Category Archives: Girls Travel

Girls Getaway to Bermuda – Day 1 thru 3

Girls Cruise – Celebrity Summit to Bermuda

I’m sitting by the pool on the third day of our Girls Getaway Cruise to Bermuda. The weather is what I consider “stunning”! The only complaint is that it is a “bit” warm. But still stunning! I am relaxing and contemplating when it is appropriate to have my first drink for the day…and then I think “It’s noon somewhere!” And for our GirlsonaCruise.com it is always noon!

Day 1:

So 2 days ago we sailed out of Bayonne NJ on the Celebrity Summit and I met the 16 girls who are in our Girls Getaway group. I knew 4 of them before this trip, but hadn’t met the others including Debba from Girlfriendology. I must say, after years of putting these Girls trips together, I have never once met someone who wasn’t nice & fun. Maybe it is because the type of Girl who chooses to travel with a group of other women that they don’t know MUST have a fun, adventurous personality! Whatever the reason…I love that this always holds true! We had a pre-dinner party and had an “ice breaker” type event so everyone could get to know a bit about each other. I always worry that someone will say “OMG, I am NOT doing that!” But as I said, this group always attracts people who actually like to met new people. I would tell you what we did….but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for all “future Girls cruisers!” Just trust me…it was fun! Dinner was delicious. The best item on the menu was the “Mushroom Cappicino” A favorite of mine. Everyone loved the food and the service was also great. I sat with Debba (from Girlfriendology) and other women I had just met but had plenty to talk about and so much in common even though we all just met. Everyone was off to bed early after dinner. I would say the first day was exhausting, exciting and the apprehension of meeting everyone was over. We are off to another great Girls Getaway Cruise!! Whooo Hoooo! Okay, so I admit…Connie and I went to Michaels Club and talked till wee hours over drinks. (Hey, isn’t that what us girls do? Talk, and Talk, and Talk……) 

Day 2:

Pool anyone? Sun anyone? ME ME ME ME!!! Connie and I woke up early to Coffee and tea room service. Did the obligatory walking on the Sunrise Deck (3 laps = 5/8 mile….so we did 6) to get the blood flowing. Although somehow walking around the deck of the ship with the sea breeze and the fresh air doesn’t seem like exercise it clearly is. Walking in the morning is a great way to start the day. After perusing the breakfast buffet and grabbing some lox and a bagel, I headed back to the room to shower and change into my uniform – BATHING SUIT AND COVER UP. Yes, that is my uniform for the next week. I wish it could be my uniform everyday…but then I wouldn’t appreciate the week on a vacation. Then it is out to the pool. I got everything I need – beach bag, sun screen, book, hat and camera (I must have it at all times, you never know what will happen that I need to remember!). And that is where I spent the whole second day. Hanging by the pool with the Girls! And what did we do? Talk, Talk, Talk…Laugh, Laugh, Laugh. Yep, we probably shouldn’t have been so loud in the Thallasso Therapy Spa pool, but how can you stop laughing when we are being tossed around like dolls as the water seems like a wave pool. Oh well… I spent an hour in the iLounge checking emails and writing my hubby and then it was of to shower for our pre-dinner cocktail party. Okay…funny story…I left to go to the party early with Jeananne and we ordered a drink at the Champagne Bar and waited for everyone. An hour later, no one showed. We couldn’t figure it out. We decided to stroll to another lounge and saw everyone else sitting in Michaels club. Of course, I had to laugh because I am the one who set up the party, and there I sat at the wrong place with Jeananne for an hour while everyone else had a blast! Oh well, all is not lost because I got to know Jeanann! Another awesome dinner (everyone at our table got the rack of lamb and it was fabulous!) After dinner…we hit the disco. Danced and laughed until 1 am. What a blast! A definite do-over tonight!! (I will try to get pics too!)

It is now day 3. I sit in the sun writing this. Connie and I are in the groove. We have our routine down pat! Morning coffee – walking – pool. But the day holds alot of surprises. I will write all about it tomorrow! Oh and Happy Birthday to my Hubby! It is his bday today!

janet

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Filed under adult cruise, girlfreind getaway, girlfriends, girls cruise, girls getaway, girls getaways, Girls Travel, girlsgetaway, girlsonacruise, women

Flight Attendants Make a Difference

 

Carlos - "What every flight attendant should be"

As an avid traveler for so many years, and then becoming a travel agent…I fly frequently.  I love air travel as a means to reaching destinations rather than auto travel.  On a whole, I think that Airlines attempt to  satisfy customers.  But as they say in life, “You can’t please everybody!”  However, the other rule of business is “The Customer is always right!”  Considering the “things that can go wrong, and the things that will go wrong”..being a flight attendant is a true test of Customer service. After all, even in the worst Customer Service situation, the customer usually storms out of the place….that is not an option on an airplane!

Now, I am not saying that there isn’t anything to complain about on an airplane.Strictly from a passengers view, there is so much to complain about when traveling by plane…

  • The seats are too small
  • We had to sit on the plane for 1 hour before taking off
  • It is so hot!  It is freezing!
  • The passengers in the rear have taken up all the overhead space in the front!
  • The food is worse than TV dinners!   Now you must pay for that bad food!
  • The guy in front of me reclined his seat the whole time!
  • My TV screen doesn’t work.

All of these complaints are valid, and the airline executives are for the most part immune to these daily complaints.  But unfortunately it is the people on the front line (the Cabin Attendants) who are FULLY aware of these inconveniences and problems.  In fact, the airline executives are counting on the Attendents to “fix” it.

As a passenger I have seen it all.  I have seen passengers & Flight attendents act rudely.  I have actually been a bit offended by many flight attendants reactions to passengers.  But as in any other profession, it is always that one person that stands out in the crowd and truely does his best.  On Continental flight #1867 from Newark to LA there was a serious issue with a passenger that was irrupting quickly.  Flight attendant Carlos went above and beyond what training could have ever taught him.  He resolved the issue without making the passenger angrier and actually calmed him down.  There were other incidences on the plane that were verging on volitile and he handled with grace and strength.

I do appreciate that in stressful situations (and most people are stressed when they fly) it is important to have people like Carlos in charge.  I would like to say Thank You to Carlos.  I only hope that on my future flights, Carlos is waiting to greet me when I board my next Continental flight!

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Filed under Continental Airlines, Girls Travel, luxury travel, travel, vacations

The Angry Steward & the Carry-on Luggage

“I’ve Had Enough of Carry-on Luggage!”
In case you are one of the 10 people in America that hasn’t heard of the Flight Attendant who just “Had Enough”, let me update…

Steven Slater, a 38 year old Jet Blue flight attendant, decided “enough is enough” after his flight landed at JFK Airport on Monday. Slater cursed the passenger (dropping the “F bomb” 3 times) over the intercom, grabbed beers from the galley, deployed the emergency slide and walked away from the plane!

Although stories about exactly what happened change by the minute ( 2 women fought over storage bins space resulting in Slater getting hit on the head & a woman passenger who was forced to check her bag was enraged upon landing that her bag was not immediately available and proceeded to curse him)… I can just imagine what happened, because I have seen it hundreds of times! It all comes down to CARRY-ON LUGGAGE!

Air travel has changed. Years ago everyone checked their bags and overhead space was used for blankets and pillows (luxuries long forgotten on planes) and the occasional SMALL carry-on bag used by the consummate business traveler. I believe that passengers began carrying on ALL of their luggage in an effort to shorten travel experience (not having to wait for the baggage handlers to deliver the baggage in typical union style “snail delivery”).

The amount of luggage brought aboard planes has created many issues, along with a lot of stress. Ridiculously long boarding times add to the frustration. (I would rather wait at the baggage terminal then have to board a plane and sit for an extra 45 minutes!)

I have sat on planes as many flights board and watched how passengers behave as they heave luggage and squeeze the bags into the overhead bins. One thing I have noticed is that passengers in the rear often store their luggage in the bins in the front of the plane (for ease when they exit). Common sense will tell you that this will inevitably cause an issue when the passengers who are sitting in the front actually board last and there is no room for their carry-on and they are forced to check their bag.

I have often mentioned it to the flight attendants, who could easily solve the issue by making sure that everyone stores bags above their own seat. But I have never had a flight attendant actually make that effort. So, I watch and wait for the inevitable angry passenger.

Let’s face it, we are not all friends on that plane. Each passenger is only interested in making their own life easier. Like a bunch of children in a classroom. But kids have rules in class. They cannot just drop their backpacks anywhere, they cannot just skip the line, they cannot speak rudely to the teacher and they have to be respectful of each other. Like teachers, flight attendants should be there to make sure that the rules are followed that best benefit the whole group. I know it is more work for them, but in the end would make everything much more pleasant if we KNEW the rules and HAD to follow them.

I understand Slaters frustration. I have met those obnoxious, angry passengers. I have often wanted to stand up and drop the “F bomb” at them and I would have loved to actually hear a flight attendant do it over the intercom! (I actually applaud Slater for not opening the emergency slide and pushing the woman down it!)

But in the end, the Carry-on Luggage is the culprit, the stressor. If the attendants don’t make the rules and enforce them rigidly, there will always be stressful situations. I say, either enforce the rules or ban carry-on luggage. It is that simple.

Oh…and by the way, next time passengers are held captive on the tarmac for hours & are enduring extreme frustration…maybe WE should grab a beer and slide off the plane!

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Filed under Cruise, flight attendant, Girls Travel, jet blue, jfk, luggage, slater, steve slater

Good Health requires Good Friendships!



It is Official! According to studies done by Brigham Young University and May Clinic, friendships are good for your health! In fact, having friends is just as important as stopping smoking and more harmful than not exercising!

Of course, I have always know that. Through some tough times, it has been good friends that have been my rock, my “sounding board”, my safety net & my comfort circle.

Good friends are important for your health, even offering a 50% chance of a longer life!

BENEFITS of FRIENDSHIP
  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose. (Feeling needed when a friend is going through a tough time)
  • Boost your Happiness (When I share stories with friends, I learn to laugh at my troubles!)
  • Reduce Stress (It is no fun to go out for a Martini alone! )
  • Improve your self -worth (Feeling loved and needed)
  • Decrease your risk of serious mental illness (When I need to rant, I can pick up the phone! They understand.)
  • Help you weather traumas such as Divorce, illness, job loss or death of a loved one. (When my first husband died, I relied on God, family & FRIENDS!)
  • Encourage you to change unhealthy lifestyle habits (WHAT! No martinis! well, that depends on the friends!)
  • Shares in good times (New baby, new house, new job, new hubby! Celebrate & laugh together!)
Just knowing that friends are there to lean on through the good times, celebrate with through the happy times and LAUGH THROUGH BOTH is a comforting and reassuring. Sometimes I just need to hear that “opposing” opinion to challenge my thoughts and make me think. That is why I personally think it is good to surround yourself with friends that are diverse – different back rounds, political opinions, styles, desires. One thing that is a MUST is that we share the same social values. That is the basis of trusting in their thoughts.

Surround yourself with good friends and live a happy healthy life!

So ask yourself a few questions…
Do you have a BFF?
Is your group of friends diverse?
Am I friends with people who help my mental state or hurt it?
Do I nurture my friendships?
And the biggy…..
AM I A GOOD FRIEND?!
More stuff on that later!

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Filed under Cruise, friendship, girlfriends, Girls Travel, happiness

Everyone deserves to be pampered…

I Might Never Leave This Hotel…
Does “Squatters Rights” apply?

Beautiful summer day in Manhattan. Hubby asks me to drive in to meet him and spend the night (long business hours…) at the Ritz Carlton on Central Park. “I WILL BE THERE IN 45 MINUTES!” I say quietly…..but screaming in my brain! The chance to experience The Ritz, Central Park NYC…I can’t get there fast enough. I have read about so many celebrities, dignitaries and politicians staying at the Ritz, so why not me!

So here I am, after being escorted to the lobby “suite” by the kindest Gentleman (Front Desk Receptionist) to await my suite. Okay…I am already pampered and I haven’t even entered the room. Actually, if I left right now, I would have great things to say about this hotel…but there is not a chance I am leaving until I experience that room, not after the last half hour of being in the lobby! I almost don’t want to go up to the room yet (even though it is ready), similar in the way that I wait to open a gift…anticipation is half the thrill.

But now I am ready..

By the way, I have stayed at the Four Seasons in NYC many times, so when I say this is impressive….I know what I am comparing it to. SO far, the service is “wildy over and above”. Is that an appropriate description? It would be if you were sitting here.

Finally made the decision to head up to the room..I MEAN SUITE! After the silent glide up the elevator, and the “OMG! I could live here” reaction to the suite, I am now settled into the comfort of this classic, beige, comfy poofy room. As I sit here, among the traditional decor, I always wonder “Is Buckingham Palace this comfortable? Because, the traditional decor of Buckingham Palace is so NOT comfortable looking! But this is.

Of course, the bathroom was my first stop (I AM a girl) and I think it has the most amazing marble I have ever seen. It looks like soft, swirly, caramel ice cream. Beautiful. Bathroom amenities…Yes, I have everything I need and more AND top notch!

Comparable to the Four Seasons…Different. Service is definitely better (which makes EVERYTHING BETTER!). Room is comparable but styled differently. Bathroom is absolutely awesome in both.

Well, I have been here for 2 hours. I have a huge smile on my face. About to climb in the shower to get ready for dinner at Scotto’s. Life is good at the Ritz Carlton.

The Ritz Carlton got me at “Welcome to the Ritz”. Click here to see more and reserve your stay!

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Filed under Cruise, cruiseOne, Girls Travel, girlsonacruise, luxury travel, Ritz Carlton

The Men in My Life

A Perfect Fathers Day for MOM!


A year ago, my son Colin Louro(center) moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream in movie production. Yep, he moved 3000 miles away from all of us. Am I sad, actually not! Just like when they all went off to college, I am excited for him and the future that is in store for him. And hey, after all, it is a nice place to visit! (Could be worse, he could have moved to Australia – too far to visit!) Although, when they went off to college, I always knew they would come back…the difference is that Colin will probably build his future in LA.

What I do get sad about is the disconnect that the 4 brothers could easily develop. Doug and Jon are in NYC, Nick is still in college in South Carolina and between work and school it is often hard to have them all together at the same time! In fact, it had already been 1 1/2 years since they had all been in the same room! Let me introduce them, in the photo from left to right – Jon, Nicky, Colin, Frank (Dad) and Doug. Such a handsome bunch! I am so proud of them all for each of their lives! But as brothers, I want them so much to KNOW each other. (By the way…ever seen such a group of cute guys! LOVE tHEM!)

So for Fathers Day, (which happened to be Colin’s Bday this year) I secretly arranged with all the boys to fly to LA and surprise Colin! First of all, it was so much fun planning the secret trip. It was fun to coordinate the flights to arrive simultaneously and exciting to know that all my boys were up in the sky, on separate planes, crossing the country! When we all arrived, we headed directly to surprise Colin at his job at Trump Golf Course, Palos Verde.

OF course, his manager and staff were all “in on” the secret surprise (which made it even more fun!). And as he walked into the lounge and saw us all sitting at the bar, I could feel the love! I know that sounds corny, but I could. It was so fun to hear the bantering that only brothers can do. I half expected them to start wrestling on the floor!

Colin had the surprise of his life. He thought he would be spending his bday without family and now he had ALL of his brothers there in California. They could finally see where he worked, where he lived, where he spent his free time.

They could finally relate to things when they talked on the phone. California is a different planet from the North East…and you have to be there to understand the lifestyle. The brothers now knew how cold the ocean is, how eclectic the people are, how terrible the traffic is and how beautiful the scenery is. They finally understand why Colin is there.

We had a great time. Didn’t do any of the typical “sight seeing” activities…just hung out and lived in Colin’s world for 5 days.

For me, it was one of the best vacations that I have ever had. Not to mention that this was also Fathers Day, so it was heart warming to see Dad with all his boys! I will never forget the sounds of laughter, banter, and even the occasional argument. It actually makes me cry when I think about it….I hope that there are many more times just like this.

So hurry up Colin! We are all pulling for you to jumpstart your fabulous career! We want to come visit again soon! I want all the Boys together again!

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Filed under family cruise, family reunion, Family Vacation, Girls Travel, travel

Walking for a Cure on the Girls Cruise


I have been running these “Girls Getaways” for may years. I have met many women with many different back rounds and history. But I can tell you that there is one thing they all have in common..and that is that someone they love has been touched with cancer (if not themselves)!

I personally have 2 girl friends with breast cancer & one with ovarian cancer. It definitely touches close to home. I have heard such great stories of “courage and hope” not only from my friends but from so many of the Girls on my GIrls Getaways.

On our last Girls Getaway, I was so excited and moved to hear that Carnival does a “Walk for the Cure” on each sailing, every week throughout their fleet! But it doesn’t stop there! Every ship in the Carnival Cruise line Corp. also hosts a fundraising “Walk for the Cure”! I say Kudos to them!

This is how it works…every walker pays $ 10 on their shipboard account. That money goes directly to the Susan G Komen Foundation. Each participant receives a t-shirt (although they could have been cuter!) and is eligible to walk at a designated time. That might not sound like the most fun to you..but it actually is alot of fun. It is such a great feeling to meet so may others that are also walking, but it is such a good feeling to be “giving” when you are so blessed to be fortunate enough to be on a cruise vacation.

Carnival Cruises raises about $ 1000 average per ship. With 40b ships sailing sper week (among many Cruise Lines) that is approx. $ 40,000 per week! It is a great feeling to be part of that! I am so glad that Carnival offers the opportunity to “be part” of that. I might not be one to walk 5 miles..but I certainly can contribute for 30 minutes on a cruise vacation!

I think the concept is generous and brilliant! I think Carnival Cruises should be applauded! Check it out! http://bit.ly/ondeckfrcure

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Filed under Cruise, Girls Travel, girlsonacruise, susan komen, walk for cure, women

Caribbean Nations Take Swine Flu Precautions


Although there have been no reported cases of swine flu in the Caribbean, individual destinations have stepped up measures to help ensure that infected visitors do not enter the country.

In Jamaica, the island’s ports of entry are on alert to screen travelers arriving from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada where cases of swine flu have been confirmed, according to Health Minister Rudyard Spencer.

In the Bahamas, the Ministry of Health and related agencies activated their preparedness plans to limit the spread of the influenza strain if any cases are identified, according to Health Minister Hubert Minnis.

The ministry is stocking antiviral medications and will implement quarantines if necessary, Minnis said.

Surveillance measures in the Bahamas’ ports of entry are monitoring the health of arriving individuals. Immigration and customs officers can contact 24-hour, on-call health officials if there are concerns about a traveler.

Belize, which shares a northern border with Mexico, issued a travel advisory discouraging travel to Mexico, according to Health Minister Pablo Marin. Local authorities have stepped up surveillance across Belize to detect cases of swine flu but none has been found.

St. Kitts and Nevis increased surveillance at official points of entry and mobilized its Rapid Response Team and stockpiles of medical supplies, according to Chief Medical Officer Patrick Martin.

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Filed under antigua, Cruise, Girls Travel, jamaica, royal caribbean, vacation, womens travel

Saint John, NB Canada FUN!

Think you have to go South to have fun?

Try Saint John, NB Canada

Think you can’t have fun unless you head south? WRONG! Harbor towns along the East coast from Canada to Key West all have the same element of coziness, beauty and FUN!

But first, don’t forget the indescribable views when you leave the Port of NYC and cruise alongside Manhattan! An amazing collage of skyscrapers, boats and bridges. Be sure to bring your cameras!

Once you arrive in St John, the photo ops just get better! You will be bowled over by the beauty of the Bay of Fundy. And the endless array of options to spend the day “your way”!

“Got Beer”? Celebrate a passion for beer and culture Sample Moosehead beers with Live Entertainment. Visit the Moosehead brewery or do a Pub tour.

“Golf your Game?” Enjoy 18 holes in the beautiful 2,200 acre Rockwood Park.

“Chocolate!!!!” Visit the home of Gannong Chocolate and get your taste buds tingling!

“Outdoor Adventurer?” Paddle by Kayak along the coast and enjoy a lobster bake.

“LOVE Lobster?” For those of you who love lobster, imaginge cracking fresh lobster on the shores with a cold Moosehead Lager! Perfect lunch.

Can’t decide? Do your own thing or join in on our “GirlsonaCruise Scavenger Hunt” Sure to help you find amazing places and fun!


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Filed under Cruise, girls cruise, girls getaway, Girls Travel, New England Cruise, NYC, pub tour, pubcrawl, st john port