Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spotlight on: El Dorado Maroma

El Dorado Maroma is an adults-only all-inclusive resorts at on the beautiful Maroma Beach south of Cancun, Mexico. It's vibe is laid-back and quiet. This is a great resort if you are looking for a gorgeous Beach with fantastic suite options.
Maroma Beach

It's also close to Maroma Adventures so you have easy access to tons of activities including camel rides, catamaran snorkeling trips, ATV trips, and dolphin swims.


Butler Beach services available.

The Landscaping is Lush and tropical.

The resort has five restaurants: Caribbean Grill Mexican cuisine, Kiyoko Asian cuisine, Lima Limon Peruvian cuisine, Mio Cucina Italiana Italian cuisine, and Sabores Caribbean cuisine.
They do not require reservations except for Lima Limon. You can have a la carte meals for breakfast lunch and dinner.

For groups, a gorgeous 5 bedrooms villa with two presidential Suites, 2 rooms with 2 beds, and a room with a king bed. The rooms on the upper level have infinity pool balconies.

For couples, the one bedroom presidential beachfront villa is a beachfront two story villa with a private plunge pool.

One Bedroom Presidential Beachfront Villa

For a nighttime activities, Rick's bar is open from 6 p.m. till 2 a.m. The resort is pretty quiet in the evening overall. There's an evening show at the main floor on the beach.

Another category of rooms is Mi hotelito.
These are closest to the beach, but have no jacuzzi.
Mi Hotelito

The resort also houses Palafitos- overwater Bungalows.

There's one restaurant on the pier for only the people in these special suites and an exclusive over water spa.

If you think this may be a great option for your next vacation, email me or set up a time to chat.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Did You Know? Special events at vacation locations

One question I often hear is "When is the best time to go?"

"Best" can many definitions here:
- Best weather
- Best value

Or what we talking about today: best special events!

Cruises, all-inclusive resorts and vacation locations have all types of special events that can add so much fun to your vacation.

The El Dorado Royale adults-only all-inclusive resort in Mexico has a Jackson Family Wine Series the first week of every month and a Canadian Beef series the second week of each month. The series includes special wine and food events.

Beach Barbeque as part of Canadian Beef Series at El Dorado Royale

The Hard Rock and Palace all-inclusive resorts have events that include music artists or special shows. For example, Moon Palace will host a new Cirque du Soleil show from December 22nd to January 3rd.

Carnival Cruise Line launched its Carnival Live! series where musicians and comedians come aboard special sailings. You could see Jeff Foxworthy, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Sam Hunt, or Jay Leno plus many more.

The city you are visiting may also have a big even you'd enjoy: food festivals, sporting events, craft beer festivals, or special themed cruise sailings.

Based on your hobbies, we can find a great vacation option.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spotlight on: El Dorado Seaside Suites

El Dorado Seaside Suites is a small adults-only all-inclusive resort 90 minutes south of the Cancun airport in between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. This resort is great for couples who love a swim up suite with a great view that want to be close to all the activities Playa del Carmen and Tulum have to offer.

The resort has a hundred and ninety-two Suites that face the ocean. Because this resort shares restaurants and amenities with the resort next door, it feels more spread out. Of the restaurants available, only one requires reservations.

Klay Talay - Wok Cuisine
Seaside Market - World Cuisine
Driftwood Gourmet and BBQ Corner - This is the restaurant under the pool close to the beach and the pool

Mi Casa - Italian Cuisine

The resort is set up so every room is a swim-up suite. You either have an infinity pool balcony or a swim up suite that enters into the main pool. Butler Service is available on the beach and bali beds are  first come first serve.

The resort houses the largest spa of any of the Karisma resorts.

It has a hydrotherapy pool, hot and cold pools, a mud room and an ice room. You get access to the water area of the spa included with any treatment or you can purchase a day pass for $25.

As for activities, kayaks and a snorkel tours are available from the adjoining resort.  You can also reserve time on the tennis court. A disco with the live music is open until 2 a.m.

The resort is geared towards couples. If you were traveling with a group,  three sets of three connecting rooms are available on the fourth floor. It's by request only and is not guaranteed.  There's also one room with two double beds per floor.

Mezcal is the signature drink.

It's a tequila that has been cooked underground for 2 to 3 days with a very smoky taste.

If you think El Dorado Seaside Suites may be a good fit for your vacation, email me or set up a time to chat.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tips for a Disney Cruise

Check in online for the cruise and sign up for the Youth Club through www.disneycruiseline.com. The sign up for the Youth Club is on the Reservations page under details. Be sure to print and bring your boarding pass.

Once you have completed your cruise check in, you can sign up for shore excursions and other on board activities according to the following schedule if you are paid in full:
  • 125 days in advance: Concierge Guests
  • 120 days in advance: Platinum level in Castaway Club (At least 11 cruises)
  • 105 days in advance: Gold level in Castaway Club  (6th - 10th cruise)
  • 90 days in advance:   Silver Level in Castaway Club (2nd - 5th cruise)
  • 75 days in advance:   First time cruises

Complete the Health Questionnaire - one per cabin..

Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App to your smart phone. . The Disney Cruise Line Navigator App will give you access to the schedules once onboard.

Complete the attached Health Questionnaire - one per cabin. The attached document is the updated version as of May 2015. They may be using a different version now, but I think it doesn't hurt to have it completed and printed.

If you are traveling with minor without his/her legal guardians, you will need additional minor authorization forms.

Packing ideas:
  • Pirate Night Attire. You will have one pirate themed night on the cruise.
  • Cruise Casual Attire for dinner: No swimsuits or tank tops
  • Dress Up Attire for dinner: Jacket for Men and Dress/Pantsuit for Women
  • If dining at Palo, men must wear a collared shirt and dress pants. Dress/Pantsuit for Women
  • If dining at Remy, men must wear a collared shirt, dress pants, and a jacket. Dress/Pantsuit for Women
  • Lanyard to carry your card
For packing lists by destination, click here.

Boarding the Ship

You can line up for boarding as early as 11:00 am. Once you pass through security at the cruise terminal, you can head to up the escalator where you will be directed to a counter to check in. You will board the ship according to the port arrival time you choose when you checked in. For example, if you chose a port arrival time of 2 pm and you arrive at 11:00 am, you should be prepared to wait until 2 pm to board.
Disney Cruise Line Guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port-of-call. The alcohol must be brought on in the carry-on.

Guests wishing to consume wine or champagne that they have brought on board in one of the dining rooms will be charged a corking fee of $25.00 per bottle.

After checking in, head across the terminal to the Youth Club check in. You still need to check in here even if you sign up online. You will complete the final paperwork and get a Magic Band. This Magic Band has to be returned at the end of the cruise or you will be charged for it.

Once On Board

You can head to the buffet or one of the open restaurants for lunch. You may want to head directly to Guest Services to secure tickets for the princess meet and greets.

Additional things to check out:
  • Any specialty dining reservations. I can also arrange these for you in advance.
  • Rainforest Room Passes - This is a special adults only section of the spa with steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and heated loungers.
  • Visit the Kids’ Club Open House. This will be the only chance for the adults to walk through the club.
  • You can buy souvenir cups for the drink of the day or beer. This gives you the larger size refill at the regular price.
  • Pay attention to the cruise navigator for show times, character meet and greets, and important port information.

Keeping In Touch While On Board
Inside your cabin, you’ll find WAVE phones. These will work like cell phones while you are on the ship.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Spotlight on: Azul Sensatori

Azul Sensatori is a large all-inclusive family resort about 20 minutes from the Cancun Airport. It has 435 suites divided into four sections: Family, Luxury, Premium, and Adults Only.  It's a great option for family groups with different budgets and priorities. It has lots of family friendly activities and gourmet food.

The beach is nice and not too rocky. Food and drinks are close to the beach in the family section. Beach service is very spotty in all the sections except for Premium. Bali beds are first-come first-served except for the Premium section where they can be reserved one day in advance.

The resort has six restaurants plus a special restaurant called the Le Chique which features Molecular Gastronomy Cuisine. The restaurant offers a  $25 per person abbreviated  menu for resort guests or the full 20 to 25 course menu available for $110 per person. 

Le Chique

The resort also offers a character breakfast for $29 per adult or $17 per child with Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A la carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner is available.

The signature bar and drink is mojito/  I tried to a strawberry mojito and it was delicious.

Kids' Activities

Under 4 years old can access the kids club between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. with an adult or nanny. Nanny services are available for $20 per hour for up to two kids.

The kids club for 4 - 12 year olds is available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. There's also a Teens Club 13 to 17 year olds. The kids club has a toy lending program if you want to have toys in your room.

In the evenings, the lobby has live music and an open-air theater has an evening show.

One of the most popular is the Nickelodeon orange carpet.

Mojito's turns into a disco late at night.

For other activities,  you can play tennis or try archery. The spa offers the Water Journeys included with treatment or $35for a  day pass.

The spa have a large room were three to four friends can access spa services at the same time.

If you think this resort may be a good fit for your family, email me or set up a time to chat.

Remember - my vacation planning services are free if you book your vacation through me. I can save you time and money as I find the best options for your family.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Generations Riviera Maya 2016

I just returned from a 4 night stay at Generations Riviera Maya about 35 south of the Cancun, Mexico airport. Join me on my extensive 30 minute tour of the resort.

A few things stood out to me about this resort:

  • The Swim Up Suites are fantastic. If you are on the ground floor, you swim out right into the main pool. If you are on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floor, you have access to an infinity that stretches the length of the balcony.
  • It's great for large family groups or groups of friends. It offers a three bedroom suite options that is a one bedroom suite connected to a room with 2 double beds next to a room with a king bed. All three rooms have a sleeper sofa that could fit three children under 12. It's rate at an all-inclusive resort to get rooms that guaranteed to be together.
  • It's a great options for friends who don't all have kids. The resort is next to two adults only resorts. The Kids' Club is open until 11 pm so the adults can enjoy the restaurants and bars over there. This provides a great compromise for parents who want to bring their kids, but also want some grown up time.
  • The food is gourmet. They do have kids' options, but this resort's focus is on gourmet food. The plates are small. You can always order more, but you won't find a large steak anywhere on the property.
  • It's loud and quiet. Because the resort is to compact you can hear a lot of what happens at the pool in your room - especially in buildings 18 and 19. You can also hear the evening show since it takes place right by the pool. The good news is that things tend to wind down by 10 or 11 pm so it's very quiet at the resort after the evening show.
  • The beach is a little rocky and narrow. There are large concrete blocks in the water to break the surf. These will eventually sink to become an artificial reef. I really like the sound of the waves crashing from my room.
If you think this may be a good fit for your family, email me. 

Currently, there's a promotion for a free Dolphin Experience. Plus you'll get a free private transfer if you book with me by August 31st.  

What's the difference between a Disney Cruise and a trip to Walt Disney World?