miércoles, 22 de agosto de 2012

Day 3 Cruise At Sea

4rd Day Puerto Montt- Christmas Eve
5th Day At Sea
6th Day At Sea (Straight of Magellan)
7th Day Punta Arenas
8th Day Ushuaia
9th Day At Sea
10th Day At Sea
11th Day Puerto Madryn
New Years Eve
12th Day At Sea
13th Day Punta del Este
14th Day Montevideo
15th Day Buenos Aires
2nd Day in BA and flight back to Mexico

Well first of all the sea sickness didn't go completely so we didnt have a very good day.
 But we did went to the Bingo, I'm not going to lie, it's like the best thing for a first time cruiser, even for kids. But it is wasting money, pretty damn fast!
But this is an adult's cruise, so although 1/4 of the cruise were minors, there were not a lot of activities. I heard that there was a club where you could play Wii and Xbox, but seriously, why would your kid come all the way from America just to play Wii :/
Fortunately, the weather was still nice, middle 80's, so the pool was a nice option.

Apart from that, we just rested, tried to defeat sea sickness, and relax (kind of boring for kids).

miércoles, 27 de junio de 2012

Day 2

4rd Day Puerto Montt- Christmas Eve
5th Day At Sea
6th Day At Sea (Straight of Magellan)
7th Day Punta Arenas
8th Day Ushuaia
9th Day At Sea
10th Day At Sea
11th Day Puerto Madryn
New Years Eve
12th Day At Sea
13th Day Punta del Este
14th Day Montevideo
15th Day Buenos Aires
2nd Day in BA and flight back to Mexico

Well after a bad night of seasickness of my kids, we got to La Serena, Coquimbo.

 First of all we had breakfast, and after that we decided to descend to La Serena, well practictly is Coquimbo but the nice city is La Serena, like New Jersey and NYC lol.
 When we arrived at the port we went to the exit were bunch of taxis were and for 20 dollars per hour we made a city tour, to different points of the city. The church, the center, the little market, there was not too much too see, but well we finish up in 3 hours, for 60 dollars, and Celebrity was giving the same excursion for 45 dollars each person, but well they have a professional tour guide, but personally I will save the money for other parts.

The principal attraction


The "adult" pool (On the cold sea days, expect kids)

If you ask me I would not go to La Serena. Some cruises offer Port Stanley instead of this small place. So enjoy the nice hot weather and stay by the pool, which was kind of cold when we came back (or the jacuzzis) 
The worst part of this day was leaving the port, not because we liked the city, but because of the movement of the ship. We all felt bad, took pills, chocolate and nothing! 
So I wouldn't imagine feeling like this the whole trip.

martes, 26 de junio de 2012

1st Day

4rd Day Puerto Montt- Christmas Eve
5th Day At Sea
6th Day At Sea (Straight of Magellan)
7th Day Punta Arenas
8th Day Ushuaia
9th Day At Sea
10th Day At Sea
11th Day Puerto Madryn
New Years Eve
12th Day At Sea
13th Day Punta del Este
14th Day Montevideo
15th Day Buenos Aires
2nd Day in BA and flight back to Mexico

To start I arrived like at 4:00 p.m., so I had the "luck" to be escorted to my room.
 And I had quite a surprise when I entered my room , I thought it was going to be super small and it was a little more longer, and it was the smallest room category with a balcony. After that I went to make a tour of the ship.

Wow!, was the only word that came into my mind. The Infinity is very big but still not overcrowded as some of the Royal Caribbean Cruises. At first, like everyone else,  I got lost and to be honest it was so tiring to go from one point to the opposite one, but we finally we did it and in a few word its a very good ship and Celebrity is an excellent cruise line.
And after touring the ship around we had the typically drill and then the cruise ship left Valparaiso. And I don't know if it's because we were on the Pacific Ocean, but right away you could feel the ship moving A LOT! So we hit the room early and went to sleep

lunes, 25 de junio de 2012

Celebrity Cruise Intro/Arriving at Chile

3rd Day At Sea
4rd Day Puerto Montt- Christmas Eve
5th Day At Sea
6th Day At Sea (Straight of Magellan)
7th Day Punta Arenas
8th Day Ushuaia
9th Day At Sea
10th Day At Sea
11th Day Puerto Madryn
New Years Eve
12th Day At Sea
13th Day Punta del Este
14th Day Montevideo
15th Day Buenos Aires
2nd Day in BA and flight back to Mexico


A couple of years ago I took a cruise from Chile to Buenos Aires through Cape Horn with Celebrity Cruises. I also blogged about it but in a very simple way.
So I'm changing some stuff and putting it all on my blog

Arriving at Chile

After arriving from an 8 hour flight I arrived at Chile.
The bad thing was that they received us with another hour just to pay a tax for Mexicans, U.S., Canada and Australia citizens. After that I met with some friends that they just moved there, and they took us to the hotel (you can check my reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/members-reviews/charal95).

I stayed 3 days at Santiago. I went to the Turistik in the mall, and took a tour in the city, we also went to the Cerro San Cristobal. We also want it to go to a Viña (Vineyard ) but we didn't have reservations 

Well the 3 days passed fast and Im sad because Santiago is a beautifull clean city.

On the last day we went to Valparaiso, (I notice something in Chiles ports, that they have the port city and next to it a nicer city: Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, Coquimbo and La Serena)
We only went to Viña to the beach and to eat and after that we went to the cruise, when we get in Valparaiso it looks like a insecure city and also a not world heritage. When we get to the port we did the fast check in (oh if you were Captains Club you need it to wait more) and then boarded a bus and finally to the ship.

For all the info about the ship wait for my next days.

jueves, 14 de junio de 2012

Analysis: US Airways merge with American Airlines

Last year I was actually pretty excited about the merge of United and Continental, but little did I knew that mergers do affect travelers' economy... A LOT!
Flights that were 330 USD (almost all the time) went to 550 USD.
Now a flight that was 380 USD from Mexico City to Houston (2 hours) is now over 650 USD!!

So I'm totally against this merger,
Yes it would save thousands of jobs, although many jobs including those at US Airways will be lost.
And I wouldn't imagine in just 4 mayor airlines (UA,DL,SW,US Air).
Of course prices will be higher, and not only from US Airways but from the others too.

And of course I would feel bad for OneWorld, that if this merger would go on, it would lose the only North-American carrier and one of its most important members.

So this just means

*Higher prices
*Less flight options
*Less award-flight availability
*Lost of US Airways jobs.

Do you think the merger should happen?
Do you think that one of the current airlines can become one of the big main airlines? Which one?

Airport Review/Guide: Denver International Airport

As something new I decided to create airport reviews. I do reviews for hotels, attractions, restaurants, so why not review airports?

To start off, Denver International Airport or locally known as DIA is very different than any airport in the U.S. The check in, TSA check -point and baggage claim of all airlines is located in one medium size terminal: Jeppesen Terminal.

Here you can find Rental Car options, restaurants, etc...
And here is where you have to arrive to do the check in and to be picked up.
United is the main airline here, Southwest and Frontier are also the big bosses.
United offers plenty of room to check in with almost no-wait at all even if you fly in coach.

One of the great features is that in the TSA checkpoint there is a Pre-Clear line plus a Business/First Class/Premier line, which saved me at least 15 minutes.

After the TSA checkpoint you can proceed to your terminal.
You can walk or take the train if using terminal A.
And you must take the train (ONLY OPTION) to go to terminal C and B(United and US Airways only).

Of course I just visited terminal B, which is huge. And thankfully there are two well located United Clubs. But apart from that there aren't too many options. The only shops are the typically airport stores but it does have a lot of restaurants but only one Starbucks and it's not in the middle of the terminal.

This airport is good to say the least. Although because you do have to take the small train and walk a bit more, I would arrive at the airport at least 1 hour and 15 minutes before the flight. 

But most important, it offers one thing that I think we all look at an airport:

(although it didn't worked on mobile devices)

FOOD: 4.5
SHOPS: 3.7
"WALKING"(the least, the better): 3.7

jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

A day in Denver and an adventure with Greyhound

During my vacations in Vail, CO, I had the opportunity to spend a day in Denver and it was amazing.
I visited the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado Capitol, the Denver Botanic Gardens and even the Cherry Creek Mall.

Here are just some of my thoughts about the city
* Fantastic atmosphere, people are very nice
* Although is a medium city, it has a lot of parks, little pollution and a good weather (except on Winter).
* The Denver Art Museum is a must, is one of the best Art museums in the country
*The  Denver Botanic Gardens are beautiful and huge. I'm not sure how nice they are during winter, but if you are in the city try to visit.

* The Colorado Capitol is a very nice building but the best thing is that there is almost no limits in where to go. You can even knock the governor's office door and watch the Senate Sessions.
* If you want to go shopping, then Cherry Creek Mall is the answer.

Denver might not be a huge city but it sure is a nice city with a lot of things to do. So if you have a long layover or happen to be here, visit this city.

My experience with Greyhound

I have been to several countries using several airlines, from Lufthansa to Cubana (the world's most dangerous airline). I have never taken a bus in another country apart from Mexico, but I have taken the Amtrak Train and the SBB train in Switzerland.

Prior to my small trip with Greyhound I heard really bad comments. But the reality is that the company is not that bad, it's their passengers.
On the first journey, the bus departed on time, arrived on time and practically everything was fine.
On the second journey everything was different.

Because the Denver public transportation bus arrived 10 minutes late, I almost didn't make it, I did not even had a ticket and it was already 7:05 and the bus was schedule to depart at 7:00. And when I asked the person in the front of the ticket line, if I could be first because my bus was leaving (almost crying) he just said no.
Fortunately, the 2nd person in line did let me in, and because of Karma, God or luck I obtained my ticket first than the "nice" guy in front of me.

On board the bus, the only problem I had was the lady next to me. Apart that she had her feet uncovered almost touching me, she was swearing/talking to the seat in front.

And btw this was a comment from another passenger:
"Wow, this station is the same like an airport"

I don't know to which airport he has been to, but not even the ugly Argentinian airports look like this.

miércoles, 23 de mayo de 2012

New Flight to Tokyo

As reported yesterday by USA TODAY, United will be flying next March their new dream liners from Denver hub to Tokyo.

This route is not the only one that United will have using their new dreamliner. Earlier on the year United also announced their route Houston to Auckland, New Zealand.

lunes, 21 de mayo de 2012

Long layover in LAX?

When trying to find a cheap flight it's almost impossible to fly non-stop so you do have to have a layover, usually a long layover.

Last weekend I flew from Mexico City to Denver via LAX with a 5 hour layover! It is a long layover but there are definitely longer.
Many people did recommend me to go to Santa Monica or Venice Beach, but that would cost me about 50-70 USD in a roundtrip taxi, and a shuttle would take a lot of time. And I don't think it's smart for people that take this cheap flights save 100 dollars and then spend them on a taxi.

So I decided to stay, so what should you do if you want to stay at LAX?
If you are a bit hungry you should definitely go to Encounter.
Remember that strange building at the middle of the airport? Well, that's a restaurant.

The food is ok, the service is good and to be honest the prices are a bit high but do remember it's an airport restaurant.
So what is the special thing about this restaurant?
You are able to see tons of airplanes arriving and departing LAX and time just flies by.

You can also check out the several new stores that will open in this year.  Specially in Terminal 7 and 8 and you can find a Food Court at TBIT,

martes, 1 de mayo de 2012

New TV show coming! And you can win!

It's always nice to see a TV show of something you like, and more if it's a competition ... and even more if YOU CAN WIN.

Bravo TV (yes, the same of the Real Housewives) has announced that starting on May 9th a new show will be on air.
Each week, through their website a map of the U.S. will appear and each time someone uses the # on Twitter (#80plateschallenge) the map will zoom in.
After the location is finally revealed, competitors will have to leg it. The first person to find them in an Infinity car's windshield, wins them. 

So it's not the typically competition but it's sure creative.

For more visit:

sábado, 10 de marzo de 2012

A big thanks

I just want to say thanks, to all the people that have seen my reviews. I hope I can get to the 100,000 views

jueves, 26 de enero de 2012

New American Airlines 777-300

I know that I just blog about my trips, but I found the new AA design to be quite elegant and really nice so take a look

Really nice design but it somehows doesn't looks 100% fresh and new

It looks good, and better taking in comparison that it's American, but for me it's kind of senior (less cool) design of the Air New Zealand premium economy.

jueves, 12 de enero de 2012

IX A day in Cancun

I Introduction

Well after waiting a lot for my bags I decided to take a shuttle to take us to the hotel.

And the hotel is just awesome here is part of my review, to see the rest go

to http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150807-d209428-r122896236-JW_Marriott_Cancun_Resort_and_Spa-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

This hotel is great and it's one of the best in Cancun. Right below I'll write my review in separate parts.

Check in/Check out

As soon as I arrived I was asked my last name and the whole check in process was a breeze. Just 2 minutes after I arrived I was already going to my room. The actual check out process was kind of slow because of all the people doing the same thing. But it did took 20 minutes for a bell boy to get to my room
4.6 points out of 5

Although the size is average, the room is beautiful. It might not have some details and extras as some of the others 5 star hotels around the world, but it's great. I was apparently upgraded to a room with a better view but I was just in high floor and the view was nice. The bed is really comfortable but the sofa bed is not great. The tv offers several channels but the movies on demand option did not worked. There is also a nice desk where you can connect your computer to the internet (16 USD per day, a bit expensive). The bathroom is just beautiful but the door has some glass so you can see from the outside everything that is inside.
The room is great but there is something missing from other 5 star hotels rooms
4.7 points

Service was always good sometimes even excellent, but in a 5 star hotel service needs to always be excellent. What I really appreciated is that whenever I went to the front desk or called them, or even sometimes when at the restaurant, is that I was addressed by my last name, and it is a big plus, specially because not a lot of hotels in Mexico do that. I never had any problem with any of the employee, they were all very courteous and provided me a very good service. The only 2 small complaints that I had were: Because I was during a very busy week (between Christmas and New Years) the hotel was almost full and the service at the bars at the pool was slow, it was just that there was only one person preparing 20 drinks at once.
The other complaint is that I did not received a turndown service and there was one, and just to remind everyone, this is a must for a 5 star hotel.
Oh and of course, that it took 20 minutes for a bellboy to get to my room

It's not the best but it's not bad. Although the Cancun Strip is extremely long most of the Shopping Malls, nightclubs and restaurants are between the 13th km and the 9th km. The hotel is located in the 14.5 km so is not that bad. If you are staying here is probably because you are not on a budget, so if you take a taxi from the hotel (only vans and Suburbans) it will cost about 100-150 pesos to that zone (for me as Mexican, that's very expensive), so if you want to save some bucks, just ...

24 hours in Cancun.

Cancun is a great place but it doesn't really feels Mexican, which can be good or bad. Personally I think Cancun is much more American than Puerto Rico. It's very expensive, comparing it to other Mexican cities and everybody speaks english, use dollar, etc..

I've been to Cancun several times before, so this time apart from going to La Isla Shopping Mall, which is the best Shopping Mall in Cancun I spent the whole day relaxing at the beautiful white beach. After all the stress that CUBANA caused I was happy to be just sitting at the beach with a beautiful view.

Cancun v.s. Varadero?

Many people try to decide wether to go to Cancun or Varadero for Winter Break. Both of them have pros and cons. If you of course are the typically "business" pro-capitalism person you will prefer Cancun. The medium city in Mexico offers great beaches and endless options of lodging wether is All inclusive or not. You will also find many options for shopping, good restaurants and nightclubs.

In Varadero is very different. 99% of the hotels are all-inclusive, in my opinion their beaches weren't as I expected and although you might find several restaurants there are not a lot of options for Shopping or nightclubs. But it does offer a more relaxing experience. You will not find Americans everywhere which for some people can be good.

Flight to Mexico City.

My flight, again with Volaris was not great. It was delayed 1 hour and I had to wait 45 minutes for my bags to come. But they are a good airline.

martes, 10 de enero de 2012

VIII Day 4 and return to La Havana/Flight to Cancun

I Introduction

So as soon as we woke up, we went directly and had our final buffet breakfast!!. After we called for bell-boys to help us with our luggage and in less than 10 minutes they came in a golf-cart and took us to the lobby.
Check out was a breeze and then we waited for our driver. He was supposed to be at 9:00 but we didn't saw anyone until at 9:15 a young man approached to us and asked if we were the family going to Havana Airport.
This time it wasn't a Hyundai, it was a smaller one a Geely. This time the average speed was 100 km/hr but all of a sudden the AC stopped working. So there we were in a hot 25 C "humid" day with no AC.
We arrived at Havana about in just 1 hour and 25 minutes, and we still had 2 hours and 20 minutes for our obviously late flight so we decided to go to the Cafe Escorial to see if we could buy and take some of the delicious chocolates they offer.
But when we arrived there disappeared, no more chocolates :(.
So back to the car, the driver told us that the airport was about 15 minutes away but no, our flight was leaving in 2 hours and 10 minutes and there was a lot of traffic to the airport.
I know that it was probably not responsible for us to take a small detour but the good thing is that we mad it to the airport.

At the Cubana check-in counter we had a quite funny conversation with the old person doing the check in ago

Me: "Escuse me, can I take this Run bottle on-board"
Cubana agent: "I think so"
Me: "But are you sure"
Cubana agent: "Well, they even sell those near the gates, so I think you can bring them"

At this moment we were just lost

Me: "Well but that doesn't matter, if they sell rum after security or not"
Cubana "If they sell liquids after Security then why people can't bring them into the plane"
Me :"Because you can cause an explosion"
Ups, I probably said the word I shouldn't say at an airport but I did
Cubana agent "What? what kind of person would bring an explosive and kill himself"
Me: "Well.. many people but it's fine I'll not take it on-board. The thing is that in the U.S. and in Mexico they don't aloud this"
Cubana agent: "Why? I don't understand, do Mexicans do that only because they are near the U.S.?
Me: "Europeans airports also do it...."

So we just decided to put the Rum in my checked bag.
At Cuba, you have to pass through exit "customs" in which you have to pay 25 CUC per person. Then we had 1 full hour, well actually 2 hours because... surprise! our flight was delayed.
Near our gate there was only one "Duty Free" store, and 2 "cafeterias".
There is also a very small "VIP" lounge.

We finally took off and had a really bad flight and it was only 1 hour long.
First the crew was extremely rude and second... well it was just a bad flight but we got to Cancun pretty fast.

This was my first time arriving at Mexico from an international flight, at a different airport than Mexico City. I arrived at the international terminal which 99% it was full of Brits, Americans, Canadians, Cubans, Latin Americans, etc..
But there were very few Mexicans, so immigration just took 10 seconds. But guess what? I was coming from Cuba, and all bags coming from Cuba are opened and searched by the Mexican Navy. So we had to wait more than 1 hour.

1 hour delay
1 hour flight
1 hour of waiting for bags
What a trip!

domingo, 1 de enero de 2012

VII Day 2 and 3 in Varadero (including Xmas Eve)

I Introduction

Day 2 in Varadero

So because there is basically only 3 things to do in Varadero (chill at the pool, go to the "town, or book an activity) we decided to book an excursion with Sunwing.
We did the reservation with Sunwing, but I'm pretty sure any guest can book an expedition with them. From the 7-8 options we had, we chose the Catamaran Experience, which apparently, along with the Havana Tour, is the most popular excursion.

I've been to other catamarans but I kind of liked a bit more this catamaran than others.
All catamarans (the ship itself) are almost the same, they will offer snacks, music, a net were you can be, but what makes a catamaran different than the others, is where it stops (snorkel, etc..) and the service.
The service was ok/good, but the only "entertainment" they gave, which was basically put everyone to dance, was... just vulgar and not appropriate for well... everyone that is not horny or is not between the ages of 21-29 .
But I have to say that the rest of the trip was very good. We first stop and did some snorkel, but they did not had a lot of snorkel equipment and by the time we were on the water, they were already telling us to get out of the water.
The stop at the dolphinarium was awesome and we also had about 1 hour and a half to rest on a beautiful warm white beach, were we had a pretty good lunch.
The full trip ended at around 5:00 p.m. and it was pretty refreshing from being all day on a resort

Then we went and changed clothes (prepare) for the Christmas Eve dinner. Although it was on the buffet restaurant, they added some special stuff, like turkey and lobster. The dinner was fine but nothing special.
The only music there was, was a group of violins from 9:30 to 10:30 and after that there was nothing to do but to be on your room or at the lobby.

Day 3 in Varadero (Christmas Day!)
After a long night of sleep and our typical breakfast, we decided to start our day outside of the hotel.
Our original plan was to chill by the beach and then go to the small town, but it was raining! Although it wasn't that bad, it's not that comfortable being on the beach while raining.
This time, instead of taking a very expensive taxi, we took the typical double decker red bus which is only 5 CUC per person and you can use it the whole day.
We first stop at the only "Shopping Mall" the "Las Americas" Mall. Of course we knew this wasn't going to be the typical American mall, but there was just a supermarket, 3 clothing stores, a souvenir store and a coffee shop.
So unless you need some average clothes, do not come here.

Later we took the the bus to the 49th Street where you can find so many souvenirs, cuban music, artwork, etc.. But to be honest I thought the city would be bigger.
Then we went back to our hotel, had lunch and just about we were going to the beach (it wasn't raining) it started raining and temperature went down.
So we got some rest and packed the bags.