Cruising Through A Hurricane The Beauty Of A Glass Top Humidor Choosing The Best Travel Accommodation In Bali Stay In A Hotel Where Quality Matters Keukenhof The Garden Of Holland

Planning on a Caribbean destination in the late summer or autumn months? You are in luck! Cruise prices are at its lowest that time of the year. However, there is just one little problem: hurricane season!

Cruising all year long is becoming more popular in the Caribbean, so those brave souls who book during the height of hurricane season should be prepared for last minute changes or diversions in their cruise travel plans. Hurricane season is officially from June 1st to November 30th.

However, Mother Nature’s fury is often erratic depending on where you are traveling. For instance, mid to late August on through late September tend to be top times for storms on the East Coast of the United States as well as the Eastern Caribbean territories. Other areas of the Caribbean are more storm active in the latter part of the autumn season.

Theoretically, your chances of encountering a hurricane on your cruise are small. But, the likelihood is there, so a traveler must keep that in mind when booking a cruise. Be advised that certain destination ports in your cruise may be skipped because of storm risks. So, if you have your heart set on a certain Caribbean stop, perhaps the best recourse is for you to plan your cruise for a different time of year.

Safety is of utmost importance to cruise lines. After all, they want your repeat business! Their policy is to steer clear of any storms. Because of years of experience sailing in all types of weather, all cruise lines have emergency plans of action in place in the probability of encountering a storm. They also have sophisticated equipment to continually monitor the weather for any possible changes in the forecast.

Since cruise lines make it a point to steer clear of storms, sometimes the cruise ships have to divert to alternate ports of call. This usually happens when their regularly scheduled stops are threatened or bombarded by storms or hurricanes. One problem cruise ships can encounter is that the calmer ports of call may be full with not only the regularly scheduled ships but also other cruises also looking for a temporary safe haven from the storm. In this instance, your cruise ship will just continue to sail, diverting to calmer seas, sometimes adding a few days to your journey.

Unfortunately no refunds are given for any deviations to the cruise itinerary. Cruise lines have the discretion to switch ports of call. Be sure to read the microscopic print in your cruise agreement and paperwork. If you feel that you don’t want anything left to chance, you can always buy an insurance policy for your travels that covers interruptions due to weather conditions. Find out what all the fine print means on that policy before you set sail though!

So what happens if a hurricane shifts suddenly? Your cruise ship can often elude the storm simply because of its speed. However, that does not mean you won’t experience any turbulent seas. You can bet that the ship’s infirmary will be bombarded with travelers seeking seasickness medications!

Basically, when traveling during hurricane season, you have to be flexible. Plan a few extra days of being gone, just in case. Keep track of the weather starting a week or two before you set sail. Pack your Dramamine or whatever seasickness remedies you prefer. Most of all have fun and go with the flow.

In addition to a standard humidor, travel, cabinet, and glass top humidors bring joy to the true cigar aficionado. For the cigar smoker who may not need the massive design of a cabinet humidor but still wants to add weight to his or her prized collection of fine cigars, glass top humidors are an excellent selection. The term glass top humidor does not refer to the design or materials used in the manufacturing of the humidor. Instead, a more common understanding of the “glass top” humidor is “desktop” humidor.

The glass top humidor is very popular for several reasons. First, the investment necessary to purchase a glass top humidor is much less than for a cabinet humidor. A search on the internet reveals that there are countless glass top humidors for less than $200 that come in untold designs, shapes and quality. The average cigar capacity of a glass top humidor can vary from smaller units that hold 25 or so cigars to larger units that keep upwards of 200 cigars.

Anyone needing to maintain more than 200 cigars will need to research buying a smaller chest size humidor or a small to large cabinet humidor. As with cabinet humidors, the most common interior wood is the Spanish cedar wood for its quality in maintaining humidity levels and for adding rich flavors to the cigar.

One additional offering with glass top humidors is that they will almost always offer external hygrometers (the gauge for determining the internal humidity levels.) This is extremely important for two reasons. For one, if the glass top humidor needs to be opened each time to determine the humidity levels, each time the case is opened, the humidity level will fluctuate. This can lead to the humidifier being overworked and possibly failing. Secondly, one must observe and monitor the levels to determine the effectiveness of any humidor and if there is a failure in the humidifier.

Again, glass top humidors, also referred to as desktop humidors, are a small investment and can be enjoyed by any cigar aficionado.

As the prominent tourist destination, Bali has abundance choice of accommodation. It is ranged from budget hotel, guesthouse run by local people, cottage, bungalow, boutique hotel, luxury villa, to the international 5 star hotels. The accommodation spread up throughout Bali.

Cluster accommodation is not only to be found in crowd/centre tourist area, but also found even at secluded area. Hotel styles vary from traditional style to modern design. The tourists in Bali mostly favour Balinese style hotels. You’ll be easily to find a hotel that suits your needs either beach/lake side, cool mountain area, rice field view, hilltop, riverbanks, tropical garden, traditional village surroundings, town-centred, etc.

However, there are many things to consider when choosing your travel accommodations. The decision could make your trip fun or a disappointment. Choosing the right hotel is a must. Most travellers spend more time in airline ticket reservations and bargains but less time in choosing the right accommodations. Thus they may end up on the wrong side of the bed during their stay.

To get the most out of your hotel accommodations, remember to book as early as possible and make your dates more flexible. Hotels that specialize for business people will consider weekends as off-season. Family vacationers could tap into these special packages during weekends. Primarily, you should choose your hotel based on name, amenities, features, price, packages and location.

Here are some considerations in choosing your best travel accommodations:

1. Accommodations should be family-friendly. Always ask if your hotel offers children activity areas with educational and fun activities supervised by duly trained caregivers.

2. Your hotel should provide a swimming pool for children, day care service, crib rental and child-proof electrical outlets.

3. Stay in a hotel that has electronic room-key cards and has a security viewer installed on their doors.

4. Make it a priority to choose a room on the upper floor.

5. If you’re the one who likes to spend more time in your hotel room and the balcony, you should ask for the available amenities and the conditions of the surrounding environment.

6. Depending on whether you’re on a private or business trip, ask your hotel about the availability of laundry service, hair dryers, coffee makers, newspapers, free meals, fax machine, bar, cable television, parking, shuttle service, internet connection, etc.

7. The hotel property layout and its location may speak more of its surrounding environment. Noisy locations such as construction on adjacent property, car traffic and noisy waterfalls are not specified on hotel flyers. So be sure to ask about it.

8. Beautifully landscaped surroundings with trees, flowers and inner courts also enhance your travel pleasure. Moreover, gift shops and restaurants all add up to a wonderful travel experience.

9. The location of your hotel with respect to main attraction is equally important. It could save you money on taxi and bus fare.

10. Make sure that the room service is provided 24 hours a day.

11. Check out the room itself. Is it brightly coloured or classical? It sets the mood of your travel.

In order to get the most out of your travel, whether for business or family vacations, be sure to know everything about the hotel you are planning to check in to. Ask friends and relatives who have been there. Don’t just depend on the hotel’s web page, which is undoubtedly biased. Having to stay in a hotel, which you don’t like, could ruin your trip.

An eye for detail and an insistence on quality are two of the main things that distinguish a boutique hotel from any other.

There are many characteristics that make up a good boutique hotel; number of rooms, good design and excellent service are among them. Two of the most important are often overlooked though, which is a shame, given the tremendous amount of research, time and energy that goes into providing them: quality and detail.


A boutique hotel should be solely concerned with quality in all areas of its operations. From the cleanliness of the rooms to the standard of the food, boutique guests expect more from these hotels than from “regular” hotels and owners have to make sure they exceed these expectations. A constant striving for the very best in everything is one of the things that define this type of accommodation. Examples of places where quality really matters include:

Fabrics – curtains, bed linen, furniture coverings, bathrobes, towels and tablecloths must all be of exceptional quality. That’s why many boutique hotels use Frette linens or exotic netting; guests notice the difference.

Furnishings – whether they are genuine antique pieces or contemporary designer chic, good furniture stands out from the crowd.

Accessories – from candles to lamps; vases to clocks, quality accessories can transform the plainest of rooms. Hoteliers spend a lot of time sourcing exactly the right pieces for their designs.

Food – boutique hotels are often as well known for their cuisine as for their rooms. This means that they have to be using the freshest ingredients, preferably locally-grown, farmed or caught.

The way the cushions are hand-sewn, the dinner napkins folded, or the breakfast tray laid out in the morning; these are just three of the details that really make the difference between a regular and a boutique hotel. Owners of these small, exclusive hotels make sure that everything has been thought of, so that guests feel truly at home because their every need has already been considered. Even though these hotels are often more informal than larger hotels, don’t let that informality fool you into thinking that they haven’t got every “i” dotted and “t” crossed. An eye for detail and the expertise and creativity to put those details into practice is the mark of an excellent hotelier.

No visit to the Netherlands can be complete without visiting the magnificent gardens at Keukenhof Lisse. Me and My wife always visit the park once a year and I never enjoy a better day each year as there are so many things to see and experience.

This year is the 58th time the parks are open to the public and they are spectacular. The Dutch people really excel in art of producing the worlds most beautiful flowers. The other draw is the fact that the smell of the flowers is astonishing.

Opening this year on the 20th March I found my self and my wife engrossed in the splendor of colour and imagination of the various flower mosaics and exhibition flowers.

In one of the large exhibition rooms you can watch the flower masters I have no other words for them putting together arrangements and displays. They are extremely talented also as you browse you notice that each of the flower arrangements and displays are marked.

The markings are to show that these arrangements have been judged and some of the fine examples that are awarded gold and silver and bronze medals. I can hardly judge the difference but I’m not a flower expert.

This year the gardens where opened Princess Victoria from Sweden and a lot of the themes where in celebration of the Swedish people. The main one being a Swedish Botanist called Linnaeus, Linnaeus was known as the King of Flowers. Linnaeus studied in Holland at the university at Harderwijk.

The Keukenhof site consists of a 32 Hectare site with shops, bulb exhibitions, displays and workshops this year their will be over seven million bulbs planted and blooming throughout the park. To see the park in glorious sunshine is an event I look forward to all year.

The spring gardens enthuse life into my soul as I walk in these fine gardens I find myself re vitalised. I enjoy going to the working windmill and see the bulbs bursting from the ground and sweet flower aroma that follows you everywhere.

Within the parks are ornamental lakes and fountains their are many fine art exhibits which can be purchased or I assume this as they all have a price tag. I expect you would have to wait till the gardens close in May.

I spend many hours here taking photos and never seem to have enough memory to keep all the excellent images. As well as having the finest blooms in Holland and perhaps the world on show there is a children’s park and a petting zoo to enjoy.

Keukenhof is very easy to get to there a local busses from both Schipol Airport and Leiden to the park and as I have lived in Holland for a few years you can rely on the Dutch transport system it is very good compared to England.

Don’t leave the park without buying some bulbs to plant for yourself they are excellent value they may not produce gold standard flowers but the ones we have bought over the years have always produced some very pleasant crocuses and tulips.

I find the people and staff at Keukenhof really friendly informative and can recommend this as the best day in Europe. When the sun is shinning and the park is in bloom then there is no place like it on Earth.

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