It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label Food & Beverage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food & Beverage. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Rhine River Wine Cruise - Fall 2022

Fairytale castles, historic vineyards, charming villages, rich history, spectacular panoramas, majestic mountain landscapes...

all this and more could be yours for making some fabulous memories when you join us for a Rhine river wine cruise adventure. October/November 2022. Pre-cruise stay in Amsterdam and/or Post-cruise stay in Lake Como also available.
Limited rooms are available. Save $1,000 per person when you book before July 31, 2021. Message me for details and pricing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Discover the USA... Christopher's RIDE IN COMFORT Suggestions

Suggested Itinerary: COASTAL MAINE

Maine...where rocky shores, infinite nature, and endless lobster forge a coastal New England classic. Dig into local delicacies with an oyster shucking lesson and tasting. Immerse yourself in dramatic nature at Acadia National Park. See how lobster traps are retrieved from the ocean. Admire the picturesque Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse. Take part in a vintage wine tasting at Cellardoor Winery. Enjoy the vibrant city of Portland. Ancient mountains, delectable cuisine, and bustling harbors await you in this maritime treasure.

7 Days including 9 meals (6B, 1L, 2D)

There are 9 available departures for this experience between June and September this year. I love helping people find amazing adventures on land, and Maine would be a great destination to explore this summer!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Go Active Itinerary Suggestion:  CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY


ITINERARY SUGGESTION:  CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY: Napa & Sonoma Vineyards, Redwoods & Pacific Coast

Legendary vineyards. Soaring redwood forests. And the dramatic Pacific coast. This is Northern California. And for you, it's a fantastic week and an incredible journey. Wine tastings and gourmet meals enlighten your palate. Stunning scenery invigorates. And top-notch spas relax and rejuvenate... all in one remarkable place simply known as the Wine Country.

There are 24 possible itinerary departures from April to November 2021. These 6 days, 5-night adventures are truly special!
Intrigued? Ask me! Know someone who might love this type of adventure? Share it with them!  I love helping people get out & explore with land-based vacations & active adventures of all kinds. Don't let the agency name fool you...we are SO MUCH MORE than just cruises!
Learn more about other biking and active adventures on our dedicated page! 
#travel #adventure #tourism #vacation #exploremore #discovertheusa #supportsmallbusinesses #travelagent #theinternetisforlookingbuttravelagentsareforbooking #bicycletouring #bicycling #biketours

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Possible Event Space for 2020 Presentations

I'm looking at doing multiple events in 2020 and fell in love with this location near Geist. Daniel's Vineyard is a great space and offers a terrific tastings menu, let alone their Cellar Club. If you're local to the Indianapolis area and need a venue for a cool corporate outing or event, you should check them out and their fun menu of event options. Or just grab some friends and go relish an evening of enjoyment together. #danielsvineyard #wine #winery

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Suggested Itinerary: Western Australia's THE KIMBERLEY Region

The Kimberley awaits!

Three times larger than England and with a population of less than 40,000, the Kimberley region – spread over Australia's entire north-western corner – is one of the world's last wilderness frontiers. Here you'll find prolific wildlife, majestic canyons, freshwater swimming holes, and several outback stations, as well as one of Australia's greatest 4WD road trips. Despite the area's remoteness, it's also a place of great food, luxury accommodation, friendly locals, and one of the most romantic beach towns on Earth.
Who's ready to explore this amazing destination? I'm ready to help you do it. Let's chat about your dream Aussie holiday.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

This & That from the Outback

Living in the land down under... it's just another condiment option at every hotel's breakfast bar! Spread it THINLY on toast. Never overdo it!

It's another warm one here in the NT, and at 4pm we're still not to the day's top temperature. But it's a dry heat so it's tolerable. Add the humidity that comes in the summer and it would just be miserable. For now, we're all staying hydrated and are as clear and copious as possible, moving into the shade whenever possible, keeping our sunnies on, and regularly applying the suncream. This Scouter has been helping ensure that we've all been just fine.

And below is a compilation of signs from our hike yesterday in Maguk... ALWAYS pay attention to your surroundings! Crocs can be anywhere. And most important...whatever you do...

never smile at a crocodile, no you can't get friendly with a crocodile... 


In the afternoon we arrived at Nitmiluk National Park and our Lodge for the night. We went over to the boat launch to enjoy a cruise and hike between two of the 13 gorges that make up Katherine Gorge (two cruise experiences with a hike between each gorge to get from boat to boat). It was a nice and relaxing time after much go, go, go the past few days. Not much wildlife but we did see our first freshwater crocodile.

After our two-gorge cruise and hike, we hiked back to the first gorge and were picked up by the dinner boat and then enjoyed a nice, three-course candlelight dinner cruise back through the first gorge. What an amazing adventure that was! Our own real-life "jungle cruise" has happened multiple times and in multiple ways this week. I love it. Plus, while I couldn't get great photos of them, last night was our first time to be in total darkness, and enjoy a beautifully decorated starry sky! It was simply stunning. So many wonderful experiences that you too could enjoy here in the top end of Australia's outback. And at the end of the evening, though my camera didn't capture them very well, the starfield was incredible as there was absolutely zero light pollution in the gorge. Stunning to enjoy looking at, for certain!






Friday, October 4, 2019

Happy 49th to Me as I Spend the Day at the Happiest Place on Earth!

My 49th at Disneyland

Living in the midwest, but heading Down Under, means that I had to fly west before I could fly to the Southern Hemisphere. With a nearly 16 hour flight, I didn't want to have the 5 additional hours to get to LA be shortly before hopping on the next plane, so a stopover was called for. Departing for Australia the day after my birthday meant that I really didn't want to also be flying on my birthday, but would much rather spend the day doing something I wanted to do and hadn't been able to do in decades...visit the park that started it all...Disneyland. So I flew to LA two nights early and spent the night of the 3rd in Anaheim across the street from the park. With this trip, I will finally get to experience the park's newest land, which opened back in June...Galaxy's Edge, the new Star Wars addition. I'm pretty excited about it, and can't wait to get back inside my beloved Disneyland. 

As a kid, I always began my day in the park in this space, and then worked my way around. Today I'm headed to a whole new world to start my grand circle tour of this amazing place. Going to get my Han Solo fix and see the Millennium Falcon first.

Single Rider plus right at opening means on the second flight of the morning! That was an awesome experience. I will be doing this one again later!

I've popped across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure and am now just hanging out with my favorite visionary dreamer and the Mouse. I love how this statue is accessible and makes for a great photo spot, unlike the more famous Partners statue in the hub over at Disneyland which is in the center of a large planter and completely inaccessible to guests. I got a similar photo to this one though when we got to visit the Walt Disney Studios for an awesome tour a couple of years ago, as the Partners statue found there is completely accessible in the Courtyard, just as this Dreamers statue is at DCA.

Some people probably wonder how someone could go to a "family" place like Disneyland alone. Well one of the best parts of being solo, is I get to do things that my family doesn't like to do! I LOVE Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and they don't. I've enjoyed it TWICE today...with a Dole Whip each time! AND, it never gets old. I love this show. 😀

Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday, but The Haunted Mansion IS my all-time favorite attraction in the park. So I'm going to declare that this is a Haunted Mansion-themed slice of birthday cake, and not a Halloween one. Since this is my day, I can make that declaration. 😎
(Tomorrow it'll go back to being the other thing for anyone who enjoys it 😅)

It's been such a great way to spend my 49th birthday. I got to be in a place that I love, chat on the phone with people that I love, and just do anything that I wanted going at the pace that I wanted. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ice's What's for Lunch!

When on vacation, it's what's for lunch. The Earthquake...Not for the faint of heart, it just a couple people. Serves up to 8. Your choice of 8 flavors and 8 toppings. (Not as sickening as the Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream, either.)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sandals' St Patrick's Day Sale!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
What better way to spend this day than at Sandals Resorts, with unlimited amounts of your favorite cocktail at no additional cost! Book your Sandals vacation during their St. Patrick's Day sale and receive a FREE Private Candlelight Dinner for two when you book a Club level room or higher. Bottoms up!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ireland Here I Come!! A Compilation of Thoughts About The Trip - Day One...Travel & Arrival - Before the FAM Begins

February 3, 2017 @2:07 pm

I'm off to see the wizard, the, wait, I'm not headed to Emerald City but to the Emerald Isle! Look out Dublin, Limerick, Cashel, Cork, Killarney, Foynes, Adare, Bunratty and Offaly because here I come!

As shared from my Facebook posts, be warned my friends, for instead of political banter and heavily skewed opinions your feed may be interrupted for some beautiful scenery and images throughout the next week. I'm sure you'll be sad to see them instead of the muck and mire from left and right, but it's my job and I have to report on what is going on in the world. 😎 Note: I am going to be only posting on Facebook during this trip but will be compiling what I post here into a few entries with multiple segments pieced together.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Say Hola to Cuba in 2017

Who's ready to cruise to Cuba? In 2017 you can cruise into Havana on Norwegian Sky with an overnight stay....oh, and did I mention Open Bar is included??
Currently, only May sailings are open for booking, but more will come. Don't delay - book today before the prices start to increase. Call me at 317.776.1733 to get YOUR sailing booked.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I LOVE Fresh Alaskan Salmon!!

Fresh Alaskan salmon bake onboard was a fantastic final lunch for this voyage! Yummmmm-my! Served buffet style with a nice assortment of salads, sides, and a delicious apple pie.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dining at the Carthay Circle Restaurant

Recently I dined for the very first time at the Carthay Circle Restaurant inside Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland® Resort.  I was there for an Earmarked Agent Education Program, and they treated us to a wonderful meal before heading over to the Paradise Pier area for our viewing of World of Color.  Our menu was pre-selected for us with appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert, though we could choose between three different entrees.  

Here's what I enjoyed: 

  • Signature Fried Biscuits stuffed with white cheddar, bacon, jalapeno, and apricot honey.
  • Carthay Circle Salad with heirloom apples, roasted walnuts, winter greens, bacon, dates, and creamy citrus vinaigrette.
  • Choice of entree: I went with the Angus beef Delmonico, with chipotle sweet potatoes, bacon, and onion ketchup.
  • Chocolate Cookies n Cream Cake with winter orange chantilly (but I was too full to partake of that - a couple of bites only. Good but heavy).

Dinner at the Carthay Circle was so very good and so very filling. It was a nice touch for our hosts to enjoy a delicious meal. It's definitely not what most people think of when they think of eating inside theme parks!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Konk Kooler - You Can Make Them At Home!

 Konk Kooler

This refreshing concoction of light and dark rum is the signature drink on Castaway Cay, a stop on every Disney Cruise Line Caribbean itinerary.

  • 1/2 ounce dark rum
  • 3/4 ounce light rum
  • 1-ounce passion fruit juice
  • 1 ounce pina colada mix
  • 1-ounce orange juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Serve in a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a wedge of tropical fruit.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - New Castles in the Magic Kingdom

The Beast's castle, high atop the new Be Our Guest Restaurant, in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, as seen from the queue to Maurice's Cottage and the new Enchanted Tales with Belle experience.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Game Time

Game on, sports fans!  Did you know that each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet have a dedicated sports pub onboard?  True that!  Diversions on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, 687 on the Disney Dream and O'Gill's on the Disney Fantasy are laid-back locations filled with screens airing a multitude of live events being broadcast at just about any time.  These spots are ideal for watching football, with up to six games shown at the same time - but it's also ideal for watching baseball, basketball and occasionally even hockey.  If there's a specific game you're interested in, be sure to ask about it at the door.  And oh yeah, there's even an occasional mini-buffet with great game-time food such as wings, hot dogs, and of course plenty o' beer to wash it all down with. The food is free, the suds are extra. Be sure to check it out the next time you sail with Disney Cruise Line!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Splitsville - New Fun at Downtown Disney

Splitsville is the exciting new activity at Walt Disney World. Located in the Downtown Disney West Side, just steps away from DisneyQuest and Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, it's a modern twist on an American classic - the bowling alley.  It features 50,000 square feet of retro-decor, covering 2 levels, and includes 30 lanes, food (including 2 different sushi bars), live music, billiards, dancing and outdoor patio dining.  Splitsville certainly is NOT your father's bowling alley!  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Savers - Saving While Onboard Ship

A cruise vacation can be a wonderful, relaxing, nearly all-inclusive experience (getting all of your onboard meals, accommodations, all onboard entertainment, and transportation to various ports of call included in your cruise fare) – but unless you have booked on a luxury line (a la Seabourn, Oceania or Regent Seven Seas), do keep in mind the key word NEARLY, as each of the other lines do charge for various experiences and add-ons that are not included in your cruise fare.  Today we’ll take a look at just a few of these items, and how you might save money with each one while onboard the ship.

Once onboard, you’ll find that ships today have a wide array of add-on or “plussing” that you can do to enhance your vacation experience.  Whether that includes shopping, dining in specialty restaurants vs. the traditional dining rooms, enjoying alcoholic beverages, shore excursions or playing your favorite games in the casino (for those ships that have one)… saving money onboard really boils down to what YOU deem to be necessary or not to the betterment of your vacation experience.  

Generally, the following categories, while nice enhancements to your fun – aren’t very good overall values onboard, and could save you a lot of money if you avoid them.  However, if you absolutely cannot skip them – there are a few tips in each one that might help you at least improve the overall value for you, and reduce your personal expense.

1. Onboard Photographers
In the days before digital cameras, onboard photography was a huge money maker for the cruise lines, as they would each staff their ships with multiple roaming photographers, capturing the crowds every night, and then printing out every decent image putting it on display in their photo galleries for all to see and peruse.  Many guests would then buy multiple shots to take home as souvenirs from their cruise experience.  But with the advent of digital photography, not as many guests are buying the photos any more, despite the cruise lines still printing them and putting them on display.  The cost of each print has risen through the years, with the average cost of an 8x10 image hovering around $10.  Nevermind that guests can take very similar shots of their own with their own cameras, and then print them at home at their local drug store or big box store for around $1 each – or less, depending on the size.  Guests can very easily take hundreds, if not thousands of their own photos.  The packages on board aren’t worth the extra cost, in my opinion.  Selecting one or two images from the onboard photographers can still make for a nice souvenir memory, without breaking the bank.

2.  Casinos
Playing a slot machine every now and again can be a fun way to spend a few dollars, but beware, onboard casinos generally do not pay out as handsomely as land-based casinos do (but then, Las Vegas doesn’t even pay out as much as it once did).  While it can be said that some people in the past have succeed in winning big jackpots onboard ships, most of the time it just doesn’t happen.  If you choose to partake of the gaming opportunities onboard, set a very strict limit for yourself, and do not exceed it.  Determine what you are willing to lose before you ever step foot onboard, and then if and when it happens, don’t let yourself be disappointed.  However, if you then decide it’s okay to exceed your pre-determined limit, you will a) be disappointed and b) start to rack up extra costs that you did not budget for in your vacation calculation, and you will be spending more than you bargained for.  The best way to save money onboard a ship with a casino, is simply to not enter the casino in the first place. 

3. Gratuities
Just as they are on land in table service restaurants and so many other places, gratuities and service charges are a part of cruising. You should pay the recommended daily amount and no more or less. Every single drink and specialty restaurant meal that you sign for already includes a service charge added to the price.  Unless you absolutely feel that an extra tip is warranted, don’t write in an extra amount in the space that you will see for an additional tip. You have already paid the service charge, so there is no reason to pay an additional tip.  If you do want to give a crewmember a special tip you should hand it to them in cash very discretely.  Any gratuities that you give by signing a tab or charge slip will most likely be put into a pool and shared by all the people in that department.  Even though pre-paying your gratuities is not saving money, in doing so, you are lessening the outlay that you must make while onboard ship.  Since all cruise lines require full payment about 60 days prior to departure (a few are 75-90 days),  your vacation is essentially paid in full months before you even leave port.  Anything that you do onboard then is extra and must be paid for prior to disembarking the ship.  It is easier to just pre-pay the gratuities, funding that cost with the overall cruise fare, and not having to worry about an additional outlay while onboard ship.

4. The Spa
The Spa is a wonderful place for an indulgence; however, we must recognize that cruise ships generally charge higher spa prices than many of the tony resorts and spas on land, and much higher prices than some of the newer massage franchises like Massage Envy. Expect to pay as much as $125 for a 60-minute massage, two to three times what a professional massage therapist will charge on land.

To get the most out of your spa appointment we suggest booking a morning appointment. Most masseuses onboard work all day, and they get tired. Because of their busy schedule they also do not work as hard as many land-based massage therapists. The standard massage treatment on a cruise ship is a "Swedish Massage," also known as "classic massage." You should know that Swedish is a style of massage that does not necessarily focus on deep tissue work. It involves long, flowing strokes, rubbing and kneading. But if you have a knot in your neck or under your shoulder blade what you need is deep tissue work.  If you want a therapeutic massage its suggested that you ask for a deep tissue massage.  A great way to save money is to schedule your massage for a day when the ship is in port, as many cruise lines discount the spa services on port days – sometimes as much as 50% vs. sea days. 

Another aspect of cruise ship massage sessions is the hard sell at the end of the session for additional products and services such as lotions, bath salts, and more.  There is no stopping this, so there’s not need to be upset by it.  Simply be polite and let them know that you understand it is their job to offer these products and services, but let them know that you won’t be purchasing them… you’ll just be enjoying the afterglow of your massage, and then be on your way. Then thank them and leave.  Also be sure to watch out for available services such as “fat burning wraps” that claim to take off inches from your body immediately, at very high prices.  They don’t work, and you’ll be burning the money in your pocket faster than the wraps claim they can take fat off your body. 

5. Beverages – Both Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic
While onboard ship, many people enjoy partaking of a few drinks, and the cruise lines certainly do make it easy with multiple bars and lounges scattered about, and wandering servers carrying trays of beverages just waiting to be purchased.  Add in the “drink of the day” that the ships offer, and wham, the availability is very prevalent.  But be warned…drinks onboard ship can be very expensive, and your bar bill can add up very quickly if you are not careful.

Some cruise lines do allow you to bring your own alcohol onboard – but you must know the rules in order to be successful with this.  For example, Royal Caribbean will allow you to bring one bottle of wine or other alcohol onboard to be consumed in your room.  Disney Cruise Line will also allow you to bring it onboard to be consumed in your room.  As will the ships owned by the Carnival Corporation – Carnival, Cunard, Princess, Holland America & Costa).  Each line will have a corkage fee if you take the bottle in to the dining room for dinner.  No lines allow you to consume alcohol that you bring onboard in public spaces (other than the dining room).

Many cruise lines offer drink packages where you can drink as much as you want for a set amount per day. Some of these packages are for alcoholic beverages, while others are for non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks.  Each line is different in what they offer, but if you consume multiple beverages in a day at a la carte pricing, you will very likely save money by going with the offered package.  With the exception of the luxury lines, Disney Cruise Line is the only one to provide soft drinks included in the cruise fare. 

Be advised that it is not wise to attempt to skirt the rules regarding bringing prohibited beverages onboard ship.  Luggage is x-rayed prior to embarkation, and the cruise lines will remove any contraband beverages that they find, holding it in the ship’s storage, until disembarkation when you will receive it back again. 

6. Internet Access
Internet access is by far the newest money maker for the cruise lines, as more and more people who go on vacation, are unable to completely disconnect from their lives at home.  From the vast array of electronic goodies that people use, and all of the demands from home, remaining connected is very important to a large number of travelers.  And the cruise lines know it, and charge handsomely for the luxury or remaining connected – often as much as 75-cents per minute of connectivity. Truly the only way to save money onboard is to simply log off.  However, if you cannot do so, here are a few tips regarding onboard electronics & connecting to the internet:

  •  iPads…you can use your iPad on a cruise ship, but keep in mind you do not want to stay logged onto your account while typing up an email. iPads are generally designed to be used only while connected to the Internet, using your webmail instead of an email program, for example. The same is true of workstations in a cruise ship's Internet center.
  • Laptops… these will give you the ability to sign on only long enough to pick up new email messages. You can then compose your replies offline and then sign on again long enough to send them. Laptops also give you a place to offload your digital camera pictures in memory so you can shoot more pictures.
  • Cell phones… if you take a cell phone onboard never use it to access the Internet. You will have to pay a data roaming charge that will generally cost about $5 per megabyte. Your cell phone should have an option to disable "data roaming" which you must use.  The best thing to do with your cell phone, is to turn it off once you set sail and don’t turn it back on again until you return to your home port.  Once you leave port, even before getting to international waters, you will be roaming, and international roaming is very expensive with the various cell providers.  If you must have cell phone access while onboard – it would be cheaper to invest in an international cell phone, and simply keep it for all trips that take you to international destinations than to use your regular cell phone. 
  • Texting… here is another warning regarding text messages. Even with data roaming turned off be very careful of incoming text messages. If someone sends you a picture by text message and you open it, you will be charged the data roaming rate even if you have data roaming turned off;  the cost of data roaming on a cruise ship is $25 per megabyte or higher.

Be sure to check with your individual cell phone provider regarding their charges and policies before setting sail.  Ask them specifically about the charges for the countries that your itinerary will be visiting, and what the charges are for roaming services.  Then you can make an informed decision and better understand what your costs will be when you return home once more. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tips on Thursday - Bring Your Own Wine

Recently Royal Caribbean International changed a long-standing policy which prevented guests from bringing their own beverages, including alcoholic beverages onboard any Royal Caribbean cruise.  Sure guests could purchase alcohol while in port, but once back on board the purchases had to be secured in the ship’s storage until the end of the voyage. Additionally, any alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day were not returned to guests. Period.  

Royal’s new policy allows for two 750-milliliter bottles of wine per cabin to be brought onboard ship, that may be consumed in the guest’s cabin or on a balcony without charge. If the wine is consumed in a public space, there will be a $25 corkage fee.  Further the policy requires that the wine bottles must retain the original manufacturer’s seals and exhibit no signs of tampering.  If a guest brings more than two bottles, the additional bottles will be secured by ship personnel and returned just prior to the end of the cruise.   

According to Royal Caribbean, the change of heart comes from the recognition that "vacationers may have a particular bottle of wine or champagne that they would like bring on board to commemorate a special day or event while on their cruise."  It has been well received by many cruisers, and provides a slight edge for those considering a cruise vacation, looking to enjoy some wine while onboard.