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Hello from Toronto (2) – Exploring Toronto’s Waterfront by Bicycle and Checking Out the CN Tower

Hello from Toronto (2) – Exploring Toronto’s Waterfront by Bicycle and Checking Out the CN Tower

Since my European visitors are quite sporty I figured that renting a bicycle would be the perfect way of exploring the city. So to join them on their first guided bicycle tour I grabbed my bike and the 5 of us headed off to the subway station to go to Bicycle Solutions near Parliament and Carlton Streets. Getting outfitted with a bike didn’t take long and the cost was pretty reasonable at $70.00 for a whole week. Now all 5 of us had a bicycle.
Our tour began in Cabbagetown, one of Toronto’s historic districts. We first explored Riverdale Farm which is composed of a historic farm house, a number of stables and several corrals holding a variety of farm animals. This miniature zoo allows city kids to get to know farm animals up close. We then headed to the entrance of Toronto’s Necropolis. Established in 1850, the Toronto Necropolis is one of Toronto’s oldest and most historic cemeteries. Its picturesque location, collection of sculpture and Victorian buildings also make it one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the city.
Riding through the gritty Regent Park neighbourhood on Parliament we made a left to head over to the Distillery District – Toronto’s newest entertainment district. Founded in 1832 by brothers-in-law William Gooderham and James Worts, the Gooderham and Worts Distillery eventually became the largest distillery in the British Empire. Set on 13 acres in downtown Toronto, the forty plus buildings constitute the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.
The Distillery is now a pedestrian-only village entirely dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment. Internationally acclaimed galleries, artists’ studios and workshops, restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as live music, all form part of this new landmark cultural centre. In addition to the history, arts and culture, The Distillery has been the location for over 800 film and television productions in the past decade, including Chicago, X-Men, Against The Ropes and The Hurricane, making The Distillery District the most popular film location in Canada.
Of course we had to stop at the Mill Street Brewery, one of Toronto’s fine micro-breweries. My Austrian visitors are great beer lovers and I have been working on giving them a wide variety of samples of Canadian beers, and we added the Mill Street brand to our tasting tour.
From the Distillery District we headed south to Lakeshore Boulevard where we cycled west past Harbourfront, an area that holds high-priced condos right next to the waterfront, where highlights include speciality shops at Queens Quay Terminal, art, theatre and cultural facilities at Harbourfront Centre and a terrific lakeside walking trail. Cruises of the harbour and ferry services run from here.
Our bike tour continued west by the water on the Martin Goodman Trail, past Ontario Place and the CNE – Canadian National Exhibition, which was in full swing with its rides and amusement activities. We enjoyed the lake-front ride and were fascinated by the Toronto Hippo Bus that was cruising on the water inside a harbour basin.
Our turnaround point for the tour came at Sunnyside Pavillion, a historic bathing pavillion dating back to a time when the lakeshore was home to a large amusement park. We sat down and had some refreshing drinks right next to a sandy beach on Lake Ontario. Rejuvenated we started our ride back and stopped off at a hot dog stand just outside the Princess Gates of the Canadian National Exhition Grounds. My European visitors were fascinated by the hot dog stands, particularly about the fact that you could scoop all sorts of salads and condiments like sauerkraut, hot peppers and even corn onto the sausages, and we simply had to stop and sample some road-side cuisine.
After heading back through Harbourfront we took the ferry over to Hanlan’s Point with our bicycles and started exploring the Toronto Islands on two wheels. We were all astounded by the serenity of the surroundings, truly an oasis of green right in front of busy downtown Toronto. We cycled all the way from the west to the east side where we had another fabulous view of the cityscape from an old abandoned pier.
Of course all this working out would necessitate a little refreshment break and we cycled over to Centre Island where there is a restaurant next to the ferry dock, unfortunately it was closed. So we cycled back to the Centerville amusement park area where there was a beautiful restaurant with a gorgeous outdoor patio right next to a tranquil waterway and we had a well-deserved rest., admiring the huge white geese that came up to us to request some food.
After taking the ferry back to the mainland we followed the Martin Goodman Trail east along the Eastern Beaches and had a peak at Ashbridges Bay and the little peninsula right next to it, one of the most scenic and tranquil spots in Toronto. We then headed home on the trail past the Kew Gardens Tennis Club, the hockey/ lacrosse arena and the lawnbowling facilities and my European guests commented on how surprised they were that so much of Toronto’s waterfront is publicly accessible and not fenced off as private property as is the case with so many European waterfront locations.
A gourmet dinner capped off a beautiful day of exploration, allowing us to rest up for the next day to explore the CN Tower, just in time before the remnants of Hurricane Katrina were scheduled to come into town. On Tuesday I joined my guests only for a half day since I had to do some work in the afternoon and we took the subway in to explore the CN Tower. There were absolutely no lineups on Tuesday, which was great, since the Sunday before we had noticed hundreds of people lining up to get up the famous tower.
We enjoyed the quick 58 second elevator ride that whisked us up to the restaurant level and we started to take in the panorama. Toronto’s most famous, most visible landmark, the CN Tower is the world’s tallest building. Built in 1976, the tower measures 553 metres in height. From its Look Out Level it offers a stunning view of the city, especially at sunset. Daring visitors can test their courage by taking a walk across the Glass Floor 113 stories above the ground, or travel higher up the tower to the Sky Pod, another 33 storeys above ground.
We only went as far as the Look Out area and went one level down to experience the Glass Floor. I stepped on the Glass Floor very very briefly, the feeling of standing on a clear surface 113 floors above ground level was just a little too much and made me a little squeamish. All of us really enjoyed the view from the tower, even though it was a little hazy, but it really gave us a great overview of the city. What amazed my visitors was that Toronto looks so amazingly green from above, and they had commented several times how unusual it is to see such a huge metropolis that has so many green zones, parks and ravines, something that definitely enhances the quality of life in Toronto.
After having taking in the city, we zipped back down in the glass-enclosed elevators and took a walk over to the Steam Whistle Brewery, located at the former John St. Roundhouse, a Canadian Pacific Rail steam locomotive repair facility that was built in 1929. We had to wait about 15 minutes for the facility to open and admired the beautifully renovated industrial architecture. Once inside we got a free taste of Toronto’s premium pilsner. I am not a beer drinker myself, so I quenched my hunger with a fresh pretzel, while my Austrian visitors savoured their samples.
After the visit to the brewery I had to head back to my office, but my visitors continued with a visit to the St. Lawrence Market and a brief stop at the Eaton Centre. When they arrived back at our place, I could tell they had spent another great day exploring Toronto.

Fear Not! You Can Book Your Own Cruise Of A Lifetime!

Fear Not! You Can Book Your Own Cruise Of A Lifetime!

Many people are simply overwhelmed when it comes time to book the cruise vacation of their dreams. There are so many options, so many cruise lines, so many destinations, and so many considerations. The list just continues on and on until one feels like they will never be able to sort through the jumble to find the perfect vacation package. But you can book the cruise vacation that you’ve always dreamed of. And while you can use a travel agent to do it, you can do it just as easily on your own if you know how.

The first step to booking your cruise vacation is to research and gather all of the cruise information you can find. Doing a keyword search online is a great place to start. You can also visit your local travel agent for brochures and catalogues printed by Princess Cruise Lines and various other cruise lines. Compare prices, destinations, and overall service of each vacation package offered to get a basic idea of what type of package you would like to purchase.

Next you will need to choose your destination. Again, the internet is a great tool. Online you will find tourist information, pictures, and testimonials for all of the top cruise destinations in the world. Your local travel agent may also be able to give you some insight into which ports are most popular among which types of travelers. Another great source of information are friends and acquaintances that have traveled with a cruise line. They can give you a unique perspective and advice on which destinations to avoid and which ones to include in your itinerary.

Before you visit your travel agent or book online, you should have a good idea of how much money you can spend and how long of a cruise you would like to take. Keep in mind that the time of year that you book your cruise can have a huge impact on the price you will pay. This means that you may be able to book a longer cruise with more ports of call for the same price of a shorter cruise if you book during the off season.

Once you have gathered and researched all of the information, you can begin booking your cruise. You can do this through a respected and well-known travel agent of your choosing or you can book your cruise yourself online or directly through the cruise line itself. No matter which method you choose, you will have to make several decisions about your vacation at this point in the planning process. Here are just a few:

1. Choose your point of departure and the travel method that you will use to get there.

2. Decide on ports of call and any extra activities that you may wish to take advantage of.

3. Choose your stateroom. Keep in mind that staterooms vary in price, amenities, size, and services available.

4. Become familiar with cancellation policies and restrictions.

5. Find out if you will be required to put down a deposit and how much it will be. Some cruise lines will require you to pay the full amount due up front.

Travel Agent or Book Yourself?

While finding a cheap price used to be the motivation that kept people glued to their computer well into the night looking for the perfect deal on a cruise, the popularity of cruises has led to the equalization of cruise prices all across the board. This means that you will probably pay the same price for a cruise that you book yourself as you would for one that you book through a travel agency. So which method should you choose? Take a quick look at the following advantages of each before you make your decision.

Booking with a travel agent has many advantages over booking online, and since the cruise line pays the agent a commission for booking the trip with its line, there is virtually no cost to you when you use an agent. Here are just a few of the advantages of booking your vacation through an agent:

1. An agent is quite familiar with all of the cruise lines available and the packages that they offer. This helps them to quickly narrow in on a package of your choice without having to do a lot of unnecessary research.

2. Since agents are familiar with popular cruise lines but are not employed by them, they can give you unbiased advice concerning your vacation and which cruise line you should travel with.

3. Most travel agents are certified or licensed through the Cruise Line International Association and the Travel Institute.

4. A travel agent will look for reduced pricing for your trip even after it has been booked and rebook your sea voyage for you at a lower price if and when it becomes available.

5. In the unfortunate even that something goes awry during your trip, your travel agent will act as a mediatory between you and the offending cruise line.

Booking online also has many advantages. Although a rare occurrence, searching for last minute deals online can still yield results. But even if you can’t find a last minute cruise bargain, you may choose to book online for one of the following reasons:

1. Online cruise websites contain most of the information that is available to travel agents. This puts the control of your vacation directly into your hands. You may also be able to browse inside information that would not have come up during a normal meeting with your travel agent.

2. You can access online travel agencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This allows for a lot of convenience and flexibility, which is perfect for people who have a hard time keeping and making appointments.

3. When it comes to researching your vacation, there is no better place to do it than online. Here you will find numerous research tools as well as photos, diagrams, reviews, schedules, and videos just to name a few.

4. Using an online calendar, you can search for the most inexpensive package available through the cruise line of your choosing. Sometimes you can save a few hundred dollars by leaving a week earlier or later than your scheduled time frame.

5. Since your travel agent narrows in on certain lines, ships, and destinations according to your wants and needs, you may not be able to browse all of the options available. Booking online will allow you to do this and more.

As you can see, there are many advantages of each, so it may be hard to make a decision. If you’re finding this to be true, you may want to book your vacation through an agent and perform additional research online yourself. Whatever your decision, once you have looked at all the details, go for it!

Hello From Toronto – Part 2 – Exploring Toronto’s Waterfront By Bicycle And Checking Out The CN Tower

Hello From Toronto – Part 2 – Exploring Toronto’s Waterfront By Bicycle And Checking Out The CN Tower

Since my European visitors are quite sporty I figured that renting a bicycle would be the perfect way of exploring the city. So to join them on their first guided bicycle tour I grabbed my bike and the 5 of us headed off to the subway station to go to Bicycle Solutions near Parliament and Carlton Streets. Getting outfitted with a bike didn’t take long and the cost was pretty reasonable at $70.00 for a whole week. Now all 5 of us had a bicycle.

Our tour began in Cabbagetown, one of Toronto’s historic districts. We first explored Riverdale Farm which is composed of a historic farm house, a number of stables and several corrals holding a variety of farm animals. This miniature zoo allows city kids to get to know farm animals up close. We then headed to the entrance of Toronto’s Necropolis. Established in 1850, the Toronto Necropolis is one of Toronto’s oldest and most historic cemeteries. Its picturesque location, collection of sculpture and Victorian buildings also make it one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the city.

Riding through the gritty Regent Park neighbourhood on Parliament we made a left to head over to the Distillery District – Toronto’s newest entertainment district. Founded in 1832 by brothers-in-law William Gooderham and James Worts, the Gooderham and Worts Distillery eventually became the largest distillery in the British Empire. Set on 13 acres in downtown Toronto, the forty plus buildings constitute the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.

The Distillery is now a pedestrian-only village entirely dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment. Internationally acclaimed galleries, artists’ studios and workshops, restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as live music, all form part of this new landmark cultural centre. In addition to the history, arts and culture, The Distillery has been the location for over 800 film and television productions in the past decade, including Chicago, X-Men, Against The Ropes and The Hurricane, making The Distillery District the most popular film location in Canada.

Of course we had to stop at the Mill Street Brewery, one of Toronto’s fine micro-breweries. My Austrian visitors are great beer lovers and I have been working on giving them a wide variety of samples of Canadian beers, and we added the Mill Street brand to our tasting tour.

From the Distillery District we headed south to Lakeshore Boulevard where we cycled west past Harbourfront, an area that holds high-priced condos right next to the waterfront, where highlights include speciality shops at Queens Quay Terminal, art, theatre and cultural facilities at Harbourfront Centre and a terrific lakeside walking trail. Cruises of the harbour and ferry services run from here.

Having a hot dog outside the Princess Gates

Our bike tour continued west by the water on the Martin Goodman Trail, past Ontario Place and the CNE – Canadian National Exhibition, which was in full swing with its rides and amusement activities. We enjoyed the lake-front ride and were fascinated by the Toronto Hippo Bus that was cruising on the water inside a harbour basin.

Our turnaround point for the tour came at Sunnyside Pavillion, a historic bathing pavillion dating back to a time when the lakeshore was home to a large amusement park. We sat down and had some refreshing drinks right next to a sandy beach on Lake Ontario. Rejuvenated we started our ride back and stopped off at a hot dog stand just outside the Princess Gates of the Canadian National Exhition Grounds. My European visitors were fascinated by the hot dog stands, particularly about the fact that you could scoop all sorts of salads and condiments like sauerkraut, hot peppers and even corn onto the sausages, and we simply had to stop and sample some road-side cuisine.

Serenity on Toronto Island

After heading back through Harbourfront we took the ferry over to Hanlan’s Point with our bicycles and started exploring the Toronto Islands on two wheels. We were all astounded by the serenity of the surroundings, truly an oasis of green right in front of busy downtown Toronto. We cycled all the way from the west to the east side where we had another fabulous view of the cityscape from an old abandoned pier.

Of course all this working out would necessitate a little refreshment break and we cycled over to Centre Island where there is a restaurant next to the ferry dock, unfortunately it was closed. So we cycled back to the Centerville amusement park area where there was a beautiful restaurant with a gorgeous outdoor patio right next to a tranquil waterway and we had a well-deserved rest., admiring the huge white geese that came up to us to request some food.

Hungry geese

After taking the ferry back to the mainland we followed the Martin Goodman Trail east along the Eastern Beaches and had a peak at Ashbridges Bay and the little peninsula right next to it, one of the most scenic and tranquil spots in Toronto. We then headed home on the trail past the Kew Gardens Tennis Club, the hockey/ lacrosse arena and the lawnbowling facilities and my European guests commented on how surprised they were that so much of Toronto’s waterfront is publicly accessible and not fenced off as private property as is the case with so many European waterfront locations.

A gourmet dinner capped off a beautiful day of exploration, allowing us to rest up for the next day to explore the CN Tower, just in time before the remnants of Hurricane Katrina were scheduled to come into town. On Tuesday I joined my guests only for a half day since I had to do some work in the afternoon and we took the subway in to explore the CN Tower. There were absolutely no lineups on Tuesday, which was great, since the Sunday before we had noticed hundreds of people lining up to get up the famous tower.

The CN Tower

We enjoyed the quick 58 second elevator ride that whisked us up to the restaurant level and we started to take in the panorama. Toronto’s most famous, most visible landmark, the CN Tower is the world’s tallest building. Built in 1976, the tower measures 553 metres in height. From its Look Out Level it offers a stunning view of the city, especially at sunset. Daring visitors can test their courage by taking a walk across the Glass Floor 113 stories above the ground, or travel higher up the tower to the Sky Pod, another 33 storeys above ground.

We only went as far as the Look Out area and went one level down to experience the Glass Floor. I stepped on the Glass Floor very very briefly, the feeling of standing on a clear surface 113 floors above ground level was just a little too much and made me a little squeamish. All of us really enjoyed the view from the tower, even though it was a little hazy, but it really gave us a great overview of the city. What amazed my visitors was that Toronto looks so amazingly green from above, and they had commented several times how unusual it is to see such a huge metropolis that has so many green zones, parks and ravines, something that definitely enhances the quality of life in Toronto.

Taste test at the Steamwhislte Brewery

After having taking in the city, we zipped back down in the glass-enclosed elevators and took a walk over to the Steam Whistle Brewery, located at the former John St. Roundhouse, a Canadian Pacific Rail steam locomotive repair facility that was built in 1929. We had to wait about 15 minutes for the facility to open and admired the beautifully renovated industrial architecture. Once inside we got a free taste of Toronto’s premium pilsner. I am not a beer drinker myself, so I quenched my hunger with a fresh pretzel, while my Austrian visitors savoured their samples.

After the visit to the brewery I had to head back to my office, but my visitors continued with a visit to the St. Lawrence Market and a brief stop at the Eaton Centre. When they arrived back at our place, I could tell they had spent another great day exploring Toronto.

Are You Looking for the Most Romantic Resort for Your Marriage Renewals?

Are You Looking for the Most Romantic Resort for Your Marriage Renewals?

Honeymoon is not only for newly married couples. In fact, even couples married for many years now can have marriage renewals and be followed by a honeymoon. You may think that it’s quite funny but it’s not. Married life needs some added spice every now and then to keep the relationship healthy and continuously growing.

And that is why there is a need to renew your vows after many years of living together. It’s also a good way to show other people how much you love each other, and that your partnership can stand the tests of time. It doesn’t matter if you have to spend a certain amount of money for your marriage renewal, besides this is a very rare occasion that calls for a celebration.

There’s a book written by Paulette Cooper that’s all about romantic resorts that’s ideal for destination weddings, honeymoons, and marriage renewals. If you have no idea on how to plan or where to go on your marriage renewal honeymoon, this book can truly help you. It features over 135 cruise ships and elegant hotels found in Mexico, the Caribbean, US, and Hawaii.

You can find great deals for your marriage renewal using this book. There are certain resorts featured in the book that actually offers free renewal marriage vows if you choose to stay there. In fact, according to many surveys, a lot of couples always remember the place where they spent their honeymoon even after so many years has past.

You can expect quality service from the resorts whether it’s a renewal or wedding. They usually provide the official to conduct the ceremony, with decorated sites, cake, flowers, special touches, photographers, and many others. And the best thing about this book is that it tells you the low-downs of each resort; and this will greatly help you in deciding which site suits your budget. You will have the opportunity to know all this resorts if you purchase the book.

Here are the things that you will find out if you purchase the book –

– resorts that offer honeymoon packages suited for marriage renewals and weddings
– the cost of such packages and its inclusions
– the conducted religious ceremonies
– know the resorts that do the paperwork, especially obtaining your marriage license
– the persons to contact for the honeymoon or ceremony
– extra costs if guests are brought to the ceremony
– your planned duration of staying there
– the state’s or country’s marriage rules
– about booking for your wedding or renewal
– the resort’s size
– whether the resort if strictly for adults, or if children are accommodated, and if the package is inclusive of hotels
– the resort’s web page, their email address
– their location and many others

You can learn all these things for only $20. All the resorts are located in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, and the US. Aside from the resorts, you can also check out cruise ships like Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise, and Royal Caribbean.

And for this particular season, the best destinations are the Gaylord Palms located in Florida, Royal Hideaway in Mexico, the Phoenician in Arizona, Alaskan Weddings in Alaska, and Hyatt Regency in Arizona.

If you’re planning for a marriage renewal, don’t forget to purchase this great book.

Looking for the Most Romantic Resort for Your Marriage Renewals

Looking for the Most Romantic Resort for Your Marriage Renewals

Honeymoon is not only for newly married couples. In fact, even couples married for many years now can have marriage renewals and be followed by a honeymoon. You may think that it’s quite funny but it’s not. Married life needs some added spice every now and then to keep the relationship healthy and continuously growing.

And that is why there is a need to renew your vows after many years of living together. It’s also a good way to show other people how much you love each other, and that your partnership can stand the tests of time. It doesn’t matter if you have to spend a certain amount of money for your marriage renewal, besides this is a very rare occasion that calls for a celebration.

There’s a book written by Paulette Cooper that’s all about romantic resorts that’s ideal for destination weddings, honeymoons, and marriage renewals. If you have no idea on how to plan or where to go on your marriage renewal honeymoon, this book can truly help you. It features over 135 cruise ships and elegant hotels found in Mexico, the Caribbean, US, and Hawaii.

You can find great deals for your marriage renewal using this book. There are certain resorts featured in the book that actually offers free renewal marriage vows if you choose to stay there. In fact, according to many surveys, a lot of couples always remember the place where they spent their honeymoon even after so many years has past.

You can expect quality service from the resorts whether it’s a renewal or wedding. They usually provide the official to conduct the ceremony, with decorated sites, cake, flowers, special touches, photographers, and many others. And the best thing about this book is that it tells you the low-downs of each resort; and this will greatly help you in deciding which site suits your budget. You will have the opportunity to know all this resorts if you purchase the book.

Here are the things that you will find out if you purchase the book –

– resorts that offer honeymoon packages suited for marriage renewals and weddings
– the cost of such packages and its inclusions
– the conducted religious ceremonies
– know the resorts that do the paperwork, especially obtaining your marriage license
– the persons to contact for the honeymoon or ceremony
– extra costs if guests are brought to the ceremony
– your planned duration of staying there
– the state’s or country’s marriage rules
– about booking for your wedding or renewal
– the resort’s size
– whether the resort if strictly for adults, or if children are accommodated, and if the package is inclusive of hotels
– the resort’s web page, their email address
– their location and many others

You can learn all these things for only $20. All the resorts are located in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Central America, and the US. Aside from the resorts, you can also check out cruise ships like Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise, and Royal Caribbean.

And for this particular season, the best destinations are the Gaylord Palms located in Florida, Royal Hideaway in Mexico, the Phoenician in Arizona, Alaskan Weddings in Alaska, and Hyatt Regency in Arizona.

If you’re planning for a marriage renewal, don’t forget to purchase this great book.

Time-Shares for Rent in St

Time-Shares for Rent in St

Share in the time-shares for rent in St. Maarten. Time-shares for rent in St. Maarten allows you to experience a vacation-ownership property resort as your own. Historic Caribbean hotels are up for grabs. Take Mary’s Boon Beach Plantation, a timeshares for rent in St. Maarten that is conveniently accessible and accessing resort-home. This timeshares for rent in St. Maarten is on the most secluded parts of the island yet located just south of the Princess Juliana Airport on the Simpson Bay Beach, and only minutes away to the active lifestyle of shopping, dinning, bar hopping, and even Casino-gambling.

The Mary’s Boon Beach Plantation is a renowned resort that has been offering timeshares for rent in St. Maarten for years of year-round service, keeping with its historic and unique traditional Caribbean atmosphere for over 30years. The friendly staff garbed in Festive Madras Costume has been serving guests since Mary Pomeroy opened the doors in 1970. The boon friendly hosts Mark and Karla Cleveland have been personally escorting guests in their total of 26 beachfronts and garden plantation-style of relaxing rooms and exclusive suites.

The beautiful island getaway with some one and two bedroom beach-bungalows is only a few steps to the stunning shores. Wherever you look is a terrific turquoise clear Caribbean waters. The beach-lover can stroll the seaside with the white sand and ruffled-shoreline upon his feet.
Swim the ocean or just while away in the beachfront-terraces and gardens or the pool’s swim-up bar. Just the Beachfront Restaurant is sure enough to give a feel of dinning with a ship’s captain. Mary’s Boon offers its special Caribbean service and ambiance. The Frommers Caribbean Travel Guide pronounces Mary’s Boon as “the most charming and well managed small inn on Dutch St. Maarten… draws a loyal repeat clientele that appreciates its sense of intimacy and understated elegance. Everything’s relaxed and informal, though the service is alert and attentive.”
Plus this timeshares for rent in St. Maarten offers the best in flexibility that the St. Maarten Vacation Ownership market has to offer. Affiliated with Interval International, a world-wide vacation exchange network, this beautiful Mary’s Boon beachfront-hotel has been successfully marketed since July 1997. With the purchase of one week, you will be awarded a bonus week and also avail of the Family-and-Friends Special Offers. You will also have options to do in-house exchanges and unlimited vacations at first class Interval International worldwide destinations. You can take advantage of discounted cruises and through their Travel Club have access to cheaper flights and car-rental.
You can vacation through 2030, use it or lend it to your friends and family, rent it out, give someone a honeymoon-gift or graduation-present, exchange it for a different location/week, or bequeath it or sell it. Mary’s Boon Beach Plantation had the honor of being readers-choice as one of the top ten hotels in the Caribbean in the November’03 issue of Conde Nast Travel Magazine, the only hotel on St. Maarten to be selected by such a prestigious travel magazine.

Holidays With Children Don’t Always Mix

Holidays With Children Don’t Always Mix

It’s not a politically correct topic to talk about, but not everyone wants to go on a cruise with a bunch of little ones running around underfoot. Even worse are some of the bigger kids who are up to no good. But how do you go on a cruise and make sure it will be a vacation you love, instead of a prison sentence you loathe because of the under aged attendees?

You know what you want in a cruise. You picture a wonderful relaxing time at sea, with those you are close to. You want to be able to dress up at night, enjoy quiet and romantic moments on the deck, and maybe just have some time to sit back, relax and read a book.

Now enter someone else’s kids, that they don’t want to deal with so they’ve let roam free about the vessel. They are running around screaming and chasing each other on the deck. They are jumping into the pool, splashing you with their cannonballs, not to mention all the pranks they may see as a lot of fun to play on unsuspecting cruise passengers. Your sparking holiday image has just become a nightmare.

There is a way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. It all has to do with doing a little research and careful cruise selection.

First, when considering a cruise to take, remember that not all cruise lines are as kid-friendly. Some of them fail to offer any sort of kid and teen-related activities, and chances are, there won’t be as many kids on board. While parents don’t always keep an eye on their little ones, they do tend to be drawn to cruises with programs geared towards kids. Think about the cruise lines you have looked at. All the advertising for cruise lines such as Disney, Carnival, and Princess show a number of programs geared towards the youth population. Essentially these programs let parents think it’s ok to bring their children along on a cruise, because they will be able to send them away to these programs while they still enjoy their cruise. The problem with that is that the kids don’t always stay in the program offerings, and choose to spend their time being noisy and causing trouble as you’re trying to enjoy some peace and quiet. Instead you may want to consider cruise lines such as Radisson, Celebrity or Crystal Lines, which do not offer child or teen programs, and therefore are less likely to have passengers in those age groups onboard.

A final consideration is the time of year you are planning on traveling. If school is out, there is a much larger chance your cruise will be overrun by children and teenagers. If they’re out of school and mom and dad want to go on a trip, they’re going along. Instead try to gear your holiday towards times when the children are still in school. Most parents will not pull a child from their studies just to go on a cruise.

Why You Should Go On A Cruise: There’s More Than You Think For Less!

Why You Should Go On A Cruise: There’s More Than You Think For Less!

Well it’s obviously that time of year again. The kids keep looking at you expectantly. Your partner has that nervous, wary look in the eye. The house is buzzing with excited chatter that seems to erupt only when you’re in the other room and tends to quiet down when your footsteps approach. There is talk of mutiny. You have heard the whispers around the dinner table when everyone thought you were out of range.

These are the times when it seems as if you hold the fate of the world in your hands. So what will it be? How can you possibly choose between tropical beaches and Mickey Mouse? Last year was a disaster and you know that you only have one more year to redeem yourself before the decision making is taken out of your hands forever. You can feel the weight of defeat pressing down on your shoulders. How can you possibly please everyone? Someone is bound to rebel; there’s just no way around it.

Where in the world are you going to take your family on vacation? The choices are obvious. The kids want to go to Disney Land, and your partner is not opposed. There are golf courses nearby, right? You would really love to lounge on a brilliant, white tropical beach, cool drink in hand. Maybe tour ancient ruins and see a little bit of the world. There is always Vegas and the strip. And you have been talking about a casino vacation for quite sometime. The options are endless, but you can’t possibly book the vacation of everyone’s dreams on your budget and during your timeframe; can you?

Actually there is a way that you can do everything on your family’s vacation wish list without breaking the bank and taking the next six months off of work. The answer lies in a floating hotel paradise, otherwise called a cruise ship.

If you book a cruise vacation with a popular cruise line such as Princess Cruise Lines, you will be able to squeeze a whole lot of vacation into a small time frame. And there’s no repacking and traveling from destination to destination as is required in many multi-faceted vacations. All you have to do is board, unpack, and let the vacation of a lifetime unfurl before your very eyes.

One of the main reasons that people decide to spend their vacation this way is that they can do so much in a small time amount of time. On just one, one-week trip, it is possible to enjoy fine dining and entertainment nightly, try your luck at casino gambling, lie on the beach for hours, tour great ancient ruins, golf on world-famous greens, shop in the open markets of the world, and give the kids an amazing vacation that will blow the amusement park right out of the water.

In addition to all of this, you never have to unpack. Your luxurious, floating palace will provide you with all of the amenities of a five-star hotel plus some. There will be several restaurants to choose from, (Plus 24 hour room service!) and on-board activities that will keep you entertained and make you wish that you never had to leave the ship. But you will be able to leave the ship if you choose, and believe me, you’ll want to. The shore excursions offer you fabulous adventures at exotic locales.

Maybe, just maybe, you will be able to rouse yourself from sunning on the decks just long enough to dip your toes into the sapphire waters of the Caribbean. Or you might trade an afternoon of on-board spa treatments for a breathtaking, underwater view of a nearby coral reef. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Cruises are also very affordable if you book in advance and know where to look for great deals. Granted, the price tag per head might seem a little hefty at first. But after you take into consideration the cost of flying to the numerous locations that your cruise will visit, hotel accommodations once you get there, money for food and entertainment, and added costs for each activity that you do, a cruise is a great deal.

When you book a cruise for the family, the only cost that you pay is the price of the cruise ticket. Meals and entertainment are included as well as many amenities aboard ship. In many cases, the cost of the cruise also includes excursions and scheduled activities at exotic ports. The truth of the matter is this: If you paid for each individual item that is included in a cruise package, you would have to cancel your next five vacations to pay for it.

Regardless of the latest media frenzy, cruises are also extremely safe. Sadly, many hot tourist locations all over the world are home to ruthless thieves that are just waiting to prey on an unsuspecting traveler. A cruise ship can shelter you from crime by providing you with a safe haven and vehicle of travel while at the same time providing you with a support group to travel with while docked. As you can imagine, touring the local markets with a large group of people is much safer than going it alone.

So why take a cruise? Because there is no other vacation that can encompass so many different activities and please the whole family like a voyage with Princess Cruise Lines can. It’s inexpensive and it is safe. So, if you want to book a dream vacation that will please the whole family, maybe you should think about taking a cruise this year. I can hear the warm, pristine beaches calling, can you? Oh, and I think I saw a martini at the bar with your name on it.

Don’t Let A Bad Choice Of Stateroom Ruin Your Cruise! The Details You Need To Know…

Don’t Let A Bad Choice Of Stateroom Ruin Your Cruise! The Details You Need To Know…

Important Cruise Decisions: The Details You Need To Know In Choosing a Stateroom

Not all staterooms are created equally. This is a fact that becomes all too painful if you happen to choose the wrong room for your cruise vacation. I’ve heard horror stories of sleepless nights filled with the endless droning of the ship’s engines, of claustrophobic cabins scarcely the size of a walk-in closet, and of vacationers having to go up two or three decks before they could tell if it was day or night. On the other hand, there are stories of unbelievable luxury, of sitting idly on a private verandah watching the sun set while sipping wine, and of spacious suites decorated to lavish perfection.

Believe it or not, these two scenarios, and everything in between, happen on every cruise ship on each and every voyage. This is why cabin selection is one of the most, if not the very most, important decisions that you can make before taking your cruise. And with more than 20 different types of staterooms available on a single cruise ship, choosing the right room is no easy chore.

Understand you are going to love the cruise ship itself. There will be many spacious areas on the ship and on the deck and there will be so much to do on the ship and on the different shore excursions that you can actually only use your room to sleep! The cruise industry is not expanding and building ships at the great rate they are because people are not enjoying their cruise. On the contrary, people love cruises and there are many reasons why. I just want you to understand what the staterooms are really like so you are not surprised in a negative fashion and so you can make an informed decision to make your cruise the best possible dream vacation it can be for you.

The number one factor that most people consider before choosing a stateroom is price. The price that you pay for booking a stateroom is dependent on many factors including the size of the room, the room’s layout, and the location of the room on the ship. The ship itself can even play a role in how much a stateroom costs. This is because luxury liners are normally crafted with larger rooms and more built-in luxuries. In fact, the smallest stateroom available on a luxury liner might be much larger than a room on a mainstream cruise liner. Rooms on a luxury liner also almost always come with an ocean view or balcony.
Types of Cruise Ships.

While many new cruise liners have inside staterooms of comparable size no matter which type of vessel you choose, the ship type plays an important role if you book passage on an older ship. Keep in mind that a larger ship usually has larger rooms and more amenities, but don’t take this for granted without checking it out first or you could get a surprise. Here is a brief overview of popular cruise lines and the types of ships that they use:

1. Large Ships – Carnival Cruise Lines; Celebrity Cruises; Norwegian Cruise Line; Princess Cruises; and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

2. Mid-size Ships – Crystal Cruises; Holland America Line; and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

3. Small Ships – Hapag-Lloyd Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises.
Types of Staterooms

Once you have chosen the type of ship that you wish to book passage on, you will need to decide what type of room would be best suited to your voyage. This will no doubt be decided by a variety of factors including your budget, the length of your cruise, and your personal preferences.

To help you decide, here is a list of the four major types of staterooms and a description of each:

1. Standard Inside Staterooms (no window or porthole) – These are the least expensive of all staterooms and are, therefore, the smallest. These rooms normally are only about 120 to 180 square feet, but are usually tastefully decorated. Gone are the bunk beds of yesteryear. Today, most inside staterooms are furnished with two twin beds that can be pushed together for a couple. While the sleeping situation has improved, the bathroom in an inside stateroom is still excruciatingly small. There is no tub, only a shower, and a noisy vacuum toilet like that on an airplane. A sink and a few shelves finish off this small, but functional space. The rest of the stateroom is decorated in much the same way as a hotel room with wall to wall carpeting, individually controlled heat and air conditioning, TV, telephone, dresser, and a reading chair.

2. Standard Outside Staterooms (with porthole or window) – These rooms are virtually identical to inside staterooms with one small exception: the window or porthole. Modern ships normally have large picture windows instead of a porthole but some modern ships still offer rooms with portholes on lower decks. These are less expensive than the rooms with windows but don’t offer much of a view. Some portholes are even partially submerged under the waterline or blocked by lifeboats.

3. Staterooms with Balconies or Verandahs – These staterooms are larger than the standard stateroom and come complete with an outside space. Although small, this extra space gives you the opportunity to see the ocean at all times from every angle in your room. And when you bore of sitting inside your cabin, you can open your door to a fresh breeze or step out on the balcony to absorb the view. Many of these staterooms even have a separate sitting area furnished with a convertible sofa which supplies extra sleeping space.

4. Suites – Suites are balconied cabins that feature separate sleeping and sitting areas. These are the largest rooms that you can book on a cruise ship. Many even have large bathrooms which are completed with a tub. While these are the most expensive rooms aboard a cruise ship, the price may well be worth it if you plan on spending numerous days at sea or a good deal of time relaxing in your room.

Another consideration that you need to make before booking a stateroom on a cruise ship is location. The location of your stateroom not only affects price but also affects the entire cruise experience. A stateroom too close to the engines can be noisy, and a stateroom on the lowest levels can make you feel like you are entombed and not part of the festivities on the upper decks. On the other hand, if you plan on spending little time in your room, these sacrifices might be well worth the money that you save. Now you know, so off you go!

The Most Exciting Way to Spend the Summer

The Most Exciting Way to Spend the Summer

Going on a cruise is probably one of the best ways to spend the holidays. You get to travel to different parts of the world where the cruise ship docks: from the sunny tropical isles of the Caribbean, the exotic ports of the Mediterranean and even as far away as the snowbound fjords of Alaska. Also, today’s cruise ships are veritable floating hotels or even floating cities with a complete array of recreational facilities and top-notch luxury amenities.

Most people spend up to a maximum of 10, 000 dollars per week to go on a cruise. What if you have the chance to enjoy the cruise ship experience for free and also get paid for it? Sounds like a tall tale, isn’t it? But it is actually quite possible by getting a job on a cruise ship. There are even cruise ship summer jobs for students too. If you love taking an adventure, meeting lots of people and have that wanderlust within you, a summer job on a cruise ship is the best option.

What are the perks and benefits of working on a luxury cruise ship? This kind of job actually has numerous rewards. Some of the most common perks of working on a cruise ship are the following. You will not only earn by taking up a cruise ship summer job, you also get to save up money within a short period of time since almost all your expenses within the ship such as accommodation, food, medical care and others, will be taken care of by the cruise line.

Of course, another advantage of a cruise ship summer job is that you get to travel in style to the top destinations of the world and get paid for it. Probably, no other overseas job offers the same variety and fun as a job on a cruise ship. In fact, you will not be working on only one country but will get to experience the sights and sounds of the different countries where the cruise ship calls.

There are hundreds of jobs on board cruise ships as well as cruise company headquarters on land. It’s just a matter of finding the right job that fits your skills and abilities. Cruise lines hire people with knowledge and expertise in any of the following: hospitality, entertainment, customer relations, marketing, healthcare, fitness, tourism, accounting and so much more. These cruise lines also look for people who are naturally outgoing and have a positive attitude which is especially helpful when on board a ship along with thousands of tourists who want to experience the best holiday.

How to find a cruise ship summer job? The first step is to know who the key companies in the cruise ship industry are such as Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruises – the big three of the cruise ship industry. There are also smaller cruise ship companies and specialty cruise lines. Cruise liners offer different programs and facilities ranging from spas, salons, music bars, sports facilities, and many more. Choose a job that you are interested in and probably have some knowledge about. Your education as well as your previous work experience will prove to be helpful when applying for a cruise ship summer job.

Just a tip: before you send your resume, it will be a great advantage if you learn at least one new language. It is also highly recommended to get your CPR or Lifesaving Certification, as this will definitely be a plus.