Five Vacation Destination Treasures By Alexandra Jacobs

This is my first post by a guest blogger.  I want to welcome Alexandra Jacobs to my blog and I hope you enjoy her contributions.

The Hamptons

Photo by flickr user galif548

The Hamptons has long been considered one of the most romantic vacation destinations within the United States. While many couples come to the area looking for quiet, romantic walks on the beach and the occasional celebrity spotting in one of the fabulous restaurants, Hampton Rental Homes, resorts and hotels open their door to singles and families as well. Singles enjoy the live night life and high-class clubs, while families can take in the beauty of the Montauk Lighthouse or enjoy the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum. Elliman Vacation homes are the way to go when you are traveling with a big family.  The Windward Shores Ocean Resort is one of the most popular luxury accommodations in the area. When it comes to dining, one should not miss the delicious steaks and seafood offered at The Palm restaurant in East Hampton.  Another great choice is the Modern French Mediterranean cuisine at the Stone Creek Inn.

Oahu, Hawaii

Photo by flickr user puuikibeach

Oahu’s North Shore is particularly lovely and the perfect place to get away and enjoy nature. Young couples and singles find this area special because it is known to have some of the best surfing waves anywhere. Surfers come from all over to experience the legendary waves. Turtle Bay Resort is perfectly situated on almost five miles of gorgeous oceanfront. The resort is also not far from the city of Honolulu so families can certainly hop over for some culture and exploration. Couples will enjoy the romance that’s always in the air on this island paradise. Many even come here to get married or renew their vows. Make sure not to miss out on the grub at Duke’s Wakiki for a true taste of island cuisine. You also won’t want to miss Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu for some yummy breads and pastries.

Ravello Italy

Photo by flickr user TyB

The celebrities love to come to the resort at Ravello because it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Couples retreat to this secluded paradise to take in the breathtaking views whilst sipping a perfectly-aged glass of wine. Musicians are particularly drawn to the area for the famous Wagner tours and musical festivals that are held. The Villa Cimbrone Gardens are a delight for singles and families alike. There is no question that the Palazzo Sasso is the ideal place to stay. For a tasty homemade pizza or pastry visit La Cucina di Sofi or for some real authentic and flavorful Italian cuisine stop at Figli di Papa.

Captiva, Florida

Photo by flickr user

The warm weather, beautiful beaches and friendly atmosphere brings in thousands of people every year to enjoy Captiva, Florida. The South Seas Island Resort ( is the perfect place to take the family on vacation for fishing, sailing or even kayaking. Couples and singles also find plenty to do, exploring the natural beauty of the island, shopping, golfing or engaging in exciting water sports. Dining is a pleasure in Captiva. Enjoy the view and a tasty burger at The Pointe Restaurant or some delicious Mexican cuisine at Cantina Captiva.

Santorini, Greece

Photo by flickr user connermajik-e

Considered one of the most beautiful islands in Europe, Santorini is home of the fabulous Vedema Resort. The resort offers rest, relaxation and luxurious pampering. Guests feel like royalty. Families often visit to explore the rich history such as is found in the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri not far from Santorini. Others enjoy day trips out to Thirasia to view the intense volcanic structures or enjoy the hot springs. Taste the best in traditional Greek food at Athermi Restaurant or some incredible seafood at the Selene Restaurant.

Alexandra is a travel enthusiast who loves to write about tourism, beaches, food, and the wonderful things in the world.  She provides her own insights on vacationing to the blogosphere.  If you would like to learn more about her, follow her @alexsjourneys or visit her blog

Ruby Princess – Day 7 – At Sea

Our last day was at sea. I really do enjoy sea days and like to have the last day on the ship be at sea so that I can just relax.  I started out this day by going to a Culinary presentation in the main theater and then a galley tour.  It was really interesting.  Of course, I didn’t take notes, but besides demonstrating how to make a simple pasta dish and a Caesar salad with dressing, they also told us how many eggs, bread rolls and some other staggering statistics from the kitchen.  The galley we toured serves both of the main dining rooms.   

After this I headed out to the pool with my niece, her son and boyfriend.  We had some cocktails and got some sun.  They had a lot of fun stuff going on right next to us including a cocktail making competition and ice sculpting demonstration.  I won a free cocktail – yay!!  At some point we went up and played miniature golf – it’s a pretty lame course, but a way to kill some time.  We also found the “video arcade” with 4 ancient games in it that evidently eat your money.         

This day was pretty much like our other at sea day.  I’m going to finish this post with my overall review of the Ruby Princess.

I hadn’t cruised in about 4 years and this was my first time with Princess, and I have to say I was a little disappointed.  Since I’ve come back I’ve done some research and it seems that I am not alone – the overall cruise experience on the “mass market” cruise lines seems to have gone down in the last few years.  The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship with a lot of great things.  I loved the International Café; Vines Wine Bar could have been more enclosed to make it feel more special, but the service was good; the Crown Grill was incredible; Princess Cayes was a nice alternative to having a 3rd sea day; the entertainment was good; the internet café had plenty of computer and the speed was much better than in the past; the Trident Grill made good burgers; the adults only Terrace Pool was a plus as well.  On the down side, I found the food in the main dining room to be uninspired – the preparation was good, but the choices were not very interesting; the overall service on the ship was lacking – although my room steward, Henry, was very friendly and did a good job; the Casino had a sign up one morning that it would be smoke free that evening, but when I went in people were smoking; I didn’t like the big screen over the Calypso Pool with movies & concerts playing all day – it was too noisy for me and this was where the comfy lounge chairs were – although I thought Movies Under the Stars at night was a great idea. 

I just did not feel the WOW factor that I’ve had in my previous 5 cruises.  I will definitely not set my expectations so high the next time I go cruising.

That’s it for the cruise.  We were back inFort Lauderdalethe next day.  We stayed over one night at theCrownePlazanear the port/airport.  It was really nice and comfortable and in a very convenient location.  I would recommend this hotel.  We rented a car and drove down to Miami to check out South Beach.  Had a little lunch and walked on the beach.  It was very windy and a little overcast, but still warm.  This was a nice relaxing end to our week.

Cruising on the Ruby Princess – Getting There

My friend, Pam, decided last year that she would like to take a cruise for her 40th birthday.  She chose the Ruby Princess because it sailed the day before her birthday and had a nice itinerary.  We hoped for a big group, but ended up with 6 of us which turned out to be a great number for doing excursions together and dining together.

Disclaimer: as soon as I left my house I went into extreme vacation mode.  I took very few pictures during this vacation which is odd for me.  Usually I have pictures of the hotel rooms from every angle, airport shots and lots of scenery.  I am hoping to get my travel mates to post some on my Perfect Paradise Vacations Facebook page so you might check there occasionally to see if they do.

I was traveling with 3 others and since our flight was at 7:30 Saturday morning we decided to stay near the airport.  We stayed at the Doubletree at Seatac and we had a really nice room (and yes, we got warm chocolate chip cookies on check in).  We had a suite – the main room had 2 queen beds, a little seating area, flat screen TV, good size closet and bathroom.  The 2nd room had a king bed, seating area, flat screen TV, and a sink – but no bathroom.  Very comfy beds, but we weren’t there for very long – just a short nights sleep.

We flew on Delta and since Dennis travels a lot for business we got to do VIP check in and boarding – I love that.  Our flights went well.  We did have a long layover inDetroit, but it gave us time to stretch our legs and get something to eat.  This is a large airport – we arrived at gate A2 and our connecting flight was at A65 or something like that.  As we were walking through the terminal my 12 year old nephew noticed that gate A55 looked like it said ass – we all got a chuckle out of that. 

We got intoFort Lauderdaleat about 10:30 Saturday night so we just had another nights sleep at our hotel.  We stayed at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina.  We are pretty sure our room was downgraded because the Oakland Raiders were staying there before their game withMiamithe following day.  Our room was tiny.  Barely room for the 2 double beds, and once we got a rollaway for my nephew we were wall to wall beds.  I did take a picture of the closet which didn’t even have room for us to put one of our suitcases in. 

The great thing about this hotel is that it is very close to the Port Everglades pier.  We dropped our checked bags and then went and did some shopping for bottled water, wine and a few things we had forgotten.  Got onboard around 1:30 I think.  Check in was very smooth, we walked right on and our rooms were ready so we dumped our carry ons and headed to the poolside bar.  We did a little wandering around the ship to sort of orient ourselves, and later in the afternoon we bumped into Pam and Rosanna and had another cocktail or two.  Enjoyed dinner in the main dining room and then some of us went out and listened to some karaoke after dinner.  It was a pretty early evening for me after all the traveling.

I booked an obstructed view room so that I could see what it was like – not bad on this ship.  What do you think?