Friday, December 19, 2014

Spotlight on Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando

I recently stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando.  The Hard Rock is located a short 5 - 7 minute walk from Universal Studios Orlando. It has a large pool, fitness center, Spa, and several room categories depending on large your group is. 

We went the weekend of December 12th. The good thing about this weekend was that the Parks were not very busy. When you stay at the Hard Rock - you get an Unlimited Express Pass to both Parks included with your room.  This pass allows you to bypass the regular lines at participating attractions at both Universal Studios Florida AND Islands of Adventure theme parks. The Pass does not work in the Harry Potter worlds, but we were shocked that both of the major Harry Potter attractions had wait lines of less than 45 minutes on Saturday morning.  

The down side of this weekend is that a lot of restaurants are closed for private functions plus the Parks closed at 7 pm each night, but we saw the roller coasters still running so we assumed they closed early for private functions as well. Margaritaville and the Rising Star karaoke venue were both closed. At the Hard Rock, when we checked in Friday afternoon, a corporate Christmas was in full effect in the Hotel lobby. The Velvet Bar was closed both nights for private functions. We were able to get reservations at the Palm and enjoyed a night cap at The Kitchen. Both restaurants do a great job with food and service. We were surprised by a Minion at The Kitchen so that was a lot of fun. 

Accommodations - We had a King Club Level Room. The Club Level provides some additional benefits. The biggest benefit we enjoyed was the Club Lounge. The Lounge offers continental breakfast with mimosas, snacks throughout the day, an evening happy hour and a dessert bar. We took advantage of the breakfast, happy hour and dessert and were impressed. The happy hour includes wine and beer and hot appetizers. Our room was on the same level as the Club Lounge so it was nice to have breakfast without having to wander through the resort. The Lounge was also a nice place for my husband to wait for me to finish getting ready for dinner.  The other benefits of the Club Level are a daily pass to the Fitness Center which has steam rooms and saunas in the locker room (a $10 per person per day value), evening turn down service, reduced rates on the cabanas and access to a special Concierge. 

The Pool - The zero entry pool is large with a water slide and water fountains for the little kids. The chairs are not as comfortable as those at Portofino, but we found the Beach Club restaurant to be nicer. Portions of the pool area have sand so you can relax on a chair "on the beach" or play beach volleyball. 

The Service - We found everyone to be very helpful and attentive from the Front Desk to the restaurants to our housekeeper. 

The Parks - As I said before - we were surprised the Parks were so quiet. We had a lot of fun at the Blue Brothers Christmas Show, the Grinchmas show, and the Macy's parade plus all the balloons around Universal Studios are great!  

If you'd like to explore Universal Studios - please email me at 

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spotlight on: Sandals La Source Grenada

Sandals La Source Grenada is an adults only luxury all-inclusive resort in Grenada. 

Grenada is known as the "Island of Spice". The island offers beaches, rainforest and even mountain lakes. It's a volcanic island so some of the coast line is rocky.  

Sandals is located on Pink Gin Beach in St Georges - on a 5 minute ride from the airport. 

This resort has the newest, most innovative suites. Skypool suites offer plunge pool on your balcony. Rondoval suites offer a completely private luxury experience. 

Check out some of my pictures from a recent visit. 

I love planning all-inclusive vacations. Click here to request my Top 10 Considerations when choosing an all-inclusive resort for free.  

If I can help you plan an all-inclusive vacation,  please let me know. 

Remember - my services are free to you! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Travel

Flying  during the holidays can be very stressful. 

Here's some ways to prepare to help alleviate that stress: 

1. Plan for bad weather delays.   I avoid the last flight of the day and prefer the first flight in the morning. I also check to see what other flights may be available or other routes I could take. 

2. Leave extra time. During the holidays, a lot of people who don't normally travel are traveling.  This means check points at airports get congested. Even if it's never crowded - get there early. 

3. Think about your presents and the presents you may get. If you are giving or getting some liquids over three ounces - you'll need to check your bag. Depending on the value of the item, paying for a checked bag may cost more than the item is worth. Consider shipping your presents or having your items shipped back to you. 

4. Be Kind. It will go a long way. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Spotlight on: Sandals Emerald Bay, Exumas, Bahamas

Sandals Emerald Bay is located in the beautiful Exumas Islands of the Bahamas.  Over three hundred tiny islets and cays compromise the Exumas offering diving, fishing and yachting.  These islands are located 130 miles south east of Nassau, Bahamas. Nonstop flights are available from Atlanta or Miami. You fly into Georgetown International Airport. 

Sandals Emerald Bay is located on 500 tropical acres that includes a mile long beach, three pools include a zero entry pool, a 16,000 sq. Red Lane Spa  and a championship 18 hole, 72 par Greg Norman designed course with six oceanfront holes.   This resort was designed for quiet relaxation and luxury. 

After a day on the gorgeous beach or in the Caribbean’s largest zero entry pool, you can choose from one of seven resort restaurants or return to your seaside villa for an in-suite dining experience prepared by your butler. 

I loved the authentic touches like the Island-Style Stone Oven baking fruit flavored bread. Don’t miss the guava!  

Check out my photos from my visit: 

Dress Code
Resort casual by day, resort elegant by night. So while the sun is up, your shorts, tank tops, swim suits, short-sleeved shirts, sundresses and light slacks are the perfect attire. As the sun sets and you set out to enjoy the evening, proper attire is required (although elegant dress shorts are permitted in some restaurants).

Scuba Diving
Top-of-the-line equipment for scuba diving is included for certified divers; however, you're welcome to bring your own. You must remember your diver certification cards to enjoy full diving privileges. If you have any contra-indications to diving you must have a doctor complete and sign the physician section on the medical questionnaire form before you will be allowed to dive at any of our resorts.

Tips and Gratuities
Tips and gratuities are strictly prohibited for all staff except personal Butlers & Spa Therapists. In the event you wish to tip your Butler or Spa Therapist, it will be greatly appreciated but under no circumstance will a tip be required or solicited.

If you are looking for a place to get away from it all in quiet luxury on a gorgeous beach, then this resort may be for you. Contact me at to learn more. 

I love planning all-inclusive vacations. Click here to request my Top 10 Considerations when choosing an all-inclusive resort for free.  

If I can help you plan an all-inclusive vacation,  please let me know. 

Remember - my services are free to you! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spotlight on: Beaches Turks and Caicos

I had a wonderful time during a site inspection at Beaches Turks and Caicos. I was very impressed with the 19 dining options, the gorgeous beach and the great pools. Even though this is a family resort, I could very easily see my husband and I really enjoying a vacation there. 

For the families, the amenities are amazing: kids' clubs for all ages, a water park including a lazy river, great shows, and suites from those that include bunk beds up to  4 bedroom villas to accommodate the extended family. 

While I was there, I also had a chance to interview the Chef in charge of accommodating guests with food allergies. I was really impressed with their program. Guests meet with Chef Marlene to go over their meals and she makes sure all the restaurants have the proper items for when the guest arrives. Because Beaches restaurants all use different kitchens, many allergies can be accommodated. Here's the interview: 

I love planning all-inclusive vacations. Click here to request my Top 10 Considerations when choosing an all-inclusive resort for free.  

If I can help you plan an all-inclusive vacation,  please let me know. 

Remember - my services are free to you! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Best Solo Vacation I ever had!

Cindy wanted a way to celebrate her 40th birthday solo! We picked a cruise on the Norwegian Getaway because it offered studio cabins, lots of activities, and a mix of pampering, fun, and great ports to visit. 

"Best solo vacation I have ever had….

The Norwegian Getaway set an entirely new standard for luxury and service.  Upon arrival I found my cabin colorfully decorated complete with a birthday cake.  The ship was truly a destination in itself.  The food was amazing and the entertainment possibilities were endless.  I enjoyed all of the islands, but St. Maarten, was by far the friendliest and most picturesque. After 7 nights, I didn't want to leave the ship. Thank you Angie for all of your recommendation's and professional advice along the way.  You made my 40th birthday a memorable one!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Top Ten Ways to Choose a Caribbean All Inclusive Resort

1.  Where do you want to go? – Are nonstop flights important? Do you want to explore jungles? Go zip-lining? See whales? Snorkel or scuba dive? See ruins? Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have the largest assortment of all-inclusive resorts.  

2. Time of Year – When are you traveling? The rainy seasons change slightly depending on the islands. I also check to make sure all your “must do” activities are available. For instance, Jamaica severely limits water sports around Easter. 

3.  Kids? – Are you traveling with kids? Does the resort have rooms with separate accommodations? What is the kids’ programming? Are you trying to avoid kids? Some resorts are adults only.

4.  The Distance from the Airport – Depending how long your trip is, you may want a resort within 30 minutes of the airport. If you are staying for 7 nights, you may not mind an hour’s drive.

5.  The Beach  - Is a beach important? Do you want to swim or just relax with a great view? Some beaches are unsafe to swim because of currents. Other beaches are very rocky so you'll need water shoes.

6.  Dining - How many restaurants are available? Are they buffet or a la carte/ sit down restaurants? Do you need reservations?  

7.  Drinks - What type of alcohol is included? Some resorts only include domestic beer and spirits. Other resorts include wine, imports, and higher-end brand name spirits. What's your favorite drink? We want to make sure the resort offers it.  Some resorts also provide a mini-bar in the room. Is that something you'd like?

8.  Activities - Some resorts include scuba diving and snorkeling trips. Others have that as an extra charge.  Some resorts shut down in the evenings while other resorts have night clubs and piano bars. 

9. Room Location- Many resorts offer categories of rooms by the view: garden view, pool view, ocean view or ocean front.  It’s also important to check the room location. Are you okay overlooking the stage that hosts a 9 pm nightly show?  Is it important to be near dining, the beach or the pool? 

10. WiFi – Not all resorts have wifi. Other resorts charge for wifi or only have it available in the lobby. 

Does this seem a little overwhelming? That’s why I’m here to help. I can easily and quickly walk you through all these options. Just email me at

Monday, October 27, 2014

Client Review: Lia's Disney Vacation

I planned a Disney vacation for Lia, her husband, her 4 year old and her 2 year old. We set up a monthly payment plan so she could just book it and forget it. I checked in with her after her trip and asked her about her trip. Here's what she said:

"It was amazing, thanks for asking!  I can’t believe how much I’d like to go again!

Here are the biggest factors that played into our successful experience:

1.       I think the smartest decision we made was to stay at a Disney resort.  It made the airport transfers, luggage, park transportation, meal plan, etc. so seamless. 

2.       The technology was also a huge blessing!  No lines with the fast passes, no wallets once we connected our credit cards to the bands, we were on the app all day long making adjustments to our plans and using the GPS map to check wait times, etc.  It really allowed us to use our time more efficiently.

3.       I’m glad we used a lot of the dining plan on character meals.  I would recommend this to anyone, as it helped us avoid spending our time in lines or our fast passes to wait for character meet and greets!

4.       Also, I didn’t really realize we were traveling during the Disney Halloween timeframe (just never occurred to me) and that was a special experience that we took part in at the last minute!

I’ll definitely reach out when we can afford to go again (in a million years :))."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vacation Planning FAQ: When is the best time to book a vacation?

A lot of this is your personal preference. Some of my clients book one - two years in advance to be able save up and having something to look forward to. Some clients call me two weeks before they want to leave. Here's my general advice: 

For cruises - the sooner you can book the better. For most fares, the deposit is refundable so you have nothing to lose by reserving a cabin. I monitor the rates for my cruise clients to make sure they are getting the best price or the best upgrade. Right now,I personally have cruises on hold through 2016 because I loved the price and the promotion. 

For resort packages - Flights don't become available until 330 days from departure for many airlines and even less if you want to fly Southwest or JetBlue. If you want a specific resort or a specific room it's important to book early. If you are open - you can wait until about 6 - 8 months from date of departure. The availability of last minute deals really depends on the city you are depart from and the time of year so message me for more specific details. 

For Disney - Book early. You lock in the room you want.I monitor all promotions and can adjust your booking if the rate drops. 

How far out do you like to book vacations? 

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Let's Talk about Group Travel

Coordinating a group trip may not be a difficult as you think. Whether it's a destination wedding, extended family getaway or just a group of friends headed to a new location, here's the first few questions I usually ask: 
1. Warm, cold or doesn't matter

2. Timing - Which months make the most sense? How long does everyone want to be gone? Do you want an option where some people could stay longer than others? 

3. Activities - What is one or two things everyone likes to do?

4. Togetherness - Do you want to do everything together or create itinerary where people can do things on their own?

My experience is that once we have a general sense of those answers, we can pretty quickly narrow down some great options. Getting everyone to commit can be tough until you make the first booking, then once everyone knows it's a sure thing, more people get on board.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Have Me Book Your Vacation

"Why would I use a travel agent when I could just book online?"

Great question!

1. You are already paying for my services. Most resorts, travel companies and cruises build commission into the price of the vacation. If you book through Expedia, they get the commission. If you book direct through the hotel, they keep it as extra profit. If you book through me, I get it. Now think about the level of personalized service you get. I help you choose the best vacation based on what your family wants, answer all questions, and I am one email or text away if anything goes wrong.

2. You are not sure where you want to go. Online search engines aren't very helpful when your criteria are February, warm, lots of things to do. But after a couple more questions, I can quickly narrow down to options for you to consider. 

I can also help if you do know where you want to go. Several of my clients come to me with the exact itinerary they want. They love getting my personalized service and being able to email one contact to get any questions answered.

3. Cruise Promotion Double Check - You are booking a cruise and don't have the time or desire to monitor prices. Cruise prices change frequently. Each week, I monitor the prices to identify opportunities for additional savings or a possible upgrade. 

4. You want the best value. Value and price are not the same thing. You want to make sure you are getting the best value for your vacation dollar. All hotels and airfares are not created equally. The low base rate may mean lots of extra charges later or you could upgrade to a more luxurious experience for a small change in price.

5. You are organizing a group.  You want a professional to guide you through the decision making process to make sure everyone's preferences are accommodated. Click here for more blog posts on organizing groups.

How to know that you won't be a good fit for my services:
  • You love chasing the lowest price. I focus on planning the highest value vacations with vendors I trust to deliver. If you love spending hours on the internet trying to chase the lowest price even if that means 7 hours flight layovers or a few cockroaches in your room, I am not going to be helpful.
  • You are only booking flights within the USA. I do charge a fee to book  flights since flight only reservations do not include a commission. For flights within the USA, we have access to the same fares. m
  • You are traveling to very off-the-beaten path locations.  My focus in on Disney World, the Caribbean, cruises, and bucket list trips. I can't be an expert in everything. If your dream trip is hiking through small villages in Bolivia on your own, then I can't be much help. You can always email me to see if where you'd like to see how I can help.
If you have any questions, email me or set up a time to chat.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Article on Booking with a Travel Agent

Check out this article from The LA Times.

You should ALWAYS book a cruise through a travel agent. The promotions and pricing change constantly. I spend hours on the phone getting price adjustments and upgrades for my clients. Plus - it's difficult to sort through all the options. Some cruise ships have 10 different categories of balcony cabins - what's the difference? Which one is right for you? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2015 Disney Brochure

Thinking of heading to Disney this fall? Check out this great brochure with "best bets" for kids of all ages and then email me at

Click here

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tips for getting low fares or upgrades on cruises

I cruise a lot.  I cruised on my twentieth cruise this Spring. People always ask me how to get that amazing last deal! Here's what I say: 

1. You have to prepared to sail last minute. You have to see the fare, make the decision, and hope that airfare isn't outrageous. 
2. You may be thinking about this all wrong. 

My experience has been that I get the lowest fares when I book the earliest. Am I sure that I want to take that March 2016 cruise? No - but I know that's a great fare and I am willing to tie up a few hundred dollars for a couple years to maybe save that much by the time we sail. Most cruises offer refundable deposits so there's no risk of losing money. 

The other way to save money is to take advantage of promotions that come up after you book. One of the benefits I offer my clients is weekly monitoring. Every week I check all the promotions and prices for their cruise to make sure they are getting the best price or to identify if an upgrade is available. 

You could do this yourself. Just make a note of the cabin category you booked, the price per person you paid, and any additional perks you got when you booked - like an on board credit. Then just to the cruise line's website and check the price. If it's before final payment and the price is lower, you may be able to call and get your fare adjusted depending on what type of fare you originally booked. Be sure to pay very special attention to the terms of the fare you originally booked, the terms of the new fare, and if it has an  impact your refundable deposit. 

After your final payment, you can't lower your price. You can only upgrade or, under some fares, you can get an on-board credit if the price goes down. 

Have you already booked a cruise yourself but don't want the hassle of weekly monitoring and then sitting on hold to fix it? No worries. If you just booked it - you can contact me at to see if you can transfer the booking to me to get my free monitoring service. 

Bon Voyage! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spotlight on: Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts

Zoetry Wellness and Spa Resorts are a chain of luxury resorts.  They operate 3 resorts in Mexico and one in Punta Cana. What sets them apart is the endless inclusions, the intimidate atmosphere, and the unique activities at each resort. 

What sets these resorts apart: No more 100 rooms. No buffets. No Night Clubs.  Natural and Calm environment with a fantastic Spa. Complimentary laundry.  24 Hour In Suite Dining. Top Shelf Spirits. Complimentary Unlimited Worldwide Calling. 

Let’s take a closer look:  Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya 
This resort is 20 minutes from  Cancun airport set on a 500 yard beach near protected barrier reef national park.  Every room is a one bedroom suites with ocean views.

Suite at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fantastic All Inclusive Package from Norwegian Cruise Lines for 2015 sailings!

Thinking of sailing in 2015? Norwegian Cruise Lines is offering an incredible deal to pre-book a package valued at $2,400 for only $899 per person. 

All–Inclusive Package includes: 
Ultimate Dining Package
Ultimate Beverage Package (including gratuities)
6 Bottles of Water (including gratuities)
Shore Excursion Credit of up to $200 per guest
20 Photos, any size
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Bottle of Wine
1 Bingo Session (3 Games)
250 Minute Internet Package
Prepaid Service Charges
PLUS – 10% off your cruise fare

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Spotlight on: Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort& Offshore Island

I love this resort because it is so close to the United States plus the resort is only 15 minutes from the international airport and 20 minutes from downtown Nassau. 

The resort was voted “Top Spa Resort” by readers of Conde Nast Traveler.  Sandals Royal Bahamian is an elegant resort. You can see in the photos that the indoor spaces have an European elegance. 

Plus it's really two resorts in one as the resort offers an offshore Island just minutes away with two secluded coastlines, a chic beach club, signature pool with swim-up bar, the exquisite Red Lane Spa*, and the region’s best seafood house. 

Why Choose This Resort?
Sandals says, "If you're looking for a regal retreat that gives you two vacations in one: a sophisticated European resort that is steeped in history, and the adventure of an exotic offshore island that includes every amenity imaginable, Sandals Royal Bahamian is for you." 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Packing Tip

Packing tip: Lay your clothes out as outfits and then roll them up together or fold together and place in a ziploc bag. This is especially helpful if you have multiple destinations so you don't have to pack and unpack in each location.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Traveler Review: Secrets Capri Riviera Maya

Allison and Ryan wanted a couples only vacation for a week in June. They enjoy all-inclusive resorts on a beach with a good mix of activities. We narrowed it down to a few good choices and they just couldn't decide so I booked them an Apple Square Deal. They knew they were going to an adults only all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, but they didn't find out which one until 4 pm on the day before they left. We were both very excited when we learned Secrets Capri had been chosen. Here's her review: 

"Thank you!  We are always glad to book through you.  We had a wonderful time and would definitely recommend this resort to others looking to go to Riviera Maya.

Secrets Capri was beautiful and amazing.  I think it’s probably the nicest resort we have ever stayed at.  The rooms were gorgeous (I attached some pics for you).  
Secrets Capri, Riviera Maya 

Secrets Capri Riviera Maya

Secrets Capri Riviera Maya

Secrets Capri Riviera MAya

The exterior and the pool were very pretty too.  I think this is the only vacation spot I have been to where even the pool restrooms smelled good!   It wasn’t your usual musty smell with cement floors and walls- everything was tiled and they had a nice smell that was consistent throughout the resort.  (That probably sounds strange, but it really did make it nice.  I think I read a review where someone talked about the smell too.)

I thought the staff was lovely- everyone was very friendly and helpful.  They tried to get everyone involved in activities but were not too pushy about it either, if you didn’t want to.  They had plenty of activities, from crazy games to archery to kayaking.  They didn’t give prizes for the games like some of the other resorts I had been too, but that didn’t really matter.    

The waiters/waitresses were prompt and efficient.  The food was delicious (except for the steak, which I probably wouldn’t expect to be as good in Mexico as in the US).  I thought there was good variety too- we weren’t really eating the same thing until maybe the last night. 

The entertainment was definitely the best that I have seen at a resort.  They had a fire show that was really cool, but the best was the water show where they had a Cirque du Soleil type performance.  Just when I thought they couldn’t come up with any other unique ideas, another performer would come out with something completely different that would just blow your mind. 

The only things that I didn’t like (which are few and far between) were that they didn’t seem to air condition the workout room.  It wasn’t stinky like you would expect, but it is definitely super hot in there when you are running on the treadmill.  Also, the refrigerators in the rooms, workout room, etc. didn’t seem to really chill the drinks much at all.  Another thing that I am sure is really difficult for the hotel to control is that people go crazy over the pool chairs and pool floats.  They hoard them and hold onto them when they are not using them just so other people can’t use them.  We noticed that sometimes the workers would take towels off of the chairs that people hadn’t been sitting in for a long time and would throw rafts back in the pool when people took them up to their pool chairs, and I thought that was great.  Those are nit-picky things because I can’t really think of anything else negative to say. 

I read some reviews about the beach not being very nice at this resort.  I just wanted to make a point to say that Ryan and I both liked it.  It wasn’t the largest beach, but the sand was really white and fine and clean.  The workers really put a lot of effort into keeping the seaweed away.  I ran on the beach a few times, and you could go several miles past several other resorts (so you aren’t really confined to just the Secrets Capri Beach).  The water was also a beautiful blue color.  They have to keep sandbags near the shore to keep the sand from all drifting away, but I thought Secrets had them laid out in a way that looked much nicer than some of the neighboring properties that I saw.

We did an excursion through Alltournative while we were there, and I would really recommend it as well.  We visited Tulum (Mayan ruins) and then went to Jungla Maya and did repelling, zip lining, snorkeling, etc.  I thought it was a lot of fun and was reasonably priced.  They took pics throughout since you couldn’t really have your camera on those sorts of things, and they sold us the entire CD for $40, which I thought was fair. 

Overall, everything went perfectly and we had an amazing time.  Thank you so much!"

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