Legendary Rick’s Cafe – Negril

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Rick’s Cafe in Negril is one of Jamaica’s most famous hot spots. It’s actually a bar and restaurant, but most people go there for heart-throbbing cliff jumping, and breath-taking sunsets!

Located at the top of a 35-foot high cliff on the far west end of Jamaica, it boasts some of the best, uninterrupted, sunsets in the world!

Picture of Ricks Cafe

If you get there before sunset, your attention will without a doubt be on the people jumping the off the highest cliff (35 feet). You’ll see both men and women of all different fitness levels making it look like a piece-of-cake.

History of Rick’s Cafe

The cliff side was originally owned by a local doctor who was the son of the first Governor-General of the newly independent Jamaica. However, Rick’s Cafe was founded in 1974 by Richard Hershman. At this time Negril was pretty quiet with very few establishments, electricity, telephone or running water. Negril was always known for the wonderful seven-mile beach, however, Rick’s Cafe added another breathtaking attraction. It was the first public bar and restaurant in the area that possessed such a magnificent view of the sunset.

Unfortunately, in 1988 Hurricane Gilbert hit the island and totally destroyed Rick’s Café. The waves went as high 25 feet on the cliff and over the trees. Rick’s Cafe was soon rebuilt but Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004 and destroyed it again. Waves from Hurricane Ivan went as high as 60 to 80 feet. Once Hurricane Ivan passed, Rick’s Cafe came back bigger and even better.

Visited by my Co-Worker Trish TheTravelGal

Trish’s Visit to Royalton – Negril

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A warm reception and chilled cocktail set the tone for the perfect vacation at Royalton Negril, complete with modern room appointments, reservation-free dining at more than six restaurants plus entertainment for any age. Sitting on a breathtaking clear water beach, this resort masterfully blends Jamaica’s unique culture with a luxury product featuring top quality service, great attention to detail and exceptional personalized service.

Royalton Negril is comprised of 3 distinct sections, each one unique to our guests’ needs and vacation styles. Choose from the Resort or Diamond Club™ sections, or enjoy the ultimate luxury in the adults-only vacation oasis at Hideaway at Royalton Negril.

All-In Luxury®
Discover elegantly styled rooms and a heavenly night’s rest atop the Royalton signature DreamBed™ mattress. Wake each morning and enjoy in-suite coffee or tea stations, breakfast served to you by gourmet room service and your own private balcony or terrace, promised in each room. In the afternoons, get active with non-motorized water sports or beach volleyball, savor all-inclusive food and drink before nightfall, when each evening a different show is put on to entertain each and every guest.

Imagine a premium, handcrafted bed specifically designed with you in mind. Royalton Luxury Resorts created the DreamBed™ for guests to experience the absolute in comfort and support from the moment you go to bed until you wake up totally refreshed. Return from your luxury vacation well-rested.

Hypoallergenic sealant
30% more pocketed coils, all double tempered for durability
Patented “Solo Split” system to prevent motion transfer
Zoned support with firmer coils around the head, sides, foot and middle of the bed
A 3″ high density convoluted foam Euro-top

Unlimited reservation-free dining 24/7
All drinks – domestic beer, cocktails and select international brands
24-hour room service
Premium handcrafted DreamBed™
Unlimited free calls to North America and parts of Europe
USB charging station and Bluetooth audio station

Ceiling mounted rain shower
Satellite television
24-hour concierge service
Sports Event Guarantee
Weekly themed pool & beach parties
Non-motorized water sports
Fitness centre
Free resort-wide Wi-Fi

Elevate your vacation to the next level with All-In-Connectivity™, a signature component of All-In Luxury®. Discover the convenience of free Wi-Fi throughout the entire resort for all your devices; so you can post on every social network, stay caught up on your favorite season, or send important emails – no matter where you are on the resort.

Free Wi-Fi throughout the entire resort – from the lobby to the beach
Unlimited free in-room calling to North America and most of Europe
Convenient USB charging outlets and Bluetooth audio stations in your room
Free Royalton app for unlimited free calling plan from your mobile device while on the property

Innovative bracelet key cards gives you effortless suite access and a convenient means to handle on-resort purchases

SPORTS EVENT GUARANTEE
Never miss an important game again! Rest assured sports fans, our Sports Event Guarantee™ ensures that all major international matches and important sporting events are broadcast at the resort. Did you pack your jersey? Head over to SCORE Sports Bar & Lounge for premium drinks and traditional pub food. Watch your favourite sports events on any of the flat-screen TVs and experience it as if you were there.

RESERVATION-FREE DINING
Our All-In Luxury® feature of unlimited reservation-free dining was created to provide guests with a range of gourmet culinary experiences that easily adapts to any vacation schedule. Choose from any of our a la carte restaurants and try a new exquisite dish every night of your holiday through this innovative feature that allows you to dine where you want, on the night you choose.

INTRODUCING – ALL NEW ROYALTON FIT
Stay healthy and fit during your All-In Luxury® vacation. Royalton Luxury Resorts comes with the latest fitness equipment so you can maintain your exercise routine wherever you are vacationing! We provide a variety of fitness programs and classes that cater to your every wellness need; whether its cardio training, weight lifting, or a fun and energetic Zumba class. Achieve your wellness goals during your luxury vacation!

by my Co-Worker, Trish-TheTravelGal

Why Should You Use A Travel Specialist?

“Without a Travel Agent, You’re on Your Own”

What is the role of the travel agent and how has it changed?
Travel agents work hard on behalf of the consumer. The role of a travel agent is to make a trip – whether for work or pleasure – a stress-free and memorable experience. Travel agents spend time not only booking tickets and searching for affordable prices, but also personalizing their services for individual clients. “Without a Travel Agent, You’re on Your Own,” exemplifies the importance and way professional travel agents view their role in today’s changing market. The job of a travel agent has grown and adapted to reflect the changes within the travel industry and the difference in the way people think about travel. Travel agents recognize that consumers today have done their homework and are more knowledgeable about what they want. Clients who turn to a travel agent desire an in-depth, personal approach and want the advice and expertise of a professional.

In January, the television news magazine, 20/20, reported the results of a test in which travel agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares. However, it is much more than the “lowest fare” that provides the compelling argument for a good travel agent.

The best thing an agent can do is to match up a traveler with the vacation that’s right for them. The professional travel consultant builds relationships with their clients to learn their interests and lifestyles, as well as their dispositions.

Below is a list of some of the important services, which are either provided free or for a nominal charge, by travel agents:

1. Distilling the product information: Through an on-going and time-consuming process of familiarization, continuing education and customer feedback, the agent becomes a travel expert.

2. Investigating and supplying competitive information: No single supplier is going to advise a consumer that a better route or a better fare is available on a competing carrier.

3. Staying abreast of the most current and timely promotions: Via daily faxes, agent-only e-mail transmissions, and their relationships with their district sales managers, agents are obtaining the most current promotional information.

4. Analyzing the current promotions: The cheapest is not always the best.

5. Clarifying the fine print, such as cancellation penalties and restrictions: Again, the benefits of a professional’s experience can save a traveler money . . . and headaches.

6. Making recommendations for travel-related options: Travel agents share the experience and knowledge they accumulate about a variety of travel topics – from where to eat, where to shop and what to pack.

7. Simplifying the research and subsequent transaction: Like a personal shopper, agents can provide one-stop shopping for travelers who require air arrangements, rental cars, cruise accommodations and hotel stays – with suggestions that are in the best interest of the client, not the supplier.

8. Enhancing the trip with value-added benefits and amenities: Agents can add to the client’s experience by sending a bottle of wine, providing a special land package, a specific escort or other customer amenities.

9. Using their clout to obtain the best possible in seemingly impossible situations: Whether it’s airline seats, hotel rooms or cruise space, the travel agent has more buying power than the consumer.

10. Getting problems resolved: The agent serves as the consumer’s advocate in the event something inadvertently goes wrong.

What are the benefits of using a travel agent compared to the Internet?
The Internet can be a powerful tool. It can increase the scope and reach of a consumer’s efforts and allow a person to check hundreds of options or research destinations in depth. But to make the Internet work effectively, a person has to understand where to look and what questions to ask, otherwise hours can be wasted surfing the Web and ultimately produce unsatisfactory results. This is where a travel agent can make a world of difference.

A professional travel agent is trained to guide a client through the entire process of planning a trip, whether for business or for leisure. Travel agents take classes, participate in seminars, become destination specialists and join professional associations in order to ensure they make each client’s travel experience as personalized, convenient and memorable as possible. When planning a business trip or family vacation, the Internet can be a valuable resource, but it cannot replace the expertise and guidance of a travel agent. Also, during travel crises, the Internet can’t replace a human being who will persist to help a client get restitution.


Will the Internet replace the need for travel agents?
There are some things technology cannot replicate, and the personal touch is one of them. The Internet is a valuable resource, but it cannot replace the expertise, guidance and personal service of a travel agent. At a time when travelers are stressed out with hectic schedules, travel agents have all of the information at their fingertips, saving valuable hours of surfing on the Web. Agents also can offer insider tips based on personal experience.

With the dozens of online travel sites and the ability to book directly with almost any airline, hotel or other travel service, it would seem that travel agents might go the way of the dinosaurs. The American Society of Travel Agents, though, reports travel agents sell 85 percent of all cruises and 70 percent of all packages and tours, as of 2008. Agents are still in demand, and offer plenty of benefits when you are booking your vacation.

Do travel agents charge service fees? How much? How has this changed? I DO NOT CHARGE A FEE FOR MY SERVICES
Most do charge fees. Since 1998, the number of agencies charging service fees on one or more product line has increased from 64 percent to more than 91% percent in 2009. The most common fee charged is a service fee for airline ticket procurement services. On average, travel agencies charge their customers $36 for providing this service. Agencies also often charge fees for other services such as trip research, Amtrak, car rental and hotel-only reservations.

What percentage of airline tickets, rental cars, cruises and hotel rooms are sold by travel agents?
When it comes to booking travel, travel agents are experienced professionals. Travel agents sell:
85 percent of cruises
70 percent of all tours and packages
50 percent of all airline tickets
30 percent of all hotels
25 percent of all car rentals

Time and Money Savings
Sometimes, spending hours on the computer searching for the best travel deals gets you results — and other times, it just leads to frustration. When you work with a travel agent, she does that legwork, searching out the travel options that best meet your needs and budget. In most cases, travel agents have access to information about rates and routes that average consumer might not have, saving you time and money, even when you consider the agent’s fee. Using a travel agent can also help you score a great deal on a package or promotion. Agents generally receive information and access to promotions from resorts, cruise lines and other travel providers that aren’t available to the general public.

Travel Assistance
You’re en route to a Caribbean cruise a when a snowstorm in Detroit delays your flight in Philadelphia. If you booked your travel through an agent, you can call him to get assistance with rebooking your travel arrangements. When you book through an online travel site, you might not be able to get that level of personalized attention, or you could have trouble finding someone who can help you get where you need to be. If something goes wrong when you arrive at your destination, such as your room is unacceptable or the transportation to the resort never shows up, your travel agent can usually resolve those problems.

Travel Recommendations
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to take a cruise, but you’re not sure which cruise line is best for you or where you want to go. Maybe you want to take the kids to Disney World, but you’re having trouble navigating the endless array of ticket and package options. A travel agent can help. Many travel agents specialize in a particular type of travel, such as cruises, Disney or Europe, and are able to make recommendations and help you plan a trip that meets your needs and budget. Their inside knowledge helps you avoid wasting time and money on the things you’re not interested in, and lets you focus instead on taking the trip.

Perks
Travel agents who book a high volume of trips often have access to perks that you might not be able to get on your own. Whether it’s a room upgrade, a fee waiver or even reservations at a hot resort or on a popular tour, travel agents often add perks into your vacation plan. If you are planning a trip for a special occasion, such as a marriage proposal, a travel agent has access to the resources and people who can help you plan the perfect event.

Riu Palace Las Americas – Cancun

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Cancun Mexico

One of my favorite places in all the world, Cancun!   Ahhhh, the beaches and ocean and fishes (I love diving) that I call home away from home.   Have even considered relocating to Cancun many times.

This time I got to take my Aunt Mary Ellen, who had only ever been on cruises, never to an all inclusive, and now, she’s a convert to the world of all inclusive vacations.

Cancún (Spanish pronunciation: [kaŋˈkun]) is a coastal city in Mexico‘s easternmost state, Quintana Roo, on the Yucatán Peninsula. As a rapidly growing city with a quickly changing skyline, the estimated population for Cancún is 705,000 in 2010, a 20% increase from the census in 2005. Cancún is located on the Yucatan Channel that separates Mexico from the island of Cuba in the Greater Antilles. The Cancún region is sometimes known as the Mexican Caribbean or the Mayan Riviera.

Cancún is the municipal seat of the Benito Juárez municipality and a world-renowned balneario and tourist resort. The city center is located on the mainland which connects the Nichupté and lagoons to a narrow 7-shaped island where the modern beachfront hotels are located in the tourist centric hotel zone.

RIU Palace Las Americas:

Like being at a Palace  🙂    Just a few from around the resort

This was a personal yacht that was anchored out between Cancun and Isla Mujeres all week.  It was really beautiful all lit up at nite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were being painted by a finger, yes, a finger, at the resort!

One of the restaurants, during lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chichen Itza, Mayan Ruins

600 AD

encounter with the Maya, at Chichén Itzá. About 120 miles…glory days of the Maya, about 600 AD..Cortes. Unlike Chichén Itzá’s flat jungle …

1000 AD

It is generally believed that the Toltecs invaded Chichen Itza and the Yucatan in about the year 1000 AD, conquering the Maya and installing new …

Chichen Itza was a center of pilgrimage for the ancient Maya for over 1,000 years. The Sacred Cenote (a large natural well or limestone sink hole) was holy to the ancient Rain God “Chac”.

About 987 the ruler of the Toltec people of central Mexico came here, and with his Maya allies made Chichen Itza the most powerful city in the Yucatan. The ruler called himself “Kukulcan”, the name of the Mesoamerican Feathered Serpent deity (also known as “Quetzalcoatl”) and Chichen Itza became a center for worship of that god as well. More buildings were built here in a mixture of Maya and Toltec styles.

About 1221 the Maya revolted against the rulers of Chichen Itza. The city was not abandoned, but as political power shifted elsewhere it declined and no major new buildings were constructed. Chichen Itza remained a place of pilgrimage for the Maya until it was conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century.

The structures of Chichen Itza were overgrown with jungle and slowly decayed until major archaeological projects began in the 1920s. Since then, more of the ancient structures have been cleared and restored and more and more tourists come to visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IK Kil, Cenote

Close to Chichen Itza the “Sacred Blue Cenote”, is a well-type cenote with waterfalls. The lush jungle like environement of hanging vines and waterfalls make it the perfect place to cool down after experiencing the magic of Chichen Itza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adults Only Luxury – Hyatt Zilara Cancun

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Update 12/6/14 to reflect personal photos from Swim Up Suites, see below.

One of my very favorite resorts of all time:   The Adults Only Hyatt Zilara

The amenities are much too many to even list, it just goes on and on, even down to a guy that comes around the pool all day every day and cleans your sunglasses for you, and brings you skewers of frozen grapes!   A 24/7 bakery where you can get lattes and desserts, a 24/7 sports bar with snacks and ping pong and pool, all their meats are cooked in front of you while you watch, several specialty restaurants, a big 32 inch flat screen tv with a woofer on it for sound, which rotates so that you can watch it on the balcony, a huge in room jacuzzi looking out over the ocean, the shower has like 8 shower heads in it including a rain shower, stocked fridge and premium brand liquors in the room, a ‘smart butler’ service for room service, they don’t come in your room, they put it in a door in the wall at your door and turn on a light so you know it’s there, and you reverse that when finished, HUGE beach!  It just goes on and on, I was just amazed even myself.    

This is a FANTASTIC resort.   The amenities are so many it’s almost impossible to mention them all, starting with a massive stretch of beach looking out over gorgeous teal waters and, close to the airport.   A few of the things that fascinated me, and these are only a few, of so many:

A guy that comes around the pool all day every day and cleans your sunglasses for you and brings you skewers of frozen grapes!

A 24/7 bakery where you can get lattes and desserts

A 24/7 sports bar with snacks and ping pong and pool

All their meats are cooked in front of you while you watch

Several specialty restaurants

A big 32 inch flat screen tv with a woofer on it for sound, in each room, which rotates so that you can watch it on the balcony

A huge in room jacuzzi looking out over the ocean

The showers has 6-8 shower heads, including a rain shower

Stocked fridge and premium brand liquors in the room

A ‘smart butler’ service for room service, they don’t come in your room, they put it in a door in the wall at your door and turn on a light so you know it’s there, and you reverse that when finished

It just goes on and on, I was just amazed even myself and I’ve been to Cancun MANY times

Wonderful spa services, and each day they give free samples massages around the pool

Beach Cabana beds all around the pool and the beach, enough for everyone and with some room categories, you get one assigned specifically to you.

This resort has a variety of room categories, including swim up rooms in blocks of 4 and these have their own pools so they don’t have to come into the main pool, unless they want to; Premium Oceanview  and Premium Oceanfront Suites (Double and Kings), as well as Swim Up Suites.  Corner Suites with wrap around balconies, a hammock, table, and chairs on every balcony; and every room looks out over the ocean.  They also have a great pilates area, full state of the art gym, a 5 jacuzzi therapy system, each one designed to stimulate a different body portion; furnishings are incredible!

SWIM UP SUITES:

You get all of the VIP Privileges of the resort, and are one category below the Ambassador Suite. There are a limited number of the Swim Ups and they include everything all of the other categories have, plus top shelf liquors (such as Don Julio), the rain shower and massage shower, plus a steam shower, all of the spa facilities, and more. They also have a WII playstation, bose sound system, Ipod/iPhone dock, flat screen TV, DVD player, munchies, coke products, and more.

You step down from your balcony into your personal, private, heated infinity pool (only shared with 3 other swim ups in your bank of rooms), two chairs and a table in the water on your pedestal, and bartender service.

Here are a few personal photos, please pardon a few personal items in them.

This is the view looking out from the swimups to the resort and beach:

2nd Vanity, closets (in-room safe, ironing board, iron, umbrella, robes and slippers inside)

Looking down into the room from the upper level where the sofa and office is

In room jacuzzi.  When those blinds are open, you look out over the beach and ocean

Looking out the sliding doors.    There’s also a huge hammock on the balcony, and, they will bring you special dinners there.

Also a comfy chair and a personal telescope for star gazing!

Looking up from the lower level

Additional premium brands.    More are in the dispenser in the cabinet.   Also, a personal coffee maker, and, a personal expresso machine

Looking towards the door from the upper level

Rain shower, 4 massaging jets, phone head, and, steam sauna, large enough for two people, with a built in sauna seat.  The window looks out into the room and out to the ocean

iTunes dock, loaded with music already

Looking down the resort from the water

Looking up towards the room from the private pool

Nice little greeting!

Looking down onto your personal pedistal and chairs

View of beach from sitting in your sun chair

They also do a LOT of weddings here, and they take care of everything.

These are my personal photos and video, below.

Infinity Pool

All rooms have a huge jacuzzi and a hammock and furniture on every balcony

A double room, called the Jr. Oceanview Suite

Corner Suite:

Watching this wonderful wedding was so much fun.   They were a really fun group

One of the Beach weddings

Turtle Nests

 

 

 

Getting ready for a private dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 hour pastry-coffee shop

Pelicano’s, by the Ocean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel With Michelle

“Need a Vacation, I Can Help and its a Great Day In Paradise” is my philosophy! I am a native Georgia Girl and in October 2006, I joined the the travel industry full time after my retirement from 27 years of Federal Law Enforcement.  For as long as I can remember, aside from my love of the justice system, I was a ‘travel agent wannabe’ and thru the years of my former career, I fell in love with all that the Caribbean has to offer because getaways were crucial to unwind and back to the everyday.  I still try to schedule a “get-away-from-it-all” vacation 2-3 times a year by visiting various all-inclusive resorts and cruises to relax and dive (see below for an ever expanding list of resorts, cruise ships and destinations visited).  I plan to eventually live near the ocean and would love to own a sailboat.   I am a huge sports fan, and a seasons ticket holder to my favorite NHL team, the Atlanta Thrashers (until they were recently sold), and Atlanta Braves.  I am PADI certified (with approximately 34 dives in Cancun, Cozumel, Belize, Bahamas, Caymans, Mobay, Florida Keys, Roatan, Honduras) and I try to get in 2 dives every other day during a 7-8 day Caribbean visit or cruise.  I love sailing and I am a history buff, especially Naval/Military history, and I love to find and tour historic locations.  I also speak basic Spanish.

As an agent, I am affiliated with approximately 40 major tour operators that allow me to give extremely competitive pricing to all of my guests on their vacation packages.  Anything you see at a vacation store, I can 99.9% of the time, beat that, and provide you a live, human agent, 24/7/365, with no service fees to you!

I handle each and EVERY vacation as if it were my own and I am very excited about sharing my love of travel with you by making YOUR vacation an adventure that you will never forget, and one that will bring you back to me year after year for more fantastic adventures.

If I can help you, email me by pressing the “Email Me” button above.

What I do for “You”

I wanted to take a minute to let you know how my process works when you book a vacation with me.    There is no fee on your part for working with me, you do not pay extra for my services.

So that you can see exactly who you are working with, you can click the the “About Me” tab here which will give you an idea who your Leisure Travel Specialist is, what I look like, what my hobbies are as well as my specialties and certifications.

Also, my facebook business page (feel free to “like” and keep in touch there as well):    My Facebook Page

When you schedule a vacation with me at I will immediately send you the following:

  • An email that will reflect your confirmation information
  • A payment posted email reflecting the card type and amount of your payment
  • An invoice (usually takes about 2 days) reflecting all of your vacation details and payments, balance due, balance due date and any other information related to your vacation, including a vacation id number that our office uses to track your vacation as well
  • Once “final” payment is received, your travel documents will be generated and sent to your email address, all documents are electronic

Your payment will cover your airfare, your taxes, your resort and your ground transportation to and from the airport at your vacation destination.

Up until the week prior to your departure, I continuously watch for price drops, promotions and sales, in case I can get anything either deducted from your balance due, or refunded, if already paid in full.

Before you leave on your vacation, I will:

  • Contact you to make sure if you have any last minute questions that I can answer for you
  • Contact you a day or so before you depart to wish you a wonderful vacation
  • Contact you when you return to get any feedback you may or may not wish to provide regarding your vacation

I will also be on call for you up to, through and following your vacation and will try to make it such a wonderful and easy process that you will consider me for your future vacations.

And, if you refer your friends and family, for every booking referred by you, I will request a $25 credit to you towards future vacations booked with me.

I am a Certified Honeymoon Specialist, Destination Wedding Specialist, Caribbean Specialist, Alaska Specialist, Clothing Optional Specialist, Scuba Dive Specialist (54 dives to date, which is a LOT of dives to the diving community), and many more.

My Formal Specialties/Certifications

  • Alaska Specialist
  • Caribbean Specialist
  • Cruise Specialist (have been on 20 cruises to date)
  • Carnival Cruise Specialist
  • Disney/Orlando Specialist
  • Destination Wedding Specialist
  • Europe Specialist
  • Honeymoon Specialist
  • Bermuda Specialist
  • British Virgin Islands ( BVI ) Specialist
  • Caribbean Specialist
  • Cayman Islands – Master Specialist, Master Family Travel Specialist, Dive and Nature Master Specialist
  • CLIA Agent – Time Management Specialist
  • Costa Rica Specialist
  • Couples Resorts Specialist
  • Cozumel Specialist
  • Cunard Cruises Specialist – Queen Victoria World Expert
  • Dominican Republic Specialist
  • Excellence Resorts Specialist
  • Funjet Vacations Specialist – Multiple Destination Expert, Scheduled Air Expert, Air Only Expert
  • Grenada Specialist
  • Honduras Specialist
  • Iberostar Resorts Specialist
  • Islands of the Bahamas Specialist
  • Las Vegas Specialist
  • Las Vegas/Fremont Street Experience Specialist
  • Norwegian Cruise Specialist
  • RIU Resorts Specialist
  • Riviera Nayarit Specialist
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Specialist
  • Certified SANDALS Specialist (CSS)
  • SPORTS Travel Specialist
  • Western Hemisphere Cruise Specialist
  • Princess Cruises Specialist

My Partial Travel Log

  • Alaska (3 Alaska cruises)
  • Bahamas (Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau, Freeport)
  • Canada (Prince Rupert, Victoria)
  • Canada and the New England States(Cruises and Land)
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • Tortola, British Virgin Islands
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • Belize
  • Dominican Republic (Punta Cana, Samana and Puerto Plata)
  • Mexico (Cozumel, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres)
  • Cancun/Riviera Multiple VIsits
  • Grand Cayman
  • Jamaica (MoBay, Negril, Ocho Rios)
  • St. Thomas
  • St. John
  • St. Maartin
  • San Juan
  • Florida (Keys, Miami/South Beach, Panama City, Destin, Fort Lauderdale, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, Orlando, Jacksonville/St. Augustine, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Tampa, Sunrise/Plantation, Everglades)
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Georgia (All over Georgia, being a Native; including St. Simons Island, Savannah, Kings Bay, North Georgia Mountains)
  • Las Vegas (including Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam)
  • California (Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Venice Beach via Palm Springs, Monterey, Carmel, Hollywood; San Diego/Coronado, etc.; San Fran multiple visits)
  • Boston and The New England States (Boston, New Hampshire, Vermont, Cape Cod, Hyannisport, Martha’s Vinyard, Nantucket);   Extensive time in and around Boston, Cape Cod and Hyannis, as well, multiple visits
  • 11 Norwegian Cruises
  • 1 Celebrity Cruise
  • 1 Royal Caribbean Cruise
  • 6 Carnival Cruises

My Partial and Evolving List of Resorts Visited

  • Riu Caribe
  • El Dorado Seaside Suites
  • Temptation
  • The Royal In Cancun
  • Grand Solaris Cancun
  • Royal Solaris Cancun
  • Riu Cancun
  • Riu Palace Peninsula
  • El Dorado SeaSide Suites
  • Le Blanc
  • Grand Lido
  • Desire
  • Hedo
  • Hidden Beach
  • Caliente Tampa
  • Caliente Caribe, D.R.
  • Terra Cotta Inn (Palm Springs, CA)
  • Aura Cozumel

My Cruise Ships Sailed on (some more than once):

  • Carnival Triumph (5 sailings)
  • Carnival Imagination
  • Carnival Inspiration
  • Norwegian Sun
  • Norwegian Dawn
  • Norwegian Sky
  • Norwegian Pearl
  • Celebrity Summit
  • Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas

My Las Vegas Hotels Visited

  • Planet Hollywood
  • Bellagio
  • The Mirage
  • The Venetian
  • The Luxor
  • Excalibur
  • New York, New York
  • MGM Grande
  • Balley’s
  • The Flamingo
  • Caesars Palace
  • Paris

Guest Comments:
 
Michelle is awesome at what she does. We have booked many trips with her from a couples trip to a large family trip. She gets us great prices which is extremely important. Michelle handles every aspect of the trip. Working with Michelle is like working with a family member and friend. Robyn H.

Michelle, we all had a great time at the Decameron, We’ve been there several times,we have made many friends there over the years and we meet up there each year. Mostly Canadians. This was our 25th trip to PV. Your service was excellent, I don’t know that you could have done anything better. Our flights there and back were also perfect. Thank You.  My son will be contacting you in the near future for a trip.  Thanks, Rich and Mary B.

Michelle’s expertise and professional service are beyond the vocabulary of a ‘Travel Agent’.  Thanks for being there for us!  – Marcel and Nancy S.

Michelle is very polite and professional. She listens to exactly what you are requesting and caters to that desire with a few small suggestions. I am a relations manager for a Fortune 500 company and I would hire her any day.  –  Aaron W.

Michelle is unbelievable with her communication and making sure that every one of our concerns were addressed and that all our questions were answered, always staying one step ahead of us – we didn’t have to do a thing!  She makes it so easy to travel!  I have recommended Michelle to all my friends that are planning a trip, and we are sure to use her services again in the (hopefully near) future!  She makes traveling a breeze – this was our second trip scheduled with Michelle, and I knew that once we signed up, everything was in great hands.  You’ve got a great agent working with you – be sure to take good care of her, because she goes above and beyond for her clients!  Thanks again!    –   Whitney P

I wanted to speak to the awesome service that we received from Michelle while booking our trip.  I had the horrible task of trying to get together a large traveling party.  I was constantly having to change dates, hotels, destinations etc in order to make everyone happy.  Michelle was with me every step of the way to help.  I always felt like I was inconveniencing her by constantly changing back and forth but she was quick to respond and reassure me that this was her job and was willing to help.  Her customer service was WAY above and beyond.  I manage salespeople in the software industry and I am constantly trying to teach them this kind of customer service!  I would hire her in a minute and want to recognize her for her work and willingness to help.    –  Clayton M.

Michelle is the best!   She will bend over backwards and sideways to help in any way that she can.   She is always available, her emails are answered almost as soon as you hit the “send” button.    She goes out of her way to answer your questions (and I asked a LOT of them) some that were probably not even vacation related, and she answered those too!    This was my second trip planned with Michelle and I’m sure not the last.   She makes your vacation planning a breeze.   I will miss almost daily emails with Michelle.   LOVE HER !!!  –  Chris P.

Michelle has been fantastic! Been so helpful and polite through it all. I didn’t think it was possible but we have gotten to know each other which is great especially when the internet can be so dangerous these days. She made me feel safe knowing my information is safe. Thank you! – Luke S.  (Sandals honeymoon)

If there was a rating higher than excellent, I’ve would choose it!! Michelle was the best. Extremely attentive and gave the very best service. Love her!!! – Aramis and Tyron

The quality of the service given by Michelle is exemplary.  all too often people will take the time to speak of negative experiences, yet rarely take the opportunity to commend good customer service.  I have been in the hospitality industry since 1975, so I believe I am qualified to make such statements.  I would welcome her as an employee.  but, don’t worry, I live in ABQ, NM!  GREAT JOB, MICHELLE!  –  Marian B.

Michelle answered every question I had VERY promptly…sometimes within a matter of minutes. We felt very prepared and knew exactly what we were getting throughout our honeymoon vacation.  Michelle did everything and more than we thought we’d get from a travel agent.  I told her what we were looking for in a resort, and she found it exactly. She was fast in responding and set everything up for us. We had zero worries and we would certainly use her again for a trip like this.  – Adam A.

Michelle has been there for us for the second time.  We ask a lot of questions and she is always helpful in finding us the information in a timely manner.  She seems to be genuinely concerned about our happiness and satisfaction with our vacation plans.  –   Lee W.

Once again, Michelle Rivers went out of her way to answer all of questions. She found the perfect vacation for us. It’s always a pleasure working with her! –  Danielle and Scott

I don’t usually use a travel agent for vacations, but I will definitely use Michelle again if I should ever need an agent. She was WONDERFUL.  She usually answered my questions before I ever asked them, she kept me up to date with information.  This could not have been a better vacation! ~  Chris P

Michelle did a great job of finding a park-n-fly for us in addition to putting together our perfect vacation.   She made our trip worry free. We we aware of everything we encountered.  She was the finest agent we have ever used. She was always available to me at almost any time or hour. I really don’t know how she never sleeps. –  Lee P.

Michelle was extremely helpful in planning this vacation and was always readily available.  i will definitely use her again and recommend her to friends  : ) – Kate R.

My agent, Michelle Rivers, was excellent in planning out our trip. Michelle picked the right location and beach for our trip. I would recommend Michelle Rivers to all my friends and family.  She is marvelous! – Gloria H.

We had a great time in Punta Cana and I am so grateful that our travel agent, Michelle Rivers, was such a great help in getting our vacation together so quickly for us!! thank you sooo much Michelle for all of your help and assistance in booking our vacation!! you are truly a gem!!  –  Carly P.

Michelle got us everything on time and we were well prepared for our trip thanks to her.  After talking with others we certainly had one of the better deals for our vacation.

Michelle is always on top of every trip I have taken and would never think of using anyone else but her to book my trips.  I never have to worry that I wont have what I need and I can always get hold of her immediately in most cases which is spectacular!!!  –  Paul C.

Michelle Rivers is absolutely a delight to deal with. Her customer service skills are superb; she’s courteous, responsive and extremely intuitive. Kudos to you for having a true professional representing your company. ~ Thanks, Tino G

Michelle always does a wonderful job in our travel arrangements. She is also very helpful in helping us choose a resort when undecided. I recommend her highly! –  Kim and Randy P.

Michelle was outstanding. If the trip is as good as her help to set it up this will be the best vacation of my life.  –  Nathan R.

Michelle is wonderful. You can tell she really takes pride in her work and in making sure her clients have everything they need and want in a vacation. I can assure you that I will be calling her again for our next trip! Thank you! – Kimberly R.

Our vacation was terrific. Michelle did a terrific job for us, and when we had a minor problem with transportation, all it took was an email for her to take care of the problem for us…… She is an excellent communicator, answers emails promptly, finds the answers quickly, and treated our vacation like it was her own.  –  Leigh Ann R.

LOVE Michelle.  She is the best – I feel like I’ve found a great agent and friend! – Sis P.

Michelle Rivers did a terrific job at making our vacation stress-free! – Virginia K.

I talked to her about a quote I had gotten from those vacation package search engines on the Internet. She not only matched the price but made sure that the time I wanted (which the other company did not offer) would come true and it did! She actually made my dream vacation happen! – Maria C.
Repeat traveler with Michelle – Excellent service. – Danielle M.

Michelle Rivers is a great agent… we will book all future trips through her… excellent customer service. – Randy P.
Michelle was awesome.  Frontier canceled our return flight and Michelle was on it.  She also helped us narrow down our resort choices.  She did an excellent job.  We are very pleased. – Michelle A.

Michelle Rivers is awesome! I wouldn’t use any other Agent. – Kim K.

I wanted to congratulate you on your excellent customer service from a representative that works there by the name of Michelle Rivers.  She actually made my dream vacation happen!   She she is very professional and intellectual in what she does. She is willing to go those extra mile to help her customer get what they want.   I would tell everyone who wants to make a reservation for the Caribbean to do it with Michelle. Thank you for having someone so capable, willing and determined to help in your company.   –    Maria Fe

Michelle got us the perfect room just tens of feet from the ocean.  Documents were provided on time and we received timely reminders regarding the booking and travel process. –  Wade C

Michelle got us FABULOUS ACCOMMODATIONS! i have to say that this was one of the best vacations i have taken all the way around! from the first conversation with Michelle to the second we landed home it couldn’t get much better!  –   Joann C

Michelle was amazing, as was our trip…thanks! – Kelly W
Michelle is the best! I totally trust her with all my travel arrangements.  –  Suzanne S

Michelle answered all my questions and helped me every step of the way.  Would definitely book with her again. – Tina C
We would not even CONSIDER using anybody else……Michelle has made this the greatest experience I’ve had with travel! – Kelly Y

Michelle was extremely helpful in planning and finding our perfect vacation package.  Michelle has answered all of my vacation questions/inquires promptly and in a professional manner.  She has also made several valuable suggestions which made our vacation experience even more enjoyable.  I will definitely work with Michelle in the future and I will recommend Michelle’s services to my friends and family (I have already recommended Michelle to my sister and her husband and they are going to Jamaica in August.  –  Aga C

Update: Adults Only Hyatt Zilara Cancun (formerly "The Royal In Cancun")

EMAIL ME:

Update 12/6/14 to reflect personal photos from Swim Up Suites, see below. One of my very favorite resorts of all time:   The Adults Only Hyatt Zilara

The amenities are much too many to even list, it just goes on and on, even down to a guy that comes around the pool all day every day and cleans your sunglasses for you, and brings you skewers of frozen grapes!   A 24/7 bakery where you can get lattes and desserts, a 24/7 sports bar with snacks and ping pong and pool, all their meats are cooked in front of you while you watch, several specialty restaurants, a big 32 inch flat screen tv with a woofer on it for sound, which rotates so that you can watch it on the balcony, a huge in room jacuzzi looking out over the ocean, the shower has like 8 shower heads in it including a rain shower, stocked fridge and premium brand liquors in the room, a ‘smart butler’ service for room service, they don’t come in your room, they put it in a door in the wall at your door and turn on a light so you know it’s there, and you reverse that when finished, HUGE beach!  It just goes on and on, I was just amazed even myself.    

This is a FANTASTIC resort.   The amenities are so many it’s almost impossible to mention them all, starting with a massive stretch of beach looking out over gorgeous teal waters and, close to the airport.   A few of the things that fascinated me, and these are only a few, of so many:  
A guy that comes around the pool all day every day and cleans your sunglasses for you and brings you skewers of frozen grapes!  
A 24/7 bakery where you can get lattes and desserts
A 24/7 sports bar with snacks and ping pong and pool
All their meats are cooked in front of you while you watch
Several specialty restaurants
A big 32 inch flat screen tv with a woofer on it for sound, in each room, which rotates so that you can watch it on the balcony
A huge in room jacuzzi looking out over the ocean
The showers has 6-8 shower heads, including a rain shower
Stocked fridge and premium brand liquors in the room
A ‘smart butler’ service for room service, they don’t come in your room, they put it in a door in the wall at your door and turn on a light so you know it’s there, and you reverse that when finished
It just goes on and on, I was just amazed even myself and I’ve been to Cancun MANY times  
Wonderful spa services, and each day they give free samples massages around the pool
Beach Cabana beds all around the pool and the beach, enough for everyone and with some room categories, you get one assigned specifically to you.  

This resort has a variety of room categories, including swim up rooms in blocks of 4 and these have their own pools so they don’t have to come into the main pool, unless they want to; Premium Oceanview  and Premium Oceanfront Suites (Double and Kings), as well as Swim Up Suites.  Corner Suites with wrap around balconies, a hammock, table, and chairs on every balcony; and every room looks out over the ocean.  They also have a great pilates area, full state of the art gym, a 5 jacuzzi therapy system, each one designed to stimulate a different body portion; furnishings are incredible!  

SWIM UP SUITES: You get all of the VIP Privileges of the resort, and are one category below the Ambassador Suite. There are a limited number of the Swim Ups and they include everything all of the other categories have, plus top shelf liquors (such as Don Julio), the rain shower and massage shower, plus a steam shower, all of the spa facilities, and more. They also have a WII playstation, bose sound system, Ipod/iPhone dock, flat screen TV, DVD player, munchies, coke products, and more. You step down from your balcony into your personal, private, heated infinity pool (only shared with 3 other swim ups in your bank of rooms), two chairs and a table in the water on your pedestal, and bartender service.

Here are a few personal photos, please pardon a few personal items in them.

This is the view looking out from the swimups to the resort and beach:

2nd Vanity, closets (in-room safe, ironing board, iron, umbrella, robes and slippers inside) 

Looking down into the room from the upper level where the sofa and office is  

In room jacuzzi.  When those blinds are open, you look out over the beach and ocean

Looking out the sliding doors.    There’s also a huge hammock on the balcony, and, they will bring you special dinners there. 

Also a comfy chair and a personal telescope for star gazing!  

Looking up from the lower level 

Additional premium brands.    More are in the dispenser in the cabinet.   Also, a personal coffee maker, and, a personal expresso machine 

  
Looking towards the door from the upper level

Rain shower, 4 massaging jets, phone head, and, steam sauna, large enough for two people, with a built in sauna seat.  The window looks out into the room and out to the ocean

iTunes dock, loaded with music already

Looking down the resort from the water

 
Looking up towards the room from the private pool

Nice little greeting!   

Looking down onto your personal pedistal and chairs

View of beach from sitting in your sun chair

They also do a LOT of weddings here, and they take care of everything.

These are my personal photos and video, below.  

Infinity Pool

All rooms have a huge jacuzzi and a hammock and furniture on every balcony

A double room, called the Jr. Oceanview Suite

Corner Suite:

Watching this wonderful wedding was so much fun.   They were a really fun group

One of the Beach weddings

Turtle Nests

Getting ready for a private dinner

24 hour pastry-coffee shop

Pelicano’s, by the Ocean!