Shermanstravel Blog

Bahamas

620x400_HyattZivaThings change. Those words are particularly apt when talking about the current hotel expansion happening in the Caribbean. On Wednesday, we showed you photos of the still-in-construction 1,000-acre mega resort Baha Mar, set to open on New Paradise Island in the Bahamas in late 2014/early 2015. Of the resort’s four hotels (totaling 2,200 rooms), one will be flagged as a Mondrian, the design-forward brand normally associated with urban destinations like New York and Miami.

With its trendy cocktail bars, pool cabanas, and “Sunset Strip vibe,” the Mondrian will be specifically targeting fashion and nightlife crowds. This signals a 180-degree shift from the Caribbean’s usual family-oriented, mid-range hotel offerings. But this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read more

Hurricane Season Caribbean Travel DealsNine months out of the year, Caribbean islands are a postcard-ready panorama of blue skies, swaying palm trees, and cocktail-sipping, hammock-lounging bliss. But from September to November (as in, right now), they are associated with another thing: hurricanes. As we speak, reports are showing that the season’s first tropical storms are already forming.

But for those willing to roll the dice, hurricane season can also yield up some incredible bargains. Flights, cruises, and hotels often go for a fraction of their peak season rates, at a time when most travelers are too spooked by the thought of having their trip washed, blown, or flooded down the drain.

And if you’re worried about showing up to a ghost town, rest assured: of the 25 million tourists who visited the Caribbean in 2012, roughly a fifth of them were brave enough to travel between September and November, the peak of hurricane season.

To give you a head start, we logged onto Expedia and CheapCaribbean and chose some hotel-and-flight packages for a range of dates in late October and mid-November. All packages are priced per-person, based on double occupancy, with flights from Miami. Other departure cities are usually available for more.

Clearly, none of the following destinations can provide guarantees on anything weather-related (otherwise they wouldn’t be offering the deals in the first place!). But with prices this low, you can afford to have your trip cancelled and still have extra cash lying around to re-book the whole thing from scratch. Now, get out those bathing suits! Read more

JetBlue Fall Flight DealsWe know it’s hard to think about autumn travel as the summer winds down. But booking now will definitely pay off when you see the fare sale that JetBlue is advertising for their Leave-With-the-Changing-Leaves Sale. Travel is valid on one-way flights September 3 – December 18, and you must book by August 21 at midnight (blackout dates apply). Check out a selection of our favorite fares below. Read more

Cocktails for National Rum DayJust a few weeks ago, we were celebrating National Tequila Day. But that isn’t stopping bars from charging head-on into yet another booze-filled national holiday: National Rum Day falls on August 16 (a Friday, in case you were wondering), in honor of…well, no one’s exactly sure. But who cares? It’s an entire day of sanctioned drinking – and we’re OK with that. So don your pirate hat and grab a sprig of fresh mint. Here are our picks for the best rum cocktails around. Read more

BahamasBelieve it or not, summer is right around the corner. You may be sniffling from spring allergies now, but Memorial Day will be here before you know it, bringing warm temperatures, shortened work days, and summer vacations. Don’t let the season sneak up on you; take advantage of the many early bird specials out there and book your summer travel now. Read more

AfricaIf you’re looking to take an exotic vacation this season, we’ve got deals for you from all over the world; from Africa to Europe to the Caribbean islands. Stray outside of your comfort zone and take the journey you’ve always dreamed of; with these fantastic deals, you’ve got few excuses not to. Read more

Spring Cruise DealsDon’t let the Carnival Cruise Line’s recent newsworthy items deter you from hitting the high seas. There are millions of cruises that sail each year without making the news. They have great customer service, activities for families, couples, and seniors, onboard entertainment, and unique ports around the world. Today we’ve rounded up the best of the best, from exotic international cruises to the always-popular beach destinations. Read more

Looking for a 2013 cruise adventure that won’t break the bank? Set sail into the New Year and save with one of these five budget-friendly cruise picks. Cruising from close-to-home cities to popular ports in Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and beyond, these great-value 3-, 4-, and 7-night cruises all ring in from under $409/person – and one from as little as $199.

Just hurry up and book – prices are sure to spike soon, so don’t miss the boat on these priced-to-go sailings. Read more

fowl-cay-resort-exumaLast week, while a few of my fellow travel writers were sharing their favorite family destinations for 2013, my colleague Eileen Ogintz was shepherding her own family through the Bahamas.

That made me a little jealous, but also eager to talk with Ogintz –a syndicated family travel columnist, author, and creator of TakingtheKids.com – as I wanted to pick her brain about the trip. And as soon as she put her bags down, she graciously permitted me to do just that, as well as get some of her picks for 2013 family travel.

Read more

Russell New Zealand beachAs you might have noticed, we’ve been a bit obsessed with the beach lately thanks to the East Coast heat wave. We’ve looked at the worst people at the beach, the crazy things that beachgoers do, and The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. This all started a few weeks ago when we asked you to share your favorite underrated beaches with us. We put the call out on Twitter and Facebook, as well. It’s clear that you all have firm opinions on the best beaches in the world that don’t get enough attention. With summer in full swing and everyone looking for ways to beat the heat without dealing with obnoxious crowds, traffic snarls, and boring routines, it’s time to take a look at some of your favorite underrated and lesser-known beaches. Read more

New United flights to CaribbeanWith temperatures soaring across most of the country, it’s hard for some of us to think about baking in the Caribbean sun. However, cold weather will be here before you know it, and with it a slew of new flights from the East Coast and Midwest to take advantage of tropical destinations.

Booking now for new JetBlue service from D.C. to San Juan (daily) and JFK to Samana, Dominican Republic (twice weekly) will score you big savings. Launching August 23, one-way fares on the San Juan route will be as low as $129 for travel through November 14 if you book by July 13; this will be the only non-stop flight between the U.S. capital and the Puerto Rican capital. Similarly, book by this Friday to secure one-way fares to Samana starting at $169 for flights from the November 14 launch date through February 9.

Read more

norwegian-cruise-line-breakaway-youth-and-teen-areasFamily-friendly cruising is nothing new to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), which was the first line to introduce a kids program in 1999. What is new are NCL’s “Splash Academy” youth program and “Entourage” teen zone, which have been introduced on the Norwegian Gem and eventually will be offered fleet-wide.

What’s newer still is that when she sets sail from New York City to Bermuda during her inaugural summer season next year, the Norwegian Breakaway (a 4,000-passenger ship that will also sail from NYC to ports of call in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean) will be equipped with the largest dedicated kid zones in the fleet.

How decked out are we talking about? Well, Splash Academy will span two decks (12 and 13, if you want to start mastering the ship’s layout) that will be adjacent to the Breakaway’s “family-friendly staterooms.”

Read more

DeltaFor many Caribbean destinations, spring is the perfect time to visit – the high season crowds start to depart and hotel prices begin to dip, yet the weather remains balmy and hurricane season is still just a blip on the horizon. A boon of new routes this year from the East Coast will get you to that sunny vacation even faster.

Launched March 2, Delta now takes New Yorkers from Laguardia to Nassau, Bahamas. JetBlue has three new routes with deals to match:

  • Newark to San Juan, PR: starts April 25, from $163 one-way
  • Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica: starts April 30, from $107 one-way
  • West Palm Beach to San Juan, PR: starts May 15, from $113 one-way

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.

Miami Beach Gay Pride Cruise Norwegian SkyMiami’s LGBT scene will be sizzling come spring. First up on the docket, the Miami Beach Pride, held on April 15 this year, will be bringing buzz back to the Deco District. Last year’s event saw 40,000 people march down Ocean Drive, making it the largest single-day event in South Beach’s history, and with the addition of the post-Pride party cruise, one of the most unique.

Setting sail Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20, onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky, the Miami Beach Pride Cruise offers a chance to extend the party with a 4-night voyage to the Bahamas with stops in Grand Bahamas, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to Miami Beach Gay Pride’s charitable causes. Read more

Nothing staves off those post-holiday, cold-weather blahs quite like planning a beach vacation. Breezes Resorts and Spas is offering savings of up to 55 percent off at six of its properties in the Bahamas (Breezes Bahamas), Jamaica (Breezes Runaway Bay,  Breezes Grand Negril, or Breezes Trelawny), Curaçao (Breezes Curaçao), and Brazil (Breezes Búzios) for travelers who book by February 15 for travel between May 1 and October 31. The chain’s all-inclusive rates include accommodations, all meals at multiple dining venues, unlimited premium-brand drinks, numerous land and water sports offerings, entertainment, and more.

THE VALUE: Savings range from 25 to 55 percent off of rack rates, working out to as low as $68 per person, per night. You’ll secure the most highly discounted rates by booking ahead for travel in August or September.

THE CATCH: A minimum 3-night stay is required.

THE DETAILS: To book, visit www.breezes.com or call 877-273-3937.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more travel deals.

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