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.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

NCL Freestyle Dash! Onboard Credit Up to $250, Reduced Deposits and Up to Four Category Upgrades Free!

Norwegians Freestyle Dash
February 15-18, 2011

Savings this good can’t last, so act fast!
By booking your NCL cruise during these dates you will receive 50% reduced deposit, plus up to $250 onboard credit, plus free upgrades!

Offer Details: Reduced Deposit plus Up to $250 Onboard Credit* per stateroom
*Onboard credit amount based on cruise length and category:
OBC Per Stateroom
Cruise Length
Deluxe Balcony/
Garden Villa
3-5 Day sailings
6+ Day sailings

Freestyle Dash offer combinable with existing Free Upgrades for All offers below:
  • Up to a 4-category Upgrade
  • Free Balcony Upgrade for Fall Caribbean (includes Norwegian Epic Free Mini Suite Upgrade) + Fall Bahamas & Florida + Fall 3 & 4 Day Bahamas
  • Free Mini Suite Upgrade for Europe selected Norwegian Jade & Norwegian Epic sailings
  • Electronic Coupon Book worth over $400 for ship(s)/sailing(s) embarking on or before 12/31/2012, delivered with e-documents
Contact us today to get in on these deals!

Feel free to leave comments!

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl MVP at Magic Kingdom

Moments after leading his team to victory in Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers looked into the camera and answered the age old question “Hey Aaron Rodgers you and the Green Bay Packers just won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?” He uttered those famous words “I’m going to Disney World!”

Less than 15 hours later he was sitting in a red convertible Chevrolet Camaro with football star Mickey Mouse by his side with all the Disney fanfare.  Cheese heads were in abundance, on the warm February day, cheering loudly after waiting hours for the delayed parade to pass their way.

Aaron seemed a bit sheepish with all the attention. I am sure he was tired with the whirlwind that had spun up since the win the night before. Later Monday he was on David Letterman in NYC.

In speaking those five words Aaron joined the ranks of 25 years worth of other MVPs who also visited Magic Kingdom for their victory parades. That commercial plug is an iconic moment after the game that causes everyone to remember their childhood days of hearing that phrase and thinking or possibly uttering out loud “I wish I was going to Disney World too!”

Feel free to leave comments!

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

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cruise Line Enhanced Private Islands

Cruise Line Enhanced Private Islands

Most large cruise lines, offering cruises in the Caribbean, have one or more private beach areas or whole islands to cater to their cruise passengers.  Is it an effort to keep passengers safely segregated from the perils of foreign travel or an effort to keep more of the profits from shore side visits for themselves? 

Carnival Corporation has invested millions of dollars into private guest areas in Grand Turk Cruise Center (Turks and Caicos) and Mahogany Bay Cruise Center (Roatan Honduras); spending $62 million in Mahogany Bay alone.  Cruisers may exit the Cruise Center areas and visit the island but some report being discouraged by high cost taxi’s at the Cruise Centers or by having to leave the Cruise Center grounds to hire a taxi.

Pros and Cons for private islands
The islands are owned by the cruise lines and are for the exclusive use of their guests during their visit. The islands are not crowded so each guest can relax in their own private slice of paradise. Whether you are there for adventure or relaxation, these private islands offer everything you need for a day in paradise, shimmering turquoise waters, glistening white sandy beaches,  chair side delivery of the drink of the day, sports, snorkeling, jet skiing,  zip lines, shopping at ‘authentic’ markets and food galore. On the private island the food is generally supplied by the cruise line and free to the passengers. The newer Cruise Center require a trip to Margaritaville, seaside bar or restaurant for food and drinks, which are not free.
Due to private islands’ exclusive nature, most cruisers do not feel the true Caribbean culture except the limited interactions permitted by the cruise line. Passengers are sheltered from many aspects of the island’s culture such as local cooking, language, and social activities.  By not participating in such activities the passengers are not adding to the islands economy by  purchasing food, beverages, tours and souvenirs’ from the locals. I think this is an important part of visiting other countries. Give back to the people of that island by eating in their restaurants and purchasing their goods.
On the other hand, being on a private island, cruise lines have the upper hand at security and cleanliness.  Staff on the island is predominately from the ship, allowing only select locals to participate in the experience. The islands are swept clean of most litter and storm debris before passengers set foot off the ship.
All this being said; I love being pampered on the private islands but I also make a point to spend time with locals when visiting other ports of call. I have a meal at a local restaurant or stand; I try not to visit the gigantic chain restaurants or stores.
Safety is the most important factor when visiting any port of call, listen to that little voice in your head if it says danger, go elsewhere.  Your number one priority is to stay safe w hen you travel.  Check the US Governments website for travel safety updates                      Click here--->State Department Travel Warnings

The following cruise lines have private islands for their guests:
Castaway Cay, Bahamas - Disney Cruise Line
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - Holland America Line
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas - Norwegian Cruise Line
Princess Cays, Bahamas - Princess Cruises
CocoCay, Bahamas - Royal Caribbean
Labadee, Hispaniola - Royal Caribbean
Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic-MSC
Catalina Island, Dominican Republic-Costa Cruises

The following cruise lines have private areas for their guests:

Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, Roatan Honduras- Carnival Corporation
Grand Turk Cruise Center, Turks and Caicos-Carnival Corporation

Do you like private cruise destinations? We would like to hear from you!

Feel free to leave comments!

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

Mahogany Bay Cruise Center Roatan Honduras

Isla Roatan’s New Mahogany Bay Cruise Center

In the ongoing tug of war over amenities offered by the cruise lines, Carnival has unveiled, Mahogany Bay Cruise Center (MBCC) a $62 million dollar cruise center on the Honduran island of Roatan. The MBCC, which opened in December 2009, covers 10 private acres with 825 feet of pristine white sand beach with a beach volleyball court and many water sports opportunities. Cabanas are also available for rent.

Unique to MBCC is The “Magical Flying Beach Chair” which takes guests on a six-minute ride over the lush landscape, providing not only convenient beach access but breath taking views of the island and surrounding waters. All-day passes for the beach chair lift are $5 per person. Those preferring to walk can take an elevated pathway to the beach.

“The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center not only serves as a gateway to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands but is also a destination unto itself, with a magnificent white-sand beach and a wide range of shops, restaurants and shore excursion opportunities,” said Giora Israel, senior vice president of port and destination development for Carnival Corporation.

MBCC has berths for two ships and has over 200 ship call days, bringing over 500,000 visitors to its sun-drenched sandy shore each year.

Feel free to leave comments!

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

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grand Turk Cruise Center

Grand Turk Cruise Center

The Turk and Caicos Islands about 600 miles southeast of Miami have a new reason for cruisers to visit, the brand new Grand Turk Cruise Center. The small island of Grand Turk is a mere 1.5 miles wide by 7miles long. The 14 acre cruise playground was built to keep cruisers interested in Grand Turk--as if the pristine beaches and shimming turquoise waters aren’t reason enough!

Carnival Cruise Lines, which built the Cruise Center, also owns Holland America, Princess, Regent 7-Seas, Silver Seas, Costa and several other cruise lines that do not sail to or from the US.  The Grand Turk Cruise Center will host HAL’s New Amsterdam, Eurodam, Noordam and Westerdam; Carnival’s Liberty, Miracle, Destiny and Glory; Princess’ Ruby; Costa Atlantica and 7-Seas’ Navigator.

The center has a 390 foot pier, accommodating two ships, and offers dining, shopping, and sunbathing on the beach or by the pool; water sports rentals and FlowRider the surf machine.  Cruisers can shop in the 10,000 sq. ft. duty free shop or visit the 35,000 sq ft marketplace that houses, jewelry shops, clothing stores, locally crafted souvenirs and restaurants.  I am quite sure there must be a Diamonds International nearby; I believe it’s an unwritten law that each and every port must have at least one Diamonds International shop.

If you prefer to take it easy under a palm tree, the center offers two beach areas, with clam shell shade enclosures.  If you prefer a private poolside cabana suitable for up to four people, you can reserve one on the ship. The cost is approximately $130 for the day and comes complete with bar and food service from Margaritaville.  The pool is ringed with comfy lounge chairs and within ear shot of the upbeat music at Margaritaville. Active guest or those with beer muscles will want to try their skills on the FlowRider surf machine. This is a good place to hang out and ‘people’ watch. A word to the women…wear a one piece bathing suit on the FlowRider.

Enjoy the 70s party on the ship too much? Bust one too many moves on the dance floor? Try Spa Anani. The spa offers beachside massage services starting at $20 for a 15 minute massage and $50 for a sea mud facial.

If you would like to see more of the island before or after your Cruise Center visit just go to the front of the center and hire a taxi for a tour of the island. Note: Taxis are not metered so negotiate a price and tour prior to departure.

Hopefully the Cruise Center will enhance your visit to Grand Turk and not replace seeing the island and supporting local mom and pop businesses that are located away from the pier area. It’s important to give back to the islands you visit!

Feel free to leave comments!

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

Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot will host the 18th Annual International Flower and Garden Festival March 2, 2011 to May 15, 2011. Located in Epcot’s Future World and World Showcase, the festival will offer guests visual delights with spectacular topiaries, gardens and events that will have a decidedly Disney flair!

Movie ‘Stars’ Galore!
Disney will be promoting new release movies or DVDs in floral splendor. Cars, Toy Story 3 and Winnie the Pooh casts will be on hand, in flowery form, to remind everyone that they have new movies/DVDs to check out.

The main entrance will guests will be greeted by 7-9 foot tall topiaries of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Lotso (Lots o’ Huggin) Bear of Toy Story Fame. Lotso will have the added touch of fragrance, not just the smell of the flowers but of strawberries. The area located between Future World and The World Showcase will be home to Pooh Bear, Eeyore and Tigger. The characters will be frolicking in the Hundred Acre Wood wildflower display. Cars fans will love seeing Mater and Lightning McQueen under the checked flag in The World Showcase.

The magic is everywhere!
All areas of the park will offer festival magic.  Fairies from Pixie Hollow will host a whimsical play yard for toddlers and small children ages 2-5. The kids can burn off some energy and interact with the Fairies. Innoventions West will be home to Bambi and the Butterfly Garden.  In the area located between the German and Italian pavilions Rapunzel will take up residence.

The Festival Center will offer merchandise for purchase (don’t forget this is Disney!), a stage area for well known gardening experts to offer lectures, an area where Disney horticulturalists offer tips and advice for you to use to in your garden. Attend a few demostrations and it will only be a matter of time until your garden looks like Epcot! 

Special Events around the park
3/25-3/27 Art in the Garden “Plein Air” artists.
4/15-4/17 I Dig Bugs
4/29-5/1 Fresh from Florida farmers market
TBA Disney Pixar Celebration

Flower Power Concert Series
Each weekend during the festival the American Gardens Theatre in The World Showcase flashes back to the 60’s 70’s and 80’s with the sounds from back in the day.  These wonderfully reminiscent concerts can be seen three times a night, 5:15pm, 6:30pm and 7:45pm.

Here is the scheduled line up (subject to change):

Known For
March 4 to 6
Jose Feliciano
Light My Fire
March 11 to 13
The Guess Who
American Woman
March 18 to 20
Chubby Checker and the Wildcats
The Twist
March 25 to 27
Melissa Manchester
Don't Cry Out Loud
April 1 to 3
Starship starring Mickey Thomas
We Built This City
April 8 to 10
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
You Don't Have to be a Star (to be in My Show)
April 15 to 17
Juice Newton
Queen of Hearts
April 22 to 24
Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring The Nelsons
Poor Little Fool
April 29 to May 1
Paul Revere & The Raiders
Good Thing
May 6 to 8
Davy Jones
I'm a Believer
May 13 to 15
Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
I'm Henry VIII, I Am

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