Monday, January 23, 2017

Arrived in Los Angeles


Touched down at Los Angeles airport around 1900 after a very long day of flying.

Left Lima Peru at 10 am with a stop in El Salvador.  So after flying for 10 hours we arrived and requested our Uber.  Within minutes our driver Richard was there!

Nothing beats Uber – get the app – our ride to Disneyland area was $51 and took about 40 minutes.  Robert was very professional, helpful (even told us what the weather would be like tomorrow), enjoyed our conversation all the way too.

We had pre reserved the Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort for five nights.  It was a good price with great reviews although a bit further away from the park than we were last time.  But it is on the ART line. We were greeted by two very professional women at the front desk.  I dealt with Jessica who was so helpful with providing the best room for us.

Jessica gave us details about the hotel and was so nice about making sure to contact them if we had any questions.  

Probably one of the best check ins we have had in a while. Especially after being in Peru where it was very sterile and basic.

Boy entering a hotel room never felt so good.  We have a nice big room with such comfy beds and four pillows!  I immediately started the bath!  Oh consistent hot water.  Of course Bernie’s first thing was to turn on the tv.  Not that he really needs it but after not having English TV for a while he is ready for it.

Bernie just asked what the plans are for tomorrow and well we know we are off to Disneyland for four days but we are in no rush to head there.  Sleep, a good meal and getting settled then we will venture to the park.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mediterranean Tips - Podcast


Quite a while ago - actually last February Doug Parker of Cruise Radio interviewed me about our Mediterranean Trip we did on the Island in Oct of 2015.  

After recording we both realized that there were just way too many ports to cover and agreed that scaling it back to a few ports with tips about those places was the way to go.

Here is the results of that interview after editing.

If you are heading to the Mediterranean.  If you are visiting Rome, Venice, Naples, Livorno or Dubrovnik make sure to listen.  We also discuss researching for an upcoming trip. Staying safe in port and how to travel like a local.

Podcast Link - click here

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Half a Million HITS


Wow can you believe it!  My counter just turned to just over 500,000 hits onto my blog.  That is half a million!

I am truly blown away.

When I started this blog in 2009 (OMG that was a long time ago) it was just a small journal to write about our voyages and trips.  Mainly my close friends and family followed along.



Now I have people from all over the world that read it. I am continually being recognized on board ships with people recognizing me from my blog or videos.  Note I love it when people approach me and some have become really good friends.

The blog has grown immensely with so many ports listed and with easy to search port labels. I try to create detailed information about each port for others to learn from and I know others appreciate it because I get great comments every day on how my blog/video/page helped them.

I try to be objective and post what I see and how it impacts me.  I don't post second/third or fourth hand information. I am a very positive person and tend to look at the glass half full. If there is an issue I state it and how I think it could be better.

For now I still love doing the blogs. Sure there are days on the cruise it is a bit of a chore but 90% of the time it is a treat to do.

I want to thank all who have taken the time to read, write, comment, introduce yourselves - because of you I keep doing it.  I really want to thank Princess Cruises too and every crew that has made my trips extra special.  Without them I wouldn't have been blessed with so many great memories.

Keep following and make sure to check out my new webpage vickiecruises.com that puts all my cruise information all in one place.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Time to Book a Cruise


Of course what vacation of ours would be complete without a cruise. 

Since this long vacation still had a few weeks left we searched for cruise itineraries that left from California (either San Francisco or LA).  We had a few options, Grand, Ruby, Star or Island.

Island was doing the Panama and it isn't our favorite ship and the dates didn't match up so that was easy to drop from our list.

Star was doing 15 day Hawaii and those dates didn't line up either.

The Grand was doing an itinerary we really wanted to do (10 day Sea of Cortez) and we had people we would love to reconnect with on board. But that would be only one 10 day cruise as after it was heading to Hawaii and we didn't have enough time (plus it was expensive) to add that on.  So that was dropped.

That left the Ruby.  The Ruby is doing 7 day Mexican Riviera cruises that stop in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

We love Mexico so we knew we would be happy with that. The price sure was right. Probably some of the lowest we have seen in a long time, so that helped.  Deal for past Princess cruisers!

Wasn't crazy about 7 day itineraries as we would then have two turnaround days. But hey - what a silly thing to be a negative point.

So we booked!  Yup three legs on the Ruby. 

What is even better is it looks like we have many cruise friends that will jump on for one of the legs.  Price and itinerary and proximity were a big selling point.

But in order to do three legs we had to compromise and we booked an inside cabin for all three legs.  Even though the price of a balcony was very reasonable. Getting it for three legs added another $1,000 in total and we agreed that we could use that money elsewhere. 

I always say it is your holiday and you do what you have to do. 

People ask how we can do three legs, well being in an inside is one of the ways. But who knows if we get an upgrade or an upsell things could change.

Disneyland Booked


So as you have read so far we are booked on a flight from Lima to Los Angeles.  Our plan was to have this great adventure but we also need some rest and relaxation.  So we started to look at cruises we could do from Los Angeles.   
But all the cruises only left on the Saturday and well I will admit it, I really wanted to go back to Disneyland.

It may have something to do with Disneyland offering Canadians a discount when they buy a 3 day or longer pass because of our exchange rate. Then it seemed every hour there was a Disneyland commercial on the tv.  Hmm are they telling me something?

We were able to scoop up some passes from airmiles.ca at the discountated rate. Note we knew others were experiencing a lot of problems trying to redeem their points. Although we never have had an issue we weren't about to wait and find out.  We have used airmiles for a lot of things in the past but a few years ago we switched credit cards to one that provided better perks as well as better rewards so we were not really accumulating that many points with airmiles. So what better way to use them.


Once ordered it only took about five days for them to deliver to us the pass.

I started to research hotels in the Anaheim area.  Last time here we stayed at the Red Lion a block from the park. We really liked this place and would of easily have gone back but we realized the cost of that convenience meant we may have to look at a bit further away.

We searched most of the big sites for the going rates. I then went to Hotwire.com and selected the location and the star level (make sure to research what hotels are in that area and the star level first) and accepted the price.  

We were surprised to see we got the Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort.  Great hotel but not on the main drag. It is still only a half hour walk to the park but off the beaten path. But after more research I see that the ART (Anaheim Rapid Transit) stops right there and can take us to almost anywhere we need to go and their daily pass is quite affordable.   

Another great perk here is they offer free parking. Even though we are not sure if we will rent a car, it is still an option.


Monday, November 28, 2016

More Flight to Book - Lima to Los Angeles


Since we have the main flights booked to Peru we were able to rest a bit and take our time searching for flight from Lima to LAX.

What is funny is even though we had a great deal from Vancouver to Lima with that amazing direct flight from LAX to Lima it was not a great deal to fly to LAX direct.  WHY! Oh yes the flight demons.  

All flight options that were remotely reasonable had at least one connection.  

Remember in my blog a few days ago that I said that airlines watch flight routing and dates and price will suddenly jump up.  

Well it happened to us.

There was a great flight with JetBlue that left at midnight from Lima and routed to Fort Lauderdale with a 3 hour layover there and then a flight to LAX for around $450 Canadian each.  A steal we thought, plus that would save us a night's accommodation as we would be in the air overnight. 

Oh but that doesn't sound appealing either.  And leaving at midnight would mean that last day in Lima would be a long one.  We discussed and then agreed that this was the best option and we went to book. 

NOOOOO the fight now has jumped to $650 each.  See even I have frustrations when booking.

Okay back to the drawing board. We knew that if we waited a few days that JetBlue would probably put that flight back down in price (in fact at time of writing this blog a week later the price is back down to $450 Cdn).  I also needed to look for alternatives now too.

Now there was a great flight with Avianca (which I researched and had good reviews and great planes - make sure you check out seatguru.com).  The flight was leaving at a better time of just after 10 am and had only one layover in San Salvador (but we don't change planes) with an arrival in LA that evening for a cost of $650 Canadian. Which was the same price as Jet Blue and was a shorter flight, better plane and flew during the day. So no brainer we booked it.  

Sometimes things happen for a reason.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Booking Flights Within Peru



So here I go again - a new endeavor for me.  Booking flights within Peru.

Our journey with Puma Adventures starts in Puno, Peru for Lake Titicaca and ends in Cusco ten days later. We needed to arrange one way flights from Lima to Juliaca (closest airport to Puno) and then Cusco to Lima at the end.

One thing I learned is Kayak.com had some great deals but often when I would go to the deal the LATAM flight was not priced correct.  This kept happening.  In the end I had to go with a different booking site to secure the flights.

But it was relatively an easy process and a fair price.

I was surprised too (not sure why as it is a distance away) that the flight to Juliaca is 2 hours!  



We were able to secure the same flight that Dylan and Ben are on at 10:45 am - a more sensible time. This will allow us time to rest and get a good breakfast and to store our bag at the airport (this bag is for our travels after we leave Lima and we don't want to lug with us).

We are being met in Juliaca and will then be transported to Puno where our journey will begin.

After our time (10 days) with Puma Adventures we will leave Cusco and fly to Lima.  

We have decided to spend two nights in Lima to explore the city some more. We did visit here on our last South America trip and thought two full days was necessary. 




Plus you may remember Daniel who is from Peru and works as a waiter on Princess. Even though he will be on board a ship (Star Princess) we are hoping to meet up with his family. 


Hotels in Lima are reasonable, especially if you choose one of the many boutique hotels. We discussed at length whether we should book a big name hotel and have a more "Canadian" like atmosphere. Or try a boutique hotel that is run by a family and offers a more "Peruvian" experience. Easy decision we went with the boutique hotel. 


We reserved a room for two nights at the Casa Bella Miraflores. Centrally located, includes breakfast and will arrange to meet us at the airport and transport us to the hotel for an added $20 US each way. The hotel rate is $55 US a night and it will meet our needs I am sure.  

I was quite impressed that I was able to reserve the room on line and they responded very quickly to my request and any questions I might have and the offer for transport.