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Thursday, December 27, 2007

10 Tips for Choosing your Honeymoon Destination

The pool at Le Meridien Tahiti -
a nice spot for a honeymoon!

Not sure where you want to go on your honeymoon? HoneyLuna offers some advice on choosing the honeymoon destination that's perfect for you.

It's a big world, after all! And there are so many places that sound wonderful for your honeymoon. And it is the trip of a lifetime right? How do you decide where to go on your honeymoon?

It may seem obvious, but the first step in planning a trip is deciding where to go. Here are some simple guidelines:

1.) Be realistic – the first step is determining how much time you have to travel, and as important, how much money do you have allocated for your honeymoon. (Using HoneyLuna’s honeymoon registry can give extra cushion to that budget!)


2.) The best way to start your planning may be to choose a list of specific destinations that interest you. Then start reading and researching these places to see if they fit your desires. If there are only beach and water sports and you don't tan and can't swim, then it may not be the place for you.


3.) Narrow your choices. The world is big. Even one country is big. You can't see it all in a lifetime, much less in a week or a few weeks. Most people try to do too much in too little time. You'll have a much better experience if you can actually take the time to enjoy where you are - instead of being exhausted because you're running from one city to the next, one country to the next. (This makes for some cranky travelers!)


4.) Choose a place that interests you - not just for the monuments but also for the culture and way of life. Your daily activities and the people you meet have more influence on the quality of your travel experience than the sites you visit or the sights you see.


5.) Make your own choices. Don't go somewhere just because someone else liked it or told you to go there. See #4 - again, just because a friend enjoyed the trek through the Himalayas in freezing temperatures carrying a 60-pound bag doesn't mean you will. If you're idea of roughing it is a 5 star hotel in Tahiti then a river-rafting trip down the Grand Canyon may not be for you!


6.) Think about who is giving you advice and what their knowledge is based on. Have they actually been there or are they experts on this destination? Look for resources from and by people in the places you are thinking of going for the most accurate picture of what travel in those places will really be like.

7.) Travel in the present. Learn about contemporary life and current affairs in the places you are going. (The Internet makes this much easier than ever before.)

8.) And most importantly, be sure that you and your fiancée are on the same page. If you want a week at a luxury hotel with a spa and a swim up bar, and he wants to go to a dude ranch, then you need to talk about that early on and find a way to compromise. (That is what you do in marriage!) Perhaps you can go to Kauai and stay at the Princeville Resort, which has a wonderful spa and is conveniently located by the Princeville Stables!

9.) Once you’ve made your decision, book early! Waiting for those last minute Internet fares is not honeymoon appropriate. The most popular honeymoon destinations such as Tahiti sell out months in advance!

10.) Don’t forget to say “I DO” and go have the honeymoon of your dreams. You should come back from your trip feeling like you’ve just experienced one of the most memorable and enjoyable events of your new life together.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top 10 (and more) Most Romantic Honeymoon Tips for Honeymoons in Hawaii

Romantic Honeymoon Tips for Honeymoons in Hawaii

Congratulations to the newly engaged! Are you fantasizing about a honeymoon on remote tropical islands? Well Hawaii has it all - take Moloka‘i, for example, the least populated of the Hawaiian island chain—sparse, white-sand beaches as far as the eye can see, plus historical sites like the monument commemorating Father Damien in the remote village of Kalaupapa.

Besides being a remote getaway, Moloka'i now has luxury accommodations—which is part of my fantasy. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Waikiki: easy to get to, same warm, gentle Pacific and tons of shopping and world-class restaurants, all within walking distance. And then there’s my favorite hammock at the Big Island’s Kona Village Resort, overlooking Kahuwai Bay and its resident pod of honu, or green sea turtles. I can hear the tide rolling in and feel the warm trade winds pass over me as I and swing back and forth in front of our private beach hale. Does any of this sound like a perfect honeymoon destination to you? Is so, here are a few tips on what we consider to be the most romantic spots on all the islands. (and many of these spots/romantic activities can be included on your HoneyLuna honeymoon registry!)

Kaua‘i
Catch the sunset
  • Positioned perfectly to catch the nightly show of pinks, oranges and possibly a flash of green. The Point at Sheraton Kaua‘i has been serving up island-inspired cocktails and pupus to swooning couples for decades.
  • Hop aboard a late afternoon boat tour to experience unnamed shades of green and gold as the sun sets on the majestic Na Pali Coast.
  • Walk the beach at Hanalei on the north shore and if you’re lucky you might see the infamous green flash.
  • Watch the sun ease into the Pacific from the most western point in the United States – Polihale Beach, which is also considered a Hawaiian-style-Sahara with dazzling white sand dunes, some rising 100 feet.
Remote (romantic) hike
  • The Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast.Leave early (as in 6 a.m.) to avoid the hot sun and crowds. Head to the secluded Hanakapi‘ai beach about 2.5 miles from the trailhead, have a snack and then it’s another 2 miles to Hanakapi‘ai falls.
Romantic dinner
  • Ask for a window seat at the Bali Hai restaurant located in the Hanalei Bay Resort, 808.826.6522
  • Reserve a table for two on the terrace of Café Hanalei at the Princeville Resort, 808.826.9644
  • The Beach House in Poipu is an ideal spot to watch surfers take the last wave of the day as you enjoy a sampling of island cuisine and a glass or bottle of wine. 808.742.1424
  • Cozy into a beach-facing gazebo, order a mango martini, and share fresh sashimi as Hawaiian musicians serenade the sunset at the Aupaka Terrace sushi bar at the Kaua`i Marriott Resort & Beach Club. Or plan ahead and ask executive chef Guy Higa to prepare a customized meal for two in a private seaside cabana with a view of Kalapaki Beach. 808.245.5050
Pack a picnic
  • Paddle your own kayak up the Wailua River to a romantic waterfall grotto. Most kayak tours include a picnic lunch.
  • Grab lunch at the Shrimp Station in Waimea, before heading to a lookout in the picturesque Waimea Canyon.
O‘ahu
Catch the sunset
  • For expansive views of Waikiki and beyond, check out the Diamond Head Lookout. From the parking lot at Diamond Head State Park, there is a short hike to the top.
  • Celebrate literary history at the Sunset Lana‘i Bar at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. Word has it, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote poems here to the Princess Kaiulani, under the shade of the hau tree fronting the property. 808.923.1555
  • Perched to catch the very last rays, the Hau Terrace at the venerable Outrigger Canoe Club has been a locals’ choice for sunset dining for decades. Located on the southern end of Waikiki, this social club has reciprocity with most yacht club memberships. 808.923.1585
  • The Kane‘ohe Yacht Club defines island casual; flip-flops and T-shirts (only if there’s a breeze). It’s hard to beat the cement patio and fold-out chairs for a front-row view of the sun setting behind the jagged ridge of the Ko‘olau range. Toast the day with a chilled Bud Light. Any mainland yacht club membership is reciprocal. 808.247.4121
Romantic dinner
  • Reserve a private dining gazebo right on the water at Hoku’s restaurant in the Kahala Resort on O‘ahu. 808.739.8888
  • For the past century visitors and locals alike have enjoyed the sunset and Diamond Head views and award-winning island-inspired cuisine at Halekulani’s House Without a Key 808.923-2311
  • Reserve a table at sunset at Jameson’s by the Sea in Haleiwa, a casual indoor/outdoor setting. 808.637.6272
  • For an oceanfront dining experience, Ola at the Turtle Bay Resort recently opened to rave reviews. 808.293.6000
Remote (romantic) hike
  • Old Pali Trail is short and steep (coming back). The first part is not remote, but once you head off the main trail, Likelike Trail is a lush, uncrowded, narrow path that passes through waterfalls. Go at sunrise or sunset for the best views of the Ko‘olau Range and the windward coast; trailhead starts at the Pali lookout.
  • The Makapu’u Lighthouse hike is not remote, since the trailhead is right off Highway 72, but once you crest the hill after a mile-long easy ascent, it’s just pounding surf and miles of blue sky.
Pack a picnic
  • Pick up a veggie sandwich or tuna melt at Kalapawai Market in Kailua, then head to Kailua Beach State Park, consistently rated a “Best Beach in the World” by coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman.
  • O‘ahu’s North Shore is famous for big surf and laid-back vibe, but it’s also a great place to spend the day. Grab a grilled sandwich to go at Ku Aina in Haleiwa, bring a towel and beach mat and head to the scenic Waimea Bay. Even if the surf isn’t pounding, there will be plenty of people-watching.
Maui
Catch the sunset
  • Grab a chair in the sand and order a cocktail at the Barefoot Bar at Hula Grill on Ka‘anapali Beach, as the sun sets over the neighboring island of Lana‘i. 808.667.6636
  • Overlook all of Wailea Resort with views of Molokini and Kaho’olawe (and Lana‘i on a clear day) while dining at Capische at Diamond Resort. 808.879.2224
Remote (romantic) hike
  • Haleakala Crater, whether you opt for the 3a.m. pickup for a sunrise hike, or just take one of the many trails, there is plenty of room on this 10,023-foot high dormant volcano to find a scenic path for two.
  • Just past Hana. It takes awhile to get to the 7 Pools trailhead from the west side of the island, so leave early. Besides freshwater pools, the trail passes through bamboo forests and a remote black sand beach.
  • Not an outdoor hike, but a romantic notion for a stroll…docent-led art tours at the Four Seasons show off the new museum-quality art collection with over 280 original works.
Romantic dinner
  • Consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Maui,  the Hailemaile General Store is a bit of a drive from most hotels, but the scenery is gorgeous and well worth the effort.
  • Chez Paul in Olowalu enjoyed recent publicity when chef Patrick Callarec shared his culinary talents with the “Romance Me Maui” campaign. 808-283-9044.
  • Duo at the Four Seasons — dine by the pool waterfall overlooking Wailea Beach.
  • Mama’s Fish House in Kuau Cove on Maui’s North Shore While some say this longtime standby is too pricy and hyped, nobody seems to be listening….be sure to make reservations.
  • Sushi for two? Locals and returning visitors flock to Sansei for its award-winning dishes. Two locations on Maui; Kapalua 808.669.6286 and Kihei 808.879.0004.
  • Lunch or dinner at Ka’uiki Restaurant at Hotel Hana-Maui will be a meal to remember. 800.321.4262

Pack a picnic
  • Aim for getting to Makena Beach around 11:30, before the crowds hit the Taco Truck. Located just where the road turns toward the beach, this white truck is popular among locals, who line up for the fish tacos and fish burritos. Once you’ve got your lunch, head over to the Cove at Secret Beach.
  • On the way to Cove Park at Kihei Beach, stop off at Da Kitchen (808.875.7782, da.kitchen.com) in the Rainbow Mall in Kihei. After sharing a box lunch of Korean chicken, take a surf lesson offered on site.
Moloka‘i
Catch the sunset
  • A rocking chair on the lanai of any room at the Lodge—they all face west.
  • While wading in the tidepools off Kaupoa Beach at the Beach Village, search for medeka (minnows) and opihi shells.
Remote (romantic) hike
  • Waikolu Valley. Depending on your fitness level, trek (or park near) the look-over to the forest reserve. Locals call it a truly untouched otherworldly valley.
  • The most popular trail on the island (four people a day) is Halawa Valley. This daylong hike will take you through a waterfall spilling into a large bubbly (think champagne) pool. With soaring cliffs as the backdrop, the trail ends at Halawa Bay where it’s said the first Polynesians set foot on Moloka‘i.
Romantic dinner
  • Reserve the intimate greenhouse on the grounds of the Lodge, for a private dinner created by chef Erwin Kudoba.
  • Wiggle your toes in the sand, at your own table with private service a the Beach Village. Casual to formal, depends on your own style.
Pack a picnic
  • Pick up a prepared lunch at the Lodge or the general store in Mauna Loa and head to Mile Marker 19: a remote white sand beach protected by a coral reef.
Lana‘i
Catch the sunset
  • Veranda of Four Seasons Resort Lana`i, the Lodge at Koele. Overlooks the stables, and the ocean in the distance below.
  • For a bit of the surreal, head to the Garden of the Gods, and watch the ancient red rock formations change color with the setting sun.
Remote (romantic) hike
  • Plan for an early morning or late afternoon moderate hike along the Koloiki Ridge, which offers expansive views of the island and the ocean and neighboring isles.
Romantic dinner
  • In-room romantic dinner at Manele Bay. Served at the dining table or most often on the private lanai. Candles, flowers, white cloth service.
Pack a picnic
  • Both Manele Bay and the Lodge pack picnics for hikes, Jeep excursions or the beach.
Hawai‘i
Catch the sunset
  • Huggo’s on the Rocks: Casual setting serves up cocktails, Hawaiian pupus and music right next to the iconic Huggos Restaurant on the south end of Kona’s downtown. 808.329.1493
  • Any hammock-for-two on the Kohala Coast.
  • Watch the sun set as fishing boats return to Keauhou Bay and the coastline of Kailua-Kona lights up while at Crystal Blue, an indoor/outdoor cocktail lounge at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa.
Remote (romantic) hike
  • Meet up with the ancient Ala Kahakai trail at the public access parking lot behind the new Waikoloa Beach Marriot Resort and Spa and head south. Wear sturdy shoes and hats and bring sunscreen; this is a long and potentially hot trek over lava to freshwater lagoons and a black sand beach.
  • Get existential about the meaning of life as you hike through the trails at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. nps.gov/havo
Pack a picnic
  • Waterfalls, lonely black sand beaches and wild ginger are just a few sights to behold when hiking the famed Waipi‘o Valley. Stop at the Waipi‘o Valley Artworks for a takeout deli sandwich along the way.
Romantic dinner
  • Pahui‘a at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has been earning awards and accolades since opening. Aim for sunset when you make reservations. Desserts include a daily soufflé and the pièce de résistance; their warm dark chocolate lava cake. 888.340.5662.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Unique Online Honeymoon Registry Provides the Perfect Wedding Gift


True or False: For my wedding gift, I'd like a turkey baster.


True or False: For my wedding gift, I'd like a castle tour in France.


When Alexa and Don Mercer got married, they didn’t bother registering with the traditional registries.



“We’d lived together for two years and had already bought the housekeeping stuff we needed,” explains Alexa.



Instead, the Mercers registered with HoneyLuna, the Honeymoon Registry Service, and became part of a growing trend of couples seeking non-traditional wedding gifts. Nearly 80 percent of the guests at the Mercers’ wedding gave gifts from the couple’s honeymoon itinerary by selecting gifts from the couple’s registry.



“Parts of our honeymoon included staying at a fifteenth century farmhouse outside Avignon, France, and having a biking picnic through the French countryside with castles tours along the way,” says Alexa.

“HoneyLuna is the first registry service to focus solely on honeymoon travel as wedding gifts.”
—Nancy Williams, HoneyLuna CEO


Nancy Williams, CEO and founder of HoneyLuna, started HoneyLuna in 1995 after leaving a career in business management. When she got engaged and realized she didn’t need a toaster or blenders, she hit upon the idea for HoneyLuna. At the time, she and her then-fiancé dreamed of an extended honeymoon in Europe. Nancy created her own honeymoon registry and had about 60 percent of her honeymoon paid for by wedding guests.


“HoneyLuna provides couples with a unique option for wedding gifts and gift givers with fun, experiential options to choose from. Our brides and grooms can have fun creating a honeymoon registry wish list for their friends and family. As a gift giver, I would much rather purchase a fantastic memory than a toaster or a towel".

Consider the following two registry items:


2 dinner plates ($50) 1 Gondola Ride in Venice ($50)


Which would you rather register for?

Which would you rather give as a present?



Feel free to replace Gondola Ride with: lift tickets, sunset cruise, snorkeling trip, jeep rental, shore excursion on a cruise - whatever, the answer is the same - honeymoon registries are fun for all!

HoneyLuna has grown each year as more couples are discovering HoneyLuna and learning about the honeymoon registry alternative.


Couples working with HoneyLuna have two registry service choices: A free to the bride and groom "self service" honeymoon registry where brides and grooms simply create and account and use HoneyLuna's destination templates to create their own registry. This is great option for honeymoon couples that have already booked their travel, or prefer to work with their own travel agent.

Or, for a small set up fee, they can registry for HoneyLuna's "full service" where HoneyLuna can arrange their honeymoon, including airline tickets, hotels, activities and more. The company handles the arrangements and creates a customized registry list, complete with gift descriptions and items in all price ranges.

Click here to read more about HoneyLuna's two registry options.

HoneyLuna also provides the couple registry cards to give to guests. Guests contact HoneyLuna—via the Internet or a toll-free number— to purchase items from the registry. HoneyLuna then sends gift acknowledgements to inform couples of the gift purchases.


HoneyLuna has planned honeymoons and created honeymoon registries for thousands of couples desiring traditional as well as exotic itineraries. In addition to the popular destinations of Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Tahiti, HoneyLuna has arranged safaris in Africa, trekking in Thailand, and a 10-month, around-the-world honeymoon. Williams says couples typically find that 50 to 70 percent of their honeymoon is paid for if they register exclusively with HoneyLuna.

Alexa Mercer believes the time has come for a registry like HoneyLuna. She has recommended the idea to several soon-to-be-married friends. By using HoneyLuna for their own honeymoon registry, Alexa says their honeymoon “became a trip of a lifetime.”

HoneyLuna


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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Best First Dance Ever Video - Check this out!

A fun video to give all your brides and grooms some ideas for your first dance!!!

(Maybe you should include dance lessons on your HoneyLuna registry!)



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Thursday, December 6, 2007

We had (the Bridge Climb) of our life!

Past HoneyLuna clients, Maria and Rich, share their
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb experience!


Do HoneyLuna clients really enjoy the gifts they get from their honeymoon registry? You bet they do!! HoneyLuna clients Maria and Rich spent their honeymoon in Australia enjoying many fun items and activities of their honeymoon that were purchased from their HoneyLuna registry as wedding gifts.

Here is their story of one of their favorite gifts...

"The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a 3.5 hour tour that takes you 440 feet to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. On one wall are pictures of celebrities that made the climb. The first half hour was basically spent suiting us up: a jumpsuit, a belt with the contraption that keeps us hooked up to a wire line the whole time we’re climbing, a baseball hat, a hanky (because your nose gets really runny while you’re up there), a scunci for the girls, radio packs and head sets.

They took us through a sample catwalk and rules on how to climb up and down the ladders. This had to be one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. If you ever go to Sydney and do one thing….this is the thing to do! The scariest part was climbing up 4 ladders to the arch of the bridge. Basically you are coming up these tiny steps and you’re coming up as traffic is whizzing past you on one side. Coming down, a train can speed by you at any minute. Once you are on the arch, it’s a breeze. The views were incredible!

We didn’t pay for the sunset tour which is $80 more but we still got the sunset. Gorgeous! Our group was small: 2 Americans that lived in Sydney for 2 years but were moving back on Saturday, and their 2 friends that visited from Florida. They just got engaged while visiting Cairns. Our guide, Nick, looked like Tom Cruise. He was hilarious and I think his sense of humor kept us all at ease. By the time we were done with the climb, we climbed approximately 1200 steps. But you don’t realize it until you start taking off your gear and feel how sore your body is.

Their motto is “Get ready for the climb of your life.” That it was!"

posted by Mur at 11:28 PM

1 Comments: and her HONEYLUNA gift giver said....

"I see you took good use of the gift. I hope you guys had a very nice bridge climb."
11:05 AM

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Cruises – An Affordable Honeymoon Option

A honeymoon cruise in Tahiti:
cruising past a church in Taha'a

For most couples about to be married, budget for the honeymoon can be a challenge – especially after all the wedding expenses! Cruises are a great way to know the costs in advance of your honeymoon and allow you to enjoy your honeymoon without worrying about all the money spent.

In addition, a cruise allows you to see several different ports, and even different countries. Since it “includes your transportation” between ports, cruises can also be an affordable way to travel to many cities or countries.

Initially, the cost of a cruise may seem more expensive than an air and hotel package. But remember, cruises also include your meals, many beverages, and possibly some activities. So what may seem cost prohibitive with the “upfront” price tag actual has much value included in that price and helps you control costs while you are on your honeymoon.

Athough cruises are somewhat “inclusive” they are not necessarily always “all-inclusive”. Inclusions and out of pocket expenses vary from cruise line to cruise line, so it is always best to identify in details what your cruise will cost and what really IS included in the total package cost of your cruise.

And remember, although there may be some out of pocket expenses... your honeymoon cruise can be incorporated into a HoneyLuna honeymoon registry. Items such as your spa treatments, shore excursions and Professional Photos from your honeymoon cruise make excellent gift registry items! Click here to see what a honeymoon cruise registry could look like for you!

This article outlines briefly what you can expect when you pay for a honeymoon cruise…

What Is Included in the Cost of a Cruise?

A cruise price, of course, includes the cabin accomodations that you book and pay for. More expensive cabins include ocean views or private balconies, and the most exclusive staterooms feature multiple rooms, mini refrigerators, concierge service, and other luxurious amenities. Like hotel rooms, cruise cabins are serviced daily by housekeeping staffs that replenish towels, clean your cabin, etc.


Typically, your cruise fare also includes:

* The ocean transporation
* Cruise packages can also be priced to include air fare from your city. (This is usually an additional cost on top of the price of the cruise. From time to time, however, you may find a cruise line offering free air fare as a special promotion)
* Use of deck chairs and other shipboard facilities, including pools, whirlpools, fitness centers, and limited sporting equipment
* Nightly entertainment and other activities such as lectures, movies, etc.
* Your meals in the restaurants, casual restaurants, and showcase buffets

What Is Not Included in the Cost of a Cruise?
Cruises do include many of your typical vacation expenses. However, as mentioned earlier in the article, not all cruises are truly “all –inclusive”. Several types of activities require additional fees, but most of them are optional and budget-conscious cruisers can easily moderate the added costs.

Most cruises do not include:

* Specialty restaurants
* Air transportation (can be booked along with your cruise as mentioned above)

And items of a personal nature, SUCH AS:
* Shore Excursions
* Alcoholic beverages
* Telephone calls
* Gambling costs
* Photographs and Souveniers
* Spa Treatments and Gratuities

Despite some of the out of pocket expenses that can be incurred, cruise vacations can still be an excellent value for honeymooners. Because the basic cruise fare includes all the necessities of a luxurious honeymoon, and savvy honeymooners can easily avoid extensive additional charges, do consider a cruise for you honeymoon.

And remember that both the cost of the cruise, as well as the extra out of pocket items for your honeymoon cruise can be included in a HoneyLuna honeymoon registry. Items such as your spa treatments, shore excursions and Professional Photos from your honeymoon cruise make excellent gift registry items!

Click here to see what a honeymoon cruise registry could look like for you!

Other “notes” honeymooners should know about cruises….

HURRICANES:

If a hurricane threatens, cruise lines try to avoid operating any ship in the vicinity of a tropical system and monitor the progress of these storms very closely. If there is a potential threat to any of our guests or ships, the itinerary MAY BE ALTERED to try to avoid any interaction with the storm or any affected areas. NOTE: IF THE ITINERARY IS ALTERED, THIS DOES NOT GIVE YOU CAUSE TO CANCEL THE CRUISE... ALL APPLICABLE CANCEL PENALTIES, ETC. WOULD APPLY...

PASSPORTS: Effective January 1, 2007, passports are required for ALL US residents for all air, sea and land travel to or from Canada, Mexcio, central and South American, the Caribbean and Bermuda. CHANCES ARE YOU WILL NEED PASSPORTS FOR YOUR HONEYMOON CRUISE !!



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