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.