I am determine to visit these 5 countries within the next 10 years or so. I think traveling is something good. I like to check out other cultures, food and learn about their surroundings. I think it is important to go new places and see new things. This list is in no specific order but these are the countries that I want to see!
1. Paris- I mean there is no doubt in my mind that I want to travel to Paris. The Eiffel tower I really want to see. I would love to try some real French Cuisine. I heard they have some different types of foods that I probably wouldn’t try unless I was there. The city itself looks so romantic at night and words just can’t describe how pretty the city is!
2. Italy-Hello I can get down with my GTL!@ (LMAO) I absolutely love Italian food! For me to get some authentic Italian food would be awesome. There are so many places I want to go to; Rome, Venice, Sicily. I think it would be a very beautiful place to visit. Maybe I can find me a nice Italian man to marry while I am there as well! Italy has a lot of architecture style buildings such as the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Also, a lot of fashion labels like Gucci, Armani, Fendi and Prada!
3. Tokyo- I always heard that Tokyo is like the Asian version of NYC so I definitely want to check that out. Of course I have to say the food. I know that seems to be a trending topic for me but I like different types of food. I would like to try some blowfish as well. My friend actually went to Tokyo a couple years back and he climbed Mt. Fuji and I am not sure if I will be able to but it will be nice to try. I would love to see some Japanese fashion and go to a fashion show!
4. Africa- I don’t think I will ever get a chance to go here but I would love to go on a Safari and see animals in their natural habitat. Even though I don’t like it I would like to see a lion attack a Zebra in the wild or something. I think Africa has a lot of history to it and it would be more educational than anything. But if I had the chance to go I would!
5. Brazil- I heard the beaches in Brazil are way better than Miami. They have an annual festival called Carnival and it is suppose to last for 4 days. Everyone is dancing, drinking and it goes on during in their hottest month which is February. It takes months to prepare and the whole city is involved. It is in the streets, bars, clubs, everywhere! Then after all the party I can just chill on a white sand beach and lay out!
Choosing the best cruise for your family is a lot more complicated than it used to be. Some ships are better for infants than others, and ditto for teens, and not all itineraries are created equal (Alaska and Caribbean are super destinations that tend to be kid-friendly). Add to the mix the fact that ships vary greatly not just from line to line but within fleets — and that some are better than others in terms of onboard accouterments.
Onboard programs and facilities have taken a wide leap, particularly in the past few years. A few interesting evolutions:
The biggest, most important trend: Because kids’ developmental stages really do vary drastically, some cruise lines divide them into groups of 3- to 5-year-olds and 6- to 8-year-olds, rather than lump 3- to 8-year-olds in one program.
Teens-only programs incorporate a range of shipwide options, from spa treatments to shore excursions.
Programs have been created in conjunction with popular companies that market to kids, such as Crayola, Coca-Cola and Fisher-Price.
In the accommodations arena, the hottest new concept is family suites — and many cruise lines building new ships have designed those vessels to incorporate this type of stateroom design.
Entertainment achieved a major pinnacle with the launch of Disney’s two ships, but there are numerous productions — not to mention in-cabin television channels — designed to distract across the board.
Onboard activities have become as important as shore excursions, if not more so. Cruise lines are creating new attractions (rock climbing walls, believe it or not, are passe!) ranging from elaborate water parks to movie matinees.
Special menus for tykes are offered in a variety of dining venues.
Compiling these picks was a bit like splitting hairs: Picking the best isn’t simply a matter of settling on a cruise line but also looking at ships in particular (vessels can vary widely within fleets). “The newer, the better” is often a useful mantra for choosing a family-friendly ship … but not always. Though Holland America as a cruise line did not ultimately wind up in our list of recommendations, ships that feature HAL’s brand-new teen area Oasis (such as Ryndam) really do offer something special and unique. (Alas, while the facility is fabulous, this particular example didn’t make it to our list of recommendations, because that’s pretty much all there is.)
And while these are the ships — and cruise lines — we’ve picked, we will conclude with this caveat: You know your family’s tastes and preferences better than we ever could. By no means are they the only ships to consider: Think of them as just a starting point.
Want to nominate your family’s favorite ship? Send it along — with an explanation of why — firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager-class ships (Voyager of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas,Explorer of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas) and Freedom-class ships (Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas)
Why: Rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, miniature golf and roller blading are more innovative ways to tire out your kids than, say, a basketball court or pool games (though these ships do have pretty fantastic pool areas, not to mention the usual basketball courts). And did we mention the ships’ indoor promenades, which feature all manner of parades and special events? Plus, Freedom, Liberty and Independence of the Seas offer the FlowRider, the industry’s first surf park at sea.
The Program: What we like about Adventure Ocean in general is that it subdivides kids and teens into smaller age categories. For instance, Aquanuts (ages 3 – 5) may engage in activities like storytime and “toilet paper soccer;” Explorers (6 – 8) can play backwards bingo, make their own surfboards, and take part in adventure and science activities; and Voyagers (9 – 11) play foosball and capture the flag as well as undertake science experiments ranging from earthquakes to hailstorms. Even the teens are divided into two groups: Navigators (12 – 14) take part in “open mic” karaoke contests and rock wall challenges; the oldest group (15 – 17) are so cool they don’t have a kitschy name, and have their own toga parties and group skate session.
The Facilities: With 22,000 square ft., they’re among the largest dedicated kids facilities in cruising. There’s a toddlers’ only splash pool, arts and crafts workshop, video arcade and computer stations. The company is redesigning its teen facilities to include Fuel, a nightclub; the Living Room, a coffee-house style hang out; and a bank of Internet-connected computers (discounted per-minute rates are vastly less than those paid by adults).
Other Nifty Features: Johnny Rockets, the 1950′s-style luncheonette, is a kid magnet (and parents think it’s pretty cool, too). Royal Caribbean is also one of the few cruise lines to provide activities, at no charge, for the under-3 set: The line is partnered with well-known child-oriented companies like Fisher Price and Crayola.
Carnival’s Conquest- and Splendor-class ships (Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory,Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom and Splendor)
Why: Carnival’s Conquest class may lack the flash of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class, but offers a marvelous all-around alternative, with a special and successful focus on teen travelers.
The Program: Carnival divides kids into five age groups with strong edu-tainment offerings incorporated throughout. Toddlers (ages 2 – 5) play “Fun Ship” bingo; dabble in arts and crafts such as sponge painting, coloring and drawing contests; and have sing-alongs. Juniors (6 – 8) play Disney trivia, paint t-shirts and participate in games throughout the ships. Intermediates (9 – 11) have talent shows and scavenger hunts. Circle C pre-teens (12 – 14) and Club O2 teens (15 – 17) have access to regular disco evenings, special teens-only shore excursions, and PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox consoles.
The Facilities: At 4,200 square feet, the facilities range from an arts and crafts center to a soft play area, a computer lab to a video wall. The littlest cruisers have their own enclosed wading pool. Unlike most cruise lines that wedge the teen disco into a corner of the overall kid’s area, Carnival’s Conquest-class ships feature their teen discos on the main promenade alongside “adult” bars and lounges.
Other Nifty Features: Teens are welcome in Carnival’s spas; Carnival’s program accepts children as young as 2, while other lines start at the age of 3.
1. South Beach- It is the hot spot in Miami! Shop until you drop or party the night away you can enjoy everything on South Beach. Most restaurants offer outdoor seating so you can enjoy the ambience and beautiful weather. Whether you feel like Italian (TiramesU Restaurant, Da Leo Trattoria), Cuban (Yuca Restaurant), New World (Pacific Time), or a blues cafe (Van Dyke Cafe), you can find on Lincoln Road!
2. Zoo Miami- It is becoming one of the best zoos in the nation. Its climate allows it to keep a wide variety of animals from Asia, Australia and Africa like no other zoo in the country. One of the first free-range zoos in the country, the exhibits are entirely cageless. Animals are grouped according to their geographic territory and animals that live together peacefully in the wild are placed in exhibits together.
3. Seaquarium-The Miami Seaquarium is located right in the middle of the tourist area, on the causeway between downtown Miami and Miami Beach. It’s a fabulous stop where you can witness an outdoor aquarium experience that’s only possible in our tropical climate. Be sure to budget enough time to spend at least half a day there!
4. Hit the Beach-Miami’s beaches offer a great opportunity to get some exercise or just enjoy some time in the sun! I take a look at a few of my favorite beaches, including a couple of lesser-used spots where you’ll be able to avoid the tourist crowd.
5. Everglades-With 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies and sub-tropical jungles, Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the United States. Located on the southern tip of Florida, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. A large portion of the park is primitive, explored only by adventurists and researchers – but visitors have ample opportunity to walk, camp and canoe.
6. Miami Museum of Science-Check out the latest kid-friendly exhibits at the Miami Museum of Science. You’re bound to find a learning adventure for the whole family. The museum is home to the Bird of Prey Research Center and the Weintraub Observatory.
7. Miami Children’s Museum-If you have kids (or just like to act like them!), the Miami Children’s Museum is a must-see destination. Their motto of “Play, Learn, Imagine, Create” shines through in the wide variety of interactive exhibits that allow children to explore everything from a supermarket to a television studio, picking up valuable lessons along the way.
8. Parrot Jungle Island-Parrot Jungle offers visitors a fun, educational opportunity to get an up-close look at tropical birds in replicas of their natural habitats. The attraction routinely hosts field trips and offers frequent educational programs.
9. Monkey Jungle-“Where the humans are caged and the monkeys run wild” – it’s more than a catch-phrase. Monkey Jungle in southern Miami-Dade County is a truly unique park. While homo sapiens walk through carefully constructed wire pathways, many species of primates scamper above your head, swing through trees and interact with each other in ways difficult to observe in captivity. Keep your eyes open; you never know who’s hanging around!
10. Coral Castle-Coral Castle is truly a monument to the uniqueness of Miami! This attractions was built by a Latvian-born Miami resident named Ed Leedskalnin as a monument to his lover. After 28 years of effort, he introduced his 1100-ton coral creation to the world. It’s a bit of a trip from downtown, but well worth the time.
1. Figure out how much you want to spend. Money, of course, is one of the big obstacles in choosing any travel destination. An Africa vacation or wanting to cruise to FIGI is going to cost you a lot more than a Vegas vacation package for example. So, set your budget first to help you narrow down your travel destination ideas.
2. Find out how many days you can take off. Simple enough, right? Knowing the limit of how many days you can take off is going to narrow down many of your travel destination choices. You probably won’t be able to properly enjoy a Safari vacation if your traveling from the states and you only have five days off. Maximize your travel destination choice by choosing a place that you can get to in a reasonable amount of time with plenty of time leftover to relax.
3 Dig deep into your vacation needing self. You know how much you can spend and how long you can be on your vacation, now what do you dream of doing within those parameters. Do you want to be around a lot of nature with tons of opportunities for outdoor adventures, or do you want to sit on the beach all day and go downtown all night? Your travel destination should have as many of the features that you want as possible, but still allow you to stay in your budget.
4 Consider the other people going with you. This can help you narrow down the choices a lot. Choosing a vacation destination with others should be part of the fun. Have everyone say what their top three desired features are for the vacation site. See which features stand out the most.
5.Take it to the professionals. With your options in hand, you can work quickly and effectively with a travel agent to find the perfect travel destination. Shop around a little bit for the best travel agents, or ask friends who they trust. You want to make sure that you get the most for your money.
6. Search the sites. If you prefer to book your vacation online, then look at sites like Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity. They all have search tools that let you plug in your criteria so you get good matches for travel destinations.
I have been through a lot this year and I think it is about time I do something for myself and I am thinking about planning a vacation. The question is where to go? Personally I love cruises. I think it is the best type of vacation for the money. On the cruise I have my food, entertainment, and everything I need right aboard the ship. I also live in Miami so I am right next to the port so I don’t have to worry about flights, renting a car, or finding entertainment.
The best time to cruise is August-December. It is the least expensive because it is considered “off season”. The only thing as a cruise passenger would have to worry about is hurricanes so that is the only downfall. When I plan a last minute cruise I just normally take a 3 day to the Bahamas so I can get away for the weekend. I can get away. I do not have to worry about anyone calling me or checking emails. It is just me and the open water.
I do admit that when I am on a cruise I love the food. I get so excited because there is such a nice variety of everything and not to mention 24hr ice cream and pizza. There is always a formal night as well and I like dressing up to go to dinner. It something different and that a lot of people get a chance to do. I like dressing up and then taking pictures. It is like prom all over again.
Hopefully within the next year I will be able to experience a 7 day cruise and I also want to go to Alaska really bad. At my age everyone is wondering why I want to go so bad because a lot of older people are on it. But I think it will be a great experience. The view, mountains, and maybe I can see a whale. But next time you are thinking about planning a vacation think about taking a cruise you will not regret it!
Okay so you decided that your going on vacation. The dates are the picked out and the destination. What now? Do you do it yourself or call a travel agency? If you are the type of person who doesn’t have the “time” or “patience” to look around yourself then you will probably contact a travel agent. But do you really get a good deal by booking through one? It seems like a good deal because when they do everything for you the price your looking at is a total price. It may look like I am criticizing travel agents but everything they do you can yourself. Your just paying them to do it for you.
What do you need for a vacation? Flight, hotel, and maybe a car for a land vacation? Internet has evolved so much in todays time that you can check for prices yourself online. It may take a good hour to write down the information from two or three websites. Also, the websites give you options whether you want to book everything together or individually. It is good at times to book everything individually because you can find coupon codes online and actually get the price cheaper.
The only time I would recommend a travel agent is perhaps when a large group is planning something together. It is easy for the person planning to contact the travel agent and give them all the information and then pass out to the others. In some cases if you have a large group there will be discounted rates since it is a “group rate”. If everyone is paying at separate times the travel agent can keep track of that instead of the person planning it. Also, it allows everyone to travel together instead of everyone arriving at different times.
In my opinion I would only book my vacation through a travel agent if I was planning a large vacation somewhere. With everything on the Internet now, it makes sense just for you to book it yourself. By hiring a travel agent your just paying them when you can save that money and put it towards the vacation you are planning! So next time when you decide to take a vacation don’t hire a travel agent do it yourself and enjoy it!
My name is Alyssa and when I think of going on vacation all I think about is cruising. I’m on Carnival.com almost every day. I love learning about the new ships and new itineraries. I hope before I am too old, I’ll be able to cruise on all the Carnival “Fun Ships!”
My first cruise was on the Carnival Imagination, before it was dry docked, so I haven’t seen the upgrades, including Carnival Waterworks. I hope to check that out sometime next month (May 2010). I sailed on the Carnival Fascination with a bunch of people from work and it was so much fun. I want to go on the Carnival Magic next year!
Cruising to me is a great escape and everyone is really friendly. I remember standing at the elevator and some people came along and just started chatting with me. I guess it was because everyone was just so happy to be on vacation. It’s like the same person who gives you the finger on the highway for driving so slow, is the same person who will ask you to have a drink and talk so you can get to know one other. I love the fact that each morning I’m given a list of all the activities that are going on that day. I wake up and get my breakfast and let the day begin!
I’ve only been on 3 day, 4 day and 5 day cruises and I hope to experience a 7 day or longer cruise soon. Everyone I come in contact with I somehow get them on a “Fun Ship” cruise. I talk to people each week about cruising and recruit people more and more. I think Carnival is the best cruise line and offers the most for your money. I’ve always wanted to work on one of the ships, to be one of the smiling faces you see aboard! I always tell anyone that is skeptical about cruising to take a 3 day Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Imagination if sailing from Miami, or the Carnival Sensation if sailing from Port Canaveral. My motto is, “Once you sail, your good times can’t fail.”
(Originally Published April 30th 2010)