Get Away With Fran

September 29, 2014

Best Cruise Moments on TV

Filed under: Cruise,Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 5:31 pm

Here I manage to combine two things I enjoy, cruising and TV trivia. This was a fun story to research. Hope it’s a fun read too. http://www.usatoday.com/story/experience/cruise/best-of-cruising/2014/09/29/10-best-cruise-ship-tv-moments/16423715/

September 12, 2014

Booking a cruise like a pro

Filed under: Cruise,International,Travel Advice,U.S. — admin @ 7:10 pm

What secrets do travel pros know in terms of getting you the best cruise at the best price? Here are some lessons that apply whether you are using a travel agent or booking a cruise on your own. These tips can save you money.

My story for Bon Voyage/Cruiseline.com:

http://cruiseline.com/advice/cruising-101/all-about-cruising/how-to-book-a-cruise-like-a-pro

Best cruises for sailing fans

Filed under: Cruise,International,Travel Advice,U.S. — admin @ 6:56 pm

These cruise ships have something different — sails. Enjoy the romance of the sea while you luxuriate on deck or help pulls the ropes. Pirate speak is encouraged.

Check out my story for USA Today Experience Cruise

http://www.usatoday.com/experience/cruise/best-of-cruising/see-the-best-sailing-cruises/15065063/

January 6, 2012

Hello, I’m back…

Filed under: Food,International,Travel Advice,U.S. — admin @ 7:53 am

meme Hello GetAway followers. I realize I have taken a super long break, basically because I have been so busy freelancing articles for sites, newspapers and magazines. But I’m back. In addition to sharing thoughts and travel experiences I’ll be posting links so you can see what else I am working on.

Here’s the latest in case anyone is heading to New York and looking for a deal on a meal:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/money/dollar-stretchers-restaurant-week-coming-a-good-time-find-great-dining-deals-article-1.1001314

And here’s a snipet of what I did this fall:

http://blog.budgettravel.com/budgettravel/2011/12/australias_weird_wildlife_warn.html

Happy Travels!

Fran

June 27, 2011

Sea and Glaciers

Filed under: Cruise,Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:30 pm

After departing Vancouver, the Disney Wonder spent a day at sea. We were pretty lazy. We played a lot of shuffleboard, and we all won at least once (great thing about shuffleboard; little athletic skill required).

Sasha went swimming in the heated family pool. She says it wasn’t cold, even though outdoor temps were low 60s.

We got dressed up for dinner – formal night, though most people went with cocktail attire and some did not even go that far.

Disney Cruise Line has a unique rotation dining system where you eat in a different restaurant each night but with the same waiters. It’s especially clever. Kids don’t get bored by similar menus and ambience and get to know the waiters. We ate in the lively Parrot Cay the first night and the fancier Tritons the second. Sasha did not want to sit through a full multicourse meal the first night, but by the second our Serbian waiter, who performed magic and made Origami from the children’s, was not only a familiar face but a pal.

After dinner we went as a family to see the Golden Mickeys show in the main theater. It features clips from Disney animated movies and dancers and singers performing some numbers too. We all enjoyed it.

My brother and I dropped Sasha off after at The Edge, the ‘tween hangout, so we could check out some of the entertainment for adults-only. Seems other passengers had the same idea. The comedy show, featuring three whacky brothers, was so crowded in the disco they had overflow to the Diversions bar where you could watch on video screens. The physical comedy got lost in translation on the screens, so we headed instead to the ship’s movie theater to see the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. It was sold out too, no seats available. We wandered the ship a bit – passing a folk guitarist and singer, but then picked up Sasha and headed back to the cabin.

Next day, appeared to be another day at sea, but appearances can be deceiving. We spent about five hours in and around Tracy Arm Fjord, where we saw humpback whales close enough to spot even without binoculars, bald eagles, seals, a bear (through binoculars), snow-capped mountains reflected in clear water, blue icebergs (and white ones too) and then the amazing sight of Sawyer Glacier, a massive lake of moving ice heading ever so slowly towards the sea. And yes, we saw calving and even from a distance the sight of ice falling off a glacier into the sea is magnificent.

The temperature fell below 50, but the heated pools still called Sasha, who spent time swimming with a pal.

Dinner in Animator’s Palette, where animation appears throughout the meal, had Sasha smiling throughout the meal. Her smiles continued at the show where a really fun magician sure knew how to appeal to the family crowd, and the three brothers performed their unusual brand of song, dance and sound effects to many giggles.

March 15, 2010

Take me to Miami

Filed under: Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:27 pm

16th Floor Pool Deck

OK, I know I am the envy of my East Coast pals today, as I have landed in Miami where it is warm and sunny (and not rainy and dreary as it’s been for days now in Boston).

There is something wonderful about coming out of the airport and feeling, well, kind of sweaty, but in that good, “I am in Miami” sort of way.

I am staying at the much-lauded, 411-room Epic Hotel in downtown, a Kimpton property. And my first impressions are this cool design hotel deserves all the praise.

EPIC Main Exterior (lo-res)

Literally I had a fleet of bellmen in crisp tan uniforms snap my bag out of the cab before I could blink an eye.

Lobby- Living Room

In the lobby (above) the equally well-dressed and efficient front desk team got me speedily checked in and within minutes I was in my airy, 18th floor room, checking out my very own deck, which overlooks the property’s hip pool/social area on the 16th floor (top photo, except there are bikini clad bods there at present), tall residential buildings and the ocean beyond.

One Bedroom Suite

Complimentary wine is served poolside during an hour-long daily social hour, starting at 5, so I may just hop down for a swig before I head off to meetings and other social obligations tonight. I’m in town to cover Cruise Shipping Miami (formerly known as Seatrade), the annual gathering of the cruise lines and ports and others affiliated with cruising. In the next few days, I’ll fill you in on the latest and great in the world of cruising.

But meanwhile, I heard the San Antonio Spurs are staying here tonight. Lots of very tall men walking around tonight. That, and free Internet access (every guestroom at the Epic has wireless and a complimentary desktop too). Woo-hoo.

March 12, 2010

Partying like Jennifer Aniston at Borgota

Filed under: Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 8:13 am

JenAn

OK. I kind of hate Jennifer Aniston. Who doesn’t? She is way too perfect.

And now she may or may not be with hunky Gerard Butler – depending on which of the rags/mags you believe, their “coupling” is either a publicity stunt for their new movie, “The Bounty Hunter, or “true love.” I’m betting the former.

But you can’t deny they had time together at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City. And that’s because the PR folks at the hotel are making the most of their JenBut connection.

In fact, Butler and his leading lady filmed several scenes of their comedy at the Borgata and according to a press release, “got to know each other” off-camera while frequenting the hotel’s restaurants and hot spots.

In celebration of the film’s release, and what the hotel terms “the couple’s budding romance,” The Borgata has created an A-list “Follow the Bounty to Borgata” package, available through April 10.

Included are accommodations in a spectacular Hideaway Suite at The Water Club at the Borgota; a spa treatment from the Immersion Spa (Jen is reportedly a fan of the Ultimate Oxygenerating Facial; no comment); a $200 food and beverage credit you can use at Bobby Flay Steak of Seablue by Michael Mina, where Aniston and crew dined during filming; and a $100 retail credit for use at one of the Borgata boutiques. Plus you get VIP Entry and Complimentary admission to MIXX and mur.mur nightclubs, so like Jen you can glide past the velvet rope.

No guarantee the paparazzi won’t spot you, though. The package is priced at $1,499, and available weekends only.

February 26, 2010

Dog gone fun in Anchorage

Filed under: U.S. — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 7:42 pm

Blog1

“Bark, bark. Bark bark bark.” You could hear the dogs from blocks away, an odd sound in a city of nearly 300,000. But then again this is Anchorage, and it’s nearly March, and that means time for the dogs to come out to play – especially if they are sled dogs.

For the 75th year, Anchorage is putting on Fur Rendezvous, also known affectionately as Fur Rondy, a nine-day festival, including races with dogs and mushers, which kicked off today.

Blog2

Fur Rondy was originally envisioned back in 1935 as a way to add a little spice in a city of about 3,000 people, in a place where winters are long. Dog races were part of the entertainment.

To imagine the races today you have to imagine that despite a couple of 20-story skyscrapers and offerings like a Nordstrom’s and Starbucks, Anchorage still manages to feel a lot like a small, one-horse town – it’s just that there many “horses” on several downtown streets.

Some of those streets were purposely left unplowed in a snowfall yesterday (though not as much snow as in New York) and are being given (more…)

December 1, 2009

Philadelphia is for Iron Chefs and Foodies

Filed under: Food,U.S. — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 6:50 am

Philly

My cousin prepared a great Thanksgiving dinner in Philadelphia. But I need to book a return trip because I’m an “Iron Chef” fan and Philadelphia now has two Iron Chefs now, practically next to each other – well-established sushi master Masaharu Morimoto and the latest winner of Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef,” Jose Garces.

photo_jose_garces What you probably don’t know unless you’ve been to Philadelphia recently to dine at Morimoto or Garces’ Chifa, opened last year (he also has four other restaurants in the city of Brotherly Love), is that the Iron Chefs have places practically next door to each other on Chestnut Street in the Market East neighborhood. I can’t think of another city where Iron Chefs share a street!

Last year, when son, Eli, was graduating from Temple U., in Philly, we decided to have his graduation dinner at Chifa, then newly opened and highly recommended by a pal in the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. We couldn’t resist Garces’ concept of Peruvian and Cantonese fusion, (more…)

November 10, 2009

Searching for (chile) heat in Albuquerque

Filed under: Food,U.S. — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 11:17 am

blog1

I am just back from five days in Albuquerque where I went to challenge my palette with chile, and to explore the general culinary scene (eating lots of things like tamales, above). As a bit of a novice to that scene, I assumed I would be raving about experiencing the kind of fiery moment where the cartoon character takes a bite of something and smoke comes out the back of his head.

But no, I did not once look like Yosemite Sam – though keep in mind I do like spicy food and probably can tolerate it more than the average gal (it’s a biological fact, BTW, that men can tolerate hot spice better than women). Chile, I learned, can be as multi-layered as fine wine, and does not necessarily have to be spicy.

Chile in New Mexico should not be confused with the Texas chili (a stew with meat and beans). Here chile is an ingredient or a sauce, and comes in red and green varieties (the green generally more subtle than the red).

Blog2

But my favorite foodie find was not a sauce or tamales (surprisingly since I love them), but green chile bread at the Golden Crown Panaderia (above), a neighborhood bakery with the most enthusiastic father/son baking team I’ve ever come across. (more…)

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress