Sure, I’ll Go To Fiji With You

April 9th, 2012 | Posted by jenfortecuomo in Romantic Travel | Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

It was a gamble. At the time, it didn’t seem so crazy, but in hindsight – what were we thinking?

I had known my then boyfriend (now husband) for about eight weeks. Things were good. We were happy and the relationship was going along at a normal clip.

I had just started the best job I ever had at Laura Davidson Public Relations. Really, my dream job. And one of my first assignments was to go to Fiji for 9 days. And the client would “prefer” if I brought my significant other so I would really get the true sense of what being at a romantic island like Turtle Island Fiji was all about.

Now let me preface this by saying whenever a plus one has been required in my life, I’ve never had one. I had to go to prom with a friend (every young girl’s nightmare), I’ve been to numerous weddings with the guy buddy and so on and so forth. It seems that whenever I need a date, I don’t have one. So of course, when the charming Australian client asked “do you have a beau?” I was more than happy to chirp “oh yes, I do!”

When I brought it up, gingerly, to my boyfriend, he actually seemed pretty enthusiastic. I mean who can blame him? Turtle Island is a private island resort frequented by the rich and famous. Who wouldn’t want to go there? So – off we went to Fiji having known each other all of a few short months. It could have ended very, very badly. As it turned out, it ended in marriage and two kids. Who could have predicted that? Not I – for a few times on that trip I thought “what on earth have I done?”

Like when we arrived at Turtle Island and got to our private bure, a beautiful, two room suite with flower petals sprinkled about. My then boyfriend found a sheet of paper which basically said “our wish is your command – let us know what would make your stay better and we’ll have it delivered to your bure.” So my charming companion writes down “ring dings and Jack Daniels.” Hmmm. I did not realize I was traveling with Jed Clampett. And yes something like a ring ding and a full bottle of Jack was, in fact, delivered to our door step.

Our Bed Upon Arrival

Oh yes, you learn a lot when you travel for nine days with someone you don’t know very well. I won’t go into specifics but let’s call it eye-opening on a few fronts….for both of us.

View from our nightly cocktails spot

But our trip actually turned out to be pretty romantic and also very surprising. We thought we would not like the communal dining on island and would instead opt for a private dining experience at least once. As it turns out, the communal dining was so much fun we never did dine alone. We very much enjoyed the company of the other guests on the island and felt it enhanced, not infringed on our romantic stay.

The staff serenading us on a sunset cruise

We loved the staff (everyone who visits Turtle does), enjoyed the many activities on the island such as fishing and partaking in a private beach picnic. We really embraced the culture of the Fijians, which is warm and hospitable. Some of the nicest people on our earth.

Since then I’ve always said Steve and I travel well together. I credit Fiji and the magic of Turtle Island for that fact. Our shared adventure to Fiji made us realize we had the travel bug in common and since then we’ve been on many more adventures. And plan many more to come….

The Happy Couple on the sunset cruise

This PR Girl has little ones. Since my gig is travel PR, we do our best to make our kids portable. Although the thought of flying with my two-year old still puts a cold chill down my spine (yes – we’ve done it) we do take a lot of trips in the car. My brave PR Guy even drove 7 hours all by himself to Maine with both kids to meet me last summer. We had an amazing trip, even though travel with a 17-month old is no picnic.

But anything can turn into family fun – and this is a lesson I’ve tried to impart to my kids. Well to one kid. The other one is too non-verbal. This past weekend we took ride out to PA Dutch country, or Lancaster, PA. A place my husband is very familiar with and I’ve come to appreciate more and more over the years we’ve been going there. His family has a vacation home there and we go quite a bit. I myself am still a bit awed by the Amish, and so are the kids.

Really we went to hit the outlets for some bargain shopping (really HE went to hit the outlets, his wardrobe was sorely lacking) but me and the kids went along too. I wanted the kids to have a good time so I really hyped it up to my four (almost five) year-old as a “family fun vacation.” He got very excited. I got very nervous. The majority of fun things to do in Lancaster are not taking place in March.

I quickly scoured the internet for some family fun options. And found some great ones!

When we got there it was late in the day, too late to do anything significant but Nicholas was expecting some fun! We found that fun in the form of family bowling night! This actually, in hindsight, could have gone really wrong. A two and four year old bowling? But I give them credit not only did they embrace the sport, they were pretty darn good at it! Well, Nick was good. Sienna just jumped up and down each time the ball went down the lane and screamed “I win! I win!”

But we did have fun and Nick found a new activity to love.

Saturday, while hubby outfitted himself, Mommy braved the Hands-on House, a children’s museum in Lancaster. Sincerely one of the best I’ve ever been too. There were age appropriate activities for both kids and Nick was absolutely captivated by the assembly line exhibit with step by step instructions on how to build a watcha-ma-giggle. We stayed for over two hours. Sienna liked the dress up room and the snow men and women that she could put hats, scarves and faces on.

After we picked up daddy, we headed to a new attraction, The Turkey Hill Experience. A wonderful, hands-on exhibit there was definitely something for kids and adults of all ages. The opportunity to taste product, create your own, use lots of hands on experiences like a simulated cow milking and a big tub where kids can dump virtual flavors and watch them mix together in a big vat. Very cool stuff. It took about an hour to go through and the kids really had fun. And we did too!

Dinner that night was a favorite – a classic Amish meal served family style at Plain & Fancy. The best fried chicken you get up north. Seriously those Amish know how to cook. Mashed potatoes, fresh veggies, buttered noodles, chicken and dumplings, homemade country sausage, iced raisin bread, chow chow and more. It’s yum. My kids particularly liked the little canister of sprinkles left on the table for their vanilla ice cream at the end of the meal.

We had so much fun that we didn’t even get to go on the buggy ride we promised the kids! But we’ll be back to experience the more traditional attractions like Dutch Wonderland.

My takeaway is – any trip, any where is what you make of it. Family fun is about sharing an experience together and it doesn’t have to be as exciting as Disney World. My son sorted fake mail for over 30 minutes at the chldren’s museum. Now that’s good old-fashioned, imagination inspired fun. Like the Amish kids have.

Cruisin’ Along

March 1st, 2012 | Posted by jenfortecuomo in Cruising | Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Lot’s of talk about the cruise industry lately and not exactly the kind of talk a PR person likes to hear. With the renewed interest consumers have over safety of sea cruises combined with a recent drop in bookings, I wonder, will River Cruises see an upswing in bookings?

River cruises are hot. Hot in 2011 and even hotter in 2012 – check out this article from Cruise Critic. Also, Conde Nast Traveler sites that cruising is still popular for their readers despite negative press and river cruising is growing in popularity.

River cruises are not only growing in popularity, but the deals are amazing. Really. Amazing. This is from a gal who looks at deals all day long. Trust me. Book one.

Premier River Cruises has the terrific knowledge of the industry, plus some amazing deals right now. One is below.

Premier River Cruises, America’s best travel agency for any river cruise vacations, is having a limited time only sale on select 7-night Amadeus Premium European river cruises on the Danube or Rhine Rivers. In order to take advantage of these extraordinary rates, which reflect savings up to 50% off, trips must booked no later than March 25, 2012.
These are not off-season sailings, but prime August, September and early October sailings aboard the luxurious Amadeus Diamond and Amadeus Princess. These 7-night Danube or Rhine river cruise itineraries stop in places like Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Regensburg, Cochem, Rudesheim, Speyer and other extraordinary cities – all in a French Balcony cabin for the extraordinary price of only $2,149pp (normal rate is $4,298pp).
To reserve a cabin, call Premier at 1 855 255 1200 or view details on line by clicking here

Always a “PR Girl” at Heart

February 27th, 2012 | Posted by jenfortecuomo in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Jennifer Forte Cuomo

Welcome to the JFC PR blog, a new venture for a PR Girl making her way into the digital world slowly but surely. Yes, follow me on Twitter, like my FB page, read my blog and I am sure Pinterest is next. What can I do? In the fast moving world of PR, things are changing to say the least. For this PR Girl, and yes no matter how old you get, you’re still the PR Girl to some of your clients, it’s about bringing value to the table for my clients. A simple advertising value is no longer valid and no longer cuts it in terms of ROI, which let’s face it was no picnic to measure in the first place. I know more than one small practitioner like myself that’s lost a client because they haven’t had the ability or the insight to add such services as blogging, social media and digital press releases to their arsenal of PR Tools. Unfortunately, it is no longer okay to bury your head in the sand and drag out your awesome rolodex of contacts who will take your call and meet your client.

So – here we are. A new blog to update my many, many fans with the best travel deals, travel discounts and travel news. We will be discussing trends and I will recommend my favorite blogs, experts and more as we move along this digital journey together. I’ve considered the fact that keeping up is much more work, but at the end of the day I am a PR Girl at heart. I have a passion for the travel business, a love of all things hotel related and I still get that rush when my client gets a great placement or story and I know it was because of me.

So stay tuned and keep on traveling!