Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Greatest Cruises on Earth! 10/11-18/2010

Come One! Come All! Join the Celebration of National Cruise Vacation Month! The Celebration is in full swing! This year, Fantasy Cruise & Travel - Cruise Planners has put together the Greatest Cruises on Earth in order to bring to you exciting specials on the best cruise lines around. We’ve got reduced deposits and onboard coupon booklets to category upgrades, complimentary dinners, shipboard credits and more! And it’s all happening from October 11 to 18, 2010, so don’t miss out. Make sure and invite your friends. If you refer someone to me and they book during the World's Largest Cruise Event you will receive a very cool gift card.

Join the fun at the World’s Largest Cruise Event by clicking the Big Button below! There are cool videos of many of the cruise lines! If you like what you see make sure and hit the Like Button! I would be honored!

If you're interested in more information, contact me at 866-488-0526 or visit Fantasy Cruise & Travel. Travel Your Way!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Morning with Avalon Waterways 4/22/10

I am not sure how to explain my week. I can tell you that I had no idea that going to watch a college football spring game would end up putting me on my butt, but it did. As we get older we get smarter and we think we can take on any athletic challenge that is presented to us. I think I let my smartness get the best of me as I thought that I could go out and kick 30 yard field goals with a 47+ year old body! Just because my youngest son kicks for La Tech does not mean that his dad can as well! When the hormones kick in we become invincible and we can do anything! Wrong! While attempting to kick this chip shot I remember making contact with the ball and the next thing I remember is the grinding noise of my plant knee and I was now laying on the field with my knee cap on the backside of my left knee. I knew it was bad, but I really had no idea. I am thankful for everyone who helped, but I am most thankful for Pod (My Youngest Son) and Mr. Dan "the equipment man" for the calm thinking and the foresight to go check and see if any trainers were still in the field house. To my amazement Keith and some of his staff made their way to the field and Keith was able to put my knee back in place. I was in a lot of pain, but felt relieved when my knee popped back in place. They drove me to the training room and placed a compression sock on my left leg and fitted me with a knee brace and some crutches. I was so very lucky that things worked out the way they did. We made our way back to Dallas to David & Barbara's (Janet's Aunt & Uncle) house. This would become my home until we could figure out what the next step was. We are so grateful for this. I was also fortunate that Meggie (Janet's Mom) was here as well. To make a long story short, I had surgery a few days later to repair a torn MCL, ACL and a partial tear in the PCL. I also had a dislocated Patella and a 1.5 CM piece of bone broken off of my Femur and a torn lower thigh muscle. I am in full recovery wearing a flexible brace and will need to wear it for the next 12 weeks during the healing process. A special thanks to all of my family and friends for all of the support and guidance duing this time. I am a full believer that even though we are older that we are not always as smart as we think. My football career might be over, but my love for the game will never go away. Ok enough of me! Who wants to go to Alaska? Alaska travel is just around the corner and I thought I would start off with an Alaskan Pipeline. You take 1 shot of Yukon Jack and 1 shot of Amaretto. Mix equal parts Yukon Jack and Amaretto in your favorite shaker with ice and shake. Serve in your favorite glass with or without ice. Cheers and I hope Alaska is in your travel plans this year. One of the things that intrigues me the most is River Cruising. What a fantastic way to see parts the world from your very own floating hotel that takes you right to the center of these world famous cities. I thought what I would do over the next few weeks is break down the 5 major River Cruise Lines and really see what makes them stand out and what makes them the River Cruise Line of choice. The 5 River Cruise Lines that I will break down are Avalon Waterways, AMA Waterways, Uniworld River Cruises, Tauck River Cruises, and Viking River Cruises. This week I will start with Avalon Waterways. Avalon Waterways is part of the Globus Family of Brands. Some ask "Why Take a River Cruise?" Taking a European river cruise is a best-of-the-best situation: the best way to discover a destination in the best conditions. Whether your destination is Europe, Russia, China, Vietnam, Egypt or the Galápagos Islands, a river cruise is an experience of a lifetime and a uniquely pleasant way to discover and enjoy the area, region, or country you are visiting. The key concepts are life at a leisurely pace, comfort, admiring the scenery, well-planned itineraries, and plenty of opportunities to explore the delightful towns, villages, sites, and monuments on shore along the way. All the worries of transport, accommodation, and food are taken out of the travelling scenario, leaving only the best things to enjoy, savour, and explore. While making yourself at home aboard the vessel, you are well taken care of, allowing you to fully relax and unwind; thereby making way to admire the enchanting scenery, participate in a variety of activities, and revel in an astonishing array of culinary delights. Unpacking only once, you are unencumbered and truly free to take in the fantastic sites and activities without worrying about transportation, luggage, or accommodation. The river cruise routes highlight the intriguing and interesting ports of call along the rivers or canals, including authentic and sometimes sleepy villages, bustling towns, or capital cities. Schedules are unhurried and there is plenty of time to discover, or rediscover, ancient and modern history, marvel at the natural beauty of the landscape, and come into close contact with on- and off-the-beaten path destinations. European river cruises are well-organized and activity-rich, offering resplendent scenery and plenty of sightseeing excursions in a comfortable, relaxing, and welcoming atmosphere. Who is ready for a river cruise?

Some of the key highlights with Avalon are:

Sail on the Youngest Fleet – with ships averaging two and a half years in age, know your clients will be consistently sailing upon the newest ships on the European waterways. The Avalon Creativity and Avalon Affinity debut in 2009, and the Avalon Luminary and Avalon Felicity set sail in 2010 bringing our European fleet to 10 vessels.

Modern Contemporary Design – since our ships are so new, all of them feature state-of-the-art design and technology and modern amenities such as flat screen TVs in the staterooms which are 172 sq feet, mini-bar, large wardrobes and hotel style beds that can be configured as two twins or one queen with Egyptian linens. Wireless access is available on all ships.

Floating Room with a View – 85% of the staterooms in the Avalon fleet have panoramic sliding glass doors and French balconies, enhancing the view of the landscape from individual staterooms.

Delightful dining - from handcrafted cuisines that incorporate local flavors to choice of complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks with dinner, dining with Avalon is a true treat.

A staff focused on you! - With an average crew to traveler ratio of 4:1, know that your needs will be met. An English-speaking staff caters to you every step of the way.

A Cruise Director who cares - Avalon attracts best in industry Cruise Directors who focus on making each and every sailing unique, entertaining, and engaging.

Included sightseeing - don’t pay extra to experience the destinations you visit with Avalon. Expertly crafted excursions will enhance your cruise journey.

Fastest-Growing River Cruise Company - Avalon’s European fleet continues to grow with the addition of two ships in 2009 and two more are scheduled to launch in 2010. This brings the total to 10 luxury ships in Europe, and 65 vacations worldwide reinforcing our position as the fastest-growing river cruise company in the world.

Special Details and Extra Touches – since its inception, Avalon has offered fine dining with a choice of unlimited complimentary wine, and new for 2010 beer and soda, at dinner, thus setting the standard for dining on European river cruise vacations. For royal deck guests, continental breakfast is available to order the night before and have delivered to their stateroom.

The Best on Land Programs – because Avalon is part of the Globus family of brands, all land programs are arranged by Globus, the leader in escorted travel for more than 80 years. Europe land programs are what Globus does best, and your river cruise clients get the benefit of the most enriching excursions in each of their destinations, including audio headsets for all Europe shore excursions.

200 support staff in Europe & 32 offices worldwide – the Globus family of brands was born in Europe but is an international company. As such, Avalon benefits from an unparalleled level of support in Europe and all the worldwide destinations it cruises to including China, Egypt and the Galápagos Islands.

Avalon Waterways received the Condé Nast Traveler: Gold List 2009 award, Condé Nast Traveler: Top Cruise Ships 2009 award, Travel Age West Magazine’s WAVE Award for Best New River Cruise Ship (Avalon Scenery) as well as "Editor's Pick" for Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising and ranked #2 among the Top 10 Small-Ship Cruise Lines in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards 2009 readers' survey.

Travelers with Avalon Waterways gave our vacations a 98% satisfaction rating on post-vacation surveys.

Take a Look at Avalon Waterways for Yourself

Take a look at the advantages and features of taking a cruise with Avalon Waterways. You may want to begin with a virtual tour on three of our ships — the Avalon Scenery, Avalon Tranquility and Avalon Poetry. You can also view photos of our ships, watch an informative video, read testimonials from past Avalon passengers, or check the ship camera of ships that are currently sailing.

Avalon Virtual Tours - experience the Avalon difference by taking an online tour of three of our ships — the Avalon Scenery, Avalon Tranquility and Avalon Poetry.

Ship Camera & Locator - find a ship and view photos of the landscape from the deck.

Passenger Stories & Testimonials - read what past passengers have said about cruising with Avalon.

Avalon River Cruising Video - watch a 10-minute video about Avalon Waterways.

Avalon Ship Fleet - visit the Avalon Web site to see information and photo galleries of the Avalon fleet.

Avalon Interactive eBrochure - view the Avalon eBrochure anytime you want from your own computer.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at River Cruising. What a great way to visit the world with your mom & dad! Are you part of a group who loves history, art, wine or the traditions of other countries throughout the world? If you are, then River Cruising is for you! If you have any questions let me know. I would love to help you plan your next journey on a river cruise! Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love, plus he is a real nice guy! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. If you have a group who wants to travel together let me know. Traveling in a group is always more fun when you all share like interests! You know you will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Afternoon at the BEACH 4/7/0

I love technology and I felt it was important enough to let you know about some new travel tools offered by Fantasy Cruise & Travel. I am super excited about this and I think you will be as well.

As a Cruise Planners Travel Professional, I am proud to announce a new feature just added to my website, Fantasy Cruise & Travel. This convenient booking tool offers you state of the art technology to research and book your Air, Car, Hotel and Vacation Rentals. This new tool will make your travel planning, with or without a cruise, much easier, and if you require additional service or help with the reservations, I’m just a phone call away.

This new tool includes special rates plus an easy-to-navigate format, making searching for multiple deals effortless. Here’s some of what you’ll find:

• Over 100,000 hotels worldwide, many of which offer specially negotiated rates
• Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week
• Lowest Hotel Rates – Guaranteed*!
• Incredible Air Rates!
• The Best Rental Car Rates!
• Awesome Vacation Rentals
Destination Guides provided by Trip Advisor, the most popular and largest travel community in the world
Road Trips - Enjoy The Freedom of the Road!
• And so much more

Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, this one stop shopping feature offers all the services other travel websites offer without the hassle of searching through them all. This new tool includes special rates plus an easy-to-navigate format, making searching for multiple reservation deals effortless. So, call me to book your next cruise vacation, and then visit Fantasy Cruise & Travel for additional travel reservations beyond your cruise. Or, feel free to use this new technology for your non-cruise travel needs. Your complete vacation is just a few easy clicks away. Let me know what you think.

I encourage you to take a look at this powerful tool to book all your traveling needs. Your complete vacation is just a few easy clicks away. Thanks so much for all of your support and I look forward to working with you real soon.

*For details on the lowest hotel rates guaranteed, please go to my website above.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Afternoon Tropical Dream 3/29/10

This has been a roller coaster of a week! One minute it is raining and cold and then the wind is blowing like crazy and the sun is shining! At least the plants and trees are coming back to life. Even the grass is changing colors. Can I get a Woo Hoo? It is almost time to get the lawn mower out! I planted some wild tomatoes and some wrinkled peppers in some pots I have on the deck. These poor plants got their sea legs the first couple of days as the wind was blowing like crazy. Fresh salsa in the summer is where it is at. I am hoping for success this year Mr. Tomato and Mrs. Pepper! Pod is in full swing with spring practice at La Tech. Pea made his way to Ruston on Friday to spend some time with his brother. He got to eat a little crawfish and take in La Tech's first scrimmage of the spring. The showings on the house have picked up and this is a good thing! Now we just need some offers. You never know what I might agree to! I have been doing a lot of research and studying on Alaska this week. Cruise travel to Alaska starts in early May and extends to late September. Cruisetours are a very unique way to cruise the inside passage and then continue your Alaskan vacation traveling the interior of Alaska by rail. I can't wait for the day to get back to Alaska! As a Certified Alaska Expert I should be able to answer any questions that you might have. Onward we must go! Today is a sad day as this morning we will have to leave the Norwegian Pearl. Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum! Santa's run off to the Caribbean! He thinks about boat drinks and fun in the sun! Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum! What a journey this has been! It has been a tropical dream for me and what a great way to celebrate the end of our journey with a drink called Tropical Dream! The components for this masterpiece call for 2 ounces of Dark Rum, 1 ounce of Blue Curacao and 1 ounce of Pineapple Juice. Add some ice to your favorite shaker with the 3 ingredients and shake, shake, shake! Shake your booty! I couldn’t help but sing while I was shaking! After you have danced a jig, pour all of this into your favorite cocktail glass and plop a cherry or two on top. Now sit back and enjoy a couple of these as you dream about your tropical vacation. Remember I can make those dreams come true. Test me out one day. I bet you will be surprised as to what we can come up with. Ok, that is enough! Let's get on with our journey! It was a good morning, but a sad morning as we sailed into the Port of Miami. We did not have to pack anything because we had to leave our bags outside our stateroom at midnight last night. You keep a small bag for your incidentals and such. They collect your bags at night and then you pick them up when you disembark the ship. Since we all had late afternoon flights out of Miami we were in no hurry to get off the Pearl. We did have to be off by 10:00AM, but we still had plenty of time. Since we all live in different parts of the country we had agreed on a time to all meet for breakfast and have one last family gathering before everyone headed back home. I decided to order some different items this time. I had two eggs over easy, two biscuits with sausage gravy, hash browns and several slices of bacon. I could not end my journey without a couple of glasses of prune juice! What am I going to do without that when I get home? I bet I was the only one drinking prune juice on the whole cruise. I never saw anyone else drinking it, but my travel guide said to drink it so you could eat more food. Man did I eat a lot of food this week. We sat at two big tables and exchanged some of our favorite stories during our trip. After breakfast we had a picture fest and took different group shots. It was a little crazy, but the memories of those pictures will last a lifetime! For the most part we said our goodbyes during this time. I still wanted to walk around the ship and take in the last few breaths of my amazing journey aboard the Norwegian Pearl. There were people still swimming at the pool getting in those last few minutes of vacation time. I guess it is time to double check our stateroom one more time and head off of the ship. We made our way through customs and picked up our bags. We are now on our way to the airport now the fun begins. I will briefly explain as it is quite comical and took some very good travel agent to pull all of this off. Pea was on my flight on Continental through Houston and on to San Antonio. Pod was on American flying through Dallas to San Antonio and my wife was on Delta flying through Atlanta to San Antonio. Is that not funny? The cool part was that we all landed in San Antonio within an hour of each other. It was a blast getting to see and spend time with family that we don't get to see on a regular basis. Our family got to celebrate with my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary and that was best part of the trip! Spending time with my wife, kids, siblings, aunt, nieces and nephews was equally rewarding as well. Before I conclude my journey I wanted to touch on a few highlights on the Norwegian Pearl. I loved the ship and personnel that I came in contact with. The Freestyle cruising concept is the way to go in my book. The specialty restaurants were awesome! The Osso Buco at La Cucina with creamy parmesan polenta was my absolute favorite meal on the ship. The sushi and crème brulee 3 ways was amazing as well! The public areas are laid out well with plenty of room. I never felt like I was on top of someone else. I would highly recommend the Pearl for families with kids as well as couples with no kids. There are plenty of things to do for every walk of life! The Pearl is in the Caribbean during the fall through late spring and then she heads to Alaska for the summer. If you have any questions about cruising give me a shout. This journey is going to conclude, but that does not mean that other journeys are not on the horizon! I am not sure where the next one will take us, but I can tell you it will be fun! I appreciate all of you who have been following this journey and I would love for you to follow my journeys in the future. Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love, plus he is a real nice guy! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. If you have a group who wants to travel together let me know. Traveling in a group is always more fun if you all share like interests! You know you will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Morning Painkiller 3/22/10

It has been a great week! My wife came home for a couple of days! Boy will I be glad when this house sells so we can see each other daily instead of every other month. I have faith and my thoughts are positive that it is going to sell real soon. Can I get some more positive thoughts? Together we can make this happen. I am thankful for my father in law this week. I am not a very mechanical/repair type of person and he came over for a few days to help me with a couple of repairs. I had some sprinkler heads that my mower killed and a crazy door bell that was playing hard ball. The sprinkler head replacements ended up being fairly easy and the spray alignment ended up being quite wet. Now for this stupid door bell that was another story. We spent one night and half of another day tracing wires from the door bell transformer in the attic to the door bell itself. One place we did not look until we were about to call it quits was the carbon monoxide detector in the upstairs ceiling. There were a couple of wires loose and once those were tightened the stupid door bell worked. Why would a home builder run the door bell connection thru the carbon monoxide detector? I have no clue, but I am very thankful for my father in law making everything all right. Thanks Papaw! Pod started spring practice at La Tech this week. They had three practices and with a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator they have a whole new system to learn. Their spring game will be April 10th in Ruston. This week I spent more time learning and researching the River Cruise segment of travel. This is such a wonderful way to see the world from your very own floating hotel. I am very excited about River Cruising! I had some bookings this week in Alaska! Can I get a Woo Hoo? Alaska Cruisetours are the way to go in Alaska. You really get to see the beauty of Alaska from the ship and by rail to the interior. My two favorite Alaskan towns are Ketchikan and Talkeetna. Talkeetna is where you get to see Mt. McKinley and eat the best pizza in the world at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Pizza and Alaska Amber Ale! Nothing is better on a beautiful day in Alaska. Ok it is time to continue with our journey on the Norwegian Pearl. As always we need a nice beverage to start our journey off with and this morning we are going to sip on a Painkiller! You start off with 3 ounces of Rum (Pusser’s), 2 ounces of cream of coconut, 1 ounce of pineapple juice and a healthy splash of orange juice. Sprinkle Nutmeg and add 1 Maraschino cherry. Fill your drink shaker with lots of ice. Add you Pusser’s rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple juice and orange juice. Shake well, add a cherry, sprinkle with nutmeg and grab a straw! This will take any pain that you have away for sure! This was originally made in the British Virgin Islands – Pusser’s is the official rum of the Royal British Navy. This morning we are anchored just a short tender ride to NCL's private island Great Stirrup Cay. It is a little overcast this morning, but I am in hope of some sunshine! We cannot get off of the Pearl until 10AM so we had plenty of time to eat breakfast. Since I am a huge fan of breakfast I am going to eat too much as usual. I start off with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on a toasted bagel. Then it is on to those crispy waffles with warm banana compote, country potatoes and a side of crispy bacon. This is all washed down with strong coffee and my two glasses of prune juice. I am glad I started breakfast early. That was a ton of food, but I am happy! I am looking forward to just chilling on Great Stirrup Cay! I am sure what to expect from a private island that has been made up to look like a tropical paradise. Great Stirrup Cay is part of the Berry Islands and is located 62 nautical miles from Freeport, Bahamas. It is an exclusive port of call featured on NCL's Caribbean and Bahaman itineraries. Our tender boat ride will take about 10 minutes to get to the island. The tender boat goes right up to the beach and you walk right off on to the sand. It looks pretty cool and the water is very clear. I just wish the sun would stay out. We staked our claim around a couple of picnic tables and a couple of hammocks. There were plenty of things to do and some of our choices included snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, volleyball or just soaking up the sometimes available rays of sunshine. I elected to walk around the island and explore some and chill in the hammock. Don't laugh, but after a few hours I was getting pretty hungry. I know my breakfast should have carried me through to the next day! They had a beach barbeque and it smelled mighty fine. They were grilling burgers and dogs and were even baking pizza. There were lots of fruit choices and condiments to go with burgers and dogs. I made my plate and picked up a couple of beers and headed back to our picnic table compound. I waited my 30 minutes after I ate and headed to the water for a little swim. It was a little cool, but the water felt good to me. Off in the distance you can see a storm coming in so we decided to call it a day at the island. With this storm coming in the trip back to the Pearl was going to be interesting as it was getting pretty rough. As we got close to the ship we had to wait for the tender boat that was ahead of us. They were having a hell of a time getting close because of the high waves. This is not going to be very fun and I was a little scared. It felt like we were on a trampoline and the gangway was going up as we were going down. We were able to get back on the ship, but if was not much fun doing that. I am more of a let me off at the pier person, but I am aware that some of these big mega ships cannot get into some of these ports. I hope the seas calm down for the others that are still on the island. Overall I was not impressed with Great Stirrup Cay! I hope NCL will invest some money into her. She does have potential, but I was not impressed with her as she is now. I was going to go to the free seminar on Detox for Health and Weight Loss, but I figured I would just keep drinking prune juice and I would be just fine! I am going to head to the pool and order a bucket of beer and enjoy my last afternoon at sea. They had sail away music going and the bikini scenery was looking good! I think I am getting ready to get hit! HaHa! What a great afternoon this has ended up. Do as much or as little as you want. It is your choice and the options are endless! The last night on the Pearl was going to be a food extravaganza. Not only were we celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary, my dad's 70th birthday, but we were celebrating my brother in laws 50th birthday and my brother & sister in laws 5th wedding anniversary! That is a lot of celebrating! Our pre meal beverage would be at Maltings Bar. They were hosting the 2 - 1 martini's tonight. I was going with the lemon drop and I was not disappointed. Tonight we were going to eat at Lotus Garden. It is like a PF Changs. I had met Jasmine who was my server during my sushi event yesterday and she served at Lotus Garden at night. She was the most incredible customer service oriented person I had met on the Pearl. I was so impressed with her that I told her our last dinner was going to be at Lotus Garden and she made sure we were seated in her station. Ok, before I get started don't laugh at me yet, but I ordered a lot. There was a $15 cover charge for eating at the Lotus Garden and I was going to get my monies worth. I ordered crispy spring rolls, crispy crab won tons, fried calamari and barbecued ribs for my appetizers. I love this eating and ordering concept! For my meal I ordered Singapore street noodles, lemon pepper shrimp and hot & spicy schezwan beef. Then for dessert I ordered crème burlee three ways. The flavors were green tea, red bean and ginger. All I can say is oh my! What a food event this was and I am so stuffed and in a major need of a wheel barrow! The food was so awesome! There are way too man food choices for a 7 night cruise! I was going to go watch the movie, but I needed to go walk around the ship. After several laps I was feeling a lot better. The show tonight was a late one and we went to the Second City "Scriptless" Adult Comedy Show! This show was awesome and the improvisation was incredible. This day and night have been indescribable. What a day it has been and so many memories! My heavenly bed is calling me for one more night. When we awaken tomorrow I will be back in Miami and I will be happy and sad. Good night to all! I appreciate all of those who are following! Leave me a comment sometime. I would love to know who is reading! Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. If you have a group who wants to travel together let me know. Traveling in a group is always more fun if you all share like interests! You know you will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Evening Blue Lagoon 3/15/10

It has been an awesome week! We started off with the wet crap and the week ended with sunny cloudless skies. I can't believe that we actually touched the 80's. I guess I have to say Spring is in the air since we have now sprung forward. Look out patio here I come. Lighter later equals more time outside with a glass of red wine. Pod starts spring football practice at La Tech and one of my passions besides helping you with your travel vacations is my love for college football. I can't wait. March madness and St. Patrick’s Day are here as well. I am not a huge college basketball fan, but come tournament time and I am at point at the TV. It should be an interesting Final Four. Who is going to win? Leave a comment below. I think West Virginia is going to win! Last week I spent time learning more about River Cruises and will expand and break those cruise lines down in the near future. Summer travel and cruising bookings are pretty hot right now. There has even been interest in getting holiday travel set in place for the end of the year. Alaska was on my mind this week as I completed my education on Alaska and became a Certified Alaska Expert. If you have not been to Alaska yet make sure you add it to your bucket list. Cruises and Cruisetours take place from early May until late September. You can go from 7 to 14 nights or even longer in some cases. The choice is yours as you can cruise and then add a land portion to the interior of Alaska before or after the cruise. It is an awesome way to see all of Alaska. On top of that the best pizza in my book is made in Talkeetna. Mountain High Pizza Pie is the bomb and I cannot wait to get back for my fix! Todd makes the best pizza, calzones, hummus and serves ice cold Alaskan Amber. The cruise lines that sail in Alaska are Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, Cruise West, Silversea, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise line and Regent Seven Seas. Alaska is so cool and there are so many options to choose from. If you need help with your Alaska journey give me a call and leave your worries to me. I need a drink! Day 6 on the Norwegian Pearl is going to start off with a Blue Lagoon! What the heck is in a Blue Lagoon besides crystal clear water and white sand? Here we go! Take 2 parts premium vodka, 1 part blue curacao, 1 part lemonade and a couple of cherries. Pour the vodka and curacao over ice in your favorite highball glass. Fill to the top with lemonade, top with the cherries, and serve. With spring in the air get your groove on and make a Blue Lagoon. Day 6 is a sea day. That means we will not be stopping until tomorrow when we reach Norwegian's private island called Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Last night was a long night so I sleep in a bit. The restaurants are open a little longer for breakfast when you are at sea. I was not sure what the day would bring, but I was starving. We ate breakfast at the Summer Palace. I had my normal of smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese and capers. I can't forget my prune juice and coffee. I did add these golden waffles with this warm banana compote that almost put me on the floor with yumminess. I just thought I was going to go lay at the pool. I need to go walk the interior of the ship and burn some of my breakfast off. If I have not mentioned it yet my dad is a blackjackaholic! He is good at it and when the casino is open he will most likely be there. During my walk I made my way through the casino and I see my dad not playing blackjack, but standing next to a wheel of fortune slot machine with a light flashing above it. What in the world is going on? He just hit 2K on this slot machine. Now that is what I am talking about! I need some of that luck to rub off on me. Some of the things I could choose from this morning included rock climbing, bowling, trivia, crazy golf, Texas Hold'em, bingo and a Burn Fat Faster seminar. I should be going to that one but elected hit the library for a while a write. I know boring, but I needed some quiet me time. After some good writing I headed out to find the rest of the family who were soaking up the rays at the pool. That is the cool thing about a cruise is that there are so many things to do for everyone. You can do as little or as much as you want. It's your vacation! I know I should not be talking about food again, but it was after 12 and I was a tad hungry. Don't laugh, I love food! I was going solo today for lunch as I would be sampling the all you can eat sushi at the sushi bar. There is a $15 charge for this and I was glad to pay it. There were a few people at the sushi bar so that meant my rolls would not take very long to make, plus I got to watch these sushi masters make my rolls. I ordered a spicy tuna roll, a godzilla roll, a dynamite roll a glass of white wine and a shrimp tempura roll. You heard me four rolls and I and going to stay here a long as I have to. I will finish them all. They are all really good and I am in sushi heaven. After I am done they bring me three flavors of mochi ice cream and the only way I can describe it is like eating a frozen gummy bear with ice cream in the middle. I think I need a stretcher! I am going to hang at the pool this afternoon, play some ping pong and watch Pea & Pod play in another soccer tournament. Later in the afternoon we went to the Champagne art auction. They have several of these throughout the cruise and there is art being sold from world class artist. Opening bids start at $100. Some of the art sold for thousands! That was amazing to watch. Daylight is almost over and it is almost time for our pre dinner tradition of the 2 for 1 martini at the star bar. I still think it is one of the best bargains on the Pearl if you like martinis. Pear Pleasure was my martini of choice again. What a great way to finish off your afternoon and get your mood right for the evenings activities. It is nonstop action! Dinner would be at the Summer Palace tonight. My meal would start off with an onion mushroom tart and chilled strawberry soup. The main course was surf and more with lobster, filet minion and grilled shrimp and a side of mushroom risotto. Desert was a lemon cream pie. Oh know I never should have had dessert. I forgot at 10:00 was the all chocolate buffet. I am in bad trouble. I guess I cannot worry about that now. We decided to waddle down to the Garden of Geisha show. It is a show featuring flying circus acrobatics. It was really an awesome show. I was still waddling even after the show as we headed for the all chocolate extravaganza. I am not kidding you they have transformed the entire garden cafe to this amazing chocoholic paradise. You name it in chocolate and they have something made with it. The chocolate sculptures are beyond belief. I think I sampled about 10 different things. I am in a chocolate coma! I have requested a wheel barrow, but I am not sure they are going to accommodate me. Where is my prune juice? I thought I was going to waddle my way down to the Bliss Lounge and rock the night away, but my dance moves would not have been very pretty. It has been an awesome day and my heavenly bed is calling my name. Tomorrow we will take a tender to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. This is a private island owned by NCL. I am really looking forward to the crystal clear waters. Good Night! I appreciate all of those who are following and if you know someone who likes to travel I would be honored if you would forward them a link to “Travelin’ with John” Make sure and tell me who is going to win the final for in the comment section below. Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. You know they will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Afternoon Coco Cabanatini 3/8/10

I start this afternoon with a birthday wish to Pod. My youngest son has turned 19 and even though I will not be able to celebrate it with him, he will be in my thoughts. Enjoy your round of golf and your rib smokin' adventure in the Sunshine State today! Happy Birthday Pod! I hope you have a wonderful day! I sit here and wonder why and the heck do you write three blogs! I have been thinking about this for a long time. I write Travelin' with John, College Football Dad and Cookin' with John. You know what? I would not trade the experiences that I get to share with you all for anything in the world. This is what keeps my world spinning! It also keeps me balanced! I am thankful for my family, friends and business associates. I am honored that I get to share my life with you and thanks for the opportunity to share. I have been spending a lot of time researching River Cruises or what they call small ship cruising. I am very fascinated with this type of travel. Even though River Cruises can take place in Russia, the Galapagos, China, Egypt and Vietnam I am concentrating my studies in Europe. The rivers you can travel in Europe consist of the Rhine River, Main River, Moselle River, Seine River, Rhone River and the Danube River. You can start with the Windmills, Vineyards and Paris in the spring and then move to the Christmas time on the Danube. It is so fascinating that you can see so much of the world from your floating hotel that can take you right to the center of the city. No mega ship can do that. The main players in the River Cruise market are Avalon Waterways, AMA Waterways, Uniworld and Viking River Cruises. I have some very educating videos on my website for you to look at when you have time. I think you will be in awe at this awesome way to travel in Europe. If you have been on a River Cruise send me a note or comment. I would love to know your thoughts about your experience. In the future I will break down each one of the River Cruise lines. This way you can get a good feeling about your River Cruise options. I know it is 5:00 PM somewhere in the world so let's start or journey off with a nut from a tree. HaHa I must be the nut that fell from the tree! It's ok to laugh! Day 5 on the Norwegian Pearl is going to start of with one of my wife's favorite martini's! "Coco Cabanatini" tell me what you are made of? Ingredients consist of 1 Part Malibu Coconut Rum, 1 Part Banana Liqueur, 1 Part Half & Half and 1 Part Goldschlager Cinnamon Liqueur. I will leave the parts up to your liking. Then add all parts together in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into your favorite martini glass. Garnish with banana slice and cinnamon stick if you desire. Cheers! Day 5 on the Norwegian Pearl would begin early as we are in Tortola (B.V.I). One of the cool things about NC is you can order room service 24/7 and today we would take advantage of that service. Even though we could order whatever we wanted off of the breakfast menu, we kept it simple with coffee, muffins, toast, croissants and my prune juice. I don't know what to think about this prune juice, but it has been a great help! Yesterday we were in the US Virgin Islands and now we are in the British Virgin Islands. What is the deal with these Virgin Islands? Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands which form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local belief is that the name was originally given to the island by Christopher Columbus, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove". In actuality Columbus named the island Santa Ana. The Dutch settled, and dubbed it Ter Tholen, after an island off the west coast of the Netherlands. When the British moved in the name was altered to its present day form of Tortola. The BIV are serene, seductive, and spectacularly beautiful yet still remain remarkably laid back. Whether you are in to water sports or swimming you will find beautiful white sand beaches and clean warm waters. One of the most popular things to do while in Tortola is to visit the Baths on Virgin Gorda. These huge rock formations are scattered about the beach and in the water. Some are almost as large as houses and form remarkable grottoes. We decided to take a half day Catamaran sail and snorkeling at Sandy Spit on the Mystique. This is a brand new shore excursion in Tortola and not too many people new about it so even though it held 36 passengers there were only six other people on this excursion besides our group. The Mystique would depart Road Town at 8:00 AM as we would head to Sandy Spit. Sandy Spit is an uninhabited islet of Little Jost Van Dyke Island in the Caribbean, sitting midway between Sandy Cay and Green Cay. We are headed west down the coast line with Tortola on the right and St. John Island off to the left. The water is absolutely beautiful! We did run into some head wind which made it fun for those sitting on the nets in the front on the catamaran. Let's just say that they got a nice soaking. We just passed Great Thatch Island and are now headed north to Sandy Spit! Thank goodness we had bread products for breakfast as this excursion served unlimited rum punch and pain killers along with some snacks. Our mid-morning snack had are motors running even though we were sailing! Life is good. As we approach Sandy Spit we all are outfitted with a mask, snorkel and fins! We are anchored about 50 yards from the most beautiful crystal clear water I have ever seen. This island is only 1/2 acre in size. With the currents constantly changing the sand is always changing positions. I guess that is why they call it Sandy Spit. After about 45 minutes of snorkeling and walking around the island we headed back to the Pearl and Road Town. The music was jamming and the rum punch and pain killers were flowing. I would call that the brunch of champions! The 4 hours that we spent on the catamaran was well worth the $79 per person rate they charged us. Once we made it back to Road Town we shopped for awhile and headed back to the Pearl. She would be departing Tortola at 3:00 PM. What an adventure! When you go to Tortola I would highly recommend this excursion. The afternoon would be spent at the pool and watching Pea and Pod play in a soccer tournament on the basketball courts. Some of the things we could of participated in was line dancing, ping pong, bingo, rock climbing, bowling, Nintendo Wii on the big screen and trivia just to name a few. We elected to chill and enjoy the awesome sunshine at the pool. As the afternoon is winding down the night is still young. The Star Bar was calling our name with 2 for 1 martini's. Tonight we had the Lemon Drop and the Coco Cabanatini! What a great way to start he evening. Freestyle Dining gives us the opportunity to eat when and where we want at whatever time we want so we hit the casino for some blackjack. I actually did ok and have some extra funds to play some more later. Dinner tonight would be at Mambo's. Mambo's is a specialty restaurant with a $10 extra charge. It is a cross between southwest/tex-mex. They start you off with a complimentary margarita. There were too many options for me so I ordered several things. Don't laugh, but I ordered southwestern eggrolls, pulled pork taquitos, lobster tacos, baby back ribs and caramel flan! Oh my gosh! My taste buds are completely satisfied, but my stomach is getting bigger. I need to go to the walking track and put in a few laps. After a few slow paced laps we head off the catch the late showing of The Second City's 50th Anniversary Celebration. It was hilarious and the improvisation was just awesome. The super late night adventure was the White Hot Dance Party at the Spinnaker Lounge. Everything is white with fog, snow and ice sculptures. Pea & Pod took the bed sheets and made white togas. They were hilarious looking, but fit the white semi dress part just right. Pea & Pod stayed until the end and my night was ending. This had been an awesome day and my heavenly bead was calling my name. Tomorrow will be a sea day so we will have plenty of time to relax tomorrow! Not really! There are too many things to do onboard the Pearl. I can't wait to see what day 6 brings us on this awesome journey! I appreciate all of those who are following and if you know someone who likes to travel I would be honored if you would forward them a link to “Travelin with John” Until we unite again remember to always love your Travel Agent. He needs lots of love! Remember that my services, research and recommendations are always No Charge! If you know someone who travels send them my way. You know they will be taken care of. Keep your Cruisitude in check and most important is to Travel Your Way!