Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ulusaba: African Safari Game Reserve

An African Safari is one of the those must do's before I die trips. I'm a huge animal lover, so viewing animals in their natural habitat would be a trip of a life-time. 

Ulusaba Game Reserve is one of our travel partners. Ulusaba was voted #1 Top Resort in Africa in 2016 by Conde Nast Traveler. 

Located in the western section of Sabi Sand Reserve, near Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa. 

The property has two major lodges: the Rock Lodge and the Safari Lodge. The Rock Lodge welcomes children. Both the Rock and Safari Lodge have an outdoor pool and fully equipped gyms. Spa services are available.

What's included: accommodations, meals, beverages, wine, champagne, 2 daily game drives, walking safari, laundry services, wireless internet in the rooms and public areas, stocked mini-bar, and observatory for star gazing. 

Ulusaba offers activities for kids 12 and under. Kids receive a backpack full of explorer goodies. Babysitting is available at no additional cost. 

Special offers:

  • Free nights offer 2017
  • Kids stay free 
  • Romance Package
  • Winelands & Wildlife the Virgin Way 2017

What to make a meaningful impact while you're in Africa? Ulusaba has a program called Pride 'N Purpose. Interested guests travel to visit some of the local communities that surround the reserve. Get involved hands-on in ongoing local projects.

How to get there:
Direct flights are available from the U.S. east coast. With flight times of 18 hours. Ulusaba has its own private air strip. From Johannesburg, it's a one hour and 20 minute flight.

Traveling to Africa can be an intimidating place to visit for any traveler. Let us plan your next vacation. Visit us at http://sweettravelgroup.com or contact us at sweettravelgroup@gmail.com 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Christmas in Germany with Viking Cruises

Viking has a great offer on the Christmas in Germany voyage that ends on January 31, 2017. It was an offer I couldn't resist. I had looked at river cruises in the past, but did not pursue it because I thought I could never afford it. 

With the current special, my husband and I are both cruising for the price of 1. Plus, as you might know, airfare to Europe can be the most expensive part of any European trip, but not with this offer! We only paid $295 each round-trip for our airfare. That's a steal! And if that wasn't enough, we got to choose one freebie, either the beverage package, onboard credit, or prepaid gratuities. 

I'm traveling on December 15-22, 2017 from Cologne to Nuremberg, Germany. 

I like going to local arts and crafts fairs, because I enjoy hearing the stories behind the pieces and seeing works of art that are unique. I feel like artist put a little bit of their soul into each piece that they make. In modernized society, it's hard to see as many small business owners hand crafting their goods. 

 I had heard that the Christmas Markets offered the same experience plus, you learn about the German culture and traditions along the way. 

Savings breakdown:
$2,149 cruise discount per person
$1,000 air discount per person
$300 choice offer
Grand Total: $6,598

Contact us for your travel needs. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Guests to Bid on Stateroom Upgrades

The concept of bidding on a stateroom upgrade is definitively a new one in the field. This program has been beta tested by Norwegian and received very positive reviews. 

The Norwegian Advantage Program is scheduled to launch on February 8, 2017. The program will roll out on the Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic and Pride of America before expanding to the cruise line's entire fleet

How it works:

  • Once final payment has been submitted, guests will then be given the opportunity to bid for an upgrade.
  • A dial with the colors of red, yellow, and green will appear to show the guest the likelihood of their bid being accepted.
  • Once the bid is accepted, both the guest and travel agent will receive a confirmation email. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Carnival Cruise Travels to Europe in 2018

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will offer many of the hugely popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options that debuted on Carnival Vista, currently the line’s newest ship. 

Among those is a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a massive WaterWorks aqua park featuring a water tube slide called Kaleid-o-slide. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins offering exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

 Scheduled to set sail from Barcelona, Spain on April 2, 2018 on her maiden voyage. 

This first sailing will be a 13 day itinerary. Round-trip from Barcelona and calling at Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples (Capri and Pompeii), Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Messina (Sicily), Italy; Valletta, Malta; and Cagliari (Sardinia), Italy.

Two 7 day voyages will follow the initial trip. departing April 15 and 22, 2018, and featuring Cagliari (Sardinia), Naples (Capri and Pompeii), Rome (Civitavecchia), Livorno, and Marseilles. 

A 10-day voyage departing April 29, 2018,  with stops at Livorno, Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples (Capri and Pompeii), Dubrovnik, Corfu and Messina (Sicily). 

14-Day Transatlantic Crossing from Barcelona to New York Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day transatlantic crossing departing Barcelona May 9 and arriving in New York on May 23, 2018.

Disney Dream Vlog Ep. 3: Animator's Palate Dinner

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Princess Cruise Line to Offer Wearable Technology

Are you a technology lover? Do you enjoy the ability to use to technology to make life easier? Wearable technology has already seen a presence in the hospital industry. Disney World for example, offers Magic Bands to their guests, which allows them to enter the park, get fast passes, photo experiences, and make purchases.

Princes Cruise Line is working on a new revolutionary idea in the cruise industry called Ocean Medallion Class. It will personalize guest experience, speed the embarkation process, allow you to open your stateroom door, and make purchases onboard.  

The sleek medallion or coin design will allow it to be placed in watch type wrist band, a necklace, or a key chain holder.

Debuting on November 13, 2017 on the Regal Princess. Followed by the Royal Princess on January 19, 2018 and the Caribbean Princess on March 18, 2018

Want good deals on these sailings? Visit us at Sweet Travel Group

Friday, January 20, 2017

World of Wonder Disney Store in Disney Springs, Orlando, FL

Disney Dream Vlog Ep.1

Alcohol Policy on Disney Cruise Line

Here's something you will not see published on the Disney Cruise Line website or anywhere else. DCL does allow you to bring onboard up to 2 bottles of wine or 6 beers, but it has to be in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. All the alcohol in your checked luggage gets stored by the cruise ship and given to you at the end.

The policy is a little unclear because it says that this alcohol allowance is for "the beginning of the voyage in carry-on luggage at each port of call." This makes it seem that you can bring on more alcohol at each of the ports of call as long as it's in your carry-on, but after discussing this with the security guards, they said that you are only allowed the two bottles of wine or 6 of beer in a carry-on at embarkation. 

Good to know if you drink, are willing to carry the bottles, and want to save some money onboard.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Star Wars at Sea Days

Are you a Star Wars fan? Than, you don't want to miss this fun opportunity. Disney Cruise Lines is offering a series of special sailings with a Star Wars theme to both Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Included in these sailings:

  • Star Wars themed deck party.
  • Photo opportunities with the characters.
  • Jedi training for the Padawans in your group.
  • Exclusive Star Wars themed merchandise onboard.
  • Screening of Star Wars movies.
  • Star Wars themed food and beverages options.

7 Night Western Caribbean Cruises
7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruises
2017 Sail Dates:
January 21
February 4, 18
March 4, 18
April 1, 15
2017 Sail Dates:
January 14, 28
February 11, 25
March 11, 25
April 8
2018 Sail Dates:
January 6,20
February 3, 17
March 3, 17, 31
April 14
2018 Sail Dates:
January 13, 27
February 10, 24
March 10, 24

Book with us your Disney Star Wars Cruise and receive a $100 Disney Gift Card and additional Star Wars themed freebies.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Gadget for Getting Service at a Restaurant

Stopped at an airport in North Carolina the other day and decided to get something to eat before my next flight. I found this interesting gadget on the table. 

There was no one around to take my order. I read the brief instructions and pressed the Food & Service button. A few seconds later a server appeared to offer us menus. The rest of the service went as expected. The server disappeared towards the back when I was ready to pay my bill, so I pressed the Ready to Pay button. The server appeared and brought me my check. 

I asked her how this system actually worked. She said that all the servers have a watch-looking pager that tells them that they are needed in the front. I asked if she had encountered any problems with this device and she said the only time it acts up is when multiple tables press a button simultaneously. She also said that there was a delay between pressing and them receiving the information. It looks like this system is not totally perfect, but it is helpful.

Travel Agents Have Feelings Too

Some travel agents are salary, but the vast majority of them are just commission based. What does that mean? If an agent doesn't book something, he/she doesn't make money. 

Many travel agents provide their services for free with the expectation that they will book the travel arrangements and make commission on it. Unlike popular belief, travel agents are paid on the back end of the deal and it does not cost a person more to use their services. In that sense, it's a win-win situation. The client gets to use the expert advice of the agent for free and the agent gets business. 

Sadly, yesterday I was brought to tears by a client. After days of hard work researching, narrowing down the details of the client's trip, and multiple revisions,  I call the client to finalize the deal, and he says: "I have bad news. My wife already booked it elsewhere". I tried to have the client re-book the travel with me or transfer it, but to no avail. I realized that my feelings and whether or not I could pay my bills this month or feed my family was not of his concern. Travel agents have feelings too.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Show your Disney Side

Have fun using the Show your Disney Side app. It's a free app. Take a head shot of yourself and then pick which one of the Disney characters you would like to become. It has both male and female characters. 

I took it a step further and used the PicMonkey app to slice my photo to show half of my normal face and half with the Disney Character. Lot of free fun!


Disney Cruise Special

Book any Disney Cruise on our website from Jan. 9-13, 2017 and receive a $100 Disney Gift Card prior to sailing.

Use the gift card to make purchases in the Disney Online Store, at the Parks, or onboard a Disney Cruise. 


Cruise Wedding and Honeymoon Travel

Disney Dream Cruise Interior Cabin 7675 Tour

Thursday, January 5, 2017

10 Tips for First Time Cruisers

  1. Understand how the gratuities work. Gratuities are often automatically added onto your account daily with per person fees. Understand what that covers so that you don't over pay for every drink and service you receive onboard.
  2. Research the port stops. You'll want to have an idea of what to do while you are there. Ask your travel agent or friends for advice on what activities would be fun to do at the ports you will be visiting.
  3. Pack efficiently. Packing cubes are a must in my suitcase. They help me organize my clothes and it allows me to pack more without taking more space. Wear items that are plain like a black dress and then dress it up with a necklace or scarf. Pack things you can mix and match. Shoes are often the heaviest item in your suitcase. If you are only going to wear a pair of shoes once, don't pack them. Pack shoes that can worn with several outfits. 
  4. Get travel insurance. You don't want something to go wrong that you're not prepared for. Safeguard your travel investment. 
  5. Getting lost onboard is normal. Every time you travel on a new cruise ship, you'll have to get use to a new layout and features. There's usually a map of the ship near the elevators. Don't be afraid to ask an employee for help finding a location.
  6. Cruise App. If the cruise ships offers an app, download it ahead of time on your phone and use it to help you figure out where you're going. Apps like Ship Mate let you see photos from other travelers and ask them questions. These apps also have a countdown, which is a nice motivator. 
  7. Cell phone roaming charges. If you are planning on using your phone on the trip, be aware that it will probably not work onboard the ship, but it can work while on port. You can call your cell phone carrier ahead of time and ask if they have any international rate packages for the countries you will be visiting. In the last few cruises I've taken, I paid $10 a day for a day pass for that port instead of paying $3 a minute with my regular phone and data plan.
  8. Prioritize. Everyone doesn't travel the same way. Some people are happy spending hours lounging by the pool, others would rather be doing one of the many onboard activities, or simply taking a nap in their cabin. There will always be more to do on a cruise ship than you will have time for. You don't have to do everything! Just pick the things that are more interesting to you. 
  9. Beverages. Beverages are often not included. You will have to pay for sodas and of course, alcoholic beverages. Many ships now offer beverage packages. Some are not very good deals, while others are. Calculate how much it would cost you to get the drink separately versus in a package and how much you will be using it. If you are only planning on doing one or two drinks for the entire cruise, it might not be worth it to you to get a beverage package. Also, make sure the beverage package is a one time cost and not a per person/per day fee. 
  10. Room charges. Your room key will linked to a credit card on file. All charges will go on this card. It's really easy to charge things and then totally forget until you get your final bill and get a heart attack. Plan an amount of money that you are willing and able to charge for the entire trip. The TV in your room will often offer you the ability to see your up to date charges, if not, you can walk over to guest services and as them for a copy.
For travel ideas and deals, visit us at http://sweettravelgroup.com