Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Cruise on the Carnival Glory

 My husband and I just returned from  celebrating  our 30th Anniversary on The Carnival Glory New  England/Canada cruise July 31- August 5 to St. Johns and Halifax.  It was simply exquisite. Close to Home cruises are an economical way to save money on a vacation. Most of the cruisers we met  were from the New York Tri-state area and either drove or took a Port Authority bus to the Pier. Parking is $30 a day which is really economical  compared to  paying airfare!
The weather cooperated with us. This year we  had   an unusually hot and humid summer this  and it was a pleasure to escape  to low humidity and temperatures in the low 70s - low 80s. We were told this was very unusual because the temperatures are  usually a little lower and its often foggy. My umbrella never left my bag which I was very pleased about. I did carry a lightweight Jacket with me  which was perfect.
On the Lido Deck passing under the Verrazano Bridge.
Cruisers were already enjoying the use of the pools and the  Jacuzzis when we  embarked on the ship.  I was told that when the weather is inclement there is a covering over the pool which still allows Cruisers to take  that daily dip.

Embarkation Day: Embarkation was pretty smooth. We encountered  long  lines at the check-in but the time went by quickly as conversed with the other excited Cruisers standing around us.  Once we  past check in we went  straight to the Lido Deck Red Sail Restaurant to get some lunch.   The food  on this ship is a culinary dream!!  That is all I can say.  More about that later.
I have to mention the one part of the cruise that I don't like its the dreaded Mandatory Coast Guard Safety Drill. There is no getting around it.  Once that torturous 20  minutes is over the FUN begins!!
Gail's Tip: Be at the Pier early around 12 noon or so to avoid those long lines and get a good early start on your vacation. Its a good idea to pack your bathing suit, and other items  you may need immediately  in your carry-on  bag as  you wait for your  luggage to be delivered to your Cabin. 

Bon Voyage: The place to be when the Ship leaves Port is on the Lido Deck. That is where the Party really begins. I had  my camera in hand as hubby and I took pictures of the New York skyline and Statue of Liberty and Ellis island as we sailed by. The ship went up in a collective  "ohhhhh" of  astonishment as we passed  under the Verranzano  Bridge. All during this time the DJ is  playing music and people are doing the  Electiric Slide and the Cha-Cha Slide and dancing away while others are taking in the sites.

Our cabin on the  Carnival Glory
Our Ocean View Cabin was a very nice size and very comfortable. Wewere surprised when we entered the Cabin and found it to be decorated courtesy of  Ann Sedgwick the Business Development Director from Carnival Cruise who works very closely with YTB Travel. It was nice to be able to look out the window during the Cruise.

Sitting Area of the Cabin.
Cruises are  known for their cuisine and the  Carnival Glory did  not disappoint. We were  assigned to the
Platinum Dining Room at 8:15pm.  Our Waiter was Dickson from India. A real funny dude  and a pretty good dancer as well we found out.  But the dining highlight was  our dinner at the Emerald Steakhouse  on the actual night of our anniversary.  Ahhhh  what a experience to  be wined and dined and called "Madame" and "Sir". The food was straight from heaven. My hubby had the lamb chops that melted in your mouth (you know I had to sample it) and I had the Lobster tail.  I should have taken a picture of the  presentation because they looked like photos. I recommend this experience to everyone. Its only $30 per person and it would cost way more in a similar restaurant in  New York.
For breakfast and Lunch we ate on the Lido Deck at the Red Sail restaurant Buffet. One of the days there was the Chocolate Buffet for chocolate lovers. Have you ever had Chocolate cheese cake?  Yummm...
Honorable mention to the  Creams Cafe. A must stop if  you are a StarBucks type  lover. I loved their Lattes.  Do NOT leave the ship until you try the famous Chocolate Melting cake after dinner in the dining room. It was heavenly! There is nothing more I can say about that!  LOL.

Captain's Night was fun. We got to dress up and meet the crew, take some formal pictures.  We met some great people. This is a highlight of every cruise.

Everynight we went to the Las Vegas Style show in the Amber Palace. It was like going out on a date every night after dinner.  The costuming, staging, singing and dancing was top notch. My favorite night was when Justin the illusionist gave his show. All the standard tricks we see on TV in person, BUT its combined with music and dance which made it very unique. When this show was  finished everyone was on their feet giving a standing ovation.
Hubby Singing Karoake
Carnival Glory  is one of the first ships to roll out the Punchliner Comedy club.  They have several shows,  PG and an Adult Only. We went to the PG version.  It was held  in the Ebony Cabaret. I   enjoyed it. There were several  kids there and the comedy was very family friendly.

We  spent 2 days in Port. First Port day was in St. Johns. There are  several reasonably priced Excursions to take.  We chose the Trolley which took us to the Reversing Falls and  gave us a tour of Downtown Halifax. Some people chose just to walk around. and take in the sights by foot.
Second Port Day was in Halifax Nova  Scotia. We originally planed to go to the Black History Tour  but it was cancelled. It left a lot of disappointed  people. However that disappointment did not last long when we took a  visit to the famed Peggy's Cove. It was simply  breathtaking! The second  part of our Excursion was to the Fairlawn Cemetary to see the site where many of the Titanic victims were  buried. There was parts of the Titanic story that I never knew. It was a great learning experience.

Here am I in front of the Reversing Falls in  Halifax, 
Gail's Tip- Take a Carnival Cruise endorsed excursion,  as they  make sure  you are back to the ship on time. If you chose to go off on your own. Plan to be back at the ship at least one hour before you are scheduled. You don't want to miss the ship.

Last  but not least is a shout out to the  Cruise Director Jorge. He brings such excitement to the ship. He is obviously a comedian in a former life, and  makes the most mundane  and boring  talks (like how to disembark) into his own private show. AND you definitely remember everything he said. Its so funny it sticks with  you.  This is the hardest working Crew in the world. The  ship is white glove clean. A piece of lint don't stand a chance. They are constantly cleaning, fixing.  EVERYONE greets  you as you pass by. 

I had a wonderful time on this cruise. There was never a time where there was nothing to do. I would highly recommend this Cruise to everyone. I noticed that there were several family reunions and Special interest Groups on this cruise. The ship has Private Rooms to hold special functions in. Something to think about  for that next special family Event.  The Carnival Glory New England/Canada Cruise from New York is a great way to economize on an all inclusive vacation and bypass the expense of  Airfare for those who live close to New York. 

***Gail is available to assist in booking your next  Special cruise including your Group Cruise.  Please feel free to fill out the form to the right. You can also call 646-450-MALL and  leave a message.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Carnival Glory Here I come!

The countdown has begun for my husband  and I to take our cruise  to Canada on  the Carnival Glory. Its the Canada itinerary. We are  taking a Close to Home cruise. In other words we are leaving from a port that is close to  home. In this case we are leaving from New York.  No  hassles with flights   being canceled or  Airlines charging for our bags  or even losing  them for that matter.

This is a 5 day  cruise to Canada.  Usually people think of  the Caribbean when going on cruises, but  thee are so many  other  options.   I will be sure  to post about our experience on the Carnival Glory when we return!
Bon Voyage!!

Thinking of Cruising?   Or want to get on my email list for  upcoming Cruise  Sales?    Fill  out the form  to the right on this page.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A La Carte Alaska Vacation from Princess Cruise

 I know quite a few friends who  expressed interest in cruising to Alaska. Well here is some information on a Customizable cruise vacation from Princess Cruise to Alaska that I just received in an email from Princess.  A Customizable Alaskan A la cart Vacation cruise! These are 10-12 day options.  Great for the adventurers!  

This is what a Customizable "A la Carte Alaska Vacation Cruise would entail.
The traveler will get at least 3 days at Denali Wilderness Lodges, offering 2 perspectives of the Park!
Get to see Alaska's top  attractions, Denali National Park and Glacier Bay National Parks
Get to take a 7 day cruise visiting Ketchika, Juneau ad Skagway, which I understand are  unforgettable  breathtaking glacier viewing experiences.
You get to take the scenic rail travel through the heart of  Alaska via Direct to the wilderness rail service. This is a Princess exclusive experience.
Travelers get to customize their vacation with a slew of optional excursions. Be as active as you wish, or explore at your own pace.   The A la Carte Tours offer more time at Denali

What are some of the things you can do at Denali?
Flightseeing- Sightseeing in a small Aircraft
Mountaineering- try your hand at mountain climbing
Backpacking  - If climbing mountains are not your thing, then maybe backpacking is.  
Hunting- Need I say more?  
For the Faint at heart there is the Denali Visitor Center that has exhibit halls and Park films.
You know, I never had an interest in going to Alaska but this has definitely piqued my interest.
Fares start at $899.
Interested in booking this cruise?  Call me  646-450-MALL or fill out the Form on this site.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Black History Vacation

February is the month that Americans and particularly African Americans focus on  Black History in this country.   History comes  alive when we can see the history up close and personal. It makes a big difference when compared to reading about it in a text book. Is great to incorporate  into a family vacation.   The good part is that this traveling history lesson can be embarked on all  year long, and need not be limited to the month of  February.
One website is good for exploring points of interest of travel in Black History is 
Discover Black Heritage-  A Travel Guide to Black History and Culture.     This site is chock full of Black History and cultural sites to visit all over the U.S.  I chose a few to highlight.
St. Louis Illinois
The  Old Courthouse in St Louis where Dred Scott’s request for freedom from slavery was tried and denied by t he Supreme Court in 1857. The court ruled that slaves were not citizens.
The courthouse is not far from the famed Gateway Arch. 
Tour the Katherine Dunham Museum in  East St. Louis, IL. This museum displays costumes, photographs, programs, letters, awards and mementos from Miss Dunham’s career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer and dance company owner.
New York City
I am going to admit up front! I am  very biased when it comes to my hometown New York City. I think its the best.  New York is rich with Black History.  
Apollo Theatre -  Located on the famed 125th street,  This is the home of the Amateur Night at the  Apollo, and the launching pad of many careers.   
Its also the  gathering place in times of celebration such as the election of Pres. Barack Obama and in sadness such as the deaths of Michael Jackson and James Brown. 
 African Burial Ground – The remains of over 400 free and enslaved  men, women and children of African descent were found in 1991 during a Federal Construction Project. This proved that there indeed slaves in the North, and that Africans were a major presence in        colonial New York City It is located  at 290 Broadway between Duane Street and Reade Street. 
 One of my favorite places in New  York City is the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – 
The Schomburg as it is affectionately called by the locals is part of the New York Pubic Library System, located in the heart of Harlem on 135th Street.  It is named after Arturo Schomburg a Puerto Rican Black historian who collected  Black history memorabilia which included, books, manuscripts, paintings, photographs and more. He was the curator from 1932 until his death in 1938.  There are always exhibits available to educate visitors as well as special presentations. 
I have  spent many days in this library doing research for papers starting from Middle School years to College years, and have very fond memories.
One other resource  I would like to share for Black History Travel is www.Blackatlas.com. Whether the traveler is looking for hair salon, or barber shop  that specializes in Black hair or an African American house of worship,  or a restuarant that specializes in southern, Caribbean or African cuisines, this is a site to always keep handy for reference. 
As I always say, Black History is American History and makes a great a family vacation rewarding.  Make your next vacation a Black History Vacation.
Book your vacations now.www.GailsDreamVacations.com

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cruise Ships in Haiti?

Cruise Ships in Haiti?
Recently it has come to light that there are Cruise Ships that are still visiting Haiti despite the devastation in the wake of the earthquake. Royal Carribean Cruise Lines has resumed their ports of call in Labadee Haiti, known as a "picturesque wooded peninsula". This peninsula is located 60 miles from the devastation of the earthquake where passengers can enjoy para sailing, jet skiing, barbecues on the beach and rum cocktails served to passengers basking in the sun in their hammocks.

To their credit RCCL has pledged $1 million dollars in aid and has been delivering much needed supplies to Haiti. The visit will keep 500 Haitians employed at the Resort they stop in.
But it seems that passengers and Haitian-Americans have mixed feelings about the resumption of the cruises. Some passengers have elected to remain on the ship because their conscience would not allow them to engage in sun and fun while others other suffering 60 miles away. But on the other hand will staying away from the Resort cause 500 more Haitians to be un-employed and lose their valuable income to their families and add to the country's problems? This is the dilemma.

I posed this question to many of my Haitian friends. Once again the response was mixed. Some were outraged that Cruise ships would carry on with a "business as usual" attitude. Others mentioned that it may be good for the economy of Haiti. A few brought up concern of safety and security, that some desperate Haitians may try to take over the Resort or the cruise ships.
I have been informed that the port is heavily guarded and there are 12 foot high fences surruonding the area.

I honestly do not have the answer. I understand both points, pro and con. I hope that Royal Carribean will continue to provide financial support and aid to Haiti and treat the citizens with respect and dignity. That is the only way Cruise Ships should go to Haiti.
Continue to Pray for Haiti.

Donate to help Haiti.

http://yele.org/- This is Wyclef Jean's foundation that has been helping in Haiti for years.

http://www.redcross.org/ - Time honored organization

WorldVision.org - They have been in Haiti for over 34 years.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carnival Destiny Cancels 2 Cruises

The Carnival Destiny cancelled 2 cruise sailings from February 13, and February 18. It will be returning to Drydock for repairs. I received this E-mail from Carnival today.

"The Carnival Destiny is experiencing a problem with its propulsion system and regrettably, Carnival must cancel the departures for February 13th and February 18th in order to take the ship to an unscheduled drydock for repairs."

Carnival states it will work with cruisers who booked a cruise on the Carnival Destiny to find another cruise that works with Cruiser's vacation schedule. Carnival will also provide a $100 per person onboard credit when rebooking any further Carnival cruise, departing prior to December 15, 2011

There are Options
As per the Carnival E-mail that was sent out_
*Reschedule immediately on another voyage - there is good availability on a wide variety of Florida departures.

*Cancel and have Carnival hold the payment for a future Carnival cruise (valid for sailings departing within 24 months)

*Cancel and receive a full refund, inclusive of Carnival's air supplement, optional land packages, Vacation Protection Plan and government fees and taxes. No further action on your part is necessary as refunds will automatically be processed in three weeks.

Regarding Air Fare

If independent air transportation was purchased and Cruisers need to make changes to accommodate a new departure, Carnival will reimburse up to $200 per person (via a refundable on board credit) for airline change fees so long as documentation is provided. Please submit supporting documentation to Carnival's Guest Admin Department, fax # 305-405-6477.

For questions or concerns, please contact Carnival's Guest Services Department at 1-800-327-9501 with your preference as soon as possible.

I just wanted to get the word out to anyone who was booked on these sailings. I have a client who has already changed her cruise and is looking forward to her Valentine's Week Cruise!


Book your summer vacations now. www.GailsDreamVacations.com

Contact Gail @ WLKRG5@gmail.com or fill out the form on the right of this blog.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ZamZuu Presentation

Click HERE to see up to date ZamZuu Information on my New ZamZuu Blog
Do you ZamZuu? When you see the slide presentation, you will want to!
You can ZamZuu two different ways
Become a ZamZuu Customer - Get a free shopping portal of your own, that will have 550 online stores, including Macy's Kohls, Home Depot, Best Buy, Barnes and Nobles and more.
Specialty Stores like Body Slimwear (Shapewear that lets you drop 3 sizes in 5 minutes) Nutraceutics,Gina Alexnder Handbags, Alkaline Water, Insurance Quotes and much more.

The Next way to ZamZuu is to become an entrepreneur. Make ZamZuu your Home Based Business and earn commissions on sales and when customers purchase from your mall. Added bonus is a Travel website that your friends and family has can book their vacations, cruises, airfare, family getaways and earn 30% commission.
**New Promotion-  Find our about the Free Agent  (free business) and Broker Position (Low cost of $49.95 to get started)
See the presentation for more info.

For More Information- go to www.GailsVacationandTravel.com
We will always be a TravelConsultant first, at www.GailsDreamVacations.com
Or contact me at WLKRG5@gmail.com or fill out the form on the side.
So I can help you to help plan your next vacation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

YTB Introduces ZamZuu

(More Up to date Information on ZamZuu can be  found  on my ZamZuu  blog here)

YTB is taking

E-commerce to the max with its new product ZamZuu.
This holiday season we have seen the success of online shopping. Cyber-Monday has become as popular as Black Friday for the Holiday shoppers.
We have been having great success with the the ShopYTB. I completed all my Christmas Shopping, stayed within budget and out of the Brick and mortar stores by shopping via my online ShopYTB o site. Now it is becoming bigger and better. I have
Great Stores like Macys, Home Depot, Walmart, Kohls, and 700 more stores can be found at ShopYTB.
When I realized that I had a significant balance left on my Flexible Spending Account near the end of 2009, I spent a significant amount at Drugstore.com an FSA approved store.
I can also say I was more than happy when I received my cashback checks in the mail. The timing was perfect, and helped pay some unexpected bills that came in.
I am looking forward to ZamZuu with the new enhancements and ways to save and make more money with the cash backs and the discounts. ZamZuu is an all-in-one E-Commerce Business Solution.A premium Nutritional store, Body Slimwear by Ghiada, Diamond Ice, Financial and Insurance company, Jewelery store are some of the featured new stores along with 700 other stores.
ZamZuu promises to exceed the expectations of ShopYTB and I am looking forward to it.
Check out the ShopYTB now ZamZuu site.
Stay tuned for more info to come. The new ZamZuu will launch on Friday, January 15, 2010.
Like what you see you can make more money off of the ZamZuu site by making it your own home based business. Have your own E-commerce business solution. Purchase your site for $249.99. Find out more here.
I will always be a Travel consultant, but its real nice to earn a little extra money on the side.