Monthly Archives: February 2012

Bahama Mama

Just returned from a quick visit to the Bahamas and I must say it is spectacular. I’ve always wanted to go, and I thought I would make it out there a lot sooner, but it was totally worth the wait! I flew in from Miami, which was awesome (not to worry, a separate blog will be dedicated to this incredible city!) and jumped on a 3-day cruise. (Told you, I love cruising, best way to travel!) So let’s begin! Like Aruba, Bahamas is one of those Caribbean countries where safety is not an issue. I felt comfortable walking freely along the streets of Nassau and didn’t feel at all threatened. In fact, Bahamians are actually very pleasant and friendly. Everyone is quick to “welcome” you to their home.

So what’s there to do? Well, a lot considering how small this 700-island country is. Let’s start with Nassau, as I would imagine if you go to Bahamas, this is where you will stay:

1.     Visit Atlantis – INSANITY! I mean it, this hotel is huge. If you aren’t staying here, you will have to buy a day pass.

  • Purchase a day Pass – depending on what you would like do, there are different entrance fee’s you can pay. Make sure to read over what you have access to before making the big purchase! I would recommend the day pass that gives you access to everything from aquariums, pools, beaches and lunch.
  • Aquarium – It’s pretty awesome that these sea creatures basically live in the hotel. The stingrays are massive and the fish are exotic.
  • Go to the beach – There are several beaches at the Atlantis (Cove Beach, Atlantis, West Beach) that stretch out for miles and surround the hotel.
  • Rapid River – On your own or with a partner, you can grab from the many available floats. Sometimes it’s relaxing, sometimes you’re getting sprayed with water and occasionally you ride through rapids. Super fun, and it takes about 35 minutes to get all the way back to the start.
  • Konche Fritters – Like I’ve said in many posts, I’m a total foody! A local dish in the Bahamas are deep-fried Konche fritters. I won’t disclose the calorie count, but it’s totally worth it!
  • Diamonds? – If you’re looking for jewelry, make your way to Diamonds International. Great deals for 1/3 of the price you would pay back home.

2.     Private Island Access – Again, one of the many reasons why I love to cruise. Ships normally own their own island in the Bahamas. In my case, I went to Great Stirrup Cay…which is completely amazing. First of all, only our ship was on this island, so there were plenty of beach chairs to choose from.

  • The beach – easily accessible and the turquoise water runs for miles
  • Activities –  beach volleyball, waterslide and shopping for souvenirs are just a few options of things to do while on this island
  • Buffet – all access, all day. Eat, tan, swim and then repeat!
  • Water Sports – for a small fee you can go scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling….and remember, it’s only the cruise ship here, so there is plenty of space!

Bahamas will definitely be on my “must repeat” list. It’s a wonderful island that is a bit more civilized and safe. If you can add it to your bucket list then I suggest you do it soon.

Until next time!

Categories: Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cruising: Good or Bad?

Stop the madness! In light of the negative attention that cruising has had in the past few weeks, I thought I would help put everyone’s mind at ease. I’m an avid cruiser. In fact, I don’t think there is a single better way to travel. Strong statement, right? Like anyone reading this, I too was a non-believer. Well, until I went on my first cruise.

Before I address the obvious issue that has been hitting the news waves….(ehem, sinking ship!) Let me address the reality of cruising first hand before you make any rash decisions. Here are some reasons of why to consider cruising:

Convenience: Where else can you unpack for weeks, have the same home base, but wake every morning in a new location with minimal effort?

Food: I’m a foody! I love food, snacking, desserts, you name it…I will eat it. Of all the expensive restaurants, all-inclusive resorts and hotel room service meals that I have had, it does not compare to the quality of food on a cruise!

Ports of Call: I would say I have been happy with all the ports I have ever been to 95% of the time. Sure, there are a few stops that I could do without but I certainly don’t regret going or discovering these places. In fact, some ports I didn’t care for when I booked, turned out to be some of my top faves.

Things to Do: There just isn’t a comparison to an all-inclusive resort! We’re talking rock climbing, swimming pools, hot tubs, theatre, ice skating, basketball courts, mini putt, arcades, casino and so much more. In fact, there isn’t enough time to do all of these things!

Service: I have a high standard for service, I really do. Every night there is turn down service, staff addresses me by my first name, I go to dinner and the waiter knows the dishes inside and out and provides guidance as to what to order, and customer service is exceptional. I have never been disappointed with the service on cruise ships.

Rooms: Ok, they’re tiny! But this is hardly a complaint. If anything, I’m thankful. Who the heck wants to be in their room while on vacation?

Safety: Funny I mention this, right? Everyone needs to rest assured that contrary to popular belief, there are actually safety drills. I have never boarded a ship that hasn’t told me where the nearest emergency exit is or where I can find my life jacket. There’s a channel on the TV (that re-runs over and over) that goes through the entire safety procedure!

So there you have it folks, just a few reasons why cruising shouldn’t be entirely off the list. I understand why people are wary. I mean, it’s not like people were jumping at the chance to fly after 9-11. But the reality is, sometimes things go wrong. We take a risk getting into a car or getting on the bus everyday! So don’t be afraid people…just cruise!

Happy Cruising!

Categories: Cruise | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Planning my Trip and Need Help!

Summer is coming up and as usual, I’m planning my summer getaway. I have a few idea of where I want to go and here are my top 3!  Help me decide!

Categories: Where am I? | 2 Comments

Paris: The City of Love?

Well that’s what Paris is known for. I have to say, for a city that gets so much hype, I can’t recommend it with confidence. It’s a nice city, don’t get me wrong — but I’ve definitely been to far nicer cities on the other side of the pond.  I even found that the people in Paris were a little colder than in other cities. Maybe I had higher expectations, but I don’t think I would be entirely disappointed if I never returned to Paris.

Why such a so-so experience? Maybe it was the things I did while there, but what else could I have done?

·    Eiffel Tower: The obvious choice of things to see. I saw it during the day (not too pretty), I climbed to the very top (the views were cool!) and saw it lit up at night (now I get it!). Again, nice, but overall I could live without seeing it again

·    Musee du Louvre: Huge. That’s the best way to put it. If you’re a history buff, then you’ll love it. If you aren’t, it’s cool until all the pieces start looking the same and your feet hurt! The Mona Lisa is tiny, not at all what I expected and the Venus de Milo was under construction.   Again, if I never see the Louvre again, I’m totally ok with that.

·    Notre Dame Cathedral:  This was one of my favourite things to visit. Going up the spiral stairs to the top, seeing the bell tower and beautiful city views.  At night, street performers were all around the area and rollerbladers would meet up here to circle the city as a large group.

·     Arc de Triumph: A nice little monument in the middle of traffic! All sarcasm aside, it’s a nice little photo opp.

·    Champs Elysee: I’m a shopper, in case you couldn’t tell from my previous posts. Do I think that the Champs Elysee is overrated compared to Rodeo Drive or Via del Corso? Absolutely. For such a popular “shopping street”, I was hugely disappointed.

·    Saint-Germain: If you’re going to stay in any area, this is where I recommend you stay.  It’s a great neighbourhood, tons of bars and restaurants but a little pricey.

·    Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart): Here’s an underrated monument in Montmartre. I happened to stumble across this beautiful church and open green that overlooks the city. Personally, this was at the top of my list.

·     Sienne River: It’s a river….I sound harsh don’t I?

·    Moulin Rouge: Boy do people take their day jobs seriously! It really is what you expect it to be….take that for what it’s worth.

·    Pizza Marzano: Across from Notre Dame and my only TRUE recommendation for this city. It’s a little average priced pizzeria. Order the Calzone with sunny side up egg inside….you can thank me later! And don’t order anything other than wine….soda costs more!

·    Jim Morrison: Unless you’re a huge fan of The Doors, I would avoid going to visit the cemetery where he lies. It’s in a really sketchy area.

·    Crepes:  If you ever go to Paris, you must eat Nutella crepes…I will leave it at that!

Overall, I’m glad I went to Paris, but much like the old saying, “been there, done that, and won’t do it again”.

Safe Travels!

Categories: Europe | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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