Romantic Honeymoons on a Cruise

A cruise can be a very romantic honeymoon with the right planning. Imagine sitting on your balcony sailing the seas.  Imagine seeing multiple islands or even countries without having to haul your bags, switch trains, or spend your afternoons going through airport security!

Where are you … The Caribbean? The Greek Isles? Hawaii? French Polynesia? Asia? Australia? The Mexican Riviera? The Mediterranean? Or a cruise to nowhere?

There are so many possibilities as far as a cruising destination, and with the ease of having your accommodations moving with you, the stress-free aspect definitely adds to the romance.

There are big ships, small ships, yacht style and tall-ships. Each cruise line offers a different experience, and it is that experience that really sets the tone for your honeymoon. As much as you may think that the destinations are top priority, you must factor in the sailing experience as well. If you have a wonderful day exploring a destination, what is the vibe you want to feel when you get back on the ship. Maybe you are ready to party, or maybe all you want is to sit on an open deck and feel the ocean air on your face. Perhaps you’d like to do dinner and a show, or maybe you’d rather grab a slice of pizza and go to the casino?

Every honeymoon couple is different, and every cruise line has differences as well, so make sure you are working with a professional, who can help you book the right one!

Should We Honeymoon Right After the Wedding? Or Postpone a Few Months?

There are a lot of factors that can determine what’s right for you. The destination you are visiting … what’s the best time of year to visit? Is there better pricing certain times throughout the year? What will the weather be like? 

One good reason to travel immediately after your big day is to help relieve the stress. Planning a wedding can be very stressful and what better way to unwind then lying on the beach with a drink in your hand.  It’s also nice to spend some special time with your spouse immediately after your special day.

One reason you may need to postpone your honeymoon is to catch up with other responsibilities that you’ve been holding off on because you have been busy planning a wedding. This gives you some time to catch up at work and finish those house projects that you’ve put off. Plus, you may need some extra vacations time to extend that honeymoon a little longer.

My husband and I personally postponed our honeymoon. We were married in the summer in Minnesota so we wanted to wait until the cold and snow arrived to escape. We jetted off to Hawaii a few short months after we were married.

When you’re ready to plan this once in a lifetime trip let me help make your honeymoon dreams come true.

Romantic Vacation Planning Beyond the Honeymoon 

You never need a reason to take a vacation, but if you’re looking for one how about rekindling the romance. 

Celebrating an anniversary is a great reason to plan a romantic escape. You could runaway to a beach or escape for an adventure in Europe. You can find accommodations that will provide the perfect ambience for you and your sweetie to enjoy.  My husband and I personally jetted off to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate 20-years of marriage. We scheduled a spa day that was full of relaxation and it was well worth it!

Pregnant? … Why not plan a Babymoon? Children are fantastic, but we all know once they arrive they take up a lot of your time. Enjoy a final getaway before children takeover. But don’t worry there will be plenty of family vacations to look forward to with the little ones once you are ready to bring them along.

A couple’s retreat is a great way to rekindle the romance and getaway with a group of friends. Invite friends that shared your big day with you years ago. Be sure to plan adventures as a group … catamaran cruise, ATVs in the jungle or horseback riding on the beach. You must carve out some special time for you and your spouse … a candlelight dinner on the beach, a sunset cruise or maybe a spa day.

Whether it’s an anniversary trip, babymoon or couple’s retreat, I’d be happy to help plan your next romantic getaway!

This honeymoon inspiration brought to you from Mandy!

Each honeymoon I plan is unique and customized to each couple and their desires. Honeymoons are a great time to cross items off of your bucket list. Why not spend 3 weeks in Australia and New Zealand and check off two!

Here’s an example of honeymoon ideas I had given and planned for a very adventurous couple. 

New Zealand offer stunning landscapes and plenty of friendly locals to provide guidance.

What to do:

  • Sea Kayaking at Cathedral Cove — This is one of the best sea kayaking trips in the country
  • Hobbiton Movie Set Tour — experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the Shire as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
  • OGO in Rotorua — dive into a giant inflatable ball and roll down Mt Ngongotaha
  • Polynesian Spa — enjoy deluxe thermal bathing and relaxation while overlooking lake Rotorua
  • Waitomo Glowworm Cave — view thousands of magical glowworms above you as you glide silently by boat.
  • Stay at Chateau Tongariro Hotel in Mount Ruapehu In The Heart Of Tongariro National Park, you’ll volcanoes and enjoy thermal springs
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing — Provides a 19K trek that leads you up to the saddle between Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro.
  • Fly to Dunedin — Take a wildlife tour where you may encounter penguins, seals and albatross
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise — enjoy waterfall scenery, spot wildlife and listening to an informative nature guide. 
  • Explore Queenstown — visit a winery or take a scenic tour

Australia has plenty of things to see and do. There is endless beauty wherever you turn.

What to do:

  • Cairns  Take an outer reef tour and explore the Great Barrier Reef
  • Kuranda  You must book an all-inclusive tour on the regions oldest railway. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offers ocean-views and is the world’s most beautiful cableway.
  • Blue Mountains — These mountains are known for inexplicable scenery, a eucalyptus forests, breathtaking waterfalls and MORE. Spend a couple nights in the mountains … you certainly will not run out of things to do.
  • Sydney — Check out the Sydney Opera House, explore the harbor and make a stop at the zoo or the botanic garden

If Australia & New Zealand aren’t on your list there are plenty of other destinations our travel advisors can recommend. The sooner we start planning the more time we have to perfect!

Honeymoon Cruising … why not?

Sail away with your spouse and start married life off on the right foot.  

Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider a cruise …

  • Unpack one time. Start by settling into your cabin on of the greatest benefits of cruising is unpacking once and visiting multiple destinations.
  • Daily Romantic Dates. There are plenty of dining options to choose from that provide a romantic atmosphere and great food options. Plus, there is plenty of entertainment on board.
  • Spa Treatments. Schedule a couples massage … ultimate relaxation for you and your spouse
  • Disconnect. What better way to escape reality then cruising the open waters. 
  • Multiple Destinations. There are multiple ports that you will stop in giving you the opportunity to visit more than one destination of choice. Find a romantic itinerary suited for a honeymoon.
  • Meet People. There are plenty of opportunities to meet other couples to hang out with if you are interested. Maybe you’ll get some good tips on what has made their marriage successful.
  • Food & Beverage. All your food is included and many cruise lines offer a beverage package as well.
  • Entertainment. There is plenty to do on board you can enjoy show, head to the casino, enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in hand or simply relax in the lounge. The choice is yours!
  • Adventure. Book shore excursions and experience some adventure on your honeymoon. You could swim with dolphins, go zip lining or take an ATV tour … just to name a few. There are endless options in each port for you to choose from.

If you think a honeymoon cruise is right for you let me help with the planning so you can simply focus on starting your life with your soon-to-be spouse.

Honeymoon in Croatia? Who would of thought?

France or Italy or Greece are classic European destinations for a lovely honeymoon, but Croatia? That destination may be considered random, or is it?

Located just on the other side of the Adriadic Sea from Italy, Croatia has as many attributes as the popular Europe destinations have. There is wonderful ancient architecture, beaches and national parks but Croatia has so much more that makes is special.

First of all, Croatia has very comfortable temperatures all throughout the year. With the worst average lows reaching only 50 degrees in the winter and an average high of 80 degrees in the summer, you can enjoy Croatia most of the year without having to bundle up too much. May and September are the best time to visit.

Another offering Croatia provides is white sand beaches and clear water from the peninsula of the Zlanti Rat Beach which attracts huge crowds to relax in it’s beauty or if you are into a more private beach Stiniva Bay on Vis island.

The ancient city of Dubrovnik is the heart of Croatia. It is surrounded by an ancient wall, Dubrovačke gradske zidine that was built to protect this seaside city. It is recommended to go to the top of the wall to experience some of the best views of the city.

If you wish to enjoy some nature that Croatia has to offer, Croatia has 8 national parks great for hiking and camping. Plitvice Lakes National Park is even on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. There is also a fun fact that Croatia is proud of, (TV show) Game of Thrones was filmed there.

So why else should you go to Croatia? There are so many other reasons why. Being a seaside city, of course the seafood is AMAZING. Fresh oysters and octopus are specialties of the region. And for the wine officianatos, the white wines coming out of Dalmatia are to be tried and enjoyed.

And finally, do not forget the summer festivals. Croatia hosts some of the most famous music festivals in all of Europe, Ultra Europe, Outlook, Sonus and fresh Island. And for high end entertainment, there is yacht week to be enjoyed in the summer.

So if you are looking for a “new” destination, Croatia has all the old world and new world charm to entertain all of your senses.  

Decisions, Decisions. Should I All-Inclusive on my trip and why?

There are so many components to consider for your trip and two of the major ones to think about is food and beverages when you are there. How do you decide?

The first thing to consider is what destination are you going to? If you are thinking of Mexico, or the Dominican Republic or Jamaica, the all-inclusive inclusions at each property are designed to wow the client and be a memorable representation of what each resort is about. The level of food quality and beverage quality is designed to be so amazing that if you choose to not leave your resort on your vacation will leave a smile on your face. Karisma resorts has Gourmet Inclusive offerings that you won’t want to miss. I have stayed at these resorts and the food is immaculate. The HardRock (Riviera Maya) is also known for it’s generous resort credit’s that is standard for every room. Resort credits are exclusive to every property and they do have rules for how to use them, but different amenities may include couples massage on the beach, romantic dinners on the beach, or even equipment rentals.

For Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica there is true VALUE in having the all-inclusive option added. Aside from value, there is convenience meaning your do not have to bring your purse or wallet to the beach and usually you can eat and drink what you like, as much as you like and it is all taken care of already. The value still remains even if you day trip or leave your property.

However… There are always exceptions to the rule. Puerto Rico and Aruba are the top 3 places where experiencing the culture of the area is experienced by getting out and dining at the actual restaurants of the destination. Food is the soul of many of these destinations and experiencing the true flavors will always be a pleasant memory and make you want to come back. Aruba and Puerto Rico are especially wonderful destinations for that.

The attributes for not doing all-inclusive is that everything is close in the city. It is inexpensive and easy to get around via taxis and public transportation. What is really fun about Puerto Rico is the amazing local foods that you find in food trucks on the street!

Deciding to do all-inclusive or European plan starts with the destination you are at and deciding what is going to provide you with the most memorable experience with the most ease of accessibility.

Helpful Honeymoon Planning Tips for the Groom!

Let’s be honest here.  The groom’s responsibility list can be short and sweet for most.

If the HONEYMOON is on your short list, let me help you out with a few tips that the bride may want you to know!

  1. Work the honeymoon into the wedding budget! Lots of times, when discussing the wedding budget, things like flowers, velue, gowns and tuxes are at the top of your priority list, but don’t forget to include the honeymoon into your figures!  Your big trip can also lead into some big numbers, so plan ahead.  This is a big trip, and one that cannot be repeated, you only get one ‘first honeymoon,’ so make it count.
  2. Upgrade appropriately!  Because this is your honeymoon, this is the time to splurge for that beachfront suite, or that over the water bungalow, or perhaps it’s just first class airfare that you are seeking?  This is the trip for pulling out all the stops, don’t hold back (and see #1 for budgeting)
  3. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan! Start your honeymoon planning early, basically as early as you start your wedding planning.  Most bookings through a travel agent can take a deposit and some form of a payment plan, just ask!

With these thoughts in mind, let us help you plan your perfect honeymoon getaway!

Having a Destination Wedding? Should you pick up the tab for the wedding party?

When it comes to destination weddings, the tricky part is convincing your friends and family to spend a bunch of their OWN money to come to YOUR wedding. It’s unusual for the bride and groom to pick up the tab for their wedding party’s travel arrangements, but you may want to consider spending some extra dough to enhance the wedding party, and the other guest’s experience.

A great way to do this is to host a welcome reception, pay for a group activity (such as a group sailing excursion or city tour), pay for a bachelor/bachelorette party outing while in destination, or even have a nice post-wedding brunch the morning after the big event.

One thing to note, if the cost of your destination wedding makes it impossible for your best friend/maid of honor to attend, you may want to consider paying for or at least supplementing her travel costs.

The wedding couple should also consider putting together gift bags for their guests with destination themed goodies and keepsakes. Beach bags, beach towels, picture frames, sun block, sun visors etc. There are many companies that will personalize a large variety of goodies to hand out.

In conclusion, there is typically not an expectation to pay for your guests travel expenses, however I don’t know your guests or your finances (Hahaha). Ultimately, do what’s best for you and your wedding party!

Italy Honeymoons David Letterman Top 10 Style

When thinking about what is really the draw to Italy for a honeymoon, I found a list of top 10 rated cities in Italy according to TripAdvisor. I believe these are some great options for a romantic honeymoon of a lifetime.

10) PORTOFINO is a high-end fishing community with colorful architecture going up the side of the hill. It is charming and great for many strolls along the waterfront and lovely photo-ops. Portofino is in Northern Italy and close to Genoa.

9) TERRACINA is a beach-goer’s delight. It is a costal town with white sand beaches and blue waters and combines ancient with new architecture and features the Temple of Jupiter. Terracina is approximately 100 miles from Rome and an easy train ride to the beach.

8) TIVOLI is a hillside town featuring gorgeous lush gardens, thermal springs and premier pools. The city features famous hotels residences such as Villa Adriana. If Italian gardens are your interest, Tivoli is an easy 20 miles northeast of Rome.

7) SORRENTO… Shopping, Sights and EATING! Sorrento is world famous costal town in Southwest Italy for earthenware and pottery. It faces the bay of Naples and is home of the Piazza Tasso, a café lined square.

6) TUSCANY. Imagine renting a red Porsche convertible and enjoying the Italian countryside. There is the Leaning Tower of Piza, The architecture of Florence where the David resides, and the coast is known for scuba diving and windsurfing. There is also world famous fashion houses, wineries and the food is world famous.

5) PIEDMONT is a primer area that in the northernmost part of Italy, sharing a border with France and Switzerland. In fact, there are alps on 3 sides of Lake Maggore in Piedmont so the views are stunning. Piedmont is also the home of 170,000 acres of vineyards and known for it’s spas.

4) CINQUE TERRE is built up the side of a cliff so being able to walk steps is a must. It is a charming, quiet city with no cars and is famous for its bakery in the center of town that wafts the fragrance of fresh focaccia bread and is also famous for world famous pesto.

3) THE AMALFI COAST is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE that starts south of Naples and includes the beach cities of Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Salerno. This is another area to drive your red Porsche along the coastline for catching  beaches, fabulous sunsets and vineyards.

2) ROME. Aah Rome. Where every travel photo depicts its lovely ancient ruins, inter-city markets, churches, café’s and world-class shops. Rome is capital and the heartbeat of Italy.

1) AND THE WINNER IS… VENICE! The charming city made famous by water canals (No roads) and gondolas. From buying chocolate or gelato at Marco Palace buying jewelry on the Rialto Bridge, Venice has the delicious decadence of a city where all of your senses come alive.

Travel Agents Save the Day

One of the main questions I get is as a travel agent is, “Why should I book with a travel agent instead of booking online myself”? My question for them is, “Why not”? Many people have the misconception that booking with a travel agent is going to cost them more money. In most cases we can beat or at least match the pricing you are finding online. When you book with a travel agent you also receive a lot of added value and personalized service. I have been in the travel industry for 12 years, and I wanted to share with you the many ways that using a travel agent can save the day.

In September 2017 I had a group of 109 people traveling to Punta Cana from worldwide destinations. This group just happened to be traveling right after Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Irma came close to making a visit during their stay. They had a wonderful time, but the real work came when it was time for them to travel home. About half of the group’s flights got canceled on the return portion of their trip, because Hurricane Irma was disrupting flights in the US. I was able to help get all of these misplaced travelers re-booked for the following day. This group was extremely thankful since they would not have known where to start had they booked their travel arrangements on their own.

As a travel agent, I also highly recommend getting travel insurance. A lot of people will say, “I am going on this trip no matter what, so I do not need travel insurance.” What they don’t realize is that travel insurance is for unforeseen circumstances. I actually just traveled with my husband to Ireland in March, and I was so thankful that I had travel insurance. A lot of people don’t realize that travel insurance goes so much further than just cancellation, most policies also have coverage for trip delay and trip interruption. Who would have thought that our flight from Amsterdam to Ireland would encounter a major delay due to snow in Ireland? Our luggage did not make it with us to Dublin, and we did not see our luggage for 7 days! Our particular insurance policy would cover up to $300pp for baggage delay so we were able to buy clothes, hygiene items and luggage to get us by while we awaited our luggage. It was a life saver! 

I have also had clients who were traveling to Brazil who were waiting to get their Visa until the new e-Visas became available for US Citizens. I found out that the new e-Visas were not coming out until a couple days before they left the US, and that they could take 72 hours be be approved. I worked with a wonderful company called VIP Journeys, and they were able to use one of their contacts at the Brazilian Embassy in Atlanta to help expedite their Visas through before their trip. I do not think this would have happened if we weren’t working with one of our wonderful travel partners.

There is a lot more to planning a vacation than looking for the best price. Working with a travel professional can really help save the day when you encounter a crisis. Book your next vacation with a travel agent, and we’ll show you how stress-free your vacation can really be.

A Tahitian Honeymoon … The Ultimate Dream

Looking to spend your honeymoon in barefoot luxury? I highly suggest you head to Tahiti! I’ve recently returned from these beautiful islands and I can tell you that it’s truly paradise. 

Your honeymoon should be full of romance and Tahiti will not let you down. You will find spectacular romantic settings and views wherever you go. The islands are full of natural beauty. The blue waters are like none you have ever seen. If you’ve dreamt of staying in an overwater bungalow this it the place to do it!

 The Tahitians are incredibly friendly. The philosophy of the people is ‘aita pea pea’ (not to worry). It truly seems to be the Tahitian way of life. It wasn’t uncommon for locals to say hello and offer advice on places to go and things to see, it was very refreshing.  

The cuisine is exquisite! It’s some of the best I’ve had. There’s nothing like enjoying a five star meal in paradise.  I highly suggest that you plan a beach dinner for you and your sweetie. Enjoy the beautiful sunsets while indulging a delicious dessert.

There is so much to do in Tahiti! Be sure the two of you enjoy a swim or explore the coral gardens while snorkeling.  If you’re looking for a little adventure there are plenty of options for surfing and outstanding diving. If relaxation is top on your list, head to a Polynesian-style spa.  You will be pampered from head to toe with your loved one lying next to you in a tropical dream.

A honeymoon in Tahiti may be a bit of a reach for your budget, but I can work with your budget to give you exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, this is the trip where you deserve to splurge. This will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

When you’re ready to head to Tahiti I would be happy to help with your travel arrangements and share more about my personal experience.

A Honeymoon Adventure on the Road to Hana

Your wedding day was perfect from start to finish. Everything went just as planned now it’s on the your honeymoon!

Waterfall on the Road to Hana, Hana Highway, Hawaii, USA.

You’re going to Hawaii visiting the beautiful island of Maui. The perfect way to start out this adventure is to drive the narrow winding Road to Hana. You turn on some of your favorite tunes, put the top down on that convertible and start enjoying the breathtaking views along the way. Be sure to take your time and stop to take pictures and the beautiful waterfalls you will encounter.

At your first waterfall stop, you get out and realize you are very high up. As you walk to the edge of the path and look down your stomach turns, but then you see another waterfall in the distance which complete distracts you from the dramatic drop and you can’t believe this is real life. There are so many twists and turns on the very narrow road, you’re thankful that your spouse is an excellent driver.

It’s time for another stop. You start up a trail and see all kinds of beautiful flowers, the smells are lovely. You walk across a bamboo bridge over a rocky trail and then you look up to see the most beautiful waterfall. It’s amazing, peaceful and romantic. There is plenty more to see along the Road to Hana and it will not disappoint.

The Road to Hana is the perfect romantic adventure. Let’s start planning your Hawaiian honeymoon.

Advice for Couples Considering a Destination Wedding

Here are 5 things to consider while booking your wedding

  1. See the venue in person. Investing the time and money into a pre-planning visit to the destination is so helpful!  If you have the time, try to plan a trip to your destination to meet with the resort and vendors in person.  It’s so nice to put a face with a name.  You can email for months, but it’s nice to discuss these details in person.  It’s also helpful to visualize your wedding plans in person.  You can see photos ahead of time, but it’s just not the same as being there in person to make those decisions
  2. Arrive Early. Plan to arrive a few days before your guests do.  This will give you the extra time to get organized, make up gift bags, finalize your wedding arrangements and take a breather before the family and friends start to arrive.  It’s also fun to be the one greeting your guests as each of them arrive in from their airport transfer to the resort.
  3. Stay Late. Just like a pre-arrival, carve out a few extra days at the end of the trip for a little relaxation time.  Entertaining family and friends can be exhausting, and you deserve the alone time with your new spouse!
  4. You won’t necessarily save money. I think there is a pretty big misconception that if you host a wedding in a ‘cheaper’ location like Mexico, that this will save you money.  The truth is, even with a small wedding party, or an intimate ceremony, you will likely end up paying out more on this weekend’s worth of events, since all of your guests will be traveling in from out of town.
  5. Hire a pro.  Make sure to find a travel consultant that specializes in destination weddings.  This way, instead of spending hours on the phone trying to make calls and overcome language barriers or keeping track of all your guests and their 10,000 questions regarding the size of their checked bag and can they bring their medication in their purse on the flight, type questions, you can turn this over to your professional travel consultant for guidance and assistance.

Your Guide on What to Wear at Karisma Resorts

The luxury experience begins at Karisma Resorts from the moment you step foot on the property. You will receive impeccable service and hospitality throughout your stay. The luxury appeal at these resorts is exquisite and they even hold high standards for your attire when dining at the resort.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when you grab a romantic meal near the beach …

Suggested attire for breakfast and lunch:

  • Ladies: Sun dresses, elegant sandals, T-shirts and skirts
  • Gentleman: Long pants, formal bermuda, polo shirt, sleeved T-shirt, sandals or tennis shoes
  • Permitted: Shorts, sleeved T-shirts, flip-flops
  • Not Permitted: Swimming trunks, bikinis, swimsuits, tank tops, sleeveless shirts, baseball caps or any type of hat

Suggested attire for dinner:

  • Ladies: Dresses, skirts, long pants, shoes, Capri pants, elegant sandals
  • Gentleman: Long pants, collared shirts, casual shoes
  • Permitted: Formal bermuda, dress sandals
  • Not Permitted: Baseball caps, tank tops & flip-flops, sport shorts

You will certainly enjoy the Karisma experience for a romantic getaway and I would be happy to share my Karisma experience with you. Let me help you and your sweetie escape!