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

 

 

Must have Monday!

Every Monday I’ll post what I think are “must have’s” when I travel.  These are the things I wouldn’t leave home without.  Maybe you’ll find something on my list that you’ve never thought to bring and think it’s a good idea or maybe you’ll have something on your list that we never thought of.

June 4, 2018 –  a small notebook – for me, this one of the things on the top of my list for a variety of reasons –  I guess the first being I can’t remember a damn thing!!! Must be my age, but for whatever the reason – trips kind of mesh together – when was I there, what did I do, what did I like, what didn’t I like.  I started doing this long before I became a travel agent.

When you cruise as much as we do, you tend to re-visit some of the ports – if I’ve hit on something either really good or really bad and either want to do it again or never want to do it again – I write it down!  I would never have remembered where the home of the Pina Colada was if I never wrote it down.  Sure, I have pictures of me in front of the sign (actually have a few taken from different visits).  And I have pictures of some of my guests taken in front of the same sign when I recommend the place to them.

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Have you ever taken a photo and then for the life of you can’t remember when or where it was.  This little book has saved me from that.  I don’t buy a new book every time I travel – I just put the first date and the last date on the cover and refer back to it when I need to.

I don’t just use for big trips – I take it with me on the weekend get-aways and road trips as well.

 

Sunday Specials

Every Sunday I will post a few special vacation packages deals that I think are really good or unique offers, this week I have a few to highlight for you

June 3, 2018

Offer #1 –  Diving in Turks & Caicos –  with our partner, Club Med we have been able to put this amazing deal together for anyone who likes to dive or has ever dreamed of learning how.  Club Med is an adults only all inclusive resort in Turks & Caicos.  A quick 15 minute ride from the airport.  They offer much more than diving (which is an extra cost) – snorkeling, sailing, entertainment, beautiful beach, good food, 24 hour fitness room, yoga, spa treatments, beautiful pool. You really couldn’t ask for more.  The dive boat is right on the property, no shuttle needed.  We just returned last week and had a wonderful time.    CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON THIS TRIP!

Offer #2 –  We’ve partnered with the New York Mets for a trip to Spring Training in March 2019. This time we will be staying at Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida. It’s a short 10 minute ride to First Data Field.  Depending on how long you stay, will determine how many games you attend.  The Mets have provided us with some VIP additions to the trip.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay is all-inclusive, but not adults only – bring the kids – get up close and personal with the players.  This will be our 2nd Annual Mets Spring Training Outing and you don’t want to miss it.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON THIS TRIP!

 

Sail away Saturday

Every Saturday I will highlight a different cruise line and what they offer.  Let’s start with a list of cruise lines –  did you know there were so many! Many of these you’ve never heard of, I’m sure.  I’m sure you didn’t know how many cruise lines are actually connected to each other and have the same owners –  for instance Carnival Corporation owns – Aida Cruises,  Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard, Holland America, P&O, Princess, and Seabourn.   They can offer everything from traditional cruising to premium.

Name Status Headquarters Notes
AIDA Cruises Operational  Germany Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
American Cruise Lines Operational  USA Based in Guilford, Connecticut, offers coastal cruises and paddle-steamer cruises
Azamara Club Cruises Operational  USA Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Operational  USA Formed by former executives from the defunct Celebration Cruise Line, operates the Grand Celebration
Birka Line Operational  Finland Subsidiary of Rederiaktiebolaget Eckerö, operates the Birka Stockholm
Bohai Cruises[7] Operational  China State owned,owns Chinese Taishan.
Carnival Cruise Line Operational  USA/ United Kingdom Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Celebrity Cruises Operational  USA Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Celestyal Cruises Operational  Cyprus Previously named Louis Cruises
Compagnie du Ponant Operational  France Based in Marseille, operates yacht cruises
Costa Cruises Operational  Italy Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Cruise & Maritime Voyages Operational  United Kingdom Owned by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd.
Crystal Cruises Operational  Japan Owned by Genting Hong Kong
Cunard Line Operational  United Kingdom Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Disney Cruise Line Operational  United States Headquartered in Celebration, Florida
Dream Cruises Operational  Hong Kong Owned by Genting Hong Kong
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Operational  United Kingdom
FTI Cruises Operational  Germany Cruise branch of Bavarian travel company FTI Group, operates MS Berlin
Hansa Touristk Operational  Germany Privately owned (Kilian family), offers ocean cruises with MV Ocean Majesty and river cruises
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Operational  Germany Owned bei TUI Group
Holland America Line Operational  USA(originally  Netherlands) Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Hurtigruten Operational  Norway Also marketed as Norwegian Coastal Express
Majestic International Cruises Operational  Greece
St Hilda Sea Adventures Operational  United Kingdom Dunoon (Scotland), offers Scottish island cruises
The Majestic Line Operational  United Kingdom Dunoon (Scotland), offers Scottish island cruises
Mano Maritime Operational  Israel
MSC Cruises Operational  Italy Privately owned (Aponte family)
Nanhai Cruises[8] Operational  China State owned, exclusively run South China Sea cruises
North Pacific Expeditions Operational  USA Privately owned (Teevin family), offers Alaska cruises with M/Y Sea Star
Norwegian Cruise Line Operational  USA (originally  Norway) Partially owned by Genting Hong Kong
Oceania Cruises Operational  USA Owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd
P&O Cruises Operational  United Kingdom Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
P&O Cruises Australia Operational  Australia Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Paul Gauguin Cruises Operational  United States Branch of Regent Seven Seas Cruises till 2010, offers South Pacific cruises
Pearl Seas Cruises Operational  United States Offers Great Lakes, New England and Cuba cruises
Phoenix Reisen Operational  Germany Privately owned (Zurnieden family)
Plantours Kreuzfahrten Operational  Germany Operates MS Hamburg and several river cruise ships
Poseidon Expeditions Operational  United Kingdom Arctic cruises with nuclear icebraker 50 Let Pobedy
Princess Cruises Operational  USA Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
Pullmantur Cruises Operational  Spain Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Quark Expeditions Operational  USA Expedition cruising
Regent Seven Seas Cruises Operational  USA Owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd
Royal Caribbean International Operational  USA (originally  Norway) Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Saga Cruises Operational  United Kingdom Owned by Saga Group
Seabourn Cruise Line Operational  USA Owned by Carnival Corporation & plc
SeaDream Yacht Club Operational  Norway Privately owned (Atle Brynestad)
Silversea Cruises Operational  Monaco Privately owned (Lefebvre family)
SkySea Cruise Line Operational  China A joint venture of Ctrip inc. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.,which will die around the end of 2018[9]
Star Cruises Operational  Hong Kong Owned by Genting Hong Kong
Thomson Cruises Operational  United Kingdom Owned by TUI Group
Transocean Tours Operational  Germany Since 2014 German branch of Cruise & Maritime Voyages
TUI Cruises Operational  Germany Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and TUI Group
UnCruise Adventures Operational  USA
Viking Ocean Cruises Operational  USA Branch of Viking Cruises
Windstar Cruises Operational  USA Owned by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc.
Voyages to Antiquity Operational  United Kingdom

List of river cruise lines

Name Status Headquarters Notes
1AVista Operational  Germany River cruises in Europe
AmaWaterways Operational  USA River cruises in Europe, Asia and Africa
American Cruise Lines Operational  USA Paddle-steamer cruises on US rivers
Aqua Expeditions Operational  Peru Privately owned (Francesco Galli Zugaro), eco-friendly river cruises on Amazon and Mekong rivers
A-ROSA Flussschiff Operational  Germany River cruises in Europe, offered ocean-going cruises with A-Rosa blu 2002-04
Australian Pacific Touring(APT) Operational  Australia Privately owned (McGeary family), river cruises in Europe, Asia and Africa, shares many ships with AmaWaterways
Avalon Waterways Operational  USA River cruises in Europe, Egypt, Asia and South America
CroisiEurope Operational  France Privately owned (Schmitter family), river cruises in Europe and Asia
Crystal Cruises Operational  Japan Owned by Genting Hong Kong, river cruises in Europe
Emerald Waterways Operational  USA Owned by Australian river cruise operator Scenic, river cruises in Europe and Asia
European Waterways Operational  United Kingdom Operates converted trading barges on European Rivers
Grand Circle Cruise Line Operational  USA Owned by Grand Circle Corporation, river cruises in Europe
Great Lakes Cruise Company Operational  USA Privately owned (Conlin family), Great Lakes and river cruises in USA and Canada
Hansa Touristk Operational  Germany Privately owned (Kilian family), offers ocean and river cruises (Europe, Asia)
Lüftner Cruises Operational  Austria Privately owned (Lüftner family), river cruises in Europe
nicko cruises Operational  Germany Owned by Mystic Invest, river cruises in Europe and Asia
Orthodox Cruise Company Operational  Russia River cruises in Russia
Phoenix Reisen Operational  Germany Privately owned (Zurnieden family), river cruises in Europe, Egypt, Asia and South America
Plantours Kreuzfahrten Operational  Germany Offers ocean and river cruises (Europe, Asia)
Reisebüro Mittelthurgau Operational   Switzerland Owned by Twerenbold Group, river cruises in Europe
Riviera Travel Operational  United Kingdom Luxury river cruises in Europe – Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2017[12].
Scenic Operational  Australia Owned by coach tour operator Transit Scenic Tours, river cruises in Europe and Asia
Tauck River Cruises Operational  USA Privately owned (Tauck family), river cruises in Europe
The River Cruise Line Operational  United Kingdom River cruises in Europe
Transocean Tours Operational  Germany Since 2014 German branch of Cruise & Maritime Voyages, river cruises in Europe
Uniworld River Cruises Operational  USA River cruises in Europe, Egypt and Asia
Viking River Cruises Operational  USA Branch of Viking Cruises, river cruises in Europe, Egypt and Asia
Vodohod Operational  Russia Owned by UCL Holding, river cruises in Russia

Fantasy Friday

Every Friday let’s post our fantasy trips – where would you go?  What’s your dream trip? Maybe you’ll get some ideas for planning your next adventure.  I’ll start with one of mine (yes, I have a few), but the top number one fantasy trip for me would be Tahiti – specifically Bora Bora is top of my list.

6/8/18 –  I didn’t have this destination on my list until I arranged a trip for my cousin and his daughter –  the photo’s that he has shared have been nothing short of amazing and the feedback on his trip has been nothing but positive.  So, now my next Fantasy trip is without a doubt, GREECE.  They visited Athens, Santorini and Mykonos – spending a few new nights in each location.  I’ve stolen some of his photo’s and this just makes me want to go more!!

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6/1/18:  An overwater bungalow

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Look at the color of that water –  what a beautiful location!   Just the thought of spending sometime in this peaceful and tranquil location – completely unwound – is a dream trip for me.

It’s not as difficult to get here anymore – from New York I can take a direct flight to Los Angeles (5 hours) and then a direct flight to this amazing destination (yes, it’s another 8 hours, but if I spend a day or two on the west coast first it wouldn’t be that bad).

There is plenty to do here so mixing a little bit of activity with lots of relaxation would be wonderful.

Matira Beach is one of the only public access beaches in Bora Bora making it extremely popular with visitors. The water is crystal clear and the sand is soft and downy. Matira Beach is also peppered with resorts, shops and eateries, so it’s a convenient place to spend most of a day.

beach

Mount Otemanu is one of two extinct volcanoes at the center of the island. Rising 2,400 feet above the lagoon, this volcanic remnant makes for a dramatic photo op or an adrenaline-pumping adventure. In fact, many say a trip to Bora Bora isn’t complete without a visit to the top of this breathtaking mountain. And fear not, hiking isn’t your only option; you can enjoy Mount Otemanu in all sorts of ways — a 4×4 tour, a boat tour, a helicopter tour or even some casual snapshots on the beach.

mount o

On a small islet just east of the main island and directly across from the Sofitel Marara, you’ll find a gorgeous coral reef. Because the reef isn’t far below the water, all you need to bring with you to spy the cache of colorful fish is some snorkeling goggles. But keep in mind that the beaches are filled with coral and not sand, so it gets a little rocky. Many past travelers recommend bringing water shoes or aqua socks to save your feet.

coral

Tour companies offer snorkeling, and shark and stingray feedings and encounters. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with native blacktip reef sharks and stingrays in their natural habitats. And if you don’t feel comfortable feeding the stingrays and sharks, you’ll still be able to enjoy snorkeling the reefs and seeing the plethora of rainbow-colored fish.

shark

What a beautiful part of the world and it’s definetely #1 on my wish list!

 

Travel Trivia Thursday

Okay, how about this – every Thursday I will ask 10 travel questions – let’s see how many you can answer correctly?  You’ll have until next Thursday to submit your answers.

May 31, 2018

  1. What city has the most people per capita listed in Who’s Who?
  2. Where is the largest annual fair in the USA?
  3. What is the most heavily fortified International border on earth?
  4. Where is the Tennis Hall of Fame?
  5. What’s unusual about the crabs in Fiji?
  6. What country has the most golf courses per capita?
  7. What is the most northerly capital city?
  8. What is the southernmost city in the US?
  9. What is Machu Picchu?
  10. Where is Timbuktu?

Wild Wednesdays

Every Wednesday I will post some thrill seeking, wild adventure you might want to add to your bucket list – hey you never know!!!

June 6, 2018 –

Cage of Death (Australia)

You can stare into the faces of some of Australia’s biggest saltwater crocodiles for 15 minutes, separated by nothing more than a couple inches of glass.
The cage houses two people at a time, so there’ll be someone there to hold your hand. Yes, there are people who are insane enough to want to do this, I am not one of them!!
crocodiles

 

May 30, 2018 –

This one might be a bucket list cliché, but there’s no adrenaline rush quite like the fear of being gored and trampled by one of the world’s most powerful land mammals. The biggest Running of the Bulls event occurs during the nine-day festival in San Fermin (July 6-14) in Pamplona, Spain. Fifteen bulls charge through the streets of the old city, to be herded into the bull ring. If you get cold feet, they run for seven consecutive mornings so you have plenty of chances to build your nerve. There is a down side — at least 15 people have died in the event since 1924.
Bull_Run_Clemson

Tuesday is Travel Tip Day

Every Tuesday I will post a new travel tip for you!

June 4, 2018 –  For anyone traveling outside of the United States I strongly recommend registering on S.T.E.P.  CLICK HERE TO ENROLL!  In today’s day and age, you just never know and by enrolling you receive these benefits

  • Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

May 29th –  You should always leave a copy of your passport with someone at home when you travel. You should also make an extra copy to keep with you. It is much easier to replace a lost or stolen passport if you have a copy of it.!