Sent by John Bainbridge
Based in Eccleston
Hello, I’m Emma, thank you for visiting my web page. I am your local Travel Counsellor, based from my home in Eccleston, near Chorley, where I live with my husband and two small children.
Travel has been my passion, since I started working as a trainee in a high street travel agency, at the age of 17. I have been fortunate enough to have worked in travel for over 15 years and joined Travel Counsellors in 2017, having taken some time off to start a family. I thrive on finding exactly the right holiday for my customers, and being an independent Travel Counsellor, means I can understand your needs and am able to make an unbiased recommendation, on the perfect holiday for you. Being a Travel Counsellor isn't just about being an experienced travel agent, but gives me the opportunity to use my expertise to tailor make bespoke holidays for my customers, backed by our own ATOL licence and full financial protection, no ifs or buts! I'm delighted to be a "Gold Travel Counsellor", which means I'm in the top 10% of Travel Counsellors worldwide.
I am a cruise fanatic! I love ocean cruises with my family, cruising as much as possible, though surprisingly our first cruise was only in 2018! I'm proud to be a recommended agent partner of the cruise blogger EmmaCruises, who books with me too and recommends me to her followers! It's a real compliment to have cruise experts and bloggers booking with me and recommending the great service they receive! I'd love to try a River Cruise soon and I have Alaska high on my wish list too!
I'm fortunate enough to have visited numerous destinations around the world, including the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Indian Ocean. I'm a proud member of the Cruise Lines International Association and have trained extensively with numerous cruise lines to ensure that I can recommend the right cruise holiday to my customers.
I love to understand what my customers really want from their holiday, be it on land or sea and I always strive to exceed expectations. I treat every holiday as if it were my own, and want to ensure that every customer has a wonderful time, each time they travel.
As I work from home I can help arrange your holiday at a time that suits you, often out of office hours and also at weekends, this flexibility means that I can understand and find exactly what you are looking for, at your convenience.
I love my job and I am looking forward to helping you plan your next trip very soon.
“Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain
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.
19 May 2019
I shared my first cruise experience on my web page last year. It was our first cruise as a family and we had our reservations about whether cruising was right for us. So, how do you choose the right cruise for your first time? Well, let's drop the word 'cruise' from the equation, it takes the pressure off a bit, we are simply planning your "holiday" and we need to make sure we choose the right one for you. Have a think about what you enjoy doing on your holidays. Do you usually go for a "fly and flop" holiday? Do you normally choose an all inclusive, holiday village-type property? Do you love to embrace the culture, taking in the sights and sounds of the local area? Are we looking for something to keep your active teenagers happy, or somewhere to relax after a busy week exploring the Florida them parks? Cruising has evolved so much over the years and I can genuinely say that there is a cruise out there for everyone. The internet is a great place to start, though it is a minefield; after all, your idea of holiday heaven could be someone's holiday hell! So, let's start with the basics - who is going? Increasingly, we are finding "multi-generational" families travelling together, so we need to keep everyone happy, from the toddler to the grandparents. Most cabins accommodate 2-4 people, with the children on Pullman beds or a double sofa, though by booking early, we can often secure two interconnecting cabins with a door between the two. There are also some cruise lines with larger, 2 bedroomed or duplex suites, perfect for a multi generational family (or of course, we could find that the grandparents like their own space and will opt for a cabin elsewhere on ship!). Is it a "no fly" cruise from the UK or would you rather fly to your departure port and cruise from there? If you are sailing from the UK, you avoid the usual stresses of airports and baggage concerns, though if you are cruising towards Spain/Canaries or the Mediterranean, then expect some rough sea at the Bay of Biscay. If you usually experience travel sickness, then take some anti nausea tablets for the first day, you soon pass the rough sea and sail into beautiful, calm waters. It's also a good idea to opt for a midship cabin - this is right in the middle of the ship and therefore experiences the least movement. Remember, this is not a cross-channel ferry! The ships are fitted with stabilisers and you won't experience the motion you would expect on any other type of boat, so don't be put off by this. A no fly cruise would also include more days "at sea" - where you're not visiting any ports en-route to your first destination. Bear this in mind if you only have a week's holiday in mind. A fly cruise is perfect for those needing a shorter cruise, or would like to add on a pre or post cruise stay. Cruise and stay is popular in the Mediterranean, where we could have a beach stay in Italy or Spain, before cruising to the Mediterranean or in the Caribbean, where we could experiences the vibrant city of Miami or theme parks of Orlando, before cruising around the Caribbean islands. What sort of ship should I choose? Now this is the important bit! EVERY ship is different and ships also have their own star rating, so have a think about what you enjoyed most about your last holiday. Was it the vast array of restaurants, plentiful activities to keep the children entertained and fantastic choice of all inclusive dining? Or did your last holiday offer a more laid back pace of life, with a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery? What standard of hotel most appeals to you? Do you enjoy dressing for dinner, or going with the flow and eating where and when you wanted? Do adult only areas appeal? Do you enjoy fine dining, art, cultural lectures or top class entertainment? Do you want to cruise on a smaller, more intimate ship, or do you love the idea of the larger ship packed with facilities and entertainment? Increasingly, we are seeing ships that cater for a mixture of guests, such as MSC, who offer a brilliant range of 4*+ ships, with their own luxury "yacht club", offering a premium service, for those wanting the best of both worlds. As a Travel Counsellor, with access to many different cruise lines, I can guide you through the different types of holiday on offer and as I get to know your likes and dislikes, can recommend a suitable cruise line, ship and destination for you. I'm a CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) member too, which means I have the certification and expertise to know what cruise is right for you. We have ships accommodating under 200 to over 6,000 passengers, exploring all 7 continents, so as I mentioned before, there really is a cruise for EVERYONE out there. All you need to do is contact me for a friendly chat and I'll find the right one for you! Call 01257 752560.
13 August 2018
Cruising has been on my bucket list for a while, so it was with much excitement that I cruised for the very first time with my husband and two children (aged 5 and 3) to the Mediterranean with Princess Cruises. We sailed on the beautiful Sapphire Princess on a balmy Summer evening and enjoyed our "sailaway party" with most passengers on deck enjoying the ship's band playing live music as we waved goodbye to a sunny Southampton. We then had three full days at sea to navigate our way around the ship before arriving in Barcelona on Wednesday. The Bay of Biscay is pretty choppy, and the ship did sway quite a bit, but none of us had any travel sickness. We had used the "cruise personaliser" in advance to register the children for kid’s club, arrange some treats and book some excursions in advance. This saved us time when we took the children to their children's club and they were both together in 3 - 7 age group. The activities for them were varied, with a different theme every day and high-quality facilities and crafts to keep them happy. When the ship is in port, parents have the option to go off the ship and children can stay for lunch (book in advance as numbers are limited), although for young children it's preferred that there is one adult on board with a pager, just in case. The days at sea were excellent, with a varied timetable of activities and events to satisfy all ages. From special interest lectures, bingo, line dancing, to art auctions, the list of activities was endless and there was never a point when we had nothing to do, unless we chose to do so! Princess Cruises have won awards for their food and it's easy to see why, the menu is changed daily and there are numerous dining options to choose from. We found that the "anytime dining" suited us perfectly, as we couldn't predict when we would like to eat, though the set dining times are still chosen by some, who are able to choose a set time for dining. We loved the Sterling Steakhouse and Sabatini's Italian restaurant, the two speciality dining options for just US$29pp. There's just one buffet dining option, Horizon court, which always varied the menu and offered excellent choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The pizza restaurant offers "the best pizza at sea" and was a firm favourite of ours. Barcelona is a beautiful and cosmopolitan city. The best way to see the city was a hop on, hop off bus, which took us to all the major sights and attractions, giving us a much-welcomed breeze as it was very hot when we were visiting. The hop on hop off nature enables passengers to choose which sites to get off and explore in more detail and the buses were frequent. The tour lasts two hours so is perfect for cruise passengers on a whistle stop tour. Civitavecchia is 90 minutes from Rome, so pre-booking an excursion or like us a "Rome on your own" excursion with the transport included is a must. A taxi will cost around €250 each way. Although we had an independent tour, we got lots of pointers from our tour guide. We were dropped off just outside the walls to the Vatican - the Vatican museum requires covered knees and shoulders so dress appropriately for this if intending to go inside. Livorno is the nearest port to Pisa and Florence - the heat beat us and we stayed on ship. It was quiet as many people were visiting the Leaning Tower and the beautiful city of Florence. You can see the Leaning Tower in an hour, then on to Florence to absorb the sights of Tuscany. Genoa is an attractive city with plenty of winding streets. We had pre-booked a "Portofino on your own" tour, offering transport directly from the ship to Portofino. The trips are usually by coach, but we had a note to say that as the roads were going to be busy, Princess took us by boat. What a treat to arrive in Portofino by boat, a fabulous, luxurious town with a main square containing cafes, bakeries and designer shops. It's not cheap, a coffee cost around £5 and a toastie £12, but you can't expect any different from this high-end celebrity favourite. Portofino is probably the most beautiful port I've ever seen, the multi coloured hotels and restaurants were once fishermen’s houses and were brightly painted so that the fisherman could still find their way home in the fog. Marseille is the gateway to Provence. Don't be put off by the industrial looking port, Marseille port is the biggest in Europe! However, once we caught the bus to the centre, we enjoyed shopping for all things Provence, from locally produced lavender to Marseillaise soap. There's a fabulous waterfront shopping mall "Les Terraces du Port" and another opposite "Les Docks", with some fabulous and well-priced eateries too. Gibraltar is a popular duty-free shopping stop. The high street was the same as in the UK, but with many duty free "discounts" on offer for cruise passengers. Perfumes/cosmetics etc were discounted by 10 - 12% off a high street price. More luxurious items including cameras and high-end jewellery had savings of 20%+ from the UK price. The sailaway party from Gibraltar was a lot of fun, with pomp and ceremony complete with British flags to wave farewell to Gibraltar as we sailed back to Southampton. Our cabin was a balcony grade cabin with bunk beds. These are meant for children aged nine upwards but as we know our children don't have issues rolling out of bed, we allowed them to sleep in the bunks. The categories of cabin on board range from inside without window, to ocean view (sometimes obscured view due to the location of the lifeboats) on to balcony, mini suite and suite level. We opted for a midship located cabin, which is the most popular as it offers easy access to the facilities and doesn't "roll" as much in bad weather. However, we also spent some time at the aft of the ship and really didn't notice additional movement in that location on our way back through the Bay of Biscay. We enjoyed every minute of our cruise and will be doing it again next year, cruising for families is excellent, with all the facilities of a top-quality hotel, but offering a chance to see numerous countries without having to unpack more than once. I found every member of staff went above and beyond to accommodate us and the children, it was obvious that the children were actively welcomed rather than just tolerated as they sometimes are in 5* hotels. Contact me to talk about your next family holiday, there really is a cruise ship to suit everyone.
Sutton Coldfield 21/10/2020