When do I need a Passport?

passportIt seems so confusing, but it is not.  I will cover the Passport Card in a separate Post but in general, you need a Valid Passport if:

  • you are flying into or out of the United States of America
  • you traveling into or out of the U.S. by land border-crossings or ports-of-entry by sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda

However, there is an Exemption if you are cruising from a U.S. Port and returning to the same U.S. Port.  Other paperwork can be used instead. Continue reading When do I need a Passport?

Hawaii – Uncruise – Night Snorkel with Manta Ray

(Blog by Sandra Merwin)

One of the best excursions UnCruise included was a night time snorkel with Manta Rays off the coast of Maui.

Night SnorkelThey provided full wet suites for this one because of the length of time we were going to be in the water and that the water was a little cooler after dark. After a light dinner our guide for the dive, Ian, came aboard and talked to us about Manta Rays. Manta Rays eat plankton, tiny little organisms floating in the ocean. This dive is done at night because lights are used to attract Night Snorkel with Manta Raysthe plankton, which attracts the Manta Ray. The Manta Rays swim up and barrel roll with their mouth open to scoop up the plankton in order to eat.  The Reef Manta Ray we saw are black and white with wing spans of 9 feet – 14 feet.  Manta Rays are uniquely identified by the markings on the belly of the Ray. Very much like the Fluke coloration of a Humpback whale uniquely identifies a specific whale.  In order to view the Manta Rays feeding, a surf board is outfitted with rope loops for each person to hold on to while they have snorkel gear and the surf board is pulled along by the guide.

Manta Ray doing a barrel rollWhile we were snorkeling the guide was able to identify 8 different Manta Rays by coloration.  The largest Manta Ray is “Big Bertha” who has a wing span of 14 feet.  Normally the guide says she does not barrel roll to feed.  While we were there viewing Big Bertha did come out and barrel roll to feed for us.  The guide saw about 2 – 3 other Manta Rays which did not display their coloration so they were not identified by name.

Credit Cards / Debit Cards when traveling

Do not forget to notify your credit card company when you are traveling.  It would be unfortunate if your card was flagged for possible fraud and you were out of town or even out of the country.  Bring 2 cards with you for this very reason.

Debit Cards – use at ATMs to get local currency, conversion rates for the day’s activity are used.  Make sure you know if there are any fees.

Credit Cards – Companies do not have to use the current day’s exchange rate and you may pay a higher exchange rate than you anticipated.  Also, some companies charge a fee for this service.

When looking for a travel card, look at your local credit unions.  Our local credit union does not charge a currency exchange fee.  Also, the Visa Check Card can act as either a debit card or a credit card.  If you don’t already have an account at a credit union, open one and use it just for travel.  Our local credit union can now print your Debit Card on-site.  Since Credit Unions are actually owned by the users, they usually do not have fees or have much lower fees.

When you are traveling or when you are at home, it has become more important to protect your credit and debit cards.  I see videos all the time on how credit card information is stolen.  I purchased some RFID blockers before my last trip (from amazon).  The package was so big that I shared with my family and everyone has their cards in them all the time.

Hawaii UnCruise – Molokai Island

Mokulele AirOur cruise started from Molokai, which required we fly from Honolulu where we had arrived the day before. We flew over on Mokulele Airlines,  in a 9-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan.  The flight was short, comfortable and had truly beautiful views. Once on Molokai, Uncruise Adventures picked us up at the airport and took us to Hotel Molokai to gather all the passengers before we went on our first expedition then boarded the ship. Continue reading Hawaii UnCruise – Molokai Island

Hawaii Cruise – No an UnCruise

According to the cruise industry the average cruise ship today is over 950 feet long and accommodate about 2,900 people. Using the industry standard of two people per cabin that is 1,450 cabins. Now picture a cruise ship that is 145 feet long with 18 cabins and 36 passengers. That is UnCruise Adventures’ Safari Explorer.

UnCruise Safari Explorer
UnCruise Safari Explorer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Hawaii Cruise – No an UnCruise

Hawaii Cruise – Cabin B14

Cabin doorWelcome to cabin B14

We spent a week in cabin B14 on UnCruise Adventures’ Safari Explorer. The category for this cabin is “Master” and it is the standard sized Double cabin on board. Nine or half of the cabins are this category. Let’s take a look at the cabin. (Click on the pictures if you want to see a larger version. Then use the back button to continue reading.) Continue reading Hawaii Cruise – Cabin B14