Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Things to Do: Nassau, Bahamas


By: Katy DeHaven

Continuing our look at popular Caribbean ports of call let's jump over to Nassau in the Bahamas.

The beginning of the Bahamas archipelago itself is located just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Nassau is one of the most popular and often congested cruise ports in the Caribbean, it is located on the 21-mile-long island of New Providence. The city itself features tree-lined streets, horse drawn surreys, soft sand beaches, Vegas-type casinos, and duty-free shopping. Let’s take a look at some of what makes this a popular cruise port.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Virtual Vacation: Cozumel, Mexico

By Katy DeHaven

Continuing our look at popular cruise ship ports in the Caribbean, let’s take a look now at Cozumel!

Popular on Western Caribbean cruise itineraries, Cozumel is an island located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula opposite Playa del Carmen. The clear, warm water, and spectacular coral reefs make it one of the world’s best scuba-diving locations. In addition to diving, tourists are attracted to Cozumel’s sandy beaches, fishing, water sports, duty-free shopping, and relaxed atmosphere. Let’s take a closer look at some of what the area has to offer!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

November 2020 COVID Travel Update


COVID numbers in the USA are climbing. The CDC has changed their warning to Level 3: Avoid Non-Essential Travel.

Traveling within the United States can be tricky because each state has their own requirements. Click here for more information. Basically, if you plan to travel to the Northeast, New Mexico, Hawaii or Alaska, you should be prepared to quarantine upon arrival. The requirements are fluid and ever changing so be sure to check before you hit the road.

For lodging during travel, I'm an affiliate of Booking.com. I noticed they relaxed many of their cancellation policies for both rental houses and hotels. I highly recommend booking a rate that only requires a credit card guarantee and allows you to cancel 24 hours before arrival.

With all travel, it's critical you check your local, county, state, employer or school quarantine requirements. Testing before and after travel is a great idea even if a 14 day quarantine is not required.

For Caribbean travel, airlines are increasing their flights to Cancun, Mexico. Mexico does not require a negative COVID test for entry. The Dominican Republic no longer requires tests prior to arrival, and is randomly testing travelers upon arrival. Several other islands still require tests: Jamaica, Aruba, Antigua, Barbados, Turks and Caicos and St Lucia.

My husband and I spent two weeks in Mexico in October. We followed all the CDC guidelines: outdoor dining, social distancing, and masks when within 6 feet. This was difficult at a couple resorts. I think if you are considering traveling, your resort choice is more important than ever to ensure you can keep yourself safe. You cannot rely on other guests to follow the CDC protocols.

The CDC let the Cruise Line No Sail Order expire so that cruise lines can begin to practice sailing safely with:
  • Tests prior to arriving at the port, tests at the port prior to embarking on the cruise, and tests on the ship prior to disembarking to head home.
  • Social distancing and mandatory mask requirements
  • Daily temperature checks
  • Isolated shore excursions to limit cruise passenger contact with local island residents.

The CDC order also said ships may not sail itineraries longer than 7 nights from US ports so most of the cruise lines stopped selling these itineraries, but they aren't yet cancelled.

What do I think will happen? I think we will know a lot more once the initial test sailings get underway. I think some cruise lines may wait until after Inauguration to see if the CDC changes the framework or reinstates the No Sail Order. If you remember, the CDC originally wanted the No Sail Order to be extended until February, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force pushed that it only be extended until the end of October.

If I had to guess, I'd say we likely won't see guests back on cruise ships until at least April and that depends on getting COVID numbers back under control across the country.

Should you book a trip right now?

For cruises, I think it's a good time to book for late 2021 and 2022. Refundable deposits are available. I think this is the lowest pricing will be for a while.

For all inclusive resorts, I recommend you only book a couple months in advance for right now. I think we may see new travel restrictions after the Inauguration. For Spring or Summer 2021, I recommend we regroup in February when we have more information.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Virtual Vacation: St Maarten


By Katy DeHaven

After a warm and dry fall so far, It has been a chilly and rainy week here in Missouri. Even though it’s just now November and getting into the start of winter, this weather already has me thinking of warm weather and sandy beaches. Since we recently finished our Canada and New England cruise port series I thought we could take a look at some of the popular Caribbean ports of call. Let’s start with one of my favorites, St. Maarten/ St. Martin.

Part of the Leeward Islands, this 37-square-mile island is the smallest parcel of land to be peaceably shared by two countries: France and the Netherlands. The French side is known as Saint-Martin and the Dutch side is known as Sint Maarten. The French side is known for shopping, nude beaches and French and Indian Caribbean cuisine, while the Dutch side is known for its nightlife, beaches, jewelry, casinos, and drinks made with native rum-based guava berry liquors. Let’s see what this beautiful island has to offer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

COVID Travel: Secrets Playa Mujeres All Inclusive Resort


Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf and Spa resort is an adults only all inclusive resort about 40 minutes north of the Cancun airport. Playa Mujeres is a gated community. 

Secrets Playa Mujeres offers a great stretch of beach and large pools. Guests at Secrets Playa Mujeres can access the restaurants and amenities at the family friendly Dreams Playa Mujeres next door. This is a great fit if you'd like a resort on a good beach with many dining options.

Thank you to Secrets Playa Mujeres for the discounted room rate in recognition of my Master Agent status with AmResorts. 

Take a tour: 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Virtual Vacation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada


By Katy DeHaven

If you have been following our Where in the World posts on Wednesdays you know that we just completed a Canada and New England cruise port series. For our next location I thought we would stay in Canada and check out Toronto!

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The city is known for its many skyscrapers and it is home to the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, the CN Tower. The city is also home to many parks, museums and art galleries, and is located only about an hour and half away from Niagara Falls.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

COVID Travel: Dreams Riviera Cancun


Dreams Riviera Cancun All Inclusive resort  is a family all inclusive resort located about 20 minutes south of the Cancun airport. Thanks to Dreams Riviera Cancun for extending a discounted rate in recognition of my Master Agent status with AMResorts. 

Dreams Riviera Cancun is known for weddings with one of the biggest weddings teams in Riviera Maya. I loved the swim up bar with infinity edge pool. The Dreams Riviera Cancun rooms are comfortable. I love when the beds face the window so you can enjoy the view. 

Thank you to Dreams Riviera Cancun for the discounted room rate in recognition of my Master Agent status with AmResorts. 

Take a look: