In May, I had the privilege of escorting a group of clients from Travel Haus on a Princess land and sea tour to Alaska. The land/sea package we selected allowed for a four night land tour followed by a 7 night cruise. If you’ve never been to Alaska, one of these packages is the way to make the most of your visit!
Princess took the worry out of the trip as a packet of information with all of the needed details awaited us at each hotel and lodge. Princess has their own lodges in multiple Alaskan locations. After spending our first night in Anchorage, we boarded a comfortable motor coach and headed to Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, with its inviting fireplace and surrounding hiking trails. The main attraction, Mt. McKinley, was hiding, though we were able to get a glimpse of it for a few minutes when the clouds lifted. Salmon, freshly caught in the Copper River the night before, was one of the many delicious menu options served in one of their on-site restaurants. Another bus ride took us further north to Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge where we again enjoyed beautiful scenery and great food. The real treat was the tour into Denali National Park where we saw moose, caribou, and dall sheep. The bears, however, must have been hiding.
We were transported from Denali to our cruise ship by train on an all-day trip with breath-taking scenery from our domed train car. Even if you’ve cruised before, an Alaskan cruise is so unique because of the gorgeous scenery that can be, almost constantly, seen from the ship. Whale sightings from the ship were a regular occurrence. Scenic cruising in Glacier Bay and by Hubbard Glacier was a highlight, especially when we observed the glaciers calving.
The ports of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchican each had their own unique flavor. Shore excursions added to the excitement of each port. My favorite excursion involved a helicopter ride to the top of Mendenhall Glacier where we got out and walked. Other members of our group went on wildlife excursions and actually got to see the elusive bear! When not enjoying the ports, we loved participating in the many activities on board our ship, the Star Princess. Line dance class was my particular favorite. Some members of our Travel Haus group have some impressive moves! Each evening our group gathered together for a delicious meal served in the dining room. Nightly entertainment amused us until it was time to go fall into our comfortable beds.
Alaska is one of those “bucket list” destinations I highly recommend that everyone see at least once!
I recently traveled to Ireland with Celtic Tours. After an easy overnight flight, my tour began in Dublin with a stop at the world-famous Guinness Storehouse. Spending the first night at Cabra Castle, which is said to be haunted, made the trip extra special. Typical Irish weather didn’t keep me from completely enjoying every minute!
Our driver guide, named Martin, was both informative and funny. He safely navigated the narrow streets through quaint villages like Kenmare and Bantry, as well as country roads over beautiful mountains. A stop in Cobh (pronounced “cove”) allowed time to tour the museum that told the interesting story of this last port the Titanic visited before meeting its untimely end. Roaming the grounds of Blarney Castle, walking the cobblestone streets of medieval Kilkenny, and strolling along the wild coast of Ballycotton made for some memorable afternoons.
Good food, traditional villages, and friendly people make Ireland a place I would like to visit again!
In August of 2015, I had the pleasure of touring many resorts in the Riviera Maya/Cancun area of Mexico. Here are my thoughts on 3 of my favorite resorts...
Royalton Rivera Cancun
“Just 15 minutes from the airport, this beautiful resort is spread out with a family section on one side and an adult-only section on the other. There are suites that can accommodate a family of five with 2 queen beds and a sofa bed. There is a water park for the children and a casino for the grown-ups. The half-mile long beach provides for plenty of relaxing by the water. The wedding facilities are private and well-planned for parties of various sizes. You’ll love the modern, elegant feel of the Royalton.”
Secrets Playa Mujeres
“This lovely adults-only property located north of Cancun is less than a year old and has many luxurious amenities including swimout rooms. Many of the well-appointed suites have an ocean view. The beach is beautiful with protected areas on either side of the property giving travelers a quiet spot for a long, romantic walk. If the beach isn’t your thing, you will love the many beautiful pools, one of which is zero beach entry. If there’s a honeymoon or anniversary in your future, you’ll want to check out this resort.”
Barcelo Maya Beach
“If you and your family like to have a lot of activities available in one spot, this is the resort for you. Comprised of 4 different hotels, there are accommodations to fit every budget. Upgrading to the premium package is so worth it, however! Who doesn’t want a Jacuzzi on their balcony?! When not enjoying the gorgeous, palm tree-studded beach, you can choose one of the 8 pools (with 2 more in the works) or go bowling at their private bowling alley. There’s even a shopping mall on the premises. If you stay a week, you certainly won’t run out of things to do!”