Oceania Cruises

The thought of sailing away overcomes me in weather like this. I can imagine myself sipping coffee on a balcony, scanning the horizon for dolphins and waiting for the next port.

A cruise is a wonderful way to cross off several destinations (like Caribbean Islands, or Greek Islands) without having the expense to fly to one island at a time.  This is definitely how I hope to do the ABC islands someday soon. (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao)

This week, Oceania (Cruise Line – The luxury division of Norwegian Cruise Lines) caught my eye. They are offering some outstanding deals.  The great thing about these ships is that they are small. 700 passengers or less, feels like a vacation, not like a floating city.

Oceania has just 4 ships in the fleet, and the “Riviera” often makes the top 8 list that Cruise Critic puts out for the Best Luxury Cruises.

The Riviera, does one cruise from Montreal to Miami in late October. It’s a 14 day voyage as shown here.  But, do look at all their European offerings and transatlantic voyages too. Maybe something will catch your eye. (I’m after the Miami to New York cruise that circles the southern Caribbean. I could get my ABCs and more!)

To avoid sticker shock from some of the brochure prices, do look for specials for Canadian Residents, or for particular cruises. Or ask your favourite travel agent for help. There are numerous offers that bring the prices right down, sometimes a 40% discount or more, you just need to know where to look.

Which cruise catches your eye?

 

Under $1500, All Inclusive

Looking for a Christmas/school break getaway. Here’s about the best value package I can find from Winnipeg. It’s with Air Transat, includes direct flight, 4+ star hotel and is all inclusive.

Here’s the direct link to the hotel itself. Do check out the resort and make certain it’s the vacation you’re after. Price alone should never be the ultimate decision factor.

You can book on-line, or with any travel agent you choose. Screen shot and bargain were found at www.TripCentral.ca this time.

If you need a hotel at the Winnipeg Airport before your beach getaway, consider the Courtyard Marriott. It’s my favourite and right at the terminal. Very convenient.

 

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Screenshot from Tripcentral.ca

 

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Recent reviews

Deals for couples

Air Canada got my attention yesterday with some great deals on caribbean vacations.

I looked further and found that that the fine print excludes children in the discounts. Therefore these excellent deals are for couples, or friends, but not necessarily families or single parents.

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The fine print of the deal

If you search the site, you’ll see numerous packages available from Toronto. If you find something you like, then go to the main search page of Air Canada Vacations and search the same dates with your origin airport of YWG (Winnipeg). You will likely see the same deal, mere dollars more with a Winnipeg – Toronto connecting flight.

Travel dates for this sale are May thru October, but must be purchased by March 27th. You may also get a further discount by redeeming some of your aeroplan points. (26,500 points equals a $250 discount.)

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Sample deal

The best deal…. the one that really got my attention was Aruba. As low as $864 per adult. (Flights, hotel, transfers, taxes, breakfast). I would absolutely love to go to Aruba. And the following 3 hotels are either on or near Eagle Beach.

Well rated hotel
Tropicana hotel is well rated by Trip Advisor users who have been there

Eagle Beach in Aruba consistently makes the “best beaches” lists. It is known for its soft white sand.

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People over places

I work pretty ridiculous hours 9 months a year, and then I have some free time for 3 months. My first assignment each time I get to my break is to re-connect with my youngest child.

We have made a habit of taking off together, just the two of us, for a “him-cation.” It’s all about him. He can choose the destination (within reason), choose the activities and even choose where we eat. He says “please” and I say, “yes sir!”IMG_0637

When he was little, he chose a Disney cruise. That was great fun! Though the ship had dozens of activities and excursions, all he really wanted to do was play soccer on the upper deck. If I wasn’t out there playing with him, I was sitting on a lounge chair watching, and reading a book.

As I became a fixture on the deck, watching my son, Cast Members generously brought me new books. Even other passengers offered magazines. It was sweet. Everyone aboard was very thoughtful. I enjoyed their enquiries and visits.

In the evenings we’d sit on the pool deck and watch the movies and eat pizza. Every night he went to bed happy and feeling loved. While we didn’t maximize our Disney activities, we sure had fun. Neither of us will ever forget it.

Fast forward to this year’s “him-cation” and he chose Carli. What’s Carli? Actually, it’s a who. She, is a fabulous person that I used to work with and son remembers oh so fondly from his childhood.

Carli moved halfway across the county to attend university. He missed seeing her around town. We all did. So when he asked if this year’s trip could be to see Carli, I gave her a call and then bought the plane tickets.

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Exploring the shores and looking for wildlife

She showed us the university, where she worked, and where she liked to hike. We had a blast! She remembered him as a little boy and catered to little boy things… like finding blue crabs to “race” on the beach, logs to walk on and waterfalls to admire.

My take away message here is that it’s not always about the destination, it’s about the people you share your time with and the memories you make. The best vacation ever… can happen absolutely anywhere.

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Choose your own path to adventure! It’s YOUR vacation.

 

 

 

 

California Mansion

With recent chatter of Powerball Lotto dreams, one can’t help but imagine…. what if?

I stumbled upon this YouTube video for a California mansion in the Newport Beach area and I thought, “Wow! Wouldn’t that be amazing.” And for 3 minutes I was lost in the the moment.

I thought I would share. In fact, it’s inspired me to add a category, “Just Dreamy” and I’ll scour the web to bring you dreamy clips of the world and travel inspiration.