Sent by Vicky Henderson
Based in Portishead
Hi, my name is Elan Hemmings, thank you for reading my page.
I am an independent travel advisor with vast destination knowledge having lived in most coastal areas of mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, The Balearic Islands and the Caribbean. This allows me to offer first hand knowledge and make recommendations to really add to your holiday experience. It is not just about the destination but the things you do whilst you are there that help make a holiday and my insider tips can really make a difference. I firmly believe that sharing experiences and making memories is of higher value than material things and I can help enrich your life and provide memorable experiences to create memories that last a life time.
The restrictions during COVID have shown us all to value precious family time and to enrich our lives with memories shared. I have especially missed travelling and holidays, travel is my first love and at the heart of everything I do. I am so pleased to see a return to travel now and many people are planning great bucket list trips that maybe they have put off before.
I have planned many great adventures for customers to all parts of the world as well as simple family beach breaks, cruises, ski holidays, villa holidays, road trips and much more. Let me do all the research and planning saving you precious time and all you will need to do is pack, get to the airport and enjoy.
All of your travel arrangements are made with confidence and you are 100% financially protected which means there is no risk to you whatsoever. The Travel Counsellors 24/7 duty office offers you the peace of mind that there is always someone available to help you whilst you are travelling.
The MyTCapp also makes your travelling experience so much easier with all of your documentation right there on your phone and you can even receive notifications of flight changes right to your phone. The app also means you don't have to carry lots of paper documentation. What do you least enjoy about holiday planning? I can take all the stress and hassle out of the planning process for you. I do all of the research for you, I have a host of experts available to me ensuring I have access to the best information saving you the trouble of researching and even then not being sure how reliable the information is. I make sure you have everything you need to ensure a fantastic holiday that suits your needs, all you have to do is pack your suitcase and enjoy.
“I travel not to cross countries off a list, but to ignite passionate affairs with destinations!” – The Culture
“And I think to myself what a wonderful world” – Louis Armstrong
You can get in touch by giving me a call or dropping me an email and I will get back to you straight away. I look forward to hearing from you. Let the adventure begin!
A great poem by Tony Walsh which captures the essence of Travel Counsellors
What is on your Wishlist? I can help with all of your great adventures and tailor make every aspect to make it extra special
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
25 June 2019
TENERIFE I love Tenerife and there is again something for everyone. The resorts on the south of island are all within easy reach of the airport and so there is the added advantage of a short transfer. There is so much to do on the island and a hire car is a great way to get out and about. Mount Teide is the volcano which is often snow topped. You can take a cable car to the top. Tenerife is also popular with golfers and there are some fantastic golf courses. PLAYA DE LAS AMERICAS The centre of Playa de las Americas has many bars and night club and a fantastic party atmosphere by night. There are great beaches and many restaurants as well. Nearby the resort of Costa Adeje and Playa Fanabe are more suited to families and couples. There is a high standard of accommodation varying from self-catering to 5-star luxury. The Hotel Bahia Del Duque must be one of the best hotels in the Canary Islands and is renowned for exceptional service and a touch of luxury. There are many top-end designer shops in the Plaza Del Duque shopping centre. Costa Adeje has lots of fabulous restaurants all at very reasonable prices. There is everything from traditional Canarian restaurants to Chinese buffets. This must be my favourite area and I have just recently spent a fabulous week here. The amazing water park Siam Park is nearby and is a short ride on the free bus. The park is suitable for all ages but get there early if you want a sun bed particularly in high season. The Siam Mall is nearby and after a day in the water park you can take a short stroll over to the Mall where you will find stores like Zara and Mango and as they are Spanish retailer goods are a fraction of the price in the UK. There are some lovely restaurants here as well to enjoy an evening meal. If staying in Costa Adeje Playa Fanabe, Playa de las Americas or Los Cristianos you must go along to the Safari Centre either in the daytime for a wander around the shops or in the evening to enjoy one of the many and varied restaurants. You can also enjoy the dancing illuminated fountains across from the Mare Nostrum and Hard Rock Café. There are lots of duty free and electronics shops along here. Great bargains in perfumes and cosmetics to be had. Just be sure when buying electronics that you have a manufacturers’ warranty/guarantee. LOS CRISTIANOS If you enjoy walking you can walk to Los Cristianos from the Safari Centre end of Las Americas along the geranium walk. There is a lovely little harbour here and this is where you can catch a ferry to neighbouring island of La Gomera. There are no flights directly into La Gomera so if you are planning to spend your holiday there you would fly into Tenerife and then get the ferry. It’s the perfect destination for total relaxation and escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Los Cristianos has now merged with Playa de las Americas. It has a lovely little beach surrounded with bars and restaurants. A very short transfer from the airport. Suitable for families and couples. PUERTO DEL LA CRUZ This is the resort in the North of the Island and has its own microclimate. You will notice as you drive further north that the vegetation is more lush and green. It does tend to be cooler and in winter can get some rain. This is where you will find the fabulous Loro Parque and is a great day out for families. There are many amazing restaurants in Puerto De La Cruz. This is where you will also find the Hotel Botanico, perfect for a relaxing spa holiday and one of the best hotels on the island.
11 June 2019
I think it is a common misconception that a cruise is for older people maybe who’s kids have left home and who are retired and have time on their hands. That was once maybe the case, however, today I would strongly disagree with this. The mainstream cruise lines are offering more and more facilities and catering more for the needs of families. This can be in the form of parents and children and even multi-generational families, so holidays which grandparents can enjoy with the rest of the family. The advantage of a cruise with a family is that you can embark for a Mediterranean or a Norwegian Fjords cruise in Southampton should you not wish to fly to start your cruise. This also means that you are not restricted on the amount of luggage you take so you can ensure you have everything you need for the children. You only need to unpack once so you can settle into your stateroom and make yourselves at home. You will have the peace of mind of knowing that your accommodation and facilities are of an exceptionally high standard but have the benefit of visiting many destinations whilst only unpacking once. This makes a cruise really convenient when travelling with children. You can choose to explore the ports of call all together as a family or stay on board and make use of the excellent facilities of the ship. The ships also cater exceptionally well for children with fantastic, well equipped kids’ clubs and a dedicated team to look after the younger traveller and their every need. A lot of the activities are also educational and are so much fun the kids will be begging to go back. I think one of the big appeal of a cruise is that the children can enjoy their meals with their friends in the kids’ club whilst mum and dad can enjoy a meal in one of the speciality dining restaurants or perhaps take in a show knowing the kids are having their own fun. Or enjoy dining all together as a family by choosing freedom dining times or an early sitting to ensure the children are eating a time that suits them. The cruise ships also can accommodate larger families with interconnecting staterooms or suites so there is room for everyone. With a balcony suite mum and dad can enjoy a coffee or drink on the balcony whilst the younger guests have a nap in the afternoon ready for the evening activities. There are a multitude of dining options available as well on all cruise ships and the crew are so accommodating with dietary requirements there is no need to worry. The buffet restaurants have such a huge selection there is always a number of options to suit even the fussiest of eaters. One of the leading cruise lines in the family market is Royal Caribbean. Their ships have so much on board for families, from water parks, zip lines, multi sports centre, roller disco, dodgem cars to family suites with air hockey, table tennis and even a slide! One of the most exciting developments with Royal Caribbean is the launch of their new exclusive island in the Bahamas Coco Cay. This is a fantastic island which has the most amazing water park, restaurants, chill out areas and Maldives style over water cabanas. All of their Caribbean cruises will stop here, and this will certainly be the most memorable day of your cruise it has been named Perfect Day. I am so sold on the idea of cruising with the family that I have booked a Mediterranean cruise and a Caribbean cruise with my family and my girls are aged 10 & 8 and they are so excited. Royal Caribbean is certainly a great choice for any families who have not cruised before but are wanting to try a cruise, you will not be disappointed and there are always great offers available to ensure it is amazing value for money.
10 June 2019
When you mention cruising, most people will think of luxury ocean liners with many ports of call throughout the Mediterranean or Caribbean. There are also smaller expedition cruise ships that will take you an adventure of a lifetime to some of the least visited and far flung corners of the world. Hurtigruten are leading the way in expedition cruising. In this blog I will tell you a little more about the amazing adventures they offer. These expedition ships are more about the places you are visiting than the ships themselves. They are more casual and don’t have the Broadway style shows and entertainment. One of the destinations that you can visit on expedition cruises is Antarctica. This is one of the coldest, driest places on the planet. You will have the opportunity to see the most amazing wildlife in its natural habitat including whales and penguins. You will get to go ashore with the on-board expedition team who will share their expert knowledge. You will explore with the experts and experience the most amazing close encounters. After a busy day exploring passengers can relax in the sauna or hot tub and then indulge in a five-star meal. Some other amazing destinations include: Svalbard where you will follow the route of the polar pioneers. This is remote, mysterious and extreme. High Arctic with the experts - as the pioneer of adventure travel in Svalbard, Hurtigruten use their knowledge to show you the best of this Arctic treasure. Get close to glaciers, fjords and dramatic national parks to experience beauty unlike anywhere else on the planet. Encounter rich wildlife, from whales and Arctic foxes to amazing birdlife and the ruler of Svalbard, the polar bear. These expedition cruises are created with sustainability as a priority. Take part in beach clean-ups and get a deeper understanding of Svalbard’s ecosystem. Greenland and Iceland, the land of Elves, Sagas and volcanoes. The mythical land of fire and ice. This is a true Arctic expedition. Hurtigruten have unmatched expertise in Arctic waters, and will show you the soul of Iceland on an expedition to the far north. The drama, history, wildlife and rugged scenery makes Iceland a truly memorable destination with many hidden secrets. Unique, beautiful terrain, where you will go close to volcanic landscape, waterfalls, glaciers and charming towns on hikes and daily activities. Hurtigruten expedition cruises are created with sustainability as a priority – protecting wildlife, supporting local communities, and the future of our planet. Alaska and Canada to see the vast wilderness of British Columbia and explore the glaciers of Alaska. The true frontier. Sail with the pioneers of expedition cruising to stunning Alaska and explore a true frontier with a rich sense of adventure. The wonders of nature. Experience vast wilderness, beautiful fjords, bays, glaciers, icebergs and mountain ranges, a feast for all your senses. Amazing wildlife. Stay active with hikes, kayaking and boat cruising while scouting for magnificent creatures like bears, whales and eagles. Unique native culture. You will call on remote small communities and historic towns to learn about the fascinating traditions and history of Alaska. South America including Chile and Peru explore the Inca Mysteries and Machu Picchu. Hunting for cultural treasures. Sail through a diverse landscape full of amazing wildlife and hidden treasures. From rainforest to relics - experience the incredible variety of South America, from lush jungles and remote islands to majestic reminders of great civilisations. Colourful and historic. Go ashore in the fascinating ports and cities of Ecuador, Peru and Chile to explore their rich history and culture. Beyond the sea routes - explore with packages that include the Incan wonders of Machu Picchu and the breath-taking wildlife of the Galápagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean are considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife viewing. You will learn all about the destinations you are visiting and how we can help protect and conserve them for future generations. Perhaps I should have mentioned this at the beginning, but I think one of the key innovations with Hurtigruten is that their new expedition ships MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Roald Amundsen are hybrid zero emissions ships. The state-of-the-art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible. MS Roald Amundsen is the first of two hybrid ships Hurtigruten will add to its fleet over the next few years, cutting emissions by sailing with electrical propulsion. Hybrid technology combined with the advanced construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board will reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions on the ships by 20 percent. The build of these two ships represents the largest single investment in the history of Hurtigruten. The future of shipping will be silent and emission free. MS Roald Amundsen will lead the way towards an even more sustainable way of travelling. Sailing on electrical power is not only a great benefit for the environment, but it will also enhance the impact of experiencing nature for the guests. The ship will be specially constructed for voyages in polar waters and serve as a comfortable base camp at sea – bringing adventurers from all over the world to the most spectacular destinations in the most sustainable way. In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen achieved the incredible, becoming the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole. Hurtigruten are proud that their new ship will bear his name as a symbol for pioneering polar exploration. I think this is key to the future of expedition cruising and indicates the massive leaps in technology and the fact that as an industry we recognise how important it is to protect and preserve these fragile and delicate eco systems for future generations. It is important to learn about these destinations and the unique lives people live in these areas as well as the awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife but it is also important that there is not a cost to these environments. This is definitely a holiday that is on my list for the future when my kids are a bit older and can appreciate the amazing world there is to explore.
31 May 2019
The Canary Islands must be one of my favourite parts of the world, not least for their all year-round promise of sunshine. I have lived in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Tenerife and I’ve visited Gran Canaria and La Gomera. It is hard to choose a favourite as I love all the islands. One thing is for sure, they all have something to offer everyone whether you are travelling as a single, couple, family or as a group of friends. Each of the islands has a very diverse offering of accommodation types including basic self-catering for those on a budget to 5-star luxury spa hotels. There is also a great selection of villas for those seeking a more relaxed home from home with the privacy of your own pool. In the following blog I will give you a little insight into Lanzarote and some of the must-see highlights for any holiday. I will then follow on with blogs on the other islands as well. The Canary Islands are well known for their climate and they are one of the most popular destinations that are easy to reach for some winter sunshine. They are volcanic islands and one of the characteristics in certain parts of the islands is the black sand. LANZAROTE Lanzarote is an island of unique landscapes which earned the island UNESCO recognition. Lanzarote has three main resorts which are popular with travellers from the UK. Puerto Del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca. One of the key things you will notice about Lanzarote is that there are few buildings over two stories high. The famous artist Cesar Manrique didn’t want this beautiful island spoilt by high rise, towering hotels and so ensured that any tourist complexes would not exceed two stories. All the complexes are also painted white with blue or green window and door frames. There are many places to visit in Lanzarote and most of the highlights can be seen on a day tour of the island known as the Grand Tour. This will include a visit to the famous Timanfaya National Park which is the lava fields between Puerto Del Carmen and Playa Blanca. This eery stretch of landscape is quite phenomenal. The unique landscape here has been the backdrop of many movies. Timanfaya is still an active volcano and you can board a bus which will take you around the fields and there is a detailed explanation of what happened during the eruptions. Even if you have hired a car and made your own way there, your entrance to the National Park will include the bus tour around the lava fields, this is the only way to explore. There is a restaurant at the top and they cook all the meat using the heat of the volcano. PUERTO DEL CARMEN Puerto Del Carmen is a short transfer from the airport and is the livelier resort and has a great number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. You can enjoy a quiet meal or party into the wee small hours. The old town harbour is my favourite area and has a selection of fantastic tapas bars and authentic Spanish restaurants where you can enjoy many local dishes including Papas Arugadas (meaning wrinkly potatoes) which are potatoes cooked in their skins served with moja, a typical Canarian sauce and fresh fish and seafood. There is a large selection of accommodations here from basic self-catering apartments to luxury 5-star hotels. Everything is located around the long strip of the Avenida De Playas. There is an area within a short transfer of the airport known as Matagorda and Los Pocillios (meaning puddles due to the large puddles on the flat beach when the tide goes out). This area is ideal for families and there are some great hotels here including Seaside Los Jameos Playa which is one of my favourites. There is a long flat promenade which will take you all the way into the centre of Puerto Del Carmen and is an easy walk or a taxi is quite cheap. I would suggest getting a taxi there and walk back as the one-way system makes it easier to get a taxi in. COSTA TEGUISE Costa Teguise is only a short transfer from the airport and is more suited to families and couples. It at times can be a little windy. There is a lovely sandy beach known as Playa De Las Cucharas (Beach of the Spoons). There is also a vast selection of restaurants serving local dishes and international cuisine. There is something to suit all tastes. There is a fantastic water park in Costa Teguise great fun for everyone. This is more of a purpose-built resort. PLAYA BLANCA Playa Blanca on the southernmost tip of the island with views stretching to the neighbouring Fuerteventura. This used to be the quietest of the resorts however over recent years there has been a lot of development there. The resort is centred around a beautiful white sandy beach. There are many shops, bars and restaurants along the sea front. The standard of accommodation is excellent in this resort and there are many 4- and 5-star properties. There are also some self-catering bungalows, villas and apartments. There is a stylish marina nearby known as Marina Rubicon and you can enjoy a beautiful meal with views of the marina and its’ luxury yachts. There are designer shops here at a fraction of the price you would pay at home. The beaches of Papagayo can be reached by hire car or if you take a catamaran or boat trip along the coast of Lanzarote they will anchor here as it really is spectacular. Just one word of warning as the whilst the beaches are a sight to behold, this is a naturist beach. The car hire companies will also not cover for any damage to the under carriage of the car as it is a dirt track. I have to say when I lived in Lanzarote I lived in Puerto Del Carmen and enjoyed the night life but now when I go on holiday, I go to Playa Blanca. You can get a ferry across to Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca, you will arrive in Corralejo and can easily spend a day here exploring the harbour and shops. You could even have a twin centre holiday.
24 April 2019
I was incredibly lucky to be invited on a trip to the Seychelles to experience the islands and visit some of the fabulous hotels we work with there. We departed from Heathrow and flew with BA to the main island of Mahe. Our first stop was the Constance Ephelia and upon arrival we enjoyed the most welcome cold towels. We arrived early in the morning so had a bit of a wait for our rooms, so we had a look around the beautiful hotel. Everyone was so welcoming. Our luggage was taken directly to our room. We stayed in the entry level rooms and these were quite impressive. A large bedroom led into a very spacious bathroom with twin sinks, a large walk in shower, a bath, separate toilet and plenty of wardrobe space. We couldn’t wait to take a dip in the amazing swimming pool. I have to say that the hotel was faultless, the food was all fresh and well-presented and very tasty. The buffet had so much choice there was definitely something to suit everyone. Even various cooking stations. The spa was so tranquil and I enjoyed a relaxing massage. The prices were very reasonable too. The beach, what can I say? This was out of this world with white sand and blue water. My daughter said looking at the photos it was so blue she was blue blind! We enjoyed a tour of the main town of Victoria, taking in the atmosphere and the local market. There is a rum produced on Mahe called Takamaka and it has a unique blend of spices and the spring water gives it its own unique taste. I am a rum lover, so this was heaven to me. For the adventurous amongst you there is a zip line at the Constance Ephelia, what a fantastic experience. After a short climb through the jungle we reached the top and then flew down stage by stage. It was absolutely amazing and exhilarating. I would highly recommend doing this. Even the kids can take part. The highlight of our stay at Constance Ephelia was an early pick up from our rooms for dinner. We were taken by golf buggies and had no idea what was waiting for us. We went up to the outer area of the resort on the hillside overlooking the bay and were greeted by waiters serving champagne. We had arrived at the Presidential Villa and you could see why it was named this. This was amazing with 2 infinity pools, 2 very spacious suites with large bedrooms and bathrooms, and a stunning outdoor seating area with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the most perfect of views. We were here to see the sunset over the bay. I have to say I think this has had to be one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen. We enjoyed drinks and canapes before enjoying a fabulous dinner. For the next part of our adventure we took a short 20 minute inter island flight to Praslin. This in itself was quite an experience. Praslin felt quite different to Mahe, more relaxed, less busy and if it is possible even more beautiful. Here we visited a few hotels including the Parsadise Sun, Coco De Mer, Raffles and stayed at the Constance Le Muria. Each of the hotels were very different to the next and so there is something to suit everyone. I particularly liked the Coco De Mer which was a small boutique hotel, the staff were exceptionally friendly, and nothing was too much trouble. The rooms were spacious with a contemporary feel. One of the amazing features is an over water platform with areas for lounging and relaxing. We enjoyed the most delicious lunch here. You’ve heard of Raffles in Singapore; well they have a hotel in the Seychelles. This is the definition of luxury; all of the accommodations are villas and have their own infinity pool. We had the use of a 2-bedroom villa for the day and it was fabulous with lots of space and comfortable outdoor seating area, 2 large bathrooms and a very spacious sitting area. The bedrooms were very large. Again, we enjoyed a very lovely lunch. The highlight was paddle boarding and snorkelling on the beach, followed by a cocktail making lesson by the in-house mixologist. Of course, it was only fitting that we made a Singapore Sling which Raffles is famous for. The Constance Le Muria is a leading hotel of the world and we were lucky enough to stay here for 2 nights. The entrance and reception area are at an elevated point and so when you walk through, the hotel lies below with impressive views out to sea and overlooking the stunning beach it feels like a little piece of luxurious heaven. The staff here were amazing, so welcoming and nothing was any trouble. We enjoyed the most amazing BBQ on the beach in the evening. This was not just any BBQ, we had cocktails before dinner with fairy lights in the trees and the sound of the waves in the background it was the perfect setting. Lamb cutlets, the best Rib Eye I have ever tasted, and lobster were on the menu. Of course, I had to try all 3. The Seychelles is known for its beautiful beaches and I thought I could not see one more beautiful than I had already enjoyed but Anse Georgette surprised me again. There are no words to describe how perfect this spot is. When we thought it could not get any better, we were whisked away in golf buggies to the 15th tee on the golf course just before 6pm. This was the perfect spot to witness the spectacular sunset. The tee is on the top of a cliff overlooking the green far below. We had champagne and tried our luck at hitting the green. Some of us were better than others and we will leave it there. The sunset did not disappoint, I will remember this view forever. Sadly, our amazing trip had to come to an end and none of us wanted to leave this paradise on earth. The Seychelles is a destination suited to everyone and all the hotels provide lots for families, however in all honesty I would suggest that it is more suited to couples and not just honeymoon couples. I would very much recommend visiting and staying on more than one island as well. We were there for 8 nights and this was fine for a twin centre. I would suggest the perfect duration would be 10-14 nights only because of the long-haul flight. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not suffer jet lag at all, and this is a major advantage of the Indian Ocean vs the Caribbean. The Seychelles was certainly memorable. This is a once in a lifetime destination and I can ensure we choose the perfect holiday for you. I can also advise on lots of things to do whilst you are there and at the end of the day it is experiences that create the most fabulous memories that last a lifetime. This really is a little piece of paradise on earth.
11 March 2019
The MSC Bellissima is the brand-new cruise ship to come from the MSC family. MSC are a family run company and are really passionate about providing a cruise ships that are focused and aimed at families. Everything about this fantastic ship is for families. The official launch event took place on 2nd March in Southampton and this is the largest ship to ever to be christened in the UK which is a note to how important the UK market is to the cruise industry and MSC in particular. I was lucky enough to be invited to the CLIA conference on board on 1st March and the industry launch event on 3rd March. I had the opportunity to look around the ship and experience everything it has to offer. All the speciality dining restaurants were open and serving small tasting plates and everything I tried was absolutely delicious. I enjoyed lunch and dinner in the main dining room and my meal was excellent. The staff were very friendly and attentive. The presentation made the meals very appealing. The main buffet restaurant was open 20 hours a day and served an exceptionally wide variety of food, there is no way even the pickiest of eaters could not find something they would like. In fact, you would be spoiled for choice. All the stations were kept replenished and looked fabulous. The public areas are all very spacious and look amazing, I particularly enjoyed the Champagne bar. The theatre is tiered, so everyone had a great view of the stage. The show was fantastic and really enjoyable. My favourite area was the promenade area with the stunning 80m LED ceiling, the walkway is lined with shops and the speciality dining restaurants, it provides a very cosmopolitan feel and a great atmosphere. The gelato parlour and chocolate shop are also along here, the gelato is amazing. There is also a lounge area here with live music for a nice relaxed drink before or after dinner. The Sky Lounge is great for adults only and would be the perfect place to enjoy a drink in the evening if the children are off enjoying all of the great activities on board for them or for those passengers travelling without children and want to enjoy a drink away from the little people. The Yacht Club is an exclusive area with added privileges and has its own lounge and restaurant. It is like a ship within a ship. The cabins are in a better location and have the benefit of coffee machines and a butler service. The pool area is spacious with lots of different areas to relax, there are also fast food areas and bars, so you never have to leave your sunbed. The water park area is fantastic for kids of all ages, even the grown-up kids, there is no way anyone will bored on this ship. The indoor pool area has hot tubs and a retractable roof as well so can be enjoyed in all weathers. There is a bar here as well and some really comfy seats for relaxing and maybe just reading a book. For those who book the Aurea package you will benefit from and Easy Drinks Package and unlimited access to the thermal spa and a treatment per adult. You will also have the benefit of a balcony cabin. This is perfect for when the children are in the kid’s club and the parents can relax and enjoy the adult only area in the Aurea Spa I was particularly impressed with the facilities for the children. There were kids’ clubs for each age group right up to the teens and there is a really great hang out area with their own disco and bar (non-alcoholic). The bowling alley, F1 simulator, arcade, kids’ clubs and XD cinema are all in the same area so lots to do for the younger generation. I would highly recommend purchasing your Fun Pass before you travel, and this can be used by everyone in your cabin. The cabins are fantastic and offer a wide range of options to suit everyone’s needs. There are inside cabins which are surprisingly spacious and offer a great option for those on a budget. There are then ocean view rooms which have a large window. The balcony cabins are great for those who want a little quiet time as well. Some have exceptional large balconies with hot tubs as well. The great thing about MSC is the offering for larger families and you can have a duplex suite, a family cabin that sleeps up to 5 or interconnecting cabins if you are a multi-generational family or larger party. I was able to see around the cabins on show and so have a great idea of what will best suit your needs. This is very important when selecting a cruise as each company offers so many different options. I am on board the MSC Bellissima in July and really can’t wait to experience this with my family. MSC as so much to offer for families and have such great itineraries. I will be happy to find you perfect cruise for you.
19 June 2018
Recently I was lucky enough to attend the CLIA conference in Southampton. This was four days packed full of everything cruise. I visited 2 amazing cruise ships, the Oceania Marina and the Princess Royal Princess. They were both very different and would appeal to different people. The Marina was more for an adult market and was certainly very luxurious. The Royal Princess was more aimed at a mix of passengers and catered very well for families with kids clubs available as well. I even saw Timothy Gallant from the TV programme The Cruise whilst we were on there, he is the same off camera. Hilarious! I also attended a presentation given by Sir Ranulph Fiennes one of the world’s greatest explorers and a truly inspirational super human. I feel very privileged to have been able to listen to him tell stories of his adventures first hand. I, like many other people, until recently, have been under the misconception that cruise holidays are for wealthy retired couples. How wrong was I, there is definitely a cruise to suit everyone and many of the cruise lines have fantastic offerings for families. There are different categories of staterooms/cabins so something to suit every budget. An inside cabin with no window is cheaper than a cabin with a balcony or a suite. Many of the cruise lines are now aware that families want to travel as multi-generational groups so can offer interconnecting suites so that grandparents can travel with their children and grandchildren. There are few holidays that will have something to suit all ages and cruising is the perfect solution for this type of holiday. A cruise holiday has many benefits: • Visiting many ports of call all on one holiday, onshore excursions are available in all ports to ensure you can see the main highlights • Lots of facilities on board including shops, cinema lounges, water parks on some cruise ships, kid’s clubs, concierge service • Gourmet dining. There are many choices of where to dine including a main restaurant and speciality restaurants, snack bars, late night buffets, afternoon teas, service to your stateroom • West End and Broadway style entertainment shows • Lots to do for children including kids’ clubs on particular cruise ships • Many cruise lines will offer drinks packages making your stay on-board All Inclusive • Only needing to unpack once • There are some UK departures making foreign travel more accessible to passengers who do not wish to fly • Excellent value for money • State of the art technology on-board many of the cruise ships • Cruise companies offer great loyalty schemes meaning there are many perks for repeat bookings I can arrange your cruise with any of the cruise lines and where necessary add your flights and transfers providing a complete package. You will pay the same price as you would by booking directly with the cruise line and sometimes Travel Counsellors have exclusive offers available as well, but you will also have the added benefit of my service. This means that you only need to speak to me and not someone different every time you call reservations, I will take care of all your paperwork and the administration of your booking. I can book all your onshore excursions in advance for you making sure that you get to see the particular sights which are top of your list. You have the benefit of the Travel Counsellors unique 100% financial guarantee. If you have previously been on a cruise I can ensure that any rewards and loyalty discounts are applied to your booking so that you don’t miss out. #generationcruise #theresacruiseforeveryone
20 February 2018
Magical doesn’t even come close to the experience we have had in Lapland. It is a very special destination but should not be considered exclusive to families with young children in search of the Santa Experience. Whilst it can’t be denied that the Big Man is a motivation for most people visiting one of the resorts of Lapland, there is so much to do here it can appeal to people of all ages. There are several resorts to choose from including Levi, Rovaniemi and the resort we stayed in Yllas. Saariselka and Kakslauttanen are farther north. Yllas is the most picturesque of the resorts. We stayed in the loveliest log cabins which were exceptionally well-equipped for a self-catering holiday. We even had a sauna in the bathroom, perfect for warming up and relaxing after a day out and about. A half board option is also available with meals at a local hotel. We enjoyed many of the local restaurants and all were reasonably priced, and portions were ample. I would suggest pre-booking a thermal suit and boots to wear, temperatures can get as low as -20, however with good base layers and the thermal suits we were still able to get out and about and enjoy all the activities. Skiing at Yllas is perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers or families with younger children. We found the slopes to be uncrowded and the ski school was excellent. My girls had never skied before and did amazingly well in a couple of lessons. This is also a perfect opportunity to get a taste for skiing before booking a more dedicated ski holiday. Some of the highlights of this holiday for my family included the husky farm where we saw many of the racing teams and learned about long distance racing, how the dogs are trained and how the teams are put together for racing. We had the opportunity to drive/mush our own team as well which was a real adrenaline rush. The Elves Hideaway is a fabulous experience with the highlight being a visit to Santa. Other activities to enjoy on this day are gingerbread making in Mrs Claus’ gingerbread house, Christmas decoration making in the Elves’ school, enjoy a game of Elf football before warming up in the Northern Lights Cota where you can roast your own sausages and enjoy some delicious warm berry juice. You can also do snowmobile safari’s, reindeer safaris or take a visit to the Snow Village and Ice Hotel. There were lots of plastic sledges around the resort just for using and enjoying. There were plenty and provided endless hours of fun. If you find one not being used feel free to take it and enjoy the fun. A frozen over lake behind the towns one supermarket provided the ideal place to see the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. There are lots of cross country skiing trails as well and equipment hire is very reasonable and easy to arrange. The local bus is easy to use and will take you to the ski centre of Y1 or onto the next town of Saaga where you can get the gondola to the top of the slopes and enjoy the amazing views and a hot chocolate in the café at the top. A perfect winter break.
20 February 2018
I have just returned from a very special two-week holiday in Florida with my family. My children are 9 and 7 and we really wanted to create and share some special memories with them. I have been to Disney as a child and also as an adult with friends but this was the first time I have taken my children and it was even more special seeing it through their eyes. There was a little bit of fairy dust on everything. The excitement began from the moment we booked, and we were able to plan our whole trip together as a family. There was much discussion as to what would be the best options for us with regards to accommodation and where to stay so we could make the most of our time in Florida. Previously I have stayed on International Drive and in villas, mostly in Kissimmee, and have hired a car to get around. On this occasion we decided that it would be more convenient and easier to stay in a Disney Hotel and make full use of the airport transfers and shuttle buses to the parks. This was definitely the best option for us and the added bonus of free Disney Dining made the decision easy. Around March/April each year Disney offer free Disney Dining to all passengers booking for the following year. This made such a massive difference as all our meals were included and we were able to eat in any Disney restaurant including some great table service restaurants or just include a meal on the go or a snack. We didn’t need to worry about where we were going to eat or how much it was going to cost, we just had to go along and enjoy it. We calculated that this saved us $300+ per day for a family of four. (Approximately £2500). We stayed in the Port Orleans Riverside Hotel which was fabulous. This is one of the moderate hotels so a middle of the road option. The theme was a Bayou, southern feel which we loved. The staff were amazing, and the level of service was everything you would expect from Disney and more. There were several pools and various options for meals including a food court or a table service restaurant, live entertainment in the evenings and there was even a steam boat available to Disney Springs. This is the shopping, dining and entertainment area of Disney and there are lots of designer shops, Disney merchandise outlets and an abundance of restaurants which are all available on the dining plan. There is a Rain Forest café, Planet Hollywood, Japanese, Chef Art Smith (Oprah’s personal chef for 10 years), Cuban Restaurant, House of Blues with great live entertainment to name a few. Then onto the fun bit and the parks themselves. With your Disney ticket you will have access to all the Disney parks including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. There are often 14 days for the price of 7 offers available. An absolute must is downloading the My Disney Experience App. You can link your reservations and park tickets to the app and this allows you to book your FastPass for up to three rides, character greetings and shows per day and your table service reservations. With free Wi-Fi in the parks you can change this as you go if necessary. You can also see what the wait times are for each of the rides and where the characters are throughout the parks. Our favourite park was Magic Kingdom, and this is where magic is made. The shows are spectacular and extremely professional. The rides are thrilling, I even enjoyed Space Mountain! There are many professional photographers around the parks and they will take your photos at some of the iconic locations such as in front of Cinderella’s castle. This is fantastic and means all members of your party are in the photo, they scan your magic band and the photos are available on the app for you to download in minutes. This is with the special free Memory Maker package. This normally costs $200 if you book it when you get there. It also includes all photos taken with characters. There is so much to say about Disney and the parks. I can guarantee that I can offer lots of tips and help with not only booking your holiday and finding the perfect holiday to suit your needs and budget but also planning every last detail to ensure that you get the most of this special trip leaving you free to enjoy every minute and make magical memories. I would really love to help you plan this special holiday so get in touch and let the magic begin.
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