There isn’t anything more romantic than saying, “I do” on a white-sand beach beside a tranquil blue lagoon in Bora Bora!!!   Tahiti has FINALLY legalized destination-wedding ceremonies for U.S. and Canadian couples (in fact, for any overseas visitors over the age of 18 who are not French citizens).  So here’s the scoop:

Requirements: If you want to wed legally in Tahiti you will need to start the process at least six months in advance (you can also marry stateside and enjoy ceremonial-only vows in Tahiti with far less paperwork).  There are about six detailed documents that need to be translated and filed, including a “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” document; a letter signed and dated by both spouses and addressed to the mayor of the commune where the wedding will take place; proof of identities (copies of both spouses passports); a certified copy of both spouses’ birth certificates issued less than six months prior to the wedding date, authenticated with an “Apostile,” translated into French by an approved translator and legalized by the French Consulate; a “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” signed by a lawyer, translated into French and legalized by the French Consulate; and proof of residency for both spouses (such as utility bills).

Options: Without exception, the actual legal marriage will take place at the City Hall on the island where the couple will wed. This can be immediately followed by a beach, chapel, or hilltop ceremony featuring any combination of traditional Tahitian vows (presided over by a priest in plumed headdress and ceremonial garb with both couples dressed in white pareus and adorned with crowns and garlands of flowers and then wrapped together in the vibrant “Tifaifai” or wedding quilt) or Western ceremony (presided over by a justice or minister with the couple in a wedding gown and suit).  Depending on the locale, brides or grooms can arrive via dugout canoe, electric cart, or on foot to backdrops as varied as a glass-floored overwater chapel, a private motu (small island), or a catamaran sailing Bora Bora’s lagoon as the sun dips behind Mt. Otemanu.

Locations: Almost every major resort on Tahiti’s three main islands – Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora – has wedding packages in place.

Moorea Pearl Resort – This Tahitian-owned property offers colorful, flower-infused weddings in two wonderful locations: a convenient beachfront at the resort with the bride’s arrival by canoe to her awaiting groom (about $800-$2,000 depending on extras such as musicians, dancers, and dinner), and a day-long celebration on a more private motu, reachable via a 20-minute boat ride (starting at about $2,000).  All ceremony packages include musicians, floral leis and crowns, and traditional pareus for the bride and groom, plus a beautiful bed of flowers and Champagne in the couple’s bungalow. Rates from $271.

InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa – The jagged green peaks of Moorea create a stunning, altar-like backdrop as couples in white pareus and a coconut-shell top (for her) stand barefoot in soft white sand next to the brilliant pale blue lagoon and exchange vows at sunset in a vibrant and enjoyable music and dance-filled Polynesian ceremony. Here, the groom arrives by outrigger canoe and the resort offers the option of a “Mini” Ceremony (accompanied by 8-10 musicians and dancers for about $1,300) or a longer “Grand” Ceremony (15-20 musicians and dancers for about $2,000). The couple returns to their flower-decorated bungalow for canapés and Champagne, followed by a private or group dinner at extra cost. Rates from $287/night.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa – Lapped by Bora Bora’s legendary lagoon, with iconic Mt. Otemanu in direct view, this five-year-old luxury resort mixing distinctly contemporary décor with traditional Tahitian ambience is a truly memorable spot to exchange “I Do’s.” In fact, there are several locations for weddings, ranging from an air-conditioned, glass-floored overwater chapel (from $2,050 and shown at left, courtesy of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts) to a sun-dappled beach (from $1,900) – both with mesmerizing Mt. Otemanu views. The resort’s concierge/wedding planning team aims to personalize each marriage with the couple’s preferred mix of Polynesian and Western elements and post-ceremony cocktails and dining (tip: the fire dancers are a must!). Rates from $900/night (most accommodations are overwater bungalows, with a few two-bedroom family suites from $800/night).

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora – Couples can choose from seven wedding venues at this two-year-old five-star property – including a brand new catamaran, the Four Seasons Navigator, during a scenic two-hour sunset sail. After welcome Champagne and canapés, the couple and a maximum of 12-16 guests head up to the Navigator’s top deck for an intimate and breathtaking traditional Polynesian ceremony presided over by a Tahitian priest and accompanied by two musicians (from $2,150). As the lagoon shimmers and the passing scenery captivates, everyone revels in this very private and enchanting setting (shown at right). Other venues include the resort’s beach, its tiny offshore Sunset Motu or its open-air wedding chapel. Afterward, dining and entertainment options range from a beach barbecue (again, reserve the fire dancer!) to a fine-dining gala for up to 100. Rates from $900/night.

Celebrity Cruises has announced big changes yesterday in its two new Solstice-class ships: the “Celebrity Silhouette” (debuting late next year) and the “Celebrity Reflection” (arriving in 2012). 

The “Reflection” will actually grow in size by a meter in width and 4,000 more gross tons to make room for more cabins, a larger theater, and expanded restaurant space.  In the Lawn Club area on both ships, the Corning Class Museum and the glass-blowing demonstrations will be replaced by two new dining venues (the Lawn Club Grill specialty restaurant [$30 per person] and the Porch) and eight cabana alcoves (available for rent), plus hammocks and Adirondack chairs. 

Meanwhile, the popular Michael’s Club area will become a craft beer bar, and the Team Earth interactive exhibit will be replaced by The Hideaway (a quiet lounge area).

Without a doubt these are going to be spectacular ships, especially Reflection!

Don’t hesitate!!!  Contact me today to discuss your next cruising adventure.

THE DEAL OF A LIFETIME HAS FINALLY ARRIVED! 

The Mountain View Chamber of Commerce is sponsering a 10-Day trip to Tuscany in March 2011, for only $2,749 per person!!!  A deposit of $250 is all you need to reserve your spot to travel one of the most beautiful regions in the world.  Please click on the link below and make sure to contact me today to book this trip of a lifetime!

10-Days in Tuscany

Pricing expires on October 15, 2010.  Don’t hesitate, contact me today at (650) 906-6000 or lauren@aticket2travel.com

To all of my Tahitian travel lovers out there…I have an update on The Brando Resort –

The Brando resort will be built by late 2012 on Tetiaroa, a French Polynesia island formerly owned by the late actor Marlon Brando. The property will be the only hotel on the island, with 47 deluxe bungalow villas with their own private plunge pools.

I will keep you posted on the progress!

Okay!!!  You asked for it & now I am going to give it to you – TAHITI!!! 

One of my BEST suppliers has heard your cries (okay, maybe more of my cries…) and are offering these amazing deals, that I can offer to you!

Now I am not going to lie to you…These prices do not include airfare, resort fees, seasonal surcharges, a meal plan, etc…  However, your dreams to go to paradise can happen! 

Call me today, before these specials are taken up by others!!!

For all you Hawaii lovers or Hawaii wanna be lovers…Here’s your chance to head on over to Oahu or The Big Island with this special:

Don’t wait!  Contact me sooner than later to book your next Hawaiian vacation!!! 

Who out there does not want to go to Fiji?!?!  I don’t see any hands raised!  🙂

Now here is your chance to take advantage of a great opportunity to experience Fiji:

Give me a call today to book this wonderful resort!!!

Just when you did not think Royal Caribbean could do any better! 

Contact me today to book your next AMAZING family vacation onboard the Allure of the Seas!

No offense to the Howard Johnson’s Hotel Chain (well, maybe a little…)

I’ve held off on posting this blog entry in regards to my cruise on the Carnival Elation last March.  However, I just can’t hold back any longer!  I must spill the beans; get it off my chest, etc…

First off – I PROMISE TO NEVER BOOK ANY OF YOU, MY DEAR, DEAR CLIENTS, ON THIS SHIP!!!  The good news for us West Coasters, she has left us for her new homeport of Mobile, Alabama.  So sorry for all ya’ll Southerners.

It started out great, since the ship was leaving from San Diego for a 6 night cruise to Cabo San Lucas for a 2 day stay and a stop at Ensenada (okay, so that port is not so great).  What was truly splendid was the ease of flying into San Diego and taking a 5 minute cab ride to the port.  (And, folks I truly mean it.)  Why the Port of San Diego is not used more, completely baffles me?  Forget crummy San Pedro or Long Beach, let’s hear a big cheer for San Diego!!!

Okay, back to the “Ho Jo….”

I knew we were in for an interesting crowd, while waiting for our group number to be called to board the ship.  The 4 gentlemen (ahhhemm) sitting next to me were already drunk!  During this embarkation period, we got to watch Holland America’s Oosterdam also board their guests.  Who do I see while waiting????…Ronald Regan, Jr. and his family boarding the “dam” ship!  Now he’s not a huge celebrity, but geez, I would have much rather cruised with him than the “ahhhemm gentlemen” that I had the unfortunate circumstance of not only seeing, but smelling.

Once on board we headed to check out our lovely peach & orange oceanview cabin, aka our home away from home for the next 7 days.

Why, oh why???

Fine, it’s a very 80’s color palette, fine they seem to have the Titanic as a light fixture, but really Carnival that painting over the beds must scare small children.  Frankly, it’s even a lot creepy from an adult’s perspective.

 

 

 

 

Now what is one of the major attractions or in some cases fear for cruisers? – the food!  As I headed toward the dining room on the first evening, I was not expecting a 5-star or Michelin rated meal, but geez how about something edible?  I can only describe the food as a cross between school cafeteria and hospital food.  Each night when it came time for dinner, it was getting harder and harder to drag the feet into the dining room.

Now earlier you might have winced at the thought of Ensenada, but wow was it truly welcomed.  Thank you Habana Banana for your great margaritas and FOOD!!!

The entertainment onboard was either lacking or just plain bad.  However, the best entertainment found on the ship was art auctioneer, Ellis.  He was full of energy and a great comedian.  So even if you don’t plan on purchasing any art, still go and check it out.  Not to mention you will receive free champagne while you there.

As the tradition goes with Carnival’s “fun” factor, returning each evening to a towel animal in the cabin puts a smile on one’s face.  I am still wondering what the cabin stewards do if you don’t leave out your sunglasses for them to use?  Personally, my favorite was the Towel Monkey!

The Pool Area continued with the strange color scheme of the ship – Orange and yellow tile with a blue slide… I mean really, does this draw you to want to hang out if you are over the age of 12?

So Carnival heard the pleas from the over 21 crowd and created an adults only outdoor space.  No pool, but there are 2 Jacuzzis.  They refer to this as The Serenity – an adult retreat.  Great idea, no screaming children to be found anywhere in sight, but…Carnival you lost me on the serene part with all of the engine noise!

Overall, I found the ship décor to be dated, worn and tired (in some cases walls were cracked and falling apart), the crowds at the buffet areas were overwhelming due to poor space planning and the cabins, especially those located mid-ship on the port side to be very noisy!  There are much better, nicer and palatable ships out there sailing the Western Caribbean!

– Coming soon, Cabo resort reviews!!!

It’s back!!!  Contact me on May 18 or 19, 2010, so you don’t miss out on this great deal from Royal Caribbean!

On-Board Credits and Reduced Deposits!!  Sounds to good me!

Lauren Liebert

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