By KEVIN CHIRI
Tammany West news
MANDEVILLE – Marty Gibson wants to make sure that “the best day of your life” really is “the best day of your life.”
Gibson is owner and operator of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Mandeville, now in the fifth year of the business he and his wife, Carla, started in 2011.
After spending 30 years in the health care profession, most of it as a paramedic, Gibson kiddingly says that he “used to deal with people on the worst day of their life when I showed up in an ambulance to pick them up,” and now he deals with people who are planning luxurious and fun trips that he calls “the best day of their life.”
From the first day he opened the Mandeville office of Expedia CruiseShipCenters he understood the challenge he faced.
“When most people today want to take a trip, a lot of them immediately go to the Internet,” he said. “But we know that the options are endless when you go on the Internet to book flights, hotels, cruises or any kind of special trips. That’s where we make the difference.”
Gibson said his agency can book any kind of trip and help plan every aspect of it for a cost that is usually as competitive as anything on the Internet. But the difference is that our travel consultants provide an additional layer of security to be certain you are getting what you expect.
“There is so much that you see on the Internet and then when you arrive at your destination it is not the same thing,” he said. “Additionally, we provide service that gives you a real person to call for any problem at any point of your trip. You don’t get that when you book trips on the Internet or directly with the supplier”.
The Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Mandeville agency can provide all aspects of travel: “we say that we book planes, trains and autos, anywhere in the world,” Gibson said.
But most importantly when booking with Gibson is “door-to-door service for our clients. There are literally thousands of travel products out there when you consider cruises, all-inclusive resorts, plane flights, hotels, endless details for the destination excursions or outings. We can ensure you don’t lose your money when you take the trip of your life.”
Gibson said he has heard his share of travelers come into his office and tell him about the trip they booked on the Internet, only to arrive and find things different than had been promised.
“Something as important as travel documents may not be part of what they are paying for, but you think it is,” he said. “When you plan an important trip we are always there–before, during and after the trip. We are not a call center—we give you a real person who will make sure your trip is everything you expected.”
Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Mandeville specializes in cruises, as the name would suggest, but they can book any kind of trip anywhere in the world.
“Cruises alone can offer between 20 to 50 different categories of rooms,” he said. “We know how to explain the difference, which helps our guests choose the perfect room whether it’s a trip for one or two people, family, or for a large group.”
And the biggest plus is that there is no charge to work with our professional travel consultants at Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Mandeville Gibson said, since the supplier pays his business to book the trips.
“Travel agencies like ours book so many more trips so they need us to fill out their cruises, tours, or resorts,” he said. “That’s why they pay us to handle this. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to be the cheapest guy around—but we will guarantee you will not pay one penny more than if you called the supplier directly yourself. So, when you work with us, you get the best pricing and our consultants make sure to fit a trip to your budget. In addition, we provide a comfort level that guarantees you will get what you expect and that’s Priceless!
Marty is originally from Lucedale, Miss., graduating with an M.B.A. and becoming a paramedic in the early 80s, a job he worked for 25 years before being hired as the director of the Wound Care Center at St. Tammany Hospital in Covington. After five years there, he and his wife were ready to venture into their own business, finally deciding on an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise.
“We always loved to travel so it seemed like a perfect fit,” he said. “And we’ve both enjoyed working with people so the business has been great. We’ve grown every year since we started.”
Carla, a lifelong resident of St. Tammany who graduated from Covington High, still works full time as a respiratory therapist. The couple actually met in their work when he kept seeing her as he brought patients to the hospital. Married since 1994, they have two children and are now enjoying traveling more than ever.
“We really love travel and love putting together great trips for people,” he said. “You might be surprised how many people walk in here and ask us ‘where would be a good place to go for a special occasion?’
“Our business is growing every year thanks to repeat business coming back,” he added. “I think its clear people see the value in what we offer. We do all the research for the trip you want, saving you hours of time—then make sure you get the best value for your dollar.”
Expedia CruiseShipCenters is located at 2180 N. Causeway Blvd., St. 2 in Marigny Plaza shopping center on the service road (west side) between La. State Police office and Hwy 22 next to the Sprint store. You can call, click or come in for more information at 985-231-0177, www.cruiseshipcenters.com/Mandeville or stop by to see Marty, Carla, or connect with any of the 30 travel consultants that work with them.