Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cruise update - Oasis of the Seas

Been there done that? Lots of seasoned cruisers feel that way about a Caribbean cruise. The islands haven't changed THAT much over the years and it can feel a little repetitive if you cruise every year. For some, ports have less importance, and the ship becomes the destination.
One such 'destination' ship is the brand-new Oasis of the Seas. This latest offering from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line debuted in November with many innovations never seen before on a cruise ship. The ship is divided into neighborhoods, such as Central Park, complete with leafy trees, and the Boardwalk has a real carousel. How about flying down a zip line past the pool deck?!

This is now the largest cruise ship afloat, carrying nearly 6,000 passengers each week. You'd be hard pressed to experience everything in one week aboard. There is so much to see and do between the entertainment, sports venues and fabulous restaurants.

Tip: You must pre-book activities and dining on this ship. You can pre-book your tickets to the shows, such as the popular Broadway hit Hairspray. Reserve a table for 2 for dinner at the cutting edge 150 Central Park, or my favorite, Chops Grille.

Call our cruise specialists for more information on this ship or to book your next cruise vacation!

Bee Kalt Travel phone: 248-288-9600 or email:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Credit Cards Revealed - Maximize your miles in 2010

There are so many credit card choices out there, it can be confusing to decide which one is best for you. If you are trying to earn miles or Elite Status on an airline, choosing the right credit card can help you get there without the jet lag!

I am going to concentrate on the Delta airlines Skymiles American Express cards since Delta is the major player if you fly in and out of the Detroit area.
First there is the basic Gold card. You will earn one mile for each dollar spent. Annual fee: $95

The next choice is the Platinum Skymiles card (not to be confused with the Amex Platinum card to be discussed later). With the Platinum Skymiles card, you have the opportunity to earn Medallion Qualification Miles. If you charge at least $25,000 in one year, you will earn the 25,000 miles BUT 10,000 of them will count toward MQM status. This is a great perk to get you to Silver, Gold or Platinum Medallion status with the airline. Annual fee: $150

Skymiles also has a Reserve Card with even more perks. This one allows you to earn up to 30,000 MQM's in one year, but you must spend at least $60,000. You also are allowed access to the Delta airport lounges when traveling on Delta, and you receive one free companion air ticket per year. Annual fee: $450

What do MQM's mean to you? Once you have Medallion elite status, you don't pay fees for checked luggage, you may receive complimentary upgrades, you can pre-reserve choice seats on the plane with no fee, and you get to board your flights first. If you fly a minimum of 25,000 miles in one calendar year, you will become a Silver Medallion. Gold and Platinum status may be obtained with higher mileage levels, and then you receive even more benefits!

The American Express Platinum Card has long been a provider of perks to luxury travelers. This card gives you access to several airport lounges when you are traveling on that carrier: American, Continental or Delta. When you cruise on certain cruise lines, you can receive up to $300 in shipboard credits. They have an air program where you can purchase 2-for-1 First class or Business class tickets on International flights. And you also earn Membership rewards, which can be used toward shopping, entertainment, hotel stays or transferred as miles to a variety of airlines. Annual fee: $450

One minor pitfall of using the American Express card exclusively is when you travel abroad. They tack on a 2.7% or higher fee to any purchases in a foreign currency. Many Visa cards charge a 3% additional fee for foreign purchases. The Capital One credit card is one that has no additional foreign exchange transaction fee, so you're not paying more for your purchases. Before you leave the country, you should check with your bank or credit card company and find out what fees may be associated with your card.

Tip: To get the most out of your money when traveling abroad, use local ATM machines to take out cash when needed. This is usually the most cost effective method while avoiding large fees or unfavorable exchange rates of the currency exchange booth!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Southern Africa

Africa... just the word conjures up all kinds of thoughts. Animals in the wild is probably the most common, but have you pictured the most beautiful sunsets with exquisite colors of pink, orange and blue? Have you imagined floating on the Zambezi River, passing the resident hippos, elephants and buffalo along the riverbanks? How about enjoying a gourmet feast in a beautiful vineyard in the wine country? I always find it funny when I leave for a trip to Africa, people tell me "have fun in the jungle!" I've been there several times, and I have yet to step foot in a jungle. Savannahs are more like it!

Many people consider travel to Africa as a once-in-a-lifetime trip. This can be true, but once you go, you may want to return again and again. The magic takes hold and it can be a life-changing experience. I constantly feel the pull to return. The endless grasslands of the bush, the wonders of seeing the circle of life in nature, the warm, welcoming smiles of the charming African people.

I have a fabulous opportunity for you to experience all this and more on an 11-day adventure in April 2010. You will travel to Southern Africa, visiting the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, journey to Botswana for a 5 night safari in luxury tented camps, and no tour would be complete without witnessing the majesty of Victoria Falls in Zambia! Also included are some special surprises, a dinner with an award-winning tour guide, and a meeting with a world renowned animal communicator, known as the "Animal Whisperer"!
Details can be found on our website, but call me for the latest in newly discounted pricing.

Call Bee Kalt Travel 248-288-9600 or email

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mayan Riviera, Mexico

I rang in the New Year with my family in Mexico! We spent a relaxing week in the Mayan Riviera, located south of Cancun, in the Yucatan Peninsula. We stayed at the all-inclusive Barcelo Maya Palace Resort, a great place for families. The resort is located on one of the best beaches in the area. The sand is powdery soft but there are also areas of coral reef, which make for great snorkeling and even turtle sightings! I enjoyed sunning at one of the expansive pools while sipping a mojito, prepared expertly by bartender, Ulisses. I also did the yoga stretch classes and paddled a kayak to try and avert disaster from the all-you-can-eat buffets.

My vacation wasn't all fun and games - I took some time to check out some other luxury properties in the area. I toured the Maroma Resort and Spa by Orient-Express - Loved their fabulous Sian Nah suites with ocean front views and private plunge pools. The resort is very romantic and you can arrange a private dinner on the rooftop Mirador, lit only by moonlight, with breathtaking views of the ocean.

The Rosewood Mayakoba is an all-suite property built among lagoons and jungle located just north of Playa del Carmen. You are transported from the striking lobby by either boat or golf cart to your contemporary 700 sq. ft. suite. There, you will enjoy your own private pool, sundeck, spacious bath and elegant decor. They also have a luxury spa and expansive fitness center.

Just up the beach is the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya. I was struck by the sleek, clean lines of the lobby surrounded by calming reflecting pools. This resort transports you by continuously running golf carts between the lobby, guest rooms and beach. Their spa features treatments and therapies from around the world. Nice fitness area with a Kinesis studio (a series of pulleys and cables for a great core workout). The pool area has comfy looking beds and chaise lounges and overlooks the narrow beach.

Contact me for more information on any of these luxury resorts. Book with us and take advantage of fantastic offers, such as 5th night free promotions, complimentary upgrades, breakfast and resort credits!