Celebrating 2016

2016 has been a year full amazing travel experiences and adventures.   We thought we would share some of our favourite personal travel moments with you.   This is such an amazing world we live in and we are so happy that we get to share it with you!

Karen’s Visit to Club Villain at Walt Disney World

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“The one thing I have learned about Disney from my past trips is to never pass up a special ticket event. My favorite that I have been to so far is Club Villain. There is themed food and cocktails. A Dj and his dancers entertained us throughout the evening. We were given an opportunity to socialize with several diva Villains. There were no lines awaiting you to meet up with Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruela De Vil and the Evil Queen.  This is an event not to miss!”

Amanda’s Jamaican Vacation

“Beautiful water and great weather.  The Jamaican people are the friendliest and most accommodating I’ve ever been around.”

Correna’s Search for Charlie Brown in Hong Kong

“My great adventure in Hong Kong began when I tried to locate this Charlie Brown Café in downtown Hong Kong.  One piece of advice, do not think you can get by with land marks in Hong Kong.  There just happens to be a Rolex store on every block!   It was well worth the search!”

Casie’s Trip to Puerto Vallarta

“It’s fabulous”

Joanne’s Blue Lagoon Plunge in Iceland

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“Iceland is the perfect destination or people looking for the unexpected.  It has something for everybody.  I was lucky enough to experience the Aurora Borealis, take in geysers and glaciers and bath in the Blue Lagoon.”

Jamie’s Family Vacation to Kauai

“Kauai Hawaii. Land of flowers, sunny beaches and Jurassic Park movies. Poipu had perfect weather and we loved the quiet, laid back feel of this Island. “

Elena’s Romantic European River Cruise

“Life on the ship is amazing.  They say food fills the soul, well your belly will be happy also.  I went on the galley tour while on board. For a kitchen so small the meals are impressive. No soup or dressings are made from powders or pre-made starters, everything is from whole natural foods, it’s evident in every bite.

The cabins are comfortable and take your breath away.  I highly recommend paying the extra to upgrade your cabin from the lead in category. You may not think you’ll spend time in your cabin but when the sun comes up around 5am or you’re leaving port then you can just draw back the curtains and doze off and on while watching the views as you sail by.  Sailing past countless Vineyards and castle is great way to start your morning if you ask me.”

Kyra’s Family Camping Trip to Banff

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“I went to the beautiful Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.  I had never been to either of those lakes before and I just fell in love with how pretty they are!”

Heather’s Destination Wedding Travels

“In 2016 I was lucky enough to travel not once but twice for amazing, beautiful destination weddings.   My brother was married in Puerto Vallarta and a dear high school friend was married in Ucluelet, British Columbia.  The first trip was another amazing family vacation but even more special.  The second a bit of a high school reunion and a road trip with two of my very best friends.”

Stephanie’s Costa Rican’ Adventure

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“Kayak and paddle boarding on Lake Arenal in Costa Rica, with beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano is one of my favorite travel memories in 2016. “

Colleen’s Bucket List trip to Newfoundland

“Ales, Whales and Newfie Tales is what is waiting for you in Newfoundland and so much more.  We went for 2 weeks but could have stayed for a month.  The people, the hiking, the music, the scenery even their own winery are just some of the things that are waiting for  you.  From Iceberg Beer which you can only get in Newfoundland to the East Coast music heard at every pub it’s a must return destination.  Oh, yes don’t forget the Puffins. “

It has certainly been a memorable year.   We can’t wait to see where 2017 takes us and hope to share it all with you along the way.    If you would like any help planning your own amazing vacation please feel free to call our office at 306-242-TRIP (8747).   We would love to help you have amazing travel experiences too.

*If you enjoyed this blog and would like to continue to follow our team as they have amazing travel experiences check out our Instagram @UniglobeCarefreeTravel
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Jillian’s Jamaica Fun Run – Part Three

Day 5- Reggae Marathon Day!

This FAM trip that was hosted by Travelweek and The Jamaica Tourist Board is a big supporter of the Yellowbird Foundation. The Yellowbird Foundation is a non profit organization that helps out the behind the scenes tourism in the Carribean. Our team of travel agents all took part in the Reggae Marathon and raised money for this foundation all of which will be going towards a school here in Jamaica!

Today was an early day. The alarm went of at 3:30am so we could get ready for the run’s 5:15am gun time. My tummy was full of butterflies as we walked over to the start line. This was my first half marathon and I had an injured foot all week! The run was a real challenge but after 21.1km as I approached the finish line, my team was there cheering me on and I had the most amazing feeling in the world! After the run we enjoyed and had some much deserved relaxation at the Beaches resort for the rest of the day!

Jill Run

I was feeling very sore, but wanted to make the most of my day. I ate lunch at the a la carte restaurant Arizona’s. The nacho bar here was just what we needed post run, followed by delicious main courses of fish tacos and tilapia!

After lunch it was beach time. The beaches in Negril are amazing! We found some chairs and a shade hut and went in and out of the ocean. Then the kid at heart in us came out and we hit the lazy river and floated around on out tubes! Afterwards we tested out the water slides. It was an amazing day spent lounging around!

Day 6 – Sadly all good things must come to an end. Today we depart Jamaica and the +30 weather for home and the -30 weather. My body is sore head to toe from my run Saturday! I decided upgrading to economy plus on WestJet would be a great idea! Any economy plus seats that are not pre-booked are open for purchase 24hrs prior to flight time. On the flight from Jamaica to Toronto, it cost $50 and from Toronto to Winnipeg it cost $30. Well worth it if you want some extra space. Plus, you receive free food and beverages on board, priority boarding, plus more! On our flight they had no live seat back entertainment but they had tablets for rent at a cost of $5.75 for the flight. In economy plus the tablet rentals were free.

The Montego Bay airport on the Sunday was packed! The security line ups were crazy long. We decided to test out the VIP Club Mobay service. It was definitely worth every penny! The cost at the airport is $35USD per person and they expedite you through security and you get to wait for your flight relaxing in a VIP lounge with free drinks, beer, liquor coffees, juices and sodas! Plus they had a little food buffet that had parties, desserts, sushi, sandwiches and wraps. Doing the VIP Club Mobay saved us about 45 min of standing around in a line for security, gave us a very comfortable area to relax prior to flight and full bellies.

On arrival in Winnipeg, it was after midnight and I had booked myself at the brand new Courtyard Marriott right at the airport. I had a park and fly rate and had left my car there before I left. I highly recommend this hotel if you require an overnight hotel in Winnipeg before or after your flight. Beautiful hotel and rooms and super helpful staff!

And sadly that is the end of my trip! If you are thinking of traveling to Jamaica give me a call or email! Jillian@uniglobecorporate.com or 1306-934-3400.

Jillian’s Jamaica Fun Run – Part Two

Day 3 – Today we visited 3 wonderful resorts. We started out at the Royalton Whitesands, a Sunwing owned and exclusive property. This resort was one of my favorites! It’s the former Starfish Trelawny, and it has done a total 360!! The Royalton Whitesands is a stunning resort!

Royalton Whitesands

Royalton Whitesands

Royalton Whitesands

Royalton Whitesands

We then headed over the the Hilton Rose Hall. This resort has more of a hotel feel inside…. But when you get out to the water park area that feeling totally changes!

Hilton Rose Hall

Hilton Rose Hall

And our last visit was to the 2 new Hyatt resorts scheduled to open on December 10th. The new Hyatt is the former Ritz, and again, a complete transformation. One side is a family friendly resort and the other is an exclusive adults only resort!

Hyatt 1

In the evening we did a frightful night tour at the Rose Hall Plantation. I highly recommend this tour at night – It had our entire group on edge the entire time!

Day 4 – today we checked out of our resort in Montego Bay and headed to Negril. If you want pristine beach, then Negril is where you want to go! Here we visited the Sandals Negril. This resort was exactly what one would expect: Adults only, beautiful, ultra all inclusive with so many activities to do here and a la carte dining options!

Sandals Negril

Sandals Negril

We then visited the Grand Pineapple. This is a Sandals opened resort, but family friendly and no frills. This resort is perfect for someone on a budget looking to stay in Negril for the beautiful beaches. It’s only has one small buffet and bar. This resort has a very high repeat clientele.

Grand Pineapple

Grand Pineapple

And last but not least…. We arrived at the Beaches Negril, our home for two nights! Beaches is a Sandals property also, but an altar all inclusive family version! There is nothing I don’t like about this resort!

And tonight…. The Reggae Marathon Pasta Party!!! A huge gathering event with different pasta stations serving up diner with great music getting the runners all pumped up!

Jillian’s Jamaica Fun Run – Part One

Travel is what Jamaic of it!

Day 1- my journey began with an evening flight on Westjet to Toronto. I lucked out and got an emergency exit seat – so much leg room! Just as much as the economy plus seats! I decided to head to Toronto the night prior to my flight to Jamaica just to be on the safe side. I did not want weather to interfere with my trip! My flight was departing Toronto at 1015am the next day. I could have flown out on an early morning flight to Toronto the same day but if there was any delays then I would not have made my connection. So I didn’t want to chance it!

On arrival after I collected my bag, I made my way down to the ground transport level to catch my hotel shuttle. I had called my hotel once we landed to be sure it was going to come for me. I stayed at the Park Inn Radisson. There are a few hotels right at the airport, but I wanted something a bit less expensive so booked one a little out. It was about a 15min drive to my hotel in the evening. The check in counter was so friendly! And the Park Inn pleasantly surprised me; Inside it actually had a classic old Fairmont Royal York feel! Very impressed!

The rooms are all suited… And massive! I could have made this place home for a few days!

Park Inn Toronto

Park Inn Toronto

Day 2- my flight to Jamaica was at 1015am. I knew with rush hour traffic the drive would be longer. I arranged for the shuttle to pick me up at 8am but I would recommend an earlier pick up time! I took almost an hour to get to the airport with traffic and construction. Flight to Jamaica went by quick.

Westjet had a great choice of movies to watch. I recommend picking up some food in the airport for your flight meal. I was only in row 13 and when they got to me all the had was 1 ham and cheese sandwich left. Lots of people missed out of ordering a sandwich. Even a few people who pre-paid for the vouchers got nothing because they ran out.

On arrival into Montego Bay Jamaica, the customs line was very long as two planes landed at the same time. They do move pretty quick though! Once through, we met with our transfer bus and off to our first resort: Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Resort in Montego Bay! On arrival we were taken on a tour of the three Iberostar resorts, the Beach, Suites and Grand.

All three resorts were beautiful. The Beach is the lead in of the three and is a family resort. The rooms are a good size with a large bathroom. The balconies are also a good size and have a table and chairs. The room had all the basic amenities, plus more! All rooms have a mini fridge stocked with lots of water and a few beers and sodas. My one recommendation is, if you use a hair dryer, pack yours from home! They do have them in each bathroom but they are not very good.

The Iberostar Suites is also a family resort but the rooms are much larger with a sitting area. When you stay at the Suites, you have full access to the beach resort.

Iberostar Suites Room

Iberostar Suites Room

Iberostar Suites Pools

Iberostar Suites Pools

The third Iberostar is the Grand. This is an adults only resort. The rooms are also all suites and very large. At this resort you have full access to all three properties! I would stay and recommend the Iberostar Resorts 100%.

Iberostar Grand Room

Iberostar Grand Room

Iberostar Grand Pool

Iberostar Grand Pool

For dinner on our first night, we dined at the Gourmet Restaurant in the Suites resort. Dinner and atmosphere were excellent! This is one of the a la carte restaurants so reservations are required. These can be made at guest services in the lobby and are unlimited at the Suites and Grand. At the beach you ate limited to four a la cartes during your stay.

Day 3- started our day with a breakfast of champions at the buffet! Best all inclusive breakfast buffet I have had! I ordered a custom omelette from one of the two omelette stations and topped with a delicious home made salsa. The Blue Mountain coffee was perfection!

We were then off to tour the two Jewel resorts in Runaway Bay.

We started out at the Jewel Runaway Bay. This resort was previously the Breezes Runaway Bay and just opened as the Jewel in 2012. It is a family oriented resort. I was super impressed with this resort! The lead in premier rooms were great! The layout is very good also. It is a smaller resort in comparison to some of the mega resorts. They are currently working on building a big water park at this resort scheduled to open at the end of January 2015.

Jewel Runaway Bay Room

Jewel Runaway Bay Room

Jewel Runaway Bay Pool

Jewel Runaway Bay Pool

We then hopped over to the adults only, Jewel Paradise Cove. This is a large resort and even when at full capacity, has the feeling of privacy and not being crowded. There are three different pool areas at this resort. I personally loved the small pool that had the pool view rooms. That pool seemed like it was very private and quiet. If you are a beach person though, this resort is not for you. It has two small man made beaches only that are in small coves. If you enjoy just lounging at the pools then this is a winner!

After our two tours of the Jewel Resorts we stopped and visited the Green Grotto Caves. The cost for admission is $20USD. These are old underground caves that are have a great story and history. Here you are guiding down through the caves to a pristine underground lake! The total tour is about an hour. Great tour to do in the Runaway Bay Area.

On arrival back to our hotel we had some free time. First thing on my list was to get in the beautiful infinity pool!

For dinner this night we dined at the Cajun Jambalaya restaurant at The Beach Resort. If you like Jambalaya and shrimp, this is a must!

After diner we checked out the nightly entertainment on the beach. The entertainment was a Pirate Beach Party. They had different games set up and a DJ pumping the tunes! It was a lot of fun. Jamaica so far is really great!

Ed’s Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica – Final Blog

Amazing how quickly a vacation ends.  Sadly the time to leave is upon us but we will have some very fond memories of this piece of paradise.  The following are some hints and recommendations..

  • Rise early and claim that special beach or pool chair.  While you can always find something, if you want an umbrella or palapa you will need to do this
  • Try the pizza for lunch at Giuseppe’s… really very good
  • Eleanor’s has the best breakfasts and the mimosas are good too
  • Stay up for the entertainment… most nights it was very good.  We particularly enjoyed some of the solo singers that would pop up around the main area at night
  • They have ice-cream at the Cafe de Paris
  • In the evening, claim one of the comfortable day beds around one of the many fire places and snuggle with your loved one under the stars
  • Hit the main pool if you want pool games, swim up bar and the like.  Or if you want to play water volleyball and like a swim up bar, hit the pool by the French section.  If you just want a quiet pool, the Dutch pool is the place to be.
  • At every restaurant, you can eat outside if you want
  • I saw a few people tipping their bar tender but never felt that they were looking for tips
  • Read the daily activity sheets delivered to your room, you will be surprised at everything that is going on
  • There are tours available but Whitehouse is very isolated so don’t expect to do much outside of the resort
  • The drive to Whitehouse is 1.5 hours on a windy, bumpy road… with no stops.  Be prepared.
  • The bartenders are not shy with the alcohol… pace yourself
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and apply it liberally and evenly… we chuckled at the many variations of sunburns we saw and how some people just slapped it on missing various parts of their exposed areas.

The checkout process is painless and well organized.  The airport, on the other hand was a zoo, so have lots of patience. Once you clear security (a very long line up particularly since we departed on Saturday, their busiest day), there are several shops and a pretty good food court.  For those looking for a more relaxed solution, Club MoBay is a Priority Pass lounge, so if you are a member, you can take advantage of all their amenities.  For others, you can buy a onetime pass for $30USD each, but depending on your wait time, it would be a good option.

Sandals Whitehouse is a resort that many people go back to, time and again with good reason.  We would highly recommend it!

Ed’s Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica – Part 2

Well we are about ½ through our trip to sandals Whitehouse and we are pretty impressed.  I’m not a particular fan of all-inclusives but Sandals is one of the better ones.  Not having to make reservations for any of the a la carte restaurants, you just go when you are ready and the line ups are minimal.  The food has been very good and because we love to eat outside, we have been very happy with the restaurant choices.  There are 7 restaurants on property, so you have many choices.  We have sampled most of the restaurants now whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

There have been 2 big issues for us so far.  The first is getting the beach chairs we want.  It seems that you need to get up early in the morning to claim the beach chair you want, particularly if you want one under an umbrella or one of the beds.  There are always enough chairs but you may have to search for one.  It’s too bad people throw towels over the chairs and then don’t show up for hours.

The second issue has been sand flies/fleas.  I am always the one that gets bit and they are really bad here… about 20-30 bites on my legs already.  Karen on the other hand, is not usually bothered by these little pests but even she has had multiple bites.  Strange, but many of the other people we have met are not bothered by them at all.  So, off to the resort store to buy some Off. $17 for a can of Off…yikes.

Those are really our only two issues…the drinks are flowing freely, the staff is wonderful, the food is good and they have some decent nightly entertainment although we can’t seem to stay awake long enough to enjoy the full show.

Crazy as this is, we met some people we know from Saskatoon here and had dinner with them tonight.  It was a wonderful time but it just goes to show you that it is indeed a small world.

Only a few days left and I suspect it will be more of the same…breakfast, a beach chair, a good book, lunch, a beach chair, a couple of cocktails, a good book, perhaps a nap, supper, an after dinner cocktail and a comfy chair/bed around a lovely outdoor fireplace, listen to the music and off to bed.  VERY relaxing and the perfect combination of downtime.

For the more adventurous, there is much more to do including snorkeling trips, diving, glass bottom boat, sailing, water skiing, paddle boards, pool activities, games room, swim up bar and much more.

Sandals has a great formula and one we can highly recommend.  With their many resorts there are lots of options.  For those looking for a secluded getaway, Sandals Whitehouse may be what you are looking for.

Pool View

Sunset

Ed’s Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica!

We’ve had quite a trip so far!  Our WestJet flight to Toronto was uneventful as we like it.  We had an almost 5 hour wait in Toronto but we spent our time in one of the Premium Lounges, a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle of airport life.  Unfortunately our 5 hours wait turned into a 6 hour wait and ultimately over 6.5 hours before we finally got on the plane.  By now, it is snowing heavily and I am concerned we may not take off.  The pilot assures us we are a go but that we need to get de-iced and we are about 6th in line for that process.  We go through the process and are on the runway waiting for takeoff when the pilot comes back on to tell us that now, because of the delays and because the airport in Montego Bay will be “closed” by the time we make it to Jamaica (apparently because of some construction), the flight has been cancelled.

It’s like someone kicked a hornet’s nest…passengers are not happy.  The two wedding groups on board will be badly inconvenienced.  When we make our way back to the terminal, we are directed to the WestJet Customer Service booth where several WestJetters are there waiting to help us.  From our perspective, WestJet handles the situation very well and we are provided with a complimentary night at the Crowne Plaza and enough meal vouchers to ensure we have a nice supper and a breakfast.  But you cannot please everyone in a bad situation and I know that a few were just NOT happy.

No problem, mon…we are going to Jamaica.  We called WestJet customer service that night as instructed and we got on a flight at 10:15 the next morning.  After a short delay, we are off.  Great flight crew and good flight.  As we are descending into MoBay, the pilot comes on to say that we have been put into a hold pattern and after circling for a ½ hour we finally get a chance to land after which the pilot announced he was happy we finally got clearance because we were minutes from being diverted to Kingston!

The immigration process went very well and after collecting our luggage, we slip into the Sandals welcome area for some refreshments and to wait for our shuttle.  The shuttle takes about 1.5 hours to get to Whitehouse along a bumpy and windy road but our driver is very good and cautious.  Check in at Sandals is very civilized and we are well taken care of.  By now it is after 7PM so we go to the nearest restaurant called Bluefield’s Beach Club, a Jamaican cuisine outdoor restaurant for a nice meal…finally we can relax and start our long awaited vacation!

The view upon arrival

The view upon arrival

Our room at Sandals Whitehouse

Our room at Sandals Whitehouse

Relaxing on a hammock and enjoying this view!

Relaxing on a hammock and enjoying this view!