American Holiday Search
Below are some of our staff comments on different places they've visited in the the U.S. and afar.  These are real reviews from our travel experts, what more could you want?
Super Fam Trip to Las Vegas, Sept, 2012
Hi Everyone, just wanted to throw an email around with some tips for Las Vegas :)
First thing is the Monorail which goes from Stratosphere/Sahara all the way to MGM with a stop at the Imperial Palace/Harrah's along the way. There is a monorail every 6 minutes until Midnight during the week and until 3am at the weekend. It's $5 each trip, $12 for a 24 hour ticket or $25 for a week ticket so if clients are down past Encore anywhere it's the best way to get to and from the strip without having to taxi it.
Second, HAT Marketing were very kind and gave me a complimentary Hot Air Balloon ride and I have to say it was one of the best experiences!! It's a 5am start but they bring you off to a Starbucks before you get started and they involve you in everything in setting up the equipment and giving you all the ins and outs of Ballooning which I didn't think would be that interesting at 6am but was fantastic. We went up to 4000 ft about sea level and the views were only stunning!! I know it can seem a bit expensive to clients when you give them the price but do just explain that it is probably something you will only experience the once and is something they will never forget. Plus they get a champagne breakfast when you land :)
I know this one might seem silly but considering CSI is the most watched television series in the world, I really think we should recommend the CSI Experience at MGM to our clients. As you've probably seen from my pics, I did it and it was so worth the $18 it costs. It lasts about a half an hour (or however long it takes you to solve the crime) and gives more of a look into forensics aside from the glamorized version you see on TV. It's open from 9am to 7pm every day and you can go in pretty much any time and you get your photo taken at the end.
I don't usually recommend restaurants in Las Vegas because there is so much to choose from but Benihana in the Las Vegas Hotel was an experience and has a fantastic reputation in Vegas as being one of the best restaurants. It is a Japanese Hibatchi restaurant which I admit I wasn't really looking forward to but I said I'd embrace the experience and try the sushi etc and it was absolutely fabulous. For those who haven't been to a Hibatchi restaurant before, it's where the chef comes out and cooks your table's meal on the table and puts on a performance and mine was superb.
Amazing trip to New York and Washington DC, July, 2012
Hi All, just a quick email with some news & tips from mine and Lisa's recent trip to the states.
We stayed at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central - right opposite Grand Central Station. Great rooms, two big comfy beds and spacious! Lovely bar with a great atmosphere which is unusual for a New York hotel.They have a outdoor area which was gorgeous to sit out and have a drink (esp in the July heat!) It was extremely popular with the locals each evening.
Anytime I've been before, none of the previous hotels I had stayed at had a decent bar so definitely a plus for the Grand Central (the Irish ppl love it, its a typical Irish themed bar but not tacky!) Location wise its on east 44th St so took about 15 minutes to walk to times square. Had breakfast at the Fitzpatrick Manhattan (seen Heidi Klum!) again lovely hotel, bit more contemporary than the Grand Central. (two properties are 15 min walk from each other) The Manhattan have a cocktail bar which looked pretty cool.
We did the usual sites, Empire State Building, Central Park (which was a first for me after my fourth trip to NYC!) Times Square etc... We seen Jersey Boys on broadway which was AMAZING. Both of us really enjoyed it. We got tickets at the half price TKTS place in times square and paid $64 each which was 50% off what we would have paid if we purchased them at the hotel. Just to let customers know the tickets they sell for half price is for that day, so if your clients want to go to see a show say on the Monday, they need to visit the TKTS desk in the middle of times square (they wont miss it) on the afternoon of the show. It opens from 2pm.
I have also attached a list of recommended restaurants if any clients are looking for somewhere nice to eat whilst in New York.
We then took the Amtrak to Washington DC which we had prebooked. A tip to anyone taking the train, its like London where as the tickets go up in price the nearer you book them. When we initially looked at the train they were about $80 return each and when we booked them a few days later we paid $120. The train was really enjoyable, very comfortable and efficient. Much easier than flying having to go through security etc. Would highly recommend it.
We stayed at the Dupoint Circle hotel which we have on direct contract, location wise it is brilliant. Quite modern, very friendly staff and concierge at the hotel. Again, great bar, very popular with locals. We were there at the weekend and it was packed every night, mainly locals. Starbucks is directly across from the hotel which was handy for breakfast. Everything is on your doorstep at this hotel, its a short 5 minute walk to the nearest metro station which the best way to get around in DC and we used it everyday. It goes as far out as Arlington Cemetery which is another must when visiting DC. I would definitely recommend 2-3 nights in Washington, particularly now with United direct flight which connects with our main destinations. It has something for everyone - families, couples etc.
The first day we arrived we had organised the bike and roll tour of the monuments and it is without a doubt a must when visiting DC. I had been before and done a hop off, hop on bus tour and the bike tour was hands down 100% better. The guide was so informative, a local who gave us such an in dept tour of each monument (eg: The National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial) We got to see where Martin Luther King gave his 'I have a dream speech' - I wouldn't be a big history fan but I found it so interesting and really enjoyed it. Please please please get people to book this tour, its loaded in travel box, they wont be disappointed!
Finally we visited the Newseum in DC. It was one of my favourite places we visited, easily the best museum I've been to. It has 6 floors with a lot of information and exhibits that cover journalism, history, newscasts, newspapers, government, freedom of the press, etc. It features pieces of the real Berlin Wall, one of the antennas of the fallen World Trade Centres, lots of famous front pages dating back almost a century, FBI exhibit, Pulitzer prize-winning photographs, and many short documentaries on various topics shown in many little theatres. It also features a terrace over viewing Pennsylvania Ave with a great opportunity to take pictures of the US Capitol, you can easily spend an entire day here. Loved it!
Tracy's exciting trip to New York, Nov 2012.
Hi All, my name is Tracy. I went to New York for the first time last week, not only my first time in NYC but my first time in America! It&rsquos crazy I know :D
We flew direct with delta into JFK which was approx 6hr 45mins on the flight, not all of us got upgraded to business class but did get to sit at the front in the exit seat, and have to say it made all the difference. The in-flight entertainment was also a bonus, from old movies to up to date movies to choose from which passed the time and did not feel I was on the flight for all those hours.
When we touched down in JFK we where met with the transfer company, which was standing right outside the aircrafts door, she brought us to collect our bags and off we went.  With the traffic it took us about 1hr 10mins to get to our hotel that we where staying in. (Millenium Hilton), this hotel was really nice 3-4star max I would class it. We were all sharing with one other person but the rooms where spacious and very modern and the views where really nice.
We checked in, dropped our bags and out shopping we went :-) Straight to Times Square were we went to Macys, and where I found MAC stand. After going around there for a while we went back to hotel and needed to get on the sub for that, I would recommend the sub for people in groups, put personally would go on it on my own.
Next day it was Thanks given, all shops where closed, so we decided to go on a cruise tour, on this tour we got to see the statue of liberty, queens, long island and what I thought was cool was to see where they got there inspiration to make friends the TV program. The cruise went on for 3hrs and have to say was good but very long.  On the same day we went to see a new hotel that just opened "The Out Hotel" which is a gay hotel (straight friendly) this was the nicest hotel I&rsquove ever seen, ,its only open since Feb 2012 and has features that I have never seen before for example a "chill out area" that has real grass and bean bag chairs where a drop down screen is and people can watch movies.
The next day was Black Friday and OH MY GOD it was crazy, people Q'ing up from the day before to get into these shops. We decided that we would not waste the whole day shopping so we went to see Louis Armstrong&rsquos house and a couple of museums which we really enjoyed.. We decided to go shopping again later that day, where we spent our lively hoods, but was well worth it as they are nearly half the price over there than here, so a real saving. We flew home with delta direct again that day.
Emily's exciting trip to Las Vegas, Feb 2012.
Flew out 21st Feb with Continental through Newark. We went to Jersey Gardens while there. I've done Woodbury Common a few times so I really wanted to see how they compared. The bus leaves every half an hour and takes 10 minutes to the mall, $9 return. Your bags go through from Dublin so you don't need to bring your luggage with you but for people who maybe have an internal with a different carrier who have to check in and out there are lockers in Newark where you can leave your cases. Please note you have to come back through security when you come back in to the airport and if you have liquids etc that you bought in Dublin on the way out they will only let you take them through if they are under 100mls even if the bag is sealed. Luckily I only bought a lipgloss on the way out but one of the girls bought Clarins cleanser and self tan that cost 60 Euros and they confiscated them from her because they were over 100ml bottles even though the bag was still sealed! Rager!
So I loved Jersey Gardens, its very different to Woodbury Common in that its an indoor mall with 2 levels. Its huge and has Hollister, Lucky brand, Abercrombie & Old Navy which I don't think Woodbury have (its a while since I was there so more stores may have been added) as well as the usual Nine West, Gap, Victorias Secret, Guess, Converse etc etc. Although we were tired having something to do kept us going, we had access to the lounge in Newark but theres only so much cheese and crackers you can sit eating waiting for a flight :)
After flying on to Vegas, arriving at 8:30 pm local time we had a limo transfer to the Treasure Island with a handsome young man, this perked us all up :)) Driving down the Strip for the first time was great, picking out all the hotels I've been selling so long, finally putting faces to the names. We stayed in the Treasure Island, all had our own rooms and they were lovely, really spacious in neutral creams & browns with a big bathroom. I had 2 double beds, tv, safe, alarm clock etc.
Next morning red eyed but enthusiastic we hit the Cosmopolitan for breakfast & it was the nicest I've ever had. The buffet area has everything you could want - eggs every way, cereal, fruit, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, juices, teas, coffees, desserts etc.  The Cosmopolitan is, as the name says, contemporary and cool and has an amazing holographic library in the lobby, I guess this is as close to a library as you will get in Vegas ) The hotel was full so we couldn't see any rooms. Loved the common areas, restaurants etc though.
Next were the Aria & Vdara and the rooms we saw here were just beautiful, huge corner suites with amazing views. I actually preferred the Vdara though as its smaller while still being modern & contemporary. It only has 2 restaurants & one bar but of course you can walk over to the Aria anytime.
Then onto the Bellagio, they are renovating some of their rooms & had 3 colour schemes to show us, green & purple, blue and neutral browns/creams. Again I have photos of these. My favourite was the lakeview suite though, which although it hasn't been renovated doesn't need to be in my opinion, it has front and side facing windows and the front overlooks the famous Bellagio fountains & the Paris Hotel across the road...stunning :)
Next was the Venetian & Palazzo...wow! LOVED these hotels. Bear in mind ALL rooms in these properties are suites so you have a bedroom area and then step down into your living area so they are really spacious with lovely big bathrooms too. I loved the Italian styled architecture, standing in St Marks Square was like being in Italy, and the gondoliers were going by singing to their passengers in the gondolas :)  (Note the Venetian have a 5th night free at different dates this year which is brilliant value)
After lunch it was on to the Graceland Chapel where I met Elvis and Tryphavna got married for about the 5th time :) It wouldn't be my choice of place to get hitched as I found it funny & a bit tacky so think it would be hard for me to concetrate on something as serious as getting married here. But Jon Bon Jovi did it & has renewed his vows twice there since! So different strokes for different folks :) We went to the Special Memory Chapel as well, which will it was a nicer chapel, had a rather poor Elvis inhouse - again I have photos so you can all compare who you think did it best.
Then to my favourite hotel of them all - the Wynn. It took my breath away. Stunning in every way - flowers, lights, music, decor, just beautiful, it would be my choice of the hotels I've seen so far. The Encore at the Wynn is beautiful too - the suites were bigger than my house, and we saw where Beyonce & Jay Z stay when they're in town :)
Back to the Treasure Island then to see the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere. While I thought the performers were outstanding, I did get a little bored after a  while but this might have been because we were all really exhausted at this point.
Next day we went to the Vegas outlet mall for 2 hours. Great shopping here - for example a pair of Steve Madden black leather boots for FORTY dollars!! I should have got 2 pairs :)
Then we came back to see the Paris and Harrahs. We couldn't see rooms here but the Paris really surprised me, its beautiful and the rooftop bar is across the road from the Bellagio fountains so you can sit up with a cocktail and watch from across the road. Their restaurant is quite popular too. Harrahs we didn't see much of as we just met here for lunch, but I thought it was a bit tacky, I only saw the casino and one of their burger restaurants though.
Last on the itinerary was to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian, stunning theatre and brilliant performance. I had seen it on Broadway 3 years ago so it was nice to see it again and in Vegas there are no intervals which I thought was better as the show is only an hour and a half anyway and playing straight through keeps the story/atmosphere going.
We flew home via Newark again and there was only a few hours wait this time so we went to MAC, Guess and then to the lounge for a review of the mad few days.
Personally I didn't like the casinos, I thought they took away from the beautiful surroundings & were a bit tacky but you can't have Vegas without the casinos :)  I had an idea in my head it would be a dirty city with groups of stags falling around the streets but I've never seen such a pristine place, everything is kept perfectly. Its a mix of funky, lively, classy and cosmopolitan with a lot of "beautiful people" hanging round looking gorgeous :)
Lorna's fabulous trip to Las Vegas, March 2012.
Just back from the most wonderful trip to Las Vegas.  As we had some spare time in Newark on our way over we took the short shuttle service over to Jersey Gardens for a bit of shopping - ideal opportunity to sample this shoppers paradise if the time allows!  We arrived intoLas Vegas at night time so the strip was lit up in all its glory.  Stayed at the Treasure Island hotel on the strip - a great hotel within walking distance of all of the most popular strip attractions and of course more shopping malls....we sampled their signature evening show 'Sirens of TI' and there is a really fun 'wild west' themed bar called Gilleys in the hotel, complete with bucking bronco!  We spent our days exploring the various hotels on the strip and the world famous wedding chapels, and saw some incredible shows at night including 'Phantom' at the Venetian which we were lucky enough to see as this show is finishing its run later this year, so if you are considering a trip to Vegas this year make sure you catch it before the curtain closes for good!  With so much to do and see and a surprise around every corner, Las Vegas is just as exciting as ever.  I am already planning my next trip over!  Lorna'
Direct Number: 021-2427722
Jennifers magical trip to Palm Beach December 2011 trip.
If you are wondering why I am sitting all depressed at my desk - its because I am missing Palm Beach!!!! Just returned from such a wonderful fam trip so I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you all.
Flew on Virgin from LHR to Miami - although we did not get upgraded we got extra leg room seats (£30 for people to upgrade at airport - well worth it!) - flight was seamless - great service and food!!! I watched The Help and cried quite a bit! Arrived in Miami and we had a transfer to Palm Beach which is North of Miami - approx 1 hr 30 mins. So I didnt know much about Palm Beach prior to the trip - well actually I knew nothing about it at all - it is in our Florida brochure page - 57!!!!
Palm Beach makes Beverly Hills look like the Ghetto!! It is absolutely fabulous! Very wealthy area - there is more Billionaires in Palm Beach than any other area in the USA! The beaches are gorgeous - golden sandy beaches, lovely restaurants and bars and great shopping.  I think this would be the perfect place for our clients who want a twin centre holiday or perhaps as an alternative to Fort Lauderdale pre or post cruise.  This is a big Golf Destination too.
For all the single ladies - If you are looking for a Sugar Grandad - it is also the place to go !!! All the men seems to be about 90 and married to 20 year olds! Palm Beach is definitely for older people - if you are looking for a crazy night out - its not the place for you.  But if you are looking for an amazing hotel to relax and sun bath or enjoy a spa - it is the place to go!  All of the hotels feature world renowned spas with really good deals.  The area is so pretty - there are no chain restaurants in Palm Beach as they feel it would cheapen the area so all the shops and restaurants are really unique with a boutique feel.  Rod Stewart, Donald Trump to name a few are resident here!
We also visited West Palm Beach - which is just a short drive away (about 10 mins!) West Palm Beach was much younger and trendier - I would love to holiday there! Hotels are alot more affordable too - Hyatt Place was really nice :), Shops were really good and great atmosphere about the place - reminded me a lot of Pasadena in LA.
Delray Beach was probably my favourite place that we went too - its a small Seaside town - about 20 mins from Palm Beach - just one main street dotted with Shops, restaurants and bars - they had Florida's Largest Christmas Tree.  The Intra Coastal waterways flows through it - so we sailed up it on a private yacht (locally you only pay $20!) and have lunch onboard and see all the amazing homes.  Great night life here too!!!!
Our last stop was Boca Raton - we stayed in the Boca Raton Beach Resort - all I can say is WOWSER!!!!!! The hotel is just amazing - super trendy - Shopping is great here too! - check out the website - http://www.bocaresort.com/ As I mentioned I knew nothing about Palm Beach - but I will definitely be recommended to all our clients.
Kathleen's inspirational trip to South Carolina November 2011 trip.
This Novemeber, I was chosen to visit South Carolina in the South of the USA. Although I had known it was famous for it&rsquos incredible beaches, history & Southern Charm - to experience these all first hand was just amazing.
We started our trip flying to Savannah Georgia where we picked up our rental car from Alamo. We had a large jeep which was a great size vehicle for the large US roads. We then travelled into the South Carolina State and within an hour we reached the first of our stops, Hilton Head Island. The drive from the airport was very easy and watching the sunset over the swaps was just amazing. I was snapping away on my camera like crazy! (luckily I wasn&rsquot the driver!!)
We stayed in the Marriott Hotel which was situated on the beach. The staff were incredible and were always on call if you needed a helping hand. Our room was huge and we had a sea view and a large balcony. The next morning we awoke to the most breath taking sunrise. It was just incredible.
Hilton Head Island is a very relaxed, low key area. Perfect for those who want a more low key holiday. They are very nature conscious and the island doesn&rsquot have any street lights. It&rsquos a beautiful place, with incredible food. I had some of the best shrimp I have ever tasted. While your here, make sure to sample some of the local Southern Cuisine. I recommend Hush Puppies which were very very tasty!
We then hit the high road and headed for Charleston. Charleston, without a doubt is the prettiest city I have ever been in. I fell in love with it&rsquos cobbled streets, old colonial mansions and it&rsquos strong Southern Charm. We spent our time, on a must do horse & carriage tour which takes you around the city and explains the history of Charleston & it&rsquos gorgeous colonial homes. We also visited the Middleton Place Plantation & the Boone Hall Plantation. To see these big plantation houses and gorgeous landscaped grounds was just amazing. We even seen a wild alligator in Middleton Place! Charleston is full of life, the food the people & the pubs were all great fun. It&rsquos a water front city so there is lots to do out on the water too. A walk around the waterfront is very enjoyable with it&rsquos shaded parks, colonial houses and gorgeous weather. In Charleston we stayed in the Marriott Hotel.
After our two days in Charleston, we headed further north up to Myrtle Beach. En route we stopped at Brookegreen Gardens & Huntington Beach which were incredible. The gardens are home to incredible sculptures, flowers & even a zoo. A few minutes away, Huntington Beach lies where you cross a swamp to enter. You can alligator watch or chill out on the perfect white sandy beach that just seems to go on forever. There are lots of picnic areas here to & we even saw a family setting up for a big BBQ!
On arrival to Myrtle Beach, we stayed in the Hilton Kingston Plantation. The hotel was very nice and situated right on the 60 mile Myrtle Beach!
Myrtle Beach is a very family orientated resort, full of lots of things for kids and families to do! From nascar racing to water parks and live nightly shows, the city is designed for it&rsquos guests to have fun! We took a trip on the Myrtle Beach Skywheel which was great fun. It was the nicest day & we had views for miles around. We also attended the Legends Show on our first night and we had so much fun! It&rsquos a great show if you enjoy music and a giggle as the Legends are very funny & love to interact with the audience.
Although Charleston is a walking city, you would definitely need a car when staying in Hilton Head Island or Myrtle Beach. We stayed a total of six nights, two nights in each destination. The weather for the whole week was amazing with temperatures up to as high as about 23-25 degrees.
Overall my favorite things about the trip were the people, who were just amazing, the incredible food with it&rsquos southern twist and the amazing breath taking sunsets.
I would highly recommend a fly drive trip of South Carolina to anyone who wants a holiday that&rsquos a little different, someone who enjoys scenery, history & nature and who like me, cannot take a camera out of there hand! It really is an incredible place.  &ldquoBeautiful Places, Smiling Faces&rdquo  :)
Written by Kathleen O&rsquoRourke
October 19th 2011
Lidija on visiting magical Orlando & Staying in a Universal property.
I was very lucky to get a place o the super Fam to Orlando in October this year. We started our trip with Universal Parks, and have stayed on site in the Loews Portofino Bay Resort. This is absolutely stunning, luxury property, with lovely swimming pool area, done up to look like Portofino in Italy. It is on the lake, with little boats in front of it, and even walking through the hotel is like walking through narrow corridors in Italy &ndash they are exact replica! I stayed in the deluxe room, which was very big, with comfortable beds, and huge modern bathroom with both shower and bathtub.
2nd hotel in the Universal parks I got to see was also Loews hotel, Royal Pacific Resort. This is also luxury property, done up in the Indonesian style with plenty of wood work imported from Bali. It is very specious hotel, with plenty of natural light and the biggest swimming pool area in Orlando. It has quirky theme developed around captain Jack's plane crashing down and him building this beautiful resort while he waits for his love to come back to him. She never came. All letters he wrote are on display, and the staff are even given names of people who are mentioned in the letters, to keep up with the theme. Rooms are very similar to the ones in Portofino, spacious and modern.
Finally, I got to see the Hard Rock Hotel. In-keeping with its theme, there is plenty of music memorabilia around the hotel, including suite worn by Elvis, Madonna, Cher, Kiss and other bands. Music was playing in the lobby, and the hotel had this cool vibe of being rock and roll legend. Rooms were slightly smaller than the rooms in the Loews properties, but still spacious. Pool area is very nice and large.
There is plenty of shuttles going between the hotels and parks, and it never took longer than 10 minutes to wait for the transport. Also, if you were to walk from the hotel to the parks, it will only take you few minutes.
Absolutely biggest advantage of staying on site is the express pass for the rides in both Universal and Islands of Adventure. Also, you get to go to park an hour earlier than the general public. Even at 8 am in October it was starting to get busy &ndash Harry Potter ride had 75 minute ques in the afternoon, but you get to try it in the morning before everyone else if you are staying in one of the hotels on site (Harry Potter is not included int he express pass)! Time savings are absolutely amazing, and it is well worth staying on site for only few nights to avail of this. Express pass can be purchased in the park as well, if you are not staying in one of the hotels, and price varies per season, from around 30 to 90 USD ($) per person per day!
Both Universal and the Islands of Adventures were amazing to visit and to go on all of the rides. There is something for everyone, from kids area and Dr Seuss rides to huge thrill rides. They also have plenty simulators and 4D shows, which create brand new reality. I got to be one of the actors in the new super hit movie by Disaster Studios (they killed me after first minute, not sure where is my acting career at this stage) as well as see all comic book heroes doing parade through the park.
City walk is the night time area, located just across the entrance to the parks, with plenty of shops, bars, pubs, and restaurants. They have great karaoke place with the real live band, loads of cinema screens, Bubba Shrimp restaurant (Yummy!) and the best cocktails you can try. You need to have your universal park tickets with you or else you will be charged entry fee in most of the places on the City Walk. Also, most of the restaurants will stop serving diner before 9, so make sure to plan your evening accordingly!
October 19th 2011
Emily Harris on visiting magical Orlando.
I've been to Orlando 3 times, twice I stayed on Idrive but after staying in a Disney property I would definitely pay the extra to stay here or in Universal again! The park properties are a much better standard and you get benefits like complimentary transfers (in Disney), extra hours in the parks and your shopping is sent back to your room for you! The service from the staff is impeccable.
I stayed in the Saratoga Springs which is a beautiful resort but its HUGE - so ask reception to call the bell hop for
you because after a long flight you don't want to drag your cases around the resort looking for your room! This hotel is great for families because it has spacious studios with a small kitchenette, double bed and double fold out sofa bed.
If you can't afford to go to Africa for a safari, do the Kilmanjaro Safari ride in Animal Kingdom! We saw giraffes, lions, hippos and elephants - amazing!
Days of Christmas in Downtown Disney will put you in a Christmas mood even in July :) You can choose from a huge selection of Disney character-themed baubles and can even have names/dates engraved on them - you can pick them up the next day or if you are staying in a Disney property they will deliver your shopping to your room!
The Illuminations show in Epcot is amazing - fantastic firework display that takes place every night. Soarin' is a lovely experience in Epcot - gentle but breathtaking! You "fly" over diverse landscapes - desert canyons, snowy mountains covered in pine trees and beaches.
Rock n Roller Coaster & Tower of Terror are the best rides for adrenalin junkies - these are in Hollywood Studios. Another must-see here is Fantasmic - an amazing show with characters, fireworks, fountains, lasers, pyrotechnics & sound - but you must arrive at least an hour before the show starts because its really popular!
I was lucky enough to visit the Disney Dream cruise ship - adults don't worry, its not all screaming children and garish colours! There are lots of adults-only areas and the restaurants & bars are fabulous, not to mention the spa. The little Disney touches, from the sketches on the walls and moving images from Disney films will put a smile on any grown ups face! Unfortunately my trip was only a 4-day whistle stop trip so theres still loads more I want to see and do :)
October 18th 2011
Lisa Mullins on visiting Florida Gulf Coast earlier this year.
I was lucky enough to take part in the Florida Gulf Coast Fam trip in June of this year. First we stayed for 2 nights in the Postcard Inn on St.Petes Beach - this is one of the funkiest, coolest hotels I have ever stayed in. Each room has a laid back surfer vibe, with some really unique decor and light fittings, while still being really comfortable! The pool area was always bustling and had a great atmosphere with huge days beds and hammocks for everyone to use. There is live music at the weekends at the beach bar which leads directly onto the beautiful beach! You can also walk from hotel to hotel along the beach if you want to find a different beach bar or restaurant. The on site restaurant, the Beachwood BBQ is an easy choice offering great American home cooking and also has a really great Cocktail Menu.
While here we visited downtown St.Pete's which is home to the brand new Dali Museum, an experience not to be missed. It houses the largest collection of Dali artwork outside his home country of Spain and was really a great experience. We also got the chance to visit the Chihuly Glass collection - this is a beautiful display of work by the artist who made the famous glass flowers that adorn the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
From St. Petes we moved on Clearwater. I loved Clearwater as it had a real resort feel about it - they have a sunset festival every night at Pier 60 with lots of stalls and artwork on display. The sunsets from Clearwater beach are stunning and all the bars and restaurants have a great atmosphere every evening as the sun goes down.
The absolute highlight of the trip for me was a day trip to Caladesi Island State Park - this is one of the most unspoilt picturesque beach areas you could ever hope to visit! It is only accessible by boat and boasts 3 miles of stunning coastline. The waters are calm  and crystal clear - truly what you would imagine paradise to be. During our day there we were lucky enough to see some of the areas residents - wild bottle nose dolphins, wild manatees and turtles! A really unforgettable day!
September 10th 2011
Vasco Conceicao on California Central Coast trip earlier this year.
Santa Barbara - " The American Riviera " Beautiful place, great restaurants, shopping, sightseeing and beach!
San Luis Obispo - " Happiest place in the States " .. Taste best wines ever!
Monterey / Carmel - " For me the Real California is here, everything i experienced was just impressive. Food, wine, Hotels, golf,  17mile drive, the largest marine sanctuary in the States and breath taking views.
Santa Cruz - Boardwalk just like you see in the movies! Great surfing town! Love it!!
Half moon Bay - " Mavericks " WOW biggest waves ever. Nice town, great restaurants, all about outdoor activities. Surf and water sports are big here!!
March 7th 2011
Emily Harris on visiting New York and staying in the Edison Hotel.
''Hi guys, I stayed 3 nights in the Edison at the weekend and would have no problem recommending it to clients! Our room was spotless, bed was really comfy & we had a little suite with a living room overlooking Times Square which was great.
The location is just amazing, I've stayed in the Affinia Manhattan and the Beacon before but the Edison was the best. I'm guessing we were given the suite as I was staff but if you want to request my room for future bookings it was room 2012, a corner room so lots of light.
T2 in Dublin airport was very straightforward going through immigration etc, I flew with Delta and had checked in online so everything was very quick. They are cashless onboard so if you are buying drinks you need a credit/debit card although all Coca Cola drinks (coke, sprite, fanta) are free, as is beer.
It was my first time flying to JFK and the flat rate for a yellow cab is $45 plus tolls which comes to $52 PLUS TIP!!! For anyone who hasn't been to New York, they get pretty ratty if you don't tip well :)
We did Woodbury Common, again very straightforward, Port Authority is only 5 mins walk from the Edison, you go to the short-line ticket desk, tickets are $40 return. Bear in mind if you are coming back around 5/6 pm on a weekday traffic will be really slow coming into Manhattan, back to back in rush hour! But otherwise you'll be back in about 40 minutes.
We didn't book show tickets in advance because we weren't sure what night we wanted to go or what we wanted to see but got talking to a guy at the counter in Bubba Gumps (mmm :D ) who recommended Memphis, which is off-Broadway (again, the theatre was 2 mins walk from the Edison!), it won a Tony award in 2010. Its theme is racial segregation & how Huey Kowloun, a white guy, is crazy about black soul music & gets his own radio show & brings the music to the masses, while keeping his relationship with his black girlfriend a secret. While having a serious theme it had some really funny moments & the actors were absolutely amazing, great music & voices. They got a standing ovation from the whole theatre at the end. We bought tickets the night before for $96 each and they were on the 2nd level with an amazing view.
Weather was freezing for the first 2 days, coats, hats, scarves & gloves needed, Saturday was sunny & mild so we took the subway down to Central Park ($2.50 per ticket) and Sunday it poured down so we took a taxi down to Century 21 to spend the last of our dollars. Absolutely brilliant bargains here! $20 in a taxi or you can take the subway but have to change lines, or the bus tours go down here too, I took one last time & it was about $50 for a 2-day ticket and you can hop on/off as and when you like.
We mostly shopped & ate as we only had 3 days & had done the tourist thing before - I think you would need a lot more than 3 days to do all the main sites. For breakfast we went to the Roxy Diner on Times Square, Brooklyn Diner just off Times Square and the Tick Tock Diner at the New Yorker hotel on 8th Avenue, huge portions to keep you going for a days sightseeing/shopping!
Finally one thing re Laser cards - mine worked fine but Dan had a new one which was a Maestro & he could only take out $100 going by Irish time! He rang AIB and they said to take out more he would have to find an ATM that would take chip and pin lasers but they are virtually unheard of in New York! This could have caused BIG problems so please bring cash or credit cards.