Tag Archives: Travel

“Why DO I Have to Put My Seat back Up for Takeoff?”

Jayne Waterbury & John Walker - Continental Flight Attendants

So I am sitting on a Continental flight (Love Continental Airlines) and after 30 plus years of flying I just learned something. (I always say you are never old to learn a new trick!)

As a rebel at heart, I always wondered “why do you have to put your seats in an upright position and stow everything under your seat for take off and landing”.  I always got annoyed when they wouldn’t even let me hold my pocketbook on my lap!

Does anyone know the answer to that? I sure didn’t.  Well, NEWSFLASH!  While waiting to take off on my Continental flight to visit parents, I came across the inflight magazine and a pilot’s Q & A answered my question.  I actually felt like an idiot!  It was such an obvious answer…but I had not thought of it…..

ANSWER:

Most flight accidents take place during take off and landing.  In case of emergency, it is extremely important that the aisles are absolutely clear so everyone can evacuate quickly.  I mean, imagine that 100 women have pocket books on their laps..the plane jolts…the pocketbooks go flying…landing in pathways of freedom!  OH… I GET IT NOW!

Considering that, it totally makes sense that the seats be in an upright position too.  Reclined airline seats can definitely impede someone even getting up to go to the bathroom let alone needing to evacuate suddenly!  I can testify to that at this very moment as the woman in front of me has reclined her seat fully and my laptop is currently sitting on my chest! (Try to remember that someone is sitting behind you and be courteous.)

Now I totally understand.  It is all about the escape route and keeping it clear.

Took me 30 plus year…but thank you Captain Mike Bowers.   Now instead of feeling inconvenienced, I will feel like I am doing the responsible thing!  And as usual on a Continental flight, the Flight Attendants are always so nice!  Once again, I’ve encountered professionalism along with friendliness & humor in Jayne Waterbury & John Walker on my Continental Flight # 1845.  I mean, how can I be “a rebel” to such nice people.

Have any other questions?  Write Captain Bowers at askthePilot@united.com .   And be patient…even if you don’t understand the stupid rules!  There is usually an underlying reason…..

My Rebel attitude will have to take a break…I would rather fly safe!

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Planning a Girls Getaway?

Rules #1 & #2

Rule #1 for a Girls Getaway –

DO NOT invite the Girls who can’t understand the invitation for a “Girls Getaway” (okay…a bit of sarcasm!).  

A classic example of a “Girls Getaway Gone Wrong” happened on the Real Housewives of Orange County when Vicky planned a Girlfriend Getaway to Fort Lauderdale… and most of the women showed up with their husbands!  To top it off, when Vicky got upset, the other women just didn’t get it!  Why?

Seriously, why would Vicky go out of her way to plan a Girls Getaway?  (Think real hard now) The answer is  -” TO GET AWAY WITH THE GIRLS!”  What don’t they get about that?  I thought that statement was completely self-explanatory…and I totally thought that they were rude to just ignore it and bring the GUYS.

I was yelling at the TV screen when I watched that episode.  I totally understood why Vicky was so mad!  There is something very special about “time away with the Girlfriends” that just isn’t the same when half of the group is “couples”.  It would destroy the “girly” atmosphere of any Girls Getaway.  

 Lesson #2 for a Girls Getaway –

Choose the right venue & atmosphere for the Girlfriends Getaway that allows choice, but makes it easy.

The best aspect of Vicky’s Girls Getaway Vicky was that she planned the whole event, day by day, activity by activity…all the way down to dinners.  She could easily get away with that & be in total control as she was paying for everything. But that is usually NOT the case when a group of girls travel.  Everyone has different budgets, desires and ideas of what they want to do, which can lead to catastrophe!

I recently did a Girls getaway to Los Angeles and the 5 days were filled with “Where do you want to have lunch?” “What time do you want to go shopping?”  “We have plans for dinner so you can’t get your hair blown out?”   Of course, I was not “the boss” as everyone was paying for themselves…and that led to half of our time spent discussing / debating all of this.  Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time…but “ideally” life would have been easier without having to make plans!  AND that could have been accomplished by a change of venue.

The most important factor that goes into selecting the best place to have a Girls Getaway?  Go to a place where everyone can be together yet also have space so each girl can do their own thing. It is essential to take the “thinking & planning” out of the equation once you arrive at your destination.  Choice is essential, but should be a pleasure, not a major decision!  Free time should be spent having fun, relaxing & laughing!

My favorite picks for a Girls Getaway is a Cruise or an All-inclusive Resort. Both offer an easy vacation with a super wide menu of activities all within easy reach.  Shopping, Gym, Spa, Dining Options, Pools, Beach, Entertainment and more!  And the best is that on any particular ship or at any particular resort there are accommodations to suit every budget…and every woman will STILL be able to participate in the same activities!  A cruise has the added feature of being able to satisfy everyone with visits to different ports of call.  That is what it is all about Girls, taking the decisions away from the day to day and making it easy!

Options + Options + Options + Ease = A great “Girls Getaway”!

(And please remember the key word –  “GIRLS”!)

For Fun, Carefree Girls Getaway options….go to “GirlsonaCruise.com” 

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Cruise & Travel Deals of the Week!

April 4, 2011 Last Minute Cruise Deals

Confused by all of the offers and websites on the internet?   Sometimes it can be overwhelming!

Just remember…”The internet is for looking, your Travel Specialist is for booking!”

When you are spending money on a vacation, it is important that it is the right “fit” for you.  Every Cruise ship and Resort has a unique personality and it is my job to match your personality up with the perfect vacation!  As a Travel Specialist, I can clear the confusion and make your life easier (and happier!).

Don’t make planning a vacation become a huge headache…

Check here for Weekly deals and then call me to make your life easier!

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Fear of Flying? GET ON THE PLANE!

I know people who look at the Flight as “part of the vacation experience “ (that’s me!).  I know people who just don’t particularly like to fly because of inconvenience, but do anyway.  I know people who will NOT fly under any circumstances.   All are different, but have one thing in common….they all have some level of “fear of flying”.  The only difference between them is how much their personal desire to travel will over shadow the fear.

Even I admit that every time I see a plane or fly one, I say the same thing…”That is amazing that that tin can with all that weight and those flimsy wings can actually fly for hours and hours!”  It can actually freak me out!  Personally, I will make no bones about it…do what you have to do,  take a valium or have a drink…but get on that plane!  A whole world of adventure and opportunity is out there for you to explore.  So let’s break it down and figure out a way to “Get on that Plane”!

When most people are asked about why they are afraid to fly, they talk about the lack of control that they feel when riding in a plane.  Add to that the fear of turbulence, heights, claustrophobia, the strange noises they hear and the basic lack of understanding how planes fly.  In total, it is actually ignorance & irrational thoughts that make us afraid. If you think about flying logically, statistics show it is 30 times safer then driving in your car!  Your chances of being involved in an airline accident are about 1 in 11 million.  Compare that to your chances of being killed in an auto accident – 1 in 5000!  You are more likely to get killed DRIVING TO the airport than flying to your destination!

Logically, aircraft today is designed and maintained meticulously.  Take into account the incredible # of flights daily and the # of fatalities and the airlines have a stellar record!  If we all had a lesson in Aviation and understood more “How” planes fly, most of our fears would be erased.  I mean, think about it…”Why do pilots and flight attendants work on planes everyday? They understand them!  If they were so risky, why on earth would they work on them? (We know it isn’t because they are getting paid millions!) It is because they have knowledge and trust in aviation.

But let’s think on a personal level…

With the prevalence and need for airline travel in todays modern world, it is almost archaic for someone to say “I wont fly”.  It is almost as ridiculous as hearing some one say “I will never go on the internet!”

There are so many great reasons to FLY….

Family lives in different parts of the country (if not world!)

Your children want to go to Disney!

Your job requires that you be in 2 cities in one week.

How do you explain to your children that you are afraid of flying?  Or do they just accept that they will never take a family vacation to an island, visit Disney, see the Grand Canyon, take a historical trip to Europe.  Sure, you might say that you could drive there…but you can’t drive over an ocean!  Are you really prepared to go through life without ever playing with your child on a beach on an island.  For me, there is nothing more precious than experiencing the wonders of the world with your kids and leaving them with those memories.  I will never forget when my parents took me to Jamaica when I was 11.  The amazement has imprinted in my mind forever.

How do you tell your boss that you cannot attend that sales meeting across the country?  Do you just forgo a promotion because of your irrational fear?

How do you face life knowing that you will never see your grandchildren who live 3000 miles away?  Are you really going to let fear stop you!

Now let’s try to think about this logically.   You need to have trust in the Pilot and crew.  Don’t you think they have a families they want to get home to?  Their intention is to tuck their kids in at night and kiss their spouse.  Remember the statistics!  Let’s talk about the danger of driving a car?!!  But you still get in one of those every day.

I say, take the responsibility to learn the simple principles of Aviation, seek out the safety records of your airlines and research studies on risks.  Educate yourself, because “Knowledge is Power”, power to conquer your fears!  And if all else fails…take that valium or have that cocktail….BUT JUST GET ON THAT PLANE!!!  SEE THE WORLD!

Plan that trip you have always dreamed about Today!

How Planes Fly – simple video

Air vs. Auto statistics

A beautiful thing!

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Port of the Week – “Nowhere”

Nowhere?

YES…Nowhere!

FAST FACTS:

Location – “Nowhere” could be “Anywhere”

Size of Nowhere – as vast as the Ocean is wide!

Population – Very Exclusive, only other passengers on your Cruise can visit!

Even if you have never been on a “Cruise to Nowhere”…as long as you have been on a cruise, you have experienced “Nowhere”.  Although it is actually  “Somewhere”…it is definitely “Nowhere”.

I am on the plane flying back from my cruise to “Nowhere” onboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Yes, the ship went exactly there…NOWHERE!  And it was great!

First let me say, I was on the “Creme de la Creme” of Cruise Ships as far as the facilities, activities & events on a Cruise Ship.  At 220,000 gross tons, the Allure of the Seas is best described as a floating City.  It is great that the Allure takes you to exotic ports of call…but my favorite port of call for the Allure is “Nowhere”.

When a ship sails to “Nowhere”, it means that it is doing exactly that…floating at sea for a determined amount of time.  Now, you might say “WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?!”  Here is my Top 10 Reasons for  spending a day at Sea:

  1. NO pressure to hop off the ship, “Nowhere” is actually ON the Ship!
  2. Fresh Ocean air…restorative benefits for your health!  Breathe!!!!!
  3. Great chance to hit the Spa and get a 2 hour massage.
  4. Bingo, an Art Auction, Wine Tastings, Salsa Lessons?  Endless options of “to Dos”
  5. If you are on a Family Reunion Cruise or Cruising with a group, it gives you the time to really spend together.
  6. I can actually finish that book I have been reading, in a quiet spot on the ship.
  7. Nap time is acceptable
  8. NO cost for excursions!
  9. Great time for educational enrichment or even Company Seminars!
  10. I can just close my eyes, feel the breeze and feel the moment.

Some on my favorite moments on a Cruise are when we are in between ports and have absolutely no pressure and nothing to do except what YOU want to do!  In fact, one big advantage of a Cruise Vacation over a land vacation is the endless options of activities.  Should you have the dreaded rainy day, on a Cruise you are never bored!

On a Cruise ship the size of the Allure, if you can’t find something to entertain you (or relax you) then we seriously need to call the “I CAN’T HAVE FUN POLICE”! Or maybe even the “PERSONALITY POLICE!”  Even the most miserable of people will find something to smile about!  No matter what type of person you are, there is something for you…..

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Sun worshipers?.. the deck is your spot!

Gamblers? …the Casino is open!

Shoppers?…Jewelry, clothing, art, Coach Pocketbooks!, Fine Wines

Active?…Golf, Rock Climbing, Bball, Spin Class, Ice Skating & even a Zip Line!

Crafty?…Try one of the many creative workshops offered.

Movie or Theater Buff?…Cinema Movies, Broadway Plays & even in room viewing

Food & Wine Connesieur?…Wine tasting seminars & Cooking lessons

Music Buffs?…Orchestras, bands & DJs ready to “Rock your Socks” off!

Self Indugent?…let Vitality Spa pamper you to “wet noodle” status!

I could go on and On!!!

Of course even on a small Cruise ship like the Windstar, Sea Dream that doesn’t have all the bells & whistles of a mega ship…a day at Sea is what a Cruise is all about ….relaxation.  The gentle breeze, the mesmerizing swaying of the ocean…it is thought provoking, stimulating & pampering.

Yes, I love “Nowhere”.  It is exactly the “somewhere”  I love to be!

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Destination Weddings in Paradise!

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I have spent hours watching  “Say Yes to the Dress” “Four Weddings” and other reality Bridal & Wedding shows.  I understand tradition, but I am amazed how Wedding traditions have made weddings so repetitive.

To me, weddings have become very “generic”.  Sure, Wedding Dresses can be different, Cakes unique, venues styled differently…dress it up in different ways, it still follows the same plan.. Blah Blah Blah!  And the worst is – Poof! Thousands of dollars gone in 5 hours!  Seriously…it all comes down to those 5 hours!  In a perfect world, the amount spent would last at least 5 days!

My kids are getting to the age where soon be getting married and I really hope that they do something to step out of the box.  Make that special day of celebrating love & life an intimate memory.  So many weddings I have been to have a guest list that includes some people that the Bride & Groom don’t even know!  How many times have you been to a wedding and didn’t have more then a few minutes to spend with the cousins you haven’t seen in 2 years?  Back to that ridiculous 5 hours…. barely enough tie to talk to the wedding party.

The solution – For the same amount of money (within ANY budget) you can break outside that “generic” wedding box.

Make it an event where people truly spend time with “the Couple”. I Love the idea of Destination Weddings!  What ever your budget, there is an exotic, exciting Destination for you.

An Island destination oozes romance. Sunset catamaran for 50 followed by a beach BBQ for a rehearsal dinner.  Vows shared with a gentle breeze. Dancing under the stars with your feet in the sand.  And best of all, Time to enjoy this moment in time…the Happiest day of your life with Family and Friends.  Not just 5 hours, but days to celebrate and reconnect.

Do you have to spend a fortune for a Destination Wedding? NO! There are Island resorts to suite any budget. From Sandals Martha Stewart Weddings to Caneel Bay Rosewood Resort (above photos)…the pricing includes “Celebration, Time & Romance”. (I will be blogging about Sandals Weddings soon!!)

But don’t let you’re “out of the Box” thinking stop there….Ever consider a “Wedding at Sea?”  A wedding on a Cruise Ship is true romance.  What could be more Romantic, Intimate & fun for the Bride, Groom and Guests?  While at the same time offering so much for such a great value.  Choose to say your vows on the Ship or at port…whether it’s a stunning cliff-top ceremony in Greece or an elegant affair onboard a luxurious ship, love is best served with a perfect experience.

Variety of Cruise Lines for every budget:

Luxury – Sea Dream Yacht, Paul Gauguin, Windstar – charter the WIndstar with 130 guests!

Large Ships – Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity – Accommodations  to fit every budget on one ship.

Now, some of you might say  “But what if some guests can’t afford to travel?”

If you plan ahead, it will give everyone plenty of time to save. Easy payment plans are available with CruiseOne.  And for those guests that choose not to travel, plan a small celebration or cocktail party upon return.

Why cram the beginning of your life into those 5 short hours of stress and anxiety!  What better fun then to have quality time with close family & friends, relaxing, reconnecting, creating long lasting memories and celebrating your love!  A Destination Wedding and a Wedding at Sea will take you right “out of the Box” and start your new life together in a Unique, Memorable Celebration.

Bon Voyage!

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Port of the Week – Grand Cayman

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Grand Cayman is known around the world for Diving & Banking.  Personally, I don’t Dive & I don’t have millions to bank, but I still love Grand Cayman!  The island is beautiful & rich in so many other ways.  It is definitely a favorite Western Caribbean port.

I don’t really care to spend time in the town of George Town (I could shop at expensive stores in NJ!).  I just feel that with such beautiful beaches & crystal clear waters I would have to be nuts to just shop!

Beach lovers will think they died & went to heaven on 7 Mile Beach!  The sand is so white & soft you might think it is actually baby powder and the ocean is a shade of aqua that only exists in dreams.  Clear waters that just say “JUMP IN!”  It is breathtaking.  Great resorts line the beach & can be the perfect landing spot to grab lunch & rent beach chairs.  But don’t get too comfortable, because that amazing water is a playground in the sun!

7 Mile Beach is a perfect beach for water sports – Windsurfing, kayaking, jet skiing, Waterskiing, Hobie Cat sailing, Parasailing, Banana Boat rides and more!  I highly recommend Red Sail Sports for all of your water activities (diving, sailing etc).  They are very reputable, friendly and dependable.  Taxis are readily available at the cruise ship pier. The approximate cost to Red Sail watersports centers on Seven Mile Beach is $20.00 one-way. It’s about a 10 minute drive.  A great idea is to just spend your whole day there!  But if you did, you would be missing out on the most amazing experience Grand Cayman has to offer…Swimming with the Stingrays!

We have done this a few times, but never as a Cruise Ship excursion, we have always booked separately through Red Sail Sports for the simple reason that the Cruise Ships excursions all go to the same general area and it is crowded!  For me, that takes away some of the natural beauty of the experience.  Red Sail will take you to another location where it feels more intimate.  Cost is about the same.  Red Sail even does a Stingray & Rum Point Catamaran trip that is awesome!  Or you may opt for a Stingray visit and then spend the rest of the day on 7 Mile beach.  (by the way, that is why it is so important to use a travel agent when planning your trip, we know these little secrets!)

Swimming with the Stingrays is just plain awesome! The first time I did this, I was truly amazed at these beautiful creatures gliding through the water.  I couldn’t believe how friendly they were.  My kids became like mermaids (or should I say “mermans”), swimming around them like they were fish themselves!  Definitely one of the most memorable things we have done.  It should be on everyones Bucket List.

I might not be a Diver and I might not have a need for international banking, but when I drift on a float in that heavenly water, I feel like a gazillionaire!!!

I am actually heading to Grand Cayman on one of my GirlsonaCruise.com Girls Getaways January 22 – 27, 2011 onboard the Celebrity Century. I am so excited to show the girls this island.  And YES, we will be arranging activities through Red Sail Sports!  (There is still space if you would like to join us!).

Okay..one thing I have to warn you about is that if Grand Cayman is on your Itinerary, there is always a chance you might not make it there!  I have heard rumor that 50% of the time, ships cant make the stop due to weather…not sure if that is true, but it has been for us!  In Grand Cayman, ships are required to tender passengers to the island and often the currents change making that process dangerously rough, so ships opt out for safety reasons.  It sucks..but Safety always comes first!

PS…if you do pre-book an activity with Red Sail Sports, they are aware of this issue & are very understanding should your ship not stop.

Make your dream trip to Grand Cayman come true!

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Airlines – New “Cuddle Class”?

"Cuddle up and Fly"

Cuddle up in Coach Class"

The biggest complaint that Airline passengers have is “Lack of space”.  I feel that it is almost inhumane to expect people to travel in such extremely tight quarters for flights over 3 hours.  I sometimes wonder how the airlines can get away with it!  What would it really cost for them to take 2 rows out and give everyone a bit more leg room?

For those who have flown cross country, it can be torture!  Now, Air New Zealand  has come up with a great idea that they will be including on their new 777’s…”The Sky Couch”.  The “Sky Couch” will turn a row of 3 seats into a bed by raising a footrest that becomes a platform extension, creating a lengthwise bed.  I think that is a GREAT idea!!!

If you are willing to buy the extra seat in the middle (still much cheaper than first class), you have the ability to transform the basic economy seat, into something you can cozy up on.   You still don’t have all the bells and whistles of First Class…but at least you can “cuddle” up and sleep through your long flight! Continental Airlines …”Are you LISTENING!!”?

I hope that other airlines follow suit and make arrangements for more comfortable, humane ways for people to travel in flight.  I give Air New Zealand a big “Thumbs Up”!

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NCL Epic – A Ship for Everyone!

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NCL really did it right on the Epic!

An Epic ship that has something for everyone!


 

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The Celebrity Century , THIS Century!

In 1997, my whole family cruised on the Celebrity Century for a family reunion in honor of my parents 30th wedding anniversary. It was a huge success! Everyone (new and experienced cruisers alike) LOVED the Century. Everyone was impressed with its service and atmosphere (decorated in the rich nautical colors that you think a Classy Ship at sea should be).

12 years ago, the Century was considered a huge ship, by standards today, she is small and intimate. It amazes me that even after the introduction of “Mega” ships, the Century is still impresses

After a total revitalization 6 years ago, the Celebrity Century She still is the classy ship that she was 12 years ago, only better!!! And yes, small and intimate are 2 perfect ways to describe her. Yet she is large enough to offer every amenity that larger ships offer, only with a bit more class and style. In fact, ALOT more style!

We were fortunate enough to be staying in the Royal Suite, but I can testify to the fact that the interior rooms were just as elegant and classically styled. Warm, rich colors and woods make every stateroom feel like a Penthouse suite! Ocean View rooms have very large windows that make you feel as though you are in a verandah stateroom. The designers of the Century should be applauded!

Our favorite places on the Century:

The Martini Bar – Great Martini selection served on an Ice Bar.

The Murano Restaurant – Table side cooking and elegant service.

The Aqua Spa – New and Improved Gym and Spa.

Healthy Cafe – Great option for healthy meals!

Sushi Bar – Open every night from 5 – 8 for the perfect snack!

The Hemisphere Lounge – Great Music till the wee hours!

The Grand Restaurant – Still my favorite dining room on the Seas!!

So many great attributes. I plan on doing my next Girls Getaway on the Century in January 2011, And I have no doubt that every one will be impressed!!!

For more information on the Celebrity Century, click here!



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