Based in Alfreton

Mandy Oldknow

It's Nice To Meet You

Hello

I'm a familiar face to many as I have always lived in Alfreton.

I have worked in travel since I was 17 years old starting as a YTS for an independent agency moving to Bolsover Cruise Club and then Midlands Co-op before fulfilling my dream and becoming a Travel Counsellor in September 2000.

Celebrating my 20th Travel Counsellor anniversary last year during a worldwide pandemic wasn't quite the most exciting, but celebrating my 21st with things changing and the future looking good makes me happy.


I'm a firm believer in giving back and getting involved in your community, this is how I became a member of the Rotary Club of Alfreton quite a few years ago and then in July 2018 I took on the very exciting role of President which was a two year post. My son Connor is now 20 years old, so he has never known a time when I haven’t been a Travel Counsellor. He thinks everyone should have a mum that takes them on exotic holidays, weekends away and cruises every year.

We have been lucky to visit some beautiful places and I have to say that Alaska is one I would really like to revisit. I have been on over 30 cruises to both Europe and the Caribbean with virtually every cruise line, so have a great knowledge of ships. Therefore I can share inside tips and make suggestions on which one is best for you. I’ve also been on holiday to New York, Boston, Cape Cod, DisneyWorld in Orlando a lot , Disneyland Paris, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Singapore, Cyprus, many parts of Spain, France and the UK.

I love assisting new and existing clients with their holiday plans, offering honest and impartial advice. I treat every enquiry as if it was for my own holiday. My priority is to make sure you have the best holiday possible.

Although I'm based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, I have clients all over the UK which have been referred to me by existing clients, so thank you to all that have passed my details on.

Many people don’t have time to talk or even think about their holiday during the working week. There is no need to spend your weekends at the travel agents or countless hours online researching. If you use me, you’ll have an experienced, fully qualified travel consultant who gets to know you so you have your dream holiday at no extra cost.

Working from home allows me much more flexibility so that I can be available at a time to suit you.
I look forward to hearing from you

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Contact Me

Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:

Find me on social

My Videos

My BBC TV debut

8/5/2021

Thank you to BBC East Midlands Today for my 22 seconds on fame.

I'll be there for you

4/7/2021

I hope you enjoy reliving your travel memories with us as you watch our film, and when you’re ready to travel again I’ll be here for you,

A World of Good

12/27/2020

Let me take you somewhere good, somewhere you can enjoy while helping the local people who depend on travellers.

5 reasons to trust me with your travel plans.

12/24/2020

Now more than ever, when booking travel, you need to make sure you have a trusted travel professional.

Beyond the Horizon

10/8/2020

It's time to start dreaming of holidays for next year and the years to come.

Trusted Travel

10/7/2020

Trust me to be with you every step of the way from the first step in planning until you are back home from your amazing holiday. I have you covered.

20 years as a Travel Counsellor

9/21/2020

It's hard to believe, but today is my 20th Travel Counsellor anniversary.

My Blog

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.

We saw the pandas on our first visit.

18 June 2018

If you follow me on Facebook it’s likely you will know that Connor wants to be a zoo keeper. It’s great that he knows what he wants to do, and it also means we get to visit lots of places, so he can gain as much experience as possible. This week we were in Edinburgh in the sunshine. We have East Midlands on our doorstep and as we can fly to Edinburgh in only 55 minutes it was the obvious way to get there. I think I was one of the only people to check in a big case, none of that travelling with hand luggage only nonsense for me. I say that, but a lot of the people were in suits and only carrying laptop bags, it is a very popular service for people travelling for the day on business. Now, I am an anything for the easiest in life as well as when I travel, so although I had said I was going to try the bus, if I had found the taxi rank first I would have jumped in a cab. As it happened the first thing I saw was the office for the Airlink 100 bus and the bus was sat there waiting for us. What a great service it was as well. A few stops and we were right outside our hotel. The Holiday Inn, right next to Edinburgh Zoo. The only slight issue was that it’s on a hill and I had to drag my 23 kilos up it to get into the hotel and then up a couple of flights on stairs to the reception. We got a great welcome and as IHG members I had requested an early check-in, our room was ready and waiting for us. We had a standard twin room which had everything you could need including comfy beds and free Wi-Fi. The hotel serves food all day in the bar area and has a good selection on offer as well as Starbucks in the lounge area. We had a lovely lunch. The hotel has leisure facilities which include a sauna, hot tub and swimming pool. We spent the afternoon chilling there before dinner in the restaurant. After a really good night’s sleep it was time to head to the zoo. Connor was meeting Amie at 9am for his ‘Keeper for the Day’ experience. It took only around 3 minutes to walk from the hotel to the zoo entrance. Perfect. Connor had an amazing day with Amie and I got some great pictures. At 4pm his experience was over, he had aching feet, but we really wanted to see the pandas. We had heard so many stories about people sitting there waiting for hours or making lots of trips and just never seeing them. Imagine our excitement when we got there and both pandas were in full view. One sat happily eating bamboo and the other lay sleeping close to the glass. We were so lucky, and it really was a great end to a brilliant day. We were both feeling the effects of a full day on our feet, so room service was ordered for dinner. Again, the food was great and the tray supplement was only a couple of pounds. The next day was another day in Edinburgh Zoo, this time seeing all the animals at our own pace. We started at the top and worked our way down. For anyone that doesn’t know, the zoo is on a hill, a BIG hill. I did think at one point we were mountain climbing. Ok maybe it’s not that bad but be warned it’s a fair walk. If you are less able or have wheelchair users, they do offer a mobility vehicle that will drive you to certain parts of the zoo. This can be arranged on arrival. We saw lots of animals today that we hadn’t seen the day before and we spent the whole day just wandering, eating drinking, snacking and enjoying being here. One of the things I was really impressed with was the recycling that’s done at the zoo. It really is done well, I even found myself taking pictures of the bins they use. As an obsessive recycler at home it did make me wonder why our local zoo doesn’t have them. Back at the hotel, I messaged my local zoo with the photographs of the recycling bins before having an early night. On our las t day we had an evening flight home, so I thought it only right that we at least see the castle, even if it was only from the street below. We left the hotel after breakfast making our way to the bus stop right outside. After a very short wait we were on the bus and on our way. We opted for the airlink 100 again, so in only 3 stops we were in the heart of Princes Street. We had a mooch around and took lots of pictures, but before I knew it Connor was ready for lunch and we went somewhere very Scottish. OK, I wish, but nope we ended up in McDonalds. Edinburgh is a lovely city and we are already planning to come back next year and see more than just the zoo.

My visit to Reubens Retreat

18 June 2018

Today I made the journey from Alfreton along the beautiful Derbyshire roads to Glossop to visit Reubens Retreat. Reubens Retreat is not just a building, it’s an amazing charity that came out of tragedy and is close to the hearts of myself and all my fellow Travel Counsellors. I have been wanting to visit for a long time, but you know how it is, life sometimes gets in the way. This time nothing was going to stop me. On arrival I was greeted by the always smiling ‘Mummy’ Nicola Graham as well as Sally Anne and Nicky, I was so happy to be there and felt so welcome. The beautiful room I walked into was a light open space, but also cosy, it felt like it was giving me a hug. We sat down and chatted and got updates about what was going on at Reubens Retreat and about the people they were already helping with the services they can offer. Reubens Retreat is an ongoing project and is split into 10 phases. Each phase is a massive project in its own right. They are working towards phase 4 at the moment which is going to be the hydrotherapy suite. This will include all the specialist equipment to make it accessible to all. Right now, it’s an empty shell with a lot of work to be done. This phase alone will cost more than 300K. Reubens Retreat does not get funding from the government or the lottery, all the money that comes in they have worked really hard to raise. They are supported by people willing to do anything from a car boot or bake sale to climbing Snowdon and everything in between. This means that the speed of the build depends completely on raising funds. They would I’m sure like to just wake up and it all be completed, but it’s just not that simple. This a journey that will last for a long time but will never turn anyone away who is in need along the way. ‘Mummy’ and the team have such big dreams and aspirations and the thing is, I am in no doubt that they will achieve them. They offer something that comes straight from the heart and isn’t about anything other than the people they can help. Reuben’s Retreat will be a home from home for children that are life limited, life threatened. A place for families that face an uncertain future. To make memories and holiday. Reuben’s already serves as a bereavement, counselling support centre for Mummies, Daddies and siblings that lose a child, and families that face an uncertain future. This is a really brief update about my day out, but there is so much more to tell you, I could tell you how Reubens Retreat started, but the best way to know is to read Reubens journey for yourself. Here is the link to the page on the website. https://www.reubensretreat.org/reubens-journey/ I am so lucky to be a part of this incredible project even if it is only in a small way, please share Reubens story with the people around you and with anyone you feel could use their services or support them.

It's all about the coffee

29 January 2018

For Christmas my brother bought me a coffee machine, one of those with the pods you pop in. A lovely present you say, well yes, it is, but until then I didn’t drink coffee. I have now got a collection of different coffees that I have been trying out and after buzzing and a few late nights due to caffeine overload, I have worked out my favourite is the ‘skinny latte macchiato’ So, why am I telling you about my Christmas present when there are so many places in the world I could be telling you about. Well the fact is coffee isn’t the same all over the world, unless you stick to those well-known chains that appear to be in every city on every continent. Some people can’t live without their morning coffee, so it got me thinking about the different coffee’s around the world. Here are a selection of coffee’s from some popular holiday destinations. Vietnam A Vietnamese filter is coffee (optionally with chicory), and condensed milk. The coffee used generally contains chicory, otherwise it wouldn't be the stereotypical Vietnamese. This is served using a small filter that fits on top of your cup, where the hot water runs through the coffee into the cup already holding about 1/3 of an inch of condensed milk in the bottom. Some people mix the milk through the coffee or it can be left until the end. Morocco Moroccans love a coffee with a blend of spice, black pepper and nutmeg and sesame seeds, which are mixed with coffee beans and ground, to create a fragrant and potent brew. Spain An espresso with sweet condensed milk. If you want a mix of half normal milk and half sweetened condensed milk, then it's a 'leche y leche'. Italy Espresso served with a slice of lemon. The lemon is rubbed on the rim of the cup, the idea being that the sourness of the lemon enhances the flavour of the coffee. Australia and New Zealand The infamous ‘Flat White’ is like a condensed latte, with one or two shots of espresso, and 180 ml of milk (a latte has over 220ml of milk). Indonesian Islands Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee is altogether something that you may or may not wish to try. This refers to the coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian Palm Civet, a rodent like animal. Germany Pharisäer is Coffee made with rum and whipped cream, it’s totally gorgeous and very moreish! If you’re interested in the latest travel news, ideas and inspiration, please pop along and follow my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MandyOldknowTravelCounsellorAlfreton/

Remastered Queen Mary 2

29 January 2018

Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s flagship is a fabulous cruise liner, like nothing else at sea, she isn’t just a cruise ship. I was lucky enough to sail transatlantic from Southampton to New York when QM2 was a very new ship. I was so excited, and I have to say the trip was everything I hoped it would be. Room service hot chocolate every morning on my balcony before eggs benedict for breakfast in the restaurant. Long lazy days at sea and afternoon tea in the Queen’s Room while people danced. It was like stepping back in time to a bygone era in the most modern of surroundings. Sailing into New York is a special experience that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. In June 2016 QM2 came back into Southampton looking like a new woman after a multi-million-dollar refurbishment. I had to wait until November 2017 to get onboard to see for myself, but it was worth the wait. If I’m honest when we were first told about the remastering of QM2, I was worried they would lose the rich colours and go too ‘beige’ I really didn’t need to. Stepping back onboard after all this time, was like putting back on your favourite evening dress after wearing your jeans for too long. It’s just special in every way. It’s hard to explain, but there is just something magical about her. The Grand Lobby with its sweeping staircases, rich carpets and the staff waiting to greet you in their flamboyant red jackets and white gloves are the first thing you see when you embark. Fresh flowers and piano music filling the air making it easy to relax from that moment. Here is a quote from Cunard that sums up what they were trying to achieve with the remastering. ‘We’ve worked with world-class designers to create spaces that are at once contemporary and reflective of Cunard’s illustrious past’ Transatlantic crossings are very popular onboard QM2, but many people think it might be too many days at sea. Once you find out how many activities are available onboard you’ll wish it was longer. You could be busy constantly throughout your trip or you can do nothing more than sit around and read the latest bestseller. The choice is yours entirely. Elegance is the word that sums up Queen Mary 2 the best. If you would like more details on Queen Mary 2 please feel free to give me a call, I’m happy to tell your more about this beautiful ocean liner.

Princess Family Visit

25 August 2017

Well it’s only 12 months since the last time I visited Caribbean Princess in Liverpool and I’m back here again, but this time it’s different for two reasons. 1. Caribbean Princess has had a refit 2. I’ve brought Connor with me. This is Princess Cruises first Family ship visit, so how could we not come along? The format of a normal agent visit it to see the cabins to show us the difference from inside through to suites, to see the different public areas, speciality restaurants and pool areas and then have lunch in the main dining room and chat about what we’ve seen and our step count. The family visit was about entertaining the children and meant that you get a whole different outlook from the visit. We were there as agents, but first and foremost as parents. We saw the childrens clubs and there was time to play games and colour t-shirts and they came out with a ‘whale’ We ate the ‘best pizza at sea’ before lunch, we sat by the pool (before it rained) the children had their own buffet lunch in the main dining room while their adults ate from the menu, the food just kept coming. After lunch some of the mini travel agents decided they had missed out by not seeing the cabins, so our Princess host S-J was kind enough to show us an inside cabin and a mini suite. It turns out they all want to cruise in a mini suite. On the way to dis-embark there was just time to get an ice cream, well we were on a cruise ship, so you can never stop eating. The day was a complete success as you see things differently when you are surrounded by children. Thanks to Princess Cruises for a brilliant day that both myself and Connor really enjoyed. To find out more about what Princess has to offer family travellers drop me a line or give me a call.

Scarborough, Whitby and the Seagulls

07 August 2017

It’s no secret that I’m not into self-catering, I’m not a fan of cooking at home, so why would I do it on my holidays. This summer though we have been on not one cottage break, but two. The first one was a prize via a Cunard Cruise Line competition. It said win a luxury family break, so the last thing I was expecting was a cottage, well would you? I was asked when and where in the UK I wanted to stay and what was really important. I told them we quite fancied somewhere around Scarborough and that WIFI was a must and then I waited. They came back with a luxury cottage 5 miles from Scarborough and the pictures on the website looked lovely, I was apprehensive about this kind of break, but really looking forward to the weekend away. On Friday, we packed up the car and set off for this new adventure, the car was full to overflowing, I had covered every eventuality. Breaday Gill is one of two converted out buildings that are part of a working farm and within minutes of walking in I knew Connor and I were going to feel right at home. All the mod cons in the kitchen were wasted on me, but the open plan living was something that we really took to. I can honestly say in my head I was knocking down walls of our house in my head while chilling on the sofa. Having been to Scarborough last year for Rotary Conference I was keen to show Connor the sea front, but the first morning we decided to get in the car and see where we ended up, again this is out of my comfort zone as I am a planner. We set off and after only a few minutes I saw a sign saying Whitby 15 miles and that was it, I knew where we were heading. Whitby means one thing to most people ‘Fish & Chips’ but having the chicken nugget kid who doesn’t eat outside with me, meant putting out an SOS to my fellow TC who pointed us in the direction of the best place to eat, she told us Trenchers. She was not wrong, the food was great and we both got what we wanted, so happy days. Now, for a bit of advice for you - don’t go on a boat trip in Whitby if it feels windy. We had a wander around and saw boat trips for £3.00 each, I said come on Connor let's go. I didn’t look where it went, we just paid our dues and jumped aboard. The boat turned around and set off out of the harbour and into the open water. Now I am a good sailor (or so I thought) but I hadn’t realised we were going to be going along the coastline which meant for most of the 20 minute trip, the waves were hitting us from the side. Now, I’m not sure it’s always as rough as that because later when we passed by the boats again, it said cancelled due to weather conditions. Whitby is a lovely place and I’m so glad we went. Sunday, we had more solid plans, as part of our prize we had tickets for Scarborough SeaLife Centre. We have been to a few of these, but this one was a pleasant surprise. It had a seal rescue and penguins. We timed it just right and managed to see all the talks and even fed the rays and sharks. Connor also managed to fit in a donut stop. We ventured on to Scarborough seafront and were pleased to find that the RNLI were having an open day where you could hear all about their new lifeboat and the great work they do. We got a real insight into what they do and I still can’t believe that it’s all voluntary. The training and the high tech equipment they use now means you have to really want to do it. My main tip for walking along Scarborough sea front has to be ‘WATCH OUT FOR SEAGULLS’ they are enormous and not afraid to swoop down and steal your food, well not ours as like I’ve already said Connor doesn’t do eating outside. We got our ice creams and ate them on the seafront from the safety of the car. Scarborough still has an old fashioned seaside town feel about it with donkeys and deck chair rentals on the beach, but it also has some modern touches of the chain food outlets, but these are in the main town rather than the seafront which is nice. We were hoping to call and visit Filey on our way home on the Monday, but the rain that we had missed finally caught up with us, so we decided to drive straight home. Not to worry though, it just means we will have to go back another time. If you like to know more about the places we visited or find out about places to stay please give me a call or drop me an email.

We walked the Walk

14 September 2017

After 5 nights chilling at the JA Palm Tree Court it was time to move on and see more of Dubai. JA Ocean View is modern sleek 4 star hotel on the The Walk at JBR minutes from the beach, shops and many restaurants. I did look at the hotel on the website before we travelled and I honestly can’t believe it looks exactly like the pictures in real life. The bright white reception is just immaculate and the air conditioning is so welcoming when you step through the front doors. Our room was 1507 Connors birthday, so we never forgot it. We walked in and again we were amazed to see it looked just like the pictures. The bright colours are great. I was drawn to the doors at the far end of the room that led to a small, but big enough balcony. The view was perfect. I could see the beach, the pool and the busy walk. Even though JA Ocean View is a city style hotel it doesn’t feel impersonal, the staff are happy friendly and always there to help. The breakfast is impressive with everything you can think of whether you are looking for a healthy or the full on naughty option it’s there waiting to be chosen. The pool is on the third floor, it’s a rooftop area with great views. It is open until 9pm so we got to swim with the pool lit up in the dark with the city sounds in the warm night air. There is a cocktail bar here and you can also get a beach pack with a towel in if you want to visit the beach. There is a lift from here to go to the beach without having to walk through the main hotel which is great. This part of Dubai has a completely different feel to the quiet relaxing pace we had just left, this is a night owls paradise and also a noisy place. We swapped the peacocks for the sound of sports cars, but that didn’t put us off. Getting around Dubai is easy and cheap by public transport and taxis, but even so JA Ocean View offers free shuttle buses to the Malls which can be pre-booked by guest services. We had big plans for this part of our stay which was going to make it a full on few days and put my step count up a lot. Here are some of the things we did that you might like: Mall of the Emirates We came her purely to see the penguins and the ski slopes. The rest of the Mall didn’t thrill me if I’m honest. Dubai Mall Now this is my favourite, I could spend days here shopping, but when you take your 15 year old son with you, that’s never going to happen. We did however spend a lot of time here. It helps when it’s open very late into the night. The first time we visited the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater zoo. This is a must for families who like the Sealife Centres at home. There are few different ticket types, we opted for the one that included a boat trip. We can book these tickets in advance for you, so please ask. Burj Khalifa A trip to Dubai isn’t complete without ascending to at least the 124th floor. You really can’t believe how high you are. Now for someone that feels queasy at the top of the Blackpool Tower, you have to be impressed that I was brave and went up the stairs to the 125th floor. You can go higher, but to be honest the price goes up massively for those extra 23 floors. Dubai Fountain This is something to see. The World’s largest performing fountain. It happens every 30 minutes in the evening from 6-11pm and you wouldn’t believe how busy it gets. If you want to get away from the people though you can set sail on a traditional Abra ride on the Burj lake and enjoy the sights and sounds from there. While we were in Dubai there when quite a few good films were coming out, so we thought lets go to the cinema.. It was strange experience and it certainly wasn’t like being at the Odeon. They have usher to show you to your pre-booked seats, from what I can gather this is mainly because people take each other’s seats. The film was good, but I can say the next time we go to Dubai we won’t be going to the cinema unless the film is on in one of the posh screens with the reclining seats and blankets. IMG Worlds of Adventure Indoor theme park. This place in a way is in the middle of nowhere if you are a tourist without a car, but good news they now run a shuttle bus once a day from lots of hotels including JA Ocean View. The highlight of this place is getting to be Iron Man. Yes, I really said that. The experience has to be seen to be believed. Connor stood in a room that looked just like the film and the next minute he was Iron Man and fighting the bad guys. Have a look at the picture and it will all make sense I promise. What I hope you have picked up from what I have said is that Dubai has something for everyone. I have only talked about two hotels and a few things that we did. I haven’t talked about the water parks or Legoland and Dubai Parks. These are all things we will do on our next visit to Dubai. For more information please pick up the phone or drop me a line, I will never tire of talking about this amazing place.

Yes it's hot, but we would do it all again

25 August 2017

Who in their right mind goes to Dubai in July? I heard that a lot leading up to our trip. I was even saying it myself as we sat on the plane at Birmingham before take-off. I soon forgot about it as we sat in our row of two seats on the Emirates flight watching movies and chilling out. The flight was great and the staff attentive, and we were in Dubai in no time or so it seemed. We were met at the aircraft door by a man with a wheelchair for Connor, I had been told Dubai airport was vast, so booked this with the airline a few day prior. This is really something anyone who can’t walk more than half a mile should consider and I would say it’s my top tip for anyone travelling to or transiting through Dubai airport. If in doubt book assistance. Once we had been quickly whisked through immigration, collected our cases and found our private transfer driver it was time for the journey to our first of two hotels. We sat in our air conditioned people carrier with our complimentary bottle of ice cold water and watched the city skyline disappear as we travelled the 40 minutes to the area known as Jebel Ali. Our hotel for the next 5 nights was the 5 star JA Palm Tree Court, we arrived in the dark, so couldn't see the beautiful grounds, but the reception area was welcoming and the staff greeted us with a cold drink and told us not to worry about our bags everything would be taken care of. We were then taken to see our room by golf buggy before being driven back for dinner. We ate that night in the buffet restaurant. Connor was very happy to find they had chicken strips, so he knew he was going to like the place a lot. Palm Tree Court is not your typical Dubai hotel. Sitting by the pool or on the beach you could easily be in Mauritius. It’s not high rise and struggling for space, the hotel is spacious and sprawling it’s a resort hotel and it’s all inclusive. Yes, that’s right, in a country where alcohol is expensive you can drink as much as you like without breaking the bank. You won’t be disappointed with the food here either. The restaurants are fabulous. The food is worthy of the 5 star rating the hotel has. The Italian was my favourite and the thing is you aren’t restricted to the amount of times you eat in any of the restaurants, you just have to make sure you have a reservation. Taking Connor the connoisseur of chicken nuggets with me didn’t stop me eating in any of the speciality restaurants either. Osama the chef we met on the first night made sure that whichever restaurant I chose to eat in Connor's favourite along with his homemade BBQ sauce were waiting for him if he didn’t like anything on the menu. The attentiveness of the waiters and staff was second to none. Peacocks - when I was looking at reviews of this hotel online I couldn't get over the amount of pictures people had taken of the resident peacocks. On a tour of the hotel arranged by the guest services I found out why, it seems they used to have a few and now there are over a hundred. They are beautiful, but on the first morning one of them did wake me up at 5am. I didn’t know what the noise was so went out onto the balcony and saw this peacock on the roof of the next building shouting like a cockerel. You do hear them, but it’s a sound you get used to and we missed it when we moved to the city. For anyone that knows me well or from just reading my blogs, you will realise that I am rubbish at sitting still, but I have to say after 5 nights here I have learnt that the world doesn’t end if you chill out in the pool sipping the odd pina colada. The weather obviously played its part as you could easily melt in the 47 degree heat if you didn’t spend time in the pool, but as long as you are wearing your high factor cream there is no reason not to be here in July.

The new look Oriana

01 May 2017

The first time I saw Oriana she was brand new, that was back in 1994, so it was great to visit after her latest refit. I make no secret that I love a traditional cruise ship, so although I can’t travel on Oriana on my holidays asConnor isn’t old enough yet, I really do think she is a beautiful ship. It’s good to see that tradition hasn’t been lost in the refit, she has just been enhanced for the benefit of her many repeat loyal passengers. The Tiffany glass still looks fabulous and the Lords Tavern is a modern take on its original self. It was good to see Chaplin’s cinema looking like something Odeon would be proud of. The Peninsular and Oriental restaurants have a fresh look and are both light and airy during the day and I am sure they still feel special and elegant in the evening. These restaurants offer both first and second sitting, but what I found surprising for such a traditional cruise ship is the amount of passengers that are now opting for freedom dining. Oriana has a very faithful following and I can understand why. She is a ship that is big enough to find something different to do each day, but small enough to find your friends for a pre-dinner drink. The other thing Oriana is now doing very well is taking people to new and varied places. She is small enough to dock in ports that other ships just can’t. Her longer itineraries appeal to the adult only market that are able to travel for more than the standard 2 weeks. To find out more about Oriana please fell free to contact me.

Kotor, Montenegro

01 May 2017

Kotor is a place I have seen on many cruise itineraries I have booked for clients, but that is really all I knew about, so I was eager to explore on my recent visit. We set our alarm, ordered room service for breakfast and made sure we were on the first tender of the day. The tender was actually local boats rather then lifeboats, so it meant that everyone had a great view of the ship. I must have taken 50 pictures on the short journey. The first plan of the day was the hop on-hop off bus that left from the port entrance. At 20 Euros each, it’s worth it. The bus tour takes you about 30mins along the coast past the catholic church, and you go to a mosaic museum for 15mins. Some elected to go to the supermarket instead and the goodies they came back with were very cheap. You then hop back on the bus, and head along the coast and get off the bus at Perast. Here you walk about a ¼ mile down the road until you hit the waterfront. You can wander around here and have a coffee. The main attraction is the island which is home to the church Our Lady of the Rock. You pay 5 Euros to one of the many boats waiting to take you there. The scenery is lovely and give great photo opportunities. When you’ve done that, wander back up the hill, hop back on the next bus and go into Kotor. I’d say all in it took about 2 hours 30 minutes in total. Once back in the city of Kotor we walked the medieval streets and ate lunch at Astoria, a little place in a square that was recommended to us by the lady at the tourist office. It was a good choice, but there are many outdoor restaurants within the walled city. It is a lovely place for people watching as well as being a UNESCO World natural and historical site. Before we knew it, we had to make our way back to the ship. Kotor is a beautiful place and I do hope to go the there again. It is a perfect place to visit as you can just wander around without having to book an excursion if you feel like just stretching your legs. You can’t talk about Kotor without mentioning the sail away. The scenery is breathtaking and really not to be missed, so get yourself a deckchair at the back of the ship order your Pina Colada and relax.

Majestic Princess lives up to her name

01 May 2017

When I was asked if I would like to be one of the first passengers to sail onboard Princess Cruises' brand new flag ship Majestic Princess, I didn’t hesitate - I was already mentally picking out my evening dress and shoes. On Friday 31st March Captain Dino Sagani took the helm of his brand new ship and we sailed out of his home town of Trieste with what looked like the whole of the town coming to wave us off. It was truly a majestic sight with the daytime fireworks and the ships horn playing the theme from Love Boat, everyone onboard was ready for the sailaway party in the glorious Italian sunshine. I was lucky enough to be on the ship for a total of 4 nights sailing from Trieste to Civatvecchia (Rome) this gave us two days at sea and a great day in Kotor, Montenegro. Dining is always one of the main things you think about when taking a cruise and for Majestic Princess will not disappoint. The World Fresh Marketplace (buffet) has you sampling food from around the world in one meal. She has the usual main restaurants as well as specialty dining, but I have to say relaxing by the pool watching the sun go down eating lobster and chips with a side of dim sum was a highlight for me. I don’t know about you, but I love a good stage show be it a full on Broadway production or great singers or acrobats. Majestic had them all, but the stand out show for me was FIERA performed by the Princess singers and dancers. Really what I am saying is wow, this ship is amazing and Princess Cruises have an amazing product that you should try. Princess Cruises have built Majestic for the Chinese market, but she is the sister ship to Royal Princess and Regal Princess, so you don’t have to miss out. For more information or to make a Princess Cruises booking please contact me.

MS Amsterdam in Singapore

18 March 2017

When I usually go to visit a ship it’s somewhere in the UK, so I was very happy to get the chance to visit Holland America Lines flagship MS Amsterdam in Singapore while she was visiting as part of her 2017 World cruise. MS Amsterdam is a mid-sized ship carrying 1380 passengers, but while we were on-board most of them were enjoying the sights of Singapore. We had a tour of the ship, visiting all the public rooms and enjoying a glass of bubbly and canapes in the Ocean Bar while the piano played in the background. After our tour of the ship, we were lucky enough to have dinner in The Pinnacle Grill. It is an intimate restaurant serving Pacific North-West cuisine in elegant sophisticated surroundings. The food is amazing and worth the $35.00 per person cover charge. Holland America is a premium cruise line that is cruising at its traditional best. They don’t have gimmicks, what they have is good quality product that shouldn’t be missed.

I'm not a golfer, but are you?

02 March 2017

Whether for business or for pleasure a round of golf brings a smile to the faces of many people young or old. It’s a game I’ve never tried, but always thought I should. The weather in the UK doesn’t make me want to rush out onto the fairway, but maybe somewhere with a little bit more sunshine could tempt me. The Algarve, Portugal has long been a golfer's favourite destination, especially the resort of Vilamoura. A beautiful harbour town that has a comprehensive golf complex as well as great hotels, restaurants and beach. The Costa del Sol again is a popular choice for golfers of any ability and has been so since the 1970s. With a great choice of courses and accommodations that won’t break the bank it’s a great choice for someone who wants to give it a go as well as the most experienced golfers. Morocco may not be the first place that springs to mind for a golf holiday, but it is thriving and right now has more new courses being built than any other destination. If you are thinking of somewhere that little bit further afield, did you know there are some fantastic courses in the following places. Caribbean Barbados, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia Indian Ocean Seychelles, Mauritius United Arab Emirates Dubai, Abu Dhabi USA Bermuda, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, North & South Carolina For more information or for help planning your perfect golf trip why not contact me.

Theatre snob

06 December 2016

Yes, as the title suggests I am a terrible theatre snob, not about the show itself as I'm open to seeing anything and everything, but for me it's all about the seat I'm sitting in. Our local theatre is Nottingham Theatre Royal and I have my favourite seats. I'm not going to tell you the exact numbers as they are mine, but they are front or second row, centre dress circle. It's not just my local theatre though I have the same rules in the West End or my other favourite theatre the Birmingham Hippodrome. Musicals are my favourite. This year I have been lucky enough to see the following shows: Disney's Aladdin, Jersey Boys, Ghost, Bodyguard, Thriller Live, Million Dollar Quartet and Guys & Dolls. Connor and I did go to see a little Shakespeare as well. I have wanted to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a long time, it was worth the wait and the numb bum. It's a very long play. Cirque du Soleil La Nuba was a new experience for us. I booked it as a surprise for my mum and Connor on our trip to Florida. I wasn't really looking forward to it but wow, I have no words that can explain how amazing it was. A theatre snob also means booking as soon as tickets go on sale, so I'm happy to say I have the following shows booked for 2017: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Diversity Genesis, Billy Elliott, The Wedding Singer, Funny Girl and Crazy for you. I'm also hoping to see Dreamgirls. My wish list includes seeing a musical on Broadway and Cirque in Las Vegas. My biggest regret was never getting to see Bette Midler in Las Vegas, but fingers crossed she may be back one day. If you fancy a theatre break in the UK or the USA please give me a call, you know where I am.

Oceania Nautica with a side order of Versace

30 November 2016

I have waited a long time to see an Oceania ship, I’m glad to say it was worth the wait. When I got my joining instructions I did smile to myself, this is what it said. The day will consist of a tour of Oceania Nautica, followed by a six-course gourmet lunch comprising of dishes from our various dining venues. What’s not to love? Now, you have to note at this point that Oceania Cruises are not to be confused with P&O’s ship Oceana. Nautica was built in 2000 and underwent a multimillion dollar refurbishment in 2014 and it really does show in her beautiful teak decks and neo-classical furnishings. She is a small ship carrying 684 passengers, yet still has all the entertainment options you could need. The library on board was something that really caught my eye as it was just so relaxing and tranquil and had the feel of an English country house. If the spa is your thing you won’t be disappointed on board Nautica as it has Canyon Ranch SpaClub, always a favourite of mine. Oceania are carrying on a time honoured tradition that I have to say I love and that is high tea. Served in Horizons at 4 o’clock sharp each day you can enjoy finger sandwiches, petits fours and scones with clotted cream while the string quartet plays softly in the background. Now it’s time to tell you about lunch. Yes it was six courses and you know what they were all amazing. Oh and did I mention they were all served on Versace Rosenthal crockery (see picture). Believe me they do live up to the strapline they use ‘the finest cuisine at sea’. I have to say that if all the other ships in the Oceania fleet are as well presented, have such fabulous food and attentive staff as Nautica you can’t go wrong. Yes, in case you are wondering I do love my job especially on ship visits. It takes two days away from the office for a four hour visit, but ships are all different, so to see them first hand and to be able to talk to you about them is wonderful. You know where to find me if you would like to know more.

Jersey Boys and an open top bus

19 October 2016

It’s 24th August at 7:45am and we have just boarded the train from Alfreton to London. I’m looking forward to these three days because it’s not just me and Connor, we are bringing along my mum and my niece Danielle. This will be Danielle’s first visit, so Connor is eager to show her all his favourite places. It’s a non-stop first day. We went straight to our hotel. Thistle Royal Trafalgar is a hotel we have stayed at before and everything about it is great. The staff are so helpful and the position is perfect. I tell everyone that you walk out of the door, turn left and in two minutes you are on Trafalgar Square or turn right and two minutes later you are on Leicester Square. You can’t get better than that. We caught the open top bus from Trafalgar Square, this was a good way to see the sights. We went over Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge which was great, but if you decide to do it, make sure you don’t do it on a scorching hot day without suntan lotion and a hat like we did. With a short stop at the Tower of London we hopped on the river cruise boat back towards Westminster. Somewhere my mum wanted to go and Connor has never been was Harrods, so I thought why not. I was surprised how much it had changed since the last time I visited. It was packed, but we managed to find our oasis on the second floor ‘The Tea Room’. Like everything in Harrods, it isn't cheap, but it’s an experience isn’t it. By the time we left Harrods we each a had a carrier bag and aching feet, so in usual style Connor hailed a black cab and off we went back to the hotel for dinner. Day two starts with a relaxed full English and making a plan of action for the day ahead. Connor wants the Natural History Museum, but as he was away with three females we set off through Leicester Square onto Piccadilly and made it to Oxford Street. The museum would have been a cheaper option as I had to bribe him with Lego in Hamleys and again he hailed the black cab back from Marble Arch. This evening was the main reason for this trip to London, I have fabulous dress circle tickets for Jersey Boys. It’s a show that’s been on my ‘to do’ list for a while. I was worried that it wouldn't be a show Connor would enjoy, but I’m pleased to say I was wrong. I would say you need to be careful of the age of the children you take as the language is quite choice at times. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had it hard from the start, but it’s safe to say the music lives on. Day three starts with trying to fit all yesterday’s shopping into our cases without much success. After breakfast we head out to another favourite part of London, Covent Garden with its market and street entertainment. We found a great little cafe downstairs called Sweetheart Cupcakes, well who can resist a red velvet, I know I can’t. We have reservations for the London eye, so off we go again. This is not my favourite part of the break, but has to be done. The views are great and it is an iconic landmark. When we finally make it back on to solid ground it’s time to make our way back to the hotel to collect our luggage. This time Connor doesn’t get to hail a cab because we want to go back past Horse Guards Parade, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square. Finally we are on the train at St. Pancras heading home, we are tired, our feet ache, but we have had a great three days.

Seabourn Quest in Dover

23 August 2016

After a very long drive and an overnight stay in Dover, I opened my curtains this morning and saw what I have waited years to see. Today was the day I was visiting a Seabourn ship. I have to admit to being a little excited. Seabourn Quest was built in 2011, but she could be a brand new ship, as soon as you step on board you feel the stresses of everyday life just melt away. The beauty of this ship visit is that in effect I have seen three ships as Quest, Odyssey (2009) and Sojourn (2010) are the same build and layout with subtle differences in décor. Seabourn have the youngest ultra-luxury fleet at sea, which they will be adding to with Encore in December 2016 and Ovation in 2018. At 32,000 tons she is an intimate all suite ultra-luxury ship carrying 458 passengers with all the amenities you find on a larger ship. The salon style theatre features cabaret shows as well as local entertainers from the destinations you are visiting, the restaurants also serve regional dishes and did you know guests can even go ashore with the chef to choose ingredients for that evening’s dinner. They have specialty restaurants on board which carry no supplement including The Grill by Thomas Keller. If you fancy a night in you can take advantage of in-suite dining which is delivered course by course. My favourite inside space on the ship has to be Seabourn Square, it’s a great place to just relax with a good book. Here you will find the shops, coffee bar, computer centre, library, concierge, destination services and the future cruise desk. It has lots of comfy seating and great sea views. There is no queuing at a reception desk on a Seabourn ship. The outside deck space doesn’t disappoint either. The main pool at the centre of deck eight is the place to be day and night. This is where the officers on deck and sail away parties take place. You can eat lunch at the patio grill while catching the rays. I could carry on talking about this ship, the wonderful spa voted the best at sea by Conde Nast, the fantastic suites, but I think I need to tell you about the enrichment program available on board. Seabourn have a partnership with UNESCO to offer something completely exclusive to travellers. They have teamed up to promote sustainable tourism at World Heritage properties. This means they offer a deeper understanding of these sights through specialist shore excursions as well as having speakers on board. Venture by Seabourn program is also another amazing thing on offer, it started out just on the Antarctica cruises, but is now also going to be offered on the Amazon and in Alaska starting in 2017. It mixes an on board academic program with practical hands on excursions such as going out on the ships zodiac boats and kayaking among other things. I think the one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, but it really is the most important, it’s the staff and crew on board, they are what make Seabourn so special. Tips are included, so they are not expecting anything. When you are a passenger they will know your name within the first 24 hours, they will know you favourite tipple and greet you like a long lost friend when you return. Seabourn Moments are special and it’s the little things that count.

MS Koningsdam at the Port of Tyne

21 August 2016

My first visit to the Port of Tyne was, I’m happy to say, in glorious sunshine. To make sure I made it on time I decided on an overnight stay at the Premier Inn, which was so close to the port I could almost walk to the ship, but I didn’t. Holland America’s newest ship MS Koningsdam was the reason to my trip up north. I have seen other HAL ships old and new, but was especially looking forward to this one following all the launch hype that had come with it. I was not disappointed. MS Koningsdam is classed as a medium sized ship at 99,000 tons carrying 2,650 passengers and I have to say she is beautiful. From the outside she is sleek and not ugly like some ships. Inside Holland America have managed to create some amazing areas some light and modern others have the rich deep colours that you would expect from the older ships, but with a modern twist. I think my favourite part of the ship is the Lido pool area with the retractable roof, the colours, the loungers, the seating areas, the casual dining venues and a movie screen. It’s just a gorgeous space. As we all know eating is a big part of any cruise and MS Koningsdam will not disappoint. We ate in the dining room (great name). Again this is a really modern light space with a mixture of rich colours, designed by Adam Tihany, a big shot in the restaurant and hotel world. The food we had was perfect and so was the service. Like all ships now, this is not the only place to eat. You also have specialty restaurants including Sur De Mer seafood brasserie, Tamarind serving food from Asia, China and Japan, Canaletto the Italian, Pinnacle Grill for that refined luxury. A place that is special is the Culinary Arts Centre with its show kitchen and individual cooking stations you can see cooking demonstrations or even take a class from a Celebrity Chef. Have you ever thought about making your own wine? Well on board MS Koningsdam you can do just that at Blend. Entertainment isn’t lacking on this ship either. Yes, if you want a quiet night there are plenty of places to chill out with a book and a cocktail like the beautiful Crow’s Nest, but for something more lively, you have a great choice as well. World Stage is a great theatre with LED screens to make the viewing experience even more amazing. If you fancy some music you have a great choice on the Music Walk from 50 years of chart topping music from Billboard on board, B.B.King’s Blues Club to Lincoln Centre Stage giving you chamber music and recitals. Relaxing or working out? The spa area on this ship is fabulous and the thermal suite is a place I would never want to leave. The gym, well it seems to have everything you could possibly need to work off all the food and drink you have consumed during your cruise. I nearly forgot to mention the children’s set up, Club HAL which is crazy as I’m a mum and it’s the first place on the ship I visited. Kids Clubs have changed a lot since I first started cruising. They are not just a place for kids to hang, they are fun and educational in equal measures nowadays. They cater for ages 3 to 17 years so even your moody teenagers are looked after. What’s not to love? Well that was my whistle stop tour of Holland America’s MS Koningsdam. I hope you enjoyed it. Please get in touch for more details.

Blackpool in the sunshine

18 August 2016

Who would have thought a week in Blackpool wouldn't be long enough? Whatever the weather it’s a great place to be, with so many things to see and do for all the family. The whole point of the trip was for Connor to spend the day at Blackpool Zoo being a sea lion trainer (yes, really) but we wanted to see the sights. I decided to go the whole hog and get the big ticket giving us access to the Sea Life Centre, Madame Tussauds, Tower Dungeons, Blackpool Eye, Tower Ballroom and the Tower Circus. The first two days were great with the free air show being in town. How many people can say they watched the amazing Red Arrows from the top of Blackpool Tower? With buses and trams going past our hotel about every 10 minutes and being able to buy a pass for a week, it was great to not have to get in the car and spend time looking for a parking space (it’s the little things isn’t it). The Winter Gardens is hosting an amazing if not unusual exhibition called Illuminasia. It really has to be seen to be believed. You start a walk through terracotta warriors and move on to a giant’s garden and end up in a room with some of the most iconic structures in the world and it’s all made like Chinese lanterns. I think apart from the amazing (wet) day we spent at the zoo, the highlight of the week had to be Blackpool Tower Circus. My dad likes to remind me of when we went as children and I was petrified because we sat high up in the cheap seats. I made sure when I booked that this wouldn't happen again. We booked ringside and oh boy was it worth it. I have to say I did close my eyes a couple of times when I thought the guy on the trapeze was going to hit the ceiling, but apart from that I was very brave. What I really want to say about Blackpool more than anything is that it has something for everyone, so don't just think it's for party people. Holidays are what you make them and about the people you spend your quality time with.

Caribbean Princess in Liverpool

21 August 2016

Liverpool Cruise Terminal is maybe not what I expected, but the welcome was superb. The terminal is really just a big tent and it’s within walking distance to everything the city has to offer. No expensive excursions for those lucky passengers arriving on board Caribbean Princess today. Over the years I have seen and sailed on many Princess ships, but it has been a while, so I thought it would be good to go for a visit. Caribbean Princess is a fairly big ship at 112,894 tons carrying 3,142 passengers and not new as she was built in 2004 with a refurbishment in 2011. Her claim to fame is that she was christened by Jill Whelan from Love Boat for anyone who is old enough to remember. Like all ship visits, this was a whistle stop tour with lots of stairs being climbed, but that’s all part of the fun of being a cruise specialist. What is great about Caribbean Princess is the mixture of indoor and outdoor amenities. The ship has a total of four pools lots of hot tubs and The Sanctuary - a great adult only area if you want to get away from it all for a while. At night movies under the stars is a great way to pass the time while snacking on your free popcorn. Indoors you have lounges and bars with live entertainment and of course a show in the Princess Theatre. The most amazing part of Caribbean Princess has to be the Skywalkers night club. This is accessed by a moving walk way and is high above the ocean on desk 18. It’s a great place to party at night, but also gives you amazing views in the day time. While Princess embrace the modern style of cruising, in many ways they are still very traditional, this is easy to see in the dining room where you feel the sense of old world cruising with the maître d’ greeting you with the waiters at the door. If you fancy a change from standard dining Caribbean Princess does offer specialty dining for a cover charge. Sabatini’s is the popular Italian dining option and is in fact award winning. Crown Grill is the refined steak house serving great steaks and seafood. If you are feeling a little peckish you are always welcome at the 24 hour International Café. Well, that’s it for my whistle stop tour of Caribbean Princess. For more information about this or any other ship in the Princess fleet please get in touch.

Aladdin the musical & chasing Pokemon

23 August 2016

It’s hard not to love everything Disney, so when I heard on the radio they were bringing Aladdin the Musical from Broadway to the West End, I knew we had to see it. I got our tickets booked within an hour of them going on sale and was very excited to get a forward facing box in the dress circle. Connor has always wanted to sit in a box. We set off early from our hotel in Elstree on a mission to collect Pokemon from around London. Pokemon Go had been released two days earlier and it was all everyone was talking about. We arrived at St. Pancras and rather than jumping on the Tube or hailing a cab, Connor had the Ipad open and we were walking out of the station and all over London. It was a beautiful day so it was an ideal thing to do and cost nothing. We walked through to Russell Square all the way to Leicester Square for our lunch stop at his favourite spot. We were booked for the matinee, so we made our way from Leicester Square though China Town to the Prince Edward Theatre. This is one of the bigger theatres in London, so they do let you in quite early. We were able to go to the dress circle bar and out onto the balcony which was lovely. We were shown to our seats and I knew I had chosen well, we were so close to the stage it was great. The show itself was fantastic, Disney at it’s very best. It features all the songs from the Academy Award winning classic film. Aladdin and Jasmine are played by rising British stars Dean John-Wilson and Jade Ewen and they are wonderful, but the show was stolen by the amazing Trevor Dion Nicholas as Genie making his West End debut. After the show it was time for a little more Pokémon hunting, this took us through to Covent Garden for a snack stop while we watched the street entertainers. This is one of my favourite spots in London and a great place to watch the World go by but we ran out of Pokémon so had to move on. Our next stop was Trafalgar Square. By this point my phone said we had done 16,748 steps and we were both getting tired, so we decided it was time to call it a day and hail a black cab back to St. Pancras. We have been to London quite a few times, but I have to say playing Pokémon Go made this our cheapest ever day there and I saw places I never have before. It was a great day in a very hot sunny London. I can’t wait to go back again next month when we stay for a couple of nights. I have tickets booked for Jersey Boys, I have a feeling it’s a show Connor will like once I have dragged him into the theatre.

Cruise & Maritimes Magellan in Tilbury

21 August 2016

Another day another cruise terminal, this time Tilbury or to give its full title ‘The London International Cruise Terminal’. A beautiful building somewhere in Essex. I was here to visit Cruise and Maritimes latest addition to the fleet, Magellan. This was my first time on board a C&M ship and I came with an open mind. I had no idea what to expect as the cruise fares are sometimes so cheap, it does make you wonder. Let’s set the record straight right now. I loved the ship, the staff and the whole experience. Yes, it’s not for everyone, the ship isn’t packed full of new jaw dropping innovations and it’s not full of balcony cabins, but it is traditional British cruising like it used to be and I really like that. Now, when I say traditional don’t be fooled into thinking that means old and worn. The ship has had a full refurbishment and is modern and comfortable. At 46,052 tons and carrying 1,250 guests it is easy to navigate your way around and make new friends along the way. It’s an adult only ship as well, which will appeal to lots of people out there. For a ship of this size I was really surprised by the size of the two tier theatre style show lounge. I don’t imagine you will ever struggle to find a seat. There are a choice of lounges on board, so it won’t matter if you want a quiet night or a late night dance - you will find the spot to suit you. Out on deck there are two swimming pools and three whirlpools and plenty of deck space to chill out with a cocktail. Talking of cocktails, the drinks prices on board are great. I was really surprised that they are very similar to what I would pay at home in Alfreton. Food, like I have been told many times is a big part of a cruise holiday and Magellan didn’t disappoint. We ate in the beautiful Kensington Restaurant the colours were more vibrant than you would expect on a ship like this, but it really works and the food was brilliant. That’s the end of my visit to Tilbury and the lovely Magellan. If you would like to know more about this ship or any of the other Cruise & Maritime ships, please get in touch.

In complete Harmony

23 May 2016

Harmony of the Seas is the largest and most expensive cruise liner in the world and I was lucky enough to be invited on-board for the weekend by Royal Caribbean, WOW. I hope you enjoy reading my notes and seeing my photos. It has been described as the ‘ultimate ship’ and at 227,000 gross tones carrying up to 5,497 guests with 2,300 international crew members it has 18 decks and 24 elevators, 20 restaurants and bars it is very impressive! As our time was limited I was on a mission to explore as much as possible. My favourite experience was the ‘Central Park’ area which is open air and with ‘real trees and plants’. Sitting on a bench with a hot chocolate, watching the trees sway was quite surreal and gave a feeling of space and serenity. Strolling along The Boardwalk with shops, bars, hot dog stand, Johnny Rockets and a merry-go-round was strange as you head towards the aft of the ship to find the ‘Abyss’ which is a 100’ slide. The 2 ‘FlowRiders’ (surfing machines) a zip wire, and lots of sports activities were in the same area as the Aqua Theatre which looked amazing. We watched the rehearsals which looked like very hard work by dedicated athlete’s. I did make time to enjoy 3 shows while on board ‘Tenors of Rock’ which were awesome, Grease, what can I say about this apart from ‘Fabulous’ it really was like watching a West End show. The ice show in Studio B was also a Must See production. Of course I did try the ‘Bionic Bar’ who doesn’t love designing your own cocktail and having a robot make it for you? If you are looking for peace, then head for The Solarium for 3 floors and a bistro to relax and unwind. So many places to see, restaurants and bars to try, pools and jacuzzi’s to enjoy and I feel that for many clients, this ship will meet their expectations and provide some magical memories. Special thanks to Royal Caribbean for the opportunity to experience Harmony and help me and my clients to make good choices if they book. Your selection of cabin is very important to ensure that you secure the best parts of the ship. If you fancy some Harmony on the Seas please feel free to call and chat through the best options for you!

CLIA Cruise Conference

16 November 2016

I have just spent a great few days at the 10th annual Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) conference in Southampton. CLIA is an independent organisation that bring together cruise lines, travel agents and associated travel partners and are dedicated to the expansion of ocean and river cruise holidays. My first cruise was on board a school cruise trip around Greece and Egypt when I was 12 years old. I’m not sure if that’s when I got a taste and love for luxury cruising, but it sure is when I decided how much I liked being at sea. The good thing about cruising from a young age is that I have never had that misconception that cruising is just for old people and all the other crazy things people used to think. I have always said there is a cruise ship for everyone, but it is important to get the right one and that’s where training and ship visits come in. CLIA has fabulous training courses and webinars, so when I had the opportunity to take part in their conference I knew I couldn’t refuse. I started the conference a day early with a Masterclass on board MSC Splendida. I have sailed and been on a few ship visits with MSC, but a long time ago, so I was looking forward to embarking. Splendida has a rich Mediterranean feel about her with some special touches including a Swarovski crystal staircase. We had a great lunch in a beautiful restaurant as well as watching a sample of the shows that are offered to the international guests that MSC attracts. In the evening MSC hosted us at a local restaurant on the waterfront where we got to see Splendia sail away. The next day was an early start for the opening ceremony hosted by Andy Harmer, VP of CLIA UK and Ireland and Editor-in chief of Travel Weekly, they really are a brilliant double act. They gave us some great updates, facts and figures about the cruise industry. We moved on to P&O Ventura for an interactive self-guided tour which included taking selfies and hashtags with the chance to win a two night cruise. I didn’t win, but I had a lot of fun especially when we met Marco Pierre White. I got a photo and a signed apron. He is a lovely man in person and very tall. This evening was a trade fair and street party at the Mayflower Cruise Terminal, I never expected to be partying in the place I usually collect my case from after a cruise. It was a great chance to meet all the suppliers, make new contacts and find out new things happening. It was a long day, but an informative one. Another day and another early start, today is the official conference with some great key note speakers. The big hitters of the cruise industry. Larry Pimentel also known as Luxury Larry from Azamara Club Cruises. The next one was my favourite Arnold Donald, Chief Executive of the Carnival Corporation, this man had us all hanging on his every word. Arnold Donald for US President! The whole day was a great and very inspirational. The last evening of conference was a great night with the final of Princess Cruises ‘Voice of the Ocean’ competition being our entertainment. We voted for our favourite after then danced the night away. The final day of CLIA conference was the show stopper as we spent the morning on board the brand new Harmony of the Seas. I did feel very lucky because as conference came to an end, I was able to wave off lots of my friends as I had won a two night cruise, so was staying on board. For more details and to hear what I thought of Harmony, see my other blog.

What destinations are on your holiday bucket list?

04 September 2015

Have you ever written down or even told anyone else what is on your holiday bucket list? I haven’t, but since Connors leg surgery I have had lots of sleepless nights, so I decided to write my top 5 down and share them. 1. New York. I’ve been a couple of times before, I’ve sailed in on-board Queen Mary 2, which was amazing, I’ve stood on top of the twin towers and I’ve done the helicopter trip. What I really want to do is take Connor to experience this great city, so we have decided to go for his 18th Birthday. It’s 4 years away yet, but I’ve started saving spare change to pay for it. 2. Bahamas. The reason? We want to swim with pigs. We’ve done dolphins at Discovery Cove and sea lions in Dominican Republic, so why not pigs in the Bahamas. 3. A safari, now this one I have mixed feelings about. I don’t like creepy crawlies and I have never been camping. Oh dear, I hear you say, but Connor has decided he wants to be a zoo keeper, so I would love to take him to see animals in their natural habitat. 4. Viva Las Vegas. This is a place I am desperate to go, but just can’t make my mind up if I go with friends and hit the clubs, casinos and pool parties or take Connor and do it as a mother and son trip. Either way it’s on my list because of it’s larger than life reputation and it’s a great base for nipping off to the Grand Canyon. 5. Venice & Rome. I’ve been to Rome a couple of times during cruises, but never had more than a few hours. Venice is one of those places that I have always wanted to see, but as yet never made it. I read an article in a travel magazine recently about someone who did the twin centre trip by train and it sounded great. That’s my bucket list for the next few years, so what destinations are on yours?

Holidays as a single working mum

03 September 2013

Planning a holiday with a child can seem a little daunting when you’re a single parent. I understand this as I am a single working mum to Connor who’s 12. I plan and book all our escapes but also offer lots of insights and advice to other parents in a similar position to me. It’s a case of getting creative and after many years in the travel industry I have loads of ideas and little tips which can make all the difference. As a working mum, the summer school holidays can seem a little scary, as you have six long weeks to fill it may feel like a difficult task. For us, it works best if we do a number of short breaks over the holidays which helps to break it up, rather than one big holiday. It can be far more affordable than you might imagine, and many of my customers don’t realise that I can get some great rates on UK stays. Activities in the UK don’t have to be expensive, it’s about pre-booking and being aware of any offers that may be around. We tend to save up and have our annual holiday in February. This year our first summer jaunt was a two day trip to Chester on the first Sunday of the holidays. As it is quite close, it was a great choice because we got there in no time and were able to make the most of our first day by exploring the city. I had planned ahead and bought the open top bus tour tickets. I did worry that it might rain, but we were lucky. I don’t know about you, but when we do these tours we always do the complete loop before getting off – Connor loves it. The next day was what Connor had been waiting for, Chester Zoo, he’d been talking about it for weeks. He wasn’t disappointed, well who could be, it’s a great place for all ages. I’d booked our tickets before hand so it wasn’t as expensive as you may imagine. Then I was back to work. Due to the nature of my work, I’m easily able to plan my day so I don’t neglect Connor but give my business and customers all the attention needed. I have fantastic support from head office which allows me to juggle everything easily. The business development team are always on-hand to give me any adivce I need. Connor loves my office as the walls are covered with framed pictures of our travel adventures which have spanned my 13 years as a Travel Counsellor. Our annual trip to London was next. I have to say I am a big fan of the theatre and can’t resist the West End. However, don’t assume that it will be too expensive. A top tip is 'Kids Week' which runs every year in London and is a great way to take kids to the theatre without breaking the bank. They run special activities in the theatres and it’s so much fun. As a Travel Counsellor we have a fantastic relationship with a brilliant attraction company so I always pre-book things as it can save a few pennies. It helps with planning so you don’t waste time deciding what to do next. Last year we did the duck tour on the Thames which was a real laugh. Next year I’m putting my foot down and we are going to visit the Shard and the Tower of London. This year we did get quite a bit of culture in as we stopped by the Natural History Museum and enjoyed a ride on the open top bus which was a big success, as ever! Back to work for me again, but with lots of little trips to the cinema or bowling, Connor was happy enough. I couldn’t wait for our next trip. Skegness or Skegvegas as it’s affectionately known around here was the location of our next little escape. This is our closest seaside and also home to Butlins. The indoor pool has just undergone a massive refurbishment and it’s not to be missed. It makes a brilliant base for a few days and we had an awesome time. I lost count of how many times Connor went down the blue slide that takes you outside and back in. It was lovely to see him having such a good time. Again it was back to work and I’ve discovered Connor is a dab hand at filing brochures, well in between looking at the Disney brochure and asking me why we aren’t going on the Disney cruise ship! Then it was time for the Travel Counsellors Family Day at Alton Towers. Connor was particularly excited about this little trip! It was good to meet the kids and partners of the Travel Counsellors I’ve met over the last 13 years. Wow, how time passes when you love your job. York was the last of our trips this summer and a place we have visited a few times for the day, but never to stay. Our hotel was just across the road from the city walls, so that’s how we started our visit, walking and walking the walls to see where we ended up. I think it was my lucky day because not long after reaching the end of the wall we found a wonderful chocolate shop. We had gorgeous drinks, cakes and Connor even made his own lollipop. York is a great city to just wander around;, we saw the Shambles, York Minster, and Cliffords Tower. I refused to climb the steps as it was very windy. Oh and guess what, yep, I had pre-booked yet another open top bus tour. They have become a must on our trips now, especially as they are affordable when booked in advance and kids generally find the experience interesting. Now it’s only 3 days until Connor goes back to school and I’ve just asked him if he has enjoyed his time off. He looked up from the holiday brochure he was studying and said ‘Yes, but we didn’t go to Warwick Castle’. At least I know where we’ll be off to next year!

West End Calling

22 August 2013

Well it’s August again and time for our now annual trip to London for a West End show. It’s the third year that my son Connor and I have headed to the capital for a few days of fun. I know it’s not a relaxing trip and it makes your feet ache, but there is nothing better than taking in the sights and sounds of London. We stayed at our favourite hotel, The Cumberland at Marble Arch. You just can’t beat it, he likes the free wifi for his Ipad and the art work that he seeks out around the hotel. I like the modern rooms, the great choice of breakfast and the brilliant position of the hotel. How can you beat a hotel that lets you step straight on to Oxford Street. We decided to try a slower pace this time, so after checking in to the hotel we took the tube to the Natural History Museum - an amazing place and FREE, who says London has to be expensive. It was busy, but I had pre-booked a time for the Dinosaur exhibition, so no queuing for us. We have been before so made a plan to see the bits of the museum we haven’t seen before which worked well. It’s so big you really need to plan. We stayed there until they closed and then it was back to the hotel to soak my aching feet. After a big breakfast and a bit of a mooch along Oxford Street, we made our way to the Lyric Theatre as I had arranged something awesome for Connor. As part of Kids Week in the West End some of the theatres were doing special workshops. I booked Connor in for a ‘Smooth Criminal’ dance class with the cast of Thriller Live. He was so excited and so he should be - how often do you get to dance on a real West End stage. He had two hours of fun while I sat and watched the world go by on Leicester Square. London is a great place to people watch. That evening we went back to watch Thriller Live with Connor dressed in his new red hat thinking he was Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.

Legoland Windsor

14 September 2011

Well what can I say about Legoland? My son Connor thinks it's the best place on Earth and that’s why this was our eighth visit. This year it was different as we went on the Star Wars weekend. These are his two favourite things in the world and for them to be happening together meant he was a very happy child and he wasn't the only one. Legoland is a great family theme park for the young children; it's a big site, so you have to be prepared to walk. It has a couple of big rides, but is not by any means for the thrill seekers among you. It's made up of different lands and everything is themed around that land. My favourite at the minute has to be the Pirates of Skeleton Bay which is a great stunt show with lots of getting wet and shouting from kids big and small. Connor would say his favourite is the X-Box room they have where you can play the latest Lego games. I try to steer him away from that, but it's close to the donut shop that he likes, so can be difficult. If you go during the summer months it's worth taking the children’s swimming gear as they have a great little water park for the smaller children within DUPLO Land. A must see has to be Miniland, where else can you see Canary Wharf, Kennedy Space Centre and Paris within steps of each other. I would say you can do Legoland in a day, but if you have to travel some distance like us, it's worth doing the two days with an overnight stay. Windsor is the closest place to stay, but to be honest Heathrow Airport is just a convenient and this is where we have stayed. It's only 15 miles away and is very well signposted from the motorway. If you have children, grandchildren or you’re just a big kid that loves Lego, this is definitely a place you should visit. Don't tell Connor, but while I've been writing this I've noticed they are doing a Scooby Doo themed fireworks event in October, so it looks like we might be going a again before too long.

My customer stories

Sent by Charlotte Marshall-Clarke

Mandy always listens to my needs and finds the perfect holiday

Sent by Steve Nutt

Hi Mandy , just want to say we had an amazing time in Krakow and thank you for organising all our excursions before we went and your continued support whilst out in Krakow. We received our ‘travel counsellors’ folder with everything labelled and organised hotel transfers, flight tickets , excursion tickets etc this took a lot of stress out of our holiday , even our luggage labels were filled out . Everything ran to clock work from start to finish . Mandy you even supported us whilst out in Krakow on booking a further trip , so professional and helpful at all times . Thank you again for your patience in organising this surprise trip , you went the extra mile to ensure everything ran smoothly . A truly professional and knowledgeable lady who offers a first class personal service tailored to individual needs . Will definitely use your services again Mandy

Sent by Carolyn Gledhill

Very impressed with prompt service. Good choice of options available. Very helpful and knowledgable. Would thoroughly reccommend Mandy.

Sent by Trevor Dent

I always recommend Mandy. She is amazing

Sent by Angy Jackman

Thank you Mandy for all your help

Sent by George Brydon

Mandy was informative and helpful, willing to meet with our group in one of our houses. Her response has been prompt and we are very happy with the service provided. 10/10

Sent by William Purcell

She never lets you down. 10/10

Sent by Roy Walker

Very good, efficient and personal service. Would highly recommend. 10/10

Sent by Anne Black

Mandy is always very helpful and makes me feel like she cares about what she arranges for me. 10/10

Sent by Mike Stephens

We would never have come up with such a super trip even if we had spent weeks surfing the net

Sent by Lynn Purcell

Mandy helped us decide on the right shape of holiday and full of suggestions for things to do and see

Sent by Michael Bratley

Mandy was as helpful as ever.

Sent by Rachel Jones

Mandy provided travel options and a range of hotels to choose from. Advice on flying options particularly welcomed and organising transfers gave a huge peace of mind. Cannot believe I've waited so long to use this service, should have done so years ago - such a personal touch and a totally different experience from using the usual high street travel agents. Would absolutely recommend to family and friends and will definitely use them again for future holidays.

Sent by John Kitchin

Mandy is always there for any help you may need and a chat.

Sent by Claire Middleton

Extremely helpful and speedy responses, thank you.

Sent by Gordon Morris

Mandy dealt quickly with our rather confused brief and changes of mind about flights and destination, to provide an ideal solution.

Sent by Roger Holroyd

Excellent service. Thank you.

Sent by Linda Dent

I always recommend Mandy to everybody. She is always so helpful.

Sent by Liam Carrington-Morris

Mandy is fantastic, she always goes above and beyond and she has been instrumental in creating some wonderful memories for us and I look forward to all our future adventures via Mandy!

Sent by Paul Wilson

We're vey happy with the support we have received from Mandy. I'm sure she does more than what is expected of her. I couldn't have booked this holiday without her, too stressful! She's put up with my moaning, changing dates and places, etc. I would definitely recommend Mandy to family, friends and colleagues

Sent by Gary Croft

We have used Mandy on many occasions and have always been satisfied. Thank you.

Sent by Rachel Stevens

Brilliant service and love the personal touch.

Sent by Warner Cohn

Great work. Great support. Great service!

Sent by Helen Curran

Mandy is great - known her for years , very helpful and the 2nd time she has organised a holiday for us, would highly recommend!.

Sent by Sharon Basco

Mandy is the most helpful travel person, and she came recommended , top marks and when I asked a lot of questions about the cruise ships she was very knowledgeable

Sent by Emily Carrington-Morris

As a person who likes to hunt down great deals by booking their own holidays via the internet, I was curious to try Mandy as a comparison, to see how far out she was in terms of pricing and quality! I have never been so happy to say how wrong and misguided I was! Price is key when booking your hard earned holidays, absolutely but Mandy the Travel Counsellor has so much more to offer. I didn't realise but I gave her a really rubbish brief and turned my nose up at every hotel she came up with. She persevered and managed to extract some more information from me that I didn't even know was important to me. I wanted a hotel that is fairly central but not in the centre, about 2 tube stops to be exact. I always wanted a trendy/quirky hotel but not expensive, along with many other contradictory demands! Mandy came back with the most perfect hotel that we couldn't find on the usual internet search engines, which ticked all boxes and more. She booked the flights, transfers (which were so impeccable from the timing, to the vehicle, to the driver) and even contacted me to say that she had heard about a Vienna Pass that may be of interest to us....it was one of the best purchases for the holiday! I didn't have to do any online check-ins - done, no printing of docs as they all came in a specific travel wallet - done, luggage tags both ways - done....she did everything except pack my bags, which I might work on for next time! Whatever holiday you are booking, Mandy should be your first point of contact. She shouldn't be a hidden gem and I for one am enjoying telling everyone how I have enjoyed the most hassle free, luxurious holiday booking experience of all time! Thanks again Mandy .

Sent by Ann Shergold

Always helpful, very knowledgeable , always friendly.

Sent by Elise Wilson

Always happy with the service and is very helpful in answering any questions.

Sent by Phil Hubbard

Mandy, was very knowledgeable about the cruise itinerary and sorted us out quickly and efficiently, Just can't wait to go now!

Sent by Alison Rayner

Hi Mandy just to say thank you very much for organising our holiday - we had a lovely time and yes we did find the bar at EMA!!! Thank you for the welcome home card - a nice touch! It was great to have all the arrangements sorted out for us so that we didn't have to worry about anything. The transfers were great and on time and helpful. The hotel was nice too with great breakfasts! We'll be getting in touch with you when we next go abroad

Sent by Alan Ward

When asked if I would recommend my Travel Counsellor this is absolutely the easiest question I've had to answer for a long time. Mandy is excellent whenever we use her services and it is reassuring to know that she is on call if anything goes wrong on our frequent trips.

Sent by Jason Dalton

Mandy is outstanding I have used her for over 10yrs and always been extremely happy. She is helpful patient informative amd a great person to know

Sent by Chris Gore

Very informative and just what we needed

Sent by Peter Cleland

Its never too early or too late to get an answer from MANDY. Nothing is too much trouble.

Sent by Peter Hussey

A super lady to deal with.

Sent by Sharon Ingram

Mandy is always extremely efficient. The after sales service is second to none. Who else would check you in online, print boarding cards and even write your luggage labels for you! We even arrived home to a lovely 'welcome home' card. We will definitely recommend Mandy to all our friends. Fantastic service with a smile! :)

Sent by Marylyn Grasar

Mandy has booked several holidays for us and we will continue to ask her to do so. We have recommended Mandy to others.

Sent by Shamin Clare

Excellent service and attention to detail. I'm a difficult customer, changing my mind time and time again, adding things to my requests and questions popping in to my head at all times of the day. For my Travel Counsellor, nothing was too much trouble, I think I received about 10 different quotes all in all and emails were answered in no time (even on a Sunday evening!) Great advice given too about where was best to stay, things to do while i'm away and little tips on things that will make my holiday that much easier. You get a personal touch with Travel Counsellors, with them even doing my online visa for me which was ace! Will definitely use again for my next holidays. Thanks Mandy!

Sent by Anne Black

Mandy goes the extra mile to help you find your ideal holiday at the ideal price.

Sent by Bill Purcell

Mandy is available when you need her. She goes out of her way to make sure that you get the best deal.

Sent by Anne Brailsford

A big thank you to Mandy who I find to be very efficient and helpful plus has lots of patience.

Sent by Trevor Dent

I always tell people about Mandy and how helpful she is.

Sent by Anne Dardis

Mandy was very attentive and patient with our very large booking. I hope the holiday will be as good as the service!

Sent by Cathryn Wagstaff

We've just booked a Caribbean Cruise with Mandy. After lots of hard work on her part Mandy has found us the perfect package to suit our every need. We've booked all our holidays through Mandy Oldknow since 2007. Mandy is very helpful and ensures everything is in order, we can sit back and relax knowing Mandy will take care of us. Mandy always aims to please and gives us great customer service, hence why we keep coming back each year to re- book more holidays.

Sent by Michael Bratley

As usual, Mandy was most helpful and provided a first class service.

Sent by Peter Cleland

Always first class service from Mandy. Usually book a cruise around midnight and after a few exchanges of emails the job is done. I always book my cruises with Mandy because of this excellent service.

Sent by Laura Davis

Mandy Oldknow always give exceptional service.

Sent by Rachel Stevens

This is the second holiday we have booked through Mandy. And I can recommend her 100%. I usually worry about details but I know Mandy has everything covered :-)

Sent by Wayne Martin

First class, nothing too much trouble.

Sent by Julie Degg

Many thanks for all of this, you have been wonderful and we will be highly recommending your service to our friends and family.

Sent by Barry & Mary Giles

We have used Mandy quite often, she is fantastic.

Sent by Aileen Chapman

Booking was quick and easy.

Sent by Rachel Stevens

Thank you for booking our honeymoon Mandy. I gave you very little information to work with, but you managed to come up with the right holiday for us.

Sent by Mick Bratley

I was very impressed that Mandy was able to 'open a door' that I couldn't.

Sent by Laila Debs

The service I received from Mandy Oldknow was most commendable. She was highly professional, prompt, extremely helpful, made my booking hassle free. I will certainly be recommending her services to all my family, friends and acquaintances.

Sent by Robert Aiken

Mandy is always cheerful and helpful she is a pleasure to deal with.

Sent by Peter & Tracy Gill

I have already recommended Mandy Oldknow to friends (who have then booked holidays with Mandy's assistance) and others whom I hope will go on to become customers.

Sent by Kris Plumley

We have used the services of Mandy over a number of years and found that we can confidently start enjoying the holiday from the moment we tell her what we would like to do. From that moment on she makes all the special things happen. She clearly has taken the time to understand what we want from a holiday.

Sent by Richard Butler

I find Mandy extremely helpful and very accommodating with requests. She is a credit to your company.

Sent by Trevor Dent

Mandy is always extremely helpful and treats silly little enquiries the same we as she deals with the big ones.

Sent by Sandra Jales

As always, Travel Counsellors gave me the perfect service. Would I go anywhere else for my travel bookings...NEVER!!

Sent by Adrian Ingram

Mandy provided excellent service and a great deal. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and she found exactly what we were looking for.

Sent by Stacey Moss

We have found Mandy absolutely amazing. She has spent so much time finding our dream honeymoon and we shall never be booking a holiday without help from Mandy again.

Sent by Alan Ward

Mandy is always excellent, no problem is too big when she is seeking out the best and most suitable deals and travel arrangements. We always recommend her to friends without exception.

Sent by David Abrahams

Mandy is the best. Over very many years she has become a great friend and she is a huge asset to Travel Counsellors. We cannot recommend / rate her highly enough.

Sent by Alan Ward

Mandy has been our Travel Counsellor for the best part of ten years. She has organised many of our cruises and other trips in an exemplary manner, always finding the best and most suitable deals to meet all our particular needs. Only last week she completed a land tour and cruise package to Alaska for us with add ons. It wasn't straightforward but she overcame all difficulties creating a package that we are very pleased with. This is what we have come to expect from the service that Mandy provides. We have always recommended her to family and friends without reservation. Many thanks Mandy.....as always!

Sent by Debbie Bale

Mandy pulled out all the stops when I needed help with a 'difficult to sort out' itinerary at short notice flying in and out of different airports with rail travel between cities. Our 8 day trip to Madrid and Valencia was perfect. Can highly recommend using Mandy's knowledge and expertise to make organising any trip stress-free.

Sent by H Jackson

Mandy has booked several holidays for us, and they have all gone swimmingly and been great. We have had great rooms in great locations and good journeys. Mandy is helpful, informative, knowledgeable and friendly and I would have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sent by ann shergold

Mandy is knowledgable about all the liners and will advise you on any area of a holiday you are interested in. You can take all the time you need and she never hurry you into a descision. It has been a pleasure to talk to her over many years. We have recommender her to many of our friends.

Sent by Bradley Martin

I found Mandy Oldknow extremely pleasant to deal with. She was very polite and she tailor made our honeymoon for us to fine detail and for a great price. Everything was booked and confirmed swiftly. Night or day Mandy always seemed to be in a position to respond. An absolute pleasure to deal with and I will certainly be booking my next getaway with Mandy. Keep up the good work!

Sent by William Purcell

Mandy was recomended to me by my son who has used her for years. I now have also used her Mandy for a number of years and found her very efficient and helpful. A big advantage over normal travel agents is that she can be contacted for help out of normal office hours. I have no hesitation in recomending Mandy to handle all your arrangements.

Sent by PETER CLELAND

A first class all round service is provided by Mandy. No task is too large or too small. You always get a very keen price whether is a hotel room, a holiday around the the world or a cruise. You can contact Mandy by landline, by mobile or as I do by email. I have booked a number of cruises and always get great attention even at 11pm. I would recommend Mandy for all holiday requirements.

Sent by Darren Wagstaff

I've been dealing with Mandy for about 8 years now. Why waste hours in the travel agents? Mandy does all the leg work and she remembers all of my details which makes her service very efficient and friendly. I have been on some awesome holidays all arranged flawlessly. All in all Mandy goes the extra mile and delivers exceptional service whilst maintaining competitive pricing.

Sent by CHRISTINE KITCHIN

She is always ready to help even with the awkward questions we ask. Also very pleasant and nice to talk to. She is very helpful in booking and arranging all our holidays.

Sent by Ernest Buxton

I would like to thank Mandy for arranging our cruise. She always finds us a great deal on the right ship. She has been on so many ships, so I know she will give us the right advice. I wouldn't consider booking with anyone else. Thanks again Mandy, we are looking forward to the cruises we have booked for 2009.