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.


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.


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.


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!




Wild Game Night!!

Every year on my husbands birthday we do a road trip.  Things we like to do is trains and wineries.  There are plenty of both in the North East (we are on Long Island).

So last year, I found this train ride in New Hampshire that I thought would be pretty cool. It was a dinner experience.  I checked out the website, made the reservations and off we went.  Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking with WILD GAME NIGHT! Being the label for this dinner tour, but I obviously wasn’t thinking what it was.  It was literally wild game!  Antelope, kangaroo, wild board, elk and alligator!  Oh my!


I can tell you that the salad and the wine were both amazing!!!

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.

July 2, 2018 –  You’ll think this is a little bit odd – but with technology today many cruise lines and even some newer resorts you insert a card into a slot when you enter your room to keep the air conditioning on.  Once you remove the card the air turns off and when you return to your room it can be hot and stuffy.  I always take an expired card with me (usually not a bank or credit card because I do not want to use anything with my name or account number on it) but an expired or completely empty gift card. Keeping it in the slot keeps the air on when your out of the room. The intention is that you would use your room key, but any card with the strip on it works.

June 25, 2018 – This is something that everyone will tell you to make sure you take on a cruise with you –  but I’ve found that even at resorts, there never seem to be enough outlets with all the goodies we bring along that need to be charged.  Of course, your phone is top of that list, but my camera has rechargeable batteries, my laptop (which being a travel agent I can not leave at home, cause you never know).  So, just with two of us, that’s at least 5 things that need to be plugged in and charged up.  I hate to crawl under the furniture to find an outlet, so I always take a power strip with me. It just makes life a little bit easier!

June 18, 2018 – Large zip lock bags and supermarket bags – I always throw a few of each in my suitcase and never enough of them.  They take up no room and they always come handy.  Packing to go home, our wet bathing suits and sandy water shoes go in them, to keep everything in my suitcase from getting wet and sandy.  I always seem to have picked up some pretty shells from the beach.  Maybe a bottle of  local spirits or wine you purchased while traveling. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll use them for, but they will come in handy no matter where you travel.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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