Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Top 10 Reasons Millennial Couples Should Book an All Inclusive Honeymoon

Top 10 Reasons Millennial Couples Should Book an All Inclusive Honeymoon

1. Lower The Stress, Up The Convenience
Engaged couples learn quickly just how important and stressful sticking to a budget can be. With all the hours spent planning and researching for the wedding, who has the energy and time to resarch the perfect honeymoon destination of their dreams and budget? An all inclusive will allow you to pay for nearly everything upfront - including all meals and alcohol, taxes and fees, daily and nightly entertainment and activities, snacks and drinks in the room, room service, and more. The convieniece of knowing how much you are going to spend before you travel allows you to keep within budget and to not get off track. And no one wants to keep track of their wallet on the beach or risk their cash being stolen. All inclusive allows you to sit back, relax, and leave all of those worries behind.

2. No Hidden Costs
Whether you order the fillet mignon at dinner or drink a beer from your in-room bar, your check-out will lack the surprises of hidden fees and upcharges.

3. Free Entertainment and Fun
Whether it be a show in the evening, music by the pool during the day, water sports, or beach volleyball, the options are endless! Newly married couples could use some relaxation and quality time together after the chaos of planning a wedding.

4. Warm Welcome, Sunny Smiles
When was the last time you were immersed in a place where everyone is there to help make you feel comfotable and happy? Warm smiles, hospitality, and excellent service of the staff will put a smile on your face and make you feel as important as you are. It is sure to add to the magical feeling of being newly married.

5. Well-Deserved Alone Time
For many young couples their honeymoon could be their first real vacation together. When was the last time you broke away from work, family, and your normal life to simply spend time with each other? A stress free all inclusive honeymoon allows you to get to know each other more and fall in love all over again. No set agenda, no packing and unpacking over and over, no traveling by car, train, or bus to get to your next destination. There are no rules...you make your own.

6. Dining Delights
When was the last time you were able to order the lobster and the rack of lamb for FREE? The meals are top notch at many all inclusives. You will not have to deal with luke-warm buffet food every meal of every day. Many all inclusives center their resorts around the dining experience that they offer. Their focus is on wowing your tastebuds and wowing you with an authintic atmoshere and the excellent service. Who doesn't love great quality for no extra cost?

7. Leave The Driving to Someone Else
At an all inclusive resort, everything is at your doorstep. There is no need to jump in and out of your rental car all day to get to your excursions. In most cases all inclusive resorts offer roundtrip transfers from the airport to your resort, which allows you to relax and not have to bother with your GPS.

8.Save On Time, Spend It On Fun
Because most of the actvities are at the resort, you won't have to do hours of planning or research to find great activities. No need for talking to several reps with several different companies to book all of the extra activities that you want to do. Personal Travel can always book any excursions or extras that you might want to do off resort property. We make the planning as easy and smooth as possible.

9.Options, Options, Options
With all inclusive resorts there are honeymoons to match every couple's need and finacial plan. The only thing you have to decide is what dates you will be traveling, what options are best for your honeymoon, and what budget range you want to stay in. We can help fill in the rest of the planning - down to helping you choose the destination, resort, room type, flights, and extras. Personal Travel is there to make at least one item on your checklist the easiest thing you will book when it comes to your wedding.

10. Romance
Some all Inclusive resorts offer complimentary honeymoon extras. They might offer a bottle of champaign, breakfast in bed, or a romatic turn down service. There are many adults-only all inclusives that cater to couples, such as Sandals Resorts, El Dorado Resorts, and Couples Resorts to name a few. How could you go wrong when you are spending your honeymoon at a resort that focuses on love and romance?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Over Water Bungalows have now arrived in the Caribbean!

Over Water Bungalows have now arrived in the Caribbean!

Many people come to me and tell me that they want an over water bungalow for their honeymoon. Until just recently the only way you were getting an over water bungalow was if you traveled for a full day or longer to the French Polynesian. In our neck of the woods (the midwest) it's not easy to get to Bora Bora or Moorea. When most people who do not live on the west coast of the U.S. find out how much time it takes to get over there they end up changing their minds and traveling to the Caribbean or Mexico. Until just recently getting a room over the ocean in the Caribbean was only a dream. Sandals Resorts has brought that dream to life and merged the luxury all inclusive concept with the over water bungalows!

 Sandals Resorts is known for having more quality inclusions than any other resort on the planet. They are known for having the best service of any other resort brand. The closer you look the better they look. Attention to detail is what Sandals and Beaches Resorts do best! So it's no surprise that Sandals was the first resort in the Caribbean to build Over Water Villas and Over Water Bunglows! Sandals Royal Caribbean, located in Montego Bay, Jamaica is the home of these highly coveted suites.

 There are 5 Over Water Villas which extend off of the private off- shore island that is owned by Sandals. These Villas are roughly 1200 square feet and offer glass floors, floating water hammock, private infinity pool and Jacuzzi with outdoor shower. You know you've arrived when you meet your own personal butler. Trained in accordance to the exacting standards of the Guild of Professional Butlers, who provide butlers to nobility and celebrities, your personal butler handles every detail of your vacation with unobtrusive grace.

These Over Water Villas opened on November 15, 2016. They are booked solid for the next two years. But the good news is that construction is currently underway to add 15 Over Water Bungalows which will be smaller than the villas but will be more affordable.  These bungalows will still offer the breathtaking views over the water, a private soaking tub, spacious bathroom and bedroom, and direct access into the ocean from the private deck. Complete with a butler as well.

There is talk about over water bungalows being built at other Sandals resorts throughout the Caribbean as well such as Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Barbados. These amazing suites are highly coveted and will be selling out over a year in advance.

That is where booking through a travel agent is a very good idea! If nothing else, booking early with a travel agent will give you more of a shot to be able to get your hands on one of these suites for the dates you want. Travel agents work with many suppliers who sell Sandals and if you can't find one that is available, travel agents may have a few tricks up their sleeve to help you get a hold of that over water suite you are wanting for the dates you want. Not to mention that Personal Travel has actually seen these villas in person and know the exact layout, amenities, even inside tips on which villa is the best if you don't want to be overlooking the nude beach section or which villa to stay away from until construction is completely over. 

That goes for any Sandals Resort though even if you aren't looking to book an Over Water Villa. Sandals Resorts have so many different type of room categories and some are only slightly different and others may have a more coveted location. We know all of those details and can make sure you get the room that is best suited for your wants and needs. There may be a room that looks nice in the pictures and says it over looks the gardens but you probably wouldn't know that the room that you are looking at is actually right behind where deliveries are made every morning at 4am and you can hear the delivery truck backing up every morning. Or maybe you were unaware that the pool to the room you booked is actually not private and you share a pool with 3 other couples. These are reasons even Sandals Resorts encourages you to book with a travel agent.

We were so honored to be one of the first agencies to personally see these highly coveted Over Water Villas! These villas are booked solid for up to two years now and they will be very difficult from anyone else to get to see. Thank you Sandals Resorts for allowing us to see these villas so that we can tell our clients about them. When we see what we are selling we sell it even better! 

We are thrilled about the new and exciting things in the works for Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Southcoast (Whitehouse), Sandals Barbados, and many more! We are proud to sell this product and we know we can bank on the fact that we are selling romance, luxury, and more inclusions than any other resort out there! We know our clients will come back happy! Sandals does it BEST!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Maneuvering through MyDisneyExperience

Maneuvering through MyDisneyExperience

  1. If you would like to pre-book FastPass+ (FP+) selections for your upcoming WDW trip, there are a few things you will need to do, including:
    1. Visit MyDisneyExperience.com or get the free My Disney Experience app
    2. Sign up for an account with your email address
    3. Create your guests’ profiles as you link up your Disney tickets
  2. If any family members or friends have their own MyDinseyExperience accounts, you will need to invite them to share your plans
    1. Select My Profile, then Family and Friends, and Add New Guest
    2. Fill out his or her name, birthday, and select the 'Invite to Plan and Share' or 'I will invite this friend' option in order to type in his or her email address
    3. He or she then needs to accept the friend request for you to include them in your plans
  3. For every guest you have traveling with you, you will need to create a profile (or send an invite) and link a ticket for them. Each guest must have a ticket linked for the system to allow you to book FP+ selections
    1. For the quickest way to link tickets and start the FP+ process, select FastPass+
    2. Scan the QR code or input the ticket number
    3. Then link the ticket to the desired guest (please write the names down on the tickets, as the tickets need to be used by the individuals they are each linked to)
    4. If guest name does not appear in list of choices, select Add New Guest to input the name and birthday
    5. You must confirm that this is the desired guest that is to be using this specific ticket
  4. Disney Resort guests can pre-book FP+ selections up to 60 days ahead (30 days out for guests staying off Disney property)
    1. Each guest can make 3 selections per day at one WDW park
    2. If using parkhopper tickets, you may still get FP+ selections at the second park, but keep in mind, you cannot book again until the first three are used, expired, or cancelled
    3. If you wish to book additional FP+ selections, you may select one at a time at an in-park kiosk at the desired park (not from the app)
    4. To start making selections:
      1. Select Fastpass+
      2. Select Choose New Fastpass+ Experiences
      3. Choose the guests that will be traveling
      4. Choose a Park and Date
      5. Select desired attractions (pick all three, as you can change them later if you have selected three),
      6. Choose the best time options for available desired attractions (you can modify the times for each of these attractions next)
      7. Select Get These FastPass+ Experiences
  5. Modify your FP+ selections
    1. Select FP+
    2. Select Modify My Existing FP+ Selections
    3. Choose the desired day to make modifications
    4. Select either Replace Existing Selections, Change a FP+ Selection, Copy from one Party Member to another (too add someone to the party), or Cancel the entire set for the day
  6. If you wish to change the attraction for a few of the party members
    1. Select Modify
    2. Change a FP+ selections
    3. Select the desired attraction you wish to move one or more party members from
    4. Select Change this Fastpass+ Experience
    5. Select the desired guests to be changed
    6. Choose the attraction these guests are desiring to ride
    7. Select the time for these specific guests to experience the new attraction
    8. Follow this process for any changes you wish to be made to the original selections
    9. If you realize you will not be needing specific selections, you can cancel what remains on the set in order to then allow you to visit a FP+ kiosk at the desired park to make a new single selection 
  7. If staying at a Disney Resort, you should also link up the Resort Reservation in order to use your magicbands instead of your tickets for entering the parks and redeeming FP+ selections
    1. Select My Reservations
    2. Select Link a Disney Resort Reservation
    3. Match each guest in each room with the guest name you already created from the tickets being linked
    4. If you have not already created guests' profiles, select create new guest for each guest you are matching
    5. Bring the tickets with you as a backup but you can now use your magicbands as your tickets

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sandals Mega Fam 2014

Sandals Resorts invests in travel agents and wants to give them the knowledge and tools to succeed in their business. For 6 years now Sandals has spent millions on sending travel agents from the US and Canada to 3 different Sandals resorts on 3 different islands in 3 days. Personal Travel was lucky enough to be hand selected to be a part of the Chicago Mega Fam from November 13 - 15. In those 3 days we got to see Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Beaches Turks and Caicos, and Sandals brand new baby La Source Grenada.

Andre Wade, Director of Industry Relations

Andre Wade, Director of Industry Relations, is in charge of the Mega Fams each year and this year he proved to make 2014 the best! He was in charge of all 20 Mega Fams out of major cities in the US and Canada. These Mega Fams have been going on since September and will end in mid December. He has gone on every single one to oversee everything. He got the flights set up, ordered the planes, set up rooms for all agents, coordinated  how the resorts would get all the agents through the resorts in a timely fashion and get all of them fed and back on the plane, as well as keeping everyone entertained and keep us on our toes. As you can imagine it's a tedious process and there are many moving parts that have to work together in order for everything to go smoothly. Mr. Wade has proven to be a major asset to Sandals as well as all of the Sandals team that has helped on all of these grueling fams. It only proves that Sandals believes in their travel agents and can raise the bar when it comes to training and supporting us.

Our Sandalized plane

Our 767 landed in Exuma!

Sandals Emerald Bay
We started off in Chicago and got on a 767 chartered just for our Mega Fam. Got a bit of a late start taking off but we flew non stop to Georgetown, Exuma in the Bahamas. There were 210 agents on this Mega Fam which was a bit of an issue getting a plane big enough and to be able to land that aircraft in Georgetown Exuma which had never had a 767 land on their island...until our aircraft filled with 210 nervous travel agents and Sandals staff landed on that short runway. The pilot did an absolutely amazing job and we had a very smooth landing. Thanks to Vision Airlines we were all made comfortable and our anxiety if any was totally melted away by the crew. After a comfortable 3 hour and 30 minute flight from Chicago we were all excited to get off the plane and were whisked away in shuttle buses and SUVs. The drive was a very short 15 minute ride to get to Sandals Emerald Bay. This resort used to be a Four Seasons and is every bit as luxurious now that Sandals has put it's personal touch on it. This resort is located on such a gorgeous stretch of beach and has the prettiest turquoise water of all the Caribbean. The resort is known for having a famous 18 hole golf course that allows breathtaking views of the ocean while on it. This resort is luxurious, spacious, relaxing, and has one of the greatest pools complete with swim up bar. The restaurants range from Italian, French, Caribbean, as well as an English style Pub complete with fish and chips and karaoke at night. This resort is sure to tickle the fancy of the couple who wants to feel like they are completely cut off from the rest of the world and just relax and spend time drinking Pina Coladas on the beach or by the pool. That's not to say there aren't things to do though. If you get a little bored on the beach and want to experience an excursion you will never forget, there is the 007 Thunderball Tour. You can swim with the pigs! Yes, that's right! They take you on a speed boat until you reach an island with pigs who will swim up to the boat. You can choose to either feed them from the boat or get into the shallow waters with these adorable pigs. They are super cute and it's something that you can say no one else in your circle has done before. Sandals Emerald Bay has only club level suites as well as butler suites. The suites here range from views of the gardens or ocean and span to beachfront villas, which give you amazing views of the beach and have all the luxuries of home and more...complete with your very own personal butler. This resort is for that couple who wants to be completely pampered and get away from every day life and just relax.

Royal Villa at Sandals Emerald Bay

Beaches Turks and Caicos
After a few hours of enjoying our time at Emerald Bay we were whisked away back to the airport and got on our flight to Turks and Caicos. After an hour we arrived in Turks after dark and got through customs. We were taken to Beaches Turks and Caicos in a shuttle van which was a short 20 minute ride from the airport. We were checked in and got our room keys. After we arrived in our room we had to get ready for dinner. Since it was late we decided to eat something quick in the Pub and then participate in the fun karaoke they were doing that night. We sang the night away. This resort is located on a gorgeous long stretch of white sand beach and the color of the water is turquoise. Beaches is a family resort but the resort is so large I barely saw any little ones. This resort is separated into 4 villages. French Village, Caribbean Village, Italian Village, and the new Key West Village. Our suite was located in the Key West Village which was complete with kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, dining room, and living room. The Key West Village was my favorite and was so nice and quiet. The main pool is over in the Italian Village. They have 19 restaurants at Beaches Turks ranging from Italian, Japanese, Seafood, French, Pizza, English Pub, and an endless amount of other choices. You are sure to not have any problem finding a place to eat. This resort is active and has so many water sports to participate in. They have a water park here as well and you can't over look the Sesame Street characters walking around. They have a kids parade at 8:30 pm and the famous Night Night Sleep Tight to where a character will come to read to your child and tuck them in at night! This resort is perfect for families of all sizes.
Key West Village at Beaches Turks and Caiscos

Beach at Beaches Turks and Caicos

We got up the next morning early and we got some breakfast and headed to the Marketing Forum. We
Mr. Butch Stewart, Chariman of Sandals and Beaches
learned more about how to sell Sandals and got to have the honor of listening to Chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, Mr. Butch Stewart and CEO, Adam Stewart. It was such an honor to hear them speak to us! That was a treat and something I personally have been looking forward to for years now. After the forum was over we were fed a buffet lunch and then finally got to have some free time. We hung out at the jacuzzi pool overlooking the beach and watched the sunset. It was a pleasure hanging out with some wonderful travel agents. After relaxing for a bit we got ready for a nice dinner at Schooners which is their seafood restaurant. It was really tasty and would recommend it for sure. After a late dinner we went to hang out with the other travel agents at the chocolate buffet party where we danced and had an endless amount of choices for dessert at the chocolate buffet. When that was over we headed to karaoke and then called it a night.

Sandals La Source Grenada, Italian Village
The next morning we awoke early and were taken to the airport by SUV and got on the plane to take us to Grenada. After a few hours flight and a few short naps we arrived in beautiful Grenada. We were again transferred in a shuttle and arrived at Sandals La Source Grenada within 5 minutes. Talk about saving the best for last! This resort screams "Sexy!". This is the newest of the Sandals resorts to open and let me tell you, they out did themselves with these suites. They took every unique top room category from the other Sandals resorts and put them all together at this property. You have the South Seas Village which is the furthest from the ocean but they have swim up suites, suites with tranquility soaking tubs, offering club level and luxury level services. Also in the South Seas Village they offer the Millionaire Suites as well as the famous Rondovals which were first brought onto the scene at Sandals Antigua and then added to Sandals Grande St. Lucian. The Italian Village is the middle and tallest building housing the famous Infinity Sky Pool Suite complete with soaking tub, private plunge pool on your balcony and your own personal butler. This room offers the best of both worlds, gorgeous ocean view and your own private pool. The Italian Village also offers swim out suites as well. The building closest to the beach is the Pink Gin and it offers the best ocean views because it is right on the beach and offers spacious rooms either with penthouse views or beachfront walkout rooms with tubs right there on your balcony or patio. This resort has many dining options ranging from seafood, Italian, French, Sushi, and Sandals very first steakhouse called Butch's Chop House. Be sure to check it out if you like steak! This resort screams sexy and is located on a volcanic island so it has darker sand and the water is darker than some other  Caribbean islands such as Jamaica or Bahamas. This resort is amazing and we were so thankful to get to see it! After a great lunch and listening to the Minister of Tourism of Grenada we were taken back to the airport and were sent off Grenadian style with music, dancers, and duty free shopping. It was a long 5 hour flight back to Chicago and was filled with many agents napping after a short and packed full 3 days. It was a good way to see 3 islands though!

Sandals La Source Grenada, South Seas Village

Sandals Resorts invests in their travel agents and these Mega Fams that only get bigger each year prove that Sandals loves and supports travel agents! We love our jobs and are so blessed to be partners with such an amazing company. Thank you to all of Sandals staff, team members, and BDM's. You make our job more enjoyable and we love you all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Disney Tips: 4 Tips To Help You Make the Most Out of Your Magical Trip

-->Disney Tips: 4 Tips To Help You Make the Most Out of Your Magical Trip

Headed to the happiest place on earth? Here are some travel tips you may not be aware of to help you make the most out of your Disney vacation. These are tips and pointers I’ve been gathering over my time as a Disney Cast Member and a frequenter of the parks. We always recommend you to book your Disney vacations through our Disney travel specialists, but once you start making your specific plans, these should come in handy to optimize your time and energy.
1) Avoid peak seasons
If your vacation dates are flexible, plan your Disney trip to avoid peak seasons. While the slowest seasons are great for their lack of crowds, keep in mind that they are the slower seasons for a reason. The weather may be cold, shorter park hours, and the parks take advantage of this limited attendance to close and update many attractions. The slowest times of the year are right after New Year’s Day up to Presidents Week in February, right after Labor Day weekend up until mid-week before Thanksgiving, and the week following Thanksgiving through the week before Christmas.
If you’d prefer to visit during the moderate seasons, simply avoid major holidays - such as New Year’s Eve and Day, Easter, Labor Day, and Christmas – and the mid to late summer months. If you want pleasant weather and lower to moderate crowds, try visiting late April through early June or mid September through the first part of Thanksgiving week. But don’t fret! Even if you can’t choose dates within these time frames, the parks compensate for the larger crowds with more attractions being open and longer park hours. And our remaining tips will still help you make the most of your Disney experience.
2) Know which parks to avoid certain days of the week
Did you know you should always avoid the Magic Kingdom on Mondays? Or that Hollywood Studios is usually more crowded on the weekends? This is the most important tip for the best optimization of your trip – no matter what time of year you visit. If you want to travel like a Disney pro, make a plan for which parks you will visit on certain days of the week. This will allow you to avoid the biggest rookie mistakes. Every park has peak days of the week, so plan accordingly. Below is a chart I created to help you to see which days are best.

Magic Kingdom
above average
Hollywood Studios
above average
above average
above average
above average
above average
above average
Animal Kingdom
above average
above average
above average
Our advice to you would be to plan according to this information, also understanding that holidays and special events, such as Marathons, will impact the crowd numbers. In general, focus on visiting during the mid-week. Unless you are utilizing a park’s Extra Magic Hours – only accessible to those guests staying at Disney resorts – avoid those as well.
3) Make flexible but general daily plans
Not everyone wants to make a plan for every moment of their vacation. And the plan would change within the first ten minutes of being at a park anyway. But it is beneficial to have a general plan for the days you will be at the parks. Once you know which park you are attending on what day, plan out which two or three attractions you would not leave the park without getting to see, and plan accordingly. For example, if you are at the Animal Kingdom on a Friday and you know there won’t be Extra Magic Hours that day, you might want to get there as soon as the park opens in order to get right on Kilamanjaro Safaris. This is the biggest attraction at the Animal Kingdom, but it only gets more crowded as the morning progresses. Or you could plan on seeing a show you know the times for, say Finding Nemo the Musical with a show at 10:00, and have a Fast Pass for the Safaris at 11:00.
Knowing what you’d like to see at each park will help you to prioritize, work around show times, and build in Fast Passes if desired. It is also beneficial to know that the Animal Kingdom is less crowded after lunch and EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are busier in the late afternoon to evening hours. While you will have a general plan for each park each day, you will also benefit from being flexible as vacation plans don’t always turn out the way we think. Being flexible will help you to work around unforeseen circumstances and have a better time.
4) Work around the crowds
If you are traveling with children, or just need to plan some down time for yourself, plan breaks from the parks at mid-day when the parks are most crowded. Planning to go back to your resort from noon to three will allow you to miss the bigger crowds, the heat, and you’ll get a much needed breather. Disney vacations can be exhausting for first-timers and they require a lot of walking, so plan accordingly.
If you are staying at the parks all day, eat meals early so you can enjoy the attractions while everyone else is eating lunch and dinner. Other times the majority of guests will be preoccupied during big shows and parades. If you are not interested in seeing an evening show, plan your last big attraction for that time.
Planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming with so many websites throwing tips and tricks at you. Hopefully these four tips can help alleviate any stress or confusion you may have. Call one of our Disney vacation consultants today to get an ultimate stress-free Disney vacation. We can book your resort, your tickets, your meal plan, and dinner reservations. Remember, it’s the happiest place on earth so let us help you make the planning process easy so all you have to worry about is what to pack.

 Personal Travel

Written by:  Brenna Phelps
Disney World Cast Member and employee of Personal Travel

Monday, November 25, 2013

6 Reasons To Rethink Taking A Cruise For Your Honeymoon

Picture you and your spouse-to-be lying on the deck of a ship, the breeze cooling you as you sip a tasty cocktail. It’s your honeymoon, and you’ve been waiting and saving for this vacation for a long time. You’re finally there. But now picture that deck filled with families, the kids crowding the small salt water pool, the only available deck chairs were in a corner close to the splashing children. Those drinks you have in your hands cost you a pretty penny and you’re starting to wonder if this is the relaxing, romantic honeymoon you’d always imagined it would be.
For honeymooners on a tight budget, cruises can be a very tempting option. You can travel to many destinations, while still getting to lay your head on the same pillow each night. You’re food is included with the price of the cruise. Seems like a great deal, right?
Unfortunately for me and my husband, these reasons convinced me that a cruise would be the right fit for us, but we were extremely disappointed in the end. Granted, I love cruises and had taken a few before this, but my honeymoon fell short of the expectations I had. Below are six reasons you might want to rethink taking a cruise for your honeymoon. I wish someone had shared these with me while I was making my decision.
1) The romance factor gets diluted
Romance and privacy go hand in hand, right? If you picture you and your bride or groom sitting alone at a romantically decorated table getting lost in conversation, you would be very disappointed. In actuality, you would be seated at a table of six to ten strangers. These would be the people you eat with for the entire trip. Still think the dining would be romantic?
2) Quarters are very tight
Depending on the room category you book, your room may not be romantic or inviting either. The interior cabins have no windows or outside lighting, with just enough room for the bed, a chair, a small counter, and extremely tiny bathroom. The bed would most likely be two twin beds pushed together. Feel like sleeping on the crack to cuddle?
3) Relaxation is hard to obtain
Cruises may stop at various destinations along their itinerary, but they only stop for about six hours. If you had been really set on seeing a particular destination, you would only end up with a quick sample. Six hours is not exactly enough time to find a gorgeous beach to explore, find some authentic cuisine, and take an exciting excursion. You would end up feeling hurried due to the small allotted time and knowing the ship would leave on schedule with or without you.
If you miss out on that beach time, forget having a relaxing time at your pool instead. There would be a larger pool that is filled with lots of splashing kids and a much smaller adults-only pool. Let’s hope you wouldn’t be looking to build that tan or to relax at length on a secluded parcel of beach.
4) Dinner times are inflexible
You would have to pick a time for dinner before you set out on your cruise. The time you pick is the time you keep. If you got back to the ship later on that one and only beach day and were to miss dinner, you would have to eat at the buffet. Depending on the day’s schedule, you might have eaten lunch at 11:00 in order to go out and do an excursion, but if your dinner time is at 7:00, you may find it difficult to wait. And vice versa, you may find that you want to push lunch back but have a dinner time of 5:00. Wouldn’t you want to have the ability to make your own schedule on the most important vacation of your lives?
5) It may end up being more expensive than you thought
Did you know that you are expected to tip your housekeepers and maitre d’ anywhere between 15 to 20 percent of your total cruise cost? And any of those drinks cost extra, whether they be soft drinks or alcoholic. Your activities and excursions would cost you even more. Those extra expenses can really add up.
6) Destinations are not guaranteed
While no one can control the weather, hurricanes and rough seas can force you to skip an entire leg of your itinerary. If the seas are too rough to dock, for obvious safety reasons, you may end up missing the one destination you truly wanted to visit.
Due to my own personal experience and many similar stories, we do not recommend anyone to take a cruise for their honeymoon. You deserve a romantic and relaxing honeymoon; one where you have total control of your time, your budget, your meals, and your itinerary. We recommend all-inclusive resorts because they have their own beaches, plenty of pools for you to choose from, freedom to dine whenever you like, larger rooms with king size beds, and even your drinks are included in the resort price. Many resorts include transportation to and from the airport. They can also include water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing. You are never required to tip, although some small amounts for your favorite waiter or bartender may be appreciated. Doesn’t a no-hassle, relaxing honeymoon sound perfect?
We always recommend that you talk to a travel agent for your honeymoon. Here at Personal Travel, we specialize in honeymoons, and we would be excited to help you find the perfect fit for your perfect honeymoon. Every couple is different and you deserve more than a cookie cutter honeymoon. Call or stop by Personal Travel to find out how we can give your honeymoon the personal touch you’re looking for!

Written by Courtney Siefring of Personal Travel

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bahamas and Antigua - Your Paradise Awaits!

We have now seen ALL of the Sandals properties and are so excited about sharing our experiences from the last 3 Sandals that we visited. If you have ever dreamed about going to an island that is very secluded and which has the most turquoise colored water you have ever seen then go to Sandals Emerald Bay. This resort has all the amenities you could ever want or need. It's a very luxurious feeling resort. Spread out and quiet but it doesn't have a lack of things to do. They have tons of water sports on their beach as well as excursions, including "Swimming with the Pigs"! Yes, you can actually take a dip with those cute little pink animals.

This resort is the newest of all the Sandals. It is located on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas. It is probably best well known for it's award winning 18 hole signature golf course. This resort has one of the best beaches I have seen and the most gorgeous water. Their pool is of course one of the best and it is huge. They have breath taking views from several room categories here. The beachfront walkout rooms are amazing. You would look out the sliding glass door and you could see your hammock, sand, and turquoise water just steps away. It was like your very own beach house. This is on my list of a place I HAVE to go back to some day!

The other Sandals resort in the Bahamas is in Nassau, Sandals Royal Bahamian. It is a smaller property than Emerald Bay but is very nice with a bit of European feel to it. It has gorgeous, quaint gardens with European statues located throughout the property. This property is located in town so there are no limits to where you can go or what you can do here. You can go out on the town and shop or you can stay on the resort and choose from their wonderful dining choices.

They had the coolest french restaurant there that had the neatest design and decor, called Baccarat. The windows were really neat and they looked out on the pool. At night when the pool is lit up it creates the most romantic and gorgeous atmosphere. This resort is quaint and one section feels very European cottage like and the other feels more sophisticated and luxurious. It's not your typical tropical decor. They have done major renovations on the Manor House building and I have heard the rooms are amazing now!

The beach was nice and had gorgeous colored water. They have a private off shore island that we did not get to go to but it looked incredible.. If you just want to spend the day on your own small island with not many people you can go over there and just lay out by the pool, on the beach, or take an evening to eat at their restaurant and take a stroll down the beach. Lots of water sports here as well as nightlife. Just beware, if you go in the winter months the ocean is going to be COLD!

I have saved the grandest for last. You fly further south and you reach Antigua. Sandals Grande Antigua is the hardest of the Sandals to get to and sometimes even requires overnight flights but it is all worth it. This resort is HUGE. It has the newer hotel feel sections, called the Mediterranean Village in a huge building with about 8 floors. Then the quieter side is called the Caribbean Grove and it has more villa like buildings. The main building overlooks the very large pool and the gorgeous beach. They have so much to do here you could never get bored. They have many activities to do at the pool, water sports on the beach, over 9 restaurants here to choose from, located throughout the property. They have a huge pool with a great swim up bar. The beach was public though so you do have guards that are making sure that the guests coming back off the beach are Sandals guests.

This resort was the first one to have the famous Rondoval Suites. They are so gorgeous and are the closest you can get to the beach, room wise. They have rooms with shared pools right outside your door. They have rooms that are 8 stories up and give the most gorgeous view of Antigua that you could get. These rooms were ultimate luxury and had the best view on the resort. They also had suites with private plunge pools in the their own private patio. It has so many room choices and every person's needs and wants can be catered to.
This resort is very large and does take a lot of walking to get around. There are many steps at this property as well. I can't decide which Sandals is my favorite but this would be at the top of my list for sure! Me personally I would say, in no particular order, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Sandals La Toc, Sandals Emerald Bay, Sandals Grande Antigua, Sandals Whitehouse, and Sandals Negril would be my favorites. I really can't decide which one is my all time favorite. They all have a different personality and a different feel. That is why everyone who wants to go to Sandals NEEDS a travel agent. We need to qualify you first and see which resort fits your personality most. Each Sandals is special and unique and I couldn't begin to tell someone which is the best...there is no best...there is just what fits YOU!