Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Vancouver, B.C. excursions


Many Alaska cruise vacations stop, begin and/or end in Vancouver. Just a few of the many points of interest to check out in this stunning metropolis include Gastown neighborhood, 2010 Olympic cauldron at Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, Chinatown, and Granville Island. Here are some wonderful tours to help you explore the area in you are in town for a day or more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Cancun All Inclusive Resorts: What is the best Dreams resort?


Dreams resorts are family all inclusive resort. There are nine Dreams resort accessible from the Cancun airport - 10 if you include the soon to open Dreams Cozumel Cape.

In the video, I explain why the best Dreams resort is the best resort for you based on what you like:

                                            Best Beach: Dreams Tulum and Dreams Playa Mujeres 

Best beach for little kids: Dreams Sands 

Most Dining Options: Dreams Playa Mujeres 

Closest to Airport: Dreams Natura, Dreams Vista, Dreams Sands 

Best Oceanfront Suite: Dreams Sapphire 

Family Favorite: Dreams Jade, Dreams Sapphire, Dreams Natura 

Good for teens: Dreams Playa Mujeres 

Best for mobility challenged: Dreams Natura, Dreams Sands, Dreams Vista. Dreams Aventuras

Largest Wedding team: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Unique Design: Dreams Vista 

 Budget Friendly: Dreams Sands, Dreams Jade, Dreams Sapphire 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Victoria, B.C. Excursions


Boosting a temperate climate year-round with its location on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria, British Columbia is known internationally as the City of Gardens. The city has an annual flower count dating back to the 1970’s, the total number of blooms counted in 2018 was over 3.4 billion. Foodies will delight with the abundance of amazing food and wine tour offerings. Check out these and other amazing ways to experience this beautiful area.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Is Virgin Voyages right for you?


Richard Branson's new cruise line Virgin Voyages set out to disrupt the cruise industry. I'd say it succeeded. A Virgin Voyages cruise is unlike any of the other 60+ cruises I've taken. 

In this video, I highlight what's different and how to tell if it's a good fit for your next vacation. 

If you'd like a more personal consultation, please email 

Dreams Sapphire Review

Trips with Angie client Frank just returned from Dreams Sapphire and sent over his review.

Frank reached out to me to plan his birthday trip. He wanted something special.

I recommended Dreams Sapphire to Frank because of the unique oceanfront swim up suites. These suites are really unicorns since most swim up suites do not have an ocean view.

Here's his review and photos:

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Seabourn Odyssey Review


Some of the things I loved about the Seabourn Experience: 
  • Large suites - Seabourn is known for their large Veranda suites. We had one of the smallest veranda cabins. It had a sitting area, table and chairs, queen bed, and a spacious bathroom. You can get a peek in the video below.
  • Yacht Feel - The ship only holds 450 guests. The design and small size made this cruise feel like a yacht experience. I was basically on Below Deck.  
  • Dining - We had one bad meal. Everything else was delicious. We loved the dinners at the Patio. I had the best cauliflower dish I've ever had. We had incredible scallops, grilled lobster, and gourmet bites.
  • Caviar in the Surf  - Seabourn takes over the Carambola Beach Club on St Kitts. They place a paddleboard in the water. The Executive Chef and Maitre'D serve caviar in the ocean. Martin, the bar manager, swam around refilling champagne glasses. It was incredible. Be sure to watch to the end of the video to get a peek.
  • Entertainment - I was very impressed by the entertainment on board for such a small ship. We had guest performers, deck parties, a production cast, a sing-a-long piano player, a band, and a trio. Each night, you had two or three options for enjoining live music.

Take a peek:

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Alaska Excursions: Skagway

Skagway is located on the panhandle of Alaska.  This beautiful Alaska town is known for access to breathtaking train rides, gorgeous scenery and some of the history of the Klondike Gold Rush. Speaking of the Gold Rush did you know that John Nordstrom of Nordstrom’s department stores got his start here? He sold his claim worth $13,000 before moving back to Seattle. Here are some great excursions where you can learn more about this beautiful city.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Impact of COVID on All Inclusive Resorts - Is it Worth it?

 I visited all-inclusive resorts in Mexico in August 2020, October 2020, May 2021, June 2021, and two weeks ago. 

Recently, I got a good question: "What's the impact of COVID restrictions and protocols to a stay at a Cancun / Riviera Maya all-inclusive resort? Is it worth it?"

First, what are the restrictions?

The Cancun / Riviera Maya works on a stoplight system. Each week, the area is assigned a color: Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red based on the current COVID numbers. You can see the weekly updates here:

Based on the current status, different restrictions apply.
  • The resort's occupancy may be restricted.
  • The night club may be closed.
  • Bars may have restricted hours.
  • Supervised kids' club may be closed or offer outdoor programming. 

Resorts' also have their own COVID protocols and health and safety plans. These plans include:
  • Sanitation protocols - Cleaning takes longer so it's unlikely rooms are available before check-in time.
  • Spacing of lounge chairs or dining tables,
  • A health check as part of the check in process
  • Employees may be required to wear masks.
  • Buffets may switch from self-service to assisted service.
  • You may be required to have your temperature checked before you enter a restaurant or sanitize your hands or shoes. 

The biggest impacts I've seen are due to low occupancy - not necessarily governmental COVID requirements.

Less people are traveling now. This means the resort may have a lot of empty rooms. In this case, the resorts follow the same procedures they did before COVID when the resort wasn't 100% full: pare down dining and programming. If the resort is only 20% full, the resort will not have all the restaurants open every night. They may not have the buffet open at all to control food waste. The resorts I've stayed in did a great job rotating the schedule so it was easy to eat at all the restaurants even if they were not all open every night. 

You may also see some impact from labor shortages. It's hard to staff up quickly if the hotel's occupancy goes up. This may mean a bit longer wait at a restaurant even though you see empty tables. You may decide to head to the pool bar yourself if the pool server is covering a large area. 

I think what everyone wants to know - Is it still worth it? 

I overheard some people saying NO. It's not worth it. It's the experience they remembered from previous visits. They felt the need for a negative COVID test to get back in the USA hanging over their heads. (I do highly recommend doing an at-home antigen test before leaving to make sure you don't arrive positive.)

I obviously think it's worth it since I keep going back. My clients have all said they had a great time and it was worth it even with some of the annoyances of understaffing or closed restaurants. 

One of the perks of booking with me is that I help you evaluate the pros and cons of traveling right now. I help manage your expectations.