A little about me!

I’ve been a travel agent for almost six years. And I’m new to blogging, this is my first one ever, so bear with me. Previous to this, I was (and still am) a Licensed Customs Broker.  I spent 30 plus years working at JFK Airport, assisting customers with the clearance and delivery of their international packages.  I thought, if I could move cargo, I can move people and it has to be more fun!!!

And it is!!!  There is nothing more satisfying then planning the perfect adventure for someone.  Convincing them to use a travel agent, instead of doing it on their own can be a daunting task.  Most people think they can get it cheaper on the internet.  And maybe so, sometimes!  If your just booking air to visit grandma, go ahead do it on your own, nothing difficult or special about it.  You may even think if your booking something like “just a cruise” you can do it on your own.  Yes, you can!  But did you know that a travel agent may have special deals, fares, amenities that they can offer you.  Sometimes, even upgrades are available through a travel agent, that you wouldn’t be able to secure yourself.  It would never ever hurt you to ask a travel agent for their help.

Most (not all), but most agents, in most cases do not charge a planning fee or research fee (more on this topic later).  Travel Agents are paid by the cruise line, hotel, resort, wholesaler, tour operator.  It does not add to the cost of your vacation at all!!!  Again, I must say – that using a travel agent will get you more bang for your buck then you can get on your own.  Travel Agents, in most cases, are not paid until your trip is completed.

I’ve made mistakes (as all travel agents have) but my clients would never know it, well except for my son –  when I first started I booked him and his wife on a trip from New York to Florida –  he was extremely perplexed while on his flight TO Florida, why he was getting text’s from JetBlue telling him to check-in for his return flight.  Well, his mother (the travel agent) booked his flight going and coming on the same day!!!!  Luckily, I was able to fix it without any costs.

So, here’s my plan with my new blog –  every week I will share something new – it maybe about a destination, it maybe travel tips, it may some interesting Travel Agent stories, but it will be new and entertaining and I hope you will enjoy it

 

 

Day 4 – (Day 3 of the cruise) Our first Port – Santorini Island – NCL Spirit –

Let’s start with the itinerary for this cruise.  I have to be perfectly honest, as excited as I was to get the opportunity to visit so many places on this cruise, it was to much. It was actually exhausting. So much to do and see.  Don’t get me wrong the trip was amazing, but tiring tooo!

Thu 18-Apr 5:00 pm SHIP DEPARTS CIVITAVECCHIA (ROME), ITALY
Fri 19-Apr AT SEA
Sat 20-Apr 12:00 pm Sat 20-Apr 10:00 pm Tender SANTORINI ISLAND, GREECE
Sun 21-Apr 7:00 am Sun 21-Apr 7:00 pm Dock PIRAEUS (ATHENS), GREECE
Mon 22-Apr 8:00 am Mon 22-Apr 6:00 pm Tender MYKONOS, GREECE
Tue 23-Apr 7:00 am Tue 23-Apr 1:00 pm Dock CHANIA, GREECE
Wed 24-Apr 2:00 pm Wed 24-Apr 9:00 pm Dock VALLETTA, MALTA
Thu 25-Apr 8:00 am Thu 25-Apr 6:00 pm Dock MESSINA, ITALY
Fri 26-Apr 7:00 am Fri 26-Apr 5:00 pm Dock NAPLES/POMPEII, ITALY
Sat 27-Apr 9:00 am Sat 27-Apr 8:00 pm Dock LIVORNO (FLORENCE/PISA), ITALY
Sun 28-Apr 6:00 am SHIP ARRIVES AT CIVITAVECCHIA (ROME), ITALY

So, now on to Santorini – what an amazing and beautiful island. It is a tender port, which I’m not really a fan of, but it was really smooth and it was a quick tender.  It also wasn’t an early arrival, so we had time to have a nice breakfast and no rushing around to get off the ship.  We were also in port until 10 pm and had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunset from the Island.  Our group went in different directions and met up at this beautiful little restaurant overlooking the water.

Our first adventure, we picked an ATV tour (which weren’t really ATV”S) drive yourself, stick shift cute little convertible cars.  We had an amazing tour and had the opportunity to visit the highest point on the Island, the beach and lunch overlooking the harbor.

20190420_140914-e1558272130719.jpg

There were about 10 of us on the excursion, which was a very nice number – not to many people and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Did you know that there are more donkey’s then people that live on the island?

It was a full day of exploring and seeing beautiful sights. Our lunch was amazing and so was the wine!!  But the highlight of the day was meeting up with our group and enjoying a meal, some wine

 

and the amazing sunset overlooking the harbor where I ship waited for us to return.

But, the end of the day and the tram back down to meet the tender had to be the where we had the most laughs.  Poor Joanna, so terribly afraid of heights and there is only 2 ways down – take a donkey on this winding trail or take the tram.  We opted for the tram

Day 3 – Our one and only day at Sea! (Day 2 of our cruise)

Exploring the ship, making plans for the rest of our journey – seeing what we might do. Yes, I am a procrastinator – I glanced at the excursions over the last few months, but never sat down and really decided what we wanted to do.  Today was the day to do that! So many choices, not sure what to do – you can be as busy as you want to be or relaxed as you want to be.

 

Now let’s get a good nights rest and start the fun with our first port visit tomorrow!

Italy and Greece – Day 2 – Off to Ship

What a wonderful start to our trip of a lifetime.  After a good nights sleep and quick breakfast.  Oh, okay – breakfast –  we had coffee and croissants at the hotel – our shuttle to the cruise terminal was set up for 10 am.  The bill came for our breakfast and it was 103.00 Euros!  Oh, so sorry made a mistake – it should be 13.00 Euros!  Just a small warning to look at the receipts before signing the credit card receipts.

Joe, myself, Dorothy and Stacy did the transfer from Rome to the port together. The cost was 200.00 Euros for a private van with our 8 pieces of luggage.  It was a beautiful ride and we arrived at the terminal at 11:30 am.

Of all of the cruises I’ve been on this was one was the easiest boarding process.  When you arrive at the terminal your given a number and once they call your number, you proceed to check in and onto the ship.  It was less than an hour from arrival to sitting on the deck and enjoying the sunshine and the company.

On our first evening aboard ship, we all enjoyed Teppanyaki – the Hibachi Restaurant on NCL Spirit.  We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs and celebrated Stacy’s birthday

After dinner, we all went up to the Galaxy Lounge – had lots of fun, some drinking and dancing

End of day 1 aboard the NCL Spirit – off to bed to rest up for the remainder of our trip!

Our amazing trip to Italy & Greece

A trip of a lifetime! My husband gets annoyed when I say that, but to me it was a trip of a lifetime, not only the trip itself, but the people we went with.  Will I visit these places again? Without a doubt, the experiences and people made it a trip of a lifetime.

Let’s start with Day 1 –

Departure for Rome.  We opted to take an evening flight and boy was I glad we did. As we only had one day to spend in Rome prior to our cruise departure, I actually was able to sleep for a good part of the flight.

Even as a travel agent, we learn new things every day –  so I learned that Alitalia does not participate in TSA Pre-clear. Going through security was pretty easy, but it is so much easier with TSA Pre-clear, I highly recommend it to everyone.

What else did I learn?  Do not book the last seat in any section of these big airplanes. Literally, when I tell you that when the gentlemen in front of me reclined his seat he was inches from my face and being it was the last seat in the section, my seat did not recline nearly as much as he did.  Oh! the food on the plane – we were served dinner and breakfast and both were pretty good for airplane food.  Dinner was interesting, the flight attendant came around to take our order – your choice was meat or pasta, okay so what kind of meat – the reply was “We don’t know, we only know it’s meat!” okay – our answer – PASTA!

Once we arrived in Rome, going through customs was very easy and pretty quick – what wasn’t was the walk from the plane to customs.  It was long! Really long (if you have any kind of mobility issues, I strongly suggest that you request wheelchair assistance from your airline)

Hoped in a taxi and off to Rome!  It probably took about an hour to arrive at the center of the city and our magnificant hotel.  We passed the forum on the way and it was amazing.

20190417_102052

Let me say this, living in New York I thought the drivers here were crazy – well, they are even crazier in Italy.  I did close my eyes a number of times, it was pretty scary.  The roads are narrow and people just step out in the street to cross.

We arrived at our hotel by 10 am and I was just amazed at how beautiful it was.  We stayed at the Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection.  The only problem I had was finding my room and finding the elevator.  The hotel is very large with many wings to it and a bit confusing.  But the service was fantastic and our room was very nice.  We had this weird balcony – when you walked out the door onto it it was 3 walls, no ceiling – the walls were standard room height, so you couldn’t see anything from it, but it was a balcony.

20190417_121728

We did some exploring in Rome and no, I didn’t get to go to the Vatican.  We met up with our friends who were going on the cruise with us and took a short walk over to the Trevi Fountain.  It was beautiful, but I expected a bigger square – it was very small area and very very crowded.

20190417_124643

We spent the afternoon and this beautiful little cafe, drinking wine and snacking.  Unfortunately, between the Aruba trip, the overnight flight and the wine, I ended up back at the hotel with a nice long nap and didn’t make it to dinner.  Joe did, he met the girls and they went out for a nice dinner – he had the opportunity to see the Forum at night, all lit up and looking amazing

End of day one of our excellent adventure, off to a good start!