It's a cold and dreary day but I'm smiling. Why? I'm going to Cuba – and you can join me! It looks like the group trip I'm organizing for April 14-21, 2011, is gonna fly. I'm seriously stoked!
Sunwing has given me a new quote, dropping the VIP Cabana price to $688 and extending the booking deadline to Dec. 21. We need a minimum of 10 people to pay a $150 deposit by that date in order to qualify for this group rate. People are beginning to sign up. The bus is rolling. So...if you're stuck for Christmas gift ideas for that special someone or want to treat yourself to an end-of-winter reward, get on board!
In addition to a much better price, another thing that has helped garner some attention for my little venture is that Muskoka journalist Andrew Wagner-Chazalon (an excellent writer and all-round nice guy) recently wrote about it. You can read his story online by clicking here. I am also anticipating the airing of a local cable TV broadcast of an interview by Melody Richardson (a wonderful writer and all-round great gal) on her show, "In Conversation." That should help us shift up a gear and accelerate the booking progress.
I've been calling this the "Write in Cuba" trip but I want to make sure everybody knows that it is open to anyone. You don't even have to pretend to know what a gerund is! However, I am most decidedly hoping that a nice clutch of writers will sign up for some sunny fun.
The side-bar options for writers are being put together by my capable co-leader, Karen Wehrstein. You can read all about the workshops she's cleverly devised by checking the preceding blog post. For those of you who don't know her, she's one of Muskoka's busiest writers – a highly skilled journalist, prolific blogger, multi-book author and occasional poet. She has been part of Word Swap, the monthly writers' group I started a few years ago, since its inception, and subs in for me as host when I am away...in Cuba, for instance. (Hmm, we may have to reschedule the April 21st Word Swap.)
We will fine tune which workshops will be offered, once we have quorum, so to speak, and see what the traveling writers prefer. The fee for being part of the writing activities is in addition to the $688 trip price, on a sliding scale that begins at $60 – if you are able to pay more, that would be appreciated. All of the money for the workshops will be going Karen, who will be taking time away from her freelance writing business for this trip; it is the only compensation she will have.
Both Karen and I will be paying our own travel costs. I have not added in a fee for organizing this group. All I will be asking is that, if you use my PayPal account to pay for the trip (conveniently linked to my blog through the "Donate" button in the right-hand column), you add on $21 to cover their surcharge. The other preferred payment option would be a money order, so there's no lag time for a cheque to be processed. Or, of course, if you live nearby, you can hand me a wad of cash!
One last thing I should reiterate is that the $688/week price covers pretty much everything except your tips. It includes your flight, accommodation, airport/resort transportation, all you can eat and drink, a fully stocked bar fridge, use of kayaks, catamaran rides and several excursions, including a triptych of daytrips to a beautiful island where you can snorkel and eat lobster. For more information about the resort, Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, click on this link. If you scroll down a bit on this site, you'll see a full list of what's included in the VIP package.
Well, I think that about covers it. Please check out the "Links I Like" in the right-hand side of this blog. I've added some links to online photo albums I've created that show the resort and surrounding area, as well as some of the people I've gotten to know there and a few of the wild women I've had the pleasure of hanging out with at warm and wondrous Marea del Portillo, in sunny southern Cuba.
Hope you can join me!