Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone. I just wanted to take a couple minutes to wish you all well today. Hopefully you were able to do exactly what you want on this day of remembrance.

We will be back with our regularly scheduled travel topics again on Wednesday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

All Inclusive: Value or Not


This post will cover reasons why all inclusive resorts get so much play and what we feel is the real value of them.

As with everything these days, sometimes "all inclusive" does not really mean all. There can be tipping, drink upgrades, excursions, and other add-ons that add to the cost. This is true of just about every one I can think of at least partially. This is especially true of the mass market cruise lines that will sometimes think of themselves as an all inclusive vacation.

What I like about all inclusive resorts is the convenience of it all. I like that you can walk around without needing your wallet. You can feel free to try new drinks or foods without worrying about not likely an over priced drink or meal. With some resorts like Sandals and Beaches you have access to non motorized water sports including diving. You can try a sea kayak and see what you think before paying $100 per person on a cruise excursion.

You do pay a premium of course to be in an all inclusive. And this can sometimes be very steep. You have to decide if the added values are a real value for you. Your travel agent can help you decide this. Are you not a drinker? Likely the added cost of an all inclusive resort will not be of benefit to you. Do you just want to relax on the beach? You could possibly find other resorts to fit. These are examples of reasons to possibly look elsewhere.

Remember. The more information you give to your travel agent, the better they can do their job and pairing you up to your dream vacation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Getaways: Turks and Caicos


Providenciales (PLS) in Turks and Caicos is a great getaway from the New York area. Just a 3.5 hour flight from JFK on American and others you can easily escape for a short weekend or a couple weeks.

The majority of the resorts are along Grace Bay. To me Grace Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to. It has a break water out off the shore that means most of the waves hitting the beach are calm, a foot or two at most. This allows you to just enjoy being in the water and relax as time slows.

There are three all inclusive hotels on the island and several others that are worth a visit as well. Beaches Turks and Caicos is a favorite of ours. As a Sandals property it is everything you expect from them except that children and singles are included here. All non motorized water sports are included. Even diving is included in the cost of your stay. This can make the property feel expensive at booking but when you're there and able to do anything you want it is a nice value.

Of the non-all-inclusive hotels the Sands is one of our favorites. They have several levels of rooms and most include a kitchen. There is an IGA on the island for your grocery needs if you decide you must cook your own food. The restaurant on site at the Sands, Hemingway's, is one we usually walk to and pay to eat in even when staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts.

For what can be considered the best Daiquiri we've ever enjoyed anywhere, The Grace Bay Club is the place to go. There you'll find the longest infinity bar and their drinks are quite good.

You can find many pics of Provo on our facebook page.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Night on NCL Gem


That's right all. We're having another one night party on an NCL ship out of NYC. This time it will be NCL Gem on January 28, 2012. This past year's event on the Jewel was a wonderful time with a mix of friends, family, drinks and fun.

If you are looking for something different to do for a Saturday night this is what you're looking for. Being on the ship no one has to drive. No one needs to worry about getting their friend a taxi. You don't even have to decide what you want for dinner as you will have many options and can try them all through the evening.

On board entertainment will include a show in the theatre, music and comedy in various lounges and of course the casino will be open.

The ship will leave NYC about 4pm on Saturday and get back in about 7am Sunday. You can usually board about noon Saturday and they won't kick you off until after 9am Sunday so it gives you a chance to check out the ship thoroughly.

One of the real benefits of taking this cruise is that you never technically leave the United States. This means you can purchase unlimited amounts of duty free liquor as long as you can carry it off. Do be aware you can not consume what you purchase on board the ship. You will come and collect it once we dock Sunday morning.

So get your friends and come join us for this unique event.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Disney Magic 2012

As many have already heard in May of 2012 Disney Magic will be making New York City its home port for the summer. This is great news for Disney fans throughout the Northeast and even the world with NYC as a great gateway port.

They will be running three different itineraries. They will be two night trips to nowhere, five night trips to Canada and New England and then eight night trips to Florida and the Bahamas.

While offering three of the two night trips during summer 2012 Disney Magic will run out into the Atlantic and spend a day at sea before coming back. All of these will operate on a Friday through Sunday schedule. The dates are June 15, July 13 and August 10. These little cruises do a few things for the average traveler. You get to try out Disney Cruise Lines on a cheaper and shorter cruise before investing in going down to Florida for other cruises. You also should earn past cruiser credit after having taken one of these. This allows you to be open for special pricing, on board benefits and other extras starting with your second DCL cruise. And of course you can simply get away for a long weekend and enjoy being out to sea with your friends and family.

The five night cruises will be heading from NYC up the east coast Halifax and Saint John in Eastern Canada. Most of these sailings will operate on a Sunday to Friday schedule while having sea days surrounding the two port visits in the middle. In September one will operate Wednesday to Monday and another will go from Friday to Wednesday.

The star of the schedule though is the eight night cruises. These will operate Friday to Saturday on May 25, June 22, July 20 and August 27 while operating Saturday through Sunday on June 2 and 30 and July 28 and August 25. You will take two sea days after leaving NYC to get to your first port of call, Nassau Bahamas. Here you can take a day to explore Atlantis Hotel and Casino, shop the straw market, get a drink with friends or even spend a day on the beach. The following day you will be taken to Disney's private island Castaway Cay. As will all things DCL, you have three distinct sections of the island. One for families, one for children and one for adults only. Here you can snorkel, enjoy the beach, or even get to see The Flying Dutchman from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that is anchored at the island. Sadly you are not allowed to get on board. As if that isn't enough for you on this eight night cruise you will then be taken to Port Canaveral Florida where you will be put on a Disney Bus and taken to Walt Disney World for the day with a park hopper admission ticket all included in your cruise fare.

Please feel free to ask for more details and pricing as these cruises are selling out quickly.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cruise Moments


Today I wanted to share some inspiration for your cruises. This is one of my favorite moments on a cruise where at that moment there was no where else that could have been as nice.

We had taken a 9 night Thanksgiving cruise on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. This included 4 sea days and 4 ports. Labadee Haiti, Semana DR, San Juan PR, and Charlotte Amalie St Thomas. It was our first time being in all of these places and we were looking forward to being away alone for Thanksgiving.

Well things do not go according to plan always. Two of our ports were washed out due to weather and they were able to get us into Grand Turk on Thanksgiving day. Grand Turk is a Carnival owned cruise port and typically only a stop for Carnival owned cruise lines. This meant we were going somewhere special. And special is would become.

To get into Grand Turk you have to swing around the north east corner of the island and come back down to the south west end on the west side of the island. This means you'll be within view of the island for a good hour while getting to the pier. Yes that is one of the benefits of Grand Turk. You come in to a pier.


On Explorer of the Seas, or really any of Royal's Voyager Class ships, you can sit on the pool deck but still be undercover from the sun. Every other window opens to let in fresh air and a breeze and the beach chairs are quite comfortable. Add in being alone with someone you love and a couple of frozen drinks and life truly doesn't get any better. You can truly enjoy relaxing and watching the world slowly pass by while still filled with anticipation for the new and exciting. Little did Liz know how new and exciting Grand Turk would be.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 2011; A Redesign

Well the blog has been let go for far too long. With a new summer cruise season upon us we've decided to update the entire look around here. This site will be under construction for most of the next month as we continue to build and improve content. You can see the format of upcoming pages in the nav bar. We hope to link to our recommended gear, books and clothes for better travel. We also plan to better integrate our Twitter, Facebook, and Blog/Website.

So be sure to swing by our facebook, give us a like and check back as the updates come in.
 

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