Category Archives: Exotic Destinations

A day in Labadee, Haiti

Labadee, Haiti is known by cruisers for one thing – an fun packed day at the beach.  Royal Caribbean stops by this port usually on it’s Western Caribbean itineraries, and it’s definitely worth getting off the ship for.  The sand is powder fine, the waters a crystal clear teal color and the adventure is non-stop in this port.


Whether you are snorkeling the reefs, paddle boarding, kayaking, or zip lining over the ocean, one thing is for certain – this beach day has something for everyone.

If you just want to hand out and soak up the sun, take it to the next level and rent a bungalow overlooking the water.  You get private bar service, a cooler, fan and separate entrance to the water.

The locals are friendly and Royal Caribbean’s barbeque lunch delicious.  The activities are just a short walk from the docked ship and everyone can find a spot.  Don’t worry about not getting a float (can be rented for $12 – ship charge) or beach chair – there are plenty to go around.  And if you are staying in one of the suites, even better – there is a private beach and area with facilities and food just for you!


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all photos taken by Ingrid Blackburn


5 Reasons to Cruise Aboard … Allure of the Seas

Aerial Allure of the Seas

I love sailing on a cruise ship.  There’s just something peaceful and inspiring about being out on the open water.  Cruising today is not what it once was.  With mega ships like Royal Caribbean’s Allure and Oasis of the Seas, NCL’s Epic, and so many more – cruising today offers everything you would want and more than you can possibly take in while afloat.

The Allure of the Seas weighs in at 225,000 tons, has 2,706 staterooms and 2,176 staff members cater to the needs of up to 6,318 guests weekly.  Allure’s 16 decks and 24 elevators whisk guests all over the ship.  You would think you could easily get lost, but not so thanks to the interactive touch screen maps found on the walls.  Although the Allure is a sister ship to the previous Oasis of the Seas, several improvements in entertainment and dining do set them apart.

Royal Caribbean has truly mastered the art of mega cruising.  That being said, here are 5 things that I absolutely love about the Allure of the Seas.



The Allure of the Seas has it all.  There is no shortage of activity aboard this ship.  What I love the most is that I can find plenty of nooks to sit with a glass of wine and read a book or if I want to go zip-lining (yes, you read that correctly), I can!  We all know that you can rock climb aboard all RCCL ships, but what about surfing?  Other activities include ice skating, miniature golf, basketball, and ping pong.

This is definitely the ship for teens and active families.  But what I love about it is that it caters truly to every personality.


Aqua Theater and FlowRiders


When mega ships began putting in promenades, malls and parks – I thought, really?  But having been on several different ships that feature these great spaces, I have definitely become a fan.  Probably one of the best things to come from spaces like these are interior balconies.  This ship has 70% balconies, largely in part to the newest type of interior staterooms.  If you are a people watcher – than this is for you.

RCI_Allure_ParkCafe_Multigen_034 Allure of the Seas Central Park

Allure of the Seas features seven different neighborhoods, but by far my favorite is Central Park.  What makes this section so great on the Allure is that I often miss the green of land, and Royal Caribbean has done a great job at capturing that spirit.  Lined by five decks of balcony staterooms, Central Park is open to the sky, has numerous trees, vines and flowering plants arranged along winding paths.  It’s the perfect space to bring a book and sit among the flowers, go shopping at several stores, or grab a bite to eat.  You can dine ‘al fresco’ at Giovanni’s Table ($15 charge) or for an upscale dining option, try Central Park ($35 charge).


With 26 restaurants and 24 hour room service to choose from, there is definitely no shortage of dining options aboard the Allure.  Of course, there’s the 3,000 person dining room, but those experiences for the most part are always fun.  What really separates cruise lines and ships from each other are the smaller establishments, many of which are an additional $25 – $35 per person.  I love dining in the specialty restaurants.

RCI_Oasis_CENTPARK_Dinner_GroupAllure of the Seas has several options that are included as well as for an additional charge.  I always look forward to dining with my husband at one of these special restaurants.  Allure offers restaurants from the casual Johnny Rockets($4.95), Izumi ($4.95) and Rita’s Cantina ($7.95) to the Samba Grille($25), Giovanni’s ($15) and Chops Grille ($25).  The most upscale restaurant is 150 Central Park ($35), which offers six courses which is in vogue in Italy.  Needless to say, not a single meal at any of these establishments will disappoint.

Loft Suites

The Allure features some of the best accommodations afloat, especially the two floor lofts.  With so many staterooms, this ship has the ability to offer several different options for suites.  My favorite are the expansive modern lofts that do not feel like you are in cruise ship stateroom.


While the Allure has many various room types to choose from, no room can compete with the open feeling of the loft floor plan.  You can choose from three types of Loft Suites – Crown (504 sq ft), Sky (725+ sq1 ft) and Royal (1600 sq ft).  Each has a contemporary urban feel to it and has expansive 2 story windows in addition to a balcony.  You will get all the perks of being in a suite, with an unparalleled view.


Now I am not famous for going to all the shows onboard a cruise.  But the Allure has a level of entertainment un-matched in the cruise industry today that makes a fan even out of me.  Their Broadway like production of Chicago is spectacular.  The breathtaking high-diving feats in the Aqua Theater are mind boggling on land, let alone a cruise ship.  And of course, not to be outdone, you can attend beautifully choreographed shows on ice in Studio B as well.  This is in addition to 3D movies, breathtaking views from several bars and vistas, Jazz and Disco clubs and a comedy club.  What I love the most – entertainment to suit everyone!

Allure Chicago RCI_Oasis_Aquatheater_DivingShow OA_E_DAZZLES_C_007_RET DSC_9232 OA_E_JAZZ_BAR2_GROUP_068_RET

Are you interested in sailing aboard this amazing ship? Click here to see how we can help you plan your next sailing.

Announcing our new Name – Elite Travel Planners

We are excited to announce that we have changed our company name to Elite Travel Planners! We are a full service travel agency that can help you with all your travel needs. We will plan every aspect of your vacation from flights, transportation, hotel, resorts, cruise lines, to excursions and special desires such as golf tee times, private guides and drivers to help make your vacation a dream travel experience.

Our clients use our services for all possible types of vacations and destinations from an African Safari in the Serengeti National Park to a quick weekend getaway at the Auberge luxury spa resort in the Napa Valley Wine Country. Whether it is a 40th Birthday getaway with the girls in Las Vegas or sipping Margaritas poolside at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico, a Family Reunion Cruise or a dream Destination Wedding on the white sands of Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica; one thing is for sure – we love to plan Travel and ensure that the little details are always taken care of.

Be sure to visit us online at Contact us for one on one assistance with all your travel needs. And we love recommendations too! Subscribe to our blog to get any new featured information about resorts and destinations.