Thursday, December 31, 2015

NCL Escape - Day 4 (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands)

NCL Escape - Day 4
(St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands)

With our arrival at 8AM, we were ready to get off the ship and hit the town.  Only a short ride on a taxi ($4 a person) to the downtown area, there is plenty of walking and shopping to do.  We had already mapped out some ideas of what stores we wanted to go to and no plans to go on a tour.  However, as we were walking to the downtown area where the taxi dropped us off, there were some local vendors selling their services to do a 2 hour tour of the island for $20.  Not a bad deal.  We signed up to meet them later at 12:30PM and headed to the stores. 

Our first stop was, of course, Diamonds International and Del Sol.  As you probably already figured that as soon as you walk into the store, they are going to try and sell you something.  Well, as soon as you pull out your card to get the free bracelet that they push on you from the cruise, they try to keep you there to continue to get you interested in something.  Since I have been through this many times, on many cruises, or I am sure that some of you have experienced it as well, J.C. got suckered into it.  That’s ok though.  Gave me some good ideas on what he likes and it was something to experience together.  Lesson learned.  Del Sol is where everything they have turns colors in the sunlight.  A little overrated and pricy but some things might be worth it, but it depends on your taste and what you like.

Next, it was time to visit Cariloha.  This is one of my favorite places in the market.  All of their products are made from Bamboo and extremely soft.  I have one shirt I bought from them two years ago on my last cruise and it is so comfortable, keeps me cool/hot when needed, and as you continue to wear it, it forms to your body.  Oh the comfort!!

Time to head back now to get ourselves on the tour of St. Thomas.  Several people were on this tour and of course, those tour operators have people on the island that they contract with to bring them to their store so that tourists can buy from them.  Ok, not a big deal and prices are a lot more reasonable.  You just have to be a smart shopper and really know your pricing.  Anyway, we hit Beacon Point first for a flavorful and famous drink of Banana Rum Runner!  You were able to pour as much Rum as you wanted into your frozen Banana runner, so trust me, it can get pretty strong!  

Next, off driving up the mountain to get a good view of St. Thomas and enjoy a Carib beer, the official beer of St. Thomas, and tasty too!

Beautiful view of St. Thomas!

Now the last stop of the tour was at the Cruzan Beach Club at Sunset Grille at Secret Harbor Beach where you can enjoy the beach for ½ hour and a Mango Sunrise drink!  Those are delicious and a must stop on any tour!  Even if you wanted to just go there and spend the day, you must do this or you can go to Coco beach.  I have been to both and they are not crowded, clean, and pleasant people.

Back on the tour bus, we headed back to the downtown area to hit the straw market.  Now here is where the locals sell all the tourist items and some are seemingly overpriced.  You really need to bargain with them and check the items to make sure they are what they say they are.  You can get taken but sometimes you can leave with a good bargain.  Remember, most of these vendors sell the same, exact item!  So check the vendors that sell the same item and get the lowest price for it!

As time is passing by, it’s time to head back to the ship.  Everyone has to be onboard by 5:30PM, but as I have stated to many of my clients, make sure you get back at least ½ hour PRIOR to what the cruise line is telling you when to get back on board.  If you miss the boat, you are responsible to get yourself to the next destination to catch the ship!

Back at our cabin, we rested a little, got dressed and headed to the 80’s party at H2O.  Pretty interesting to see all the videos of the 80’s, but not many people from the ship at this party.  Pretty surprising as usually NCL pulls off some great parties. 

Overall, the visit to St. Thomas is usually the best one out of the whole cruise.  Good pricing when shopping, great tours and beaches, and people are friendly.

Please feel free to comment as I would love to hear from you.  Tune in for day four of our cruise on Norwegian's newest ship the Escape!

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Princess Drop & Go Event!

Drop & Go Bonus Event 
(January 7 - February 3, 2016)

DROP & GO BONUS EVENT. A different bonus offer each week, for four weeks! check out your weekly bulletin for the weeks' latest deal! - LEARN MORE.

During Princess Cruises' Drop & Go Event, your can save big on last minute cruises to spectacular destinations like Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera and the Caribbean —plus, be treated to additional offers such as Free Gratuities, Onboard Spending Money and more! Your won't want to miss this limited time deal!

There's a different bonus offer each week, so be sure to check with us weekly starting January 7 to learn about the new offer!

Offer is not transferable and is available to residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older and receive this offer. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars.

Offer valid: January 7 - February 3, 2016. 

Note: For assistance reserving a wheelchair-accessible stateroom, please contact Maraloha Travel.

Say Aloha To Our Hawai'i-Only Offer!

Say Aloha To Our Hawai'i-Only Offer!

Book any stateroom on Pride of America by April 10th and choose from 4 great FREE offers with NCL's new Hawai'i Free at Sea Promotion.  Book a suite and get all 4 offers!

                  • FREE 1 Night Hotel Pre-cruise
                  • FREE Pre-paid Gratuities 
                  • FREE Specialty Dining
                  • FREE Shore Excursion Credit

Call us today to book your cruise!

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Must-Try Cocktails On Your Norwegian Escape Cruise

Must-Try Cocktails On 
Norwegian Escape Cruise

Pitbull performing at Norwegian Escape Inaugural

As Armando Christian PĂ©rez, "Pitbull" is named Godfather of Norwegian Escape, it’s only right that you “get it started” with a Mr. Worldwide.

  • Voli vodka
  • Pimms
  • Strawberry puree
  • Basil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Top with Champagne

Caribbean Cruise Cocktails

There’s more than one way to cannonball on this vacation. Grab this delightful and unique cocktail from The District Brew House.

  • Bulleit bourbon
  • Peach Tea
  • Pineapple
  • Lemon
  • Orange bitters
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Caribbean Cruise Cocktails

With its fresh flavors, a Toro Toro is the perfect compliment to the bold creations at Food Republic.

  • Patron Silver Tequila
  • Chipotle Syrup
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Spicy salt

Caribbean Cruise Cocktails

Keep the legend alive and pull up a stool at Miami’s oldest bar, Tobacco Road. Try the Smoke Fashion created by Cocktail Collection Mixologist Leo Holtman.

  • Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • Maple syrup
  • Bitters
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Smoke

Caribbean Cruise Cocktails

Refreshing as it is flavorful, there’s nothing like a Who's To Blame margarita on a hot Caribbean day.

  • Margaritaville Gold Tequila
  • Triple sec
  • House margarita blend
  • Served frozen or on the rocks

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

NCL Escape 2015 - Day 3 (Sea Day)

NCL Escape - Day 3
(Sea Day)

With now an hour ahead time change and up a little late at 11AM, we were scheduled to go to the Wine Lover’s Musical at the Supper Club.  As we got there, it was almost the same set up as the Wine & Chocolate Perfect Pairing at The Cellars the previous day, however, it comes with lunch, wine and the show.  Remember, that the wine is only 5 – ¼ glasses of wine.  

Overall impression: Not worth it.  I thought the wine pairing at The Cellars was better than this.  The food was average and the show was not spectacular. 

However, we did meet this nice couple Isabelle and Brent at the Supper Club during the show.  They were first time cruisers and they mentioned to us that they were not having a great time.  We got to talking with them and learned that not only did the travel agent not tell them anything about the ship, activities, or ask them any questions, but only called them for their credit card?  Ok, that was totally unacceptable to me.  I could not believe for first time cruisers they should have this experience.  In addition, they mentioned that this was their honeymoon!  Wow!  

They then proceeded to tell me that they were staying in an inside cabin on deck 5, with noise from the 6th floor and had not slept well at all thus far. In addition, their beds were apart and for some reason could not get the beds together in order for them to sleep together. They got no perks when booking their cruise and the travel agent did not give them anything special for their honeymoon! Who does this to honeymooners on a first time cruise??? Whatever happened during their booking process or with their travel agent was really not my concern but now I was on a mission to make it right for them. I was not looking for a hand out or a pat on the back at this point. I was determined to make them happy, first time cruisers and feel positive about their experience.

As we sat and practically closed The Supper Club down, basically kicking us out, we headed to the Guest Relations desk so that I could talk to someone to help them out.  In speaking with the staff, they were very accommodating and understood the couple’s situation after I explained what happened.  NCL was able to put then in a Balcony cabin on Deck 10!  The guest relations staff member took us to the room where they would be now switching too and Isabelle and myself began to cry.  Isabele was in tears and her husband was ecstatic.  (Her husband is also in the army on leave from active duty so that was a pleasure for him to get some extra attention).

I know that some of you might think that is pathetic, but for me to make someone happy it is well worth it and FOR NOTHING!  I was not looking for a hand out or for money.  It was a way for me to do something nice for someone who really needed it and I believe they were put in my lap for a reason.  This really made my day and proud to do what I do! 

As Isabele and Brent rushed back to their cabin to pack up and head to their new one, J.C. and I headed to 5’oclock Somewhere Bar to catch up on the latest Diamond & Gemstone Seminar.  This was just an informative get together to educate yourself on how to buy a diamond or gemstone you are looking for.  To me, the only real bargain here is the coupons you can use to buy the piece you really want and of course, tax and duty free! 

Next, back to the cabin to rest a little (with a little surprise waiting for us), get dressed, and explore the ship more!  

We headed to O’Sheehans to get a little something to eat (the salad is a must!  It is so good!).  Hit ourselves up at Tobacco Road with a good signature cocktail in a tiki glass and then off to the casino! 

J.C. and I were able to win some of our money back and a little more on our favorite game Wonder Woman!  Remember that show with Linda Carter?  I loved it growing up as a kid and J.C. and I had some fun while playing.

Tomorrow is St. Thomas and of course, we planned our day for that as there is lots to see and do on this island. 

Stay tuned for another day on NCL Escape for our next adventure in St. Thomas!

Please feel free to comment as I would love to hear from you.  Tune in for day four of our cruise on Norwegian's newest ship the Escape!

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Catch The Wave!

Catch The Wave With Great Offers From NCL 
With Maraloha Travel!

Cruise into 2016 with the amazing new Free At Sea Wave Promotion. When you book any stateroom, our clients will be able to choose from 4 great offers: 

  • FREE Unlimited Beverages
  • FREE Specialty Dining
  • FREE WiFi or 
  • FREE Shore Excursion Credit

Best of all, book a Suite or The Haven and receive ALL four offers for FREE – a value of up to $1,500!

This exciting promotion will only be available from January 4 – April 10, 2016, so mark your calendar and don't forget to call Maraloha Travel to book your cruise!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

MSC Cruises 2 for 1 Deal!!

MSC's Wave Season Offers in a Nutshell

The big wave is coming! Are you ready to get the best available cruise offers in the new year? We can help with two amazing offers that are among the best at sea this year. Both of our wave offers give you an amazing opportunity to experience why MSC is not just any cruise in 2016. We have a wave offer for the Caribbean, and one for the Mediterranean - and all the information is directly below!


Book balcony cabins on 7 Night Divina Caribbean sailings between April 23, 2016 and March 25, 2017 and the second guest goes free! That means a couple could sail on the Divina for a week, in a balcony for just $999 plus tax!  This is only valid on B1 and B2 category balconies, and availability is limited. When its gone, its gone! Offer does end February 28, so act fast!

Everybody wins on this amazing offer, including kids... because Kids 12 and Under Sail Free on select dates too. It's even combinable with our Military and Civil Service discount or your MSC Voyagers Club loyalty discount. 2016 hasn't even started yet, but this is already the Caribbean deal of the year.

This summer, we've offered this simplest way to quote a Mediterranean sailing. Any of our 7 Night Med sailings leaving from seven different departure points will be the same price.

Here's a quick price guide:
April, May and Nov departures: Inside $599, Oceanview $699, Balcony $799
June and Oct departures: Inside $699, Oceanview $799, Balcony $899
July departures: Inside $899, Oceanview $999, Balcony $1099
August departures: Inside $999, Oceanview $1099, Balcony $1199
Sept departures: Inside $799, Oceanview $899, Balcony $999

MSC Seaside on Sale!

MSC SEASIDE - The ship that follows the sun, is ready to bring you an all-new Caribbean cruise experience starting in December 2017 - with 7-night Caribbean cruises from Port Miami. The revolutionary design will bring cruisers closer to the sea with a unique 360 degree ocean level promenade on Deck 8 that will include indoor/outdoor shops and restaurants, as well as a full buffet area and a pool, which are traditionally located on a cruise ship’s higher decks.

MSC Seaside might be two years from sailing, but she is available to book for past guests today, and goes live for all guests this Wednesday! Prices for her inaugural season are extremely affordable, starting at just $589 per person, and all guests who book Seaside's inaugural season before January 31, 2016 will get a free, all-inclusive beverage package as a thank you for being one of the first booked guests on our new ship for the Caribbean, launching December 23, 2017. 

Want more information? Call Maraloha Travel today and let's get cruising! #maralohatvl, #MSCCruises, #MSCDivina, #MSCSeaside

NCL Escape - Day 2 (Sea Day)

NCL Escape - Day 2
(Sea Day)

Up in the morning early at 10AM with our Freestyle Daily schedule in hand, we headed to the Atrium to meet the Hotel Director and staff.  This is a must if this is ever on the schedule on a cruise ship.  You not only get to interact with the staff one on one, but you can ask them anything and they have the answer!  It was a pleasure to see Sean and Julie again and if you ever met them previously, they always remember who you are, even if they met you on a different ship!  This is what makes you feel that you are remembered and valued as a guest onboard.  

Next we were off to the Port Shopping Presentation in the Escape Theater.  Again, this is something you must go to and don’t want to miss.  Lots of bargains, important port information, and shopping tips for the different ports of call.  You even get to win some prizes and free gifts! 

After the presentation we wanted to do something fun.  J.C. saw that the Live Auction for the Art on board was being presented at Headliners with a chance to win a piece of art.  I really don’t like these events as I just don’t have the money to spend over $500 for art.  It’s really an acquired taste.  However, it was really interesting to see it if you have never been to one.  As you walked in, there were lines of artwork that you could put a post it on to have it brought up at auction to buy it.  We saw some interesting ones and the one we really liked was reasonable but just could not afford.  Of course, they hand you the sales pitch about financing.  They also ship it to your home free of charge and no sales tax!  That is a good deal and you don’t have to carry it home with you!  Bonus!  However, no sale for me but might be an option in the future. 

Now for something fun!  Off to the Atrium for the game show Deal or No Deal and of course, we decided to join in and get a quick bite at O’Sheehans.  Now, since the game show was being presented at the Atrium and O’Sheehans overlooks the Atrium, we were able to do both!  Eat and join in on the game!  That was a plus! No winnings here but we still had fun.  

After that, we went to The Cellar’s for the Wine & Chocolate Perfect Pairing event.  This is a MUST!  It was well worth the $23.95 per person charge and came with 5 ¼ glasses of wine with chocolate and a great lesson in wine drinking, pairing, and learning about the different wines.  You also got to leave with a “Wine Tasting Tool” chart to take home with you so that you don’t forget what you learned. LOL.     

Back to the room we went to get ready for the Captain’s Cocktail Party!  We got a special invite at our cabin from Sean to join him, the captain’s staff and the captain up at the Haven to have some drinks and talk to the staff.  Now, the Haven is the best of the best accommodations and suites available on the ship.  This was a great opportunity to see what this exclusive, member only section of the ship had to offer to clientele and see what it has to offer clients.  At the party, we had some great wine, good conversations and meet and greet the staff.  In our travels around the ship, we met some people who happened to be staying at the Haven.  We saw them at the concierge lounge and sat with them to talk for a while.  This was very informative to get some feedback on their experience and personal opinions about the Haven Suite they were staying in.  My colleague and friend Binta came to join us later for some more conversation.

As the night grew late, we decided to call it a night and headed back to the cabin to plan our day for tomorrow.

As you can see, you really need to plan ahead as there is so much to do on the ship with all the activities.  You just can’t do it in a day.

Please feel free to comment as I would love to hear from you.  Tune in for day three of our cruise on Norwegian's newest ship the Escape!

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

NCL Escape Extras

NCL Escape Extras

Here are some extra services that NCL provides and their cost.  Again, these prices are subject to change but are the most current as of December 2015 for this particular ship.

  • Dining List For All NCL Ships - This is a list of all dining options on every NCL ship, including what is complimentary and what is a la carte.

Dining Menus
(This is only a list of the few that I was able to visit)

Bayamo (Seafood)

Maps of Destinations

Maps of Destinations

Here are links to the maps of what cruise lines visit.  As we go along in our adventures and experiences, we will continue to update this page.  Please feel free to use them when you visit these ports of call when you cruise!