Beaches and Sandals

Beaches and Sandals
Beaches All- Inclusive Resorts: My exclusive partners for family destination planning

Monday, October 20, 2014

Great Vacations - at no additional cost to you.

Life can be complicated. Vacation planning shouldn't be. Let me design great vacations for you and your family - at no additional cost to you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Traveler Review: 3 Night Bahamas Cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas

My husband and I recently took a 3 Night Cruise to Bahamas on the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. I asked him for his review: 

Returned today from the three night and was so impressed with this ship. Had a great cruise. The crew was so friendly and the cruise director staff so much fun. Overall I give the cruise an A. Some individual impressions:

Cabin - We had 3508 Oceanview (Forward Starboard). Very spacious and was impressed with all the storage space. The only negative and I imagine it is the same in all cabins is the extremely tight space in the shower. One false step, and you are taking a header towards the sink!! I am 6' 4" and had a very challenging time. Our cabin steward Mark was so attentive.

Dining - Mixed reviews depending on the venue. Most surprised by the Park Cafe. It was a great place for embarkation lunch (no crowds) and I loved the selection of salads, sandwiches and carved meat (although they never seemed to have the "famed" roast beef when I stopped by). Even great little breakfast sandwiches. 

Main Dining Room was excellent. 

First time on any ship for My Time Dining and was a little nervous on how it would work. I was surprised you could make reservations ahead of time for the whole cruise. So we had "unassigned late seating" at 7:30 each night - and one night moved it up to 6:30 based on that day;s events we wanted to attend. Had the best assistant waiters and bar waiters on any cruise. Food in Main Dining Room was overall very good. Usually the waiter's recommendations panned out except for the bay scallops which were tasteless morsels of rubber doused in butter. But had an amazing beef tenderloin dish the second night. The finest beef dish I have had on a cruise.

I'll be as kind as I can on the Windjammer buffet and the Coco Cay BBQ lunch. They are truly uninspired. For as much work and planning seems to go into the MDR and Park Cafe (and I assume Chops), the buffet lacks much creativity except for the small hidden station of Indian which more often than not was not replenished. Food quality wasn't terrible in Windjammer - but I could have closed my eyes and guessed what dishes were waiting for me: Lasagna, stroganoff, nachos. The food at Coco Cay was worse. Luke-warm ribs, chicken and burgers. Very little flavor. I wish they would have offered some sort of spicy BBQ sauce for those that like some flavor. Didn't ruin my day of course. 

Live Music - Lots of opportunities to see bands and performers. The NEXUS band was my favorite. They were usually in the Centrum most evenings.

 The lead singer has an amazing voice. We stayed one evening for the piano entertainer (Beau??) in Schooner Bar. He was talented but instead of singing real words to any songs he made them up. There also was a band that mainly played in Boleros which was excellent. 

The last night they were playing all sorts of different traditional dance songs (like Waltz and Tango) for this group that were very accomplished dancers. As an aside, this cruise I saw the most amazing dancing from passengers. Really inspiring me to take some classes. 

Other Entertainment - Marc Walker is an exceptional cruise director. Funny and informational at the appropriate times. His staff always looked like they were having fun.

 I don't know his name but the Entertainment Manager led a very infectious deck party which is now the most impressive deck party I have seen on a ship (Norwegian Star has led that category). The trivia contests were very challenging!!

Embarkation - Very smooth. Waited in a line for about 15 minutes before getting to the counter. One tip. If they suggest you go to the non-Crown and Anchor dedicated lines, they may be right. We went to the Platinum line and then saw people who were behind us in security boarding the ship. It seems this sailing has lots of repeat cruisers which made those lines loner. But I also heard the CD say there were over 1000 first-time cruisers. In any regard, the premium lines aren't always shorter.

Debarkation. Woke up at 7:15 to our arrival. Quickly packed our things, and we were out in the parking lot by 8:20 (skipped breakfast).

Overall, a wonderful cruise. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

For more pictures of the cruise, visit my facebook page:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Travel Tips

1.  If you arrive at the airport early, always check the departures board for delays or other flights to your destination. I just walked on a delayed flight that will get me in 2 hours early.

2. When leaving on a trip - most people remember to adjust their thermostat, but you may also want to turn off or turn down your water heater depending on the type you have. No sense continually heating water you aren't going to use.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spotlight on: Secrets Cozumel

 I love Cozumel. It's a small island off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It has a fun downtown, ruins and a lot of fun beach bars on the "wild" side of the island. A great all-inclusive adults only option for people looking for peace and quiet is the Secrets Cozumel resort. 

Secrets Cozumel 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's Talk About Destination Weddings

One big decision you have to make when you decide to have a destination wedding is whether you are going to have a cultural ceremony or a legal ceremony. 

You can have a religious, non-religious or civil ceremony. For instance, Sandals Montego Bay has a chapel you can rent for only $200 to have a more traditional ceremony. 

The other considerations are the legal requirements to get married. Most Caribbean islands have residency requirements, state mandated fees and documentation requirements you must meet prior to your ceremony. Some countries even require a blood test. 

Wedding Documentation Requirements – These can vary, but in general, you should be prepared to provide these documents at least 60 days in advance. 

  • Must be received 60 days in advance 
  • Original state issued birth certificates
  • All pages of all court certified final divorce decrees if applicable 
  • State issued death certificates with related marriage certificates 

Residency Requirements – You must be in the country for a specific period of time before your ceremony. 

  • Jamaica: 48 hours including weekends and holidays 
  • Bahamas: 48 hours not including weekends and holidays. 
  • Antigua: 48 hours must include 1 business day, does not include holidays, No Sunday weddings 
  • St Lucia: 72 hours and does not include weekends or holidays. No Sunday weddings  Sandals offers an Express Wedding Option for $150 
  • Turks and Caicos: 48 hours, not including day of arrival, weekend or holiday 
  • Grenada – 72 hours prior to apply for license then another 3 days to get the license  Sandals offers an Express Wedding Option for $190 
  • Barbados – 48 hours not including weekends and public holidays 

As a travel agent, I can help you navigate these legal requirements to make sure your destination wedding is amazing…..and legally binding. Email me at to start planning! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update on the impact of Hurricane Odile on Cabo San Lucas

After Hurricane Odile slammed into the Los Cabos as a Category Three, much of the area is in catastrophic disarray. Below is what you need to know about Los Cabos, the resorts, and guest relations.
-The airport is still closed, and no official announcement as to when it will reopen has been issued.
- Many Hotels are impossible to get or exit due to water level being very high, and it is very dangerous to try with a regular vehicle.
- Regular electricity is off completely, and hotels are running on generators where possible.
- Secrets Puerto Los Cabos, Secrets Marquis, Dreams Los Cabos and Zoetry Casa del Mar report all clients are safe and sound on property, and their executive teams are accessing the property damage.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spotlight on: Over water Bungalows

French Polynesia has a lot of options when it comes to the coveted over water bungalows, but not all over water bungalows are exactly the same. 
For instance, some bungalows are on a 3 foot lagoon made specifically to house bungalows. Others are in deeper ocean water where you can jump in, snorkel or kayak from your own dock. 

Here’s a peak at some great over water bungalow options: 
1. Le Meridian Tahiti – This property has some of the largest water windows in the bungalows as you can see from the picture. It’s also has the advantage of being in Papeete- close to the airport. Because of the flight schedules, most visitors have to overnight in Papeete either on their arrival into Tahiti or upon their departure.  It’s also a great fit for a couple where one partner wants the seclusion and luxury of the over water bungalow, but the other partner wants access to other excursions on the Tahiti mainland. 

Le Meridian Tahiti 

2. Le Meridian Bora Bora – The bungalows here are situated on a lagoon. The hotel houses a turtle rehabilitation program where you can schedule a time to swim with the turtles.  All non-motorized sports are included. Breakfast is included.  
Le Meridian Bora Bora 

Le Meridian Bora Bora 

3. LE TAHA’A Island Resort and Spa  - This resort provides a different, more authentic experience than some of the other luxury resorts.  You get to the resort, you take a 35 minute flight from Tahiti then 35 minute boat ride.  The resort is not on the island of Taha’a, but 85% of the staff are from there. The over water suites are 970 square feet with a large wrap around deck and access to a 4-6 foot deep lagoon. The resort has three restaurants and breakfast is included. Vanilla is an incredible restaurant suspended among the trees.  An underwater coral garden near the resort offers great snorkeling. 

Le Taha'a Resort 

Le Taha'a Resort 

4. Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa – This beautiful resort in Rangiora, French Polynesia has some great bungalow options: a beach front bungalow, a completely private bungalow with private plunge pool, and an over water bungalow.  

Hotel Kia Ora beach front bungalow 

Hotel Kia Ora Private One Bedroom Villa with Plunge Pool  
Hotel Kia Ora Over Water Bungalow 

All photos are courtesy of the resorts. 

To start planning your amazing French Polynesian getaway, email me at