Showing posts with label excursion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label excursion. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Intro to...Traveling to Cuba: Part 2

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Disclaimer:  This article is written as a personal narrative based on personal experiences from the perspective of a US citizen. It is not intended as legal, official or professional information. MC Photo and Travel, dba MC Enterprises does not assume responsibility for any persons using this information as the sole source for planning a trip to Cuba.


Cruise to Cuba, Part 2

Latest COVID-19 Travel News


 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted). I am an Amazon Associate.


Currently, there are no cruises sailing from USA ports to Cuba. It is our hope this policy is changed soon. It's an amazing experience.

This information is intended for readers who are US citizens and is solely based on the author's personal experience.


Norwegian Sky, docked in Havana, Cuba

There are 15 municipalities in Havana, Cuba. Cruise ships, currently not sailing from the United States, normally dock in Old Havana (Havana Vieja). The area is a curiosity because it seems as if it was abandoned and left to decay after the Revolution of 1959. The numerous old cars from that era add to the mystery. Some buildings are being preserved and the area is a World UNESCO Heritage Site. 

1. When I sailed in 2017, 3 cruise companies were sailing to Cuba: Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. They departed from Miami, Tampa and Port Canaveral. The port for Cuba will be Havana, which docks in Old Havana. Check the US Department of State website for the latest information regarding cruises to Cuba.




2. You can travel by airplane unless there is a restriction for safety and/or health concerns. Consult with a knowledgeable and reputable travel consultant who will give you truthful advice in your best interest regarding lodging. (When and if cruising resumes, choose an itinerary that has an overnight in Havana, if your main purpose is to visit Cuba. However, there are sailings that have Havana as a one day stop, just like any other port.).




3. 
Travel to Cuba for tourist reasons is not permitted. You must be there for a purpose as per your visa. You must travel under one of the 12 permitted licenses.



4.  Technically, you must have an itinerary to visit Cuba, but it can be self-made. Plan to visit places of interest for the entire time you are in port. Normally, cruise excursions would make this easy. I booked an evening walking tour through the cruise line. Tours are also for sale as you disembark, after you clear customs and exchange money. But, I planned my own activities and I was engaged the entire time I was off the ship.


Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro

5. Activities that I did in order to engage in people-to-people activities included a horse-drawn city tour, visiting a cigar shop, speaking with the locals at the flea market, enjoying the Coche Mambi (the 1910 presidential rail car), a gallery and other spots around Old Havana, including the famous Havana Club.


Coche Mambi rail car

6. Running joke: Ernest Hemingway, who did live in Cuba for about 7 years in the 1930's, apparently ate, slept and visited every location in and around the old Havana area. Every tourist attraction has a plaque that proclaims that ol' Ernie was there. 

Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway lived for 7 years

Do your research. If you use a travel consultant, ask if he or she knows the latest information about visas, some of them do not arrange visas. When cruising resumes, make sure you will be able to communicate directly with the cruise line about traveling to Cuba. Buen viaje!

Scroll down to the very bottom and click the social media icons to share this article. Spread the word. Happy Travels.



Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved, 2020

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cruising 101 Part 5: Plan Your Own Excursions

10 tips for Planning Your Own Cruise Excursion



This information is based on my personal experiences and research. I currently do not receive amenities. 
I am an Amazon Associate.






If you are first time cruiser, you may get sticker shock when you see what is not included in your fare and how much extras cost. (see our article here). Activities that you do while in port are generally called excursions. Cruise lines charge extra for excursions and you may be led to believe that they are mandatory. Check out my tips below.






Bonus tip: You don’t have to get off the ship! Check out the newsletter for the day and enjoy the peace and quiet, along with available deck chairs at the pool.



Extra bonus tip: Be aware of how much time you have. If you have a long time (6 hours or more), get off and explore the town, come back to the ship to eat lunch and then get off again to catch a cab to a great free public beach.



Here are my top tips:


1. You do not have to buy the ship’s excursions but there are some advantages: they have already researched reputable and reliable companies; they're guaranteed not to leave you behind (the ship will wait for you); it’s easier for the more exotic day trips, like parasailing, zip-lining and ATVs.



Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park, Grand Cayman

    2. Stop at the port information desk when you disembark. They have maps and brochures. They will also guide you to the more reliable excursion vendors. 






     3. Explore your options about ports before your cruise (don’t waste precious data while onboard if you bought the internet package). Travel guidebooks that combine several ports in one book are economical (hard copy or electronic) and are also a wealth of information. 



Firo, Santorini, Greece

    4. Don’t be afraid to rent a car and explore. Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered. Stick with well-known companies and reserve before you set sail. Don’t waste your mobile phone data using the GPS, use a map, the rental companies will give you one. See more information here.



Don't forget to gas up before returning the car. You may need local currency, since swiping a credit card at a pump may not be wise.


    5. The above tip being said, be aware of which countries drive English style and which drive American style. Sometimes you get a right-hand drive car, sometimes not. Don't worry, you will get the hang of it.

Barbados lets you know right up front about the taxi fares

     6. For the less adventurous, many places have public transportation. When a ship is in port, buses might be available when you dock. Tell the driver where you want to go and when you need to be back onboard. He or she will tell you what time you should catch the bus back. Take an earlier bus just to be safe (remember the tip about getting left behind).



Hiring a van for a group can be more economical: they'll give you a tour and take you to a local beach. Settle on the price before you get in and make sure they will return for you.


      7. For the less ambitious, a cab will take you to a location and will pick you up at an agreed time. Get a price before you get in, don’t be afraid to bargain. A cab to a beach will probably run you half of the price of the cruise excursion price. 


Local public ferry in Venice, Italy

     8. You can arrange your own excursion with a company in advance from home. However, do your research. And be careful of trusting the reviews. 

The Butterfly Farm in Saint Martin

      9. Some sightseeing that you can do on your own are museums, shopping, public beaches (the local cabbies will know which ones are safe for tourists), or even day passes at resorts (Atlantis, for example). 

Save money and catch a cab to Dunn's River, Ocho Rios, Jamaica


      10. The more you visit a port, the more familiar and safer you will feel. Talk to experienced cruisers. Many haven’t bought an excursion in years, yet they have explored everywhere.



    Share this article. Happy Travels!

Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKindmcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, and Dreamstime.

All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved, 2020

Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Monday, July 3, 2017

5 More Things to Do in Universal Orlando Resort


Latest COVID-19 Travel News


Share this article. Happy Travels!

Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.

Follow our other blog: The NYC Dis Traveler for your theme park updates

5 More Things to do in Universal Orlando Resort™


The Harry Potter Attractions are a good reason to visit Universal Orlando Resort, but here are 5 more:

1. Stay on property. Cabana Bay, with a retro theme, is their economy hotel, but all of their hotels are fun and provide transportation and/or walkways directly to the parks.

Cabana Bay, Universal Resort (editorial use only)


2. Ride the roller coasters. Get your courage up for Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™ and the Revenge of the Mummy™(Studios side) or The Incredible Hulk Coaster™,  and the Flight of the Hippogriff™ (Islands of Adventure). Or get on my new favorite: Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Ride.


The Hulk™, in all its scary glory (editorial use only)

3. See a part of America's past on the Islands of Adventure side. An unfortunate casualty of the decline of newspapers is the syndicated comic strips. But you can feel like it's the Sunday comics all over again as you stroll through Toon Lagoon™and get re-acquainted or introduce yourself to characters from the printed page. Shop and dine yourself silly in saturated color.  


Toon Lagoon™ in Islands of Adventure


4. Ride the simulator rides often and enjoy the technology: must-do rides are The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® (Islands of Adventure) and TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, on the Studios side (in addition to the Harry Potter rides we featured in Part 1). Check out the newer attractions: Skull Island: Reign of Kong™ (Islands of Adventure) and Fast and Furious - Supercharged™. 


Spiderman® in 3D (editorial use only)

5. Get into as much water as you want. If you were a fan of Wet and Wild, know that Universal bought the Orlando location and closed it December 2016. The new Volcano Bay (a separate park) opened in 2017 and combined with the rides on the Islands of Adventure™ side, you're guaranteed to get wet and cool. Splash into Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls®, Popeye and Bluto's-Bilge Rat Barges® and Jurassic Park River Adventure. Plus, the kids can cool off in Fieval's Playland™ on the Studios side.


Jurassic Park splash-down (editorial use only)


Bonus Tip: the app has improved, but still not top notch. But the Virtual Line feature for the Jimmy Fallon experience rocks.


(Did I forget CityWalk? No, stay tuned!)
Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kids, Travel & You: Part 4 - Road Trips


Latest COVID-19 Travel News



Scroll to the very bottom and click the social media icons to share this article. Happy Travels!

 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).  I am an Amazon Associate.

Check out the other articles in the series: 



5 Tips for Road Trips with Kids




1. Start young... If kids begin to travel when they are young, by the time they are tweens, they'll be experts. Next time you're at the airport, observe around you. You'll know instantly which ones travel a lot and which ones don't. 



2...or wait. If you know your children well, you may want to save the really long road trips until they are tweens. In the meantime, take day trips (staycations, excursions, etc.). Prep the kids for journeys that will take over an hour. Have snacks and activities ready. Also, plan the route for restroom stops.





3. Oxymoron: plan to be spontaneous and take your time and stay on schedule. How? Have a loose agenda but don't be afraid to switch it up. Include some of electronics and toys. Sometimes those billboards on the interstate that announce sightseeing attractions pay off. Take a short detour and then get back on schedule.




4. Always book lodging with a pool. Your nerves will thank you. Know your children's ending point and plan to be at your hotel 2 hours before their bedtime.




5. It's OK to suspend some rules to have fun. And it's OK to keep some. Stick to bedtime rules if you're going to be on the road the next day. Let them stay up a hour later if you're staying put. 





Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.

Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Intro to...Paris: Giverny - Monet's House

Latest COVID-19 Travel News

Traveling to New York State


Scroll to the very bottom and click the social media icons to share this article. Happy Travels!
 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I am an Amazon Associate. At no extra cost to you, I will receive commission if you shop through our links.

5 TIPS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING GIVERNY, FRANCE: 

The Gardens and House of artist Claude Monet






View of the house from the Gardens (editorial use)

1. Visiting the Gardens is usually tourists' main objective. But try to visit the house. It helps to make the visit to Giverny complete. Buy a combo ticket and plan to stay in Giverny for the day. Finish up with the Musee des Impressionmisme down the street.



2. Visiting the house also makes you feel like you are getting to know Monet personally. Studying the art is one thing (always an insight to an artist's soul). See where he lived makes it intimate.



3. Even if you're not into art, you'll love the architecture and the era of the house. Monet loved Giverny and lived there from 1883 until he died in 1926. It seems as if the past and present are in the house at the same time, even almost 100 years later.



4. You may feel inspired to create. Monet helped to inspire the Giverny Colony of impressionist artists who started living there circa 1887. If you're a beginner, the gift shop will help you get started. You can also take home a little bit of Monet with you in many forms from socks to umbrellas.



5. The house and gardens were declared public in 1980 after extensive renovations and the creation of The Foundation Claude Monet. You can walk around on your own or take a guided tour.


The Gardens from the House: a view to be envied


For more information: The Foundation Claude Monet

Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.



Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.