Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spotlight on: Secrets the Vine Cancun

This adults only all inclusive is very different from any other all inclusive resort I've visited. It feels like a high end Las Vegas hotel. It's a sleek high rise on a great beach. It'd be a terrific choice for a group trip.

If you want to explore is this may be a good fit for your vacation, email me or set up a time to chat. Remember, my vacation matchmaking skills are already included in the price of your vacation so you might as well use them.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why do I need a travel agent?

One of the biggest benefits I bring to my clients is curating a list of options that meet their goals for their vacation. Here's an example of a chart I made for five women seeking a fun in the sun girls' trip in January 2018.

How easy is this? I personally, think it beats having 10 tabs open in your internet browser as you try to make some decisions. 

All this pricing is subject to change and availability is not guaranteed.

If you'd like chart of your very own, email me or set up a time to chat.

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Oasis of the Seas is a "mega" cruise ship. It hold over 6,000 passengers.

Join me as I tour the ship. It's a big ship so it's a long tour so buckle up, buttercup.

The highlights for me:
- It doesn't feel like a cruise ship. Central Park and the Boardwalk feel authentic.
- It'd be hard to decide what do at night. There's so many shows and lounges.
- A lot of the restaurants have additional charges. I could see how it could start to feel like you are being nickel and dimed if you did want to explore some of the more interesting dining options.

Interested in seeing if this cruise ship is a good fit for your family?  Email me or set up a time to chat.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bucket List: Galapagos

The Galapagos islands are a popular location on many people’s bucket lists.

What’s the draw? It’s the animals.  These animals have no natural predators so they are friendly. You can get close to sea lions and giant seat turtles.

Where is it? This grouping of 19 islands and many smaller islets is 620 miles off Ecuador’s coast in the Pacific Ocean. Each island boasts its own unique landscape, ranging from barren black, volcanic rocks to swaths of white sand beaches with blue waters.

When is a good time to go?  The hot, rainy season is December – May.  Temperatures average in the 80s. The ocean is the calm, but you can expect rain daily.  The cooler, dryer season is June through November. The Humboldt Current which brings chilly water and cooler temperatures (in the 70s).  This is said to be a better time for diving because the cold attracts more marine life – like hammerhead sharks. (I’ll be viewing those from very…very…very… far away.) The seas will be rougher.  You’ll also have a better chance of spotting  whale sharks at Wolf and Darwin islands.

To get between the islands, you’ll need access to a boat. You can chose a tour where you sleep on an island in the Galapagos and then take day trips. Or you can cruise through the Galapagos. Boat sizes range from the 100 person Celebrity Xpedition to boats with only a few cabins like the Celebrity Xploration. The benefit of a larger cruise ship is a larger cabin and more amenities on board. Because 100 people would overwhelm some of the islands, guests take turns touring. The benefit of the smaller yacht is more access.

Popular add-ons to a visit to the Galapagos are tours of the Ecuadorian Amazon or Macchu Picchu in Peru.  

What do you think? Is this location going on your bucket list? Email me for mini e-brochure of different itineraries to start dreaming!  When you are ready to start planning, let's chat.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What is the difference between Value and Luxury All-Inclusive resorts?

One problem a travel agent can solve for you is helping you understand the difference between resorts and assess if the upgrade in price is worth it.

For example, Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, Iberostar Paraiso Beach, Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso all sit next to each other on the same beach.

So, what's the difference?

Iberostar Paraiso del Mar and Iberostar Paraiso Beach share the same beach area, pools, entertainment and beach area.

Del Mar and Beach guest amenities:
  • 11 am - 11 pm Room Service
  • Only 3 a la care restaurants reservations per week. Other dinners are in the buffet.
  • Concierge in lobby only
  • Restaurants are open air.

Iberostar Paraiso Lindo and Iberostar Paraiso Maya share the same beach area, pools, entertainment and kid's clubs.

Lindo and Maya amenities
  • 24 hour rooms service
  • Unlimited a la restaurant reservations
  • Most restaurants are air-conditioned
  • Concierge in each building
  • Wave Pool and Lazy River

The Maya guests can make reservations at the Lindo ra la carte restaurants. The Lindo guest cannot make reservations at the Maya a la carte restaurants. The other big difference is the rooms. The Maya has all junior suites.

The differences between the Grand Hotel and the Maya and Lindo are more substantial:
  • The Grand is adults only.
  • Grand guests can make unlimited a la carte reservations at any restaurant in the complex.
  • 24 hour room service
  • The food offerings are upgraded. For instance, the grill at the Maya and Lindo offers chicken, burgers and hot dogs. The grill at the Grand offers steak, tuna, salmon, or chicken grilled to your specifications.
  • The chairs are more luxurious at the Grand and the service is faster.

This video will show you the differences in the entry level room categories:

If you have any questions or would like my help choosing which resort is right for your vacation, email me or schedule a time to chat.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Small cruise ships versus Big cruise ships

Most people know about the large cruise ships: Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, etc. A little less known are the small ships sailing around the world. Where the largest ships hold up to 6,300 passengers, the small ships generally have less than a thousand passengers

So, what’s the difference?

Itinerary - Small ships can get places that large ships can’t navigate or islands where an influx of over 3,000 people would overwhelm the location. For instance, on our Azamara Quest itinerary we stopped in Saint Barths. A large ship isn't able to get into St. Barth's to have a stop there.