Family & Friends Cruisin’ for Matt’s 30th Birthday

June 6, 2012

My son’s 30th birthday was June 3, and his wife really wanted to organize something extremely memorable for him. After talking toRae Ann Wright, a 3 day cruise toEnsenada,Mexico, on the Carnival cruise line was decided upon.

 I was a bit skeptical of how well this was all going to go, but when I returned from the cruise, I sat right down and emailed Rae Ann how impressed I was with everything. Every single thing went very smoothly. There were 12 of us arriving from different directions, and she had us all on the same deck in rooms very close to each other. She organized the dinner seating so that we all got to sit together at our meals.

 The embarkation went extremely smoothly. Our rooms were very neat and clean, and the steward was in three times a day to refresh towels, make beds, clean the room, and we were greeted each night by turned down beds with chocolates and a different adorable towel animal each night.

 Our dinner server and cocktail waitress were so friendly and accommodating, and the food was great. We could call room service at any time, and everything arrived free of cost, and very quickly. The entire staff were so friendly and nice, I kept commenting how surprised I was that they could all be so nice, when they were all working so hard taking great care of us.

There were fun activities to join in every day, or we could just lounge around the pools or Jacuzzis and people watch. At night we had so many choices of fun things to do. We hit a few comedy shows, danced in the night clubs, did a little gambling, played games in the game room, and sometimes just hung out in the middle of everything in very comfortable lounge chairs and watched different bands, and fun people coming and going. We had no young children with us, but we saw lots of fun things for them to do.

Our excursion into Ensenada went without a hitch and we felt very safe. Again, debarking and embarking went very smoothly and quickly.

The three days went very quickly, and we were sad to see our fun cruise coming to an end. We hugged our wonderful dinner servers and said goodbye to all the new friends we had made. And once again, the debarking of all of the passengers was so organized and went very smoothly and quickly.

Soon we were back in our cars, heading for home, with so many fun pictures and stories to tell, and wondering how soon we could plan another cruise!!


Multi-generational family cruise!

Multi-generational family cruise!

The Gals enjoing their time together



As a Travel Professional, I enjoy working with busy breadwinners that are looking for that perfect vacation, from the tall to the small!   Rejuvenate, revitalize, and renew family and friend connections!  The richness that these memories are built on is priceless!  Bringing people together is my pleasure! 

Corporate seminars at sea!  Have done several, can show you how as an Event Planner can save you money, time and re-connect with co-workers or your vendors.
 Sweet Honeymoons, let me take over the details, you show up and engage in the senses of your celebration of life together, forever!
Goal: Love bringing loved ones together to make those forever lasting relationships.    
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Rae Ann Wright
Carefree Vacations-Encinitas
760-479-4327 Direct Line
800-683-1556 ext. 103 
Let me do your Seminar @ Sea RAE, ask me how!

European River Cruises & MORE!


     Have you ever dreamed of lazily floating down a river and watching the landscapes as you glide by?  Well, that is what river cruising is like, only better!  On a river cruise, you experience the scenery, the sites and the cities, immerse yourself in the culture and dine on local foods.  Unlike the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced tour, you will see the sights at a much more relaxed pace and you only have to unpack once.  And unlike ocean cruises, there is always something to see along the shore.  Your proximity to the shore means that stunning castles, ancient temples, and charming villages are all within easy sight of the ship!  In other words, while dining in the restaurant, relaxing on the sun deck or lounging in your own spacious stateroom, you’ll enjoy front-row views of the world’s most spectacular sights as your five-star floating boutique carries you from one extraordinary destination to the next!

    Ships dock in the middle of town to ensure easy access of local areas.  You might find yourself dining on local food and drink, visiting world famous sites, attending musical productions, walking along the shore line, interacting with the locals, shopping at markets, sampling pastries from

     The river cruise ships are like little floating boutique hotels complete with comfortable beds, crisp sheets, plush towels, luxurious bath products and specialty coffees and teas.  Uniworld is the ONLY river cruise line recognized by the Zagat Cruise Lines Survey for “Top Dining” where meals are flawlessly prepared using the freshest ingredients, which are often brought onboard from local farmers’ markets.  Most River cruises also include complimentary wines and beverages:  fine wines, hearty local beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.  Coffee and tea available 24/7, and daily shore excursions at no additional cost.  You’ll find a crew that is not only friendly and helpful, but mostly come from the areas you are visiting.

     Shore excursions treat cruisers to daily tours of cities and towns along the Enchanting Danube; Castles of the Rhine; Springtime Tulips and Windmills;  Paris& the Heart of Europe, or the Imperial Waterways ofRussia!  You will discover that River Cruising provides cruisers with a taste of the culture and history, a new way to see theOld World! 

   UniworldBoutiqueRivercollect is starting a whole new river cruise inItalyin 2013!  Imagine all the splendors ofItaly’s Po River and the Venice Lagoon?  You’ll also have the chance to venture off the beaten path visiting romantic Tuscan wine estates, enchanting Verona-the home of literature’s most famous lovers-Romeo and Juliet! 

Cruising New Zealand!

It’s Time to cruise New Zealand! From towering mountains and golden beaches to chic cafes and world-class shopping, the island paradise really does have it all. New Zealand
is a premium cruise destination that caters to travelers of all tastes, from the adventurous to those seeking cultural experiences, luxury and relaxation. This makes it
an ideal destination to visit, and it makes travel to New Zealand that much easier.

Why Cruise?

Cruising passengers can see a surprisingly diverse range of landscapes, scenery and wildlife.
New Zealand’s ports are close together so cruise passengers can
experience a new destination every day.
Many cruises take in the entire length of New Zealand visiting five to nine ports on
a New Zealand/Australia cruise.
New Zealand is a safe destination and the locals are friendly.
New Zealand offers a unique history and a chance to experience Māori
Cruise Options

The majority of cruise lines visit New Zealand
Cruise Season is during October to April (New Zealand’s summer and fall)
More than 25 different ships visit New Zealand’s coast in a typical year

Pre and Post Options

There is so much more to see for those who have time before or after
their cruise. Remember to add on a pre or post options beginning or ending their cruise in Auckland. Auckland, the Bay of Islands or Queenstown make great three or four day additions to any New Zealand experience.

Are you likely to Cruise?

Have you already cruised Europe and Alaska? Just a 12 hr flight from the
West Coast of the USA, New Zealand really is closer than most or us think. Is this on your bucket list?

Family Reunion Cruises! Lynette’s story!

I love helping families with their Family Reunions! It gives me such pleasure to get all the family members from different parts of the county all to one destination! Building majestic memories from the tall to the small! Love hearing about their vacations when they return, warms the heart!
One of my favorite reunions that I had the pleasure to help is Lynette. She is the matriarch of her family, with her kids all over the states, from Wyoming, to Alaska and Arizona. Her son was getting ready to go serve in Afghanistan and she really wanted this be a magical memory for all!
After much searching different resorts on Oahu, the price was astronomical! We had the airfare, hotels, and transfers with 4 rooms to accommodate her entire family. The price was so high! They still had meals to think about. Now if you have been to Hawaii, you know how expensive that can be!
So, I talked to her about a cruise! All meals included, accommodations, entertainment and see ALL the islands! She wasn’t that keen on cruising at first, but she saw the value and benefits to it, after all, how fun to be able to sail past a volcano? Every day offered a different beautiful Hawaiian beaches or waterfalls. She loved how relaxing the ship felt, how the crew was so helpful and accommodating! AND she saved a ton of money on top of it!!!
Ends up, she loved it so much; they had to PRY her and her family off the ship when it was all over! She didn’t want to get off! She really loved how relaxing the cruise vacation went! They cannot wait to go again! Priceless memories!

The New Disney “Fantasy” Ship Is Not For Kids Only

By Mark Orwoll 


The new Disney Cruise Line Fantasy, which was christened last night in New York City, is swoon-worthy, no doubt, but it is also something you might not expect: Subtle. Unlike many modern cruise ships, the 4,000-passenger Fantasy eschews loud color schemes, smoked glass, and an abundance of brass in favor of sophisticated Art Nouveau details, 1930’s ocean-liner styling (witness the round portholes), and well-curated handcrafted design elements from around the world. It is, in a word, sophisticated.


The Disney Fantasy does something else you might not expect: It plays down the Disney imagery. Sure, the Oceaneer’s Club for the kids abounds with Stitch and Cinderella and the usual suspects. But outside of that you could conceivably pass your first evening onboard without realizing the Walt connection. “We’ve always felt we had to create ships that can host multi-generational families,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, just before the christening on Thursday. “It has to be elegant. And it has to evoke Disney, but in a way that appeals to everyone.”

Or as Joe Lanzisero, the senior Imagineer in charge of the Disney Fantasy‘s design, puts it: “You’re going to be on the ship for seven days. You really don’t want Mickey in your face all the time.”

Perhaps the splashiest room on the ship is the Atrium Lobby, where guests enter and leave. With its massive butterfly-inspired chandelier, sweeping staircase, peacock-tail carpeting, and three-deck-high golden columns, it may not be everyone’s cup of Mad Hatter tea. But otherwise, stylish subtlety reins.

Here are my favorite parts of the new ship following a recent five-hour tour:

– The ship architecture itself, with a hull and superstructure that recall the grand ocean liners of old. The exterior colors (black, yellow, red) subtly recall the colors of Mister Mouse, but the reference is so subdued you might not recognize it unless it was pointed out to you.


 – The private dining area in the French restaurant Remy, a jewel box of a room whose art nouveau richness is an almost exact recreation of the restaurant in the animated film Ratatouille.

 – Senses Spa, with its water wall, floors paved with river stone, private hot tubs overlooking the ocean, and a series of steam rooms ranging from Hammam (with a dry heat infused with tangerine) to Caladarium (super hot and moist, with an infusion of eucalyptus).

 – Europa, the adults-only nightlife “district” with drinking spots themed on an Irish pub, French cafe, Italian bar, and a Swinging ’60s London club. 

Tom Staggs, comfortably ensconced yesterday in the vast Walt Disney Suite, seemed very happy with what his team had created. Guests don’t have to be parents of small children to get a bang out of a cruise on the Disney Fantasy, he said. “The adults get just as much shine and wow as the kids get.”

The Disney Fantasy begins regular seven-day sailings from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Caribbean starting March 31.


Cruise Lines for Fitness, by Erica Silverstein

If your idea of a great vacation involves daily runs in the open air, a leisurely workout in a high-tech gym or a smorgasbord of fitness classes from Pilates to Zumba, a cruise may be the perfect getaway for you.

These days, cruise ships are about more than just eating and lying in the sun, and they’re attracting fitness buffs, yogis and health-conscious travelers in droves with active options both onboard and off.

Believe it or not, on a cruise you really can lose weight — or at least break even. That’s because fitness centers are growing in size to accommodate a more youthful and body-conscious passenger base and often feature state-of-the-art equipment and 180-degree sea views. Ships are breaking new ground with cutting-edge workouts like Kinesis Walls, popular TRX Suspension Training and Tour de Spin classes, plus offering trendy sessions in Pilates and tai chi.

Deck games like shuffleboard and skeet shooting have made way for onboard surfing, rock climbing, mini-golf and basketball. In port, active excursion options are plentiful. Cycling is big — not to mention hiking, kayaking, swimming and diving. If breaking a sweat can be fun, cruise ships have found ways to offer those activities in the middle of the ocean. 

Royal Caribbean is leading the pack as the trendsetter in onboard fitness options. Its ships are the only ones afloat to offer onboard surfing, boxing and ice skating. But it’s not the only line to put emphasis on fitness. Others are also expanding their gyms and their top-deck fitness options. Some of the smaller lines — SeaDreamStar ClippersWindstarSeabourn — focus on water sports, with onboard marinas packed with water toys that range from kayaks to water-skis. Crystal and Seabourn are two luxury lines getting creative with gentler, senior-friendly workouts like Kinesis and walking, while river lines store bikes onboard for passengers to use ashore.  

Here are a few tips for working out onboard.  

Onboard gyms can get crowded at peak hours, such as early morning and late afternoon before dinner. Some ships even have signup sheets for cardio machines with strict time limits. Go during off-hours (or while ships are in port) for less crowded conditions. 

Many group classes — Pilates, yoga, spinning — come with fees (typically $10-$15). Classes can fill up, so sign up in advance. Instructors vary in ability, and as they teach all the classes, they might not have the same level of dedicated training in one tradition as your studio back home. Work out at your own risk, and don’t do anything that seems painful to you. 

Onboard water sports marinas are great, but they can only be used when the weather is warm enough and the ship can anchor in safe and relatively calm waters. If you’re excited about taking out kayaks and Sunfish boats straight from the ship, hot-weather cruises are better than colder, shoulder season trips (though the opportunities vary). On one October Windstar cruise in theMediterranean, the marina was never opened. Meanwhile, on a Seabourn cruise — same itinerary, same season — marina activities were a cruise highlight. 

The smaller the ship, the smaller the gym. Luxury lines may have first-rate facilities, but a 200-person ship won’t have the enormous workout space a 3,200-passenger ship will have. 

Don’t forget about shore excursions. Active tours are quite popular. You can get some physical activity — in the form of kayaking, walking, hiking and biking — while exploring a destination. 

If you really want your cruise to be all about good health, choose a theme cruise. There are special cruises for runners and golfers, as well as general health and wellness lifestyle cruises (often featuring workshops on yoga, meditation and healthy diets). For those who prefer less of a gym-based approach to working out, dance-themed cruises will keep you on your toes day and night. 

Best onboard gym 

RoyalCaribbean’s Freedom and Oasis Classes

Why: Because size does matter. Royal Caribbean’s three Freedom-class ships — FreedomLiberty and Independence of the Seas — each have 9,700-square-foot fitness centers. In addition to state-of-the-art cardio, weight-training and circuit-training machines, theShipShapeCenter features spinning cycles, a Pilate’s studio with six reformer machines and a full-size boxing ring, complete with speed bags, jump ropes, heavy bags and padded punching mitts. All cardio machines sport personal LED screens for entertainment options while working out. Group classes on offer include step aerobics, yoga, Pilates, stretching, tai chi, boot camp and indoor cycling. Additional cutting-edge workout equipment onboard includes the Cable Motion series of strength training machines and Power-Plate, a device based on advanced reflex technology. 

Allure and Oasis of the Seas —  the largest cruise ships ever — are in their own league. In addition to the usual fitness equipment, they each have 12 Gravity machines (providing body conditioning through Pilates and resistance training), a Kinesis Wall (circuit exercises utilizing a system of pulleys), Expresso Bikes (with 30 interactive, virtual rides) and Activio Cycling (providing heart rate feedback). Classes unique to Oasis and Allure include Kinesis group training, a combo cycling-and-jogging class called The Brick, and a jogging club, which uses the adjacent Deck 5 track. The track is a runner’s dream, featuring well-marked lanes, shaded ocean views and a series of motivational stanzas that hang from the ceiling, like: “One lap to go / Or maybe three / Tonight’s dessert, can be guilt free.” 


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