My Vacation Reading … on our Bermuda Cruise!

I never had an iPod, because I’m not that into music. I love all music, so whatever is playing will usually please me. My Kindle on the other hand … I absolutely love the convenience of reading on my Kindle, especially as we travel on vacation without having to carry an extra bag with all my reading. I love to read.

trainAs I’m planning to leave on our vacations, I always ask my Facebook and Twitter friends for book recommendations, and they always come through for me. So, as I traveled home this time, I decided it was time to give back, with my own review of what I read during my travels. I loaded more books on my Kindle than I read, so if you don’t see the book you recommended here, it may just mean I haven’t read it yet. Here’s what I did read:

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins – The person who recommended this book to me said, that if I liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I would like this book, too. Gone Girl was recommended by someone for my travels last year, so I eagerly added this to my Kindle selection. When I finished reading this book, I was sad and disappointed. Granted, this book had lots of twists and turns, but I felt little to no compassion for the characters, and I believe the author missed the mark in building character depth that would draw me in. I dragged myself through chapter after chapter of this book, believing at some point, I would really care about any of these characters. I never did, and I regret this purchase. However, some of you may have really enjoyed it, so feel free to defend this book. 2 stars, a plot filled with sad useless characters.

Defending Jacob, William Landay – Wow, what a story. And, unlike The Girl on the Train above, I cared so deeply about these characters, I jacobalmost cried at the end. The story about a teen charged for a murder that his deputy assistant prosecutor dad was investigator, and how this family handles the trial and aftermath, within a community they have loved. 4 ½ stars, great plot, love the characters, could not put this book down until the end.

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty – Imagine you had an accident, lost the last 10 years of your memory. For me, that would mean my son would alicestill be living at home without joining the Marines, and my daughter would still be home without moving to live in Washington, DC. We would be living in our Jacksonville, Arkansas home, attending a different church from the one we attend now. And, I would not be a travel agent yet. This is exactly what happens to Alice … she loses ten years of her life, and her last memories were being happily married and pregnant with their first child. She doesn’t remember her three children, and she has no clue why she and her husband are in the process of getting a divorce. This was just a fun book, with people just like you and me, who can be both delightful and incredibly annoying, depending on the moment. 4 stars, a feel-good easy-to-read story, somewhat predictable, but it made me smile!

One Lavender Ribbon, Heather Burch – Adrienne Carter relocates to Florida following a bitter divorce, and finds a bundle of letters tied with a lavender ribbon in the Victorian home she purchases to restore. She begins to read the letters and feels compelled to find the person these belong to, and a beautiful story evolves in relationships from both the past and current days. This was another easy read, not a deep story, and sometimes the writer got bogged down in Adrienne’s insecurities from her divorce. 3 stars, just because it made me smile.

The Giver, Lois Lowry – This book turned out to be a series of four, and once I’d read the first book, I had to quickly download the next three books, The Messenger, Gathering Blue, and The Son. I’ve only read the first and second books, and the story feels incomplete without the others, so I can’t give you a complete review on this book yet, but I enjoyed the first book enough to invest in the other three. The story is about a future society that shuns and discards the weak and broken, living in a literally colorless world, and each additional book reveals additional details about this future world. I’m enjoying the book, and I’ll return to update this review when I’ve completed the last two books. So far … 4 stars for an interesting plot, great characters, and interesting writing that draws me into their fictional society.

My secret pleasure is those easy to read fictional stories about the Amish. I added several of those to my Kindle, because they’re a really quick read on planes or while waiting for flight connections. I’m not reviewing those, because the stories are predictable, but I love the characters. Let me know if you’d like to know some of my favorite authors of these kinds of books.

So, what have you read recently? Let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts. And, a great big thank you to each one of you who offer your recommendations each trip. I’m leaving for Costa Rica in a couple of months, so I’m going to need some more books. What do you recommend?

Why Book Early? Layaway Your Vacation with Payments …

mykonos-at-sunsetWe’re headed to Greece in 2016. Some folks tell us that they don’t like to book this far ahead, and that’s okay. I just wanted to share some of the many reasons we book our vacations so far in advance.

First, when we’re planning a trip, we want everyone who wants to join us to have that opportunity. Some folks need to plan their vacation far in advance, while others have to wait until closer to the vacation to book. We understand … and we hope you can all join us.

Folks who book early often do so to get the perfect room they want or to use frequent flier miles before they’re blocked out and more. On cruise ships, there’s frequently rooms available even the month before the departure date for the folks who want to book later. When we traveled on our Princess Alaska Cruise Tour in 2012, the cruise was still available to book closer to the sail date, but the land tour was sold out within six months of when it was offered. The same may be true of the Greek Island Hopper Tour in 2016. Both of these tours are limited to about 40 people, so they sell out.

SantoriniSecond, we plan trips early to allow folks to “layaway” their vacations. Some folks pay the deposit, then pay the final payment, no big deal, easy peasy. Other folks like to make payments over time instead, and when we book so early, that allows lots of monthly payments. Bookings made at the last minute have no time for monthly payments and often require payment in full at the time of the booking.

Anyone can afford a vacation; all you have to do is book your vacation far in advance, and budget payments over time. Everyone deserves a fabulous vacation, and I make it my mission to make it easy to plan and book your perfect vacation … year after year!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to blog about Greece, but if you’re ready to book now, here’s all the details. Call me at (877)274-4825 or email me at Judy.Best@AvoyaTravel.com with questions or concerns, or just to get booked. You can enjoy Greece through my writings in this blog, or you can come explore Greece firsthand with us, and make lots of new friends. See you in Greece … or here!

You’re invited … Greek Island Hopper Tour with fun folks!

 

Santorini Resort Pool

So many destinations on our bucket list, and too little time and money to complete them all right now. In 2016, we’ll knock Greece off our list as we spend luxurious days in Athens, Mykonos, and Greece. One of my friends emailed late last year, saying he wanted to spend his 40th birthday in 2016 in Greece, so he wanted to know which cruise line did the best job in Greece.

If he wanted to visited Greece, Turkey, and perhaps Croatia, a cruise line is absolutely my recommendation, but if he wants to just spend time in Greece, I definitely recommend a land trip. On cruises, you only get to spend a few hours of one day in each port in most cases, so you just don’t get to immerse yourself in the culture and really enjoy these gorgeous islands. I recommended Globus Greek Island Hopper tour, and we selected the tour that would include the dates of his birthday, June 22 – July 1, 2016.

Our international flight will leave the US on June 21, and we’ll fly into Athens to meet up with all our friends, enjoy dinner and drinks, and spend two nights there. Our sightseeing there will include a visit to the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, the beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman temple of Zeus, theater of Dionysus, and the Agora where Socrates taught. On our second morning there, June 24th, we’ll head to the port of Piraeus, to sail on a ferry on the deep-blue waters of the Aegean Sea to the mountainous island of Mykonos, where we’ll enjoy a dinner with our friends tonight at a local restaurant, then spend three nights on this gorgeous island, including a walking tour. On June 2th, we’ll board the ferry to sail to Santorini, the stunning “Black Pearl of the Aegean,” where we’ll enjoy dinner with friends at a local restaurant, then settle in for three nights and a walking tour. I can’t wait to not only

The Parthenon in Athens

explore these fabulous islands, but relax and enjoy the beauty as well. On June 30th, we’ll head to the airport for a short flight back to Athens, where we’ll wrap up our Greek adventure with one more night in Athens, before heading home to the US on July 1st.

Here’s a link to the details online based on the 2015 itinerary. Our tour is June 22 – July 1, 2016, and it ends up being an 11-night vacation, since your outbound International flight is overnight. We love to travel with friends, so you’re invite to join our fun-loving group, which all ages, races, and gay and straight folks, all who love an adventure.

Globus is honoring their 2015 price for this tour of $1,892 per person. The cost of the intra country flight from Santorini to Athens must be added on once those flights are confirmed, and this year that flight was $331 per person, so we’re expecting much the same for 2016. Once Globus has their international flights for this tour contracted, we can check prices for our international flights. Globus airfare prices are usually lower than what I can find independently, and you can reserve your flight with a low deposit, instead of paying for it in full when you book it.

Santorini

These prices are based on double occupancy, so let me know if you’d like to see prices for single or triple occupancy. And, send me your preferred airport if you’d like me to send you a guesstimate for your international airfare.

The deposit for the tour is $250 per person, and you can book that right now. Once the intra-country air is added, that requires an additional $250 per person deposit due, probably in September. And, when you add Globus international flights, that will require an additional $350 per person deposit. Final payment is due 4/2/2016, so you pay the deposits as they are due, then you can make payments along until you make the final payment on that date … or you can just charge the final payment any time before that date. I’m happy to accommodate payments for the folks who like to pay for a “layaway vacation.”

The price is not locked in until the deposit is paid, and the price will likely increase over time. There’s only 40 seats on this trip, so this trip can and will sell out. Booking now not only locks in your price and your seat, but it also allows you more time to pay off your layaway vacation.

Deposits are fully refundable at this time. Once the tour is confirmed and guaranteed in September, the deposit becomes fully non-refundable. At that time, I highly recommend you add Globus Cancel for Any Reason Travel Protection of $249 per person. That way, no matter what happens in the future, you have protection.

If you this sounds like fun to you, come go with us! All I need to book your travel with us is your legal name exactly as it appears on your passport, your date of birth, address, phone, and email, plus a debit or credit card to pay the deposit. I plan all kinds of vacations, so I’ll help you with any vacation, but how about joining us in Greece in 2016! Here’s how to reach me or stay in touch with me.

Mykonos

Why You and Your Spouse May Need a Cruise

Blog 31Our Contributing Editors

Tom & Mary Milano

 

Ladies, you may want to send a link to this blog to your hubby.

There is a good chance the Cruise Fairy will surprise you!

One day Mary and I were watching Oprah, and we heard a renowned expert in the field of marital relations make a statement that got our attention. He said, “The number one cause of couples losing the sense of intimacy and love that they enjoyed in the first years of their marriage, is the mother allotting all her time to her children and their activities and not making time for her husband.”  

He said, “The demands on mothers in today’s society are at an all time high. Many wives are working moms. Not only do they work, they also have to do the house work, the cooking, the shopping, get the kids off to school, take them to extra school activities, attend PTA meetings, help the children with homework, and many more things too numerous to mention. BUT, and it’s a very BIG BUT, it is absolutely essential that she and her husband find a way to have private time together, away from the children. Otherwise, over a period of time their marriage will slowly but surely disintegrate.” He said, “I know it isn’t easy for a wife to turn the switch on and off. One moment being an all-encompassing mother and then the next moment, the sultry, passionate lover, her husband wants her to be. BUT, again the big BUT, it is an absolute necessity that you have some private time, so you and your spouse can rekindle the fire of your love.” 

Mary and I have a suggestion we think you should give some serious thought. What better way to rediscover each other, than you and your spouse spending seven romantic days on a cruise ship, alone, without the children. Just imagine, no kids, no cooking, no shopping, no chauffering, no dog to walk, no litterbox to clean, no phone, no beeper, no commitments, just you and your loved one alone. Being on a cruise, on one of these magnificent floating resorts is without a doubt, a wonderful and ideal way for a husband and wife to rekindle the fire of their love. Seven full days of being with your loved one… in the most romantic intimate setting imaginable; a chance to be alone with your spouse with no responsibilities except to enjoy one another. You probably can’t remember the last time that happened. Well it can happen, but you have to make it happen. One way you can jumpstart your search for private time is to take a cruise. It’s a wonderful way to rediscover the reasons you married each other. 

Let us know if the Cruise Fairy comes to your house

Our Warmest Regards

Tomandmarymilano@yahoo.com

 

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When a Hurricane is in the Path of Your Cruise Ship

Blog 31Our Contributing Editors

Tom & Mary Milano

 Mary and I live in New Smyrna Beach Florida, an area that has just been visited by Hurricane Charley. Although the hurricane came across the entire state of Florida, it lost little of it’s force and had a devastating effect on our area. Trees and downed power lines everywhere. A nearby town, eight miles south of us, had twenty homes that were totally destroyed. We lost three magnificent pin oaks and half the shingles on our roof, but thank God we weren’t injured and we still have our home.

We are writing this article because we know many of our readers have booked a cruise or are considering booking a cruise during this hurricane season, and are apprehensive and concerned that they might be at sea during a full-blown hurricane. Mary and I felt the same concerns when we were booked on the Norwegian Sun, September 2002, and learned that Hurricane Lili was barreling through the Caribbean in the direct path of our itinerary. We had always wondered what a Captain does when his ship is in the path of a hurricane and now we were about to find out.

Needless to say, everyone was on edge, not knowing what to expect. The evening of the first night, Captain Vorren made an announcement that we were not to worry, because he would keep us informed of the position of Lili and what he would be doing to stay clear of it. Every morning and at various times during the day, Captain Vorren made announcements from the bridge. He gave a very concise and thorough report telling us the strength of the storm, where it was, and what he was doing to avoid it. The captain did an excellent job of putting everyone at ease and alleviating their fears. Being Lili was in our direct path, the Captain made a decision to circumvent the area of the storm, by going on the other side of Cuba, then steering a course for the Eastern Caribbean, a complete reversal of our itinerary. We never experienced any heavy seas during our entire cruise. In fact, the waves never reached a height of more than two or three feet. After making our ports on the eastern itinerary, Captain Vorren again reversed course, so we made our Western itinerary ports. Not only did we avoid Hurricane Lili, we made every one of our ports as we dodged and at times out ran Hurricane Lili.

 Dont Be Afraid of Cruising During Hurricane Season. For the last seven years Mary and I have booked one or two cruises during the hurricane season, and we have booked another for this year. We are sailing on the new Caribbean Princess on September 4th. If you book a cruise during June through October, and there is a threat of a hurricane, be assured your safety is the number one concern of the captains of these magnificent floating resorts. They are prepared to divert from their intended course and choose a route that will assure you a safe journey. That plus the fact they have the awesome responsibility of taking care of the cruise lines half billion dollar vessel under their command. We hope these facts have alleviated most of your concerns about cruising during the hurricane season.

For our readers who are concerned about getting seasick, here’s a Remedy For Seasickness: Something a great many people fear is getting SEASICK. Well the best advice we can give you is to ask their family doctor for a prescription for [Transderm-SC 1.5mg Dis Nova]. This is medicine which prevents nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. It is a small patch that you place behind your ear. The patch is good for three days, then you replace it with another. It will stay on even when you shower. Place the patch behind one ear, the morning of the sailing. This gives the medication a chance to start working. Also when you have to change the patch, do it first thing in the morning. Believe me, it works.

We hope we have helped you,

Our warmest regards,

Tom & Mary

tomandmarymilano@yahoo.com

Tom & Mary are our great cruising friends, who inspire us in our daily life. If you’d like to receive a daily inspirational email from Tom and Mary, just send them an email asking to be added to their distribution list.