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Cruising in the Caribbean is a favorite for many due to its sunny destinations, diverse cultures, and clear blue waters. The Eastern Caribbean features islands like St. Thomas and St. Maarten, known for their beautiful beaches and history. In the Western Caribbean, you’ll find a mix of landscapes, from the rainforests of Belize to the markets of Cozumel. The Southern Caribbean offers a more secluded experience with gems like Aruba and Curacao, known for their colorful architecture and rich history.

Caribbean cruises make it easy to explore these diverse regions without the hassle of multiple flights, promising new adventures each day, from snorkeling to exploring ancient ruins and enjoying local cuisine. The onboard experience adds to the appeal, with premium amenities, top-notch dining, and entertainment that reflects the lively spirit of the islands. It’s an ideal escape for those looking for relaxation, adventure, or a taste of local culture.

I love selling and sailing with Royal Caribbean. They boast a fleet of innovative ships equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and entertainment. Expect well-appointed cabins, diverse dining options, entertainment for all ages, and activities ranging from rock climbing to Broadway-style shows. From the groundbreaking Oasis-class ships to the modern and feature-rich Quantum-class vessels, there’s always something new and exciting to explore onboard. For those seeking a longer and more adventurous journey, Royal Caribbean offers a 16-day transatlantic cruise, providing a unique opportunity to cross the Atlantic Ocean and explore different ports along the way.

Royal Caribbean plans to sail seven ships for the 2025-2026 season. They will depart from various ports in Florida as well as Galveston, Texas. Cruise itineraries include the Southern, Western, and Eastern Caribbean, along with the Bahamas and Perfect Day at Coco Cay. The duration of cruises range from 2 to 16 nights. 

Below is a chart listing each ship, its departure port, the first date of its itinerary in 2025, the number of days for various voyages, and the itineraries for each.

Ship Departure Port First Sail Date in 2025 Duration Options (# of Nights) Itinerary
Rhapsody of the Seas San Juan May 24 7, 8 Southern Caribbean
Rhapsody of the Seas Tampa November 2 6, 7, 8 Western Caribbean
Oasis of the Seas Ft. Lauderdale April 27  2, 5, 6, 7, 8  Southern, Eastern & Western Caribbean, Perfect Day
Independence of the Seas Miami October 30 3, 7  Eastern & Western Caribbean, Bahamas,  Perfect Day
Icon of the Seas Miami May 3 7 Eastern & Western Caribbean, Perfect Day
Harmony of the Seas Galveston April 27  6, 7, 8, 16  Western Caribbean, Perfect Day, Transatlantic
Grandeur of the Seas Ft. Lauderdale April 18 3 Bahamas
Grandeur of the Seas Tampa April 23 7, 10 Bahamas, Southern & Western Caribbean, Perfect Day
Adventure of the Seas Orlando/Port Canaveral April 26 6, 8 Western, Eastern & Southern Caribbean, Perfect Day

For those looking for unique adventures, including the Pacific Coast, the Panama Canal, and Spain Transatlantic, you can get onboard a one-of-a-kind sailing on a fan-favorite ship. Allure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Serenade of the Seas have various itineraries beginning in February, 2025. 

For more information on any of these voyages, or to start planning for 2025-2026, click here

My husband and I recently cruised in the Mediterranean for the first time, and it was fantastic! We have cruised with several different cruise lines over the years, but they were all in the Caribbean and Alaska. For this trip, we wanted to venture to some of the ports in Europe. We had never considered cruising in Europe because we thought the port times were too short and we would feel that we didn’t have time to see everything. However, we found an itinerary with Virgin Voyages that we liked and decided to go for it.

The name of the voyage was French Daze and Ibiza Nights, and we sailed on the Valiant Lady. The cruise started and ended in Barcelona, and our ports were Marseille, Cannes, Palma de Malorca and Ibiza. We decided that if we felt short on time in any of the ports, we would make a point to revisit some day. Two of the port stays were overnight – Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza – which was just icing on the cake. On those nights, we ate an early(ish) dinner on the ship and then went into town for the evening. We spent our time wandering the winding cobblestone streets and exploring the beautiful bars and restaurants in the old town. Then, the next day, we still had time to visit the landmarks. 

The sunset in Mallorca from our balcony

Why did we choose Virgin Voyages? We have sailed with them previously, and really like what they have to offer. First and foremost, the food is the best that I have had on a cruise. Instead of packing everyone into the main dining room or specialty restaurants (with an upcharge), Virgin simply has six onboard restaurants. We made dinner reservations before our cruise, and also had brunch in two of the restaurants on our sea days. There are no additional charges for any of the restaurants unless you want a tower of crab legs or a 10-pound steak (something like that).

The entertainment is also very different. There are no Broadway-style productions or ice shows. Instead, they offer magicians, mentalists, comedians, a dance party, a crazy game show and a couple other shows that I really don’t know how to describe. And then there’s Scarlet Night, where the whole ship is transformed with red lighting and decor, and the guests are decked out in red. The party culminates with a pool party at 11pm, which gets a bit crazy, but we enjoyed it from the deck above, watching people jump into the pool, red cocktail dresses and all.

My favorite thing about Virgin Voyages is the laid-back vibe. There are no formal nights, and nobody cares what you wear to dinner, as long as it’s not your swimsuit! With that said, we found that most people still dressed nicely, just because they wanted to. For those who didn’t feel like it, they weren’t turned away at the restaurants or made to feel ashamed of their attire.

When we booked our cruise, it included some “bar tab” money, which is their version of a drink package. We don’t drink a whole lot, and since sodas are included with every cruise, we had a “0” balance due at the end of the week. What a great way to end a cruise!

If you’re still reading, let me give you just a few tidbits about the ports:

Marseille – Honestly, we weren’t overly impressed with it. We took a full-day ebike tour, and got to see some beautiful areas around the Calanques National Park, but it’s kind of a run-down city, especially considering it is the second largest city in France, after Paris.

Cannes – We spent our entire day in Monte Carlo, which is something I’ll never forget. It was an easy train ride to get there, and we enjoyed all the beautiful yachts, expensive sports cars, the Royal Casino (think James Bond Casino Royale), and the streets of Formula One. It was the perfect day, and since our ship didn’t leave until 7pm, we did not feel rushed to get back.

The harbor in Monte Carlo

Palma de Mallorca – This beautiful island of Spain is not to be missed. We spent our time wandering the old town, visiting the iconic La Seu Cathedral, and just taking in the beauty of the port city.

Ibiza – What can I say? Everyone needs to see Ibiza at some time in their life. The young people on the ship thoroughly enjoyed the overnight stay because they were able to go to the clubs and stay out until dawn. (Virgin provides a bus that goes back and forth to the ship the entire time.) That’s not our scene but we still loved wandering the area and enjoying a cocktail (ok, maybe more) as we watched the people living and loving life in Ibiza. 

Ibiza

I could easily write ten more pages about Virgin Voyages and the ports we visited but I know the only people who might read it would be my friends and family. 🙂 I’ll just leave it here – this was the trip of a lifetime and I highly recommend cruising in the Mediterranean with Virgin Voyages.

Book you Virgin Voyage HERE or CLICK HERE if you’d like us to help you plan your sailing!

I’m going to say from the start that this was my favorite day in Tanzania. It wasn’t one thing in particular but multiple really special moments. This was the day I fell in love with safari and Tanzania. I think you’ll see why. 

The day started with a fantastic sunrise. The sunrises in Africa are incredible and they never get old. There is really nothing better than sitting in total silence with a cup of coffee in your hand and watching the sunrise. This is life! 

Many of my safari mates went on a walking safari, but I was just too scared. The thought of walking through the bush filled with wild animals…like the lions from last night (read more about that HERE) was terrifying. I opted for a ride to breakfast in the bush from the safety of our safari vehicle. On our way, we spotted the cutest elephant – the first we saw on this trip.

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Breakfast was served on the bank next to the Grumeti River which provided the most beautiful backdrop and a great spot for some photos. 

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After breakfast, we headed to the Four Seasons Serengeti Safari Lodge. This was a personal request of mine since I’ve had clients ask about it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a true lodge (not a tented camp) and the most luxurious property we saw in the Serengeti.
 
Every detail here was well thought out. The grounds are incredible. Every room has a view of the savannah and a great many also overlook a watering hole where you can often find elephants. The rooms are plush with all of the comforts of home. 
 
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Now that I’m home and have taken in the entire experience, it lacked some of the charm of the tented camps we stayed at. There is something exotic and a bit romantic about sleeping in a (luxury) tent in the middle of the bush. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies, but I’m kind of partial to the tented camps now. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but the luxury tents really add to the experience. That being said, I never turn down the opportunity to stay at the Four Seasons!!! 
 
As we left the Four Seasons we came upon the sweetest elephant up on a rocky hill. He was my favorite elephant we saw on the trip. Curious by nature, when he saw us, he flapped his ears as if to wave. 
 

Then we came upon these sleeping lions. This picture is one of my favorites of the trip. I love the memory of me in the safari car with the lions right there. 
 
 
Lunch today was in the middle of the plain in the Serengeti. It was simply amazing and my most favorite lunch of the trip. The pictures don’t do it justice, but it was one of those moments that I know I will remember for the rest of my life. The food was delicious (per usual) and the company was excellent. I really enjoyed getting to know my safari mates and guides; they really made the trip special.
 
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After lunch, we received a geography/great migration lesson from our guides Elisha and George to help us better understand how the animals move across the Serengeti. This is particularly important to ensure we book clients in the right area, at the right time to ensure the best wildlife viewing. 
 
If you don’t know, The Great Migration refers to the remarkable annual journey of over a million animals within the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. The procession is led by wildebeest, accompanied by a diverse array of fellow travelers, all in pursuit of sustenance and water.
 
This odyssey commences with calving in the southern Serengeti, near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. From there, the animals embark on a clockwise trajectory through the Serengeti, ultimately reaching the Masai Mara in Kenya. Year after year, they retrace their steps. Along this journey, there is some high-stakes drama, with predators claiming thousands of prey and thousands more being born, a cycle that perpetuates the delicate balance of life.
 
Just after we headed out from our lunch, it was quite fitting that we saw the biggest herd of wildebeests I think we’d seen. They just crossed and crossed and crossed. We sat there for a while and finally started driving down the road where they stopped to let us cross. It was kind of amazing. 

 

From there we headed to another property. If you were on safari, this is where you’d head back to your accommodations for some R&R and maybe a swim, but this was a working trip for us and we were trying to see and do as much as we could! 

The Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp is a charming tented camp with all of the luxuries at home. It was rustic and charming and comfortable and a property I hope to stay at on a future safari! 

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Then we went on a little game drive as we headed to our accommodations for the evening. We soon saw the cutest elephant cross the road in front of us. We’d seen a few signs for Hippo Pools through our travels in the Serengeti and we finally stopped at one. It was crazy to see all of these hippos together. They are very territorial and showed their flex constantly by opening their giant mouths and pushing other hippos away. It was kind of comical. 
 
Below is another one of my favorite photos of the trip! I got to “drive” the safari vehicle. This is my ridicuous impression of our guide, Elisha, driving and talking on the radio to other guides, tipping each other off on where animals are. 

Just before we arrived at our accommodations for the evening, we came upon three cheetahs which would prove to be the only cheetahs we saw on the trip. They were amazing. 

When we arrived at our accommodations, our guide Elisha, drew this tent on the window to confirm we were in fact, sleeping in a mobile tented camp. I was mortified. A mobile tented camp? I had this idea in my head that I’d be sleeping in a tent on the ground, roughing it. Like a tent you’d pitch in your backyard or at a campsite. The reality is, that crazy idea in my head couldn’t be farther from the truth! 

 

Cherero Camp turned out to be my favorite accommodation on the trip, and many of my safari mates agreed. We arrived at sunset, and I didn’t get a picture of the camp or the outside of our tent, but I did film a video of the inside.  

A mobile tented camp is a camp erected in close proximity to the migration, wherever that may be at any given time of the year. They will move every six months or so, and it often takes a month or more to break down the camp and then re-erect it. If you watch the room tour, you will see that nothing about this tent feels mobile. 

Cherero Camp was remarkable for several reasons. Of course, I loved our room and the shower! The shower was GLORIOUS! The robes and slippers were also a nice touch. I was thoroughly impressed with the hot water bottle that was placed in our beds while we were at dinner so we didn’t get cold in the night. 

Speaking of dinner. The food was excellent and at the end of dinner, we were serenaded by the staff. They even got a few of us to join in on the fun. This was such a special moment and one I won’t soon forget. 

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It was the little touches here that made it so special – the rain boots by the door, the yoga mat, outlets galore, and even a ceiling fan! The staff was warm, kind, and welcoming. Everything about our stay here was perfect. My only regret is not being able to spend more time here. We had a 3am wake-up call the next morning. More about that in my next blog! 

All of the details of my trip are saved as highlights on my Instagram.

If you would like more information on going on safari, click here to get started! 

 

We started the day near Lake Manyara (read about my arrival and first few days in Tanzania HERE) and drove about two hours to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A couple of things to understand (because I didn’t). The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the entire area which includes Ngorongoro Crater which I’ll talk about in a minute. You’ll pass through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area if you are driving to the Serengeti. Unlike a National Park (like the Serengeti), in Conservation Areas wildlife and the Maasai, live together. The Maasai have lived in The Ngorongoro Conservation Area for over 100 years. They aren’t hunters – the Maasai are livestock farmers, mainly cows. In fact, the Maasai named Ngorongoro after the sound a cow bell makes “ngor ngor”.

Ngorongoro Crater is a large volcanic caldera – the largest in the world! The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers 100 square miles. I’ll share more about The Ngorongoro Crater in a later post – we will actually descend into the crater later in our trip!

Our first stop in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was the lookout. As we took in the view I was overcome with emotion.  The incredible beauty brought me to tears. The picture below doesn’t do it justice. It was a little overcast this morning which wasn’t as evident to the naked eye. 

My safari mates Denise, Vlado and Erin at the lookout

We headed closer to the Serengeti and stopped at Olduvai Gorge – The Cradle of Humankind

I was once again crying at what I saw. To see what I learned in school so many years ago and the profound piece of our history and creation was very emotional. This is where humankind began! 

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We had a picnic lunch overlooking Olduvai Gorge. I loved this lunch. The food was excellent, the views were incredible and the company was fantastic! 

My safari mate Vlado and our other guide George

Then we headed on to the Serengeti!  We saw so many animals up close and personal. The first animal we saw upon officially entering the Serengeti was the Thompson Gazelles. It was so exciting we stopped for a picture. Little did we know that over the next week, we’d see no less than 2,000 of them! 

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It had rained on that day Serengeti, and we came across a truck that was stuck in the mud. Our guide Elisha being the helpful person that he is, tried to help. We backed up in front of the truck and they attached a chain to our Land Cruiser. Sadly we didn’t get very far as the chain snapped, but Elisha said he once pulled a bus out of the mud. 

We had a long way to go on this day and covered a lot of ground across the Serengeti. I was struck by the beauty of the landscape and how rapidly it would change. It was dry season so I wasn’t expecting much greenery or thick brush, but it was there. 

On our drive, we saw wildebeests and zebras (more animals we would literally see thousands of over the next several days!), giraffes and even a little turtle on the road!

After a very fun, bumpy, and muddy drive arrived at our tented camp for the evening which was beautiful! Ikoma Hills is located just outside of the Serengeti in the Grumeti Wildlife Management Area. Perched on a hill this luxury tented camp provided us with outstanding views and very comfortable accommodations. You can watch a room tour HERE.

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Ikoma Hills offers night safaris in specially equipped battery-powered safari jeeps. This gave us an opportunity to see animals a little more active and close up.
 

The vehicles didn’t have doors and were a little too ‘open air’ for my comfort. We saw quite a few lions including this guy who I will never forget. Shortly after this picture he stood up and got just a few feet from us. 

My safari mate Vlado took this picture. You can just make out the fact that he is missing one paw. He likely lost it in some sort of fight. Our guide told us a beautiful story about it though. Since he’s injured, his pride will hunt and leave a portion for him since he can’t hunt for himself, so he won’t go hungry. 

We covered a lot of ground on this day. More than you would on a typical safari. I went to bed this night exhausted from the day but also exhilarated by what I’d seen. 

We once again heard the flapping of the tent for most of the night. We were old pros now and that didn’t concern us that much. What did was the lions roaring not too far away from us.

As I mentioned before, the Maasai have lived in this area for over a hundred years. They are well-versed in the behavior of all of the animals who live here. Maasai Warriors were guards at every resort that we stayed at. Once the sun goes down they escort you around the property and even stand guard all night watching for those lions. We never saw or heard those lions again. 

All of the details of my trip are saved as highlights on my Instagram.

If you would like more information on going on safari, click here to get started! 

Last August, a Travel Agent friend mentioned a FAM Trip to Tanzania. (FAM = Familiarization Trip. These are trips that Travel Agents attend to become familiar with a destination or resort) She had applied a year earlier, and the trip was canceled, so they were rebooking her for 2023. She mentioned she knew other travel agents who may be interested, and they encouraged us to apply.

The trip was hosted by TATO – The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators in cooperation with the Tanzanian Government with funding from the United Nations Development Programme. Like many parts of the world, Tanzania was hit hard by COVID, and this FAM is part of their effort to rebuild tourism. 

Fast forward to March of 2023, and I received word that I was accepted and would be going to Tanzania for 14 days! Yikes. What did I sign up for? 14 days is a long time to be gone. 14 days in Africa? What was I thinking?

By July, it had set in that I was going to Africa on safari. I was scared yet more excited. I started shopping for clothes and preparing. While Africa had always been on my bucket list, and I had many dreams of safari, realizing it was finally happening frightened me. I’m not sure what exactly I was afraid of. Being eaten by a lion? Catching some flesh-eating bacteria? Dying of malaria, cholera, dysentery? (Spoiler alert: it was all in my head – this is not the Oregon Trail!) 

On Friday, September 15, my husband drove me to Chicago. The following morning I boarded a flight on Ethiopian Air to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then to Kilimanjaro Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. Luckily I had my travel agent friend Erin with me, because it was quite an adventure!

It was a VERY long day of travel. The flight was a three-ring circus. The bathroom door came off on the plane, and it was carried through the aisle, a woman trying to steal someone else’s seat while that seat occupant was in the bathroom. People were yelling at each other across the cabin. Guests throwing their trash all over the floor. We made it to Tanzania safely (with lots of crazy stories 🤪)

Tears ran down my face as I stepped off the plane and saw the Kilimanjaro International Airport sign. Africa has always been on my list, and to be here is a dream come true. After a very long process of getting our visas approved, we made it through the airport to meet our guide Elisha.

We didn’t know then what a huge role he would play in our adventure or how lucky we were to have been placed with him. Seeing his smiling face, I was immediately at ease and knew I was in for the adventure of a lifetime. 

Even though we hardly slept on the plane, it was nearly 4pm when we arrived at our hotel and we knew we needed to stay awake. Our hotel – Four Points Sheraton Arusha had a beautiful pool. (Watch a room tour HERE.) We decided to take a dip, and it sure woke us up…it wasn’t heated!!! While at the pool, we met another American. Tyler worked for the Commerce Department and was in Arusha for a conference. We ended up having dinner with him and many more meals over the next few days. We met our first friend of the trip! 

Our First Full Day in Arusha 

Like most hotels in Arusha, ours included breakfast. It was a great cold buffet with fruits, yogurts, cereal, and more. The hot station consisted of things like stewed vegetables, bacon, sausage, hard-boiled eggs, and potatoes. There was also an egg station where you could order eggs any way you’d like. I learned this is the norm throughout Tanzania. 

Elisha picked us up, and we started the day at Sanaa. This non-profit organization trains and employs the marginalized in Tanzania to create arts and crafts. We were able to tour the facility and see everything from shoe, bags, clothes, rugs, and blown glass being made. A kind deaf gentleman even showed me how to make a glass bead. It was an experience that touched my heart and was simply amazing! I picked up some of the handmade jewelry pieces I will cherish forever. Probably the most incredible thing was the handmade safari bags. I purchased one for my husband and we both absolutely love it!

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Then we toured the incredible Gran Melia Arusha a fantastic property that you would stay at upon your arrival in Arusha before you go out on safari or upon your return from safari before you head home. This luxurious hotel offered incredible views and plush accommodations.

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We had lunch at the rooftop restaurant and met the other half of our group. I was traveling with Erin and Denise with our guide Elisha. Erin, Denise and I all met almost 3 years ago to the day on a FAM trip to Cancun. Denise is the reason we were all here together! The other half of our party was Mia, a travel agent from San Diego (my hometown); Francis, a travel agent from Philadelphia; and Vlado, a travel journalist and influencer from Croatia. 

I sat next to Vlado, which would be a theme over the next two weeks. We enjoyed teasing each other but also enjoyed each other’s company and had lots of great conversations. Vlado suggested I try the fried crocodile – when in Rome right? Honestly, it tasted like chicken and I’m glad I tried it! 

Fried crocodile

We finished the day with a networking event where I met with over 50 safari companies, resorts, and more. It was like speed dating! Afterward, there was a cocktail reception where we got to speak to everyone in greater detail and begin to form relationships. 

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While this trip had many amazing parts, the biggest takeaway was networking with owners and operators on the ground in Tanzania. I have people whom I’ve met in person who I can work with to give my clients a first-class experience. There was a news segment produced about the event that you can watch HERE

Heading out to the bush! 

On Tuesday, September 19th we headed out to the bush. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was excited! We were really going on safari. Little did I know what was in store for us.

We drove about two hours to Lake Manyara. Lake Manyara National Park is about 125 square miles and the sign said: “Home of tree-climbing lions” so that got me pretty excited. Then Elisaha told us that in all of his years as a guide, he’d never seen the lion in the tree. We didn’t either, so that was disappointing. 

We saw lots of birds, tons of monkeys and baboons. Even a few water buffalo. The other part of our safari group saw zebras but we missed them 🫤 

Knowing now what was to come, this park isn’t my favorite. I think I prefer to see animals that could potentially kill me. It’s way more exciting to me. But Lake Manyara is a great park to start your safari adventure. 

Lake Manyara
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Then we headed to lunch at The African Galleria. This was a bit of a tourist trap, but the lunch was tasty.

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Then we toured the Galleria which was full of talented artists and beautiful art. The coolest thing was seeing the craftsman carve the ebony. There was also a huge shop where I purchased some jewelry and other items. 

Finally, we headed to our accommodations for the evening – Kirurumu Manyara Lodge This is a tented camp with the most incredible views of Lake Manyara! 

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This was our first night in a tented camp. I think I’ve slept in a tent maybe twice in my life and honestly, I was scared. If you know me, you know this is WAY out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The tent is on a slab and has concrete floors. Our tent even had doors. The bathroom was attached and had concrete walls. We had a toilet, shower, and even double sinks. 

The mosquito nets were a little frightening, but yet kind of exotic. Looking back now I can laugh. But at the time I was terrified of the mosquitos and other bugs that were going to eat me alive all night long. Add to that we were sleeping in a tent in the wild. With every gust of wind, the tent flapped, and I was sure a baboon was trying to break in. They weren’t. The Massai tribesmen stood guard all night. If we needed something they were right outside and we just needed to flash our flashlight or scream and they would be there within seconds. Remember that movie City Slickers? That was us but in the bush of Africa. 

We had a wonderful evening with our safari mates and guides. This was one of my favorite dinners we had. The food was fantastic and it’s where we all started to get to know each other better. Even though we are all from different corners of the world, we shared a ton of laughs over a great dinner.

All of the details of my trip are saved as highlights on my Instagram.

If you would like more information on going on safari, click here to get started! 

The Caribbean, a treasure trove of natural wonders, from cascading waterfalls to pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, beckons with its unparalleled beauty. If you’re seeking a beach getaway that’s not only stunning but easily accessible from the US, allow us to whisk you away to some of the most captivating beach destinations that promise to leave you awe-struck and rejuvenated.

1. Exuma, The Bahamas: An Oasis of Natural Beauty 🏝️

Nestled within the paradisiacal embrace of The Bahamas lies Exuma, a jewel to the south of New Providence. With its iridescent waters and silky beaches, Exuma showcases the undeniable allure of this island nation. Imagine strolling along the enchanting Coco Plum Beach or sinking your toes into the powdery sands of Tropic of Cancer Beach. These are nature’s canvas, untouched and magnificent.

Yet, the magic doesn’t end there. Venture to the renowned Pig Beach on Big Major Cay, a surreal experience where you can frolic with the famous swimming pigs of The Bahamas. It’s an unforgettable twist on your typical beach day. And for those seeking the pinnacle of luxury, consider indulging in an all-inclusive beachfront resort like Sandals Emerald Bay, complete with an award-winning golf course for added thrill.

Exuma

2. Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos: A Tranquil Haven of Luxury 🌊

The Turks & Caicos Islands beckon with Grace Bay, a mesmerizing stretch of coastline that promises paradise in its purest form. Only a short flight away from major US cities, this oasis boasts the perfect blend of tranquility and luxury. Grace Bay Beach, a three-mile-long stretch of powdery white sands and tranquil azure waters, has captured hearts worldwide, earning it a well-deserved spot among Trip Advisor’s World’s Best Beaches.

The calm and clear seas, complemented by stunning coral reefs just offshore, create an ideal environment for snorkeling and diving adventures. Immerse yourself in the embrace of this natural wonder while staying at beachfront accommodations, including the luxurious all-inclusive resorts that dot this Caribbean gem.

Grace Bay Resort Turks & Caicos

3. Dickenson Bay, Antigua: Where Serenity Meets Adventure 🌅

Seeking a picturesque, sheltered bay that effortlessly blends tranquility with adventure? Look no further than Dickenson Bay in Antigua, just a few hours away from major US cities. The pristine white sand, calm waters, and availability of water sports make it an ideal destination for families and those seeking a perfect beach day.

Picture yourself lounging on the beach, book in hand, while enjoying the warm Caribbean breeze. When hunger calls, step into one of the beachfront restaurants like Coconut Grove Restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply for drinks. Elevate your beach vacation by staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Antigua, where luxury meets the shoreline, creating unforgettable memories.

Sandals Grande Antigua

4. Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica: A Caribbean Gem of Endless Beauty 🏖️

Travel west to Jamaica, where the captivating Seven Mile Beach awaits in the charming town of Negril. True to its name, this Caribbean gem offers an extensive four-mile stretch of pristine shoreline, often hailed as one of the best beaches in the world. The enchanting combination of clear, cool seas and perfect water sports conditions makes it a haven for beach enthusiasts.

Choose from an array of beachfront restaurants and bars, ensuring a delightful experience with every moment. Embrace this tropical paradise fully by staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Negril, allowing you to indulge in the beauty of the Caribbean while enjoying all the comforts of a luxurious getaway.

Sandals Negril

5. Pigeon Island Beach, St. Lucia: Nature’s Canvas Unveiled 🌴

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Pigeon Island, nestled in the stunning landscapes of Saint Lucia. Here, the beauty of nature unfolds, presenting you with captivating beaches and natural wonders. Pigeon Island Beach, divided into different areas by rocks and unique features, offers a range of beach experiences.

Spend your days swimming, snorkeling, and soaking up the sun, all while surrounded by pristine beauty. Take time to explore Fort Rodney, hike the trails, and admire the mesmerizing scenery within the Pigeon Island National Park. Enhance your vacation by visiting the award-winning Sandals St. Lucia Golf & Country Club, a paradise for both beginners and advanced divers.

Sandals Grande St Lucian

These Caribbean beach destinations are more than just picturesque postcards; they’re invitations to create lasting memories. The allure of these idyllic beaches, coupled with the exclusivity of all-inclusive resorts, awaits you. Make your dream vacation a reality, where stunning landscapes, pristine sands, and turquoise waters paint the perfect backdrop for your Caribbean escape.

Let us be your guide to the ultimate beach adventure. Contact me today to curate a personalized itinerary, ensuring your journey to these captivating Caribbean beach destinations is nothing short of spectacular. Your paradise awaits. 🌏✈️🏖️

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Those of us with a passion for travel often daydream about the cities and places we want to visit someday. And in these daydreams, we think about the person we love most and traveling the world with them. For couples who dream of checking off destinations around the world together, there’s a way to see and do more with your vacation time: take a river cruise!

River cruising is one of the best ways to visit multiple cities without the stress of travel days, unpacking and repacking, or getting lost trying to find your hotel. With their panoramic suites, themed excursions, and incredible itineraries, Avalon Waterways is the ideal vacation for couples looking for a romantic trip through Europe and beyond.

Avalon Waterways Tapestry 2 in Paris

SEINE RIVER CRUISES

Whether you call it the City of Lights or the City of Love, Paris has captured the imagination of romantics for centuries. This city is famous as the home to some of the world’s greatest museums, restaurants, and the iconic Eiffel Tower. Through the heart of Paris runs the river Seine. Avalon Waterways sails the Seine with several itinerary options to ensure travelers can experience the beauty of Paris and beyond.

Roundtrip itineraries start and end in Paris while also giving guests the chance to explore Northern France with stops in Giverny, Rouen, and Normandy. Some itineraries also feature Paris as the departure point or final port. This means that travelers can plan to spend a few extra days in the city exploring its famous sites before or after their river cruise.

Aw Inspired Dining on a River Cruise

DANUBE RIVER CRUISES

Perhaps the most famous river in Europe for river cruising is the Danube. This river begins the mountains of the Black Forest in Germany and flows all the way to the Black Sea. The river winds through Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and more countries, treating travelers to views of castles and quaint towns straight from the pages of a fairy tale. With so many countries and sights to see along its banks, the Danube provides plenty of scenery and culture to explore.  

From four-day cruises to twenty-day sailings, Avalon’s Danube itineraries offer the most flexibility and variety for river cruising. This means it’s easier than ever for you and your partner to choose the cruise that works for you. And with cruise extensions, you’ll have the chance to spend even more time in the cities you’ve been dreaming about.

Christmas Market In Frankfurt on a River Cruise

CHRISTMAS MARKET CRUISES

Looking for a way to escape for the holidays or perhaps the perfect gift to give one another? Each year Avalon Waterways helps their guests experience the best of Christmastime in Europe with their Christmas Market cruises. These selected Danube itineraries make sure to include ports in Austria and Germany where Christmas Markets are a staple of the holiday season.

These Christmas Market Cruises sell out fast, so the sooner you book their stateroom, the better! Reservations for 2024 are now open!


Are you interested in experiencing the joy of traveling the world together? Let’s start planning your next romantic getaway today!

Different regions and families have their own holiday traditions, and one of the most enticing European traditions is the Christmas Market. In fact, each year thousands of travelers visit European Christmas Markets, but what exactly are they, and how can you go?

Tallinn Christmas Market


WHAT ARE EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS?

Throughout Europe, the tradition of Christmas Markets has persisted for hundreds of years. It is said that these markets go back to the late-middle ages, around 1300, and originated in German-speaking areas, like Germany and Austria. Today, the Christmas Markets can be found throughout the European continent, with most running from late November through Christmas or New Year’s Day.

WHAT CAN YOU FIND AT TODAY’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS?

The most prominent aspect of a Christmas market is the vendor stalls. Businesses and individuals sell a variety of wares from these stalls, usually items that are traditionally made in the area or are related to the Christmas season. Market mugs, handmade cards, ornaments and hand-carved wooden artwork, like nutcrackers, toys, and wall art to name a few items

Along with handmade and traditional goods, one of the best parts of a Christmas market is the food! Gingerbread hearts, punch, mulled wine, and other regional specialties are favorites among visitors who are looking to dive into a location’s food scene. Many markets also feature Christmas displays, ice skating rinks, and musical performances to entertain guests while they shop, eat, and explore the market.

Christmas Market


HOW CAN YOU CRUISE TO EUROPE’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS?

An Avalon Waterways river cruise is one of the best ways to visit Europe’s Christmas markets. The Danube River and Rhine River have many popular Christmas market cities, such as Vienna, Budapest, Basel, and Strasbourg, along their banks, giving you the chance to visit cities that have been hosting these markets since their founding well over 500 years ago. With tradition on their side, the markets in this region are some of the best you will find anywhere in Europe, particularly those in Germany and Austria.

Avalon Waterways hosts a variety of cruises on both the Danube and Rhine River ranging in length and activities. Some cruises are as short as four days while others, like Christmastime from Budapest to Basel, are 17 days long with the option to add cruise extensions.

Avalon Artistry Ii Exterior Belgium Schelderiver Antwerp 140017 Einhard 052413


WHY AVALON?

Along with their stellar Christmas market cruises, Avalon Waterways’ onboard experience brings a new level of relaxation and convenience to your vacation. River cruising allows travelers to experience the scenery and culture of Europe without the hassle of repacking suitcases and making travel arrangements. Instead, you sail in the evenings or while you sleep. This also means that you get to spend more time in port exploring the cities and markets.

And Avalon’s ships are suite! Their Panorama Suitessm offer the offer floor-to-ceiling windows so that you can take in the view from the comfort of your bed. The Avalon Fresh program brings local flavors for the chefs to prepare regionally-inspired dishes with the freshest ingredients possible.

Along with their onboard experience, Avalon offers three types of excursions for guests to choose from, Classic, Discovery, and Active. This variety means you can customize your experience while being sure to receive the quality of experience guests expect with Avalon.

Are you ready to experience one of these amazing Christmas markets for yourself? Let’s start planning your exceptional vacation with Avalon Waterways today! We will help you manage pre- and post-cruise hotels and travel logistics to ensure every moment of your trip is taken care of.

When the days get shorter and we see the first snowflake fall, we know one thing: winter is officially here. For some of us, this means dreading slushy streets or the stress-filled hustle and bustle of the season, but it also brings time-honored traditions and beloved holidays.

It is a time for celebration, for being with your loved ones, for making life-long memories, and of course, for travel.

Cities across the globe illuminate their skylines as they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the winter solstice. Here are some of the most breathtaking destinations to celebrate the holiday nearest and dearest to you.

New York City Skyline


NEW YORK CITY

The city that never sleeps doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to winter festivities. If you celebrate Christmas, you’ll surely love the amazing display at Rockefeller Center and the annual Christmas Spectacular at nearby Radio City. Or take a stroll down Fifth Avenue to see the famous window displays and even do some holiday shopping.

New York is also a premiere destination to celebrate Hanukkah with one of the world’s largest menorahs in the Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan and Brooklyn) lit nightly. The celebration includes music and latkes each night at the Brooklyn location.  

Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American heritage, is also celebrated in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History hosts a celebration with traditional African performances and crafts. Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater, a bucket-list destination in itself, hosts family-friendly activities with dancing and music.

Stonehenge 1


ENGLAND

The city of Bath during Christmas will transport you to the time of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. From the famous Bath Christmas Market with homemade crafts to lacing up your skates at Bath on Ice, this trip would melt even Scrooge’s heart.

Journey to London for a Hanukkah you’ll never forget. People gather at Trafalgar Square to watch menorah lightings, taste delicious food, and listen to local music performances. Many local Jewish groups also host their own events, so there is no shortage of ways to celebrate.

You have undoubtedly heard of one of England’s most famous landmarks, Stonehenge, but did you know people from all over the world come to this prehistoric monument to celebrate the winter solstice? People gather to watch the sunrise as they play music, dance, do yoga and even kiss the famous stones.

CANADA

The city of Old Quebec transforms into a quaint Christmas village in December. Seasonal décor adorns the stone buildings, and the smell of roasted chestnuts from the German Christmas Market fills the air.

Quebec City, Chateau Frontenac At Dusk, Canada

When the Christmas season comes to end, the Quebec Winter Carnival takes hold. With parades, ice canoe races, snow sculptures, and Bonhomme’s Ice Palace you’ll never want to leave this winter wonderland.

Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest is an entire theme park of winter merriment. The Toronto park is reimagined and enchanted with lights and decorations for the holiday season.  Entertainment, delicious treats, gift shops, ice-skating, and rides are just a few of the many attractions for guests. The Season of Lights is a dazzling light display honoring Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Christmas.

To fill your winter with wonder and experience these destinations and more during the holiday season, contact me today to start planning!

Europe is known for its history and culture and is home to many of the world’s most iconic landmarks. These luxury hotels in Europe double as destinations unto themselves, with everything a traveler would need to feel comfortable and pampered.

If you are heading across the pond, one (or more!) of these five-star accommodations will make your European escape even more memorable.

1. The Dolder Grand – Zurich, Switzerland

Consistently ranked one of the world’s greatest hotels, The Dolder Grand also houses an impressive collection of art from the likes of Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and others. The original building dates back to 1899, and two modern wings that were added in 2008 seamlessly blend the old and the new. Not to be overlooked are the sweeping views of the Alps, an expansive world-class spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

2. Hotel Santa Caterina – Amalfi, Italy

Beauty is not just on the outside of Hotel Santa Caterina, which is sculpted into the side of a cliff on Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast. Colorful accents and antiques bring the perfect amount of character to the heavenly white linens and curtains found in each suite. This intimate, picturesque property is a honeymooners paradise, dotted with citrus groves and terraces to enjoy quiet moments.

3. 41 – London, England

Visitors are not far from royalty here, both literally and figuratively. Located opposite Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews, 41 is setting a new standard in service, with 24/7 butler service, and two staff members for each guest. In the past year, this chic boutique hotel earned accolades from Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast and TripAdvisor as one of Europe’s finest.

4. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace – Budapest, Hungary

One of the luxury Four Seasons brand’s grandest properties, this Art Nouveau landmark wows guests with stained-glass windows, mosaic tiles, and breathtaking views of the Danube River. Rooms feature high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and balconies to soak up even more of the city’s historic center.

5. Le Meurice – Paris, France

This 19th-century-palace-turned-luxury-hotel is a Parisian masterpiece, and for those that appreciate elegance, this is the place to stay in the City of Light. It is ideally located between the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden, and near Paris’s upscale shopping districts. Ultra-luxury travelers can splurge on Belle Etoile Suite, which features rich marble finishings and 360-degree views of Paris from its private terrace.