Have you wanted to visit Hawaii? It is a great destination for families or couples. The islands offer an array of experiences different from each other. There are a few ways to visit the islands.
The more all-inclusive way is by cruising the 4 main islands Maui, Kaui, Kona, and Hilo. The Norwegian Pride of America is the cruise line that is dedicated to help you see the most of Hawaii at one time. I would suggest coming in a day before. Rent a car to get yourself around when you arrive. Consider a luau the night you arrive and visit Pearl Harbor to its fullest before you cruise the next day. There are several tours available that just share the memorial. Your missing out on seeing the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Battlefield Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum. There is a lot of history to learn about. You can also get your picture taken at the shop near the USS Bowfin Museum. Your picture will be on the newspaper article about WWII. It is nice to have a piece of history to take home.
When you arrive to the Norwegian’s Pride of America at least 2 hours before it departs you can start by grabbing yourself a snack or drink before checking things out. You have the choice of taking your luggage on yourself or you can let the cruise line take it to your room for you. You will have to wait at least 3 hours before your luggage arrives to your cabin. If you allow the cruise line to take care of your luggage make sure you have a small carry-on bag that has your medications, change of clothes, passports and other important items. You will be called to do a muster drill so pay attention to where you need to be for that. Your Room Key will provide some of the information on where you need to show up. Once the muster drill is done the ship will get ready to head out. You can head to the pool deck where everyone will watch as you pull away from the dock. Once you are at sea you can eat dinner or see a show or whatever suits your fancy. You are on your way to experience the great islands of Hawaii!
The other option is to select a specific island or two you want to explore.
Hawaii does not offer all-inclusive resorts to stay at. Some may offer breakfast everyday for your stay but then you are on your own to explore the islands and enjoy the local food and hidden gems. Many resorts offer small kitchens where you can cook yourself with the local foods you purchased. Let the fun begin!
Maui is known as the “The Valley Isle.” It is the second largest Hawaiian island. You will spend almost 2 days here. It is known for its beaches, the migrating humpback whales and the sunrise and sunset from Haleakala. The Iao Valley State Park is a top attraction with the lush valleys and burbling streams. If you like shopping you can browse the local shops, restaurants and historic sites in the charming town of Wailuku. East Maui is where you can brave the road to Hana if you dare. This winding road and narrow bridges provides some awesome views of lush rainforests, gorgeous waterfalls and a black and red sand beach to enjoy. South Maui has miles of sandy beaches for lazy days and romantic nights. The west side of Maui is known for its charming towns to its championship golf courses. Upcountry Maui is where many will watch the sunrise from the peak of Haleakala.
Kaui is named after the Wiliwili trees, which once lined its picturesque harbor On "The Garden Island," nature is truly the star, from the dramatic mountains of Kokee to the cool rainforests of Haena. On the North Shore enjoy the dramatic natural beauty of the cliffs of the Napali Coast. Kaui is known for its premier golf courses.
Kona offers the quintessential Hawaii experience. Sunny, warm weather and crystal blue waters entice visitors to partake in a variety of surfside fun. Snorkel amongst a kaleidoscope of tropical marine life. Take a surfing lesson, a kayaking trip or head out to deeper waters for some deep-sea fishing.
Hilo is like one giant greenhouse with spectacular tropical flowers at every turn. Visit the town's well-preserved historic buildings, which date back to the turn of the century and showcase Hawaii's unique architecture. Just 30 miles away the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the home of the active Kilauea Volcano. Check out the 80 foot Waianuenue (Rainbow Falls) and Peepee Falls. You can also enjoy the Hilo Farmers Market downtown Hilo for exquisite produce and local crafts.
Hawaii is a great destination here is the US and I encourage you to experience it. You won’t be disappointed. Let us help you with your next Hawaii trip!
River cruising is a vacation on water similar to the ocean cruising. There are similarities to ocean cruising. They are floating hotels with great amenities, unpakcing once, no worries about finding a hotel or restaurant each night, and walking up to your new destination almost every day. There is no driving, no second guessing the GPS, no wrong turns or stress. Cruising is a fantastic way to travel.
River cruising is far more intimate and inclusive with less than 190passengers. From the time you check-in, to getting your room key and your trip to your cabin is much shorter and personal than on a big ship. Ocean cruising has check in times, lines, and quese that you need to follow. Ocean Cruisers can have up to 6,000 people. On a river cruise you have the opportunity to really get to know your fellow passengers and make new friends. You can do the same on ocean cruising but it is usually a lot more difficult.
River Cruises can travel to the heart of the country where the big ships can't. Many times you dock a short distance from the city center so it makes it easy to get off the ship so you don't have to wait in long lines like you do on the big ships. With fewer people on board, tour groups are smaller and a lot more interactive. If you have ocean cruised before you know that the port can be far from city center. Example: The port of Valencia,Spain is about 2.5miles from city center. You have to be shuttled or take a taxi.
As you know it takes many people to man a large cruise ship. You many see one or two of them throughout the cruise. With a river cruise you will become very familiar with all the crew and director of the ship.
Many don't cruise because they dread getting sick. The ships do have stablizers to help eliminate motion. On a river cruise you won't have to worry about this at all. No patches, dramamine, etc. The river cruise just glides on the river and there is land visible all around. This helps you get your bearings compared to the open seas.
Cruising offers a great value, the biggest bang for your buck. Your accomodations, meals, entertainment and transportation between ports are included for one price. There are many cruises that have more inclusions like excurisons and amenties than others. There are many to choose from. There is a cruise suited for just about every budget and for everyone. What are you waiting for?
Start planning your next dream vacation today!
Call 512.355.1817 or complete this form and we will be in touch.
Bora Bora is one of the few places on earth that everyone hopes to experience in their lifetime—and once you see it, it will leave you with an ever lasting impression.
To begin your fabulous journey you will have to start by stopping in Papeete, Tahiti since this is where all the flights enter and depart from. It is in the same time zone as Hawaii and only 8 hours from Los Angeles. Tahiti is known as the "Queen of the Pacific" which is why it is best to stay a least one or two nights in Tahiti before you head off to Bora Bora. Papeete, Tahiti is a vibrant and multicultural city that offers you a chance to purchase black pearls, head to Vai'ete Square like a local after sunset while the waterfront promenade comes to life when you get to enjoy some great gourmet food trucks.
Bora Bora is less than one hour away by plane from Papeete, Tahiti. You will be able to enjoy some gorgeous views from above in the sky. You will want your camera with you! It will be the one place you can see at least 7 different shades of blue water. It is amazing. Once you arrive on the small island known as the "Motu Mete" you will be greeted with a smile and a fragrant flower lei and transferred to your Bora Bora resort. Bora Bora is known for its over water bungalows. It does offer beach bungalows and garden villas with their own private pool. There are many options to consider. You can enjoy experiencing many activities in the lagoons by snorkeling, diving, fishing, paddle boarding, kitesurfing, jet skiing and don't forget the shark and ray feeding plus more! Here is a brief video for you to see and to get excited about your next trip to Bora Bora. Contact us for your next trip.
The World is Now More Accessible Than Ever - Explore and Enjoy It! Twenty percent (62 million) of the U.S. population has some form of disability, and the number of these individuals is increasing daily. These people need to, want to, and can travel. If you’re part of that twenty percent, a world of travel awaits you. Travel professionals such as myself who are accessible travel advocates certified by Special Needs Group, the leading global provider of special needs equipment for the travel industry, have unique, specialized knowledge about how to help individuals with disabilities enjoy a wonderful, hassle-free and memorable trip. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Outline your travel needs
Take time to evaluate the logistics of your trip in relation to your ability to keep pace. What modes of transportation will you be using? Airplane, motor coach, train, ship, transit vans for ground transfers? Make a list, referring to relevant brochures, your trip organizer or travel agent to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Now, make a list of your specific requirements. Be honest: what types of special needs equipment do you depend on at home? What do you use or need (or wish you had!) when shopping, sightseeing locally, dining out or going to the movies, attending concerts, the theater, street fairs or sporting events at home?
Can you hear and see clearly without special auditory equipment or visual aides? How far can you walk without a rest break? Are stairs difficult? Can you get in and out of the tub or shower at home without handgrips or other assistance?
Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to “tough it out.” If a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen will make your trip easier, place that item on your list. Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobility aides for tour and excursions. In fact, most of Special Needs Group’s wheelchair and scooter rentals are to individuals who only use such aides when traveling.
If you already own a scooter or portable oxygen, it’s important to know the policy and procedures for bringing that equipment onboard all the transport vehicles included in your itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats. Does that transport have a way to stow your scooter or wheelchair? Is oxygen allowed on board? Some airlines prohibit certain types of batteries, such as wet cell batteries, or oxygen cylinders. Airlines operate under strict rules, so there may be packing procedures to follow if they do allow the equipment. Keep in mind, most airlines need at least 48 hours’ notice to make special arrangements, and be prepared to fill out forms.
Overall, cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen. All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship, and that you have enough for the entire voyage. Oxygen may never be brought aboard in your luggage. Requirements vary, so check your cruise line for proper instructions. Again, documentation and paperwork are required.
Whether you are headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, double check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues you will be visiting on the trip. Confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available for your travel dates. The earlier you book, the better your chances of securing fully accessible accommodations. And early booking increases your chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator, if these issues are important.
Check on the access to public rooms, restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities. Are there TDD phone devices? How will you get in and out of the shower or bathtub? Are there flashing lights to accommodate hearing? Braille room numbers? Knowing in advance the scope of your needs gives you time to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment, scheduled to arrive when you do. Everything from scooters, lifts, ramps, TDD kits and special mattresses, including special needs cribs, is available for rental.
Will road travel or car excursions be part of the trip? Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations. Check ahead to make sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates. If you will be hiring a car or van, make sure the company is aware of your special needs.
When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised.
Please feel free to visit with us more on your needs. We look forward to assisting you so you have a wonderful trip.
I had the pleasure of doing a ship inspection to see various room categories along with other areas of the ship to share with you! We will start with entering the ship. When you walk into the elevator on the floor it will show you the day of the week it is not that you want to remember! Your on vacation!
Presidental Suite that holds 14 people-4 bedrooms,2 bedrooms that have pullman beds, living room, patio with bar and table.
Family Suite with bunkbeds
Accessible Room for Wheel Chairs and Scooters
Big Screen TV, Pools, hot tubs, waterslides and a bar for all to enjoy!
Main Dining Room
Studio "B" for ice skating and shows
The Liberty of the Sea has plenty for you to enjoy while you enjoy your 7 day cruise. If you are wanting to try cruising or have a group you need help with reach out to Experience Travelin and we will be glad to assist you. Ship schedules are out 15 months in advance.
Please be advised as you travel to the Riviera Maya area there is a new tax. Not all hotels are implementing the same way, but they may be asked to pay a small amount upon check out. The official statement is below. The exchange rate was 17 pesos : $1, so the tax is about $1.15 per day per room.
“The Municipalidad of Solidaridad in the Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful places in the Mexican Caribbean. Tourism has been instrumental in driving the economic and social development of the region.
In an effort to continue to preserve, conserve and beautify the destination, the Municipality of Solidaridad has implemented a small environmental levy on visitors effective September 1, 2017.
Hotels will collect 20 Mexican pesos per room per day on check out; the proceeds will be deposited in an environmental trust to fund local projects.The Municipalidad of Solidaridad thanks you for your understanding and support of this worthwhile endeavor.
When travelers are planning their vacations many don't think about the importance of having travel insurance. It is a small price to pay to cover your investment. Many say their credit card company's have insurance so they don't need travel insurance. Travelers really need to check into that to make sure they offer what they would need in case of an emergency.
Here are reasons why you should consider travel insurance:
1:A week before you leave for your trip a family member passes. How are you going to handle your non-refundable payments for your trip?
2.You were in an accident in your destination and there wasn't adequate medical services. Who are you going to reach out to for assistance?
3.A hurricane damages the destination you were getting ready to travel to. How are you going to reschedule your trip and what happens to the funds paid on it?
4.Your flight gets cancelled due to weather while trying to get home. Who is going to help you reschedule your flights?
5.Your on a business trip to Europe and realize your passport is lost. How are you going to get a new passport in time to get back to the states or emergency cash?
Cuba is a meeting of people and cultures. I had the pleasure of experiencing 3 ports in Cuba. This is definitely a great opportunity for people to experience since US travelers have not been able to travel to Cuba for more than 50 years. You do have to have a current passport and a visa to visit Cuba.
While in Cuba you are able to immerse yourself in the history, culture and people to people connections. The first port of exploring was Havana, the capital of Cuba. The local currency is the Cuban CUC. The money will have monuments/memorials on it. This is important when getting currency. You don't want to confuse it with the CUP which has pictures of Cuban heroes on it. There was much excitement from the locals when we arrivedvia ship. They were happy to share with us what they did for a living. There were many artists with original works of art, musicians that enjoyed playing their Cuban rumba which was very entertaining, as well as the Cuban cuisine. One of the main objectives for most travelers when they get to Havana, Cuba is to be able to ride in one of the old Chevy cars. It was interesting to find out that in order to keep many of cars running they had to use parts from other types of vehicles. Many locals don't have cars.
While exploring Havana we learned that each home is rationed for food and water even if they raise their own food source. Their healthcare is free. The homes they live in house many generations of family members as homes are expensive. Cubans can't have weapons, knives, machetes, etc. Could you imagine what the US would be like if we couldn't have any weapons?
The Basilica and the Monastery of San Francisco De Asis
When you first come off the cruise port into Havana you will come upon this Basilica and Monastery. Today the church, with its excellent acoustics, is one of Havana’s finest concert hall for the classical, choral and contemporary concerts. It is also where many of the aristocrats of the 17th and 18th century lie.
One of the people to people connections we had was learning how young deaf adults such as high school age and older were taught cosmetology. It is a 2 year program. It allowed them to learn and if they wanted to they could work for someone else or open their own business once they completed the program. The owner of El Fiagro Havana is the one in charge of the cosmetology program and had the opportunity to talk to Obama for a quick few minutes when he arrived in Cuba. They have the oldest barbershop in Cuba. The food at El Figaro is worth a try as well. One requirement while in Cuba is that you have to document who you interacted with and what you talked about and keep for up to 7 years. The people to people connection is a requirement to visit Cuba. It is not just to be able to vacation there. As US citizens we have guidelines to follow.
Another people to people connection we had was meeting the family of a family owned restaurant at La Moneda Cuban. The food was excellent!
Lobster and rice with a Cuban sangria
Do you like chocolate? Well you have to try the Cuban chocolate. You won't be diappointed.
Ernest Hemmingway's place was interesting to see. While driving through the town you could see that things were run down on our way to Hemmingway's home. Here are some pictures from Hemmingway's place.
There are so many reasons to choose St Lucia as your Caribbean destination for romance or adventure. Saint Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean island nation with a pair of fabulous mountains, the Pitons, on its west coast. The capital, Castries, is a popular cruise port.
Saint Lucia is the perfect destination, whether you're after romance, rejuvenation or adventure. A genuine, natural landscape of gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, miles of unspoiled rainforest and the majestic Piton Mountains, are sure to indulge every taste. Natural waterfalls, breath-taking views, friendly locals and authentic culture impress the most travelled individuals for a holiday with lasting memories.
In this paradise island one of the top resorts to stay at is Jade Mountain. It is St. Lucia’s most romantic luxury resort. Rising majestically above the 600 acre beach front resort of Anse Chastanet. You can enjoy the beautiful views from your infinity pool sanctuary of the Pitons and the Caribbean sea with the sanctuary being opened with the 4th wall absent. You can enjoy sunset cocktails or star-gazing in the Celestial Terrace which hovers in space above the Jade Mountain Club. There are restaurants, bars, boutiques, art galleries, spa, scuba, bike and watersports facilities along with 2 sand beaches to enjoy.
St. Lucia is a lush, unspoiled island that span honeymooners, music lovers and thrill seekers. You can experience so much. Enjoy the opportunity to slab on organic mud and let the natural properties of the sulphur mud cleanse and revitalize your body and mind. Once the mud dries, bathe in the natural hot spring. You'll feel gorgeous and healthy!
August is Chocolate Heritage Month. Enjoy spa treatments and food all in the name of chocolate. Sample yummy "choc-tails," explore the old cocoa plantations or try specialty tasting menus.
St. Lucia is rich in health and wellness. The beautiful scenery and lush nature of Saint Lucia are the perfect backdrop to a wellness experience like no other.
I love to travel and explore the world. My goal is to help others actually experience their desired destination(s) whether they are traveling solo or as a group. The world has so much to offer.