You Must Give the Dominican Republic a Closer Look!
If you are considering a Caribbean getaway, then you must give the Dominican Republic a closer look.
Most people are familiar with popular Caribbean destinations such as Aruba, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. While those places still remain hot destinations, the Dominican Republic (D.R.) is now the top place to visit in the Caribbean.
In 2013, nearly 5 million tourists visited the D.R. compared to 2 million going to Jamaica.
What is the great pull in the Dominican Republic? There are several things that make the country so “hot." Visitors can expect to find 1,000 miles of beaches, pristine golf courses, luxury resorts, budget hotels, popular all-inclusive properties, a rich combination of history and modern times, great cuisines, and an active nightlife. Plus, the D.R. has seven international airports servicing the island.
Most of the visitors to the D.R. are from North America (USA and Canada), but there is also a large percentage from Europe.
For those who may be wondering where this country is, the Dominican Republic shares an island with Haiti. The island, Hispaniola, is located southeast of Cuba and not far from the United States. While Haiti has been impoverished for years, her neighbor has seen a little opposite. There is activity everywhere as the tourist industry works to improve roads, amenities, attractions, and top hotel chains erect luxury properties.(However, there is poverty on the island.)
If you haven’t yet done so, put the Dominican Republic on your list of must-go Caribbean vacation spots.
Go have fun!
The Westin New York Hotel at Times Square
If you are traveling to New York City sometime soon, you should consider the Westin New York at Times Square. As the name suggests, the hotel is located quite near to the popular Times Square.
The Westin is a 4 star hotel with a restaurant, fitness center and Wi-Fi. Its actual location is: 270 West 43rd Street, At 8th Avenue, New York City, NY 10036 (Manhattan).
While I have noticed that someone spoke disapprovingly of the staff, most people who have stayed at this hotel gives it an “Excellent” or “Very Good” rating. It is ranked 148th of 447 hotels in New York City on TripAdvisor.
In addition, 81% of those who stayed at the Westin New York at Times Square recommend it as a place to stay, and it received the 2013 Certificate of Excellence.
With all things considered, the Westin sounds like a great place to stay. As far as prices go, expect to pay about $300 per night which is common for New York City hotels.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Age Policy Easier for Cruising Minors
Carnival Cruise Line does not have the biggest cruise ships on the high seas, but its Fun Ships are packed with excitement and its prices are usually the best.
Now, Carnival goes a step further and makes changes to its age policy on cruising minors. The following are some things to note. For additional information, see your Travel Agent.
1. Guests must be 21 to travel alone, with some exceptions. These exceptions include married couples younger than 21 years old and military personnel. See an agent for more info.
2. Previously, guests under 21 had to travel with a relative or legal guardian 25 or older. Now, guests not yet 21 can travel with a guardian who is not related. At the time of booking, the cabins must be linked. See your agent for more information.
3. Previously, most minors under 21 had to room with parents, across the hall, or in a cabin next door. Now, only minors 12 and under must be across the hall or next door. Guests 18 – 20 may be anywhere on the ship, while 12 to 17 may be up to 3 cabins away.
It is encouraging that Carnival has added greater flexibility to how parents/guardians and their children may be situated on their ships. Before you book, get all the facts on the age requirements.
One key thing to note for those minors traveling without a legal guardian or relative, the guardian on the ship is urged to travel with an originally signed letter from the parent/guardian giving the minor permission to travel.
Go have fun!
Galveston Inclusive Cruises
For those people who live the populous state of Texas or other states nearby, you are blessed with a very active cruise port in Galveston, Texas. You will be happy to know that you can find year-round cruises from this port in southern Texas to several locations.
The two major cruise lines which offer Galveston inclusive cruises are Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International. These cruise lines sail to popular ports in Mexico, as well as the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Ports of call visited from Galveston include Costa Maya, Progreso and Cozumel, all in Mexico. Other ports of call are Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Falmouth, Jamaica; Key West, Florida; Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas; Roatan, Honduras and Belize City, Belize. These are all super places to visit.
What itineraries are available from Galveston? You can expect to find 4-day, 5-day and 7-day cruises offered by Carnival. You can also find 6-day and 7-day cruises offered by Royal Caribbean.
If you live near the south Texas area, your first choice for finding a family cruise vacation should be one of several Galveston inclusive cruises.
Disney World Accommodation Options
If you are planning to visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida in the future, you have three accommodation options. Each one has its own merits and disadvantages.
1. Disney Resorts – These offer the easiest access to the theme parks and save you from worrying about parking and the daily fees. However, these properties tend to cost more than if you stay outside of Disney.
2. Hotels Near Disney World – There are many great hotels near the Disney theme parks where you can stay. Work with a Travel Agent to find the best deals and amenities. You definitely need to find a property that offers complimentary shuttle rides to the Disney parks.
Staying outside Disney may mean having to worry about parking and fees. However, the hotel prices may be less. Watch out for added fees such as a “resort fee.”
3. Vacation Rentals – Yes, you can find vacation rentals near Disney World Orlando. These can work to your favor in that they may come with a kitchen allowing you to prepare some meals – breakfast or dinner and saving you some money. The price for accommodations may even work out to be less than a hotel.
However, these vacation rentals may be located farther away than hotels. This means driving longer distances and paying parking fees.
These are your three Disney World accommodation options. Weigh the pros and cons and choose wisely. Remember to get the assistance of your Travel Agent, as doing so could save you a lot of headaches.
Happy travels!Petes Travel Center
Orlando Vacations by Funjet
All-Inclusive Caribbean Cruises from Florida
If you are looking for a Caribbean cruise from Florida, you are in lots of luck.
Florida is the state for the origin of most Caribbean cruises. Unlike any other state in the Union, there are more all-inclusive Caribbean cruises from Florida all year-round, with all of the top cruise lines, and several cruise ports.
Florida offers five ports with cruises to the Caribbean: Jacksonville, Port Canaveral (near Orlando), Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale), Miami and Tampa Cruise Port. From these five cruise ports, you can find long and short cruises – 3-days, 6-days, 14-days and longer.
Inclusive cruises from Florida will get you to the eastern, western and southern Caribbean. You will also find many sailings to the Bahamas. (There are also sailings to the Panama Canal and South America.)
Wondering which cruise lines sail from Florida? All the big names do – Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
While all the big names in cruising sail from Florida, all of them do not sail from all the ports. Currently, I believe that Carnival is the only cruise line sailing from all five Florida cruise ports.
How do you get to the ports? You can choose to travel by train, bus, car – if not coming from far – or fly. The cruise ports that are closest to their cities’ respective airports are Port Everglades and Miami. Port Canaveral is the farthest from the main airport in Orlando, but you can fly into the Melbourne International Airport.
All the cruise ports have parking space, the most expensive of which will be at the Port of Miami.
Are you ready to enjoy an all-inclusive Caribbean cruise from Florida? There is nothing to stop you.
Go have fun!
Cost Of A 3-Day Cruise
If you have considered taking a cruise but have thought that the cost is too high, your best bet is to take a 3-day cruise.
Here is why I recommend a 3-day cruise for first-time cruisers:
1. The price is usually great; and,
2. You get an opportunity to test the waters – a manner of speaking – to see if cruising is for you. Cruising is not for everyone, and a 3-day cruise gets you away from land long enough, but not too long.
So, what's the cost of a 3-day cruise? The cost of your cruise will depend on a few things: when you cruise, which cruise line you sail with, and which ship.
If you book a 3-day cruise with Disney Cruise Line, you will pay a lot more than with Carnival Cruise Lines. Depending on when you go, a 3-day Carnival cruise can cost you less than $300 per person. If you have more than two people in the cabin, you will even pay less.
As usual, the best time to sail in during the fall or winter months. You will always find 3-day cruises for less than $400 per person, if you sail during fall and winter, except near or around holidays. You may even get very lucky and find a deal for $200 per person. Contact a Travel Agent and have him/her get you the best deal.
Note too that the bigger the cruise ship, the more the cruise package will cost. Aim for smaller ships to begin your cruising adventure.
Go have fun!
One Thing You Must Do in Nassau, Bahamas
Every year, millions of people visit Nassau, Bahamas on cruise ships. We have visited the island some four different times on four different cruise ships.
Whenever you arrive in the port, you will find a handful of cruise liners and others will dock after you arrive. Nassau is certainly a popular place and attracts many visitors.
There are many things to do when you get there, but there is one thing you must do in Nassau – take a tour of the island. You do not need to book the tour on your ship. It is less expensive if you leave the ship, and walk along the pier to the area where many taxi and tour operators wait to get your business.
Always ensure that you book your tour through the information desk or with a uniformed operator to ensure legitimacy. You will find that your tour rate is better when booked on your own than on the ship. Always travel with others from your ship or one of the other ships in the port.
Ask to be taken on a tour of the island that includes a visit inland to where the natives live, a stop at the Atlantis and the beach on Paradise Island. The tour operator may leave you at the beach or the Atlantis, from which you can catch an inexpensive taxi ride back to the pier.
Touring Nassau is a great way to get a feel of the place, to see the reality of the natives and to better appreciate the island.
Go have fun!
Do Not Book Your Flight and Hotel Separately
Can you feel the cool air slowly flowing in? Can you see the hours of daylight getting shorter? Yes, summer time is slowly fading away making room for fall and the dreaded cold of winter.
To minimize the dread you feel, begin now to plan your next summer vacation. That is really great! After all the work you will do to get through that brutal winter, you will need to get away.
Now, there is one thing you must know if you are planning to fly to a hotel somewhere – do not book your flight and hotel separately.
Some families are used to buying airfare from one travel vendor and their hotel from another. There are instances where a particular travel supplier only sells one or the other.
The truth is that you will generally save some money when you book flight and hotel/resort together. Here’s an example: my wife is traveling this fall with a group to Jamaica. When I checked my travel partners, I found that if I booked the resort and flight separately for her, she will pay more than $1,400. However, if I booked them together, she will pay $1,200. Now, which one would you choose? I know you may be tempted to buy where you have always bought your individual travel products. But, you can do yourself some good and at least compare the prices elsewhere before you book. How about that?
Travel is fun and can be expensive. But, you can save, if you know how to search. By the way, consider using a Travel Agent to get you the best deals.
Happy travels and stay warm this winter, thinking about your next summer escape.
Princess Cruises Honors Military Personnel
If you are in some way related to the military in United States or Canada, Princess Cruises appreciates your service and honors you onboard their beautiful cruise ships.
How does Princess Cruises honor the military?
They offer onboard credit worth up to $250 to active, veteran and retired military personnel on any cruise year-round. Wow!
The amount of credit that one receives depends on the length of the cruise. For example, for 6-day or shorter cruises, the credit is $50 per person. On 7-13 day cruise the credit is $100 per person, and $250 per person on longer cruises.
How can the onboard credit be spent?
The credit may be used on things such as specialty dining, shopping and shore excursions. It cannot be used in the casino or for gratuities.
How do military personnel get this onboard credit?
You must apply for the credit at least 14 days before your ship’s departure. Get with your Travel Agent who will tell you what you need to present as proof of service.
It is commendable that Princess Cruises honors military personnel in this way. If you know someone who deserves this honor, pass along the information and let them go enjoy it.
Go have fun!