Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay: Emerald Bay Cruise in Vietnam

Halong Bay is certainly one of Vietnam’s famous tourist destinations. Considered one of the 7 natural wonders and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay is in the northern province of Quang Ninh and 160 km from the capital Hanoi. This is certainly one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen in my life, with more than 1,600 stone islands that seem to float in emerald waters.

The best way to find out this paradise is to travel by boat, which can be one or three days between islands. Most travelers who travel don’t know that one of the routes might be through Bai Tu Long Bay, which is also part of the Halong Island set, but because it is located a little further north and further away from the harbor where it is located. Cruise ships leave, turns out to be a tour that is less explored and therefore where you will find more untouched scenery without the excess of boat tours.

How to get there

To get to Halong Bay, the best way is to go to the capital – Hanoi – and book a cruise. The journey from Hanoi to Halong takes 4 hours, and most of the transfers stop at an NGO where poor or sick Vietnamese learn and sell local handicrafts. It is worth seeing the masterpiece and it is impossible to leave without a souvenir. Enjoy snacks and hydration for the rest of the trip to the harbor.

If you don’t buy a cruise in Hanoi, you can also go by bus to Halong and stay there. The bus departs from Gia Lam station with prices between 5 and 10 dollars. Another alternative is to rent a private transfer or shuttle bus.

When to go

The best months to visit northern Vietnam are February and March, when there is less rain. We went in September and were lucky with the weather.

Various trips

There are day trips around the island, but I certainly don’t recommend it. We took a two-day and one-night cruise, and I admit that we left with a “I want more” taste, because there are many islands with beaches, observation spots, caves, floating fishing villages, so much to navigate. But if you have numbered days on your trip, and also don’t want to spend a lot, this tour is sufficient and a great value for money.

What must be taken

The cruise cabin is quite comfortable but small. So avoid carrying too much luggage. Be sure to bring a bikini or swimsuit to get to the sea, comfortable hiking clothes (if you visit caves and observations) and a cool night coat. Preferably waterproof clothing, because there is always a risk of rain. Sunscreen, cover and repellent are always needed!

The ship has a socket to recharge the device, but forget the living. You will not have internet signal all the time. Enjoy to enjoy the view and relax.

Which voyage should be chosen

Hundreds of companies offer tours. From ships carrying more people at lower prices, ships focus on young people, with parties and drinks released, to more luxurious ships, with fewer cabins and, obviously, more salty prices. Prices will vary greatly, from $ 60 to $ 500, depending on the number of days (most do not exceed two nights) and the luxury of the ship.

Our itinerary was by Bai Tu Long Bay cruises. Which made us more isolated from most of the boats that make the tour and, therefore, with incredible landscapes just for us. We boarded around noon, and after settling into the cabins, we were greeted with a wonderful lunch. In the afternoon we took a kayaking tour of even more disconcerting landscapes, stopping at a deserted beach on Cap La Island.

Really a must see tour, which we recommend 100%!

This Holiday Season, Tampa Bay, Florida Will Become More Enchanting Than Ever Before!

Enchant® Christmas is coming to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, bringing the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze, a locally curated Christmas Market, and more 

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (August 19, 2019) – Florida, prepare for your most captivating holiday season event to date. Enchant Christmas is an immersive holiday light experience that will transport guests to a world of Christmas wonder, with trees up to 80 feet tall, larger-than-life ornaments, twinkling snowflakes and, of course, Santa in a glittering sleigh. Brighter and more heartwarming than your wildest holiday dreams, Enchant will make its Florida debut at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, November 22 – December 29. The outfield will be transformed into a twinkling maze of stunning light displays and a Christmas Market stocked with over 60 local food and artisan merchant vendors. The infield will house an ice-skating trail adorned with spectacularly lit archways. Additionally, the RaysClub along with other premium areas will become available for VIP and private holiday party experiences. 

Enchant Christmas boasts five completely different and custom-designed Light Maze experiences, each individually based on Enchant-produced original stories that chronicle the beloved, yet mischievous elf, Eddie, whose Christmas adventures drive the physical maze experiences. The story coming to St. Petersburg this holiday season, entitled “The Great Search,” follows the tale of the disappearance of Santa’s reindeer just before Christmas Eve. As guests of Enchant, your charge is to search the 90,000 square foot light maze for all nine of Santa’s reindeer. In 2018, guests of “The Great Search” experience exclaimed “It was such a beautiful and magical experience! The lights and the sculptures were amazing” (J. Hansen/Google) and “MUST experience live to fully comprehend this magical experience! Fun for 3 generations of my family!“ (K. Lubahn/Google) Throughout the entire experience, guests will be captivated by truly larger-than-life light displays, children will revel in the magic, all the while surrounded by falling snow, hot cocoa in hand, with holiday music spreading the holiday spirit from start to finish.

“After overwhelmingly popular events in Seattle, Washington, Vancouver, Canada and Dallas, Texas, we are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Rays and to bring Enchant Christmas to the greater Tampa Bay community and beyond” said Kevin Johnston, founder of Enchant Christmas. “Enchant is a one-of-a-kind holiday experience… the lights, the sounds, the entertainment, the entire experience aims to wrap people in the holiday spirit. Every year I look forward to the awestruck faces as guests walk towards the maze for the first time. It is hard not to crack a smile when you see young and old in wonder – and that is what Enchant is all about.”

“The Rays are thrilled to host Enchant at Tropicana Field during the holiday season,” said Rays President Brian Auld. “Tampa Bay has not seen anything like this before, and it will leave a lasting impression on those who come to experience the holiday magic.”

Within Enchant Christmas, a world of Christmas wonder awaits holiday revelers in the form of these festive activities:

  • The Christmas Light Maze – “The Great Search” is the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze taking guests through a twinkling wonderland in search of Santa’s missing reindeer
  • Christmas Market – Taste seasonal delights and shop for holiday gifts from dozens of local vendors showcasing home decor, jewelry, gourmet foods, and more. Vendor applications are still being accepted at EnchantChristmas.com
  • VIP Event Experiences – Tropicana Field’s Private Suites and Club Spaces will be transformed into exclusive rooms for holiday parties and special events. Enjoy all that the Enchant experience has to offer plus full service catering, and more. Enchant Christmas is now accepting reservations for Holiday Parties. To inquire, visit EnchantChristmas.com
  • Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus – Santa will take photos in his workshop with the children and he’s bringing Mrs. Claus who will be leading story time.  
  • Food and Beverage – Enjoy holiday-themed food and drinks that are sure to please everyone throughout the Concourse with a special bar experience on the field in the maze.
  • Ice-Skating Trail – Enchant features a magical Ice-Skating Trail adorned with spectacular light displays. Rent a pair of skates at the event and take a glide with your loved ones.
  • Live Entertainment – Guests will get into the spirit with nightly caroling throughout the venue and local busking-style musicians

CONNECT WITH ENCHANT CHRISTMAS
EnchantChristmas.com
Facebook – /EnchantStPetersburg
Twitter – @EnchantStPete
Instagram – @EnchantStPetersburg
#EnchantChristmas

ABOUT ENCHANT CHRISTMAS
Enchant Christmas is produced by Enchant Christmas LLC, a subsidiary of Enchant Christmas Light Maze and Market Ltd., a Vancouver-based, professional Christmas light company serving Canada and the U.S. since 2010.

Nintendo 3DS Video Game Review “Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay”

Release Date: October 23, 2014
E10+ for Everyone 10 and older: Cartoon Violence
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Game Mill Entertainment
Developer: 1st Playable Productions

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Right from the start, “Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay” was off to a bad start. I thought there was something wrong with my 3DS and it turned out the game isn’t presented with 3D effects. I mean come on, there are indie games that are coming out in 3D and a big game like “Big Hero 6” is not. Very disappointing. The game difficulty is extremely easy. The bad guys are no challenge at all, in fact I beat the first boss while checking my email on my phone. You play as each of the five main characters mixed up throughout the game’s 20 levels, which will take the average gamer about an hour or two to beat. The other main issue is that Baymax, who is the best character in the movie is merely background noise. Big miss here for sure.

Official Premise: Following on the heels of their super hero debut, the Big Hero 6 team has targeted a dangerous gangster named Yama and his legion of out of control fighting robots! Take control of the stars of the film in this action packed combat platformer! Send robot’s flying across the screen as Hiro with his electro-mag gauntlets! Zoom through levels at top speed as Go ! Slice and dice as Wasabi with his plasma blades! Smash and burn as Fred in his Kaiju monster super suit!

“Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay” features no spoken dialogue or cut scenes at all along with bland and repetitive sound design. One thing this game does have though to add slightly more game play instead of jump flying through each level is that there is some in-game collectibles. You can collect various hidden items in each level including a cat, a plus symbol consisting of five cubes and the word HERO spelled out. Finding these items will provide health upgrades as well as trophies, art work and more. Unless you are completely obsessed with “Big Hero 6” and need to have everything from the movie, this is a definite pass.

 

Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Celebrates Grand Opening

No. 1 selling American band of all time – The Beach Boys – Performed at Grand Opening
Celebration of Fourth On-Site Hotel

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 19, 2014) – Universal Orlando celebrated the official Grand Opening of its fourth on-site hotel –Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – this evening with a beach bash featuring a surprise performance by The Beach Boys. The brand-new hotel features a total of 1,800 moderate and value priced rooms that evoke the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60s.

Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, the new hotel is a destination within itself – featuring a stunning design with bold colors, retro-inspired architecture and sweeping vistas that transport guests back to a time of relaxation and endless family fun. Cabana Bay guests can experience incredible amenities throughout the hotel, including:

  • Soaking up the sun at the 6,000 square foot sand beach surrounding the 8,000 square foot zero-entry pool at the Lazy River Courtyard
  • Enjoying a leisurely float around Universal Orlando’s first Lazy River at an on-site hotel, with waterfalls and cannons for interactive fun
  • Taking in the stunning view of the Lazy River Courtyard while savoring a specialty cocktail, a freshly made smoothie and simple grill menu items from the rooftop deck at The Hideaway Bar & Grill
  • Bowling a strike at the 10-lane Galaxy Bowl
  • Channeling the godfather of fitness at the Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio
  • Racing down the iconic dive tower waterslide and splashing into a 10,000 square foot zero-entry pool in the Cabana Courtyard
  • Enjoying a retro-themed specialty cocktail from Swizzle Lounge or Atomic Tonic
  • Finding something delicious for the entire family at Bayliner Diner, a food court with something for everyone to enjoy including a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and grab-and-go items

Click here to watch a video series to learn more about the hotel and all the amenities it has to offer, including an all-new look at the Lazy River Courtyard and brand new standard guest rooms.

Rates for the standard guest rooms begin at $119 per night, and can run as low as $93 per-night depending on the length of stay. Rates for the family suites begin at $174 per-night, and can run as low as $134 per-night depending on the length of stay. Cabana Bay guests also get exclusive benefits only available to on-site hotel guests at Universal Orlando, including Early Park Admission one hour before the theme parks open.

The value-priced standard guest room features two queen size beds, a mini fridge, and a flat screen TV for a comfortable and affordable stay. The family suite sleeps up to six people and includes two queen size beds, a fold-out foam bed, kitchenette, a sliding partition for privacy, two flat-screen TVs and a bathroom with preparation spaces for three people at once.

“Our new hotel is a destination unto itself,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Parks and Resorts. “From the incredible retro design to the bowling alley to the lazy river and more – this hotel is the perfect complement to our other hotels.”

“Cabana Bay Beach Resort is an exciting and first of its kind addition to the Loews Hotels & Resorts family,” said Jonathan Tisch, Chairman, Loews Hotels & Resorts. “We are thrilled to bring a unique and fun offering to guests traveling to Orlando, as we open our fourth hotel with our partners at Universal Parks and Resorts.”


To learn more or to make a reservation, call 1-888-273-1311 or visit www.universalorlando.com. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is co-owned and operated by Loews Hotels & Resorts.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts.  It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family.  Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.  And coming this summer:  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels:  Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal CityWalk – a nighttime entertainment complex featuring a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops.  And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on Facebook,TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Loews Hotels & Resorts
Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels & Resorts owns and/or operates 20 hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Canada including the newly acquired Loews Madison Hotel located in the heart of Washington at the epicenter of legendary D.C. landmarks and the Loews Boston Hotel, one of Boston’s preeminent historic buildings, situated on the corner of Berkeley and Stuart Streets. Located in major city centers and resort destinations in North America from coast to coast, the Loews portfolio features one-of-a-kind properties that go beyond Four Diamond standards to delight guests with a supremely comfortable, uniquely local and vibrant travel experience. For reservations or more information about Loews Hotels & Resorts, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or visit: www.loewshotels.com.

Jody Thompson talks about working with Barry Levinson on “The Bay”

Jody Thompson is the star in Barry Levinson’s new found-footage horror/thriller “The Bay”, which is being released on November 2nd.  Jody also co-stars this Fall with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal in Parental Guidance”. Jody took out sometime to chat with Media Mikes about his roles and what we can expect from the films.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your character in the film “The Bay”?
Jody Thompson: I play Officer Paul. I liken him to the Barney Fife of the town. It takes place in this really small town and which experiences an ecological outbreak, with these creatures all isopods. These are actually real creatures. These creatures get inside the townspeople and start eating them from the inside out. So if you can imagine Barney Fife with bodies flying through the street, then you have my character.

MG: How was it working with such a critically acclaimed director like Barry Levinson?
JT: It was really the drawing force for me to work on this picture. A chance like that doesn’t come by pretty often, so I was really pumped. Honestly, I put the audition on tape, forgot about it but when I got the call back I was psyched since he is such a well-respected director. It was a great project to be involved with.

MG: Tell us about your story line in the film?
JT: There are about four/five different story line and mine is one of the story lines they follow. It was challenging but the way the film is it works. My story has a bit of an arc but let’s just say it doesn’t end well for my partner and I. Just to be able to grab on to something like that I feel like I was able to work with this role a bit. So I thought it was really great.

MG: How was it working with Kristen Connolly, whom I loved in “Cabin in the Woods”?
JT: I did not. It sucks. I worked with Christopher Denham though and he recently had a really big part in “Argo”. So it was cool to work with him on this.

MG: The found footage genre is very hot right now, how does this film stand out from the rest?
JT: I always thought it was a little hokey in the found footage films, when someone is in the house but they keep the camera running. I would be outta there. The cool thing about this is that it is about an outbreak that happens in one day and it takes footage from all different sources. There is Skype cameras, (in my case) there is police cameras, iPhone and many others. They weave all these media forces together to tell a pretty convincing story. If you didn’t know this was a film, there is some believablility to this.

MG: How worked in both film and TV, what do you enjoy most and what do you look for in a role?
JT: My forte is comedy and I consider myself a character actor. Any chance I get to make people laugh is what I love the most. It doesn’t hurt when certain actors, directors or locations come into play. This is the stuff that I look for when I am choosing a role.

MG: How was it getting to work with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal on “Parental Guidance”?
JT: I only got to see Bette during the table read. But working with Billy Crystal was really crazy. I started talking with him one day about hosting the Academy Awards and telling him that he has been the best of all-time. He then started doing all the bits. It was awesome. It was like a free show. At the time I was shooting, Eddie Murphy was slated to host the Academy Awards. I finished shooting and like a week later Eddie dropped out and Billy Crystal got invited back. I thought that was really cool and I was saying that I was responsible for this [laughs]. But he was really awesome and I consider him a comedy legend.