Dubai was an amazing destination. After flying 13 hours non-stop from JFK we arrived. Taking a short taxi from the airport to our hotel located in the heart of Deira. Our hotel was conveniently located less than 10 minutes from the Metro station which took us to various malls with a stop at the beautiful Dubai Marina.

As you can see in our pictures, our clothing was pretty relaxed. We only had to ensure we were covered according to Islamic law when we entered religious buildings such as a mosque.

We saw a lot during the week we spent in Dubai such as visit the aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm located on the world famous Palm Island. We went to the top of the world's largest building. Went to one of the world's largest malls. We dined aboard one of their traditional boats, went to the Dubai Museum to learn more of how the city became to be. We also spent half a day dune bashing, riding camels, taking pictures with a falcon, had a bbq dinner, and watched a belly dancing show in the dessert.

Between the clean city, hospitality of the people we encountered, the delicious foods, and the safe environment; I would recommend this destination be added to your "Bucket List" "Travel List".



United Arab Emirates

DESTINATION: Jamaica (Riu Palace Jamaica)

Jamaica is a beautiful country located less than 4 hours non-stop from Philadelphia International Airport. This was my second visit to this Caribbean delight and I had an amazing time. In celebration of a young lady with whom I went to high school with earning her Master's Degree I wanted to select a resort that was located on the beach, close to the airport, had nicely decorated rooms, catered to adults (18 and over), and located within a short ride from the airport and Riu Palace Jamaica won out.

Check-in to the resort went smoothly. The first thing we did after dropping our bags off in our rooms was book a couple of tours/activities for our 4 day trip. We enjoyed a few cocktails at the bar before exploring the property and stopping in the buffet restaurant. I had zero complaints about the food and the drinks were deliciously strong.

Our first night was spent at Margaritaville located in Montego Bay. The music and crowd was a fun time for the four of us. This popular nightspot is located on the water and large enough to hold a huge crowd. The music was mixed, the drinks were well priced, and it was located close to our resort.

Day 2, we were taken a little over away to Rick's Café located in Negril, Jamaica. This is one of the popular attractions where you can sit back and listen to music, watch the brave jump off the cliff, or order some drinks and bite to eat. After returning to the resort I met up with a driver the Jamaica Tourist Board set me up with so I could so a tour of some other resorts in the area. I did an inspection of Sandals Montego Bay (adults-only), Holiday Inn Montego Bay (budget-friendly), Hilton Rose Hall (beautiful property), and Hyatt Ziva (family-friendly)/Zilara (fantastic adults-only) All-inclusive Resorts.

That evening myself and one of the other ladies I was with ventured off the property to go to the ATM machine and a few steps from the bank was a restaurant that had live music. So we spent some time there before heading out with a driver to a local nightclub and danced to authentic reggae music.

Day 3, was spent climbing the Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. That's an activity for anyone who wants to join a "party" climbing up a waterfall. There is a photographer assigned to each group so they can capture many pictures of you and your fellow climbers during another one of the island's most popular attractions.

Day 4, after breakfast I changed into a bathing suit as we had a few hours before our transportation back to the airport was scheduled to pick us up. After printing our boarding passes, we checked into Club Mobay which is an added feature you can purchase which gives you a special lane to expedite your security line check in and a lounge to relax in while you wait for your flight to depart. I've used Club Mobay's Arrival and Departure service and highly recommend it. The lounge is clean, comfortable, and has tasty bites to eat and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.


DESTINATION: Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic (DR) has become my one of my top five favorite destinations. On a recent FAM trip for travel professionals I got to visit seven properties in three days which included my host property, Occidental Punta Cana. My first visit to the DR was in 2010 as a surprise birthday present for my now husband. It was our first time visiting this country and we were more than pleased with our visit. We never left our resort so during that trip I didn't get to see much of what the DR has to offer but that changed during my recent trip in September 2013.

As with most (not all) Caribbean destinations there are budget friendly, moderately priced, and well worth the extra $$ all-inclusive resorts in this beautiful wonderland. Barcelo Bavaro is one of my favorite resorts. This mega resort has an adult-only resort and a family friendly resort within the same complex. Each resort has its own lobby for check-in, restaurants, bars, entertainment, pools but allows the guests staying in the adult-only resort the freedom to enjoy all the additional amenities the Palace Deluxe resort has to offer such as additional restaurant options, disco, spa, and a few additional extras. Below are a few pictures from one of their beautiful rooms I got to check out. I wish I was there for more than a 10 minute visit but it allowed me the opportunity to talk up this resort from a personal interaction versus reading views or checking out pictures they selected to post on their consumer website.

Why I Love Cruising!

I love a vacation that provides a variety of activities without adding to my costs. For me a cruise provides the entertainment I enjoy from Broadway types shows to fun games like scavenger hunts and game shows. There are day and evening activities for the tots, teens, and adults. I enjoy the number of dining options from casual buffets to semi-formal restaurant styled dining. I love to look at the decor and artwork displayed through the what I refer to as a “city at sea”. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people from all over the world from the staff to the passengers. The best part of cruising is the transportation it provides to multiple destinations whether you are in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. Here are a few pictures I took of Norwegian’s Breakaway ship that launched this past April 2013.