Why You Should Consider SKYXE Airport’s Valet Parking

Saskatoon SKYXE Airport – Why You Should Consider their New Valet Option

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I was travelling to Mexico very early January 1st with my husband and three young children.  We were considering several options for getting to the airport and for parking.

  • Taxi’s could be difficult due to departing early on New Years day and the New Years Eve crowd could still be tying up Taxi’s at 4am.  We were also returning late at night and taxi queues can be long for those late flights.
  • Jet Set Parking – while a good option in good weather, we weren’t keen on having to take a shuttle in the cold with the kids and there is the question of “what do we do with the winter jackets”?
  • I had a 20% off promo code for Valet parking, which brought it to within $60 or so off the regular, standard parking lot at SKYXE and within $20 or so of the preferred parking lot.  We decided to splurge and give it a try.  The Valet meant we could pull up right in front when we were departing, they would store our winter coats and our van would be warm and waiting curbside when we returned.

We returned to Saskatoon at 130am, to -30 temperatures and fresh snow.  Not having to run out to start a cold car and bring in cold jackets for tired, cranky kids, was definitely worth the extra in my books and we were so thankful we had decided to give Valet a try.  I would urge you to consider adding the extra parking cost into your trip budget, especially if you have small kids, or are travelling during the cold winter months.  You spend so much time and money planning the perfect vacation, why not have it end on a high note as well, instead of being left out in the cold?


Right now VALETXE has a promotion that’s too good to pass up!

Between January 15 – February 23, 2020 get 1 day of free ValetXE parking for every 2 days purchased. Discount will be applied upon checkout at the ValetXE desk. Not valid for online bookings.


Looking for more great travel content?  Check out our website, find us on FaceBook, view our videos on YouTube or follow us on Instagram!  We can’t wait to share the world with you.

Sailing The British Isles with Ed Buchholz on Cunard’s Queen Victoria

Hosted Cruise – Cunard Queen Victoria – 12 Nights
June 7 – 19, 2020
British Isles

Welcome to the first blog for our upcoming Cunard Cruise aboard the beautiful Queen Victoria.  We will be sailing from and returning to Southampton, England.  This means you can easily add on time in the UK either before or after the cruise and return airfare will be easy to arrange from several airlines.

The purpose of this blog is to provide you with some information about the ship, Queen Victoria.  Subsequent blogs will highlight some of the wonderful ports of call we will have on this voyage.  First, here are some details:

Length294 m

Construction startedMay 12, 2006

LaunchedJanuary 15, 2007

Capacity2,081 passengers

Crew900

Retrofit: 2017

Tonnage: 90,049

So, that’s the technical data but what about Cunard and the ship experience?  Click on the link below and you will see a wonderful YouTube video about the Queen Victoria.  Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=667AqY0b6QU

Lovely ship, isn’t it.  Since I haven’t sailed on this ship before, I thought some independent reviews might be important.  The following descriptions are courtesy of “Cruise Critic” and really give you a good idea of what to expect:

“Queen Victoria is elegance personified. In typically understated British style, the ship doesn’t do glitzy or loud, so ambience overall is modest rather than striking. Do not expect even the slightest hint of neon or glitz nor — perish the thought — rock climbing walls or bumper cars. Luxurious furnishings and eye-catching features lend an air of extravagance to the onboard atmosphere with muted colors and lots of dark wood. Architecture is in keeping with the ambiance of Cunard ocean liners of times past while the interior design offers the contemporary elegance of a modern luxury hotel.

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Cunard cashes in on its impressive heritage, sense of occasion and somewhat old-fashioned pursuits including ballroom dancing and bridge. An outdoor Games Deck harkens back to the days of the ’20s and ’30s with croquet, shuffleboard, hoopla, deck quoits and paddle tennis. No hint of brashness here. Loyal followers also totally approve of the fact that the cruise line employs a stricter dress code than that followed on other mainstream lines.

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Queen Victoria is almost a replica of her bigger sister Queen Elizabeth, at least as far as layout, cabins and enrichment programs go. One difference is that the decor throughout the ship is darker Victorian rather than Queen Elizabeth’s lighter Art Deco-inspired interiors, but the public areas of the ship are every bit as splendid with an earth tone color palette of creamy beige, chestnut brown and gold, with mahogany walls, circular hand-woven area rugs and intricately designed marble floors.

Everywhere you turn there is a treat for the eyes, from the glittering chandeliers and white gloved waiters serving scones at afternoon tea to elegant restaurants and deep, rich carpets. One of the ship’s signature features is the stunning three-tier Grand Lobby with its unique artwork, sweeping staircase and sculpted balconies. With a dramatic triple-height ceiling, the lobby serves as a majestic focal point and is the center of onboard activity. It forms the core from which the ship’s other public rooms flow. A bronzed-effect sculptural representation of the cruise ship emerging from a sun motif coordinated with a marquetry relief depicting a map of the world graces the staircase landing and is visible from nearly every part of the Grand Lobby.

The 4,000 square foot Royal Arcade on Deck 3, inspired by the Royal and Burlington Arcades in London, features a grand staircase at the forward end. Light wood paneling contrasts with green marble and gold and white stone textures. The centerpiece of this area is a custom-built, chiming pillar clock by English clockmaker Dent & Co., clockmaker to Queen Victoria and whose most famous work is Big Ben in London. The clock housing is black with gold-leaf lettering and backlit dials are opal acrylic with black Roman numerals.

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The 830-seat, three-deck Royal Court Theatre on Deck 3 was designed to emulate the grandeur and luxury of the spectacular designs of architect Frank Matcham, whose dramatic multi-tiered theatres made him one of the most prolific theatre designers, with over 80 venues to his name. The ambience is similar to a 19th-century theatre with lots of rich brocade fabric, deep red velvet curtains and murals framing the walls.

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However, while all of this may sound very posh, this ship is not just the preserve of the wealthy. During the day you can relax and unwind in the Royal Spa while at night there are live theatre shows, music and dancing in the bars and lounges. The ship has enough classy, small to midsize public rooms and various nooks and crannies for guests to relax, read or enjoy a drink and a chat.

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Like the other Cunard ships, Queen Victoria operates a class system in which the cabin grade you choose dictates where you eat. This means for those who want to splash the cash, the Queens Grill and Princess Grill provide top notch accommodations and more upmarket dining options. Having said that, around 80 percent of passengers are happily ensconced in Britannia-grade cabins and dine in the stylish Britannia Restaurant.

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Passengers’ peace is not disturbed by multiple announcements either — there is just one announcement a day — at noon, by the captain, telling of the ship’s progress.

To sum up, Queen Victoria is a comfortable, graceful cruise ship best suited to couples, single travelers and mature cruisers.

For first-timer cruisers, Queen Victoria is a good choice. It isn’t one of the huge cruise ships so has a more intimate, friendly feel. Also a plus point for those new-to-cruising is that they won’t get lost trying to find their way around. Cruisers — especially those who enjoy dressing up for dinner — can expect an elegant experience on this well laid out ship.

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We hope you will consider joining us on the amazing voyage.  For additional information, please contact UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel at 306-242-TRIP (8747) or if you are out of town 1-800-565-6562.  Watch for the next blog, focusing on one of the many interesting ports!

You can find out more about this sailing by clicking here.  

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Jamie’s Ixtapa Island Excursion

Prior to travelling to Ixtapa, we had several people recommend Ixtapa Island as a good excursions for families.  We tend to stick close to the resorts with the kids when we travel as they are quite happy enjoying the pools and activities that the all inclusive resorts have to offer.  However, by mid week away, we thought the kids would be up for a change of scenery and started looking at option for a trip out to Ixtapa Island.  There were 13 of us all together, 6 adults, 7 kids aged 4-11.

Option1:  We discussed the excursion with our Westjet Vacations rep.  The cost was going to be $28USD per child and $40USD per adult (reduced from $45 USD if we paid cash and because we were a group).  For my family of 5, that would be just over $200 CDN.

Option 2:  Online booking is an option, but when checking Viator and Expedia they were a similar price of around $200 CDN for my family of 5.

Option 3:  We could go on our own.  The $200 CDN included transportation from our hotel to the water taxi, Roundtrip ferry/water taxi to the Island, lunch, one drink and reserved chairs.  We were pretty sure we could do this on our own for quite a bit less and Ixtapa is a pretty quiet place that we were comfortable exploring on our own.  The Taxi (15 minute drive) to the Ferry was $160 Pesos each way.  The Ferry (10 minutes each way) roundtrip was $50 pesos per person.  The restaurants will give you chairs/loungers/palapas for free if you are ordering food and drinks from them.  We were there for about 5 hours and lunch and a drink worked out to be roughly $200 – $250 pesos per person.  This was about $125 CDN for our family of 5 – almost half price of taking the tour.

It was very easy to manage on our own.  Taxi’s are plentiful, as are the water taxis.  There are several restaurants on the three main beaches and this way we were able to choose when we left and when we returned and we were more on our own schedule, which worked well for us.  We went to Varadero Beach, which was great for little guys wanting to swim.  It was very shallow and calm and the not quite as hot as the snorkeling beach as the sun took a bit longer to come around to that side.  From Varadero Beach, you can walk about 500 feet, through the restaurant to the snorkeling beach.  This beach wasn’t good for little guys to swim, but had tons of fish and great snorkeling for the older ones.  The location was good here, being able to easily go back and forth.  They had an outdoor shower and bathroom facilities and the food and drinks were good.  We were at the Lili Cipriani restaurant.

Coconut Shrimp

We really enjoyed our time at Ixtapa Island and being able to swim in the ocean as the shore break was quite rough on the main beach of Ixtapa and made it hard for kids (and some adults) to go in swimming.  I would definitely recommend spending a day of your vacation on Ixtapa Island.

Ixtapa Island fun

Ixtapa Island Beach

Our Puerto Vallarta Recommendations

Recently we were asked “What are the best things to see and do in Puerto Vallarta?”.   Our team includes a LOT of PV fans so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to let you know what we think.   Here are some of our recommendations:

THINGS TO DO

A must is the Malecon (Puerto Vallarta’s downtown boardwalk area) you can shop, do some tequila tastings, check out the local art and eat some great food.
~Correna Tymchen

I 110% recommend the evening Pirate show – great experience and amazing food!
~ Casie Schmidt

 

Absolutely do Rhythms of the Night!
~Amanda Campbell

 

The daytime pirate ship adventure is a great family fun excursion.
~Karen Katelnikoff

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If your resort offers it part take in their turtle release program.  It’s a pretty neat experience.
~Amanda Campbell

The thrills of the Outdoor Adventure tour are totally worth checking out!  It includes a speed boat ride, zip lining, 4×4 off road adventure and more!
~Karen Katelnikoff

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PLACES / THINGS TO EAT

My favorite place to visit is Cheeky Monkey for $1.00 USD drinks! It’s a great place right on the Malecon for a quick beer or margarita after a day of shopping.
~Stephanie Afseth

cheeky monkey

Completely off the beaten path, Taqueria Los Mapaches Taco & Grill. There are raccoons all around the restaurant and you can ask to feed them.  (they are free to come and go as they please) Be careful, they are not scared to steal your tacos off your plate! Amazing food and the price is right!
~Casie Schmidt

You will for sure want to eat out a few times while in Puerto Vallarta as they have great restaurant options.  One of our favorites is the Margarita Grill in old town.  They have the best Molcajetes and margaritas the size of your head, if you are a Guac lover they also make this table side along with roasted tomato pico.
~Correna Tymchen

OTHER

I also really love the architecture of Our Lady of Guadalupe church. It is such a stunning building.
~Stephanie Afseth

church

I am an Old Town lover so when it comes to buying Mexican glassware, we always shop at Mundo de Cristal.  You will always find something to take home
~Correna Tymchen

A can’t miss Puerto Vallarta moment is watching the sunset.  Luckily there’s one every day and each one is more beautiful than the one before!
~Heather Peters

There’s plenty more where that came from so make sure to reach out to our team to plan your own trip to Puerto Vallarta and get all of their best tips.

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Cordell Finds Paradise at Paradisus Cancun

When picking an all-inclusive resort, one of the most important factors to consider for myself is the beach. As a guy from the prairies, I need to experience the ocean, sand and sun. Visiting a beach is important to me and it brings so much happiness to my life. The Paradisus Cancun’s beach has exceeded my every expectation. Here are my top four reasons the Paradisus Cancun is a must do beach vacation:

  1. Sunrise/ sunset
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From dawn until dusk, this is a beach that keeps you enthralled. If you are a morning person, this resort has stunning sunrises! You will be only one of a few people up at 7am but it is well worth it. I wasn’t ready to go down to the beach at this time, but I was in an ocean view room and could take it all in from my balcony. The sunsets from the beach are equally as beautiful as the sun sets over the pyramids of the Paradisus Cancun. If you are by the beach at night you can check out the stars. You do not get the city’s light pollution so you can see the constellations.

  1. Service

There is nothing worse than having to walk endlessly to the beach only to find that the nearest bar or food options are miles away from the beach. I would recommend springing for access to the Coco’S Beach Club. This exclusive area is centrally located, and the staff will truly take care of you. You can order food and drinks without having to leave your beach chair. The washrooms are also very close so you do not have to walk very far.

 

  1. The Physical Beauty

If you are looking for 78377049_2481774365397418_3078050722848178176_nwhite sand and turquoise waters than the Paradisus Cancun is for you. The powdery white sand doesn’t skald your feet as you walk along the seemingly endless beach to either side of the resort. The ocean itself is picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful. Be prepared for a photo shoot! The Caribbean side of Mexico has a bad reputation for sargassum, but at this resort there wasn’t even a trace of seaweed. As an added bonus, the resort has roped off beach areas. This means there were not very many venders pestering you on the beach, so you can really soak up the sun’s rays in peace and quiet.

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  1. Activities

Laying in the sun and reading a book can be a full-time job but sometimes you need a little extracurricular activity. Yoga is offered in the morning which can be a great way to start your day. While beach volleyball and soccer run periodically throughout the day. The waves along the beach are perfect for bodyboarding. If you are more of a thrill seeker you can pay to go parasailing or take a jet ski out for a rip.

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No matter what your beach preferences are there is something for everyone at the Paradisus Cancun.

Follow along as I check out a few other resorts in the area!

 

Stephanie’s Loving Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos – Part 2

Today we are talking food. I truly appreciate a good meal, and Le Blanc doesn’t disappoint. I don’t think I’ve been to a resort that has such amazing food options from around the globe. In less than 36 hours I’ve dined on Italian, Mexican, seafood, and Lebanese. The variety of food choices from all parts of the world is something that makes Le Blanc Spa Resort really stand out.

With 8 dining choices for only 373 rooms, you’ll never have to wait in line for a meal. Each location has its own head chef to make sure that the menu is curated to reflect each cuisine authentically. You’ll fall in love with the pasta choices at Blanc Italia, enjoy authentic Mexican chilaquiles and a great view on the open terrace of Blanc Ocean, or be treated to a unique and flavorful meal at the Lebanese restaurant Mezze.

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If you aren’t in the mood to leave the comfort of your bed, there is always the room service menu just a click away on the resort app. On Sunday I ordered a mid afternoon snack, which arrived in a record 23 minutes. The service is supreme.

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Room service in record time

With another 2 nights to go here, I hope I can find the time to enjoy the remainder of the dining venues. My waistband might not agree, but it’s hard to pass up such great food!

 

Stephanie’s Loving Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos – Part 1

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Sunrise from the room

Good morning from the Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos. I’m very excited to spend 4 nights here and to share some highlights with you.

I arrived Saturday afternoon, and Le Blanc surely gives an amazing first impression! Check-in was quick and painless, and I was escorted to my room by my butler! That’s right, each floor has a dedicated butler team to assist with all you’re needs. The butler went through the room with me, showing all the features such as the gorgeous soaker tub (that your butler will draw up for you), the fully stocked mini bar (complete with snacks) and the resort app (where you can order room service, aromatherapy, bath salts and more). I can truly say that anything you could want is just a quick call away.

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As I settle in, unpack (which your butler will do if you wish) and recover from a long day of travel, I can’t wait to explore the rest of this stunning resort. If its even half as stunning as the view from my room, I may never come home! Stay tuned as my journey unfolds…

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