Are you ready to plunge into the Ultimate Abyss??

There is absolutely nothing like it at sea! Words can’t describe the thrill known as the Ultimate Abyss onboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas but numbers can!

IMG_5587

Go into the Ultimate Abyss

Watch this for all the details…

And then call your favorite DWB Vacations team member to book your cruise so you can see for yourself!

 

#DWBcanbookthat

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Make memories; travel with your parents

Over the last 13 years of having children we have taken our children on countless vacations but it recently occurred to me that I have only taken my parents with us 3 or 4 times. We took them to DisneyTravel with children and grandparents World and on some shorter weekend travel adventures. I have been so busy making memories with my own children that I forgot to make memories with my own parents. This year I plan to change that. They aren’t necessarily up for a cruise around the world or trekking through the trails in a foreign country, but there are plenty of things we can do with them that they will enjoy that my children will also enjoy.

Ideas for multigenerational travel

The options are endless depending on your budget and the health and mobility of your parents. Of course every grandparent wants to see the sparkle of Disney World in their grandchild’s eyes. I think it is safe to say that is on everyone’s (or at least everyone with small children) bucket list.

Cruising

Cruising is a fantastic vacation for older adults that may not care to run through theme parks or up and down mountains. Cruising is the ideal multigenerational vacation because there is something for eveharmony-waterslide-central-parkryone. Most modern cruise ships have everything from nurseries and kid’s clubs with Wii and XBox to Bingo and movies.

Many of the newest Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships have zip lines, rock climbing, ice skating and water slides but they also have an area called Central Park where you can just relax and take in nature. There are beautiful sitting areas where you can just read a book or chat with a friend. There really is something for everyone!

Weekend trips

For most people there are even great weekend getaways that are in driving distance. Vacations do not always have to be grand events that costs thousands of dollars and last for days. Often, special memories are made in 2-3 days close to home. Anything under 5 or 6 hours may be manageable with an older adult. We are taking my parents to the beach for spring break this year. This will not be an extravagant adventure but it will be meaningful. We can sit and watch the waves crash together. They can eat at our children’s favorite restaurant. Most importantly we will all remember our time together.

Travel tips

IMVoyager.com recently posted some great travel tips for traveling with someone that is older in age. Most of the tips were honestly common sense but they were great reminders of the things we often get busy and overlook. One was a simple as remembering to accommodate their medication. When we traveled to Disney World with them, I made sure we had a working refrigerator for my dad’s diabetic medicine. Not a big deal really, but I took the time to make sure he had what he needed. My favorite tip from the blog’s list was the last one. “Enjoy the time, it will get over soon.” To read the post, you can find it on IMVoyager’s blog.

~Crystal

LaurenStarnesCastawayCayWater

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Traveling with a Special Needs Child

Traveling with a Special Needs ChildThe most magical place on Earth is not always the most magical place. It can be stressful, overwhelming, and crowded. This can be difficult for any parent to navigate but this task can seem like climbing a mountain with two ton boulders tied to both your ankles for a special needs parent.

As a special needs mom, I can relate. Making the most stressful – I mean, magical place – on Earth more enjoyable may seem like an insurmountable task, but there are some tips and tricks that can make your little one’s experience at Disney the best time of their lives!

Pack light but accordingly

This may seem like a no brainer, but with all the excitement that goes into a Disney trip it is easy to forget something. Most people are great at making sure they bring all their supplies from home, but it’s very easy to leave those supplies right there in your resort as you head out for a fun-filled day at the parks.

During one of our trips my son had a colostomy bag. I thought I had packed everything and was totally prepared. An hour or two into the day at the park, his bag exploded. No big deal, I had supplies right? Wrong! I had left one of the pieces I needed to change his bag back at the resort.

Luckily there were awesome cast members who helped us out, but I have learned since then to always be prepared. I make myself a checklist and post it on the exit door to the resort. I double check my day bag right before I head out the door to ensure that my magical day isn’t ruined by a not so magical moment.

Accessories are a must

There are so many little accessories that can make a huge impact on your trip. Noise canceling headphones can be great to drown out the noise of the crowds, parades, and fireworks. Both of my children have sensory integration disorder, and have a hard time with loud sounds. Headphones are the only way my kids are able to enjoy the firework shows! Even regular headphones can be a huge help if your children have issues with loud sounds or crowds.

Fidget toys are also a great item to have for kids who need a little sensory action while waiting in the long lines or for parades. Sunglasses can also be helpful for the bright lights that can be found all around your favorite parks. If your children have a hard time with the sun or the heat, a hat and a water mister can be a life saver. There is nothing worse than your child having a meltdown when some simple accessories could have prevented the situation.

Turn your stroller into a wheelchair

Another awesomely simple way to help create a safe place for your little one during your Disney trip is to turn their stroller into a wheelchair. My son has PTSD and has a difficult time with crowds. By turning his stroller into a wheelchair he is able to have a barrier between himself and the crowds. Since his stroller is also a wheelchair, he is able to stay in his stroller through the line queue which can be full of noisy, pushy crowds. When the crowds get to be too much my son, he just pulls his hat over his face and lays down in the stroller and is able to hide from the world.

This also allows you to keep your supplies close at hand in case you need them. There is nothing worse than having to leave a line you have been waiting in for hours because your child has a crisis. Making your stroller a wheelchair can erase this problem almost completely.

Use the Program

There have been a lot of complaints among the special needs community about the changes that Disney made to the DAS (disability access service card) a few years ago. The reality, however, is that if you are informed about the new program, it can be a life saver for you and your family. When you enter your first park on the first day of your trip, simply go to guest services and ask for a DAS. They will take the picture of the individual that the pass is for and will link the pass directly to your magic bands. The whole party gets linked, so make sure everyone is with you. Then you just go to the fast pass return queue for each ride and get a return time. That’s it! Then enjoy your time until it’s your turn to ride and simply return with all the members of your party. Everyone taps their magic band and voila! Access granted.

One of the best parts of this new program is the people in queue don’t know you are using the DAS system. They simply think you have a fast pass return time. So no rude looks or comments and you get to enjoy your ride!

Planning to do anything more than just the daily routines for a special needs parent can be overwhelming. The thought of trying to make a place like Disney accessible to your special one can seem impossible. But with proper planning, a few tricks, and lots of pixie dust, your vacation can be one of the most wonderful experiences each member of the family ever has.

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Traveling for a Race

traveling for a race
I have been fortunate to experience many races. I grew up as a swimmer and runner, so most weekends involved some sort of competition. They bring an energy that can be fulfilling and addicting. Now that I am an adult, the events have shifted from an extracurricular activity to one that includes a variety of race types throughout the world. Just to give an idea of some of the races, there is the Disney World Marathon, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, Triathlons in San Diego and an open water swim in Hawaii. There are Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons and Half Marathons in cities across the globe. There are races even in locations you wouldn’t expect, like Disney’s Castaway Cay Island in the Bahamas.

traveling for a raceTraveling for a Race

Participating in races can require travel, which can be both rewarding and cumbersome. Unlike a local 5k, there are many aspects to consider. Some things to think about are how to get there, where to stay and what equipment will be needed for the race.

Traveling with Equipment

While there are races that involve just a pair of running shoes and comfortable attire, others require much more. Triathlons are extremely popular, but require a bike. There is the option of renting a bike in the city of your race or taking your bike with you. Many airlines have specific rules, requirements and fees for bikes. One requirement that most airlines require is for your bike to be in a special box or case. Another factor to consider is that once you get to your destination you might find your hotel room so small that you are climbing over the bike for your entire stay.

Open water swims require participants to have spotters to keep an eye out for problems such as other boats. It can be tough enough to find someone that can spot for you, but now you need to make sure they can get there in order for you to participate.

traveling for a race

Hotel Location is Important

Races tend to have early start times, and a road closure or other setback can make things more complicated. I have seen many people in a sprint while approaching the starting line. I can’t imagine being out of breath before the race has even started. Selecting a hotel close in proximity to the starting line can help decrease the stress of trying to get to your race.

Not all of the planning is tedious, but that doesn’t make it less time consuming. Traveling for a race allows for a person to experience and see new places. Since a portion of your trip will be occupied with the race and recovery, you will want to make sure you optimize the rest of your time in your destination. It can be time consuming to figure out the must see and do locations for your free time.

You could spend time away from training, doing research on the travel options, or you could reach out to your trusted Travel Planner. Do yourself a favor, and once you register for one of the unique races, let someone else work on the travel portion for you. You have enough to think about as you try to increase your speed or simply train.

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Broadway hit ‘Grease’ coming to Harmony of the Seas

Thrills are multiplyin’. Slick back your hair and pack your poodle skirts.  The Broadway hit Grease, The Musical is coming to the high seas for the first time ever. Experience it only on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas.

Grease on Harmony of the Seas

 

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-12-42-44-pm

 

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is known for bringing Broadway To Sea with other hits like Hairspray, Cats, Mamma Mia! and more! Grease can only be seen on Harmony of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

The cast of Grease is very excited! Enjoy this fun introduction to their rehearsal facility and meet the cast!

 

If you would like to learn more about any of the great adventures you can take on a Royal Caribbean cruise, please contact your favorite DWB Vacations planner today!

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Welcome to the Seven Neighborhoods on Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, part of the Oasis class of ships, is huge but with 7 neighborhoods on board Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Harmony of the Seas, everyone is certain to find their favorite area to relax and enjoy their time on this amazing ship! Each distinct area helps cruisers feel like they are in a smaller, more intimate area.

What is in each neighborhood?

Central Park

harmony-central-park04Who would have ever imagined a full, living park on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean? Royal

Caribbean Cruise Line did! Central Park is a lush, relaxing area with tropical area, trees and walkways that take you to restaurants, shopping and galleries. Dining options in Central Park include Royal Caribbean’s famous Chops Grille.

For guest that enjoy the view, there are inward facing rooms that overlook Central Park so you can take in the gardens anytime day or night.

 

Royal Promenadeharmony-bionic-bar

The lively Royal Promenade is the perfect place for a drink from a robotic bartender, shopping, restaurants and more!

 

 

Boardwalkharmony-royal-promenade

It’s all fun and games at the Boardwalk! A nostalgic feel with a handcrafted carousel and arcade makes you feel like a kid again. Then you can relax at the AquaTheater where you will see a high dive show with the deepest pool at sea.

 

 

Pool & Sports Zoneharmony-waterslide-central-park

Cruising is not all about relaxing. There’s also fun and thrills! Pool & Sports Zone. After you encounter the “Perfect Storm” of water slides, you can take a plunge down a 10-story slide that ends on the Promenade deck. You can also learn to surf on the exclusive “FlowRider”, climb a rock wall and zip line across the ship.

 

 

 

HM, Harmony of the Seas, Relaxation Room, Deck 6 Forward, Vitality Spa, wicker easy chairs, hassocks, comfortable, comfort, relax, art, artwork, sculpture,

Spa & Fitness

After all that excitement, you may need to relax in the Vitality Spa and Fitness neighborhood. Aromatherapy and full body wellness help you to recharge your body, mind and spirit.

 

 

 

 

Entertainment Placescreen-shot-2016-10-10-at-12-08-55-pm

This is the place for music, laughs and Broadway hit moments. On board you will be able to enjoy the Broadway musical “Grease” as well as exclusive shows like “Columbus, The Musical”. You will also find Vegas-style casino action with poker, blackjack, slots and roulette.

 

Youth Zone

Harmony of the Seas wants everyone to have their “space”. Teens, kids and babies, too, can hang out in their own area that designed just for them. Grouped by age and supervised by trained, certified staff, there’s also fun going on that is sure to bring smiles to every age!rci_oasis_youthzone_imgstd_kids

Youth Zone, nursery, babysitting, children, toys, playroom, Oasis of the Seas, OA, Oasis Class, Allure of the Seas Youth Zone, teens, teen program, back deck, living room, lounge, Adventure Ocean, Oasis of the Seas, OA, Oasis Class, Allure of the Seas

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about the neighborhoods on Harmony of the Seas or about any Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship, contact your favorite DWB Vacations team member!

#DWBcanbookthat

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Top 5 Reasons Why I Switched From Giving Gifts to Giving Experiences

Experiences as a familyWe have all been there: birthdays, Christmas, Easter, watching as our children unwrap gift after gift after gift. If your children are anything like mine, they get so excited after opening each one but in a day or three the excitement fades and you are left with the task or adding these new gifts to the abundance of “stuff” your children already own. Even if you’re one of those on top of it moms who weeds out the junk before the overabundance of gifts arrive or you’re one of those moms who are great about rotating toys and clothes, the bottom line is our children just have too much stuff. To help combat this, I have implemented a change in my house. I no longer buy my children gifts; instead, I buy them experiences. Whether it’s a season pass to an amusement park, or a vacation to some awesome location, my children have been having a blast! Here are my top five reasons why I think you should join me and make the change:

Experiences with OlafClean up the clutter

By giving my children experiences I have seriously cut down on the clutter in my house. My children now have toys that they actually play with and enjoy. Plus since there aren’t so many (there are still a ton) they are able to play more freely and without having to yell “mom I can’t find my (insert random toy here)”! I also have found that my children now play longer without coming to find me. It seems that since they have less they aren’t as overwhelmed and they are really able to enjoy their stuff!

Experiences are more meaningful

Let’s just be honest. That toy little Johnny just has to have or he will die, we all know if we are lucky he will play with it for a couple of weeks and then it will join the bin of forgotten toys. I remember for Christmas I bought my son a $50 Paw Patrol truck. By Easter he told me he was done with it and I could hand it down to his cousin! Seriously! But with an experience you are giving your child something that they will be able to enjoy and build awesome memories from. That’s something that a piece of plastic will never give you.

It’s the same costExperiences with Mickey and Minnie

Again let’s be honest, as parents most of us spend way too much money on our children. We go into debt giving them piles of gifts so we can post on social media how beautiful our trees are and what a great celebration our children have. So why not spend that money on a vacation? I’ve had clients tell me that a Disney trip costs too much, but once I point out how much they spent on birthdays and Christmas they realize its usually the same (or cheaper). Still there are the hold outs that say “but my child enjoys opening gifts, I can’t just give them a piece of paper”. To this I say get creative. If you want to give them things to open then give them items they will use on their trip!

Family Memories

When your child is all grown up and they start to have little ones of their own ( I know,unnamed3     scary thought) are they really going to remember that beloved item that they just had to have? The chances are pretty slim. But chances are they will remember that awesome trip to Universal Studios, or that Disney cruise or that year long season pass to Bush Gardens. They will remember the time they spent with their parents, their siblings, and their extended family. They will remember the laughs, the inside jokes that come from experiences and even all the mishaps that eventually become treasured memories, for the rest of their lives. What’s better is they will relive these memories with their siblings for years to come and will often reenact them with their children.

Time is Ever Ticking Away

And with it your children’s childhoods. Before you know it they will be grown up and (hopefully) out of your house. The days of tripping over toys will be gone, but so will the days to take their pictures with a favorite character, or snuggle close with them during that firework show. My eight year old today told me the Disney princess were fiction, but she would still pretend they were real the next time we go to Disney. I swear it was a punch to my gut. I can only hope that on our next trip the magic returns for her. But that’s how quickly it can happen. One day our children are these bubbly wide eyed beings amazed by everything around them, and the next they are starting to look at life with a critical eye. So what are you going to do with the time you have left with them in the wonder and amazement phase? Are you going to waste that moment on pieces of plastic that will be forgotten, or are you going to spend it making memories that will last both of you the rest of your lives?

 

~Elissa Colón

unnamed
Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Coming to Universal Orlando Resort in 2017

We are very excited to share a first look into Universal’s Volcano Bay coming to Orlando in 2017! Universal Orlando Resort will be opening their third park in the Orlando area.

Universal Orlando Resort tells us there will be no standing in long lines, no wrestling with tubes and no waiting for the fun to begin. It will be a tropical paradise just steps away from everything Universal Orlando Resort™ has to offer.

 

Where will it be on Universal Orlando Resort’s property?

Universal’s Volcano Bay will be conveniently located at Universal Orlando Resort next to Cabana Bay. The new Universal Orlando theme park will be within walking distance of some of the most amazing resort hotels in the Orlando area!

Universal's Volcano Bay

 

To find out more about Universal Orlando Resort or to book your next vacation, contact your favorite DWB Vacations team member today!

 

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Norwegian Cruise Line names the Godfather

Godfather Norwegian Escape

For about 4,000 years sailing vessels have named a Godmother to launch the ship and bless its journey and passengers. In recent years the cruise lines have taken to making celebrities the Godmother of new ships. Sometimes there is a natural tie in between the celebrity and the ship as when Jennifer Hudson was named the Godmother of the Disney Dream in 2011. Hudson formerly worked at Disney World before her American Idol days.

Today, in a step away from the traditional Godmother, Norwegian Cruise Line named Armando Christian Perez to be the GodFATHER of the new Norwegian Escape. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, it is because you probably know him as Pitbull, the miami based singer famous for hits like “Feel This Moment” with Christina Aguilera and “Everything Tonight” with Ne-Yo.

The choice makes sense for many reasons.

First, it represents Norwegian Cruise’s less than traditional cruising style. In the announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line said, “”reinforces Norwegian’s nontraditional cruising that focuses on freedom and flexibility for guests.” Norwegian Cruise Line is known for their “freestyle” cruising that gives guests the freedom to choose. Guests can dress up or down or they can dine in a different restaurant every night. So it only makes sense that this honorary position should be just as nontraditional as the cruise line’s style.

Second, Pitbull has already been a partner with Norwegian Cruise Line The artist performed at the inauguration of the Norwegian Getaway in 2014 and for the Nov 9 pier side inauguration of the Escape he will perform again.

“Pitbull has been an excellent partner and great friend to Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president. “A Miami native, he epitomizes and contributes to the energy, excitement and local flavor that our ships so proudly embody and we’re excited to build upon our relationship and have him serve in this special role as Godfather to Norwegian Escape.”

Currently being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Escape will sail weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on November 14, 2015. The 164,600 gross ton ship will be the largest ever to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Escape’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey.

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Key West Vacation Must Do List

Have you ever wanted to visit Key West?  It’s a great vacation spot that you can get to by land or by sea!  Many of the cruise line have a stop on the island during their Bahamas and Caribbean sailings.  Whether you are visiting for a day or a long weekend there is plenty to do on the island.

Here are a few of my top must dos!

Take a ride on the conch tour train – you will get a nice overview and history of the island from your trolley.  The guides are very knowledgeable and you will see attractions you would like to go back to and explore more!

Take a family picture at the Southern Most point of the continental US, its only 90 miles to Cuba!

Key West

Tour Hemingway’s House – Take a guided tour of the house and see the famous 6 toed cats.

Do some shopping in Mallory square, visit the Key West Aquarium, the Shipwreck Treasure Museum during the day and take in the sunset and street vendors at night.  You will see everything from acrobatic cats to fire breathers as the sun goes down over the ocean!

View up to 60 different Buttery species and over 20 exotic bird species at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

Take a day trip out to the Dry Tortugas National Park.  If you are in town for a few days take the ferry that departs every morning for a day of exploring and snorkeling the beautiful waters.  A sea plane is also available for shorter trips.

FL Keys

Of course no trip to Key West is complete without doing the Duval Crawl!  Start at Hogs Breath on the North End and work your way down.  Make sure you stop at Sloppy Joe’s for some great local music, see where Hemingway used to hang out at Capt. Tony’s Saloon, and have a margarita at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

No matter what you decide to do Key West is a diverse and entertaining destination!

I would love to help you plan your next vacation to the Keys or stop in Key West on your next cruise.Please let me know how I can help!!  – Malia

 

Where is Key West?

You’ll notice Key West is the last key in Florida. Key West is actually farther south than Nassau and only 90 miles from Cuba.

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Share This With Your Friends:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email