Ed’s Crystal Cruise Blog – Part 2

Croatia – seeming to be the new and upcoming tourist destination, this compact little country has much to offer its visitors.  We started our tour by leaving the charming city of Dubrovnik and heading inland to the beautiful valley of Konavle.  It was here that we visited an old mill called Mlinica Dvori where the traditional production of flour using a system of watermills on the river Ljuta still functions.  We were met by the owners and staff sporting traditional clothing and serving some traditional liqueurs and a style of grappa.  All very interesting.


After the old mill we stopped at the gallery of a local artist, who surprisingly, was much more interested in talking about old traditions and silk production than selling her works of art.  Again, very interesting and well worth the stop.

Then off to the old town of Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful towns we have experienced.  Unfortunately the weather was not in our favour and while we wanted to walk the 2km of the old wall, rain started to fall and we limited ourselves to the town itself.  It was amazing to see how well the town has recovered from the devastation it saw in the early ‘90s in the war against Serbia and allies.  A warm and fiercely proud city, Dubrovnik is a beautiful survivor.

The next stop on our cruise was Corfu and our first stop in Greece.  Since it was a national holiday, our shuttle bus dropped us off at a different spot than normal, except we didn’t realize it.   Not that it mattered much except at the end of the day, we had some trouble finding our bus back to the ship.  Good thing we left relatively early so we had plenty of time although it did cause us to do quite a bit more walking.

Corfu has 2 old fortresses – an old fort and a new fort.  Given where our bus dropped us, we visited the new fort which was relatively deserted but in very good shape.  We wandered around for about an hour or so but as a result we missed the parade the town put on for their national holiday.  None the less, we walked around the old town quite a bit looking in the many tourist shops and finally landed upon a restaurant located in a 500 year old building.  My calamari was quite good even if the house wine was clearly home made.

Next on our list of ports was Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece.  We opted for one of the ship’s tours today and were very glad we did.  We spent most of the day in the countryside which is very mountainous and the roads are very windy… just wish we had rented a motorcycle for the very winding roads 🙂

Several stops on the way but the 2 big highlights were Melissani Lake and Drogarti Cave. Melissani Lake was an underground lake whose dome fell in several years ago.  We were rowed through this lake (not very big) while the Greek boat man explained a  bit about the lake and sang to us.  Quite neat.

The Drogarati Cave was huge and although it seems that some of the stalactites and stalagmites have been broken off, it is still very impressive.  The deep recesses are some 200 feet down from the cave’s ceiling.

Today, we arrived in Athens.  Although we have been here before, we were excited to go back to the Acropolis and view the Parthenon and other antiquities there.  It is amazing to think that there are still structure standing from the 5th century BC.  They are continuing to do quite a bit of restoration at the site but apparently they will complete their work in the next 2-3 years.  Despite some scaffolding and a crane or two, it takes your breath away to imagine building such impressive temples back then.

Ed’s Crystal Cruise – Majestic Majesties – Part 1

Arriving in Venice is always an experience. You have a couple of choices to get onto the island from the airport. You can take a bus transfer to the main land entrance and then a vaparetto (water bus) or a water taxi from there. We opted to transfer by vaparetto from the airport to the nearest stop to our hotel. At 15 Euro per person, this is much less than a water taxi which would have cost 110 Euro for both of us. You have to purchase the ticket in the airport before you go to the dock.

There is a long walkway from the airport to the dock where you pick up your boat and having a lot of luggage is not a good idea. Plus, if you are taking the vaparetto, you have to be prepared to lift it on and off the boat. This may be a good reason to take a water taxi plus you don’t have to endure an hour and a half boat ride on the vaparetto! Arriving at the closest vaparetto stop to our hotel, we still had to walk up and over a couple of bridges hauling our bags along the way…hmmm, maybe the water taxi would have been better as it would have dropped us off right at our hotel, the Westin Europa Regina.

The hotel itself was beautiful, right on the Grand Canal and the room was large and inviting. Unfortunately, the next morning I woke up with several bites.

The evening of arrival was a wonderful experience wandering some of the streets of Venice ending in San Marco Piazza and having a lovely dinner there.

Surprisingly the piazza was not very crowded. Check out this little video of the gondolas:

The next morning… more of the same. We have been to Venice a couple of times now and actually spent a week here a couple of years ago, so we have been to most of the major attractions. Just roaming the streets and watching the bustle of the city was what we wanted. Some people are often intimidated with the seemingly lack of structure to the city…it is very easy to get lost in Venice but it is also very easy to stumble across the way back. We love finding little nooks and crannies and the treasures they hold.


We opted for a water taxi to the port to board our ship (70 Euro) but it took us right to the dock and it was easy. Crystal Cruises does a marvelous job of embarkation and within 10 minutes of arriving at the ship we were shown to our stateroom. The ship is absolutely gorgeous and the staff are very friendly and accommodating. They have staff from around the world and it is interesting to see where they are all from and they do like to talk about their homeland.

First, a quick tour of the ship to familiarize ourselves and then get ready for dinner. The food is truly amazing and we have great dinner mates.

The ship spent the night in Venice so we have one last opportunity to visit. What a difference from yesterday! Today the city seems jam packed with tourists and you can hardly find a quiet spot. This video will show you what I mean:

We dodged and weaved our way through the crowds ending up at the Rialto Bridge and a quick tour of the fish and produce market…very interesting with every conceivable type of fish and seafood you can imagine.

But enough of the crowds…found a great little restaurant along a canal with lots of atmosphere and a good wine list.

The sail away from Venice was very interesting as a tug boat pulls our ship along the Grand Canal past San Marco Piazza, the Bridge of Sighs and other great sights.

We are working on this cruise as Vacation Vignette Hosts and as such we hosted our cocktail reception for the group. About 22 passengers in total and all are very nice. Our reception was at the front of the ship on Deck 12 with our own little “balcony” so we could watch as we came though the Grand Canal – awesome.

Today is a day at sea so we can explore the ship and take in some of the activities…so far we have found the golf clinic very interesting…

The great thing about Crystal Cruises is that it is all-inclusive, so the wines at dinner, the cocktails during the day, the specialty coffees, the golf instruction, the lecturers, the movies, the entertainment, fitness classes…everything is included. Luxury at its best!

Jamie’s Mayan Riviera El Cid Marina – Part 2

Well, we will be leaving El Cid Marina tomorrow for the Grand Velas. Here are the top likes and dislikes of this resort after spending four days here:

Likes

  • Friendly staff
  • Huge rooms
  • Exceptionally clean
  • Lots of families and kids (this may be a dislike if you prefer adults only)
  • Great pool area
  • Nice sandy beach
  • Lots of chairs at pool and on the beach
  • Great sunbeds on the beach
  • Good food and good kids menu at all restaurants 
  • Only a 20 minute drive from the airport

 

Dislikes

  • Ocean a bit rough and quite a bit of sea grass
  • All dining is indoors, no snack bar at the beach or pool
  • No hot tubs
  • Can’t connect to wifi from our room
  • 15 dollar a day charge for wifi. It should be offered free in the lobby if no where else!

All in all it’s been a fabulous hotel and it’s perfect for families. I would happily return if given the opportunity. Thanks, El Cid!

Jamie’s Mayan Riviera El Cid Marina – Part 1

Having been in the travel industry for over 15 years, I find it hard to believe I have never made it to one of our most popular destinations – Cancun and the Mayan Riviera.

We flew from Saskatoon to Cancun with Westjet via Calgary.  The flights were all good, just slightly delayed due to weather. Westjet now loses satellite tv just south of the US border, but they have a few free movies you could watch. I still miss the days where they fed you a real meal on an airplane!

Anyway, the real adventure began when we hit the Cancun airport. Holy Moly, what a bunch of lineups, hundreds and hundreds of angry and frustrated people of all nationalities, clamouring and pushing and sneaking ahead of you in line. Jeepers, I was happy to say goodbye to that airport an hour and a half after we arrived!

Thankfully the El Cid is only about 20 minutes from the airport and we were soon enjoying our first margarita! 🙂 This is definitely a family friendly hotel and a good, solid four star. I’m glad we picked it.

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Amazing view of the pool from our room.

The one bedroom suite is enormous and we have had our pick of chairs on the beach and by the pool. There are lots of kids for Sydney to play with and I had an awesome massage on the beach, which at $56.00 for 30 minutes wasn’t a bad rate for a resort. The food so far has been good. We are soon off to try Alcazar, one of their fine dining restaurants.

Alcazar ended up being comparable to most fine dining restaurants at home. A very enjoyable meal with great service and presentation and a very child friendly kids menu.

Now we are off to enjoy another day of the pool and beach!

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The lobby bar in El Cid

Heather’s Anaheim and Disneyland Getaway

An Ode to MSP (Minneapolis Airport)

In 2007 when I was a shiny new travel agent I flew to Walt Disney World via Minneapolis. Since then I never had a reason to have to fly through this major hub. Five years ago I thought this was an outstanding airport as I did the Home Alone Dash from one gate to the next to make my connection and guess what? I was TOTALLY right. Although there are most likely thousands of people milling about I really don’t feel crowded or like I am in the way. There is not just some shopping like I’ve found in other major airports, there is SHOPPING. A mall area with the high end items and duty free that you expect in an airport as well as surprises that I may check out in a bit like The Body Shop. If shopping isn’t your thing well then eat! The food court had options for all tastes from Arbys and Burger King to Sushi to bakeries to countless sit down pubs and lounges. Too bad it’s so early, I would have had 5 lunches for sure! I do recommend visiting Caribou Coffee as a delightful alternative to Starbucks. My turtle mocha “zebra” style with both dark and white chocolate is unreal! Compared to my surprisingly enjoyable visit to Denver (another major hub) earlier this year this is a palace of an airport! Ultimately, the point is that I can honestly say that if I could choose my flights purely based on their layovers MSP would be my #1 choice every single time!

So here I am on my Anaheim OC Visitors and Convention Buerro Familiarization trip. What is a Familiarization trip you ask? It’s a trip that travel agents go on to become more familiar with a destination, do hotel tours etc. It is actually a lot more work than it sounds although I have a feeling this particular trip will be a blast. Tonight we met for a cocktail party and some bowling with various suppliers in the area. We had a blast getting to know each other and I got to show off my mad bowling skills. Afterwards some of the other agents and I, who were all staying at the Marriott, stopped by the concierge lounge for dessert before heading to bed. I love hotels that offer concierge lounges for their higher floors (I’m on floor 18 of 19). It’s great to be able to stop by and grab some fruit, a snack, or your morning coffee. The lounge is only open on weekdays though which is too bad, I feel as though I will be wanting to stop in on Saturday after my Disney day.

Day 2

After a hotel tour and breakfast at the gorgeous Hilton we piled into a bus and headed down to Universal Studios. We arrived and received our passes then rode at least 4 or 5 escalators down to the lower level of the park (what’s up with this park being placed both on the top and bottom of a mountain??) to ride the brand new Transformers ride . This ride was unreal. Even though you know it’s all fake I honestly covered my head as a car came flying through the air towards me. These types of rides are to blame for my intolerance of 3D movies at the Galaxy. It’s just not even close to real enough.

I really enjoyed the attractions I saw at Universal Studios, even the “Tram-tastic” back lot tour, although it is very long (like 40 minutes). It is a really small park though, with only a handful of big ticket attractions so it is not a whole day excursion in my opinion.

We visited a mall called the South Coast Plaza this afternoon. It was beautiful but very high end. From there we traveled to Huntington Beach to do a tour of the Hilton there, have an amazing supper and then have s’mores on the beach. What a great experience. There are tons of fire pits along Huntington Beach that you can use (assuming they’re available, apparently in the summer you would have to reserve it early in the morning. If you’re staying at the Hilton they can arrange the whole thing for you of course). If you’re planning a trip to California and want to spend some time by the beach this seemed like a really nice area to visit. One of my friends on the tour thought he may even get married there!

Once we returned to Anaheim a few from our group decided to go out for a quick drink. We walked from our hotels down to Downtown Disney. It turns out a lot of the bars and restaurants actually close early on Thursdays (again, this is probably something that varies based on season). We found the piano bar was still open for about another hour so we had a seat and ordered some drinks. What a fun bar! We sang along to Sweet Caroline and Don’t Stop Believing like superstars.

Disney Day

Yesterday was our Disneyland/California Adventure day. We started the day off with a character breakfast at Disney’s Grand Californian hotel. I had heard mixed things about these breakfasts with regards to the quality of food. Personally I was really impressed with the buffet. It’s comparable to any nice all inclusive resort I’ve visited with a good selection of both healthy and unhealthy options. There were no Mickey waffles available on the buffet line, they are included though, you just have to order them separately. I really enjoyed being able to meet characters while I had breakfast. The best part was watching a little girl dressed as a princess offer Turk from Tarzan her banana. Kids are always 10 times cuter when they’re at Disney!

After this we toured all 3 Disney hotels which took quite a bit of time and we were all anxious to get to the parks. I’m so glad we did tour them all though because we got to view the Adventureland Signature Suite. This room was UNREAL. Honestly the very best hotel room I’ve ever experienced. Think about a theme room at Fantasyland hotel in Edmonton, then think about the old Adventurer’s club bar that was a part of Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World. Combine the two and you get the Adventureland suite. When you ring the doorbell the masks on the wall let you know that someone is at the door (chanting in a creepy loud song). There were two bedrooms plus a day bed situation in the main living area. A handful of bathrooms including one with a  sauna. But it’s just the decor that blew us all away. We were told that it is about $2500 + per night, but if you happen to have a money tree I say DO IT!

Once we were in the park we were on our own to do as we wished. My friends and I accomplished a LOT in the hours that we were in the two parks. At Disneyland my favorite attractions were (not surprisingly) the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. The cool thing about the Haunted Mansion is that Disneyland is all set up for their Halloween celebrations. So the Haunted Mansion is Nightmare Before Christmas themed. At California Adventure we did quite a few of the rides as well. The favorite between my group was clearly the Tower of Terror. We actually did it three times! After our first go at the tower we started playing a game to see what kinds of crazy poses we could do for the pictures on all of the rides. All of the silly things we did really didn’t compare to the couple who were sitting in the Tower of Terror reading magazines like it’s no big deal and not scary at all. Maybe next time we’ll have to bring props…

We had a reserved area to view the World Of Color show which was really nice to have. There is not really a lot of actual seating for World Of Color which is a bit frustrating as it’s a fairly long show at the end of the day. Everyone’s legs and feet are tired by this point. I saw a lot of kids on dad’s shoulders. The show was beautiful but I think I still prefer Fantasmic as a fireworks alternative. I do recommend checking it out if you’re there though. You might as well since all of the rides near the lake are shut down well before the show and during the show. They do restart the rides after. A good tip we learned is that as long as you’re in line for a ride when the park closes you will still get to ride that ride. So you don’t need to run out of the park as soon as the fireworks or show ends, you can get one last ride in and avoid some of the crowd craziness trying to get out of the park.

Oh, by the way, if you loved the Adventurers Club at Walt Disney World you should check out Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. No, it doesn’t really have even half of the magic as the Adventurers Club but it was a good alternative. Ordering any of their specialty cocktails causes some type of mayhem to happen somewhere within the bar. Everyone inside this bar (staff and guests) was having an absolute blast. We went there on a Friday night and had no hope of getting a seat inside the bar so I would recommend going early if you want a seat (pick a bar stool right at the bar for your best experience)

 

Heather’s Punta Cana Destination Wedding Adventure

Here I am at the gorgeous Now Larimar in Punta Cana for my friend Tara’s destination Wedding.  This is a new adventure for me, since not only have I never been a part of a destination wedding, I’ve never been a part of a wedding at all.  So far, we’re having a blast just hanging out as a group and exploring the resort and the Dominican Republic.  Today most of the group went on an excursion to Sanoa Island.  This is an uninhabited island with amazing beaches.  The excursion included a looooooong bus ride to the Caribbean side of the island (Punta Cana is actually located on the North Eastern side of the Dominican Republic, so it’s in the Atlantic Ocean), then a catamaran (party boat) for a few hours out to the island, a few hours with a bbq lunch on the island, a speed boat ride back to the main land with a stop along the way at a “natural pool” to see if we could find any star fish.   Personally, I thought the excursion was a lot of fun but it did seem odd that there was no actual snorkeling included.   Because we were about 20 people we were super lucky and had a private catamaran!  That meant our party boat was soley for us!  It was a bit early for drinks at first but we had a great time soaking up the sun and dancing with the crew. Of course, because I have blue eyes and am single the men working on the boat were all trying to be my “Dominican boyfriend”.  Have you ever experienced this?  It’s something I’m quite certain most North American women go through at some point.  The men being extra flattering and flirtatious.  It’s always fun as long as you remember that it’s all for fun, you can’t take it seriously. The other parts of the tour were very enjoyable as well but the best part was the private catamaran, it felt like it was something special, just for our group.   I loved Saona Island for its laid back feeling, unfortunately they seem to have a real problem with bees there.  When we arrived on the beach we noticed a lot of bees around,  near a garbage can they had some sugar water out for them.  This was supposed to “distract” the bees from us.  Well… it’s been 22 years since I’ve been stung by a bee and let me tell you, it hurts just as much now as it did when I was a kid!  (I cried less this time around but honestly have probably whined more haha)  I’m not sure why they have so many bees but it seems like something they should work to resolve.  I still think the excursion is amazing, just maybe not something I would recommend to someone who has an allergy…

One other thing I wanted to talk about is how great it is to travel with someone who hasn’t done it before.  I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, I know I loved doing it with various members of my family.  Tonight I had supper at one of the a la cartes with some of my friends.  One who has traveled to all inclusive resorts before and two who have not.  It was so fun to see their excitement and complete wonder as their food arrived.  My one friend had outbursts like “best fish I’ve had in my life!” and “oh my god have you guys tasted these potatoes” throughout the whole meal.  I loved seeing the complete joy and excitement over things that I’ve started to see as “normal” because I’m a bit spoiled by my job.  If you tend to travel to all inclusive resorts and don’t check out the A La Carte restaurants I say reconsider for next time.  The food is generally exceptional and the atmosphere is beautiful.

Now Larimar

Las Vegas

Day One:

Well it’s that time again.  We are off on our family trip to Las Vegas me and my 4 sisters and my Mom.  Always a good time.  We arrived in Las Vegas on time.  I have arranged for a limo transfer which was a surprise for my family.  Ted, was there waiting for us with his sign, helped us with our bags and then off to the limo.  It was great to see the look on everyone’s face when the limo pulled up.  There were roses and champagne waiting for us in the car.  Now that’s the way to start a vacation.  We asked Ted to make a stop at the store so that we could get a few things and then off to the MGM Signature Suites where we are staying.   The boys at the front took out bags and off we went for a drink by the pool.  Soon, we were able to check in to our back to back suites.  This is really neat.  It has a main door and then a small hallway with two doors so we just opened the doors to the rooms and it was like a two bedroom suite.  The rooms are beautiful with a small fridge and kitchen area, large bathroom with Jacuzzi bath and a balcony that looks to the strip.  We are located behind the MGM Suites so it is a walk to get to the strip.  If we went through the covered walkway to the MGM, we were about 15 minutes from the strip.  If we went out the front gate, we were about 3 blocks from the strip.

Our room at the MGM Suites

 

 Our first stop is of course the Ross store not far from the MGM.  We bought more than we could carry so off to New York, New York for something to eat and a well deserved drink.  On the way we decided to stop at Tix4Tonight.  This is a discount shop for show tickets.  We decided to go to Menopause the Musical the next night and bought our tickets for $35.00 which was a lot less then the going rate.  Going to Vegas with first time people is always fun.  It can be really overwhelming at night when all the lights come out.  A quick walk home through the casino and then off to bed.

 Day Two:

We had decided to go to the Outlet mall on the North end which is the one that is a cluster of brand name shops.  We decided to take cabs instead of the bus as we wanted to get there early before the rush.  When we got out front, there was a limo sitting there who was happy to take us to the mall for $65.00 about $10.00 per person so we hoped in and were whisked to the mall.  Love riding in a limo.  He told us that because he picked us up at the hotel, we had to pay a little more as the hotel wanted a cut.  We took his number and called him for the return trip of $35.00. 

I love the North Mall.  I like that all the shops are in easy to find rows and you are walking outside instead of an air conditioned mall.  You name it, all the brand name shops are here.  You had to look around a bit but there were definitely some good deals.  The only thing I found strange is that there were no restaurants, just a food court.  You could easily spend the day out here and your life savingsJ.  We headed back to the hotel to hit the pool before the show.  It was about 37 degrees so the pool was a given.  There are 3 pools at the MGM Suites and they allow you to take in your own drinks as long as there is no glass.  If you stay at the MGM Suites, you can also use the main pool at the MGM but we didn’t have time today.  Our show was at 5:00pm at the Luxor hotel so some of use took a cab ride which was $7.00 and some of us walked (hello blisters).  Not a great idea to walk in heals.  When we arrived at the Luxor, of course I was the silly one walking; we found 2 of our sisters at the oxygen bar and 2 at the regular bar and the oxygen bar was more expensive.  You see them all over Vegas now.  Our show was in a smaller theatre so there were no bad seats.  If you know or know someone in menopause, you will find this musical so funny.  Each song is written around a menopause symptom.  I will never be able to listen to Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys again without a smile.  After the show we took the monorail (which is free) to the Excalibur where we went to Dick’s for supper.  Not for the faint of heart.  You don’t go for the food but more for the show.  The waiters are supposed to shout at you and just be real dicks and they do a great job.  We never laughed so hard and then they come around and give you hats to wear with totally inappropriate sayings that I won’t even mention here.  It was fun to walk around and just read the hats.  Not everyone gets them but it looked like a classroom of people wearing dunce caps.  Lots of stag parties here.  They usually have a live band but not tonight.  We left here and bought a few slush drinks and headed home.  We had such a great time tonight and I think we laughed so much my sides hurt.  Looking forward to sleeping as the beds and the bedding at the MGM Suites is awesome. 

Day Three

Today was going to be our site seeing day.  We got a bus ticket and then just stopped at some of the hotels along the way.  We stopped at the Paris hotel as our Mom wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower.  While some of us went up the tower, the rest of us just gambled.  Not too much money was spent and some of us even came ahead.  We walked from The Paris to The Venetian hotel.  In the heat it was a bit of a walk.  It’s crazy to see beer trucks on the sidewalk selling beer and seeing people walk around with all these beer.  Not what we are used to.  The Venetian is definitely something to see.  With the gondolas going through the hotel and some great shops it was fun to walk around.  Two of our sisters decided to get a plaster head (I know it sounds funny) of themselves by an artist at the hotel.  They are like a Bosson heads and are mounted on a frame.  They actually looked like them.  We went to the Fashion Mall to Macy’s and then bused it back to Caesars Hotel.  Once we were done we headed back to a restaurant that was recommended to us by a friend in Saskatoon.  The restaurant was the Battista’s Hole in the Wall.  It was behind the Flamingo Hotel and is an older Vegas restaurant. We went right at 5:00pm when it opens to get a seat otherwise we would have to have a reservation.   It is literally a hole in the wall with a couple of different rooms.   The menus are on the wall and the price includes all you can drink white and red wine.  Now this was up our alley.  The walls were covered with pictures of all the famous people who had eaten there over the years.  The food was good and it was not long before the restaurant was full.  Then back to the hotel to get ready to go to Fremont Street.  We used the same bus tickets that we bought in the morning since they are good for 24 hours and headed out to Fremont Street. 

The light show on Fremont Street during the Who concert.

 

I had not been to Fremont Street for a long time and it was much different than the last time we were there.  They still have the big screen that covers the street but now they play concerts for about 10 minutes starting on the hour.  While we were there, we seen Bon Jovi, The Who and The Doors.  Much better than the light show we used to see.  There was also a live band playing between the light shows.  We found a lot of different souvenirs here and the prices were better than on the strip.  A couple of us decided that we were going to do the zip line which was $20.00.  It is quite long and starts at one end of the strip and goes halfway down.  It is a must.  While standing in line we started chatting with a man from Texas who thought we were Irish because of our accents lol.  When we got to the counter we found that he had paid for us.  That was so nice.  Finally our Irish accents are paying off.  We spent about 4 hours here and then took the bus back to the hotel.  It was decided that we still needed to do more shopping so off we went to Walgreens which has a 2 story shop on the strip.  It you can’t buy it at Walgreens it doesn’t exist. We walked down to the Bellagio as my Mom wanted to see the fountain show.  The show that we seen was done to Celine Dion’s My Heart goes On, which is one of my Mom’s favorite.  The funny thing about Vegas is that you can’t catch a cab from the street.  We had to walk up to the Bellagio to catch a cab.  Enough for one night so we are off home.  

Day Four

Our last full day in Vegas.  We decided to sleep in and then went to Tix4Tonight to get show tickets.  When we arrived the Terry Fator show we wanted to see was already sold out so we booked the Rat Pack show at the Rio Hotel.  My Mom really wanted to see it so we bought our tickets and when we were there, they asked us about a dinner reservation.  I did not know that they did dinner reservations so they booked us into the Buzio’s Seafood Restaurant.  This was by far the best food that we had while we were in Vegas and because we booked with Tix4Tonight, we got a buy one get one free so in the end, 3 of our meals were free.  It was a great deal.  Something that we could not have gotten on our own.  Then off to The Canyon store for any last minute souvenirs.   Today we were off  to the main pool at the MGM Grand.  We had heard so much about it and thought it would be a great place to spend our last day and put up our blistered feet.  It started out great.  The weather was good and we were really impressed with the pools here at the MGM.  They have quite a few pools so we settled on the largest pool with the waterfall.  They also have a lazy river that goes around all the pools.  You can rent tubes to take your around.  We had been here about an hour and it started to pour.  They don’t see much rain in Vegas so the panic on their faces was something to see.  From hearing them talk, it was like a typhoon had hit Vegas.  Without any street grates there was nowhere for the water to go so there was a lot of water on the ground.  Back up to the room to start to pack and see if we needed to do anymore shopping.   Because our show was at the Rio which is not on the strip we called our limo guy and arranged for a limo to take us to the show.  Again they charged us $35.00.  Cheaper than a cab.  We went for supper and then off to the show.  The Rat Pack was really good especially if you remember Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior.  On the way out, Dean Martin stopped to give my Mom a kiss on the cheek.  I swear she won’t wash that for a while.  On the way out, the cast was there to talk and you could get your picture with them.  After a little coaxing, my Mom went to have her picture with them.  It was great.  From there, we hoped in cabs to go to Harrah’s.  My favorite bar is right next to Harrah’s, the Carnaval Court.

Here the bartender is balancing a ton of bottles. Now that deserves a tip!

 It is an outside bar where the main bar is a circle with the waiters on the inside.  The great thing about this bar is the waiters all juggle the bottles as they make the drinks.  It is really something to watch.  There was a girl there that was just fantastic.  When we arrived the bar was full but after some time we all managed to get seats at the bar.  They also have a live band.  Just listen for the whistles which signal something is about to take place.  They had a fire show where the waiters juggled bottles that were on fire and balanced a stack of bottles on their heads.  What a great way to finish off a holiday.

Here the bartenders are juggling with fire bottles.

I love Vegas but it is not the cheap destination that is used to be but having said that, I would definitely think about Vegas as a holiday destination.  The weather for most of the year is very warm and if you don’t like the beach anyway, they have some of the greatest pools here.  Just bring in your own drinks and sit by the pool all day then off to a show and a great dinner.   There is no shopping like this in Mexico or the Caribbean and there is always something new to see and do.  Vegas gets my vote and we are already talking about our next trip back to Vegas.