Many of us in our small group will soon be traveling through the stunning, gorgeous, golden landscape of Tuscany, dotted with impeccably beautiful olive and fig trees. We will visit a typical Tuscan village in the rolling hills of the countryside and perhaps enjoy a glass of luscious, local Italian Wine. We will stroll through the iconic cobblestoned streets, where locals will greet us with a warm smile.
Doesn't this sound like a dream come true?
With ONLY 2 spaces left, hurry!
Details can be found on our Website.
I know, I said it before, but to me it bears repeating! I only have a little over a year left with my teenage son, Austin, so I want to maximize the amount of quality time we get to spend with each other. One way this Mom can capture his undivided attention, is to plan fun trips together where we get to see new countries, within Budget, having a BLAST!
Our next trip happens to be Spring Break 2019, taking a cruise together! We are flying out of Raleigh to Miami, stay in a hotel, then board the amazing Allure of the Seas, out of the Stunning Miami port, for an exotic 7 night trip to Puerto Rico, Labadee (Royal Caribbean's Private Island) and then on to very beautiful St. Maarten!
Neither of us have ever been on any of the Largest Ships at sea (Aside from Carnival's Vista last Christmas Break) so we are both super excited to see what this LARGE City at Sea has in store for us.
Some of our options we cannot wait to experience are: Aquatheater, Zip Lining across the highest ship decks, Ice Skating at Sea, Flow Rider Surfing at Sea, Dancing, Exciting Broadway Type Shows, Tons of Awesome Restaurants, Comedy Night, and soooo much more! With a little over 3 months away, we're already counting down til our Vacation at Sea.
Does this sound like fun and you'd like to JOIN US? This is our Special Group Cruise we've organized for our very own Friends and Family! Check it Out!
As I sit here pondering another amazing cruise quote for a new client, I was contemplating the wonderful options out of the Charleston, SC Cruise Port, for the next several months!! Since it's practically a hop, skip and a jump from NC, VA and GA, it makes it super convenient for any of us Southerners to leave out of this port, and definitely more cost effective for us local folks.
For My Family: We usually head down the night before, then rent a nice hotel room in the area to take advantage of the hotel's Special "Park and Cruise Package." Why pay for expensive parking at the port when you can get to Charleston, SC the night before, and take a wonderful stroll downtown to the historic areas and relax in your hotel room (without having to worry about making it to the ship in time). With the price of cruise port parking, it's well worth it to pay a tad bit more, to have a decent hotel room the night before (to ensure you get there on time for your cruise) and then snag a Cab, Shuttle or Uber to the port. Once your done with your cruise, you simply head back to your hotel (via a local Cab, Shuttle or Uber) to grab your vehicle and then head home. How easy can this be?
So...lets get back to my review of Carnival Ecstasy vs Carnival Sunshine.
Here's my Personal Input:
Out of the two ships (I have had the wonderful opportunity to sail on both of these) my personal opinion would be to ABSOLUTELY Sail on Carnival Sunshine!! It has an absolutely beautiful, relaxing waterfall cascading down into a Small Pool in the Quiet, Adult Only SERENITY AREA (this was where I spent the majority of my days relaxing and soaking up the sunshine and cool vibes). The ship is much newer (I hear Ecstasy is the oldest in the fleet, so unfortunately, its quite dated) and has wonderful amenities as well! In my humble opinion, it's worth paying a tad bit more to be on the Carnival Sunshine. I thoroughly enjoyed the Red Frog Pub Bar...where Every Evening I enjoyed the special beer brew on tap, for a fraction of the cost of those expensive Fruity Beverages! The bartenders got to know us, as we returned each day for a cold, frosty drink in a beer mug. We even enjoyed the frog balls....which were actually very lightly battered and deep fried chick peas (for free).
If I had to choose between both cruise ships, my choice would be Carnival Sunshine, all the way. But hey....as long as you're sailing on a cruise ship out to sea (to the destination of YOUR Choice) it's worth it's weight in gold.
Escape Destinations Travel has become one of the first agencies to introduce a unique and exciting Vacation Layaway Program. We know families are always looking for the best way to save money. Vacations and time together definitely deserve a place in your family's budget, which is why we offer our affordable, free, no interest Layaway Plans for your Vacation. In addition to saving you the most on your vacation package(s), you can hold your vacation and guarantee the lowest price for just $200 down!
How Does it Work?
Learning a New Language Travel Tip-
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
If you're trying to learn a new language, then download the amazing FREE Duolingo App. We've been using it to learn German for the past few months and it's been really great! We Just Love It!!!
There are lots of different, unique games to play, many fun ways to memorize words and phrases and the app tracks your progress and even grades you as you go. You can move further along if your skills are successful. It also has a fun robot chat room where you can chat with the app to practice your writing, as well as speak and listen functionality that ensures your language pronunciation is up to par.
Give it a try, we think you'll enjoy it!
Pack some wet-wipes with you on your next trip. No, they’re not just for little children or parents.
Whether you're hiking, taking a long flight, or simply going out for the day, we suggest you have a small pack of wet-wipes (the travel size ones are perfect) with you, when on the road.
Often times, there won't be a shower available when hiking, or visiting the desert and these little wipe/cloths are the perfect substitution for a quick freshening up (getting the dust & sweat off of you is a must!). When no water is around, these little gems will save you!
Another time wet-wipes can come in handy is when you can't wash your hands, or when you need to sanitize an eating surface (like those little plane tray tables that can be gross!). Or, you can even wipe down a nasty toilet seat with the wipe. YUCK!
How to Budget for Your Dream Honeymoon!
By Jenifer Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Did you know that the average Honeymoon is 7 nights in duration and will cost over $5,000+! Your budget may be higher (or lower) than many others. Setting your budget up (ahead of time) will help you in the decision-making process, as you will be able to discover what may be dreams and what’s more realistic.
We have a detailed spreadsheet where you can add up these costs (actually it auto calculates it all for you) based upon what you add into the budgeting sheet. Request our Free Honeymoon Budget Planning Form today!
*Our Secret Honeymoon Tip:
Did you know you can use a free honeymoon registry (such as HoneyFund) where your friends and family can actually contribute towards your dream honeymoon as a wedding gift? More details can be found on our website.
Here’s a few Budgetary Questions You may want to Consider when Planning Your Honeymoon Vacation:
Think of your “must have” items needed for your Dream Honeymoon, and then consider prioritizing from there. Don’t forget the romance, fun (and budget) at the same time. You want to have the Honeymoon of your dreams, but don’t want to spend the next year after that, eating Ramen Noodles and Boiled Hot Dogs every night for dinner!
Our quick travel tip is to not “over-plan” Your Vacation.
If you’re anything like me (I’m definitely a "type A" person) who likes to plan everything down to the last detail- this may be hard to do. Planning all the details may seem like the logical way to go about your travel prep, but trust us, over-planning can ruin a trip, and make it seem more regimented than it needs to be. Learn from me and- RELAX….
We recently experienced the downsides of this, when trying to "be prepared" every single day of our 9 night small group tour to Germany with plenty of activities to keep us busy. Then came the last day, and we thought we were boarding a flight home from Germany. Well.....both our flights were cancelled and we were “stuck” in Germany for an extra day. So, whatever would we do with zero “plans” in one of my most favorite countries? Well…. we were spontaneous!! We quickly settled into our hotel rooms. My sister and I hopped on a bus to the train station, then took the local commuter's train to drop us off in the middle of downtown Frankfurt, so we could explore on our own. Help from a friendly, local German man, sent us on our way to get off at the best spot to experience downtown Frankfurt.
BONUS: we ended up at a small, wonderful wine festival that we weren’t aware of, and it was absolutely fabulous!! We ended up enjoying Gluhwein (hot spiced wine), yummy food, great music, neat little shops, incredibly amazing architecture and lots of fun German locals.
Planning is always good, but remember to leave some room for changes and especially times of spontaneity. We'll always cherish our extra day in Germany for years to come.
Interested in an amazing small group tour to Germany with us, then CONTACT US now to get a trip of a lifetime planned to Germany in the near future!
Why should you Contact Us for your All Inclusive Vacation?
1. We book amazing All Inclusive Vacation Packages every, single, day.
2. We've been there (to many of the best resorts) ourselves, or...our colleagues have clients who have been there and can offer us unbiased pros and cons of the resort, location, value, etc.
3. We work with ALL major suppliers who offer us special volume pricing.
4. We have a guaranteed price match on nearly all published resorts.
5. We have numerous colleagues in our network (3,000+) and many available additional resources, to answer all your questions before/during and after you book your All Inclusive Vacation with us.
6. We offer special group vacation pricing for your family, friends, reunion, groups and wedding guests.
7. Why risk your trip through a massive vacation search engine with no after-the sale support?
8. Who can you call to assist you once you've bought from a massive search engine? Do you want to be "on-hold" at the airport, when your having issues? We offer one-on-one, personalized support during your entire vacation.
9. We offer our clients wonderful perks, specials, discounts, gifts, VIP service and superior customer service.
10. We have many happy clients, just check out our Reviews Page!
11. Save Time and Research. We do ALL the leg-work for you, at no additional cost, when you book your All Inclusive Vacation package through us.
Give us a call today, OR fill out our Dream Vacation- Planner tool, to book your All Inclusive Vacation of your Dreams! Call Escape Destinations Travel at: 910.379.4033
30 Items People Forget on Their Cruise-
1. Highlighter & Pen-
We always like to plan ahead what we want to do on the ship the next day. This is a quick and easy way to ensure that you have your tentative schedule for the next day ready and that it’s easy to see on the schedule since you’ve highlighted it.
If you’re traveling with kids who may be used to sleeping with a nightlight, or an adult that likes to be able to see where they’re going when they get up in an interior cabin to hit the restroom in the middle of the night, this small nightlight can be a very crucial item you definitely don’t want to forget.
3. Power strip-
Every seasoned cruiser knows that there is usually a huge lack of available outlets in the stateroom. Last cruise we counted exactly 2 outlets in the entire room. So, consider bringing a small power strip for extras. They even have some with a USB plug on it.
4. Towel clips-
Who wants their towel flying away? Not me! We love the BOCA Clips and use them each cruise to hold our towels firm on the lounge chairs. We don’t want a large gust of wind to whisk our towels out to sea.
5. Bug spray-
This is especially important for any tropical ports you may be visiting, because there’s bound to be a lot of little insects begging for a piece of you. With all the latest insects causing problems, it’s always best to be safe.
Whether you claim you “never burn!” or you’re trying desperately to come back home from vacation with a sunny glow, bring the sunscreen. In the tropics, the sun tends to be much hotter and stronger, even those who easily tan can burn quickly. You don’t want to burn in the beginning of your vacation and be miserable your entire trip because you forgot to slather on!
7. Small fan-
Many, many people need a fan blowing to sleep soundly and help out with the white noise. If you’re one of these people, or you tend to get hot during the night, bring a small compact one on board.
8. Seasickness patch, pills or bracelet-
There are many forms of seasickness relief available. We swear by the patches you place behind your ear, and are prescribed by your Dr. Some people use ginger, others purchase Dramamine, and then there’s the SeaBand bracelet that others use. It’s always good to have some form of seasickness help that works best for you, in case the rocking of the ship ends up getting to you and making you nauseas.
9. $1/$5 Dollar bills for tipping-
Often the porters at the port would like a tip for taking your bags at the curb for you. The shuttle driver to the port is also hoping for a tip for loading/unloading your luggage. Make sure you’re prepared.
10. Water shoes for various excursions/a rocky beach-
Depending on the ports you visit and excursions you plan, you may want to bring some water shoes. No one wants to walk on rough, rocky beaches and be uncomfortable the rest of your day.
11. Wrinkle release spray-
For the clothes you packed carefully but somehow didn’t survive the journey onto the ship without wrinkling, purchase and bring along some wrinkle release spray. It’s a quick, easy way to have your clothes looking decent. Remember: Irons aren’t allowed on the ship and even though they have ironing stations on each floor of the cruise ships, you may have to wait in line to use it.
12. A jacket/sweatshirt-
Even on a Caribbean cruise it can get a bit chilly in the evenings! Always a good idea to have it on hand, even if you never use it.
13. Reusable water bottle-
Instead of buying water bottles each day you head into port or for your stateroom, bring a reusable one from home. This way, you’ll always have a container for some thirst-quenching goodness if you happen to pass by a drinking fountain, and can even refill it in your stateroom.
For the occasional cut, scratch, blister or small injury. You can ask the crew for one, but it’s always easier to have these on hand yourself.
If you have your cell phone turned off during your cruise, a watch can be very beneficial. Don’t forget to always have it set on the ship’s time. You don’t want to miss the ship because you didn’t keep track of the ship’s time.
A hat will help protect your neck and face from the sun, you’ll also lighten the load on your eyes if you forget your sunglasses on the ship. Plus, hats can just add so much style to a vacation outfit, especially while at the sea and you end up with tangled beach hair!
17. Conditioner and shaving cream-
Most cruise lines only offer shampoo, bar soap, and body wash in your stateroom bathroom. Be sure to bring your other essentials, like conditioner, shaving cream, any needed makeup remover, and various lotions.
18. Nail Clippers-
You may break a nail and desperately need these. Don’t forget to pack them in your cosmetic bag.
19. Laundry bag-
Instead of throwing all of the dirty clothes in the corner, bring a laundry bag to put them in.
So helpful, especially in the Sunny Caribbean. Be sure to bring some along with UVB protection.
21. Comfy walking shoes-
For long walking tours, shopping along cobblestone streets in Europe, you’ll want comfy shoes made for walking (definitely NOT Flip Flops).
22. Lint roller-
Bring a small, travel-sized lint roller for any lint you need to remove.
23. Over the door storage hanger-
Traveling with more than two people, this is really a must-have. All the little essentials, accessories, travel sized items can go in these pockets and help keep you organized and know where items are in a jiffy. Consider purchasing the see-through one.
You may want to consider bringing an umbrella. Some are small and very compact, and these would be the best for cruise travel.
On nearly every cruise line, your key to your room (and to buy stuff) is a card the crew gives you before you board, or such as with Carnival Cruise Lines, it’s outside your stateroom door when you get on board. Don’t lose it, simply purchase a lanyard. You can even ask the crew members on board to punch a hole in your card if needed.
26. Ziplock bags-
For soiled clothes (think pools or hot tubs the night before debarkation) extra outfits for excursions at port, keeping your cell phone dry –these handy ziplock bags have unlimited uses. Stash a few in your bag just to be prepared.
27. Pain medications-
Whether it’s a killer headache, stomach ache, intense cramps, or sore legs, you may need some pain relief medication. Bring your medicine of choice (and if it’s a prescription make sure you pack it inside the original bottle).
28. Sticky notes-
Sticky notes and magnets kind of go hand-in-hand. Sticky notes are great to have to leave little notes for your cabin-mates or kids mentioning where you’ll be, what time to meet for dinner, etc. Magnets are good for hanging the daily activities newsletter on your wall, as well as anything else you may find important. The cabin walls are predominantly metal, so your stuff can go on the walls easily.
This probably isn’t necessary to mention, but just in case anyone is likely to forget: bring a couple of razors! If your ship sells them, they will be pricy in the gift shop.
30. Disinfecting wipes-
For everything from your TV remote, to your bathroom counter, door handles, tables and more, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. Yes stewards do clean the cabins, but it’s hard to know what surfaces they pay extra attention to. If a norovirus recently broke out on board, or you’re over concerned with this, spend a few minutes wiping down surfaces.
What would you suggest packing for a cruise vacation? Share with us in the comments below!
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