There were too many hotels and resorts that quickly closed in 2020, but behind the scenes there were also some brand-new luxury properties that quietly had grand openings in vacation destination hot spots. Here are six new hotels and resorts that debuted in 2020 that we think are worth a visit.
1. Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa
Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa originally opened in March 2020 and temporarily closed soon after, but on April 1, 2021 — no joke — the resort reopened and welcomed its first guests. The all-suite, upscale and modern resort is on Anse Marcel Bay on the French side of the island and is just 35 minutes away from the Princess Juliana International Airport. This resort has a lot to boast: It has the largest infinity pool in the western Caribbean; a white-sand beach with calm waters; views of neighboring Anguilla island (just a 20-minute boat ride away); fun on-site activities like bocce ball, cooking classes, pingpong, yoga and kayaking; and a chic, international adults-only vibe. Plus, guests can choose from three different incredible views from the 258 suites: ocean, marina or mountain. A 7,000-square-foot spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, six on-site restaurants and five modern bars round out the on-site experience, but venturing off the resort grounds cannot be missed. The French side of St. Martin is known for its outdoor markets and cuisine — both French and local — so every guest’s itinerary should include some time to get out and about. Itineraries should also include a visit to the nearby Orient Bay Beach, the island’s most famous beach, dotted with idyllic restaurants and bars.
2. The Fives Oceanfront Puerto Morelos
The Fives Oceanfront Puerto Morelos opened its doors in July 2020. The boutique hotel on Mexico’s shores is in Puerto Morelos, a charming beach village midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Some say this enchanting fishing village is the best-kept secret on the Yucatan and the perfect vacation destination for both a relaxing or adventurous trip. This is The Fives’ third property that offers a laid-back ambiance with a refreshing approach to modern Mexican design that is sure to have visitors feeling relaxed and recharged with every visit. Guests that are eager to escape to the refuge in Mexico’s breathtaking Riviera Maya will feel at home in their beautifully designed one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with residential style and chic Mexican decor in all 94 suites on the property. All suites are equipped with the latest technology, floor-to-ceiling windows, furnished balconies and more. There is a private beach club with cabanas and sun loungers along the Caribbean Sea, plus two infinity pools and local and global alfresco cuisine that caters to everyone, which just so happens to overlook the turquoise-blue Caribbean waters.
3. Dreams Natura Resort & Spa
The opening of Dreams Natura Resort & Spa may have been delayed, but the wait was worth it for the resort’s grand opening in September 2020. The 553-room resort is inspired by the Mayan jungle it’s beautifully nestled in. From the cenote-inspired spa to the exotic fish ponds, the resort respects and honors the environment around it. Beyond the beauty, there are plenty of on-site activities for everyone in the family. For water lovers, there are four swimming pools, including an activities pool, children’s splash pool and an infinity pool complete with waterslide, and a lazy river perfect for chilling out. Foodies will rejoice at the dining options available from the nine on-site restaurants. From French to pan-Asian to authentic Mexican, every appetite will be more than satisfied, plus the exclusive Chef’s Table dining option lets you get in on the action in the kitchen and watch the chef prepare your meal. This all-new, all-suite resort is just 10 minutes away from the Cancun International Airport, but its location, tucked into the jungle, will make you feel like you’re a world away.
4. Coral Level at Iberostar Selection Bávaro
Iberostar now boasts seven hotels in the Dominican Republic. Though it technically opened in 2019, Coral Level, the exclusive hotel within the Iberostar Selection Bávaro complex, is remarkable enough to be included on this list. Both all-inclusive hotels are family friendly and set right on Costa del Coco, a beautiful golden-sand beach in Punta Cana. Guests of the Coral Level will enjoy premium services like the private beach area with Bali beds, suite-style rooms, priority booking in restaurants and a priority wine selection. You’ll also be privy to all the perks of Iberostar Selection Bávaro, like access to the spa, the three-floor fitness center and 18-hole, P.B. Dye-designed golf course, the best in the area. No matter where you stay at Iberostar Selection Bávaro, you can stroll through the complex’s charming Caribbean town with quaint shops, set among tropical gardens. Beyond the resort, you can visit the Hoyo Azul cenote, just 15 miles away, and marvel at its turquoise waters.
5. Dreams Vista Cancun Golf & Spa Resort
Dreams Vista Cancun Golf & Spa Resort opened in July 2020 with views on views on views. Every room and suite at this new Dreams property, located in the exclusive gated community of Puerta del Mar (30 minutes from the Cancun International Airport), has an ocean view. If that alone doesn’t spark your interest, this contemporary resort has even more to entice you. This place was meant for families. The resort’s “family suites concept” includes connecting rooms that can accommodate up to six people. An outdoor theater, two surf pools, Splash Park, climbing wall, Explorer’s Club for Kids and a Core Zone Teen’s Club will keep everyone busy. And a complimentary water shuttle to the Puerto Cancun Marina Town Center and to Isla Mujeres dock terminal is a super fun and convenient way to explore the surrounding area. If you need a break from the fam, resort guests have direct access to the Puerto Cancun golf course just next door. The rooftop pool is adults-only and while the Bluewater Grill restaurant serves up fresh fish and seafood to everyone during lunch, dinner is Mediterranean fusion just for adult diners.
6. Royalton Grenada Resort & Spa
Royalton Grenada Resort & Spa rolled out the red carpet for first-ever arrivals in March 2020. The highly anticipated, top-rated, all-inclusive luxury resort in Grenada is located on two white-sand beaches in Tamarind Bay. The grand opening followed Royalton’s expansion in the islands of the eastern Caribbean, offering guests a new level of hospitality to the picture-perfect island of Grenada. Discerning travelers searching for a luxurious beach getaway will feel at peace here with relaxing ocean views, a world-class spa and a host of complimentary non motorized water sports. But that’s not all — Royalton Grenada Resort & Spa features 269 luxury suites (with rain showers, two-person soaker tubs and signature DreamBed mattresses) and is the first property within the Royalton portfolio that debuted Ma Maison restaurant, the French bistro-style eatery offering authentic cuisine. Guests have other options when it comes to gastronomy with unlimited reservation-free dining at a la carte restaurants on-site. Plus, there is direct access to two of the island’s most beautiful white-sand beaches nearby.
If you’re ready to learn more about new attractions that came up as you were staying safe indoors- Give us a call or email us today and Let’s Get Busy Livin’!
Whether it’s unforgettable pool experiences, new kids club offerings, robust keiki (children) day programs, or kitchenettes to make travel just a bit easier, Marriott International’s portfolio of hotels and resorts offer options on all four islands.
1. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Celebrate the best of Honolulu from Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach. Widely known as the "First Lady of Waikiki," our historic hotel first opened its doors in 1901 and offers a seamless blend of Victorian elegance and contemporary comfort. Boasting an unbeatable beachfront location, we're just steps from the immaculate shores of legendary Waikiki Beach and within walking distance of Honolulu's most beloved shopping, dining and entertainment attractions. For your convenience, we provide three distinct, sophisticated room layouts, each one overflowing with thoughtful amenities. In addition, our hotel features a towering banyan tree, a shimmering outdoor pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, the only beachfront spa in Waikiki and six on-site bars and restaurants. Host an event with us here in Honolulu to take advantage of stunning outdoor venues and top-quality planning and catering. Allow Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach to raise the bar for beachfront luxury.
2.The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort stretches along its namesake white-sand beach on the Island of Hawaii. The Kohala Coast is known for its world-class shoreline as well as for the cultural and archaeological gems nestled between its centuries-old lava fields. Our resort’s contemporary style contrasts with our lush, manicured gardens and the endless blues of the sky and the ocean. Enjoy our four reimagined dining venues influenced by the island’s bounty. Hit the links on our award-winning 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course designed by Arnold Palmer. Cool off in two swimming pools, including a 6,800-square-foot freeform family pool and an adult-exclusive infinity pool, overlooking Hapuna Beach. Our WestinWorkout Center and Crossfit Studio are complemented by the Hapuna Spa for rejuvenation and relaxation. Our resort boasts more than 85,000 square feet of newly refreshed function space for productive business meetings and inspiring social events. Choose from 249 oversized guest rooms, including 17 suites.
3. Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Edging the western coast of Hawaii's breathtaking Big Island, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is a beachfront haven in a stunning travel destination. Find your respite in scenic hotel accommodations with contemporary comforts and signature amenities. Elevate your experience in select suites and resort rooms overlooking beautiful Anaeho'omalu Bay. Ignite your senses with delectable dining at our hotel restaurants, and be sure to attend our Sunset Luau for music, dancing and classic Big Island fare. Hone your golf game at two championship courses or spend the day lounging on an immaculate white-sand beach. Host flawless meetings, weddings and social affairs in inspiring event space with custom catering and expert planners. After a full day in Hawaii, refresh your well-being with massage, beauty and wellness therapies at our hotel spa. With three sparkling outdoor pools, a waterslide and covered beachfront location, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is an island oasis on the lovely Big Island of Hawaii.
4. Sheraton Kauai Resort at Poipu Beach
Aloha from Sheraton Kauai Resort, a welcoming hotel oasis nestled on the shores of Hawaii's world-famous Poipu Beach. From this enviable vantage point, our hotel offers guests intimate access to the Garden Island's endless charms—from spectacular beaches, lush rainforests to world-class golf courses. Relax in our newly-renovated guest rooms and suites, where either sparkling oceanfront or lush garden views await. Spend your days soaking in the sun on Poipu Beach or relaxing in a shaded cabana next to our Ocean Pool. Dine at our array of authentic eateries, serving fresh Hawaiian fare in a tropical setting; RumFire Poipu Beach is our signature restaurant boasting spectacular sunset views. Showcasing an array of indoor and outdoor event venues, our hotel is also a brilliant location for a corporate retreat, wedding or family reunion in Kauai. Whatever brings you to Hawaii, our golden-sand beaches and misty sea breezes ensure you'll never want to leave. We look forward to hosting you at Sheraton Kauai Resort.
5. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay
With an unparalleled location on the iconic lava rocks of Hawaii's Kona Coast, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay offers a captivating blend of adventure, culture, heritage and hospitality for your trip to Kailua-Kona. Our hotel overlooks Kailua-Kona's manta ray coastal feeding grounds and offers access to Kona Coffee farms, snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay and Volcanoes National Park. Embrace Kona life in our hotel pool, pamper yourself at Ho'ola Spa or try traditional Hawaiian activities like snorkeling, cultural tours and hula lessons. Bask in the Kona sunshine at our poolside resort bar, sample fusion cuisine at Rays on the Bay or enjoy history and entertainment at Haleo Luau. Explore our adaptable indoor venues, as well as 100,000 square feet of outdoor space with awe-inspiring views. Unwind in expensive hotel rooms and suites with private lanais and the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. Find your own slice of paradise in Hawaii at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.
We have many more hotel ideas to enjoy with your family! Give us a call or email us today and Let’s Get Busy Livin’!
Travel Inspiration: Caribbean Carnivals
Worry not! There is a Caribbean carnival out there for every type of traveler.
1. For the First-Timer
If navigating the ruckus of Carnival sounds overwhelming, Curacao's got you. The Dutch island organizes a tame, tourist-friendly parade right through the heart of downtown Willemstad. Must-see events include the Grand Parade, the crowning of the king and queen and the ceremonial burning of Momo, a large straw-filled doll that represents bad luck and sin. If the idea of baring it all isn't your thing, the more conservative costumes are a great family-friendly alternative to popular outfits on other islands.
2. For the Family
Grand Cayman is a great, family-friendly destination, and Carnival time is no exception. The Cayman Islands national Carnival event, Batabano, is a vibrant celebration of the island's rich culture and turtle-loving heritage. In its 16th year, the festival's Junior Batabano on April 28 features a children's street parade and Family Fun Day with mask decorating and colorful stilt walkers.
3. For the History Buff
Carnival in Barbados takes another form as Crop Over. The festival celebrates a 200-year-old tradition that honors the end of the sugar cane season and includes indigenous arts and crafts, calypso, flower festivals and folk concerts. During all the revelry, make time to visit Mount Gay Rum, the world's oldest rum producer, and learn about the history of rum.
4. For the Holiday Traveler
If you love to get away for Christmas and New Year, head to the Bahamas for sun, sand and Junkanoo. The celebration features colorful parades with Goombay drums, vibrant, feathered costumes and massive dance troupes with hundreds of dancers. If you're not a morning person, grab a large cup of coffee before heading to downtown Nassau for these early morning dance performances. Festivities typically start around two in the morning!
5. For the Party Animal
Trinidad is the birthplace of Caribbean Carnival and though dozens of other islands have adopted the holiday, it's still the biggest celebration. It's also the wildest party around. If you're looking for an early spring break, you'll love the all-day and all-night revelry in Port of Spain.
6. For the Foodie
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria, the U.S. Virgin Islands might not be at the top of your travel list, but now, more than ever, the islands need tourism. Celebrate Carnival while supporting St. Thomas from March 31 to April 28. The island's month-long festivities include pageantry, dance and music, but the highlight is the savory cuisine. Don't miss the food fair showcasing local eats and artisan crafts or Carnival Village for nightlife and local cocktails.
7. For the Music Lovers
St. Vincent's Carnival celebration, Vincy Mas, kicks off in May but parties go all the way through July. There's music everywhere, from steel drum street music to calypso to Caribbean soca. Don't miss the Mardi Gras parade of bands competing for the coveted "Band of the Year" title.
8. For the Obscure Traveler
If you're a veteran Carnival-er and want something different, head to Carriacou in the Grenadines for Shakespeare Mas. The unique event at Carriacou Carnival can't be found anywhere else in the world. Revelers and thespians engage in a battle of wits, using only Shakespearean verse.
Bimini, Bahamas (Junkanoo Carnival)
Return to paradise for a 2 or 3-night stay. Resorts World Bimini is ready to play!
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The Club, Barbados (Historical Carnival)
Offering laid-back appeal and spectacular ocean views, this adults-only (16 and over) retreat provides couples and spa lovers alike with the perfect setting for a peaceful Caribbean getaway. Whether you are swimming through the freshwater pools, strolling amidst manicured gardens or enjoying rejuvenating treatments at the Spa, you will be delighted by this breezy island oasis. With two restaurants and three bars serving delicious cuisine and colorful cocktails, the resort’s All-Inclusive program also offers remarkable value for money.
Prices starting at $1,963 5 nights + flight per person.
Book by 09/31/2021
Call us or email us today to take advantage of these offers and Let's Get Busy Livin' Travel! e to edit.
Carnivals are a cultural must in the Caribbean, but they variy from island to island. One of the many celebrations abroad can be the right one for you, from celebrations for foodies to party animals to Carnival first-timers.
You could say Carnival is like Mardi Gras, but that's a big generalization. Both festivals share Catholic roots and revolve around pre-Lent, Fat Tuesday traditions, but Carnival folds in African traditions like dance, music and costumes for a much more flavorful, vibrant party.
Historians believe that the first Carnival started in Trinidad in the colonial era when French and Spanish Catholics introduced Fat Tuesday to the island. At the time, many Africans on the island were celebrating freedom from slavery, so Carnival evolved into more than just Lent. It's part religion but also part emancipation and the celebration of African culture. From Trinidad, Carnival spread to other islands in the Caribbean and each culture put their own twist on festivities.
Today, many islands have ditched the Catholic ties and have moved their celebration from February to the summer, incorporating larger festivals and parties. If you're ready to find out which carnival will be the perfect fit for you, give us a call or email us today and Let's Get Busy Livin'!
CEO and founder of Get Busy Livin' Travel
Don’t go at it alone the next time adventure calls. Travel advisors are the best in the travel planning and booking biz and they’re eager to help you plan the vacation of a lifetime or a quick weekend getaway. Plus, with benefits like insider knowledge, travel protection and secret perks, you’d be missing out if you didn’t at least consider working with an agent when dreaming of a new destination.
1. They do the research for you
Between searching for authentic experiences, finding the best neighborhoods to explore, deciding where to eat, figuring out the currency and understanding local customs, researching a new destination can be time consuming. Luckily, this is the kind of homework that travel advisors love to do. Plus, agents often have insider information on destinations you’re unfamiliar with, thanks to firsthand experience, product knowledge, in-depth education and client feedback.
2. They’re up to date
The world of travel is always evolving and this means that the rules might have changed since your last international, or even domestic, venture. Stay in the loop, especially with a destination you’ve never visited, by working with an agent who is up to date with the latest travel documents, rules and regulations ensuring that you don’t run into any surprises while in line at the airport.
3. They’re ready for the unexpected
There’s no one better to have by your side than a travel agent who can cancel or rebook your trip when personal conflicts or weather events arise. No one likes getting the run-around in a frustrating situation when abroad, but agents are equipped with the right personal and professional connections to help get you out of a pinch relatively stress-free.
Speaking of weather, agents are in the know when it comes to weather patterns in popular vacation spots like Mexico and the Caribbean, so they can make sure you get more sunny days and avoid rainy seasons.
4. They make the best choice for your wallet
Basic Economy, Economy and Business class, fare options are abundant and can get confusing. Throw in extra services like seat reservations and checked baggage and the fees can begin to pile up. And this trend isn’t unique to travel by air, booking a cruise is equally complex, with different rate codes and room categories to choose from. Travel advisors can see past the overwhelming number of choices and will help you decide which combination is right for you without breaking the bank. Plus, thanks to their own experience, agents are transportation pros so they might have a few tricks up their sleeve to help make your time in transit run more smoothly.
5. They offer perks
Thanks to their hookups around the industry, many agents have access to special rates and perks that are available to their clients. Whether you’re exploring a new domestic city or a destination abroad, agents will do their best to connect you with a few extra frills along the way (Think room upgrades, free cocktails, spa treatments and more).
Whether you're close to home or out traveling, take a picture of your car in its parking space so you can easily find it again. If you're in a parking garage, be sure to include signage that indicates the location. For street parking, try to get street signs in the image to reference the cross streets.
Stay informed, but give yourself a break from the 24 hour news cycle. Here are some good resources for information:
Coronavirus Information Center CDC
World Health Organization
World Health Organization Q&A
NYS Department of Health
COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Country
Travel advisors are a secret weapon in leisure travel. In an age when you have too many options (Which website should you use? Where should you go? Where should you stay? How should you get there? And so on…), a travel advisor is your best resource to cut through the noise and help you get what you really want. The problem though, is that you may not know what a travel advisor even is. Or why you should use one.
It all comes down to the fact that traveling is exciting, but the planning for traveling can be time-consuming, complicated and sometimes beyond stressful. So, why wouldn’t you phone a friend, aka your travel advisor, in order to have the best experience possible?
What is a Travel Advisor?
A travel advisor, travel agent or travel professional uses their knowledge, expertise and resources to craft vacations for their clients, who are travelers just like you. They’re a go-to person when a traveler wants to immerse themselves in unfamiliar places (and familiar ones), connect with the world and do so with offers and pricing that are sometimes only available through travel advisors. Travel advisors are experts in hospitality around the world, with many focusing on specific niches like destination weddings, group travel and multi-generational/family travel.
Why Would You Use a Travel Advisor?
There are a plethora of reasons you could use a travel advisor. If you’re booking a vacation somewhere for the first time or going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, a travel advisor is going to be by your side from beginning to the end. They’re passionate about sharing as much of the world as possible with you, plus they know the ins and outs of undiscovered and exclusive destinations, dining experiences and excursions on land and sea. Additionally, they’re there to manage everything during the booking process while finding the best options and offers out there with your preferences in mind. Whether that’s special assistance from the airline, a particular room amenity, a resort than can accommodate a large group, a budget hotel that’s close to the beach or ensuring that the resort can handle a certain dietary restriction, a travel advisor is able to take care of these things for you.
Travel advisors are available to answer questions, concerns and issues that may arise before, during or after you travel. If something unfortunately goes wrong with the airline, hotel or activity, they can turn your experience around. They’ve got connections to professional travel tools, people and businesses all over the world for that reason that you as a traveler may not have.
Who Could Benefit the Most from Using a Travel Advisor?
Honestly, all travelers could benefit from using an advisor. As a traveler, all you need to do is tell them where you want to go, when you want to go, what you want to do, your travel style and your budget. Seriously – that’s it. Here are some specific types of travelers who would especially benefit from using an advisor:
Single parents – Their lives are generally very busy, but that doesn’t mean they should skip out on a vacation. Plus an advisor is there to do everything for them!
Couples who want a destination wedding – Why would you even try to do this on your own? Hire a professional (because they may be able to save you some money!).
Very busy people – Because it could literally just take one email to an advisor in order for them to plan an entire vacation for you.
Travelers with complicated itineraries – Visiting multiple European countries or island-hopping in Hawaii or the Caribbean can be tricky to do on your own. Again, hire a professional to coordinate all of it for you.
Travelers with accessibility needs – If you have accessibility needs when traveling like a wheelchair- or scooter-accessible hotel room, strict dietary needs or sensory needs, your best advocate to ensure a successful travel experience is a travel advisor, and many specialize in accessible travel.
Travelers heading to a new destination – When you’re visiting a new, far away destination like New Zealand, Thailand or China, a travel agent can help you know what to expect and, most importantly, what to pack.
Travelers with a language barrier – If you don’t speak the native language of the destination you're interested in, a travel advisor can arrange for a translator to guide you around in destination. Chances are signs, hotels and menus won’t be in your language so if anyone can arrange the help you may need, it’s a travel advisor.
Solo travelers for the first time – A travel professional prioritizes safety and security, so if it’s your first time solo traveling, a travel advisor can be a sort of safety net or even give you solo travel tips.
Those looking to build a relationship with their advisor so future trips can be planned easier every time – Most travel advisors speak from experience, so learning from them while they plan trip after trip is endless fun and easy to do.
If you are still unsure if a travel advisor is what you need for your upcoming vacation, we have many more solutions ready to help you. Give us a Call or Email us today and Let’s Get Busy Livin’!
Taking young children across the country or abroad can be a gratifying experience for the whole family. But that extra-long trip to get to those amazing places is daunting. If you’re staring down a multi-hour flight with your little kids, here are nine ways to keep them happy in the air.
Don’t board early
If you have assigned seats on the plane, wait until the end to board—or have one parent board with carry-on luggage while the other stays in the boarding area with the kids. Although pre-boarding privileges can be tempting, be wary of tacking an extra 30 minutes of sitting onto an already long flight. There’s nothing worse than a child who is already sick of the airplane before the wheels have even left the ground.
Bring a deck of cards
A small stack of cards like Uno can provide hours of entertainment. Play the standard version, or sort by color and put them in numerical order. Besides, when else will you be willing to play 50 consecutive games with your child?
Pick snacks that take forever to eat
Everyone will recommend bringing snacks for your child on the plane—just be sure they are snacks that won’t be gone in two seconds flat. Little boxes of raisins, string cheese, or other treats that can be eaten tiny bit by tiny bit extend how long that snack (and the entertainment associated with eating) will last.
If it’s an overnight flight, bring pajamas
If you’re flying at night, bring along a pair of pajamas for your child so they can be comfortable and feel like it’s really bedtime. Brushing teeth and snuggling with a beloved stuffed animal or blanket can also help make it feel more familiar, and it will increase the likelihood that your little one will sleep for at least a couple of hours during the flight. Now if only you could just fall asleep…
Choose highly interactive books
Books weigh a lot, so be careful about packing too many of them on a trip. Opt for ones that aren’t finished in a few minutes. A good I Spy book or Where’s Waldo volume can keep your child occupied for a long time, rather than for ten minutes or less.
After bringing a tiny tub of this on a whim, it’s become a family staple on flights. It can be divided among multiple children, it doesn’t make a big mess, you can play any number of different games with it, and it keeps little hands busy.
Dole out the entertainment slowly
There are few things worse on a long flight than when your child blazes through all your carefully planned activities before the seatbelt sign has even been turned off. Tell your child they can only pick a new activity every 15-30 minutes (or more or less, depending on their age and the activities). Also package each activity separately, whether in a plastic bag or by wrapping them in crepe paper, which makes even getting the next activity out an activity of its own.
Play “I spy” with the SkyMall magazine
You can keep a little child happy for quite a while with these catalogs. Have them find all the animals (you’ll be amazed how many there are!) or items in a certain color. For slightly older kids, try having them pick what they’d buy off a certain page or what they think is the most ridiculous item offered. Traveler has a few SkyMall favorites...
Always remember stickers
Who knows why kids are so wild about stickers, but practically all of them are. Buy a cheap set (you can usually find big packs at Michaels for $1 or less) and then let them go to town. No need to wait for the all-clear to turn on electronic devices.
When you think of tropical cruises, you likely imagine lazy days of sunbathing under Caribbean palm trees with a fruity drink in your hand. But did you know that parts of Asia, Australia and the Middle East are considered tropical, too?
Despite their vast differences, tropical regions do have commonalities. They're warm, particularly in the summer months, and humidity levels are usually high. Many are home to rainforests and a variety of flora and fauna that thrives in such environments. Volcanoes can be found in many of these destinations, as well, and exotic fruits and seafood are often plentiful.
If you've been to the Caribbean before and want to try something new without totally sacrificing time at the beach, here’s a list of some of our favorite tropical cruises!
The Caribbean is the quintessential region for beach bums, but there's so much more to it than clear, blue water and soft sand. From conch fritters and waterfall hikes to straw markets and high-end shops dripping with diamonds, there's a lot to experience. The Caribbean is broken into three regions -- eastern, southern and western. Although they lie outside of the tropic zone, ports in Bermuda and the Bahamas are often found on Caribbean sailings, too.
Panama Canal and Central America
Named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Panama Canal is a feat of engineering so impressive that a cruise through it is well worth the price. There are different types of sailings, including full transits and partial transits, but they all visit culture-rich destinations in countries like Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and, of course, Panama.
Cuba's allure lies in the nostalgic, vintage vibe that has resulted from decades of government restriction. With a handful of cruise lines visiting, Cuba has long been a popular destination for travelers outside the U.S. Low crime rates and a slower pace make this a great destination for leisurely exploration. While you're there, try volunteering or chatting with locals about their way of life.
With some of the industry's newest and largest ships positioning themselves in China, Asia cruising is heating up. However, it's Southeast Asia -- Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia -- that you'll want to visit for an experience that's truly tropical. You can reach these destinations on oceangoing cruises and river sailings.
Middle East cruises offer a convenient way to see a less-traveled part of the world -- one that boasts ideal sunbathing weather and pristine beaches. In addition to fun in the sun, you'll find impressive skyscrapers, markets that will make shopaholics salivate and chic areas that scream of wealth and decadence. These voyages feature ports like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat and Aqaba, among others (although, technically, all but Muscat fall just outside of the tropics).
If you're unsure how to begin your sailing, visit our blog here to finish reading, and for more tips and advice, or give us a call today and Let's Get Busy Livin'!