Cruising is more then just Food

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A Cruise is MORE THAN just Food, Food & More Food!

When I mention “cruises” to people who have never cruised,  I often hear people say “I don’t want to cruise, all you do is eat!”  Let me dispel that myth right now.  Cruising is WAAAAYYY more then just food! Just check out the Video above…eating was not high on the list.

I have personally been cruising for 18 years.  I have sailed many different cruise lines, and yes, I do like a cruise line that has really good food, I mean…we all do have to eat meals!  But people are genuinely shocked on their first cruise experience that dining is just a small part of the Cruise Experience.

“Why do most people take a cruise?”  It isn’t to eat… here are the top reasons why I CRUISE!

  1. ADVENTURE – Cruising will take you places that it would normally take you several trips to see.  For example, a typical 7 day Caribbean Cruise will take you to 4 different Islands.  Very hard to see all of that in one”land” trip.  It is great to see which Islands you would love to go back to and spend a week on land…like a scouting mission.  And depending on what Cruise Line you are taking, there are many islands that you can go to that would be way to hard to reach via airplane.  For example, we took a Windstar Cruise to Isle de Saints in by Guadeloupe.   Windstar typically gets into tiny ports that feel “off the grid”.
  2. SO MUCH TO DO – So much to keep you busy while at sea!  There is something for everyone on a Cruise… Wine tastings, Painting Class, Bocce Ball, Basketball, Surfing, Dancing, Comedy shows, Broadway Shows,  Casino Gambling… Geeze, getting tired, but I am not done.  Working out, taking classes to learn how to cook,  sculpt, trivia contests and fabulously fun sing alongs.  (This could be dozens of reasons, but I just grouped them into 1.
  3. TOTAL RELAXATION – I can’t think of anything more relaxing then lounging on your own private deck with a good book (who am I kidding…3 pages in and I fall asleep!), a cappuccino or a glass of wine.  And when I want to be pampered I head to the spa for a bit more relaxation.  There is no doubt about it, fresh sea air does something to your mind and body that makes you go ” ahhhhhhhhhhhh”.
  4. ROMANCE – Sunsets at sea?  A starry sky with no light pollution? Need I say more.

I love land vacations too.  In fact, years of cruising introduced me to Islands that I now return to often.   There are wonderful things about both vacations.  In fact, I have found excellent finding options at resorts I have stayed at… but to me, I never choose a vacation for food…I choose for Adventure, Relaxation, Romance and OPTIONS!

You should try it sometime.

http://www.BookitWithJanet.com

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Excursion to Jost Van Dyke, A Great Excursion

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3VWhopi9nY

The Perfect Shore Excursion 

The perfect shore excursion is sometimes the one you arrange on your own,  not through the cruise line.  There are many unique, exciting adventures out there…you just need to search for them, or use a travel agent who knows all about them!  (Yes, that would be me!)

I have heard many people say “I don’t want to cruise to the same Islands I have been to before.  I have seen that Island. ”   I personally LOVE to go to the same Islands and know that when I get there, I am familiar with the things that I enjoy at that port of call.  It makes the experience carefree and easy.  BUT, when I am in an adventurous mood, I am familiar enough to venture out and discover what is “around” that Island and explore.

Recently while hosting a Wine Group onboard the Celebrity Cruises Reflection, I arranged an private excursion for a few of us.   While in port in St Thomas,  we chartered a boat for the day to bring us to the British Virgin Island of Jost Van Dyke.  While there are many charters in the USVI/BVI’s, I have done this before, so I called the very reliable “Good Day Charters”  and easily arranged the day.  (Of course this needs to be done weeks before the Cruise date).

We met Captain Stan at the marina and off we went to Jost Van Dyke!   It was a fabulous 45 minute boat ride to Jost, then after Captain Stan cleared us through British customs, we headed over to White Bay to enjoy the day.   Jost is a favorite of ours.  It is a small Island that caters to “yachties” .  The main bar on the beach is The Soggy Dollar Bar (named for the fact that there is no dock, so it is a wet landing and yes, your dollars will get soggy!)  and the Island is famous for the “Pain Killer” drink (a rum concoction that does exactly what the name says!).

There are several other bars on White Bay to lunch at.  There are facilities on the beach as well as chair rentals.  But if you don’t want to rent a chair, that is just fine, because I guarantee you that most of your time will be spent in the amazingly blue waters.

After lunch, pain killers and plenty of time in the water, Captain Stan headed back to St Thomas (including a stop in St John through US Customs) with plenty of time to board the Celebrity Reflection.  We even had and hour to shop at Haven Sight Mall by the ship.

Sounds adventurous?  IT WAS!  SO next time you think of visiting the same port of call on a cruise ship that you have been to before… definitely go!  And just explore more !

For those of you who would like to arrange your own excursion to Jost, visit http://www.GoodDayCharters.com and ask for Captain Stan!

You can also arrange excursions directly through CruiseOne (and save $$$!) on my website www.bookitwithjanet.com  (Tab “explore more” and “Vacation Excursions” )

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February 26, 2014 · 11:13 am

Lago Mar Resort & Club , Fort Lauderdale

I am writing this sitting on the plane, returning home after a 5 day stay in Fort Lauderdale at the Lago Mar Resort. It was my first time there in over 2 years.  And after arriving I quickly remembered why we loved Lago Mar years ago….

A resort has about 15 minutes to make that first impression.  It is a “make or break”  moment.  At Lago Mar our first impression was one of  “welcome back friend” (even though it had been so long since our last visit) and “ Casual Classy” (we are relaxed, but 1st class all the way!).  Even if there was something little to complain about, I would never!  This resort made me feel like I was family.

The rooms are unique and decorated very “Tommy Bahama”, just like I would want my Floridian home styled in.  The Beach is also exactly what I would want in a beach front home in the islands, hammocks, comfy lounges, meandering pool and special spots for the kids.  Oh, and let’s not forget the gazebo for cocktails and lunch!  And there is the mini store ( aka neighborhood market) to get all of your essentials including a nice bottle of wine for the room.

The service, very friendly.  In fact, when room service came, I felt like my sister was bringing me breakfast in bed (not that she ever would!! LOL but I can imagine!)   I would also like to add that the Shop at Lago Mar is a unique boutique…one I would consider FABULOUS!  I have bought quite a bit of unique things over the years…and can’t wait for my first grandchild to be born, because I am going to have so much fun shopping for the kids clothes there!

The pool at Lago Mar Resort and Club

The pool at Lago Mar Resort and Club

The Beach at Lago Mar .

The Beach at Lago Mar .

IMG_8374

Check out the Pool Bar for one of Paul's famous Sea Breezes.

Check out the Pool Bar for one of Paul’s famous Sea Breezes.

Relaxing in style at Lago Mar

Relaxing in style at Lago Mar

The Corridor

The Corridor

IMG_8404

Service with a Smile at Lago Mar Resort and Club

Service with a Smile at Lago Mar Resort and Club

A welcoming hello and a warm "See you when you return!"

A welcoming hello and a warm “See you when you return!”

As a travel agent and friend, I would highly recommend staying at Lago Mar.  Whether you are looking for a week stay, a weekend or a pre or post cruise stay… Lago Mar is a superb place to stay.  A Resort that feels like your home on the beach.

Located 5 minutes from the Airport and Cruise Terminals, location is perfect for pre- and post- Cruise stays.  www.BookItWithJanet.com

For more information about Lago mar – 

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video from our latest #GirlfriendsGetawa

video from our latest #GirlfriendsGetaway #Cruise on the @CelebrityCruises Constellation Girlsonacruise.com Here it is!! http://ow.ly/hOrO6

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Cruise Ship Safety

Last month I sat on the beach the day before boarding a Royal Caribbean cruise for our Girls Getaway Cruise.  I couldn’t help but think about the tragic event that took place on the Costa Concordia earlier in the month.  My heart breaks for all that experienced that accident and for those families who lost loved ones. I could only imagine how scary that was.

I consider myself a bonafide “worry wart” and very cautious person.  I always look for the exit before sitting down at a restaurant or staying the night at a hotel.  I always check where the exits are when boarding a plane.  (Yes…I worry like the best of them!)   Yet as I sat on that beach anticipating the Girls Getaway Cruise I didn’t think twice about safety and had no concerns. 

I have cruised 38 times in my life. Have attended 38 “Muster” (lifeboat) drills before sailing and can honestly say I feel very safe.  Of course accidents can happen, but accidents such as this one are an extremely rare occurrence in the cruise industry and cruising continues to be one of the safest means of all types of leisure activities and transportation.  While any accident involving loss of human life is one too many, from 2005 through 2010 there were 16 marine casualty-related deaths out of nearly 100 million passengers carried worldwide.  This record demonstrates the industry’s commitment to the safety and well-being of the passengers and crew.  

In my own experience, the Captain and crew are committed to safety of the Cruise ship and it’s passengers. Officers and crew conduct regular drills on every ship and complete extensive training.  I have witnessed these drills many times over the years.   (You can read more about Celebrity Cruises safety standards HERE –  http://ow.ly/8ZHs1  ) 

Safety awareness is one of the reasons that I started GirlsonaCruise.com Girls Getaway travel.  I personally would be too worried to travel alone, as many of us are.  With so many women in the position of finding others to travel with, traveling with a group is the perfect answer.  It seems strange but true that even though many of us have just met on the Cruise, we become an instant support for each other in case of emergency, whether it be medical or safety.  After all, we are all in the same boat! (Pun totally intended!)  It is a huge advantage to traveling in a group.  

Do I feel safe? Absolutely!  Can accidents happen? Absolutely!  But a rare occasion will not stop me from enjoying life and all it has to offer.  

ImageAccidents happen everywhere…but I will still get on a bus to take a trip into NYC to see a Broadway Play, I will still get on a plane to fly to LA and see my son, I will still drive to the grocery store to shop for my family, I will still ride that latest roller coaster at Disney World and I will still cruise!  

 

Janet DeVito 

 

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Cruise Ship Safety

Last month I sat on the beach the day before boarding a Royal Caribbean cruise for our Girls Getaway Cruise.  I couldn’t help but think about the tragic event that took place on the Costa Concordia earlier in the month.  My heart breaks for all that experienced that accident and for those families who lost loved ones. I could only imagine how scary that was.

I consider myself a bonafide “worry wart” and very cautious person.  I always look for the exit before sitting down at a restaurant or staying the night at a hotel.  I always check where the exits are when boarding a plane.  (Yes…I worry like the best of them!)   Yet as I sat on that beach anticipating the Girls Getaway Cruise I didn’t think twice about safety and had no concerns. 

I have cruised 38 times in my life. Have attended 38 “Muster” (lifeboat) drills before sailing and can honestly say I feel very safe.  Of course accidents can happen, but accidents such as this one are an extremely rare occurrence in the cruise industry and cruising continues to be one of the safest means of all types of leisure activities and transportation.  While any accident involving loss of human life is one too many, from 2005 through 2010 there were 16 marine casualty-related deaths out of nearly 100 million passengers carried worldwide.  This record demonstrates the industry’s commitment to the safety and well-being of the passengers and crew.  

In my own experience, the Captain and crew are committed to safety of the Cruise ship and it’s passengers. Officers and crew conduct regular drills on every ship and complete extensive training.  I have witnessed these drills many times over the years.   (You can read more about Celebrity Cruises safety standards HERE –  http://ow.ly/8ZHs1  ) 

Safety awareness is one of the reasons that I started GirlsonaCruise.com Girls Getaway travel.  I personally would be too worried to travel alone, as many of us are.  With so many women in the position of finding others to travel with, traveling with a group is the perfect answer.  It seems strange but true that even though many of us have just met on the Cruise, we become an instant support for each other in case of emergency, whether it be medical or safety.  After all, we are all in the same boat! (Pun totally intended!)  It is a huge advantage to traveling in a group.  

Do I feel safe? Absolutely!  Can accidents happen? Absolutely!  But a rare occasion will not stop me from enjoying life and all it has to offer.  

ImageAccidents happen everywhere…but I will still get on a bus to take a trip into NYC to see a Broadway Play, I will still get on a plane to fly to LA and see my son, I will still drive to the grocery store to shop for my family, I will still ride that latest roller coaster at Disney World and I will still cruise!  

 

Janet DeVito 

 

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RT @portholecruise: Scooter? Luggage? Yo

RT @portholecruise: Scooter? Luggage? You decide. http://t.co/rsyh7gLz

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“Why does it seem unfair to pay double to cruise single?”

Cruising Solo

“Do I really have to pay 200%?” 

I have been a Cruise Specialist for almost 12 years now and approximately 1/4 of  my clients are solo/single travelers.  Cruising is a great way for singles to travel.  Whether it is with a group or a couple of single friends, after a day on a cruise solo travelers are suddenly “not so solo” anymore!  On any given cruise ship there are bound to be quite a few singles…so you won’t be alone!  Cruise lines do cater to the singles by hosting “meet & greet” cocktail parties throughout the cruise.

For singles & solo cruisers, having your own cabin is often the most preferred way to cruise as it is nice to have the privacy of your own cabin. There is however, one question that always comes up when someone traveling solo calls for information…

”Why do I have to pay double to have a have my own room?”  

For those of you unfamiliar with cruising, the cruise fare is usually quoted in a “per person”  rate.  That rate is always based on double occupancy.  However, if you are planning to have your own stateroom as a solo you are required to pay “double” (except on very few occasions where the cruise line is running specials).  For many this seems unfair and sometimes it is a deciding factor in cruising for a single/solo.

Although on the surface, it does seem unfair.  But if you think about the cost of a cruise in terms of booking a hotel rate, it is really not unfair at all.

If you are planning a weekend vacation at a hotel, you are quoted a “per night” rate based on the room you choose.  For example, you may choose a hotel accommodation that costs $300 per night.  If you are traveling alone it will cost you $300 per night.  If you are sharing with a friend and splitting the cost, it would then cost you each $150 per night.  The hotel does not charge you half the room price if you are only 1 person in the room.  The hotel bases their operating budget on the cost of the room, whether 1 or 2 guests are in the hotel room.

A cruise ship is very similar.  If a stateroom costs $300 per night, as a solo you would pay $300 per night and if you share the stateroom you would split that.  Sounds fair…but why does it seem so unfair?

It is the way Cruise pricing is quoted…on a “per person basis.” If a client hears that a cruise is $150 per person/per night, it is hard to understand why as a solo you have to pay double ($300 per night).  It somehow sounds wrong for a cruise to charge a 200% cruise fare for a solo traveler.  But the reality is that the Stateroom has to be paid for, exactly like the Hotel room.  The Cruise lines formulate a budget based on each stateroom being filled whether 1 or 2 guests are in the stateroom. IF the cruise was quoted in a “Per Cabin” rate instead of a “per person” rate, no one would think twice about the solo pricing.

Some cite that the difference is that Cruise fares include meals and the solo traveler is only eating for 1, so shouldn’t there be a discount?  Yet if you were staying at a hotel that included daily breakfast, you would not get a discount on the Hotel room rate if you are solo.  Again, it is thought of in terms of a “Room charge per night”.

As a solo cruiser, it might sound unfair to pay double, but when you compare it on equal terms to a hotel vacation, you will still find the Cruise a much better value…even when you are traveling solo!

So don’t let that 200% charge for a Solo Cruise fare scare you away…it is just in the way it is phrased.  And let’s not forget the benefits of having your own room – privacy, space and your own closet!  Plan your solo travel today! 

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GirlsonaCruise Post Divorce!

"This is the relaxation I deserve"!

Last Monday night I went out with a friend who recently announced she was getting divorced after 30 years of marriage. Not that I was shocked…in fact, I was happy for her. Happy that she was doing something she wanted to do for years…getting her independence. But not happy that she was going through the horrible process of “getting divorced”! It is an emotional roller coaster and very draining.

Although I am not an advocate for divorce, the reality is that it happens. And now it was happening to her. This road she is going down will be filled with stress…in a big way! As a friend, my job is to support her and help her de-stress. The best way to do that? Get the Girls together! And what do the Girls do when they get together?

  • Laugh, Cry & Dance to old disco tunes!
  • Laugh, Cry & Share stories
  • Laugh, Cry & Get Massages
  • Laugh, Cry & Chit Chat till the wee hours
  • Laugh, Cry & Pop open another bottle of wine…..
  • Laugh, Laugh, Laugh!

Yes, I have just described every Girls Getaway and the perfect method of de-stressing! I started hosting Girls Getaway Cruises 5 years ago when I needed to de-stress from the “Empty Nest” time of my life. It worked! And I have been doing it twice a year ever since.

It is 4 or 5 days of Girl Time that is all about reconnecting not only with my friends, but with me. It is about getting away from all the family stress and refreshing my soul. There is something about being around other women (Friends, Sisters and even girls I just meet on the cruise) that encourages sharing and laughter. Then you return home feeling like NEW! Ready to take on the world again!

So, I am going to take my girlfriend and her girlfriends on a cruise. Where she can laugh and cry and carry on as herself with a group of women who are supportive, empowering and just plain fun. It is exactly what the “Doctor BFF Ordered!”

 Let GirlsonaCruise.com help you celebrate your “Chapter 2″.  Can’t find a friend to join you?  JOIN US!!  We have many “Solo” women…once they travel with GirlsonaCruise.com, they aren’t traveling “Solo” anymore!

What did you do to pick yourself up when you were going through your divorce?

Check out the POST-DIVORCE DATING CLUB   – the best community online and offline for ALL re-singled men and women to mix, mingle and maybe meet.

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Top 5 Reasons Cruising is Great for Families!

TOP 5 Reasons Cruising is Great for Families!

  1. Kids are split into age appropriate groups so making new friends is easy and fun is supervised!
  2. Teens have their own Dance Clubs onboard where parents can’t “Hang around”!
  3. On deck sports activities such as Golf, Rock Climbing, Zip Lining & Water slides keep kids entertained!
  4. Raining?  No Problem!  How about Movies, Arcades, painting, Ice Cream Sundae Parties and MORE!!
  5. Late evening entertainment for the kids & that means MOM & DAD can stay out and have fun where kids can’t “Hang around”!!
Okay, here is the scoop.  I have raised 5  kids  who are now all in their 20’s and I can honestly tell you that Cruising was the perfect vacation for us.
Disney World?  Pretty awesome…but you really need a vacation when you come back from there!!  It certainly isn’t relaxing!
Beach Resort?  I love to relax on the beach and get a massage at a beautiful island resort….but not when the kids get bored and start saying “Mom, can you come in the water?”  “Dad, can you walk me back to the room”?  I
OH!  And did I mention how expensive it is to feed everyone every day?!!!!  Totally unpredictable when each family member has different desires for lunch  or dinner.  Maybe that should be # 6  – Kids can eat WHAT they want WHEN they want it.  (and it’s all included!)
A Cruise solves all of these issues …
 Kids are entertained so Mom & Dad can enjoy some alone time to relax or “whatever”!
Days at sea are just what us parents need to decompress and relax.
Everyone can eat what they want, when they want.  No hassles, no expensive dining bills…and that means no stress!
After our first 3 cruises, it was our families vacation of choice.  Cruising made everyone happy!
Our favorite Cruise Lines for Family vacation?
  • Royal Caribbean (The kids favorite!)
  • Celebrity Cruise Lines
  • Princess Cruises
  • NCL
Now that the ids are grown up, we still love those Cruise vacations…in fact I look forward to our Super Bowl Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium in 2012 with the whole family!
It is still the #1 vacation for our family because a vacation is really about relaxing, having fun and creating your own mix.

Join us on our Super Bowl Cruise in February 2012!  www.MoreThanJustaCruise.com 

A great holiday Gift for your family…togetherness on a cruise!

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