Cigars & the City of Lights

“I believe that a good cigar, a glass of wine and a good conversation is as close to euphoria as you can get in a legal sense” – Sylvester “Sly” Stallone

The City of Light, Paris is an experience unto itself. Whether you marvel at the Eiffel Tower, take in the majesty of Notre Dame or the deliciously seedy Moulin Rouge there is something for all the senses.

 

But what about enjoying a good cigar? Paris has an interesting history with smoking. There are strict laws but Parisians have always enjoyed smoking and enforcing the laws has met with some resistance.

Yet we must be respectful and there are places where cigar smokers are welcome and the pleasure is legal.

 

Try Restaurant L’Ogre at Avenue de Versaille or La Maison de Champs Elysees.

 

If you choose La Maison, stroll to the Arc de Triomphe and walk to the top for an amazing view of the city.

 

Cigar Education Moment: The way you cut and light your cigar can make the difference between a truly enjoyable smoke and a mediocre experience. Cigar Aficionado offers some good advice.

Would you like to smoke a Cuban cigar in Cuba?

Unique Travel Events is offering a unique trip to Cuba, that will include a trip to a tobacco farm. Click here for more info.

Call Andrea at 703-986-0934 or email asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

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Andrea

Owner, Unique Travel Events

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That Spectacular Vacation- Ready, Set, GO

Your bags are packed, the taxi’s waiting, but are you ready to go?

I’m a believer in checking and re-checking, so here are a few last minute preparation tips.

Day Before Travel

1)If you are flying, print out or download your boarding pass

2) If someone is taking you to the airport, cruiseport or train station verify what time they will arrive to pick you up.

3) Have you let the post office you know you’ll be away? If not, do it now or make sure someone is picking up your mail and newspapers. An overflowing mailbox and a stack of papers  advertise that no one is around.

4) If you are boarding pets, today is a good day to drop them off instead of stressing about it tomorrow when you are ready to leave.

5) Re-check your luggage, make sure everything is in there. Tip: Luggage tags should be on each piece but don’t put your home address or phone, use a business address instead. One less way to invite the ‘wrong’ kind of guest.

6) Let a neighbor you trust know that you will be away for a while.

Here is a link to some advice from the TSA.

Day of Travel

1) Make sure your passport/identification and boarding pass are readily available at the airport, cruiseport, etc.

2) Bring the minimum number of credit cards. Tip: Let your credit card companies know that you are traveling to avoid the ‘frozen account due to security measures’.

3) Check your carry-on for the essentials, medications, electronics, toiletries and one change of clothes. Tip: Carry an empty water bottle that you can fill up after you get through security at the airport.

4) If you are driving to the airport, check the traffic reports. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. Tip: If your boarding pass shows ‘pre-check’ you can save time at the shorter lines where you don’t need to take off shoes and such. TSAPre-check link

5) If you are sailing, have your cruise line luggage tags on the luggage. For most cruise lines your cabin should be available around 1pm. If you arrive early treat yourself to lunch onboard the ship at the buffet.

6) Make sure the appliances in your home are off. Leave a light on somewhere in the house.

7) If you are traveling outside the USA and haven’t gotten any foreign currency, get about $50 worth at the airport.

Now, go and have a great time.

If you’d like an email of today’s tips or more info, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on www.uniquetravelevents.com or send an email to asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

Do you have a great idea for travel preparation? I’d love to share your idea with my readers.

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

Andrea

 

That Spectacular Vacation- The Dreaded Paperwork

That Spectacular Vacation- the Dreaded Documentation

While envisioning all the great things you’ll be doing on your trip the idea of the ‘paperwork’ needed to make it happen makes most of us cringe.

Yet, without the proper documentation the trip may not happen.

Let’s keep it simple.

The Basics

 ID– If you remember nothing else when you leave for your trip, remember your ID.

For domestic travel bring your drivers license or other photo id. Keep it readily available for inspection at the airport.

For foreign travel it can be a little more complicated.

For any travel outside the USA a passport is required.

  •  If you don’t have a passport it is not difficult to get. There are two requirements, besides filling out the form. Go to state.gov  for the form new or renewal.(If you are not a US citizen contact the country of your citizenship)
  • You must have a birth certificate from a government agency
  • You must provide two passport photos

If you do have a passport, check the following

  •  Expiration date- There are a variety of rules regarding how long your passport must be valid to enter a country, it varies a lot
  1. Visa pages- Make sure there are at least two available for Visas and passport stamps
  •  If your passport is expired or close to expiring get it renewed. If you are traveling in less than 3 months use an expedited service.
  •  Visas- Each country has different requirements. There is a good website visahq which can let you know what you need.

Tip-Many people ask about passports when cruising. As of today (it does change), technically you can use your birth certificate and government id or passport card in lieu of a passport when sailing on a ‘closed loop’ cruise. This means that you leave and return to the same port in the USA. Keep in mind, if you had to fly back from a Caribbean island, you would need your passport, the other forms of ID will not work at the airport.

Boarding Passes- There are a variety of options for boarding passes on the airlines.

  • Print out your boarding pass –Tip-If you are traveling internationally you may not be able to do this if it’s the first time you are flying internationally with the airline
  • Download the boarding pass to your phone
  • Pick it up at the airport at the check in desk

 Cruise Line boarding pass

  •  Print it out at home- You will generally need to do your online check-in to do this
  • Get it at the check in desk

Printing out boarding passes at home saves time.

Tour companies vary and your travel agent should be able to give you the proper documentation.

Train Tickets-

Amtrak- Depending on where and when you travel you may be able to print out your boarding pass at home or at the train station. Note-Many Amtrak stations do not have personnel or machines for printing out your pass

Eurail- These vary depending on where and when. Check with Eurail or your travel agent.

Luggage Tags-Cruise lines will usually allow you to print luggage tags at home or mail them to you. This helps get the luggage to your cabin.

If you’d like an email of today’s tips or more info, Like my Facebook page, Unique Travel Events or sign up for my free newsletter on http://www.uniquetravelevents.com then send me an email to asavitch@uniquetravelevents.com

Do you have a great idea for travel preparation? I’d love to share your idea with my readers.

Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more

Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.

Tantalizing Tuesday is Christmas in the Caribbean

Unique Travel Events
703-986-0934
uniquetravelevents@gmail.com
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7 Night S Caribbean – Holiday Cruise on Celebrity Summit

Roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto RicoSee More Dates
More offers from this supplier 
Sailing Date: Dec 22, 2012
Through: Dec 29, 2012
Book By: Dec 4 2012 11:59PM
# of Nights: 7
Ship: Celebrity Summit
Line: Celebrity Cruises
Terms: Terms & Disclaimers
ID: 3073993
from  $699.00  (USD)
Per Person
Category Inside stateroom
Contact Agent!
View other cabin categories
Exciting Deal: Can only be booked 9:00 am – 11:59 pm EST Tuesday, Dec 04
Overview Ship Info Deck Plans Cruise Line
Day Port Arrive Depart
1 San Juan, Puerto Rico 8:30 PM
2 St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 8:00 AM 5:30 PM
3 Basseterre, St. Kitts 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
4 Roseau, Dominica 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
5 St. George’s, Grenada 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
6 At Sea
7 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
8 San Juan, Puerto Rico 6:00 AM
 Number of Nights: 7

Itinerary Map

(Click to Enlarge)
More Information
Celebrity Summit® will soon sail with a new sense of style and excitement. The third member of Millennium Class to be “Solsticized,” she’ll undergo a dazzling revitalization in January. She’ll be upgraded with AquaClass® accommodations including the Mediterranean-themed Blu specialty restaurant. She’ll get the hip Celebrity iLoungeSM where you can participate in the iLearn enrichment series or pick up the latest high-tech gadget from the first Apple Reseller at Sea. And get ready to have a unique, memorable dinner at the cutting edge QsineSM restaurant, with a menu and wine list housed in an iPad®. Finish with a chilled Lychee Martini at the ultra-cool, ice-topped Martini Bar. Plus more staterooms, more verandas, an expanded art collection, and completely new décor throughout. There’s going to be a new way to make your next vacation truly different and better than any you’ve experienced before.

(Click on a price for additional details)
Travel Date Range Price From Information
Dec 22, 2012 – Dec 29, 2012 $699.00 Category Inside stateroom View Details
Dec 22, 2012 – Dec 29, 2012 $799.00 Inside Stateroom Gua… View Details
Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.

Tantalizing Tuesday goes to Panama

Unique Travel Events
703-986-0934
uniquetravelevents@gmail.com
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15 Night Westbound Panama Canal Cruise on Celebrity Infinity

Fort Lauderdale, Florida to San Diego, CaliforniaSee More Dates
More offers from this supplier 
Sailing Date: Nov 07, 2012
Through: Nov 22, 2012
Book By: Sep 11 2012 10:59PM
# of Nights: 15
Ship: Celebrity Infinity
Line: Celebrity Cruises
Terms: Terms & Disclaimers
ID: 2989975
from  $1,699.00  (USD)
Per Person
Category Concierge class
Contact Agent!
Exciting Deal: Can only be booked Tuesday 09/11/2012
Overview Ship Info Deck Plans Cruise Line
Day Port Arrive Depart
1 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 4:30 PM
2 At Sea
3 At Sea
4 Cartagena, Colombia 7:00 AM 3:00 PM
5 Colon, Panama 9:00 AM 7:00 PM
6 Panama Canal (Cruising) 6:00 AM 7:00 PM
7 At Sea
8 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
9 At Sea
10 Puerto Quetzal,guatemala 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
11 At Sea
12 At Sea
13 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 7:00 AM 3:00 PM
14 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 7:00 AM 3:00 PM
15 At Sea
16 San Diego, California 7:00 AM
 Number of Nights: 15

More Information
Celebrity Infinity® will soon sail with a new sense of style and excitement. A popular member of our fleet, she’ll undergo a spectacular refurbishment in December. She’ll emerge with AquaClass® accommodations including the Mediterranean-themed Blu specialty restaurant. She’ll get the hip Celebrity iLoungeSM where you can participate in the iLearn enrichment series or pick up the latest high-tech wonder from the first Apple Reseller at Sea. And get ready to have a unique, memorable dinner at the innovative QsineSM restaurant, where you order from an iPad®. Finish with a chilled Peartini at the ice-topped Martini Bar. Plus more staterooms, more verandas, an expanded art collection, and completely new décor throughout. There’s going to be a new way to get away and make the most of your precious vacation days.

(Click on a price for additional details)
Travel Date Range Price From Information
Nov 07, 2012 – Nov 22, 2012 $1,299.00 Oceanview Stateroom … View Details
Nov 07, 2012 – Nov 22, 2012 $1,699.00 Category Concierge class View Details
Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.

Tantalizing Tuesday Goes to Jerusalem

Unique Travel Events
703-986-0934
uniquetravelevents@gmail.com
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14 Night Holy Land Cruise on Celebrity Silhouette

Roundtrip from Rome (Civitavecchia), ItalySee More Dates
More offers from this supplier 
Sailing Date: Nov 03, 2012
Through: Nov 17, 2012
Book By: Sep 4 2012 10:59PM
# of Nights: 14
Ship: Celebrity Silhouette
Line: Celebrity Cruises
Terms: Terms & Disclaimers
ID: 2980357
from  $899.00  (USD)
Per Person
Category Inside stateroom
Contact Agent!
Exciting Deal: Can only be booked 9:00 am – 11:59 pm EST Tuesday, Sep 04
Europe Suite Fly & Sail Savings Event  (See details)
Overview Ship Info Deck Plans Cruise Line
Day Port Arrive Depart
1 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 5:00 PM
2 At Sea
3 At Sea
4 Alexandria, Egypt 7:00 AM
5 Alexandria, Egypt 7:00 PM
6 Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel 12:00 PM
7 Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel 10:00 PM
8 Haifa, Israel 7:00 AM 10:00 PM
9 At Sea
10 Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
11 Athens (Piraeus), Greece 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
12 At Sea
13 Catania,sicily,italy 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
14 Naples/Capri, Italy 7:00 AM 6:30 PM
15 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 4:30 AM
 Number of Nights: 14

More Information
Once Celebrity SilhouetteSM joins our fleet in 2011, you’ll have another outstanding option for cruising Europe and the Caribbean. She’ll have all the best-loved Solstice® Class features – and some new ones. Chic changes to Celebrity’s iconic Lawn Club give you more opportunities to relax, eat, drink and socialize in the fresh air. Celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill. Unwind in your own cabana-styled haven, The Alcoves. Inside, go on a culinary adventure in QsineSM where you order food and wine from an iPad® menu. Excitement brews with up to 50 international craft beers in the enhanced Michael’s Club. And enjoy sweeping veranda views in 85% of staterooms. We’ve created an extraordinary vacation experience. Again.

(Click on a price for additional details)
Travel Date Range Price From Information
Nov 03, 2012 – Nov 17, 2012 $899.00 Category Inside stateroom View Details
Nov 03, 2012 – Nov 17, 2012 $1,249.00 I – Cat. Z View Details
Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.

Tantalizing Tuesday Sips the Bubbly

Unique Travel Events
703-986-0934
uniquetravelevents@gmail.com
 |   Trip Request/Contact Us  |  Detailed Search  |  FAQ
12 Night Immersive Wine Cruise on Celebrity Constellation

Roundtrip from Southampton, EnglandSee More Dates
More offers from this supplier 
Sailing Date: Sep 07, 2012
Through: Sep 19, 2012
Book By: Jul 31 2012 10:59PM
# of Nights: 12
Ship: Celebrity Constellation
Line: Celebrity Cruises
Terms: Terms & Disclaimers
ID: 2939360
from  $749.00  (USD)
Per Person
Category Inside stateroom
Contact Agent!
Exciting Deal: Can only be booked Tuesday 07/31/2012
Europe Suite Fly & Sail Savings Event  (See details)
Overview Ship Info Deck Plans Cruise Line
Day Port Arrive Depart
1 Southampton, England 5:00 PM
2 Paris (Le Havre), France 7:30 AM
3 Paris (Le Havre), France 11:00 PM
4 At Sea
5 Bordeaux (Le Verdon), France 8:00 AM
6 Bordeaux (Le Verdon), France 6:00 PM
7 Bilbao, Spain 7:00 AM
8 Bilbao, Spain 3:00 PM
9 Vigo, Spain 12:00 PM 8:00 PM
10 Porto (Leixoes), Portugal 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
11 At Sea
12 At Sea
13 Southampton, England 4:00 AM
 Number of Nights: 12

More Information
Celebrity Constellation® has just been revamped-we call it “Solsticized” since it infuses her with cosmopolitan Solstice Class features.

She boasts a spectacular, new look and ambience. From the minute you enter the magnificent Grand Foyer, or savor a flavorful steak in the sophisticated Tuscan Grille, or sip your favorite vodka at the ultra-cool, ice-topped Martini Bar, you’ll feel pampered and transformed, too.

Sumptuous suites and staterooms offer stunning new décor and flat-screen TVs, yet the level of personal service remains unparalleled and meticulous. It’s a highly enhanced experience.

(Click on a price for additional details)
Travel Date Range Price From Information
Sep 07, 2012 – Sep 19, 2012 $749.00 Category Inside stateroom View Details
Sep 07, 2012 – Sep 19, 2012 $999.00 Inside Stateroom Gua… View Details
Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.

Safari Sunday- Day 3 Sarova Shaba Lodge

Bright sun and a cool breeze greeted us for the morning’s game drive.

It would be a day filled with sites you could only see here.

The elephants were out in force. Matriarch’s leading their herds through the savannah in single file in front of the van and stopping for breakfast in a nestle of trees, sharing the spot with playful baboons and colorful starlings.

Elephants and baboons sharing the bounty of nature

Following the dusty path we saw him, a lone bull elephant, one tusk a bit worn from digging. He was close enough to touch the mud covered wrinkled skin. After munching on a few leaves he and looked, straight at the van. We waited with bated breath, hoping we had not startled him. But soon he turned his back on us, a good sign and returned to lunching on some greens.

Bull Elephant, close enough to touch

Back to the Shaba Reserve Lodge for lunch and a dip in the pool and ready for another drive. We expected to see only scenery but were treated zebras, a great way to end the day.

Zebra

 

 

Mt. Kenya, here we come

After a delightful breakfast of crepes, eggs, sausage and more we climb into ‘our’ van with ‘our’ driver, Mainia. We are now a band of 6 women, Sally, Mimi, Marge, Lauren, Nicole and me. (Interesting note: Lauren and Nicole, two delightful young women who are connected to the tour company are the youngest people in the van by at least 20 years and they have been out of college for almost a decade.  Just a reminder that safari’s are for all ages).

In the 5 or so hour drive we begin to create the bonds that will add to this memorable journey. We arrive at the lush Serena mountain lodge, also known as a ‘tree lodge’ as it is built on tree timbers. Despite being planned as a day to rest Marge, Nicole, Lauren and I along with about 6 other members of our group decide to take the nature walk and are joined by two other hotel guests.

Our experienced and hum0rous guide Benson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is rainy season so boots and raincoats are provided if you are not prepared. Our guide Benson takes us through the narrow but worn path just beyond the lodge. It might seem like an easy stroll through the woods but the site of thetwo guards armed with rifles remind us that we are entering the territory of animals that may not be pleased we are visiting.

The rain does fall but we get an education about wildlife, get a view of an elusive buffalo and shy oryx and then enjoy some ‘tea in the bush’. We are truly surprised to come upon an opening lined with tree stumps topped with tea cups and table laden with coffee tea and treats. We take a break amidst the drizzle and then head out again. Despite the rain we experience the base of Mt. Kenya from the perspective of someone who knows and respects the land. There are some vibrant colors that splash out from the green and brown barks, brightening up the mud, these are the fireball lilies. We learn a bit more about trees that are communities and seem to grow downward and then head back to the lodge.

We barely have time to get dry before we see the elephants. They spend hours enjoying the water hole behind the lodge, playing, drinking, just being a part of this incredible world. The evening is topped off with a lovely dinner and view of the Genet cats hanging around outside our window.

Though we tend to think of Kenya as always hot and steamy, the nights can be very cool. How to keep warm? The answer; a water bottle provided for every bed, wrapped in flannel, a real treat.

Tomorrow more adventure.

Fireball lily

Elephants at the watering hole

Genet cats munching on a treat

 

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Nairobi- The adventure begins

Despite the long trip from New York, most of us arrived in Nairobi in good spirits, anxious for what was to come. The Sarova Stanley Hotel was charming, elegant with a staff that was warm and welcoming.

After an hour of relaxing everyone gathered for a lovely dinner sponsored by OSSN. We had the opportunity to get to know each other and members of the Kenyan Tourist Board and reps from the hotel. We were even entertained by a four piece band.

A good nights sleep and we are off to the mountain lodge and our adventure continues.

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