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Hi, I’m back!!!  Miss me?  I missed you guys!  WOW, that Royal Caribbean sale was great for biz! 

So last year I spent 5 days at the (then new) Secrets Silversands. Great resort and the most requested drink there was the Miami Vice!  I kept looking around for Don Johnson, but he was nowhere to be found.  Oh no, I think I just dated myself…Sorry, but I am a product of the ’80’s.  I even have pictures of 2 guests from my (formal) wedding that dressed like Crockett & Tubbs! 

Back to the drink – – – Enjoy!

You have to agree this resembles one of Crockett's Suits...

You have to agree this resembles one of Crockett's Suits...

This drink is all about the presentation—getting a clear separation of white (piña colada) from red (strawberry daiquiri).

First, blend together 2.5 ounces of your favorite rum with 1 cup of ice and 4 ounces of piña colada mix. Blend until smooth and then set aside. Rinse out your blender and add 2.5 ounces of the same rum, 1 cup of ice and 4 ounces of strawberry daiquiri mix. Now, layer in a hurricane glass the pina colada and strawberry daiquiri creating a red and white stripe.

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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!!!

Hi Everyone!

A real quicky today – Cabo.  It easy to get to, especially from the West Coast!  Some great all-inclusive resorts can be found there.  Even better – you can also find a tremendous amount of Villas to rent there, as well.  Great idea for families!

I was sent this clip from one of my wholesalers that rents Villas.  You have gotta watch it to the end.  AMAZING!  Who wants to go?  I know I do!!!

http://vimeo.com/5679213

My most favorite resorts to send my clients to in the Mexican Riviera are the all-inclusive Karisma Resorts – El Dorado Seaside Suites, El Dorado Royal and the various Azul Resorts.  Of all of them, Seaside is the most intimate.  I simply never have had a client come back miserable…YAY!!!

What has become so popular these days are Destination Weddings.  What a great idea of combining your wedding and honeymoon into one!  Not to mention, very economical.  I know what my wedding cost 15 years ago, so I can only imagine today it would be a rather nice down payment on a home.  So when I came accross this special today, I had to share with ya’ll. (Did I just go country on you????) 

If you are getting married or know someone interested in planning a Destination Wedding, consider this as an option.  One of the services I provide is dealing with your guests travel arrangements, so you don’t have to.  I also assist you with the planning of the wonderful day in paradise!

bridegroomstayfree_03

Brides can say “I do” with their toes in the sand, or have a wedding in the sky at El Dorado Spa Resorts and Hotels and Azul Hotels, by Karisma. Luxurious Bridal Suites, a dedicated team of wedding coordinators, and an exclusive Justice of peace are just a few of the many amenities we provide. Every detail of the special day can be customized as we offer virtually limitless options. Let us help you to plan the perfect wedding!

35% off private functions and up to 20% off group room rates

Book now thru December 22nd, 2009.

Travel December 23, 2009 – December 22nd, 2010

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So last March I lucked out and got to do more than spend an afternoon doing a ship inspection – I got to sail on Carnival Cruises brand spanking new ship, the Splendor!  It was a 3 day/2 night cruise to nowhere out of San Francisco.  Okay, I can see some of those heads cocking to the side like a cute poodle…  A cruise to nowhere is when the ship simply sails around and does not stop at a port.  There’s this long boring regulation called the Jones Act, which simply says any foreign registered cruise liner (in which 99% of them are – the NCL Pride of America is the exception and it will be discussed in another posting at a later date) must make at least 1 stop in a foreign port.  Otherwise, it can only do an itinerary and say it loudly, “A Cruise to Nowhere.”   In our case, we just putted along in the Pacific far enough out that we did not see the coast.

Of course, I did not sail alone, as I had my partner in group travel, Rita & my agency owner Anita along for the ride.  Lots of fun, lots of laughter and of course, LOTS OF WINE!  Why not?  It was free!  Not that has ever stopped this crowd before…

Now let’s talk about this ship – she is the competition for RCCL’s Mariner of the Seas (see earlier posting), doing 7 night Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles.  Personally, I think even though they both cater to families, I would actually prefer to put clients with young children on the Splendor, than the Mariner.  The reason – I found the children’s areas and programs great!  RCCL has great entertainment and amenities (like the rock wall, inline skating, etc…) that older kids would totally enjoy.

Kids Waterpark. Yes, I got soaked trying take this pic

Kids Waterpark. Yes, I got soaked trying take this pic

They even thought of the little people when designing their bathroom in the play area, called Camp Carnival.

Camp Carnival Bathroom - So Cute!

Camp Carnival Bathroom - So Cute!

I thought this was a really nice ship, with 1 exception.  When the designers got together, I picture someone shouting out in the meeting “PINK POLKA DOTS” and everyone must have agreed how brilliant.  Really?  They went a little overboard in that department…

Pink Polka Dots

The two story dining rooms were impressive.  Not as beautiful as Mariner, but still very nice.  They are named the Gold Pearl and Black Pearl.

The Black Pearl Restaurant
The Black Pearl Restaurant

In regards to food, I have always been pleased with Carnival.  This is surprising, because I don’t think that highly of their other brand – Princess Cruises’ cuisine.  Don’t get me wrong – they are not as good as Celebrity Cruises, but the food was good and plentiful onboard.  I still really enjoy their pre-dinner sushi bar (and, one night they did Tapas), located on the Promenade level.  Because you know when you cruise, one MUST feed every few hours!

I found that there were a lot of bars on this ship vs. places to just lounge around.  However the décor of the public spaces are great and I loved the casino the best!

Casino

The staterooms were what I have come to expect from Carnival.  Décor was strange, while also being on the plain side.  I like the size of the standard balcony stateroom.  Plenty of space, lots of mirrors and a nice sized seating area.  And, of course, no Carnival cruise is without coming back at the end of the night to your towel buddy…

Towel Buddy

Carnival has some of the best pricing and I would be happy to discuss booking your next family vacation and include some extra amenities!

So I am going to go backwards from time to time here, because I have a lot of catching up to do… 

So at the beginning of June, I headed up to the Port of San Francisco (yeah, I know I tend to do that from time to time…) to spend the afternoon touring Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.  This visit was all thanks to the overly dramatic Swine Flu epidemic in Mexico!  RCCL repositioned the Mariner from doing the Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles, to Roundtrip Los Angeles for a Pacific Northwest experience for a few weeks, until things returned to “normal” in Mexico. 

We are so fortunate to have this Voyager Class Ship here on the West Coast!  Mariner was moved from its former home in Port Canaveral, Florida (they have enough cruise ships out there spare at least one to us) to Los Angeles  YAY!!!!  No more having to settle for the old run down Monarch of the Seas. YAY!!!  Even though this ship holds 3,100 passengers, you wouldn’t know it. She is big, but doesn’t feel big.  There is plenty of space to hang, so you don’t feel over-crowded.

For those unfamiliar with this ship class – it is the first of its kind to have a mall (aka, the Royal Promenade) and an ice rink!  Yes, I said ice rink…

Ice Rink

The Royal Promenade is two football fields in length and four decks high. With a wide selection of shops, restaurants and entertainment the Royal Promenade will be the place to be.  (Check out the staterooms overlooking the Promenade…)

Mall

This ship simply oozes fun!  So much to do – From the great pool areas (including the thalassotherapy pool), to climbing the rock wall, in-line roller skating, basketball (full size court), miniature golf, to catching a parade on the Royal Promenade.

There are many dining options on-board.  You have the main dining room, which is 3 stories tall!  There is also the wonderful buffet and room service – all which is included in the cruise fare price.  Now for a small fee Mariner offers some specialty dining options – Chops Grille Steakhouse ($25 per person), Portofino Italian Restaurant ($20 per person) and Johnny Rockets ($4.95 per person).

Dining

I came across this table which shows what is consumed in entire week by cruisers on Mariner – WOW! 

Beef: 20,000 lb Chicken: 12,000 lb Pork: 5,000 lb Lobster: 1,400 lb
Other seafood: 4,000 lb Salmon: 2,500 lb Fresh eggs: 28,000 Flour: 15,000 lb
Sugar: 4,300 lb Coffee: 1,500 lb Fresh fruits: 35,000 lb Fresh vegetables: 65,000 lb
Potatoes: 18,000 lb Fresh berries: 600 lb Ice cream: 8,000 gallons Milk: 1,500 gallons
Individual yogurts: 4,200 Cheese: 5,800 lb Slices of pizza: 18,000 Beer: 10,700 bottles
Beer: 8,500 cans Soda: 11,500 cans Wine: 2,900 bottles Whiskey: 200 bottles

 

Now I can’t go away from a posting without discussing at least 1 stateroom.  I toured the cabins and found them very suitable.  The ones I was most interested in seeing were the inside cabins that overlooked the Promenade.  For some reason, these are very popular.  Personally, if I am on a cruise ship, give me a view of the ocean not a mall!  I’ll tell ya though, these staterooms sell out quick!!!!  <shaking head in confusion>

Inside Mall Room

Stay tuned for more…

Okay, so I could not pass up talking about this wonderful all-inclusive resort today!  The reason – I was sent a picture on FB of their fantastic Caesar Salad from their outdoor cafe.  Why didn’t I think of taking the picture myself when I was there last October?

Caesar Salad

So here’s a little info on this resort which about 20 minutes south of Cancun Airport:

A modern marvel in contemporary design, Secrets Silversands Riviera  brings sophistication and distinction to the Riviera Maya. This all-suite resort presents “Unlimited-Luxury” in an innovative way featuring suspended beds, chic modern fabrics, alluring décor and captivating lighting. Gourmet à la carte restaurants, eight posh bars and the lavish Secrets Spa by Pevonia are just some of the indulgent amenities set amidst the silvery surroundings.

Oceanview Suite

Yes, this room is GREAT!  Neil & I unfortunately had a garden/very partial oceanview, but we still enjoyed it.  If you are considering a trip to Mexico, drop me a line and I would be happy to book this for your next vacation memory!

Resort View