Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Promotions for Monday December 22nd

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World Exploration: 
Adventures by Disney:Australian Tour: 12 Days / 11 Nights Sydney, Ayers Rock, Tasmania & Great Barrier Reef

Take a hop "down under" on Australia tour that gives you a first-hand look into this fascinating country where you'll experience the elegance of modern life as well as the traditions of the past. From the Sydney Opera House to Ayers Rock, the Australian vacation package offers the best of both worlds.
Australia Trip Highlights
  • View the dazzling array of sea life by snorkeling among the coral forests and shimmering fish of the world's largest tropical reef. A marine biologist is on hand to answer your questions.
  • Aboriginal Cultural Park 

    Participate in Aboriginal traditions as Tjapukai tribe members share their culture with song and dance. Listen to a didgeridoo and learn how to throw a boomerang and a spear.

  • Head off to Australia's famed outback for a privately guided hike around the base of sacred Ayers Rock, also known by its Aboriginal name, Uluru.
  • Explore Scenic Sydney 

    While in Sydney, pedal around scintillating Sydney Harbor on a privately guided bike tour, visit the stunning Sydney Opera House, and get a private surfing lesson at the famous Bondi Beach.
  • Soar over eucalyptus trees on zip lines. Paddle a sea kayak on the brilliant waters of Coles Bay. And enjoy visiting the Tasmanian Devils and other intriguing animals at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
Club Med Ixtapa and Punta Cana  Up to $600 air credit per adult
Le Blanc Cancun Up to 30% Off
Beaches  Book now and save up to 65% at the all new Key West Luxury Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos (see below for more info)
Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe   Up to 30% Off
ClubMed Ixtapa and Punta Cana: The more you stay the more air credit you get

LeBlanc Cancun

Book your vacation at the amazing Leblanc resort now and save up to 30% instantly!

There is nothing ordinary about the 260-room, adult only, all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort located in the heart of Cancun, Mexico.  Everything from the wine lists to your workout has been tailored to be top notch. It feels more South Beach chic than Cancun party, with a hip, gorgeous aesthetic throughout the entire pristine white property.
The rooms are thoroughly modern and bright with minimalist decor and stunning ocean views (some with large Jacuzzi baths).  Most of your time should be spent experiencing the top-of-the line spa, the chic restaurants (especially the stunningly designed Lumiere), and heavenly white-sand beach.

Beaches Turks and Caicos

Book now and save up to 65% at the all new Key West Luxury Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos

Weaving modern touches with casual elegance and unparalleled luxury, the award-winning Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa is proud to announce the stellar addition of the all new Key West Luxury Village to its existing three villages: Caribbean, Italian and French. Located adjacent to the Italian Village, the resort’s fourth village encompasses the charming vibes of Key West and boasts 800 feet of ocean frontage along Grace Bay Beach—regarded as “the last of the true exotics”. Just as its counterparts, the resort’s newest village features Beaches’ all-inclusive concept, renowned for providing guests with the highest quality and service imaginable—and making Beaches Turks & Caicos an even more incredible vacation experience.

At the Key West Luxury Village, the laid-back vibes and casual elegance of Key West charm guests as the playful allure of island life comes together with the striking azure water and a magnificent white-sand beach. Here you can swing on a hammock-bed, take a leisurely bicycle ride or refresh in one of three inviting pools. Plus, with the resort’s debut of exotic plunge pools, you don’t even have to leave your suite to bask in the Caribbean sun. Escape to a world where time goes a little bit slower and laughs last a little bit longer. Discover the all-new Key West Luxury Village.

Regent: Up to $1,000 credit per cabin PLUS up to $999 air credit for Business Class Air
Azamara: Up to $300 Free Onboard Credit, Free Internet Package, PLUS Free Specialty Dining for Two AND, Free Amazing Double Upgrades! (see below for more info)
Royal Caribbean: 50% Off second guest + up to $300 onboard credits + 50% reduced deposit 
(see below for more info)

Oceania: Up to $1,000 Shipboard Credit AND Free Pre-Paid Gratuities AND Free Unlimited Internet 
(see below for more info)

Azamara Cruises

The only thing better than an upgrade is a DOUBLE UPGRADE!!!
And right now its yours when you book popular 2015-2016 Azamara sailings!
Plus, as an added bonus on select itineraries, you can also take advantage of up to $300 Free Onboard C
redi, Free Internet Package, PLUS Specialty Dining for 2!

Experience the wonders of the world from your beautiful veranda view and enjoy included amenities from free gratuities to fine wines and international beers!

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Take advantage of our richest sale of the year:
  • Buy one, second guest goes half off. 
  • Get up to $300 onboard credit to spend any way you'd like. 
  • Plus deposit reduced by 50%
Oceania Cruises

Up to $1,000 Shipboard Credit, Free Pre-Paid Gratuities Free, Unlimited Internet

Formed in 2002 by luxury cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio, Joe Watters and Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises is the world’s largest upper premium cruise line. Cuisine, Comfort, Service and outstanding value are the pillars that define Oceania Cruises’ five-star product and have positioned the line as the cruise company of choice for travelers seeking a truly refined and casually elegant travel experience.
Our intimate and luxurious ships allow you to explore the world in unequalled style and comfort. Sophisticated, stylish and distinctly mid-size, you’ll find the onboard atmosphere is extremely convivial, and with an unrivaled level of personalized service as a result of us having two staff members for every three guests.
As the leader in destination cruising, Oceania Cruises sails to more than 330 ports around the globe. Itineraries are unique in that they call on the perfect mix of must-see marquee and boutique, off-the-beaten-path ports. Multiple overnight calls afford an in-depth, enriching destination experience and allow travelers to immerse themselves in the cuisine, culture and history of the ports we visit.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Barcelo Bavaro Up Close

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Last month, among many other resorts in the Dominican Republic, we visited the Barcelo Bavaro Complex. Our first stop was Barcelo Bavaro Beach (adults only part of the resort)- it offers the tranquil vibe of a smaller property, but the extensive features of a megaresort, including a spa, fitness center, golf course, and numerous pools. However, most of these amenities are about a five-minute shuttle ride away at the Palace Deluxe resort. This romantic, upscale spot in Punta Cana is located on one of the best beaches in the area, and features four on-site restaurants, two bars, and rooms with modern technology and beachy decor.

If you are on a budget and want a medium class, kid friendly resort in the Dominican Republic, then Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe is a great choice for you.

The 1,600-room Palace Deluxe is the main resort at the Barcelo Bavaro complex, and has tons of on-site features including an attractive spa, a 24-hour casino, four pools, and 11 restaurants. But aside from the substantial long lines at the front desk, the guest capacity of the resort rarely shows; guests do not have to search for spots at the pools and/or beach and reservation requirements keep restaurants well organized allowing couples, families, and partiers to mingle seamlessly at the property. 

Although the adults-only sister property, Barcelo Bavaro Beach, has a slightly more romantic vibe, plenty of couples opt to stay here as it is where most of the features are located. The hotel's rooms feature iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and attractive, sleek decor.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Paradisus x2...

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To make a long story short - the Reserve Paradisus Palma Real might be a better overall option if you compare it with Paradisus Punta Cana and Paradisus Palma Real.
It might seem a little bit bizarre how these Paradisus resorts are organized- they are spaced three miles away from each other. Each of them have two sections: Regular - Paradisus Punta Cana (or Paradisus Palma Real) and The Reserve - The Reserve Paradisus Punta Cana (or The Reserve Paradisus Palma Real).

The Reserve is further away from the beach, however, more peaceful as it is further away from the noise and kids zone. The Reserve sections is about an 8 minutes walk from the beach if you are in The Reserve Paradisus Punta Cana and 12 minutes if you are in The Reserve Paradisus Palma Real; both have frequent shuttles/golf carts driving you around.  

The Kids Zone is slightly better at the Paradisus Palma Real; however, the Paradisus Punta Cana has a separate Adventure Park Area with a rock climbing wall, bungee jumping and ping-pong tables that are awesome for teens.  

If you stay at the Reserve, you have preferential picking a place on the beach and more dining options; the food selection is slightly better at the Palma Real but the service is very similar- the service is marginally worse than similar resorts in Mexico.

Entertainment is very good when compared with the majority of different all-inclusives (though it starts late). Paradisus Punta Cana has bicycles for rent which can be very convenient if you have kids as it adds another mode of transportation around the resort; Paradisus Palma Real does not have bicycles. We personally liked the grounds at Paradisus Punta Cana a little more but Paradisus Palma Real has nice gardens leading you to the Spa. 

Both Paradisuses have adult’s only sections - Royal. Even though these areas look good if you want an adults only vacation but they are surrounded with families with kids.

Paradisus Punta Cana has more modern looking rooms.  As of right now, Paradisus Punta Cana Family Concierge is offered at The Reserve section; Paradisus Palma Real Family Concierge will be on the beach, which has pluses and minuses. Some of the pluses are: beach, close to majority of restaurants; negatives: it might be noisier and further away from Kids Zone which is in The Reserve section.

Do you really need a Family Concierge at both resorts? The answer: It depends- if your budget can afford it, then yes as it gives you some additional benefits: reservations are done for you, families are provided with a cell phone to stay connected, special treats for children, movie nights for kids only and so on. However I would like to note - don't expect too much from the concierge team. They are smiley and friendly- however overall, they are lacking the discipline to truly serve people.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Requirements for Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad doesn’t have to be confusing if you know the right things before you go. This blog provides information and a link to background and requirements for Americans traveling abroad- click on the link below to access our alphabetical listing of countries to view specific entry requirements.

Never assume that having a valid American passport allows you to enter any countries without a visa.

For many countries it is true, you just need to have a valid passport and air ticket and you are all set to go. However countries such as India, Russia, China and some others require you to apply for visa whether you go for business or pleasure.

The link below also includes information on passports, visas, immunizations, medical information, additional fees, and conditions abroad that may affect your safety and security.

It is very easy to navigate, just enter or select the country you are planning to visit and you will see very important information that you MUST know.

If you have further questions, never hesitate to reach out to us at 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Airports- the Next Dining and Retail Hotspots?!

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It’s not surprising that airports have a collective bad rep. Flights are delayed, luggage is lost, babies cry, and food is often less than inspiring. But the good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to today’s airport trends, and these negative perceptions could start to change as airports are increasingly focused on keeping travelers happy, entertained, and ESPECIALLY well-fed.

This year, more so than any other, airports have pushed to incorporate more varied restaurants and shops. As Mashable’s Travel Editor, Jessica Plautz, says, “One of the biggest complaints among airport travelers is a lack of options.” Though airports are primarily focusing on adding recognizable brands and celebrity chefs, plenty are bring in local favorites as well. This can help to “sell” travelers on the airport’s location – whether they plan to leave the terminal or just hang out until their next flight.

Adding Variety
It’s become increasingly clear that dining variety in airports is crucial to costumer satisfaction. As Jacob Gross reports in The New York Times Style Magazine, while only 7% percent of passengers purchase food onboard, 55% dine in airports. In response to this increase in traveler airport dining, there has been a 500% increase in the amount of space in U.S. airports that is devoted to restaurants and bars since the 1960s. But improvements to actual offerings is a much more recent trend, occurring over the last few years. Well-known celebrity chefs, such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, have expanded their restaurant empires to airports, and 13 former contestants of Top Chef Masters currently own real estate in airports worldwide.
Retail in airports has developed similarly. Designer clothing brands have begun to infiltrate airport retail space that was once dominated by newspaper kiosks and bookstores.  Designers such as Michael Kors are leading the way; he currently has about 50 airport stores worldwide. “People still want to shop in physical destinations,” Britteny Dee, a writer for Fashion Times, explains. “Airports have become the perfect venue for brands to reach both new and loyal consumers because there is guaranteed foot traffic.” And this foot traffic has increased; in fact, it has doubled over the last 15 years. Airports also generally have a more affluent, ready-to-spend crowd than your average shopping center, thanks to the presence of international and business travelers. For large, well-developed and well-recognized brands, opening an airport outlet is a relatively low-risk endeavor.
Introducing Local
In 2014 in particular, however, the main goal has shifted from solely bringing in well-known establishments, to bringing in beloved local spots as well. Hildegarde Assies, co-founder of, points out that this is due in part to the recent decline in consumer trust in large, national chains. For example, earlier this month, Thrillist published a ranking of the best U.S. airports for food and drink; the factor they weighted most heavily was the presence of regional cuisine. Dallas/Forth Worth International, with its four barbecue restaurants, eight Mexican options, eight bars, and outpost of Texas native Stephan Pyles’ Sky Canyon, took the top spot. “The general consensus is that default airport food outlets are not good,” said Plautz. “But places like the San Jose airport are becoming their own destinations, with great additions like local restaurants in the terminals.” Farley highlighted San Francisco International Airport. “With a farmers market, that is truly a farmers market, in the terminal, it really sells you on the San Francisco location right away,” she said.

Farmer's Market Cafe, SFO

Once again, retail has followed the trajectory of dining by shifting to include more local brands. Although an international brand, London-based Ted Baker brings some hometown flavor to London Heathrow’s recently rolled out, and world-renowned, Terminal 2, and Los Angeles International Airport includes retailers that are exclusive to California, such as Kitson and Fred Segal. As Dee explained, these smaller retailers can use airport shops as testing grounds to determine the demographic – including age, nationality, and income -- of those who respond most positively to their brand.
Taking a Cue from International Airports
It’s international airports that have truly led the way with both the “going high-end” and “going local” trends. Germany’s Stuttgart Airport is the only airport in the world to boast a Michelin-starred restaurant, thanks to Top Air, a gourmet restaurant serving innovative spins on Bavarian classics. Plautz referenced United Arab Emirates airports as being ahead of the curve in high-end and local retail and dining as well, and Heathrow’s Terminal  2 is also replete with luxury and local shops and restaurants. Among other British favorites, Terminal 2 features The Gorgeous Kitchen, opened this summer, which is run by a group of local chefs. It also has numerous boutique shops helmed by local owners.  Zurich Airport highlights locally made products in its dining and retail areas by dubbing them as either “Swissness” or “Zurichness.”

The Gorgeous Kitchen, London Heathrow Airport
Trends Continuing into 2015
So U.S. airports may be slightly behind the innovative game when compared to those in international markets, but a new cycle of development has begun, and they are quickly catching up. Sure, some of the more unfortunate trends may not be going away anytime soon. The Federal Department of Transportation reports that domestic flight delays and cancellations have increased by almost 10 percent in the last year. Nearly 400 TSA luggage handlers have been fired over the past decade for stealing from passengers, and the significantly higher number of reported thefts implies that it’s even more common. In 2010, Continental Airlines started the “no free food” trend, and the money-saving strategy caught on; not one major airline today offers free meals to coach passengers on domestic flights.

But at least travelers will be able to find great food and retail before they board. Airports are going to continue to add high-end and local airport dining and shopping in 2015. Earlier this month, United Airlines announced its plans to completely overhaul Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal C by adding 55 new dining options. Many will be fine dining, sit-down establishments helmed by the likes of renowned chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Jose Garces, and Mario Carbone, the mastermind behind New York City favorites such as Michelin-starred Carbone and ZZ’s Clam Bar. Five of the 55 are slated to open this summer.