You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2009.

Enough with excuses, here’s my post about our trip to Tahiti… 

Imagine, it’s October 2006 and Neil is turning the Big 40!  Going through my head is “ What to do, oh what to do…”  TAHITI!!!  So after talking to my fellow agents and the inability to choose which island, a cruise seemed the best option!  We chose to do the 11 night Tahitian and Marquesas Islands route on the then named Princess Cruises Tahitian Princess.  Knowing that the Tahitian was an old Renaissance ship and Princess had let her go a bit, we knew not to expect much from the ship.  Trust me – the destination well made up for it!

So the birthday adventure started in Los Angeles with dinner with great friends in Marina Del Rey.  We stayed at the Westin Los Angeles Airport and the next day we boarded Air Tahiti Nui for our non-stop trip to Papeete, Tahiti.  What many people don’t know, is that Tahiti is approximately 8 hours from Los Angeles, which is only 2 hours more than Hawaii.  So next time you are thinking about that Hawaiian getaway, don’t bother – GO TO TAHITI!  So back to Air Tahiti Nui – what a wonderful airline!  It brought me back to the days when it was actually a pleasure to fly.  Flight attendants were dressed up (not in their khaki shorts, cracking jokes), passing out FREE French wine (all you can drink), edible food and provided the Jet Blue experience with your own TV’s in the seat in front of you.  You also get a care package with ear plugs, eye shades and socks to keep those tootsies warm.  As Neil said, he’s had “longer flights to Boston!”

So we arrived at about 7:00 p.m. in Papeete and went directly to the ship.  She is small and only holds 600 passengers.  We checked into our mini-suite (remember, it was Neil’s 40th…).  As expected the ship looked tired, but who cares – IT’S TAHITI!

Moorea

First stop – Moorea.  We traveled really far from the Port of Papeete – 1 hour 😉  Moorea is absolutely beautiful!  I actually preferred it to Bora Bora, because I found it more remote and quiet.  Also, for those budget travelers out there – it is far cheaper than the much publicized Bora Bora.  More about Bora Bora later…

We chose to spend our day on a private Motu. <yes, I can see the poodle head cock again>  A Motu is a small island off of a larger island, surround by a coral reef.  So we spent the day snorkeling, making friends with the Manta Rays and just lounging around. 

Let me back track here for a moment – in preparation of this trip, Neil purchased a rather expensive way to use a digital camera underwater, but it was still cheaper than purchasing the Olympus underwater digital camera.  This gizmo (just imagine a Ziploc bag – warning #1) came shipped directly from England (warning #2).  Neil put it though several trials with objects other than the camera.  First the sink, then the tub and finally the pool.  Once it passed his inspections, he placed the camera in the “expensive Ziploc Bag” and took pictures of the pool and the shots were very clear.  So back to Moorea…picture Neil in his full gear – fins, mask & snorkel, bathing suit and of course his “Ziploc Bag!” (see bag on table below)

21

He dives on in to snorkel and take pics of the Manta Rays.  Can you guess what happens next????  Well, let’s just say the poor guy was devastated to find out the “English Ziploc” had failed him and fried the camera.  He spent the whole day trying to dry it out and praying it would work again. (I knew better)  The good news is, I still had my camera and the $10 disposable underwater camera I purchased at Walmart!  Even better news, Neil was able to save the memory card from the waterlogged camera, giving us this memorable picture.  Nevertheless, we had an amazing time and I walked away with knowing I got to be intimate with a Manta Ray and lived to tell about it!

17

Nuka Hiva

So we arrived 2 days later in Nuva Hiva (part of the Marquesas Islands), ready to go with our brand new digital camera we purchased on the ship!   This particular island is where they filmed the reality TV Show – Survivor #4.   

57

Survivor Beach

Since this island is rarely visited, they do not have an infrastructure for tours.  So Princess, hired locals with vehicles and off we went to tour this island and even one of the Survivor sites.  It was disappointing!  These “survivors” were not in a remote location!  If they just hiked over a small hill, they would have had access to a small village with running water & electricity.  Moving on – we took a heck of a hike into the jungles to see a ritual sacrifice site.  Honestly, none of us thought we would make it!  It was steep & hot and hot & steep.

Can you tell Neil is not a happy camper?

Can you tell Neil is not a happy camper?

Yes, the ruins were amazing, yes, I would have appreciated them more if it was cooler, and yes, I would do it again!   The ancient Tahitian people were not the friendliest – they conducted religious ceremonies, that included human sacrafices.  Ewwwww

67

Hiva Oa

We were not surprised about not being able to anchor for the day, but disappointed all the same when the waters were too rough for us to get off the ship to tour Hiva Oa. 

Can you imagine?!?!  I don't get sea sick, but...

Can you imagine?!?! I don't get sea sick, but...

However, we were fascinated with the maneuvering it took the captain and the “pontoon” operators to get the life boat aka, pontoon back on board.  It took over 2 hours with the captain finally deciding to pull up anchor, start the engines and then quickly turn the ship to create smooth waters for the little guy to move along side and hooked up!  A true testament to – No Man Left Behind!

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

Rangiroa

Where you have Yin, you must have Yang!  Rangiroa is the 2nd largest Atoll in the world (go Google the largest…)  It is where they filmed the infamous Brooke Shields’ movie, Blue Lagoon.  It was such a relief to be in the calm waters of the lagoon.  We stepped out on our balcony and were amazed by the beauty and the clear, clear waters!  We could actually see the hull of the ship.  Thanks to our wonderful friends Doug & Linda we were off for the day to snorkel the waters of the lagoon and dolphin watching!  Thanks for such an amazing birthday gift! 

102

Raiatea & Tahaa

Just when you thought it could not get any better or beautiful, we arrived in Raiatea/Tahaa.  We decided ahead of time, since this was going to a truly special destination, we wanted to ditch our fellow cruisers and do a private tour.  One of the best decisions ever made!  There were only 11 of us, plus Bruno (tour guide & boat owner) and his assistant.  We first headed over to another private Motu, where had their own aquarium.  We got to swim with fishes and even sharks!  It was hard to break away from the Motu and the French wine, but there was much more to see!   Our final destination was an area in Tahaa where we could drift snorkel.  Basically, it is what it sounds like –  between 2 Motus the waters come together and you just plop your body in the water, drift and enjoy the sites.  Of course, I have to find the loop hole!  I got hit by a small rogue wave and tossed into coral and sea urchins.  I was sooo excited!!!  I couldn’t wait to get out of the water and have Neil urinate on me!  He flat out refused and Bruno had the whole first aid kit…Sorry – back to the drift snorkel – This area is located near the Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa.  This is true paradise!  If you are considering Bora Bora – don’t!  Stay at this resort and I would be happy to give you further details (see my contact link above). 

196

Now many of you out there were the beneficiaries of our annual holiday card.  It took a lot for me to get Neil to agree to the underwater shot we took and put it on a card.  But, here I am not going to win.  If you want to see the amazing picture you will have to contact me privately to see it.  He just will not agree to allow me to post it out there on the world wide web.  Something to do with his license, his clients, privacy….

Bora Bora

Some would say we left the best destination for almost last.  I would argue.  Yes, Bora Bora is amazingly beautiful, but I truly thought it was too built up.  When I think of paradise, I NOW think of Tahaa.  I just think for the money, Tahaa is a better option.  With that said, we decided to spend part of our day doing a Helmut Dive.  This is where we get to walk the bottom of the ocean (approx. 20 feet down) wearing these hysterical helmets.  AWESOME!!!   Sorry for the crappy picture, but the $10 disposal camera just did not work well that deep and Neil was not about to try the “English Ziploc” again with the new camera.

 

237

 

Afterwards we got to swim around for awhile and Neil even got to see a shark while swimming.  He quickly came back on-board the boat.

Bora Bora Shark

Bora Bora Shark

Ladies, let’s be honest here with each other!  No trip to Tahiti is complete without the purchase of a Tahitian pearl.  I know it was Neil’s birthday trip, but we are talking shopping and pearls here!!!  So after spending the day in the water, we headed over to the mainland (still in our wet bathing suits) and purchased a necklace with a gorgeous pearl with an itty bitty diamond.  We (me) had a great time at the jewelry shop and drank up with all of the free flowing champagne!

245

Papeete

Since our flight was not until 11:00 p.m., we had the entire day to spend in Papeete.  What I truly enjoyed about Papeete that has ruined the Caribbean for me is that there aren’t fast food joints on every corner.  In all of Tahiti there is only 1 McDonalds.  No KFC, no Jack-in-the-Box, etc…  So as our day began, I think the “hey wait it is my birthday trip” sunk into Neil and of course it did not help when he saw our waiter the night before wearing a “manly Tahitian pearl necklace”, so we were off to purchase his pearl.  I am happy to report Neil was able find exactly what he was looking for, but mine is still better 😉   We could not leave these beautiful islands with the memory of shopping.  We decided to hook onto a tour of the island and got to see the black sand beaches and a great waterfall.

We left with the best tans!

We left with the best tans!

Truly, Tahiti is a destination that EVERYONE needs to experience, at least once in a lifetime.  Contact me to book your next vacation to paradise.

Can you say it 3 times fast?  Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!   Whew, I am just as exhausted as when I walked the parks of Walt Disney World for days…!!! 

Yes, little girls (3 and older) can live their dreams of being a princess for a day at Disney World or Disneyland.  They are transformed into their favorite fairy tale maidens, such as Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Ariel and Jasmine.  Leave it to Disney once again to bring “Magical” memories for your children, while making you choke at the cost.  But how can you deny your daughter her Cinderella moment? 

BBB

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is located in Sleeping Beauty Castle and is a very special beauty salon.  Your child will feel like royalty with the help of her Fairy Godmother and Fairy Godmothers-in-training, who will put magical touches on everything from hair, make-up and nails to princess gowns and accessories.

Princess

The packages to choose from are, as follows:

 Girls can choose from three hair styles — Fairytale Princess, Disney Diva and Pop Princess — available in three packages:

       The Coach Package includes hairstyle, shimmering make-up, princess sash, princess cinch sac and body jewels — starting at $44.95, plus tax. 

      The Crown Package includes hairstyle, shimmering makeup, princess sash, princess cinch sac, body jewels and nail polish — starting at $49.95, plus tax.       

      The Castle Package includes hairstyle, shimmering makeup, princess sash, princess cinch sac, body jewels, nail polish, princess gown of choice, wand, shoes and portrait package courtesy of Disney’s PhotoPass® Service (assorted prints in themed folder). Determined by the choice of princess gown and shoes, price ranges from $195.85 to $205.85.

Now those little guys out there should not feel as they are being ignored by Disney.  I can see all of those dads faces right now…  No, Disney will not turn your future pro-football player into a princess (unless he really, really wants too…).  The Fairy Godmother will turn him into a little prince or pirate!

Knight

FOR YOUNG KNIGHTS: The magical experience for boys that transforms them into gallant young knights, includes a hairstyle fit for daring adventure, which includes colorful hair gel and confetti, a Prince Philip shield and a sword for fun and heroism starting at $12.95, plus tax. 

The most important part of all – I make sure that all my clients who are interested in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience for their children understand RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST!   It was heartbreaking when I visited Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and saw so many parents trying to console their dissed princesses, because the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique was all booked up for the day.  Don’t be one of those parents that will traumatize their children for life!  Call me today to book your next Disney Vacation and Princess Make-Over!

If you haven’t figured out with this blog, I don’t just throw out to you any ole travel special…When I come across the good ones or even the GREAT ONES, I must share.

Of course I am biased when it comes to Tahiti!  It is my most favorite travel location!!!  Yes, I know I keep threatening to discuss my trip there (and, I promise I will get to it soon).  So many wonderful islands to tell you about and of course, I will introduce you to my buddy the manta ray.  So stay tuned, it will not disappoint.

In the meantime, if you have been dreaming about that trip Tahiti – what are you waiting for?!?!  Let me make that dream come true for you.

Check out these 2 options to consider for that trip of a lifetime!  Now I know some of you are thinking, “Honeymoon”?  “Why bother reading any further, since I’ve been married for a gazillion years!”   Folks, don’t let the romance die!  Get out that credit card, which you refer to as the evil plastic nightmare and envision it as your plastic passage to paradise…

romantic_Tahiti_us

Only because I keep teasing you about my trip to Tahiti, I thought I would share a little piece of sheer beauty with you:

Neil dolphin watching in Rangiroa

Neil dolphin watching in Rangiroa

Are you feeling your next vacation coming on yet????

Hi Everyone!

Last month I posted a video I received from my wholesaler that offers villas for rent in Cabo San Lucas. Well, how can I let September get by us, without another amazing video?!?!

Below you will see Sting Rays jumping in and out of the water near Land’s End, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Really weird! Frankly, in all of my years of spending time with these creatures (yes, I owe you a post from my trip to Tahiti where I kissed one!), I have never seen them do this!

Who wants to go to Cabo? I know I do!!!

20 years from now will you remember your blender? 

kitchen_blender

I so wish that the concept of a Honeymoon Registry was around when I got married…Honestly, I have NEVER used my china!  Let’s talk a little about the bread maker – it hasn’t been used in over 10 years, but looks great on the counter!  I will admit that recently I have been eyeing the fondue set, but did I really have to store it for the past 15 years?  I know so many of you married folks out there are thinking about those gifts tucked far, far away…  Admit it!!!  Wouldn’t you rather of had that dinner on the beach, instead of the silver tea set????  I’m just saying…

I have worked with a couple of honeymoon registries over the years and the one I currently work with has the best reputation, not to mention the most fantastic staff!   Below is description I put together describing how it all works!  If you are getting married or know of someone getting married, forward on this blog link!

Start your life together with a honeymoon experience you’ll never forget by creating your own customized honeymoon registry. You’ll be giving your guests a convenient gift alternative to crock pots and salad spinners; and an opportunity to be a part of your honeymoon memories. Unlike most household items, memories last forever.

What is a Honeymoon Registry?

A honeymoon registry works like most gift registries except that instead of individually choosing dishes, toasters, and other household items, you are choosing pieces of a honeymoon.  Within the honeymoon are many components and activities that can represent individual gift items.  These things are itemized, just as in a traditional gift registry.  You enter the information and when you are finished, voila! There will be traditionalists that simply would prefer giving you something that they can see, touch, and feel themselves.  For others, they will appreciate the alternative, progressive nature of a honeymoon registry because it is the type of registry they would choose if they were getting married now.

Tip: Have fun with it and give it some of your own personality.

How it works

As contributions are made from your guests, they will be applied them directly to your honeymoon.  The gift-giver will receive a personalized letter acknowledging their contributions.  All payments will be accepted up until the day you leave for your honeymoon.  Any additional funds contributed over the cost of your honeymoon will be issued to you in the form of a check.   After final payment is made you will be reimbursed as the contributions.  However, please remember, if your honeymoon registry has not collected the full payment amount due by the date indicated on your confirmation, you will be responsible for the full payment.

How to get the word out

When you book your dream honeymoon with us and pay the required deposit, you can send personalized cards to your guest to let them know about your honeymoon plans.  Just as you would let guests know that you are registered at Macy’s or Crate & Barrel, this will let family and friends know that you have a Honeymoon Registry.   It’s also a good idea to give the cards to your immediate family so they remember where you’re registered when wedding guests call them.

Is there a cost to this service?

The only cost to you is the time you put into creating your registry and wedding web page. But that’s something that you’ll have fun doing. It’s your registry; feel free to personalize it as much or as little as you want!  For gift purchasers a small service/gift delivery fee is charged on each gift purchase that usually amounts to no more than sales taxes and less if you include shipping and gift wrapping.  For example, a $50 item would be $54.43 upon checkout.

Honeymoon Registry

With this Honeymoon Registry you can register online, create a free honeymoon website, and register all types of items for your honeymoon.

  • No set up fee.
  • Free wedding website.
  • Hundreds of ideas covering areas all over the world – or you can create your own honeymoon registry.
  • Photos for all items with descriptions.
  • No tacky advertising.
  • Announcements & shower games.
  • You can receive your gifts anytime.

If you would like to give your wedding guests a gifting alternative to crock pots, toasters and blenders, we offer you the convenience of a fully automated, online honeymoon registry service. Your wedding guests can buy you gifts that deliver experiences like offshore excursions, tours, sport activities or amenities like beauty and spa services. If you would like more information or help setting one up, contact us.

I know this is not travel related, but I feel Patrick Swayze deserves a special mention.  No, it’s not a surprise that he passed away today, but still very sad.  It is moments like this that makes me wonder…This man fought so hard to stay alive, but still was taken from us.  However, instead we are left with a piece of crap named Kanye West!

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

patrick-swayze

OMG OMG OMG! 

Disney Cruise Lines is actually offering an incredible deal!  OMG OMG OMG!  Kids Sail FREE!  OMG OMG OMG!  Okay, I will stop now…

If you have ever wanted to take your family on Disney, this is the time to book.  Onboard, you’ll discover something magical for every member of your family. 

DCL083109

If you have not sailed on a Disney Cruise before, you are TOTALLY missing out.  This special applies to certain 3 & 4 night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas.  More importantly a full day at Castaway Cay is not to be missed!  Castaway Cay is Disney’s  private island complete with separate beaches for teens, adults and families.  For kids and teens, it’s Never Land. For adults, it’s Shangri-La.  As you step off the ship directly into paradise at Castaway Cay, you’ll know you’ve arrived in a magical place.  Hop on a bike and live out your wildest Robinson Crusoe fantasies exploring secluded white-sand beaches.  Even be pampered in rare style in one of the open-air massage cabanas.

Only a Disney cruise can captivate every member of the family and provide time to cherish together.  From swim-time fun at Goofy’s Pool, festive parties on deck to family-friendly comedians on stage and fantastic game show in Studio Sea. Imagine all of the activities included on a family cruise mixed in with magically appearing characters.

wdw-cruise-mickeygoofy

Special Offer:

This winter and spring with this valuable offer from Disney Cruise Line®! Kids age 17 and under can sail free* on most 3- and 4-night cruises with two full-fare Guests in the same stateroom. Government Taxes and Fees not included.

Travel Dates:
3-night cruises: Jan. 7 – April 15, 2010
4-night cruises: Jan. 10 – April 11, 2010

Additional Details:
Applies to stateroom Categories 4-12 only

Below is a video of Castaway Cay and the additional amenities that will be in place for Summer 2010.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpt6kJrGFbA 

*Offer applies to new bookings only. The number of staterooms allocated for this offer is limited. Other special offers, discounts or onboard credits do not apply.