Family Cruise on Carnival Fantasy

“Best Vacation Ever!” was what my 7 year old said on the way home from Mobile, Alabama. I’d have to agree it was a great summer adventure for our family of 4, which includes a 7 year old, 3 year old and a Navy veteran & retired riverboat deckhand husband (so obviously he’s used to the “water-life’).

We started our adventure in Mobile, Alabama where we boarded the Carnival Fantasy.


Once we got on the Fantasy it was a free for all – where do we go first?!?! So we headed to check out our room and put our carry-on bags down. We chose an Ocean view room (balcony made me nervous with the kids). It was quaint (aka-small), but hey, we didn’t plan on being in there but to sleep & shower. The kids had bunk beds which delighted them! And to see the ocean out the window was so cool as well. And the Towel Creations were definitely something for the kids to look forward to.


Next stop – the pool! We didn’t have our luggage yet, so that meant no suits – so I highly recommend packing those in your carry-on bags along with your sunscreen or you will have a very unhappy 3-year old!

pool The pool wasn’t a large pool, but not too crowded (especially later in the day, in the evening, and on the days you were at port). Lots of lounge chairs but had to grab them up quickly if you wanted to be right by the pool. The kids enjoyed splashing around! There’s also 3 waterslides on this ship that my 7-year old enjoyed – I did not test them out, watching was just fine for me.

The Entertainment crew on this ship was excellent! and the Director, Mikey, was the highlight of my kids days – they wanted to know where he was at all times! We didn’t get to experience a lot of the after 10pm entertainment on this cruise (we had responsibilities = little ones; however they did offer babysitting from 10pm-1am but our kiddos weren’t interested) but what we did experience we did enjoy. Seuss at Sea was great for the kids!


One other thing we fell in love with was the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake with 2 scoops of ice cream EVERY NIGHT… I mean, we opted for that over the Kids disco night – it was a Winner! (I’ve been asked to recreate at home already – gotta get my apron out!) Oh and ice cream for breakfast was a big hit too!



There’s plenty more to do on the ship, so kids can’t get too bored – mini-golf, arcade ($), Candy store ($), shuffleboard, and ping pong. It was a great time to turn off our electronic devices and enjoy making memories!


The ports = Costa Maya and Cozumel. We chose not to get off the ship at Costa Maya – there are a few things to do with kids but not a whole lot for a 3 year old. So we pretty much had the entire ship to ourselves that afternoon so it worked out well! Here’s a view of Costa Maya from the ship….


Cozumel – We decided to go shopping right off the pier and also to visit a resort there – the Iberostar Cozumel. It was a short taxi ride over to the resort. We could utilize their amenities while we were there – drinks, food, activities, etc. This was the first time for the kids to see a beach, sink their feet into the sand and get salty ocean water in their mouths – “Yucky!” is what they thought. But it was like a huge wave pool!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All in all, the trip was great for our family of 4! Contact us for tips and pointers!



Globus Introduces 100-Day Tour Spotlighting America’s National Parks

Globus Introduces 100-Day Tour Spotlighting America’s National Parks

From where our country began to where it seems to never end, America’s National Parks offer stirring glimpses of history and grand views of incredible landscapes.  In 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary. As a long-time supporter of the National Park Foundation – the official charity of America’s parks ] – byway of its unparalleled GoParks! program, Globus is inviting travelers to join in on the fun.  For the first time ever, Globus is introducing a NEW, 103-day tour called Centennial Celebration: 100 Days of GoParks!. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation that takes travelers, quite literally, from Sea to Shining Sea.

“In America’s National Parks, postcard views meet life-altering experiences,” said Steve Born, vice president of marketing for the Globus family of brands. “To celebrate 100 years of picture perfect escapes, Globus is inviting travelers on an unparalleled, 103-day journey to see and experience America’s breathtaking treasures.”

This new celebratory tour takes travelers to 35 National Parks and introduces them to such Local Favorite experiences as:

  • Taking a hayride through Glacier National Park
  • Indulging in a wine tasting in Washington’s wine country
  • Spending time with a Naturalist in Denali National Park and Preserve
  • Enjoying a Navajo cookout at the Grand Canyon National Park
  • Taking a buffalo safari near Custer State Park
  • Journeying through the Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyard
  • Stargazing in Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks
  • Taking a carriage ride along the world-famous carriage roads in Acadia National Park
  • Enjoying a candlelit dinner at Dobbin House Tavern (listed on the National Register of Historic Places

“America offers travelers so much to see and do. Imagine waking up to a sunrise from a hotel right on the rim of the Grand Canyon or riding a horse to admire the pink and orange-spired hoodoos at Bryce Canyon,” said Born. “On this ‘bucket list’ tour, travelers will have more than 100 days to immerse themselves in the sights and history of our nation.”

Since 2011, Globus and the Globus family of brands have been proud to support the National Park Foundation. As part of this partnership, Globus donates one percent (1%) of the revenue for every traveler who books one of our 24 GoParks! Tours.

Press Release provided by Globus – Melanie Gravdal 

Why Go Guided?

We at 1st Class Travel LOVE Collette! With offices in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, Collette is a third generation, family owned company that ranks as a top choice to us. We have been working with them for years now and they have numerous options when looking at a Guided Tour for a family or group.

col_guidedtravel-headerThere are so many benefits to letting someone else take on all the details that come with having The Perfect Trip. See why more and more travelers choose to Go Guided — and why they never go back.

Go Tour Managers! On Day 1 of your trip, you’ll meet a friendly person who sure does know a lot about your tour and the destinations you’re visiting. This highly skilled professional is your tour manager…and from the moment you meet this key player on your tour, you’ll know you’re in good hands. With their rich travel backgrounds, as well as their useful information about language, currency, and all things local, you can relax and enjoy the ride.

Go Culture!Visiting a destination gives you a taste of the local culture. But imagine actually becoming part of that culture. Staying overnight in an Irish castle like Old-World royalty…feeling the cool waters of the Great Barrier Reef envelop you as you snorkel in its turquoise paradise…or rolling dough with an Italian chef to make the perfect pizza. It’s not just about all the iconic spots that will make for the best photos, it’s about diving into another world that makes for the best memories.

Go Product Team!Our product experts are probably on the road right now — scoping out the best of our worldwide destinations. They go, take it all in, and find the moments they love best. Those are the moments they create for you. Those experiences and sights comprise each itinerary and make each one extra-special. Best of all, you don’t have to plan a thing. You just need to choose which itinerary best suits you.

Go Social!Travel is social by nature. Guided travel is extra social. Meet a cast of characters: your fellow travelers, tour manager, driver, local guides and more. The social aspect of guided travel is one of the best parts! Many travelers on our tours have forged lasting friendships. Think of all the wonderful people waiting to meet you out in the world.

Go Worry-FreeYour peace of mind is the most important thing to us. And that starts with our roundtrip home to airport sedan service. Forget taxis, airport fees, or public transportation. We will get you there…and back. And if for any reason you need to cancel your tour, you can do so — right up until the day before departure — and receive a full refund (thanks to our travel protection plan)

View our Upcoming Guided Tour Trips HERE.

Never Stop Exploring,
The 1st Class Travel Team


The Latest on Travel to Cuba

As the United States reopened it’s Embassy in Havana, here’s what you need to know about traveling to Cuba. Much has already changed – you can’t just hop on a plane and go – you need to know more!

First off, your travel has to be authorized – you can’t just go for tourism. U.S. Citizens can legally travel to Cuba if they are engaging in activities such as professional research, participating in an athletic event, working on a humanitarian project or education.
Secondly, there’s not an over abundance of hotels & Places to stay. So, using an experienced travel agent to help find these accommodations is a must!

Needless to say, Cuba has seen many more visitors since the beginning of this year and it may be something you’d like to check off your bucket list.

View the Apple Vacations Brochure by clicking on this link below!


Here are some great reasons to go to Cuba NOW!
1. Havana!
2. The Rum!
3. Music!
4. The Cubans!
5. The Wheels!

Are you ready to travel to Cuba now?

Never stop exploring!

Featured image

January Spotlight: Carnival Cruises


The Carnival Cruise line definitely lives up to its name as “The Fun Ship” with all of the amenities and activities for the whole family to enjoy! From making a splash on board the Twister Waterslide, to defying gravity on the SkyCourse, or even snuggling in while catching a movie on the Dive-In Theatre, there is activities for all.


Along with all of the activities aboard the Carnival Cruises, you can indulge your taste buds with a wide variety of dining options. Start off your day with some Green Eggs and Ham and the Dr. Suess brunch! Take a break from the fun and grab a tasty burger in Guy’s Burger Joint from the Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Take a trip around the world and try the Bonsai Sushi, Bluelguana Cantina Mexican fiesta, or even the Italian Villa of Cucina del Capitano. Whatever dish you enjoy, Carnival offers lots of options for you and your family!


Carnival Cruises offers many different destinations to choose from when booking your vacation. If you want a complete Caribbean experience, look no further than The Bahamas Freeport! Get up close and personal while swimming in the Dolphin Close Encounter. Explore your adventurous side with a Jeep Adventure, or embrace yourself in the culture by taking an Island Drive with shopping and sight-seeing.

Other Ports-of-Call Carnival offers can be found throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, Alaska and Canada. Wherever your heart desires to explore, sail away with one of the Carnival Cruise lines!


After a fun-filled day of exploring or spending a day at sea, settle in to one of the cozy rooms onboard and feel right at home with the many perks Carnival provides. Perks include 24- hour room service, private bathroom and shower, television, a nightly turndown service and many more.

Staterooms range from an interior to a suite. Staterooms are designed to fit a wide variety of people and satisfy the needs of each passenger.

Are you ready to set sail with Carnival Cruises?

Never Stop Exploring,
The 1st Class Travel Team


January Spotlight

Happy New Year travelers! We hope your holidays were filled with happiness and memories that will be cherished for year to come.

For our January Spotlight, our Vendor of the Month is Carnival Cruises. Be on the lookout for great information on what Carnival offers in our next blog post!

We are looking forward to spending another year with you and your travel experiences!

Never Stop Exploring,
The 1st Class Travel Team


Christmas Traditions from Around the World!

               Can you believe that Christmas is less than a week away? Here at 1st Class Travel, we are looking forward to spending the holidays with our loved ones and participating in all of the wonderful traditions that are a part of the Christmas season. I’m sure you and your family partake in traditions that bring you cherished memories. All around the world, families celebrate the holidays in ways that are unique to their country. Here are some of the more unique Christmas traditions found around the world.


  1. Toss the Shoe and Ring the Wedding Bells – (Czech, Republic, Slovakia)

Tradition states that when a single girl stands with her back to the door and tosses her shoe over the shoulder on Christmas day, if the shoe lands with the toe pointing towards the door, that girl will be married within a year.


  1. Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas – (Japan)

After the successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974, Japanese families will gather for a “ finger lickin’ ” Christmas feast of fried chicken.


  1. Deck the Halls with lots of Spiders – (Ukraine)

Ukrainians believe that a spider and their webs are a sign of good luck. According to Ukrainian legend, a widow and her children, stricken with poverty, were unable to decorate their tree for Christmas. When they awoke on Christmas morning, the tree was covered in spider webs. Once the sunlight touched the branches each one was turned into silver and gold. From that day on the family never asked for anything else. To this day Ukrainian families decorate their homes with spiders and webs to usher in good luck for the new year.


               Whatever Christmas traditions your family celebrates, 1st Class Travel wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May your holidays be filled with lots of laughter and memories to be cherished for years to come.


 blog post


Never Stop Exploring,
The 1st Class Travel Team

1st Class Travel Logo

October Spotlight: Royal Caribbean Experiences

Cruise ships always offer an abundance of things to do on board, but if you’re looking for more than a casino and generic kids club, look no further than Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean has many premium experiences and one-of-a-kind activities for all ages.

Royal Caribbean offers two very distinct premium experiences. The first is the DreamWorks Experience. Meet and dine with DreamWorks characters from Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek, and more. Cheer on your favorites during the character parade, join the Madagascar crew for the aqua show, and enjoy DreamWorks movies, including Shrek, in the 3D theatre or from the comfort of your own stateroom. The second premium experience is the Barbie Premium Experience. Select this experience and your Barbie fan will receive a Barbie themed stateroom, mermaid dance class, fashion designer workshop, and a Barbie fashion show!

DreamWorks Experience - Royal Caribbean Cruise

Royal Caribbean is not only using premium experiences to differentiate themselves, they are also providing new one-of-a-kind experiences. The Quantum of the Sea’s SeaPlex is the first on-board recreation center of its kind. Complete with circus school, full-size basketball court, roller-rink, bumper cars, and a floating DJ booth to keep your energy up! If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, take a jump in the RipCord by iFly sky diving simulator or board a capsule to be suspended over 300 feet above sea level.

Royal Caribbean SeaPlex Cruise

Royal Caribbean Cruise North Star

Long gone are the days where you’ll wonder what you’ll do during your days at sea. Now you just have to decide what to do first!

Which activity or experience would you be most excited about?

Never Stop Exploring,
The 1st Class Travel Team

1st Class Travel Logo

Salzburg Eagle’s Nest with Collette Vacations

Eagle's Nest Salzburg Austria

One of my very favorite stops on our entire trip was the Eagle’s Nest.  This Teahouse Retreat which was built in 1938 as a 50th birthday gift for Adolph Hitler, sits at the summit of Kehlstein Mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps.  The spectacular view from this site is unlike any other I have ever seen!  The fact that someone was even able to build a road up this mountain is amazing, but then you take into account that they had to figure out a way to put an elevator inside the mountain to get you to the summit and the Teahouse, and you truly appreciate what was created here.  Unfortunately, it was created for Hitler, but we discovered he only visited this location a handful of times due to his fear of heights.

The ride up the mountain was so beautiful, but then you are sent through a dark, wet, almost cave-like entrance which takes you through the mountain to the elevator.  When you arrive to the Eagle’s Nest original 1930’s elevator, you squeeze in with the rest of the tourists (and I mean truly squeeze in!) for a quick ride to the top.  At the Teahouse there is a very nice restaurant, and you can view the fireplace in the great room which was a birthday present to Hilter from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

Eagle's Nest - Salzburg, Austria

Beside the history held at this destination, the real draw is the location and view from the Eagle’s Nest.  In my opinion, this is a must-see for anyone touring southern Germany. To see more photos of Salzburg, Austria visit our Facebook page here.

Never Stop Exploring,
Owner of 1st Class Travel

1st Class Travel Logo

October Spotlight: Royal Caribbean Dining & Service

When you step foot on a Royal Caribbean cruise, one thing you can be sure of is that you’re going to have a Royal Experience. This is especially true of the food, beverage, and service options aboard Royal Caribbean ships. Royal Caribbean has a dining and service experience for every type of cruiser.

The complimentary dining options challenge what you expect from cruise line dining. While they are complimentary, you won’t feel that way with the contemporary and beautiful restaurants onboard every ship. From the sophisticated Jade Sushi and Silk, to the casual Boardwalk Donuts and Dog House hotdog counter, complimentary dining experiences about Royal Caribbean are abundant and diverse.

Dog House - Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
The Boardwalk Dog House

While the complimentary experiences aboard Royal Caribbean are special enough, if you’re looking to do something a little extra-special you can try one of Royal Caribbean’s specialty dining options. Wonderland is a one of a kind dining experiences that includes a menu focused around Sun, Fire, Water, Earth and Dreams. The Chef’s Table provides you the opportunity to experience a five-course gourmet menu, specially prepared for up to 14 guests with wine chosen to enhance each dish. There are also more casual specialty dining options such as Mystery Dinner Theatre, Johnny Rockets, Rita’s Crab Shack, and Starbucks.

Wonderland Restaurant
Wonderland Restaurant

Don’t forget the drinks! Royal Caribbean also offers beverage packages for every taste. The beverage package options include the Ultimate Package (combination of Premium and Royal Replenish packages) Premium Package (cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and bottled water), Royal Replenish Package (premium coffee, tea, bottled water, juices, non-alcoholic cocktails, and soda), Select Package (beer, wine, non-alcoholic cocktails, soda, and juice), Royal Refreshment Package (unlimited refills on fountain Coca-Cola products and a souvenir cup), Wine & Dine Package (wine in the Main Dining Room, specialty restaurants, or the Windjammer Marketplace), Juice Package, and Bottled Water Package.

Whatever you have a taste for; Royal Caribbean has a beverage or dining option for you! Which dining experience would you enjoy the most?

Never Stop Exploring,
The 1st Class Travel Team

1st Class Travel Logo