services."

Currently, the stores, ranging from 500 to 1,000 square feet, offer as many as 1,800 different travel items for road trips, flights, and cruises. Gear includes neck pillows, emergency kids, travel games, and voltage converters. Next year, notes Loo, the products will be available on-line.


Holland America Beefs Up Kid's Program with a Vengeance

Here's one to raise the eyebrows of Disney Cruise directors. Holland America is upping the ante on fun, unveiling an expanded youth program and upgrading it's facilities to reflect the tastes of young passengers.

By 2006, the upscale cruise line will have completed an overhaul of its ships' children and teen areas with kid-friendly decor, larger more invigorating spaces for activities, and a babysitting service with extended hours.

Changes, essential to an overall $225 million ship wide renovation, feature the following:

  • Club HAL, previously for kids 5-12, will embrace guests as young as 3 years old.
  • Redesigned by a world-class Norway architectural firm, the new Club HAL facilities include bright multi-colored ceilings, paintbrush pillars and larger than life-sized pencils along the walls.
  • A new creativity center features a tape dispenser slide in the center of the room, art tables, big screen TVs.
  • More board games, including Cranium and others.
  • Older kids, ages 8-12, will have their own area with access to Foosball, Internet access, Sony Playstations,
  • Teenagers, 13-17, have their own getaway in The Loft, a lounge area designed to resemble a New York artist's loft.
  • Teens will have access to their own outdoor deck called The Oasis.
  • The Oasis will feature a private entrance, sunning area, pool waterfall and cave.
  • New activities feature the Little Artist program, Luau at the Oasis, Teen Superstar, Dance Dance Revolution contests, Campin' under the Stars, and Wacky Olympics.
  • Family activities include Cranium Family Game time, Family Olympics, and karaoke.
  • Club HAL After Hours will extend pickup times two more hours. Available at $5 per child, per hour, the service lets parents party until midnight.

-K.C. Leong

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