Sunday, November 6, 2022

Sandals Royal Bahamian

Sandals Royal Bahamian is a beautiful resort  in Nassau, Bahamas. Clear waters, excellent employees and short flights are some of the main draws of this resort.

Reasons to vacation at Sandals Royal Bahamian:

  •  Nassau is one of the quickest Caribbean flights and the transfer from the airport is about 15 minutes.
  • United States Customs agents are located the Nassau airport so you will "clear" customs there allowing you to seamlessly move through connecting flights or on to luggage claim once you return to your home airport. 
  • After a recent renovation, there are great modern updates including food trucks, renovated bathrooms and well maintained grounds. 
  • Sandals private island, is included with a quick boat ride and boasts another pool, bar and restaurant as well as plenty of lounge chairs and spa services (available for an additional cost). 


There are two main pools on property. One quiet pool (pictured) and a party pool. Both pools have swim up bars but the party pool also has activities and games throughout the day. Pro Tip: check out the cocktail options and try them all, you can also make changes to the recipes. We also always ask the bartenders if they have a special cocktail they created.

Food Trucks including this dessert, crepe and coffee bar add fun and whimsy to the main gathering area in the middle of the main resort property. The other food truck is a Conch Truck with Conch served a variety of ways. There was no problem finding a variety of foods at a food truck, buffet, steakhouse, French restaurant, Pub or pizza shop.

                                                 Island hammocks, lounge chairs and hideaways

                      Food Options Abound


There are lots of options for every meal of the day, it is important to pay attention at check in and ask about making reservations for the whole week the first day. I would suggest making them a little later than you might normally eat because you are likely to eat lunch then swim and snack so you won't be hungry as early as usual.


 Possible drawbacks to Sandals Royal Bahamian: 

  • Since it is a convenient flight (especially for those that can get to Atlanta or Florida easily), it is a great trip for a long weekend making this a resort that is always high capacity. The employees did a great job of managing the needs of vacationers during our stay but it was one of the highest occupancies compared to all the other Sandals we have visited.
  • Since many guests go to the private island, inclement weather seasons might be abnormally crowded due to areas being closed to use. 
  • It's not Jamaica and I love Jamaica and its people but I suppose that is a personal preference issue!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma Bahamas

Sunset at the beach

Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma, Bahamas boasts white sands, clear waters and a meditative atmosphere. We love the calm and peaceful surroundings for reading a great book, napping poolside and letting the world drift away. This a great place for those wanting to truly step out of the busyness of their lives and disconnect. 

The grounds of Sandals Emerald Bay boast sprawling greenery with a combination of pools, beaches and clear waters. Amongst the grounds you will find many bright and well maintained flowers and two main pools. 

This main "Party Pool" has a wraparound pool bar, games throughout the day and music to dance or swim your way through the day.

Another pool (where we were most of our stay) was game free and had its own calm bar with the Sandals famous, Lakesha, who won Sandals bartending award with her creation of "Peach Love Surprise" which consists of Pineapple Juice, Amaretto, Sour Apple, Cranberry Juice and her favorite ingredient Peach Schnapps.

                          Lakesha from Sandals Emerald Bay created this "Peach Love Surprise"

Okay, so maybe I have an addiction...I LOVE dessert. Several Sandals resorts have Cafe de Paris where the daily desserts rotate but always include pastries, ice cream, crepes, specialty coffees and cookies. I was especially impressed with the cheesecake and decaf mocha after dinner each night.

  • As with all Sandals resorts there is no tipping aside from spa treatments and a butler if you choose to book into that exclusive category.
  • CLEAN, oh, how I love that smell of bleach in the morning. 
  • This resort is not a party, it is calm and quiet. I felt, in general, the crowd was more mature.
  • The ocean is beyond BLUE, absolutely breathtaking.
  • CATS, adorable and welcomed, they prowl the resort and are spayed/neutered and vaccinated.

Cons: Well it is either a pro or a con, it is calm. You could find noise and games during the day at the main pool. They have the normal evening events but it all just seemed toned down. Most 20 somethings and newlyweds might not feel there is enough going on. 

Joe takes advantage of Sandals FREE diving. When we travel to non-Sandals resorts Diving costs can add up far too quickly. Joe has gone on dives elsewhere that were amazing and well worth it for all he saw and the experience. However, he has also paid for dives that he spent the whole time on the boat, nauseated, or didn't see much while diving. To get to take two free dives every day you are on property is a huge advantage to a diver. Joe had gotten certified as a diver at home but you can also get certified (for a fee) on property. On this trip he was also able to complete training for his Advanced Open Water certification (for a fee).
One night we joined a complimentary golf caravan to the course to ride around and see the breathtaking grounds and have cocktails and appetizers on the course. It was way more fun that it should have been, likely because many had spent the day at the bar and were driving like 12 year old's that felt like they were getting away with being wild in bumper cars! 

When you are ready to book a getaway email us at

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Moon Palace, Cancun


 We recently returned from a seven-night stay at Moon Palace, Cancun. This resort is a family all-inclusive resort at a moderate price point with excellent flight schedules and prices. Joe and I vacationed at Moon Palace in October 2021 alone while visiting several resorts throughout Cancun. We chose to rebook for June with our children and my parents because we liked the size of the resort and it was a much more reasonably priced trip than other Caribbean options for a large group.

With more than ten years in the travel industry, I have decided there are a lot of great options out there, and deciding which resort is best for your family or group has a lot to do with your interests, needs, and budget. In this blog, I will outline different things to consider in deciding if Moon Palace is the right resort for your next getaway.

Pro Tip: When traveling to Cancun, you will arrive at the airport and get through customs, claim your luggage then filter outside. Once there you will look for the people with a Palace sign. They were by pillar B in cream shirts.

Resort Rooms

General Moon Palace, Cancun overview
Moon Palace is about 20 minutes from the "Cancun Strip" and a 20-minute ride from the airport. The resort is divided into four sections. 
  1. Moon Palace "The Grand" is a separate resort that is more expensive and definitely at the luxury level. The price is substantially more but it definitely has its perks. There is a waterpark with slides, adult-only swimming areas, upscale dining, and overall nicer rooms and common spaces. Resort guests of The Grand can go to any of the other locations but those guests cannot go to The Grand. You can pay $100 per person to purchase a day pass to use all of the facilities at The Grand for one day. 
  2. Golf Course (27-hole Jack Nicklaus) has restaurants available to all for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner requires reservations. There are golf cart shuttles running all day from the main lobbies of the other resorts. There are some villas available to book at the golf course. These range from suites with living room areas separate from bedrooms to studios or regular hotel rooms. These have views of the golf course.
The main Moon Palace resort is divided into two sections. These two are the same cost and you don't choose them during booking but can request them (without guarantee) at check-in. You can easily walk or shuttle between these to use the pools, activities, and meals at each one.
     3. Nizuc is a bit smaller and the pool area was definitely calmer even though it has the            only slide at the two resorts. Couples alone might feel this is the better choice because it        is calmer with fewer kids.
    4. Sunrise is very big and spread out. The pool area is extensive with one large area for           preschoolers and toddlers. If you have kids that age, I highly suggest you request this             side. This side has the most action so that is either good or bad depending on your point        of view. Traveling with college-age kids this section was the better choice.
  • Clean 
  • Cleaned well throughout the stay
  • They were able to accommodate us at check-in with those wanting 2 beds or 1.
  • In-room bar of wine, tequila, vodka, rum, soda, water, and juice are all complimentary even in the lowest category of room
  • There are very few ocean view rooms
  • Our "garden view" was an access road and chain fence. this is the least expensive room category.
Pro Tip: know yourself, are you going to get room service breakfast and sit out on the patio each morning with coffee? Pay more for what you want and get an ocean view or ocean front. If you won't be inside your room the entire week, save your money but know you might have a decent walk to food/pools and be looking at a fence all week :-)


  • Food is readily available at all times
  • Breakfast and dinner are available buffet style or order from a menu and all are included
  • Lunch is available at poolside buffets, poolside pizza by the slice, tacos by the pool, food trucks, and inside at a buffet.
  • Dinner is available in a variety of settings including casual buffet, Asian Teppanyaki, Indian, Mexican, Brazilian,  (meat on skewers walked table to table), Seafood, Italian and more. 
  • You only need reservations for a couple of these options and reservations can only be made on the property (three days in advance) so it won't be completely booked when you arrive.
  • Room Service is complimentary and had a totally different menu than what we were seeing in the restaurants.
  • Buffets have a made-to-order section at every meal. They begin the day with an omelet station and at lunch/dinner buffets there is always a taco station and hamburger station but oftentimes you will find teppanyaki or Italian grill open for you to pick and choose what you want.
  • Tweens/Teens/20-somethings will be in heaven


  • The buffets didn't change much throughout the week. I like to see different things so I would go to different buffets for breakfast to see what they had instead of eating the same breakfast every day.
  • I think it is odd to say...but there is a ton of Mexican food. I am not saying local "Mexican food" but real authentic food. Some in our group would say that was their favorite thing there. I found some selections, for breakfast especially, very strange.
Pro Tip: If at first, you don't succeed, try, try at meals too. There is no limit to what you can eat. So, if I go to a buffet to deal with my "starving" 20-somethings and don't like the options, I just walk from that buffet to a sit-down meal elsewhere and order a whole pizza for myself at the brick oven pizza place, or order room service!

Desserts, Drinks, and Bars

The fact that I give the dessert its own section probably tells you a lot about me! Dessert is far more important to me than meals. I LOVE the options in desserts at Moon Palace (all Palace resorts). There is a dedicated dessert bar that is open very early until very late (I never witnessed it being closed). There are macarons, handmade chocolates, ice creams, sorbets, crepes made to order, cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, popsicles, and made-to-order cold and hot coffees available at a walk-up counter. (in your swimsuit if you wish!)

Pro Tip: There is a very small, inconspicuous churro cart that makes fresh churros at random times throughout the week. This is by the stage on Sunrise side. Delicious!
Our daughter preferred the buffet desserts 
because she could fill a plate with options!

Bars and Drinks

  • The drinking age in Mexico is 18, so you would definitely want to have that family conversation however you view that. If you will allow inexperienced family members to drink, I would REALLY push NO shots and lots of water for the first few days then limit them to how many. I think that is where almost everyone I have seen struggle seems to fail.
  • Our college group went to the "nightclubs" and really had fun. They were surprised that all ages 18 and much older were present. 
  • There was dancing and dancers but all remained clothed!
  • My son is a bartender in a college town and he felt the bartenders inside the resort were more intentional and knowledgeable. 
  • I like to go pool bar to pool bar early in my trip and find a patient and friendly bartender then tip well each day and be consistent. This works really well at every all inclusive resort I have visited.
  • Remember to talk to bartenders to figure out what you want, especially if you aren't much of a drinker in your real life. For instance, I don't like tequila or dark rum. If that is in a drink they make, I will ask for it with coconut rum or vodka. They don't care so be assertive and ask. 
  • Frozen drinks: Miami Vice (1/2 strawberry daiquiri and 1/2 pina colada I do ask for it with coconut rum), Riviera Maya (to get the right flavor, you will have to stir the very pretty drink making it a sludge color), Mango Tango (1/2 mango daiquiri and 1/2 pina colada), Vodka Tonic, superman shots.
  • It's Mexico, I am guessing if you like tequila you'd find plenty of tequila-based drinks
Pro Tip: Bring an insulated mug from home for refills and your own reusable straw.

Things to Do:

There is A LOT to do at Moon Palace!! 
  • weight room
  • trails forever between Nizuc and Sunrise for walks and runs
  • mini golf
  • bicycles
  • kayaks
  • water aerobics and water cycling
  • water activities all day long including games, volleyball and bracelet-making poolside
  • beach volleyball
  • beach cornhole
  • FlowRider
  • game room for teens with video gaming, arcade games, and table games (foosball)
  • pool tables in bars and nightclubs
  • karaoke
  • nightly shows outside
  • local vendors come for shopping on property a few nights a week
  • spa
  • night clubs
  • kids swim area for toddlers and preschoolers
  • pool slide
  • You can book excursions to nearby locations in the region at an additional cost and they will pick you up on property. 
  • Some activities are available at the water sports building for an additional fee. It is very convenient those things can be booked right on property. You can do scuba diving, snorkeling, and golf. 
  • or grab a book and put up the sun umbrella to do absolutely nothing!
Pro Tip: This is an ideal resort for multigenerational groups and mixed interest groups because everyone can choose their level of activity, meals, and experiences


This is a personal decision, unlike a cruise ship, you will not be required to add gratuities, nor would anyone expect you to tip 20% like American restaurants of the same level. We feel it is our way to "give" of our abundance while enjoying their beautiful country. We bring $150 cash per room. This allows us to give the bus drivers for the transfers $1 per bag, housekeepers, $2-3 a day, dinners $3 or so, and bartenders or drink servers that walk around to you in the pool $5 for the day.


We travel more than most but I really struggle with overpacking. Here is my tried and true list: Caribbean Packing List

If you use my list and think something should be added, please email us. We appreciate feedback because it helps us support our clients!

Pro Tip: PassportMedicine, bug spray, and sunscreen are imperative! If you forget something else you can probably get by.


Overall Thoughts

  • "You get what you pay for" holds pretty true for vacationing. This is a mid-level resort. If you have exclusively done deluxe resorts and cruises (think Disney Cruises and Sandals, Beaches, Le Blanc level all-inclusive resorts) this won't measure up and it shouldn't, it is MUCH less expensive. Joe (my husband) often says there are levels of luxury. Are you expecting your car rental to be a compact Chevy cavalier, a mid-sized Toyota, or did you reserve the Cadillac? I would put this right in the middle and the cost reflects that
  • Moon Palace, Cancun is a great mid-level all-inclusive in the Caribbean. It is clean and safe and there is a lot to see and do on the property.
  • Flights from Indy, when purchased in advance, are much cheaper than other Caribbean destinations and can be direct. This was a great incentive for a large group.
  • Mexico is not Jamaica. Yep, I just wrote that sentence. I am not sure how to explain that any differently. I have said for years, that my top Caribbean destination is Jamaica. The Jamaican people are so welcoming and fun that nowhere else can compare. You will get good service on other islands but none have impressed me like Jamaica. Jamaicans speak and understand English well. If you don't know me, I am a teacher of English Learners. I have adopted four students from other countries. So, I mean no disrespect, when visiting other countries the language barrier is our problem, not theirs. However, my limited Spanish goes a long way, and having bilingual kids was a huge help in getting specific foods and drinks. If that will frustrate you, Mexico is not the destination for you. We have always enjoyed showing our kids other cultures and languages. 
  • This resort is enormous so we loved the opportunities to do different things and walk around a lot. However, if you are not active or have issues with mobility this would not be a resort you could easily move around.
  • This is a family resort so there are a lot of families everywhere. If you typically go to Adult only resorts, this will not be a quiet calm spot!
  • If you typically do American beach vacations this will be a huge improvement because you pay once and don't have any more expenses.
Pro Tip: This beach is NOT crystal clear. It can be overwhelmed with seaweed depending on recent weather conditions. If you cannot be happy with your vacation if your feet are not in the ocean, I would not choose this resort. If (like me) you would rather be in the pool anyway, this isn't really an issue.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Why use a travel agent?


"I will just book online with a travel site" (famous last words of unsatisfied travelers!)
We often get told, "I don't need a travel agent. I will just book it myself."  You are right, you can book a  vacation yourself. However, we feel we have a lot to offer and you will pay absolutely nothing for our services.  

Booking yourself can be an unnecessary headache!

We are paid by the locations we book not by you. If you book directly with travel companies or with us, your trip will cost the same amount or more. If you book with a third party online vendor (travelocity, expedia and so on) you will be required to contact them for any changes. If you arrive and don't like your hotel, you cannot make changes or cancellations without talking with travelocity. This is no easy task while frustrated and trying to enjoy your trip. We are always a text or call away to speak to a PERSON, not a company. Then we can step in on your behalf while you move on to enjoy your trip. 

You receive these benefits for free:

  • Experience: We have been to Walt Disney World 25+ times. We have been on two Disney Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruiseline, Disneyland California twice, San Diego, New York, D.C., Scotland, Wales, London, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Barbados, Roatan, Cancun, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Grenada, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Turks and Caicos.  Each of these trips has broadened our knowledge. We intentionally stay at different resorts and eat at different restaurants on each stay to gather more information to book vacations that fit each guests needs.

  • Booking: We will handle the booking of your stay as well as guide you through excursions, transfers and planning.
  • Peace of MindWhile traveling, if anything goes 'wrong', you make one call to us and we will jump in to handle anything you are concerned about.  We have numbers and contacts to call directly to management at the resorts so we can help get a resolution. Honestly, this is a rarity because we hand pick the vendors we works with based on our experiences and that of our clients. This helps ensure you don't run into as many issues while spending time vacationing. There have been a few instances that we have needed to contact resorts for a guest on property and they immediately took steps to help our clients. 

  • Organizing Groups or weddings: We are especially helpful when larger groups are traveling together. We are able to help organize everyone and make plans to fit the needs of the individuals as well as the group. 
  • AdviceGoing on a vacation is an amazing experience but it is also an expensive one. Having us available to ask questions can really put your mind at ease. We can answer your questions along your planning journey and are available by text, email or phone while you are traveling.
  • Discount Monitoring: If a discount becomes available we immediately call and get the offer applied to your package. Then let you know about your savings. This is something Disney and other travel companies won't do for you when you book directly with them! They aren't interested in saving you money. We know saving you money will keep you as a loyal client, so we work hard to treat your vacation exactly like we plan our own.

Contact us today at for a free quote! We can get you on this beach on your next trip.