About Me!

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Welcome! I am Jane-Ellen (JE) I'm a travel agent and I am happy to share with you my love of travel. I am not a journalist, I simply enjoy traveling. My favorite travel destinations are Walt Disney World, Cruises and anywhere on our Harley. My husband, Steve and I are out on our Harley when time, work and weather permit. We try to take weekend trips whenever possible.
Walt Disney World has been a favorite spot to vacation since our first trip in 1983. We have had over 30 weeklong vacations and now living in Florida we visit monthly, although recently I find myself there weekly. Hey I am doing research!
Cruising is another passion. We have been on many cruises, predominately in the Caribbean. A seven day cruise is the best way to really unwind and relax; but if a three or four day cruise crosses our path, we set sail. I am an Accredited Cruise Councilor, and a Certified Travel Councilor. I have the highest level of education from all major cruise lines.
Many clients have asked for insider tips for Disney World and cruising. That is my goal to offer insider information on Disney, Cruises and biking.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Disney's Animal Kingdom VIP Safari Tour of the Savannah

VIP Safari Tour

Would you like to take Disney’s ultimate wild animal adventure? See the Animal Kingdom in a way never seen before. Walk carefully over rope bridges and thru dense underbrush to get an up close visit with giraffe, massive Nile crocodiles patrolling the jungle riverbed and other animals wandering freely in there savannah habitat.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom now offers VIP Safari’s over the savannah. The tour is three hours in duration. It is designed to give you the feel and experience of a true African safari. Your visit will include a trip to a private safari camp.

The cost is $129 pp in addition to the park entrance fee. Call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687 to book your adventure. This tour is for ages 8 and up.

Start Planning Your Vacation Today!
Email: JEGTravels@gmail.com
Phone: 352.556.4437

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Monarch of the Seas Cruise Coco Cay

Monarch of the Seas Cruise
Part Three Coco Cay

Steve and I woke up to the sound of the anchor dropping shortly after 7:30am.We were happy to be spending the day in Coco Cay. We went to the Windjammer buffet for breakfast and it was relatively empty. Everyone must have been up late the night before enjoying the nightlife. I have to say for a smaller ship there is plenty to do, both day and night!

The seas were slightly choppy, which made the walk on the gangplank to the tender a bit of a challenge. It was like the walkway in the funhouse, up and down and you had to keep your balance, move forward and not hit your head on the bulkhead.  There were only a few of us on the tender. It was still a bit too chilly out for some folks, I would think any northerners would have found the 60s warm!

Coco cay is having some work done; the tender ports are being enlarged to accommodate more tenders. They are setting up to host more than one cruise ship at a time on the island.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of lounge chairs available.  When ships like Monarch are in port there is more than enough room for another ship too.

We took a nice walk to scope things out, found two lounge chairs and set up camp.  Lucky for us we had entertainment too! The bar server was driving a golf cart with a trailer/cooler hitched to it. That guy didn’t stand a chance against the loose sand. He no sooner drove down to the water’s edge when he was axle deep in sand. He called for backup from two other bar servers, who apparently have never driven before. They managed to jack-knife the trailer, but after some digging and tugging were able to move it about 10 feet, where it became trapped again. The driver took time to sell a few drinks and then the patrons put their shoulders into pushing and moved him, oh maybe another 5 feet, finally several more beach goers helped him back to a path up to solid ground off the beach.
It was too cold for us to swim so we had fun people and nature watching for a few hours. Our fellow passengers were disembarking the ship and swarming the beaches…our cue to head back on the ship. As we were walking away from our lounge chairs, we passed the bar server driving his rig back to the beach, where he was promptly buried in sand. Ah fun times!

Once back on the Monarch we had lunch and headed to the pool. There were maybe 6 or 8 others around the pool but no one swimming. It was as if we had our own private pool. We alternated between sun tanning and swimming. Towards the end of the afternoon a handful of bar napkins blew in the pool. They disintegrated and made swimming a little uncomfortable, if not creepy, when someone would say “why is there toilet paper in the pool?”  It was late in the day and the masses were back from Coco Cay, so we headed up to deck 12 to have some pizza and ice cream and sit on the deck there to watch the sun getting ready to set over Coco Cay.

Another great day!

Start Planning Your Vacation Today!
Phone: 352.556.4437

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monarch Cruise, Nassau Bahamas January 2011

Monarch of the Seas Cruise
January 7-10, 2011
Part Two

Nassau Bahamas

We enjoyed smooth sailing from Port Canaveral to Nassau. We disembarked with no real plans for the day. As we were walking up towards Festival Place, the entry point into Nassau, we decided to take a guided tour. We were lucky to bump into Kendrick Curry, our guide. He looked neat and polished and gave us a great tour of Nassau and Paradise Island.

There were 11 of us in his van, six Americans and five Russians, who spoke almost no English. We all had a great time with Kendrick. We took a leisurely ride up Bay Street past the shops and straw market, cruised by the pink Parliament Buildings and down to Lighthouse Beach to stop and dip our toes in the water. The nights had been a bit chilly lately so the water was cool but still beautiful to view.

Kendrick pointed out the highlights along the way; we saw Eddie Murphy’s private island and other interesting spots such as the ‘fish fry’ area were the seafood restaurants are located. We passed a Segway tour, which looked fun but a bit dangerous in the Nassau traffic.  Speaking of dangerous, we saw more than a few tourists on scooters. One woman was actually holding on to her driver crying, she was so scared. I don’t think I will venture out on a scooter in Nassau anytime soon, the traffic is crazy.

We saw some beautiful churches on our way to Fort Fincastle. We toured the fort which is located on the highest point of the island; it was built as a look out for the British troops in 1793. The Fort was never attacked, its cannons never fired in battle and it is now one of the more popular tourist attractions. Located nearby is the Queens Staircase, 65 steps carved out of the limestone walls by slaves from the island between 1793 and 1794.  The area is beautiful and worth the effort to visit. In addition to beautiful views and limestone walls, you will find local vendors similar to the ones at the Straw Market on Bay Street.

We rounded out our tour visiting Paradise Island, where Anna Nicole Smith and John Travolta had houses. We spend a half hour visiting The Atlantis Hotel and Casino, we lost $20 on the video poker game and tried to look around the grounds but were stopped by security at all entry points. Unless you are a guest of the hotel or pay the per diem rate you cannot enter the grounds. It is a beautiful hotel though and very popular.

We met Kendrick in front of the hotel near the gorgeous fountain and took the quick ride back to the port. It was a nice afternoon spent with a Bahamian, who was proud to show us his country.  If you are planning a visit to Nassau let me know and I will give Kendrick a call and have him give you a tour of the island. You will enjoy it!

Next up Part Three~Coco Cay

Start Planning Your Vacation Today!
Email: JEGTravels@gmail.com
Phone: 352.556.4437

Our Monarch of the Seas Cruise

Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas

Our Monarch of the Seas Cruise January 7-10, 2011
Part One

We left Weeki Wachee, Florida at 8:00AM on Friday for our weekend cruise on the Monarch of the Seas. It was an easy 2.5 hour ride over to Port Canaveral. It was by far the easiest port for embarkation; the parking garage had plenty of parking close to the terminal and lots of port employees to guide you thru the embarkation process.  We checked in quickly, with only three people in front of us, had our pictures taken and were on the ship by 11 am.

We did not check our luggage pier-side so we just wheeled it up to the Windjammer with us. We enjoyed our lunch looking out the window at the brand new Disney Dream. What a ship that is! I will have to cruise on The Dream just to give a ship review (then its work related!).  

We met a nice couple at lunch, also from Florida, this would be the theme of the cruise; everyone it seemed was a ‘local’. The Monarch, was one of the largest ships to sail in 1991, but by today’s standards, is considered a smaller cruise ship at 73,000 tons.  This makes the ship perfect for quick weekend get-a-ways for anyone who is within a few hours drive of Port Canaveral.  The ship is nice and comfortable with wonderful staff and plenty to keep you busy!

Even the band members were cold!
We dropped our bags at our ocean view stateroom.  There are not many balcony staterooms and the staterooms in general were not as up to date as the brand new ships (no flat screen TVs)  but the bed was comfortable and the room was always clean thanks to Dion, our cabin steward.  The bathroom of course was smaller than I would like, I was accosted by the shower curtain each morning. I haven’t found a cruise ship bathroom that I like yet. I will put out a new bulletin when I do!

It was a very cold day by Florida standards, too cold to swim so we toured the ship for the afternoon. The one good thing about a smaller ship, we never got lost once, that’s a first for me.  We toured the ship and found it looking great. We began our exploration in the Centrum the open multilevel area in the heart of the ship. This area holds the Guest Relations, Excursion Desk, Shops, Ben and Jerry’s, CafĂ© Latte-tudes, Crown and Anchor Desk. This area had some comfortable seating to give you a place to sit and enjoy the changing view while enjoying your latte or ice cream.  

We worked our way around the ship walking from deck to deck to see what we had in store. The Sound of Music Theatre is large and there were not many view obstructions.  We toured the Ship Shape Fitness Center with the hopes of working out at some point but that never happened. I guess Sorrento’s pizza called my name louder. We had pizza for an afternoon snack there most days. This is where the ice cream was located so it was a fun spot in the afternoon.

The pool area was nice and never seemed too crowded.  The bar staff was always close by to bring you the drink of the day.  We had the pool area to ourselves the day the ship moored at Coco Cay, we visited the island for half the day and came back to the pool around noon. It was heaven. My only complaint was if I had to hear Ricky Martin sing about shaking his ‘bon bon’ one more time I was going to jump ship!

Dinner was very nice in Claude’s dining room, our waiter Albert, his assistant waiter Sweedon and the head waiter, Mustafa were all very attentive, more so than on any other ship we have sailed. We had a large table and almost every other person seated with us was from Florida, most from within a 2 hour drive. Ed, a senior from our area has been on the Monarch nine times since November, two others have been on the Monarch many times in the last year.  When the wait staff from other areas of the dining room walked by they greeted our tablemates by name, often stopping to give them a hug and ask how they were doing.  I thought Ed should be the mayor the Monarch! We enjoyed everyone’s company very much. Albert, our waiter, told us a joke each night and Mustafa, the head waiter, gave us the weather report for the next day. They really made us feel right at home. The food was delicious too!

We enjoyed the music and shows in the theatre and lounges. We did not make it to the disco or the deck party but a table mate went and enjoyed learning some new songs and dances, he learned the Superman and Stanky Legg dance; maybe I am glad I missed that one.  

We had so much fun and this was only day one!

More to come….