The daily Post

A Weekend Aboard Norwegian Bliss

If you are following our social media pages (which you should be!) you will have seen that Travel Machine had the opportunity to be on the inaugural sailing of the Norwegian Bliss out of Miami, Florida at the beginning of May. The Bliss is one of the most highly-anticipated ships to date for Norwegian Cruises. It holds the largest competitive race track at sea, open-air laser tag course, Aqua Racer waterslides, exclusive specialty dining & bar concepts, as well as Broadway-caliber entertainment, luxurious accommodations in the Haven, and so much more. A special feature is the quarter-mile wraparound oceanfront promenade that allows you to connect with the ocean while experiencing some of the ships signature venues.

 

    

 

 

 

Food & Drink 

With so many options on board to eat and drink it can get overwhelming on what to choose. Luckily, we did a little taste test for you to help better narrow your options. The main dining rooms Savor & Taste are a great way to get a little bit of everything that The Bliss has to offer. The menus are filled with so many fresh seafood options and decadent desserts paired with the best wine choices. The Garden Cafe’, the buffet-style eatery, is a great option to grab a quick lunch when you need a break from the sun. A plethora of different types of cuisine including Asian, Indian, traditional style American & so much more is included for your dining pleasures. One of our days onboard included a seafood buffet which had all of the fresh oysters, crab legs, shrimp and lobster that you could want!

The ship also has many specialty dining options available which are defiantly worth the extra cost. We had the opportunity to dine at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea and the Tuscan inspired restaurant La Cucina. They both had amazing food and drink options. La Cucina has the special outdoor seating, which you won’t find on many cruise ships.

Of course, the ship is filled with so many places to grab a drink before dinner and places to wind down or dance the night away. We spent one of our evenings rocking out with Live Beatles music at The Cavern Club. We were bopping along to different eras of Beatles tunes performed by a group of loveable rockers who were the spittin’ image of the Fab Four. Finding live music on the ship won’t be a problem. Some time was also spent at the Maltings Whiskey Bar that has a unique international variety of spirits, you can sip your way around the world without leaving your chair.

   

 

Entertainment

The nightly entertainment onboard does not disappoint! Including the Tony Award-Winning Broadway show Jersey Boys, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical and making its world debut ¡HAVANA!. This musical is a celebration of Cuba’s music and culture, journeying back in time to its 1950s heyday. The beautiful colors and costumes along with the catchy music make for a great end to a fun-filled day.  There are also many theme nights available as well and even a silent disco, which you can’t knock till you try it!

With the race track, laser tag & waterslides there really is no shortage of fun that can be had. We also may have tested out the waterslide a few times…. you know…for science purposes.

  

This only scratches the surface of what the Norwegian Bliss really has to offer. If you want more details you can contact our office and we would be happy to help you experience all The Bliss has to offer for your next vacation! (337) 981-7870 – info@travelmachine.net

 

FOLLOW US on Facebook & Instagram

 

England & Scotland Adventure

One of our favorite quotes says it best, “You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere.” That is how one of our agents felt after her trip to England & Scotland with Contiki.

Contiki promises to deliver 18 to 35-year-olds their bucket list destinations and fulfill their travel dreams. Having experienced Contiki first hand, we can say wholeheartedly that they practice what they preach! Contiki remains cost-focused so they cater more towards the experience of the destination than the level of stars for the hotel. Many of the hotels along this adventure were 3-star properties. While all of them were very clean and comfortable, they are not for someone looking for more luxurious accommodations.  Contiki also assigns a roommate if you are traveling alone and would prefer not to pay a single supplement fee. This goes along with the Contiki philosophy of getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. When you mention the words “Escorted Tour” most mind’s fill with visions of long lines, big groups, and a flag-waving tour guide at the head of the group. Contiki takes all of the ideas you have about guided tours and turns them inside out. Most days you get free time to wander around the city alone or with your new friends that you’ve made but you do still get the comfort of traveling with a group and having transportation.

For any of Contiki’s trips starting in London, they have a “kick start meeting” held in their Contiki Basement, located at the Royal National Hotel. This meeting is to meet the Contiki Staff, tour guide and driver, your fellow travelers, and give you an overview of what your trip is going to look like.

 

The first night’s adventures included a late-night production of London’s STOMP. It is a lively show filled with talented percussionists creating music from literally anything they can get their hands on! The rest of the evening was left open to go off with fellow travelers and explore London’s exciting nightlife. After breakfast the next morning, the group had free time to explore all of the London sites, including Big Ben, Parliament, the London Bridge, the London Eye and so many more- a whirlwind day of tourist attractions.

 

On the third day, the group loaded up onto the Contiki coach and headed towards Liverpool, home of the Beatles. The day was spent exploring the wonderful city’s downtown shops, waterfront, and even a ride on a Ferris wheel! In the evening, everyone headed down to the Cavern Club where the Beatles first got their start. A night full of singing all of the Beatles greatest hits and plenty drinks to go around. This is definitely a must in this port city for any diehard Beatles fans! No better way than to start the morning by taking a drive through Liverpool and getting a guided Beatles tour of all of their favorite spots and a quick visit to Penny Lane with a photo op in front of the Penny Lane sign!

The group then headed off to York. This historic 13th-century walled city has over 1900+ years of history. The narrow cobblestoned streets are easily walkable and as small as the city is, it has quite a lot to offer. York is home to The Shambles, which takes its name from the Saxon word shamel, meaning “slaughterhouse”. In the 1800s there were 60+ butcher shops along the streets. Thankfully today the butchers are long gone, but the small cobbled lane is lined with 15th century  Tudor buildings, making it the most picturesque streets in Britain. J.K. Rowling even took some inspiration from The Shambles modeling Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley after the streets.

York is also home to the most haunted bar in England, the Golden Fleece! Built in 1503, the building has become so warped and misshapen that when you place your beer on a table, the degree of tilt makes your beer spill out of your glass! Another great activity is just to walk around the medieval walls of the city. It has a truly whimsical and dreamy landscape. Our group happened upon an old brick house where we had afternoon tea. An afternoon spent with specialty tea along with scones, clotted cream, apricot and raspberry jam is never an afternoon wasted!

The next stop was England’s Lake District. The group started the day with a ferry ride around the nearby lake, roaming around boutique shops and restaurants that were spread out around the little town. This area of England is vividly picturesque and perfect for a simple afternoon to wander around and get lost.

The final stop of the adventure was in Edinburg, Scotland. This city dates back to the early 15th century and is the center of education and medicine for Scotland. The ‘Royal Mile” is the center of the city, which runs up to the hilltop-perched Royal Castle.

The best way to see and get a feel for the city is to just walk around and explore. There are so many shops, pubs, and restaurants all over the winding streets and alleyways. There is truly something magical about this city. J.K. Rowling made it even more magical by drawing majority of her inspiration for the Harry Potter series from Edinburgh. She started writing the novels in a little cafe just off the Royal Mile called “Elephant House”. You can even sit at the same table she sat with a great view of Edinburgh.

Something not to miss is Edinburgh’s Scotch Whisky Experience. It is home to the largest whiskey collection in the entire world and takes you through all of the regions of Scotland and what makes each bottle of whiskey unique. Meandering through the Royal Castle and learning about centuries of history within its walls is a great way to end a truly magical trip!

This week was truly an amazing adventure and getting to leave with 30 more friends was just icing on the cake! Have you discovered a new favorite city in an unlikely place? Let us know what adventure Travel Machine can plan for you next!

 

Lafayette Passport Fair!

Are you planning on traveling out of the country soon?

The Lafayette Branch of the United States Postal Service will be hosting a Passport Fair at 1005 Moss Street in Lafayette.

The Fair is being held on Saturday, May 12th from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Passports for those ages 16 and older will cost $110 and passports for those under 16 will cost $80. Both parents of children under 16 must be present and have a valid ID.

Other fees include the execution fee which will cost $35 dollars and a photo fee of $15.

To obtain a passport, applicants need to bring the following:

  • Bring proper proof of American citizenship. This can be a certified birth certificate.
  • Bring proof of identity. This can be a valid driver’s license (not temporary or learner’s permit)
  • The passport application requires recent color passport photograph of you ( 2″ x 2″ in size), which the Post Office Passport Office can provide for $15. (Photo services will be available at the fair)
  • To save time, customers may download a passport application at www.travel.state.gov to complete beforehand.
  • All applicants must appear in person (including minors).
  • Minors under the age of 16 must appear with both parents. If one parent is not available, a notarized authorization from the absent parent is required.

Each applicant must bring a clear photocopy of their proof of American citizenship and proof of identity that will be presented at the time of passport acceptance. If the document is two-sided, then a photocopy of the front and back of the document must be provided.

This is a great opportunity to start the process of getting your passport for your next international trip! Feel free to contact our office or visit www.travel.state.gov for more information!

 

Wineaux A Geaux Geaux

The office, the city, the to-do list – whatever it is, sometimes a gal has just got to get away from it all. Debbie Ray from KTDY and Bernadette Lee from KPEL Radio, along with Travel Machine, have put together a wonderful girls’ weekend packed with fabulous tours and tastings at various wineries around Northern Louisiana and Mississippi. Have a read below at an overview of the itinerary, grab your girls and let’s hit the road!

 

  Day 1 – May 17th 

                     

We are starting the trip off the right way with a bon voyage breakfast at Brick & Spoon in Lafayette, LA. This will give everyone a little more time to get to know all the other travelers before boarding the luxury motorcoach and heading out for the weekend.

Pontchartrain Vineyards – Bush, LA

The first stop is the only winery in the state that produces table wines exclusively from traditional bunch/wine grapes from their vineyard on about 45 acres of space. They produce an average of 2,500 cases per year, all made by hand and geared to consistently pair with the cuisine of south Louisiana!

Casa de Sue Winery – Clinton, LA 

Second stop of the day is Casa de Sue Winery. Their inventory includes 11 different wines they create on the property including fine blueberry and muscadine wines from organically grown grapes. A specialty wine they are most known for is Sweet Magnolia, which is a sweet southern muscadine. This winery is literally the taste of Louisiana.

Ending the day by heading over to Natchez, MS where dinner will be provided at Dunlieth’s Castle Resturant. Built to resemble a castle in the 18th century, it is an architectural gem that provides a comfortable dining atmosphere!

 

DAY 2- May 18th

                                         

Starting the day bright and early with breakfast at the hotel and a day full of touring and tastings!

Charboneau Rum Distillery – Natchez, MS

Located in historic downtown Natchez, Charboneau is a celebration of the art of handcrafted food and liquor! Most known for the Charboneau White Rum was released in November 2014. This rum is made using raw sugar and molasses sourced from a Louisiana sugar mill a few hours away. After touring, lunch will be provided by Big John’s BBQ before heading back on the road to West Monroe.

Landry Vineyards – West Monroe, LA 

This vineyard has over 20 different types of wine on their new 20 Acre site located in the beautiful hill country of North Louisiana. They strive to produce native wines that compliment the rich Cajun and Creole flavors we love so much!

On Cloud Wine – Shreveport, LA

Also known as “The Biggest little Winery in Louisiana”, it has a selection that fits everyone’s taste buds no matter what season of the year! Their services include the making, bottling, and labeling of wine on the property, though they can ship their products anywhere in Louisiana.

The day will end by checking into our hotel and getting some downtime to have dinner and do some shopping at the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlet in Bossier City, LA.

 

DAY 3 – May 19th

                               

Our final day begins with an early start heading down to Natchitoches, LA! You will get to hear the real-life story and see the Steel Magnolias movie come to life right before your eyes. A guided tour around the city getting to experience all the various filming locations is a great way to spend the morning. Lunch will be on your own down Front Street and you can get a little more shopping in before loading up the motorcoach and heading back to Lafayette.

 

We want you to enjoy a “taste of Louisiana” when you join the Wineaux A Geaux Geaux tour! Must be 21 or older. You can contact our office TODAY for more information! (337) 981-7870 or info@travemachine.net

Find out WHEN and WHERE to go

Timing can be of the essence when planning your vacation. The biggest bummer of all is to show up at your bucket list destination with a hurricane watch or nonstop rain for 7 days straight! We’ve decided to highlight the best times of year to visit the different regions of the world according to their seasons.

This doesn’t mean that these are the only times to consider for these destinations. Many of these are great at various times during the year.  These are just considerations for you to think about, in order to experience the destinations at their best.

So, keep in mind a certain destination or time of year that you know you want to travel and read on.  The more knowledge you have, the better the experience at your dream destination! We want to make sure you don’t get stuck in a snowstorm or a monsoon!

(Costa Rica)

 

December – February

Christmas Markets: If you don’t mind braving the cold the Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria are something you don’t want to miss.

Caribbean: During this time of year, your favorite islands are hurricane free. St. Lucia or Tucks and Caicos are perfect destinations if you are looking for a more upscale luxury experience. If you are the more adventurous type Costa Rica could have everything you need!

South America: It’s Carnival time in Brazil! A perfect opportunity to take advantage of the high summer in the southern hemisphere.

 

(Florance, Italy)

 

March-May

Europe: Europe truly awakens in the spring and everything is in full bloom. This is the perfect time to see Paris or visit your favorite cities in Italy. Temperatures in Madrid stay around 68 degrees, which allow you to explore everything it has to offer without breaking a sweat.

Asia: Hopping over to Japan, it can offer appeal to both novice and seasoned travelers with its wide range of destinations.  Also, getting to experience the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

 

(Bora Bora, French Polynesia)

 

June- August

South Pacific: The best time to finally take that bucket list trip to Fiji or even French Polynesia.

Canada: The tip of North America features a variety of destinations.  The expanse of natural beauty, from mountains and glaciers to secluded lakes and forests, is almost unparalleled.

Australia: Sydney is both a laid-back beachside town and thriving metropolis that holds some of the best surf, landmarks, and activities.

 

(Virgina)

 

September – November

Europe: Mellowing temperatures makes this a lovely time of year to visit Europe. Adding Barcelona or the Croatian coast to your list is defiantly a must!

United States: On the East Coast, October is the prime time for fall foliage with perhaps a road trip through Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.  A wine holiday in California’s Napa and Sonoma valley would also be perfect this time of year.

Three Cheers for New Years!

Hello, 2018!

Our Travel Machine Team would like to wish everyone reading this a VERY Happy New Year. We hope you all had a wonderful time over the holidays and are excited to embark on a fresh start. 2017 was a great year and many of our agents visited some extraordinary places! We are always excited to visit new destinations and get firsthand experiences, tips, and tricks to share with all of our clients.

January is always a time for a new start and setting the tone for how the rest of your year will go. We do hope that you have added TRAVEL MORE to your list of new years resolutions. Life is too short. Let this be the year when your travel resolutions come to life. The world is full of amazing places and Travel Machine wants to help you get there!

Check out the photos below for some highlights of 2017!