Dreams Natura is a family all inclusive resort near Puerto Morales, Mexico about 20 minutes south of the Cancun airport. Dreams Natura has wonderful infinity edge pools, a splash park, a small lazy river, three water slides, and a Roller Glider ride. I love the chic and colorful decorations of the Dreams Natura restaurants and junior suites. Dreams Natura is compact so it's very easy to get around with kids. The open air lobby at Dreams Natura is a great spot for an evening cocktail or to enjoy the evening entertainment.
For our next port in our Canada and New England series we are going to head back to Nova Scotia and the port of call of Sydney on Cape Breton Island.
Founded by the British in 1785, it was incorporated into a city in 1904, however that was dissolved in 1995 and the area was amalgamated into a regional municipality. Sydney is the largest urban area on Cape Breton Island, and home to the island’s main port. It offers unique shops and services, historic sites and stunning scenery. Let’s take a look!
Located in front of the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion on the waterfront, standing at 18 meters tall the fiddle is hard to miss. It stands in tribute to the folk music and traditions of the province’s Celtic community.
Built in 1787, Cossit House is one of the oldest buildings on the island. Through furniture, furnishings and costumed interpreters it celebrates the Gaelic culture and history of Nova Scotia. Hands-on activities like lace making, butter churning and weaving are also offered. For a peek at the home:
Just around the corner, visit St. Patrick’s Church, the oldest Roman Catholic Church on the island, today it is a museum. The goal of the museum is to represent the religious history of the area. Built between 1828 and 1830 the church features hand-hewn beams, Gothic windows, cut stone around the windows and doors, a tower with cupola and dominating door openings. To learn about the church:
To learn more about the history of Cape Breton visit The Sydney Museum which was originally known as The Cape Breton Centre for Heritage & Science. The museum offers permanent and travelling collections of exhibitions that demonstrate the heritage, culture and science of the area. The museum also offers an area just for kids called Discovery Corner.
Visitors looking to bring back some local crafts from their trip should check out The Cape Breton Artisan Trail Map. Follow the trail to meet and learn about local artisans. There are painters, pottery designers, quilt makers, wood workers, jewelry makers, jam makers, chocolatiers, soap makers and more.
If you are a history buff in general or have an interest in history of the World War II era you will want to check out Fort Petrie Military Museum. The museum was originally one of seven fortifications located along Sydney Harbour to protect the harbor and convoys from military submarines during the Second World War. At that time Sydney was the home of the Royal Navy in the event of a German invasion of the British Isles. To learn more:
Just to the east of Sydney is The Cape Breton Miners’ Museum along the coast of Glace Bay. The museum is a tribute to the mining history of the region, and includes a tour of underground mines. Tours can be booked online, but you can also explore virtually:
Thirty minutes southeast from Sydney, is the town of Louisbourg and the world famous Fortress of Louisbourg. The French fortress was seized twice and helped create today’s Canada. Guided and self guided tours are available. There are also demonstrations in weaponry and puppet shows for kids. Learn more:
About an hour’s drive from Sydney is the town of Baddeck located at the beginning and end of the Cabot Trail. Here you will find the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, the former home to the famous scientist and inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell. Baddeck also offers many popular outdoor activities including golfing at Bell Bay Golf Club, sailing, kayaking, nature tours, and horseback riding at Rocking Horse Ranch. To see more of the area check out this video.
The Cabot Trail itself is a 185 mile loop around Cape Breton and considered one of the most scenic destinations in the world with its stunning views of the ocean, old-growth forests, prehistoric rock scarred by glaciers, and the mysterious Cape Breton Highlands. For the driver to have the easiest drive and to take in the views going in a clockwise direction makes the most sense. However counterclockwise is also good as the pullover spots are on the right side. To see some stunning footage of the area in the fall, click here.
We hope you are enjoying this virtual series of Canada and New England cruise port of calls!
Now Sapphire is a family all inclusive resort in Puerto Morales, Mexico about 25 minutes south of the Cancun airport. Now Sapphire was recently renovated and now offers a Splash Park, three water slides, and oceanfront swim up suites. The Now Sapphire oceanfront swim up suites are very unique. It's rare to find a true oceanfront swim up suite. Now Sapphire's open air lobby is a great space to socially distance and enjoy the evening ocean breezes.
over to our next port of call from our Canada and New England cruise port
series is Portland, ME.
is the largest city in Maine with a population of about 66,700. Include the
metropolitan area and the population is closer to a half million, about
1/3 the population of the entire state. The city is known for its
dedication to the arts, revered dining scene and the historic Old Port area.
There are also secluded beaches and centuries old lighthouses to explore. Let’s
check it out!
Angie spent a day in Portland as part of her Hurtigruten cruise. Check out her recommendations:
Old Port area is famous for the wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants.
Visitors enjoy wandering the streets while simultaneously taking in
the sights and sound of the boats in the bay and the ocean. For a look at the
Old Port area, check out this video:
a National Historic Landmark in 1971, the Victoria Mansion, also known as the
Morse-Libby House is a classic example of American residential architecture
from the 19th century. The brownstone exterior and elaborate interior
design combined with the early technological advances in the home
provide a detailed portrait of lavish living from the time period. To learn
about the home and its previous owners, please click here
a bird’s eye view of the area visit the Portland Observatory. This is the last
standing maritime signal tower in America and it was used in the 1800s to
monitor ships nearby. Today it is a museum, and admission is free of charge. To
learn more about The Portland Observatory, click here.
Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine.
Unfortunately visitors cannot go inside the lighthouse itself, but they can
take lots of photos and visit the nearby museum. The lighthouse is
adjacent to Fort Williams Park which offers picnic facilities, hiking,
sports and recreation areas, historic structures and beautiful ocean
Bay Islands, a group of islands located just off the
coast, six of which are accessible by ferry year-round. Great
Diamond Island is home to the historic Fort
McKinley and is lauded for its quintessential Maine
landscape. Cars are not allowed, so walking, biking and golf carts are the
modes of transportation to get around. Stay for the weekend at the Inn
at Diamond Cove, which offers many activities and dining options.
Island offers a storied history. The island is known for its
stone sloppers - men that transported construction materials for 19th
century ships, as well as the granite for
the Washington Monument. Peaks Island features cafes, shops,
museums and galleries in addition to beaches.
popular excursion in Casco Bay is a Maine Lobster Boat Tour. Guests enjoy
learning about a day in the life of a Maine Lobsterman and what it takes
to bring in the haul. Check out this video to learn more.
of trains will enjoy a visit to The
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. The collection
consists of passenger and freight equipment, as well as artifacts from the
2 ft narrow gauge railways that ran in the state of Maine in the late 19th and
early 20th century. Train rides on a historic two-foot gauge railroad are also
offered. To see some of the trains in action, click here.
you have a few days in the area consider a visit to the Portland Museum of Art,
the oldest public art institution in Maine. The collection includes more the
22,000 pieces of art dating from the 18th century until present. To learn
more, click here.
of my favorite things about traveling is trying the local cuisine. For
some food and restaurant recommendations in Portland check out this video…...
for a wonderful general overview of the city and its history, click here.
our Canada & New England cruise port-of-call series we are going to head
west of Quebec City and check out Montreal. Montreal most often appears on
cruise itineraries as an embarkation and/or debarkation port, which is nice
because you can tack on a few days before or after your cruise vacation to
explore the city.
is the second largest city in Canada and the largest in the province
of Quebec. The city is considered the number one host city in North America for
International events. The city is home to the famous Cirque de
Soleil, hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics and also hosted Expo 67, the most
successful world’s fair in the 20th century. French is the official
language here, but pretty much everyone is bilingual in English and
centerpiece of the city is the summit and surroundings of Mount Royal. At 692
acres this expansive city park offers sightseeing in every direction,
forested pathways, picnicking in the summer, and skating, skiing or sliding in
the winter. Enjoy this virtual fall
hike through the park.
a few blocks from the park is the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts)
which was founded in 1860. It is the largest art museum in Canada by gallery
space, and the permanent collection includes over 44,000 works. The
museum also offers exhibitions on tour, and special programming for children.
To check out some of the works of art within the museum click here.
Underground City, most of the downtown area is interconnected by
underground paths so you don’t have to go out on a rainy day or during the cold
in the winter. The tunnels form a whole new city with shopping malls,
parking lots, restaurants and even fountains. Check out this map of the area.
to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world due to
its extensive collections and facilities, the Montreal Botanical Gardens is comprised of 75
hectares of thematic gardens and greenhouses. In addition the
Botanical Gardens offer fun and unique programming year round for children
and families. For a wonderful tour of the gardens, please click here.
Guided tours are
available of Parc
Olympique the multi-purpose stadium where the 1976 Olympic
Games was held. In addition to hosting tours, the site is still used today for
sporting and other events. The Montreal Tower is
also part of the complex, at 165 meters it is the tallest inclined
tower in the world. It has an 45-degree awe-inspiring angle, which
is particularly amazing when you consider the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s tilt
is only 5 degrees.
a street art tour of Saint-Laurent and
its accompanying alleyways. View graffiti art from artists both recognized
and raw. The area is also known for it food, expanded bar terraces and
street fairs. Click here to explore
Mural Fest 2020.
the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal. The
area was established in the 17th century by the first settlers of New France.
Today you will find some of the cities best restaurants, shopping, historic
structures and many attractions. Here you will also find Montreal’s oldest
Catholic Church, Notre-Dame Basilica. The church is know for its
intricately designed interior, which includes stained
glass chronicling the city’s history. For a tour and to learn more,
the Montreal Biodome, an indoor zoo and aquarium which hosts recreations of
four different ecosystems in North America, plus some Sub-Antarctic Islands.
The structure was originally built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, housing the
judo and cycling events. Today it is home to more than 200 different animal
species and 500 different plant species. The Biodome just underwent a
two-year renovation, click here to learn more about the
project and here for a
of Cirque du Soleil will surely want to see a show in the city where it all
began, coming in the Spring of 2021 is Under the Same Sky, Cirque du
Soleil’s newest show. Pre-COVID tours were very, very limited, and currently
they are canceled, but you can check out this visit to the
International Headquarters of Cirque du Soleil in
try some classic Montreal fare head to this combination of
distinctive neighborhoods, Mile End, the Plateau and the McGill Ghetto.
This area is known to have the best of the best in signature dishes; Fairmount and St-Viateur for fresh
bagels, Schwartz’s for
Montreal-style meat, and La Banquise for
poutine. Begin or end you food tour with a stop at Wilensky’s for their
Light Lunch. Check out this video for some other sweet treats
and see how the St-Viateur makes their bagels, the 30 different options of
Poutine available at La Banquise and how Schwartz’s smokes their meat.
a great overview of the city watch this video and for a peak of what
the city looks like during the holiday season click here.
This video has the best all inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We'll check out resorts in Cap Cana, Uvero Alto and Bavaro Beach.
Cap Cana is a private community located very close to the Punta Cana airport. You can be from the airport to the resort in 10 - 15 minutes. The best all inclusive Cap Cana resorts are Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Sanctuary Cap Cana.
Uvero Alto is further from the Punta Cana airport - about 35 minutes. Uvero Alto is more secluded with tan sand and stronger currents. If you like waves, you'll like this area better than Bavaro. The best all inclusive resorts in Uvero Alto are Nickelodeon Punta Cana and Now Onyx.
Bavaro Beach is the best beach area in Punta Cana. This area has white sand beaches. These beaches can be more crowded than the Uvero Alto area. The best all inclusive resorts on Bavaro Beach are Iberostar Grand Bavaro Beach and Majestic Mirage.
This video highlights the best all inclusive
resorts in Montego Bay/ Rose Hall, Negril and Ocho Rios.
Montego Bay and Rose Hall are areas closest to
the Montego Bay airport. This is the north coast of Jamaica. The area has some of the larger
resorts. The best all inclusive resorts in Rose Hall are Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
and Jewel Grande.
Negril is the home to Seven Mile Beach.
The best all inclusive Negril resorts are located about an hour and a half from
the Montego Bay airport. The best all inclusive Negril resorts are Azul Negril
and Sunset at the Palms.
Ocho Rios is Jamaica's
home base for adventure. This is the area you want to stay in if you love
excursions. The best all inclusive Ocho Rios resorts are Moon Palace Jamaica and Sandals Royal