4 Common Myths About Cruises

For a lot of people, cruises aren’t exactly their go-to holiday. That’s why for most of us, everything we know is second-hand and hearsay. I’m here to set the record straight on a few things I hear folks say that are keeping them from trying what could be the best holiday of their lives.

They’re Expensive

It’s true that cruises can be costly—this is what keeps a lot of people from trying them—but they don’t always have to be. You can get great deals on trips with all kinds of destinations if you’re willing to be flexible, because cruise companies offer deals on late bookings. Any profit they can make is better than an empty cabin, after all. You can easily find lots of deals like this on Bolsover Cruise Club.

You’ll Get Seasick

If you get motion sick at sea, it’s all down to the way the waves jostle the boat, and this scales down the larger a ship is. It’s easy for the ocean to toss a little dinghy this way and that, but in larger boats you’ll notice it less and less. Well, you’re average cruise ship is bleeding enormous! We’re talking mind-bogglingly big, so even if you can’t stomach being in a car or on a place, you’ll usually be fine on a cruise liner.

They’re Overcrowded and Claustrophobic

Like I said, these boats are big, and they don’t use all that space for golf courses and climbing walls. In my experience, cabins on cruise ships are spacious and comfortable. There’s not much to the rumours of crowding either—though there are a few popular spots, of course—but if that’s a concern there are always more intimate experiences available on smaller river cruise ships. These can also be a little cheaper, so they make for a worthwhile option for any traveller.

They’re ‘Do Nothing’ Holidays

If you just want to kick back and relax in the sun, cruises have you covered, but that’s not all they offer. Cruise ships come loaded with all sorts of amenities from sports equipment to cinemas, and a lot of it is available to use for free, so if you like to keep mind and body active you’ll find it almost impossible to be bored while you’re aboard.

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7 Green Canadian Scholarships to Apply For

Wouldn’t it be great to save money in college while also proving to the world how environmentally conscience you are? Well, you can by applying to green scholarships! The aim of these awards are to promote eco-friendly practices to the next generation so that our planet will stay safe and healthy for the foreseeable future. If you’re a Canadian citizen who’d like to reduce educational costs while also increasing your environmental activity, below are 7 earth-friendly scholarships from various companies and organizations.

The Brower Youth Awards

This scholarship is open to youth between the ages of 13 and 22 living either in Mexico, Canada or the United States. Each year six winners will be awarded a $3,000 cash prize in addition to a week long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in camping, media engagements and environmental conferences. The Brower Youth Awards wish to encourage students to either engage in sustainability projects, offer environmental analysis or earth-friendly ideas to help make the world a better place. The deadline is May 18.

Gaspard Keep Canada Green Online Scholarship Contest

Gaspard, the maker of academic regalia, is offering 11 scholarships to eligible students; one worth $2,500 and the rest $1,000. All you have to do is complete a series of online trivia questions found on the site www.keepcanadagreencontest.ca. The trivia questions are all based on the environment and are meant to be educational and fun. The deadline is April 10.

The Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund

Provided through Paddle Canada and running since 1990, the Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund will award $1,000 to help lower the educational costs of “tomorrow’s environmental stewards”. There’s no official application form to submit, rather, you must provide a cover letter and confirmation of eligibility in addition to answering six questions that must be mailed to the organization (side note: if you want to remain a good environmental steward, there’s eco-friendly printing paper offered from various companies that use recycled material). The deadline is September 30.

Canadian Youth Environmental Leadership Scholarship

Cenovus Energy, a Canadian oil and natural gas company, will award a $5,000 scholarship to two Canadian students with at least 2 years of undergraduate study completed. In addition to the monetary award, the scholarship also allows the opportunity for paid summer employment, mentor-ship and invitations to annual gatherings with stipends.

Air & Waste Management Association Scholarships

This organization offers a number of scholarships per year to students pursuing earth friendly careers. You’ll find international scholarships as well as local and chapter scholarships available. Also, in addition to winning funds for school, you’ll also be featured in EM magazine for environmental managers if selected.

Apprentice Ecologist Initiative

The Nicodemus Wilderness Project sponsors this scholarship worth $850. To be considered you must create an environmental stewardship project (something that benefits the environment like reforestation or a recycling operation), take photos of your activities, write an essay and upload that onto the website. The deadline is December 31.

Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships

Annie’s is a company that provides organic foods (no GMOs, synthetic preservatives, pesticides, etc) promoting a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle in the US and Canada. They offer annual scholarships with two award amounts: $2,500 and $10,000 each that can definitely help lower the cost of college expenses. They believe in being transparent with their earth-friendly business and so offer sustainability reports every year to prove they’re good environmental stewards.

 

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Point of Sale Systems and The Growing Market in Canada

Walking into one of the huge shopping outlets of today, like Wal-Mart, Auchan, or even COOP, you can see just how the retail industry has changed over the years in Canada. The days of making payments in cash only and waiting for your turn at the cash register are dying. And small businesses are growing rapidly thanks to current technology.

Customers are no longer carrying cash very often on their regular shopping trips, and they can be even more impatient if they have to wait in line to pay. Today, shopping in a supermarket can be a lot more entertaining compared to the past. The way today’s transactions are completed is a wonder. With plastic credit and debit cards and options like Touch-n-Go, quick, simple electronic payments are taking over.

Using technologies like NFC and RFID, even a credit card is not a necessity nowadays. Cell phones can provide easy swipe activated payment methods. According to Statista, mobile payment usage among global smartphone users was at 29 percent as of January 2013.

The Market Today

Giants in the industry are going head-to-head to come up with some of new and innovative ideas to attract more customers. Services such as Shopify are allowing business owners the ability to track all aspects of store performance right from an iPad. Freedom of this kind doesn’t just make the work easier, it also helps get the right product in the right place at the right time.

The total number of credit card transactions in the Canada alone totaled 26.2 billion in 2012, as stated by a 2013 Study. It is no wonder that payment processing partners like VISA and MasterCard are developing advanced payment systems and are working on ways to eliminate the very need to carry a wallet. The power of NFC (Near Field Communication) allows customers to access bank details right from their phone while getting the payment done with, and all the while taking care that the lines are secured for payment.

There is constant development and investment going into every single element of POS terminals. Information input and cloud integration are constantly being updated and improved. RFID systems today are able to calculate the worth of a cart before the customer even reaches the checkout counter. That is the kind of innovation you are getting to see.

The Elements of POS

In considering a Point of Sale system, you should know some of the various hardware elements. There are:

  • Touch screens or keyboards for input
  • Card Readers
  • Barcode Scanners
  • Receipt Printers
  • Cash drawers
  • RFID/NFC readers

This list is not exhaustive. A number of other add-ons exist in the market to help both you and your customer. An efficient POS system will not only speed up the entire billing process and make the work of the salesperson easier, it can also help you keep an eye on your inventory and sales history with live updates.

The changing economic system

Markets in Canada today have become much more competitive than they ever were. Prices are being set in the most competitive environments and the customer has a host of choices when it comes to picking their prefered shopping location. It is imperative that you do all you can to offer customers a unique and engaging shopping experience.

Some of the best names in the market are not only working on personalized service to repeat customers, but also on developing innovations in the realm of rewards and customer retention. From faster deliveries to free upgrades, shopping has never been this unique.

POS systems have provided innovations that have revolutionized the way payments are processed, the way customers purchase their items, and the way businesses are managed. With the need for cash and card diminished, there is a whole new world of possibilities available. With features like loyalty programs allowing customers to gather points for purchases and pay up using those accumulated points, there are a lot of options for businesses to reward and attract customers.

Massive investments are being made in the field of POS terminals in hopes of further improving the various capabilities of POS systems. The use of technologies like QR codes, NFC, and RFID has sped up the checkout process tremendously. Today, customers find themselves waiting in the queue for much less time than ever before . With the current rate of technological development, it might be that the time of fully automate POS systems is fast approaching. Perhaps some day in the near future, grocery stores and retail outlets will no longer have need of cashiers and customers can come and go as they please with automated digital wallets interfacing with the POS system for payment.

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