Tag: Blog

6 Stress-Free Cruises for First-Timers

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel


By: Elissa Garay / Reposted from: www.cntraveler.com

Looking to get your feet wet in the wide world of cruising?
With an overwhelming number of itineraries spanning the seven seas—on
ships of all shapes and sizes—it can be tough to find your niche for a
first-time cruise. Keep the high seas low stress by sticking to one of
these rookie-ready itineraries that are sure to please anyone in search
of their nautical stripes. Whether it’s gliding along European waterways on a sleek riverboat
or a quick jaunt to the Bahamas on a tricked-out mega-ship, when
setting out on these voyages, you can be sure that your first cruise
won’t be your last.

1. “A Taste of the Danube” River Cruise on Avalon Waterways

European rivers are the perfect place to the test the waters for would-be cruisers, thanks to calm waterways (no bouts of seasickness
to contend with here), intimate ships (rarely carrying more than 200
passengers), and port-intensive itineraries that showcase the best of
Europe’s cultural and historical attractions. While most river voyages
run a week or longer in duration, Swiss company Avalon Waterways
caters to first-timers with its series of “Short & Suite” three- to
five-night itineraries, perfect for those tight on time, budget, and/or
tolerance. Their three-night “A Taste of the Danube” offering sails
between cultural heavyweights at Budapest and Vienna, stopping for
excursions in Slovakia (at Bratislava) and Austria (at Melk and
Dürnstein) en route—where you might tour Melk’s 11th century Benedictine
Abbey or bike through the vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley.
Sailings in 2020 embark aboard a quartet of the line’s sleek, 128- to
166-passenger “Suite Ships,” known for their signature spacious cabins
that convert to open-air balconies via floor-to-ceiling, sliding-glass
doors—with beds positioned to face the passing landscapes. Sailings in May, July, and September–November 2020; rates from $810 per person; avalonwaterways.com

2. Quickie Bahamas Escape on Royal Caribbean Mega-Ship

The bigger-is-better crowd won’t be disappointed with a Royal Caribbean
sailing, the ultimate mega-ship line (its 26-ship fleet claims the
world’s four largest cruise ships, carrying more than 6,500 passengers
apiece), known for its multigenerational appeal and slate of whiz-bang
features. Give ’em a whirl aboard a beachy Bahamas sampler sailing, with
quickie three- and four-night voyages scheduled year-round aboard the
3,386-passenger Navigator of the Seas from Miami and 3,344-passenger Mariner of the Seas from Orlando (via Port Canaveral). Both runs incorporate a stop at the Bahamian capital at Nassau, gateway to attractions like the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort and the turquoise waters of Cable Beach, as well as at the line’s recently revamped private island
experience Perfect Day at CocoCay, home to North America’s highest
waterslide and the Caribbean’s biggest freshwater pool. Onboard, you’ll
be spoiled for choice of amenities, with dining, entertainment,
nightlife, and pools aplenty, and diversions that span surf simulators,
escape rooms, waterslides, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, and more. Sailings embark year-round; rates from $177 per person; royalcaribbean.com

3. Classic Med Sampler on a Tall Sailing Ship with Windstar

There’s
a reason sailors have been plying the Mediterranean for millennia—there
are incredible places to see and near-perfect at-sea conditions in
which to get there. Today, the trade and conquering mindset of yore may
not factor in, but idyllic ports and a touch of romance are just as
motivating, especially when swooping in below the billowing white sails
of Windstar’s intimate, 342-passenger Wind Surf. The line runs a standout port-intensive itinerary between two of the region’s blockbuster cities—Barcelona and Rome—with
a dreamy mix of yacht- and culture-flooded ports in the French and
Italian Rivieras wedged in between, including Palamos, Sanary-sur-Mer,
Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portofino, and Portoferraio. Bonus: The ship, which
is known on the culinary front for menus that feature creations by
James Beard-associated chefs, as well as its retractable water sports
platform, is in the midst of a facelift this fall, and will emerge in November with upgrades like a brand-new spa and wellness center. Sailings from April through September; rates from $2,699 per person; windstarcruises.com

4. Alaska Sailing with the Experts on Princess Cruises

With
its rugged snowcapped mountains and calving glaciers backdrop, met by
waters teeming with spectacular marine wildlife (where whales and orcas
abound), Alaskan waters are tailor-made to cruising. Discover “the Last Frontier” in expert hands with Princess Cruises,
which has been voyaging to Alaska for more than 50 years. The line
offers the most robust cruising calendar in the region (with eight ships
positioned here for the 2020 sailing season), plus its own railway car
and five wilderness lodges on shore, primed for its customized
land-and-sea “cruisetour” vacations. Their weeklong cruise-only
itinerary aboard Princess’s 3,560-passenger Royal Princess affords an excellent entrée to the best of Alaska, sailing between Anchorage and Vancouver,
and visiting Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan in between, along with a
day of scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park. On board, enjoy
Princess’s Alaskan signatures like “Cook My Catch,” where guests can
have the fresh-caught bounty from their salmon and halibut fishing
excursions prepped to their liking, or “Puppies in the Piazza,”
featuring onboard meet-and-greets with Alaskan sled dogs. In port, other
exciting excursions include a Discovery-branded “Deadliest Catch”
crabbing boat ride off the coast of Ketchikan. Sailings from May through September; rates from $669 per person; princess.com

5. Yachting the Caribbean on Seabourn

It’s little wonder that the Caribbean
is the most popular cruising destination in the world. Tropical temps
(a special lure come wintertime), gorgeous beaches, and a laid-back
lifestyle put forth a winsome combination, while the region’s
multi-island geography is conveniently explored aboard a floating home
base. Get there in style with the upscale mega-yachts of Seabourn: Both
their 458-passenger Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn
winter in the region, offering a range of 7-night-plus itineraries. The
shorter weeklong voyages, which start and end within the Caribbean,
sailing between Philipsburg, Saint Maarten, and Bridgetown, Barbados,
rotate featured ports, where excursions might include chef-led outings
in local markets, tours of UNESCO sites (the line is the official cruise
partner of UNESCO World Heritage), or beach BBQs, complete with grilled
lobster—as well as caviar, delivered by Seabourn waiters right into the
surf. Onboard, expect menus backed by top chef Thomas Keller
(paired with included-in-the-rates wines and spirits), a significant
spa space and wellness programming, and a plush, all-suite
configuration. Sailings from November through March; rates from $2,699 per person; seabourn.com

6. Baltic Sea Expedition with Viking

For some first-timers, the best way to enjoy cruising is to dive right in, and see—contrary to a popularly held misconception about the perceived superficiality of sailing—just how comprehensive a cruise vacation can be. Baltic-rooted and destination-focused Viking is most at home in Scandinavia, where its 14-night “Viking Homelands” voyage, aboard a quartet of sister ships (the 930-guest Viking Star, Viking Sky, Viking Sun, and Viking Jupiter, in 2020), delivers a well-rounded and immersive introduction to Scandinavia and its diverse, yet interconnected, Baltic Sea ports. On the eight-country itinerary between Stockholm and Bergen, Norway—where the ship overnights in each bookended port—port calls include Helsinki; Tallinn, Estonia; Gdańsk, Poland; Berlin; Copenhagen; and Alborg, Denmark; as well as an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. Plus, some scenic sailing through Norwegian fjords, along with a couple of off-the-path Norwegian stops, for good measure. (Bonus: you’ll get an included-in-the-rates excursion in each and every port). Back on the ship, luxuriate with complimentary perks like high-tea service, access to the LivNordic Spa’s Thermal Suite (complete with a mineral pool, dry/wet saunas, and snow grotto), and regionally inspired cuisine. Sailings from April through September; rates from $5,799 per person; vikingcruises.com

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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A Local’s Guide to Your First Time Visit to Universal Orlando Resort | Discover Universal Blog

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

Universal Orlando Resort is a place that allows you to explore the streets of Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit a real-life Raptor Encounter to meet Blue the Raptor, float down the Kopiko Wai Winding River at Volcano Bay, and finish with a cold beverage high in the sky at Bar 17 Bistro on top of Universal’s Aventura Hotel all in one day.

With so much to see and do, how can you get the most out of it during your first-time visit? Here’s a few first timer tips to get the most out of your upcoming visit.

WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

Have you ever watched a movie and said “I wish I could experience that movie in real life.” Well, we have some good news for you. Check out these must-do experiences straight from the movies: 

  • Must-Do Attractions:
  • Experience: Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps as you enter into Diagon Alley – watch out for the fire breathing dragon
  • Character Meet & Greet: Meet Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron
  • Show: Swing over to see Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration with an incredible array of dazzling projections on colossal dancing fountains
  • Parade: See Universal’s Superstar Parade featuring with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Diego, The Secret Life of Pets characters and more
  • Shopping: Find all things Universal and more at the Universal Studios Store
  • Bonus: Journey from King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida to Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure aboard the Hogwarts Express (only available with a Park-to-Park admission ticket)

Here are some resources to help plan your day:

 

LOCAL TIP | Start at the back of the park and work your way counter-clockwise to the front to stay ahead of fellow guests and take full advantage of ride lines.

 


WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

Get ready to encounter dinosaurs, fly high above city streets with a famous web slinger, visit a secret school of witchcraft and wizardry, come face-to-face with a colossal ape and more. Check out these must do experiences that give you a sense of adventure:

  • Must-Do Attractions:
  • Character Meet & Greet: Take photos with your favorite Marvel characters – Spider-Man, Captain America, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, and Rogue along with classic villains like Dr. Doom and The Green Goblin in Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Show: Brighten your night with The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle where you can embrace your Hogwarts pride as the four houses are celebrated in stunning light and sound (only available during select seasons)
  • Shopping: Witness a wand choose its wizard or witch at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade

Here are some resources to help plan your day:

LOCAL TIP

  • Start your day off in Hogsmeade and work your way clockwise around the park to take advantage of wait times and attractions.

WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT UNIVERSAL’S VOLCANO BAY


Words can’t describe what it feels like the moment you take that first step inside Volcano Bay and immediately feel like you’re in a tropical paradise thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean. Check out these must-do experiences that are filled with relaxation and thrills:

Here are some resources to help plan your day:

LOCAL TIPS

  • First, plan to arrive early to Volcano Bay and secure that perfect beach chair with that incredible view. TapuTapu will also make your day easy. This wearable device that holds your place in lines, activates interactive surprises, makes cash-free payments and more.
  • Stay at a Universal hotel and enjoy early park admission to Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required).

WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT UNIVERSAL CITYWALK

Get ready to indulge in some of the most mouthwatering food with refreshing drinks, shop until you drop and dance the night away at Universal CityWalk. Check out these must-do experiences for a day or night out:

Here are some resources to help plan your visit:

LOCAL TIPS

  • Take advantage of the FREE self-parking after 6PM!(Not valid during Halloween Horror Nights. Additional restrictions may apply and are subject to change without notice)
  • Free parking available with a purchase of two (2) Universal CityWalk Matinee tickets.

WHERE TO STAY
AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT


There’s a Universal Orlando hotel for every family style and budget. Take a look at all the amazing places you can stay so close to the parks:

Premier Hotels – $$$$


Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Relax in surroundings inspired by the beauty, romance and charm of the picturesque seaside village of Portofino, Italy.

  • Experience: Treat yourself to a day at the Mandara Spa
  • Feature: Spend an enchanted evening with live music and traditional opera as you sip wine and sample gourmet fare during Harbor Nights. Additionally, enjoy nightly festive melodies with Musica Della Notte, a unique blend of classic opera, festive melodies, and “popera” favorites
  • Dining: Feel like you’re part of the family at Mama Della’s Ristorante with authentic Italian cooking and strolling musicians
  • Benefits: Free Universal Express Unlimited, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, priority seating at restaurants and more

Learn more about Loews Portofino Bay Hotel


Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Live like a rock star and savor the perks of rock ‘n’ roll royalty with impeccable surroundings, laid-back style and show-stopping service.

  • Experience: Attend a monthly award-winning “Velvet Sessions” with an up-close and personal rock concert. Past performers include Bret Michaels, Eddie Money, Joan Jett, and more
  • Feature: Take a self-guided Music Memorabilia tour and discover Elvis’ pajamas, John Lennon’s suit, Paul McCartney’s guitar, Lady GaGa’s leather outfit, Rihanna’s bodysuit and more
  • Feature: Discover The Sound of Your Stay™ program with A-list perks. tracks.®, lets you stream a celebrity-curated playlists to amplify your stay. picks® allows you to choose from a menu of 20 different Fender® guitars that can be delivered to your room (down payment and loan agreement required)
  • Dining: Stop by The Kitchen and dig into their famous mac and cheese. But don’t forget the encore – they’ve got some of the most jaw-dropping desserts you’ve ever seen
  • Benefits: Free Universal Express Unlimited, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, priority seating at restaurants and more

Learn more about the Hard Rock Hotel


Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Get swept away in an exotic south seas paradise with tropical wonders, exotic foods, and carefree fun.

  • Experience: Have breakfast with your favorite characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me
  • Feature: Experience weekly Wantilan Luau firsthand with an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at this exciting dinner show
  • Dining: Visit Jake’s American Bar where you can try fabled South Seas explorer Jake McNally themed favorites including island cocktails, Jake’s American Red Lager and the B-1 Bomber Burger
  • Benefits: Free Universal Express Unlimited, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, priority seating at restaurants and more

Learn more about Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Preferred Hotel – $$$


Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Escape to the feeling of being in paradise with the calming sounds of steel drums, swaying palm trees, scenic views, and blue cascading waterfalls.

  • Experience: Take in the incredible 16,000-square-foot pool with a sand beach, hot tub, water slide and more
  • Feature: Join a weekly dinner celebration filled with Caribbean flair at the Caribbean Carnaval Dinner Show
  • Dining: Try Caribbean-inspired cuisine at Amatista Cookhouse or stop by the Strong Water Tavern for rare vintage rums and tapas-style dining options
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Volcano Bay, free transportation & Universal’s Volcano Bay, located steps away from Volcano Bay, and more


Learn more about Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

 

Prime Value Hotels – $$


Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Universal's Aventura Hotel

It’s your chill zone, your party place, your hangout, your refuge. And the best part, it’s perfectly priced.

  • Experience: Check out the hotel’s Virtual Reality game room for an experience unlike any other
  • Feature: Enjoy a drink with a view high in the sky at Bar 17 Bistro
  • Dining: Have a chef cook up a custom wok dish right in front of you at the Urban Pantry
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, steps away from Volcano Bay, and more

Learn more about Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Enjoy vibrant, retro-style with rooms and suites brilliantly designed for fun and affordability.

  • Experience: Take on a friend at Galaxy Bowl and when you’re finished, head over to the Ace The Arcade for an overtime match of timeless arcade favorites
  • Feature: Have a relaxing day floating down Cabana Bay’s lazy river while you soak up that warm Florida sunshine
  • Dining: Try a wide variety of food stations including deli items, pizzas, burgers, salads and desserts at the Bayliner Diner
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, steps away from Volcano Bay, and more

Learn more about Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

  

Value Hotel – $


Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites

Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites

Step into the extra affordable surf lifestyle with beach-themed standard rooms, spacious two-bedroom suites, and more.

  • Experience: Kick back in the surfboard-shaped pool and soak in the sunshine
  • Feature: Check out the spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep up to six
  • Dining: Stop by the food court for a wide variety of great food options or have a fresh-made pizza pie delivered directly to your room
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation and more

Learn More about Surfside Inn and Suites

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Opening March 2020
Inspired by sand, sea and breathtaking sunsets, this extra affordable retreat features two-bedroom suites, two large pools and more.

  • Experience: Soak in the sunshine at one of the two large pools with a beautiful sandy beach – how cool
  • Feature: Check out the spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep up to six
  • Dining: Stop by the food court for a wide variety of flavorful food for every palate. On the go? No problem. There are plenty of grab-and-go options available
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation and more

Learn More about Dockside Inn and Suites


THINGS TO KNOW

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

You might know about all the amazing experiences you’d like to try at Universal Orlando, but now let’s take a look at few ways you can get the most out of your first time trip with a few local planning tips.

Express Pass – Get to the Fun Faster

Want to get the most out of your visit? Check out a few of the Express Pass options available so you can skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions to get the most out of your day at the parks.

Did you know you the Express Pass is included FREE when you stay at a Universal Premier category hotel? Check out the details here.

Plan Your Entire Trip with Ease Using the Official Universal Mobile App

 The Universal Orlando Resort Mobile App

Imagine having your own travel guide to give you every bit of important information you need to get the most out of your first-time visit. That is what the official Universal Orlando Resort App provides!

What can the Universal Orlando Resort mobile app do?

  • The app can become your Virtual Wallet
  • You can find everything you need including ride wait times, showtimes, dining venue hours and more
  • Create your own personal “to-do” list of favorites
  • Always be in the know with the latest park updates
  • Order meals on the go with ease
  • What else can you do with the App? Find out here

WHAT TO BRING

Let’s dive into a few tips to help you decide what to bring during your first-time visit to the parks.

Backpacks and Shoulder Bags

Can you bring a bag or backpack to Universal Orlando Resort? Absolutely! A small, soft-sided bag is perfect for toting your essentials around while exploring the parks.

Potential Items To Add To Bag Include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Sunglasses

Check out the What To Pack For A Day At Universal Orlando Resort for more great tips on what to bring to the parks.


TAKING PHOTOS AT THE PARKS

Dr. Doom Character Meet and Greet

Can you bring a camera to Universal Orlando Resort? Of course! You are about to have some of the best times of your life and what better way to remember those moments than incredible photos to take home with you.

Here are a few great photo opportunities at the parks to keep in mind:

LOCAL TIP | Since it’s your first time visiting the parks, check out the My Universal Photos options, so you can focus on the fun while they focus on capturing your best moments.


WHAT TO WEAR

Universal Studios Florida

Florida is a tricky place when it comes to weather. Most of the time it’s warm and sunny, but there are those occasional days that cause us to break out our coats. Regardless, it’s good to be prepared. 

  • Check the Weather: Take a moment to check the weather forecast before heading to the parks
  • Fashion or Comfort: Of course you want to look fashionable in all of the Instagram photos you are planning on taking, but keep in mind to be comfortable as your day may include lots of walking and standing in the heat
  • Which Shoes to Wear: Try to wear a shoe that is breathable and comfortable

Check out the full list of Frequently Asked Questions on what to bring to the parks.

Did we miss anything? Tell us about some of your theme park first-timer tips in the comments below! And make sure to share your tips on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with #ReadyForUniversal or ask for help with #AskUniversal.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Shores of the Mediterranean: Where History and Beauty Meet – Globus Blog

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

By: Joseph DeLoach / Reposted from: www.travelresearchonline.com

There are magical places in the world, each with their own atmosphere and allure. But few of them compare to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. From the aquamarine waters stretching out as far as the eye can see to the lively and accommodating locals, these shores have been memorialized in the minds of travelers for ages.

  • Stretching the length of the eastern Mediterranean, just east of Italy, is Croatia. Along its coast are a beautiful array of islands that will surely delight the senses. Throughout history, it has been on the outskirts of many empires. This is seen in the Roman, Napoleonic, Venetian, Viennese, and Slavic architectures in cities and towns. For those who love history, the UNESCO World Heritage sites contained within Croatia are many. The city of Dubrovnik’s 15th-century Gothic and renaissance style Rector’s Palace. In Split, the famous and well-preserved fortress of Diocletian’s Palace built in the 4th-century. Add in natural sites of splendor like lakes and waterfalls in Plitvice National Park, relaxing waters of the bluest blues, and the limestone cliffs of the Dalmatian Coast – and the traveler will get the best of what Croatia has to offer.
  • No trip to the Mediterranean is complete without a stopover on the coasts and islands of Greece. With the same view of sapphire seas as the rest of the coasts and islands around the eastern Mediterranean, yet the history and sites date back to ages long gone. Athens, once the center of a great, progressive empire, has some of the most important sites in the history of Western civilizations. The Acropolis of Athens is one of these. Located on a flat rock 490 ft above the city, is a collection of ancient structures that were vital to the formation of modern politics and architecture. Among these buildings is the Parthenon, which was once a great temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Its columns stand to this day, while the sculptures contained within are representative of the pinnacle of Greek art.
  • Then there is the romantic visions of southern Italy. Particularly the “boot” of Italy. Lecce, sometimes called the “Florence of the South”, is home to Baroque monuments that showcase intricate and magnificent designs. These include the Church of the Holy Cross, built in 1353, and the Leece Cathedral, built in 1144 – and many more. Near Leece is Locorotondo. This town is known for wines and the historical center from which it gets its name, “The Round Place” – where the white buildings are formed into a circle that contains slim alleys to wander. There are also trulli houses, circular formed houses with rounded steeple-like roofs. Also within the “boot” is the town of Martina Franca. Once a completely walled off town, only a few walls and the intricately carved four gates still exist. The atmosphere here is one of a gorgeous town still rooted in the aesthetic of times passed. Northern Italy may be the most visited, but southern Italy shines with its own sites and peace of mind.

Of course, this one article couldn’t begin to cover all of the magnificent sites located around the eastern Mediterranean. But Globus is ready to take the traveler on adventures full of cultural and natural sites. From cruises along ancient coasts, to guided tours of standing history, to the unbelievable and simple tastes of the food – the Eastern Mediterranean is a paradise. This is why Globus is offering up multiple itineraries that will take the traveler to unforgettable lands and memorable sites.

Greek Island Adventure Discover the legends of Greece with an escorted tour of Athens, followed by an adventure by air and sea to explore its Aegean islands. Spend a night in Athens for guided sightseeing at the world-famous ACROPOLIS. From its rocky hilltop setting, see the fabled Parthenon, Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, and the Temple of Athena Nike…. The Croatian   Spectacular scenery, historical sights, and special experiences await you on this fantastic tour concentrating on Croatia. Along the way, overnight in Zagreb, Opatija, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik in Croatia, and in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana… Southern Italy & Greece This guided vacation through Italy and Greece includes a fantastic 4-night cruise to the Greek Islands and the turquoise coast of Turkey. Begin with two nights in Palermo on the island of Sicily to explore the magnificent cathedrals, cuisine, and culture. Tour the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento on your way to Catania on the eastern coast of Sicily…

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Vacay the Inexpensive Way – CarryOn Blog

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

Whether you’re considering a destination wedding to the popular hotel zone of Punta Cana or the beautiful beaches of Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic is a beautiful getaway. When considering the reasons to host your wedding in the Dominican Republic, let’s reflect on one of the most important reasons: the Dominican Republic is one of the best places to visit if you are looking for the full Caribbean experience without breaking the bank! Let’s take a look at some inexpensive (and in many cases – free!) things to do throughout your wedding week.

Downtown Santo Domingo is a great place to visit in order to get the full Caribbean experience, and spend less to nothing! Downtown Santo Domingo has an active night life, as well as great day time shops. From street performers to window shopping, and even exploring Chinatown, you cannot visit here without a smile on your face. A day trip to Santo Domingo is the perfect group excursion with your wedding guests as well!

After your night out on the town, visit any of the Caribbean restaurants, where it is possible to get a full three-course meal for under $10 USD. Meals in the Dominican Republic are typically centered around rice, beans, veggies, and meats. This is not to say that aren’t more varieties in the more tourist focused towns though! Food can vary as far as Italian, French, American, Chinese and more depending on where you look.

Dive deep into the beauty of Las Terrenas in Samana with a relaxing horseback ride on the beach! Las Terrenas has so many beautiful views that cannot all be seen on foot. This budget-friendly excursion takes you through rivers and up hills, where you can see amazing landscaping, ending at the famous waterfalls.

Lastly, be sure to enjoy the whole Caribbean environment while relaxing on any of the beautiful Dominican beaches. Viewing the Dominican Republic’s beaches come at no cost, and is worth the cost the entire trip! The destination consists of various beaches including Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Bayahibe, and Las Terrenas. The clear waters, white sands, and beautiful landscapes are truly priceless.

The Dominican Republic has a variety of wonderful things to see, do and visit, which makes it a perfect location for a destination wedding group. Whether you are looking for a relaxing week or planning excursions, the Dominican Republic is the way to go!

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Mama Juana! The Amazingly Versatile Elixir of the Dominican Republic – CarryOn Blog

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

Whether you see it offered as Mama Juana, or Mamajuana, or mamajuana, you must by all means toss one back. It is the Dominican National Libation.

The drink originated sans alcohol perhaps a thousand years ago. Native Tainos collected whatever sticks and roots and leaves and bark they found lying around and made a medicinal herbal tea, and the legend goes that Christopher Columbus and his gang spiked that tea with wine and honey.

More than a century later, the sugarcane planted by Europeans produced rum, which became the essential ingredient in the drink that would come to be called Mamajuana.

The recipes for mamajuana are many, because the name is derived from the shape of the bottle it comes in, not the drink itself. The French used to keep their wines and beers in a squat bottle with a short neck they called a Dame Jeanne (the English called it a demijohn). The Spanish made it Dama Juana and the Dominicans turned Juana into a Mama.

Today some call mamajuana Dominican Liquid Viagra, because of its reputation as an aphrodisiac. Locals, with no stab at subtlety, call it El Para Palo (lift the stick). The taste is strong and the finish is so bitter your mouth may pucker, which is why most who make it add honey. In addition to its notoriety as a sex-enhancer, the other attribute of mamajuana is its ability to cure anything. By anything I mean colds and flu, digestive complaints, circulation problems, pneumonia, and it cleanses the blood, liver and kidneys.

(Credit: photographer unknown-Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The inventor of the modern drink, Jesus Rodriguez, co-wrote a song called Mama Juana in the ‘50s and made the drink a favorite of merengue musicians, before he was run out of the DR for selling medicine without a license. He fled to Manhattan, where, in 2013, he died from pneumonia. Ironically.

Triple Cy Young Award winning Dominican-born pitcher Pedro Martinez swears that his Boston Red Sox swept the 2004 World Series and brought a championship to Boston for the first time in 86 years because the team shared a sip of mamajuana before taking the field for every game.

A popular toast offered up by Dominicans is: “Whatever tortures you—Mamajuana takes care of it!” DIY kits are offered for sale at nearly every souvenir shop; empty bottles filled with tree bark, twigs, herbs and other traditional ingredients.

Your job is to add the rum, red wine and honey to your own taste. First, steep the wood chips in 2 fingers of honey, two fingers of wine, and fill to the top with rum. The proportions are a guideline, not a rule. Let the mix absorb into the wood for more than a week. Longer works, too. And longer than that. Then pour it all out. Squeeze a little bit more honey into the bottle and refill to the top with quality rum. Age in the infused bark and twigs for another week. Drink herbal goodness and use your enhanced potency only for good.

Mamajuana is the name of a Dominican merengue electronic pop group. Their hit song called Drinking Mamajuana rhymes it with Tijuana and Little Habana. I would suggest they missed the boat by omitting iguana. It would have been just what the doctor ordered. To your health!

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The Year of Travel – CarryOn Blog

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

Want to be happier in the new year? Travel and well-being are inextricably linked.

You know the drill. January rolls around and (weighed down by sugar cookies, eggnog, and
the prospect of many more months of winter) you decide this is the year.
This is the year you will _______ (fill in the blank). This is the year you
will fit back into your favorite jeans from college, this is the year you will
finally run that half marathon, this is the year you will give up potato chips,
cold turkey. THIS is the year, you tell yourself. And you believe it.

But every year, the same thing happens: a week of “perfection” followed by a few weeks of moderate success and occasional (then not so occasional) slip-ups. Then crash and burn, you’re back into your well-rutted routines. To be fair, winter is a cruel season for society to decide everyone should change their habits. It’s cold, it’s dark. It’s a tough time to shake things up. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, roughly 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

What if you
gave yourself something in the New Year instead of taking something
away? What if you could give yourself the gift of reduced stress, increased
happiness, and expanded horizons, without restrictive resolutions?

The answer is simple: travel more.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Not only do experts agree that increased travel leads to
a happier, more balanced life, but it’s also a resolution that’s easy to
uphold. A commitment to travel more means that by
simply booking one more trip, taking one more weekend away, or RSVPing “Yes” to
one destination wedding you’d normally turn down, you’ve succeeded!

We may be biased, but we think travel is essential to your well-being and worth investing in. One only needs to search the internet to find study after study, article after article touting the many benefits of travel for one’s physical, mental, and emotional life, including (but not limited to):

 Photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash

LOWERS INSTANCES OF HEART DISEASE

A landmark study in the field, the Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 and spanned a course of 20 years. According to information gathered, women who vacationed only every six years or less were nearly eight times more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who traveled at least twice a year.

INSTANT STRESS REDUCTION

The Global Coalition on Aging notes stress reduction as one of travel’s most significant benefits, especially for older populations.  High levels of stress are linked to a host of health problems, from sleep disorders to diabetes.

IMPROVES CREATIVITY & COGNITIVE FUNCTION

“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School. Read this piece by the Atlantic to find out more about what travel can do for your brain!

So, rather than buying into the media hype and restricting yourself from the (insert your vice of choice here), why not simplify your plan and add something wonderful to your routine? Our resolve for 2020 is firm: Travel More.

Once you decide to make 2020 your year of travel, then the only real question is: where will you go this year? Tag us with #avtravelmore and show us where you roam!

Photo by Deanna Ritchie on Unsplash

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What’s So Spectacular About Spain ? – Globus Blog

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

A country with a passion for life, Spain is the birthplace of Picasso and paella; matadors and conquistadores; Hemingway novels and the tilting windmills of Don Quixote. More than its legends, history, and heroes, Spain is a place of undiscovered beauty and sun-washed treasures. It’s time to step off the beaten path and discover Spanish spots only the locals know and love. We invite you to explore Undiscovered Spain.

In Granada, a city with more than 1,000 years of recorded history, visit the Alhambra Complex. The Alhambra was a palace, citadel, and fortress for the Nasrid sultans and their servants, elite soldiers, and high officials from the 13th to 14th centuries. This 13th century fantasy of “lace in stone” is surrounded by the resplendent Water Gardens of the Generalife and affords superb views of the Old Quarter, Sacromonte, and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Grab your shades and spend a day of leisure along southern Spain’s Costal del Sol or “Sun Coast” to see how the locals unwind. Time in Torremolinos gives you a chance to relax, enjoy the sandy beaches, and browse the trendy boutiques.

Join an exciting excursion to the Rock of Gibraltar, one of the two Pillars of Hercules. From atop this monolithic promontory, you can see the North African coast on a clear day. On any given day, you’ll most likely see the famed Gibraltar apes (Barbary macaques) and any of the 300 caves that dot the rock’s limestone face.

The welcoming seaside city that gave the world Picasso also enchants visitors with its diverse architecture, sweet local wine, pulsating tapas bars, and an even tastier art scene—rightfully earning the nickname “the new Barcelona.” Experience how the locals eat and sample Malaga’s most distinctive small bites like Aloreña olives flavored with herbs and boquerones (anchovies), served a variety of ways.

Experience the magical beauty surrounding Barcelona on a memorable guided excursion to the soaring mountains of Montserrat.

Discover majestic Toledo, an incredible melting pot of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian influence over the centuries. Spectacularly situated on a granite hill surrounded by a loop of the Tagus River, it is one of Europe’s most interesting and unique walled medieval cities.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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All content is property of the owner, unless otherwise specified. This content is not owned, or maintained by M & M Travel and Tours, and is used only for informational purposes. Please visit the content owners link via the source link for more information.