Sent by Lisa Williams
Based in Appleby
Who am I? My name is Tara, I live in a little village tucked away in picturesque Lincolnshire. I absolutely love my job! My business is built on recommendations and referrals and I have an extensive client base throughout the whole UK! I get to enjoy my personal love of travel whilst I work = best job in the world! I have travelled a lot - obviously! I've studied and worked abroad and my whole career has revolved around travel in various roles. I have been a TC for over 10yrs now - and many more to come!
What can I help you with?
We are self employed independent agents so our ONLY aim is to find the perfect itinerary for YOU that meets YOUR requirements! A last minute holiday perhaps? Romantic weekend in Venice, Surprise trip to London? Flight only this time - going to stay with family and friends...no problem! City break to Prague? Family holiday to the Med - Disney even? All of these are things I can organise for you!
Travel plans a little more bespoke and tailor made - Great I love a challenge! Self-drive holidays through the USA - Route 66? East to West Coast? Multi centre adventures in Asia or Australia for those that want to explore? Safari in Africa, a few days getaway in Dubai? How about a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords? Alaska...or a very special honeymoon or anniversary trip to Hawaii or the Maldives- it would be my pleasure to help with any of these and anything else you would like to challenge me with!
If you want to know more about how Travel Counsellors work or how i can help,...Please don't hesitate to get in touch! I have been in travel over 20yrs and i am backed up by an amazing head office support team - I if i don't know the answer to something i have hundreds of colleagues and suppliers and partners I can ask - so I will always be able to find you the answer and help out! Just let me know what you need!
Please can I ask a favour - please let all your friends, family and colleagues know about me and ask them to get in touch whatever their travel plans may be - I really look forward to discussing your future holiday plans with you….and don't forget to check out my Facebook business page....
Tel:01724 897350 OR Email: email@example.com
Hopefully hear from you soon!
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.
11 June 2013
If you’re considering a winter sunshine break, then I can highly recommend a Caribbean cruise. An excellent choice is the two week Exotic Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Constellation I’ve just experienced, taking in eight different islands. The ship has just been renovated so cabins feel refreshed and the fabulous Martini 'Ice' cocktail bar and the lovely Tuscan Grill Italian restaurant have been added. The ship has a lovely intimate feel and unlike many others isn’t covered with huge open atriums, giving you the chance to hide away at the Bistro or lovely Gelateria, where you can sample some of the best ice creams ever! We opted for a Balcony Concierge Class cabin, which is mid-ship on Deck 8 and had lots of lovely touches - fluffy towels & robes, fresh fruit daily and champagne on arrival. Balcony cabins are well priced with Celebrity and means not only do you have all the ship facilities to enjoy but you can escape to your own balcony and watch the world go by (Ask for tips on cabin location if you’re after a balcony with sunshine). We left Fort Lauderdale and sailed for two days, passing the Florida Coastline and Keys, Cuba and down to Dutch Antilles. Aruba, the first port, is quite quiet so get away and relax on Palm Beach, go Kayaking or snorkeling or like us, go horse riding on the beach. On to Curacao where the ship docks 10min walk outside Willemstad but make sure you don't miss this colourful town! We explored the town and visited the Sea Aquarium before heading off snorkeling! The next day was at sea so we enjoyed a relaxing day, got all dressed up for the glamorous formal night and headed to the Martini bar to be entertained with cocktail tricks by the waiters. Next was Grenada… one of my favourites. A lovely island but St. Georges Port can be very busy so I’d highly recommend grabbing a local water taxis to Grand Anse beach or to explore the island. We also went on an eco safari to do some more snorkeling which was brilliant but we did regret not seeing more of the island. Next, Barbados where we chose an island jeep safari and spent the morning seeing the real Barbados, before collapsing at Carlisle Bay beach. St Lucia was my absolute favourite - beautiful and again I’d recommend taking the time to explore the island. The La Soufriere sulphur springs and volcano, the botanical gardens, the famous Twin Pitons are all amazing. Antigua was the last 'true' Caribbean island where we visited Stingray City – a fantastic experience in the sea feeding wild stingrays, followed by a kayak around the mangroves before exploring the island a little. Finally, we visited Shirley Heights at Nelsons Dockyard to sample some local rum punch. St Maarten was a little less ‘Caribbean’ but still fantastic - We booked a full day’s Aquaboat and Jeep excursion and travelled around in a fun convoy before exploring the coastline on two person speedboats. We ate a delicious lunch at the beach and then explored the island en-route back to the ship. Our final destination was St Thomas (USVI) which was the most commercial of the islands with a huge port area to explore. Magens Beach is lovely but quite busy – my husband sampled the scuba diving and had an amazing morning whilst I went over to St John which was very pretty if you’re up for the ferry journey, which is a real experience! The food onboard was excellent as you’d expect with Celebrity. We didn't get a chance to sample all the restaurants on board this time although did order the complimentary room service on a couple of occasions as we simply couldn’t muster the energy to leave our room! The weather was so glorious that we didn’t need to visit the solarium but we did make use of both the running track and the gym on several occasions and we were even lucky enough to have a tour of the bridge and engine room. I always highly recommend Celebrity. Their standards are excellent and they always offer modern affordable luxury. This itinerary is ideal if you haven't been to the Caribbean before as it lets you sample many of the islands first hand. I loved it and so will you – get in contact for more information.
13 February 2012
I was lucky enough to win a place on a luxury educational to St. Vincent and the Grenadines hosted by the tourist board in conjunction with British Airways and the 5* Buccament Bay resort in St. Vincent! A very early morning start but worth it to fly business class with BA to Barbados, after champagne cocktails and a lovely lunch it was time to take an afternoon noon nap on my flat bed, very comfortable! I would just add that anyone flying on to the Grenadines would be wise to pack a change of clothes and a few essentials in their hand luggage as the inter island planes often do not have room for all the luggage and it may need to follow on the next morning! The luxury of Buccament bay starts at the airport with a meet and greet before the 30minute transfer to the hotel, we had a fantastic reception at the hotel from directors and staff, cocktails, bbq, bottle of water, refreshing towels and a very smooth personal check in. The accommodation in Buccament bay is individual villas from one to four bedrooms set amongst stunning landscaped gardens and lily ponds. the next morning we had an escorted site inspection of the resort and we were amazed at the array of activities from the Performing arts, Football and Tennis academies through to the complimentary sunset catamaran cruise. Another pleasant surprise was the fact that even the Sushi bar and the speciality coffees and ice creams were all included - not extra! the pool area and beach bar are fantastic with an infinity pool looking out over the bay. Plenty of choice for dining within the resort, the Bamboo restaurant, home of the weekly Lobster and steak BBQ, the Bay Beach Club and the Fabulous Indian restaurant Safron! The following morning we set sail on the hotel catamaran to Bequia Island. we were met at the pier by open top trucks for our sightseeing expedition - great fun!! Lunch was served at the beachfront Bequia Beach hotel, a really lovely hotel , the whole resort gives the feeling of space with light and airy rooms, many with sea views - and the food was delicious - I can highly recommend the creamy pumpkin soup! The famous Tobago Cays was our port of call the next day, sailing out on the hotel catamaran! It's a long day with a good couple of hours sailing each direction but worth every moment. Crystal clear waters, palm trees, turtles and Caribbean sunshine! We spent a glorious couple of hours snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing (Beware as the current can be quite strong!!). Next stop was Palm Island - or should I say Paradise Island - for refreshments, this really is the ultimate 'escape' destination. Lovely rooms and villas scattered over the island, pool, restaurant, watersports make up this little paradise, very laidback - oh and not to forget the large population of Iguanas that you share your island accommodation with. TO get to Palm Island you just fly into Union Island and then, just a few minutes by boat, a lovely way to arrive and get your first sight of Palm Island - all this with Tobago Cays only a few minutes away too. St. Vincent itself is very green and beautiful so our last morning was spent exploring the local area and enjoying a site visit of Young Island. This is another private island resort just off the coast of St. Vincent. The resort itself is quite hilly - lots of steps (be sure to ask for a low room if any mobility problems!) There is a little beach with hammocks to relax and again food in the restaurants was delicious! Our last afternoon was at leisure so we made the most of the facilities and Buccament Bay relaxing by the pool. We had already been lucky enough to eat at the bay Beach club and sample the Indian cuisine at Safron but our last night was a real treat, great fun at the lobster and steak BBQ followed by cocktails on the beach! If you are thinking of going all the way over to the Caribbean it is worth the extra internal flight to reach the delights of resorts like Buccament Bay, Bequia Beach and my favourite Palm Island! All Perfect for a getaway from it all break or a special occasion such as a wedding abroad or honeymoon!! Call me for further details!
15 November 2011
Dubai - somewhere I must admit I have always been a little bit wary of for my personal holidays - not a city girl! However really pleased I saw one of the Emirates offers earlier this year in conjunction with Jumeirah hotels and booked up !! We had an amazing time!. We flew with Emirates in economy, punctual and comfortable (even better if you can get the rows with two seats towards the back - more leg room!). clearing Dubai Immigration is not the quickest but the airport is lovely and new and about 20mins drive from our hotel - 5* Madinat al Qasr. A half day city tour is a good idea to get your bearings, visit the Bur and the Creek, the Souks..it might be a good idea to pay a bit more and do a full day tour on your first visit to Dubai - see the Burj Khalifa and take afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab to really get a feel for Dubai! The downtown area is really new and the Address hotel is in a great location with a walkway to the Dubai Mall and a short walk to the downtown 'modern' Souk. I would highly recommend staying around here if you're just on a flying visit to Dubai stopping over for a couple of nights. you can fit in all the shopping you want, see the tallest building - the Khalifa and the dancing fountain every evening. Dubai Mall is huge! As well as all the shops it has an ice rink, an aquarium, cinema and its own gold souk.. For a sundowners cocktail try out Nero's bar on the 63rd floor of the Address with great views over the lagoon. The Madinat Jumeirah is three hotels in a huge resort complex, there are complimentary buggies and gondolas on the internal waterways to get around but is really pleasant to just stroll through the gardens. We stayed in the 5* Madinat Al Qasr in a lovely Arabian deluxe room looking out at the lagoon, the Souk and the Burj al Arab. Rooms are really spacious and luxurious and the service is very personal. The Pool area is large BUT we did find it difficult to get sunbeds in sunny spots as lots of palm trees shading the pool and lots of towels left on sunbeds! We opted for the private beach, very relaxing sunbeds, drinks table, waiter service, gorgeous beach scenes with the Burj al Arab and pier in the background .. with the pool only a few feet away and nice cool showers definitely the best option. Little treats throughout the day, cold towels, ice lollies were well received too. the poolside restaurant was actually quite good value with the daily offers and all hotel guests were given complimentary access to the wild wadi waterpark next door. Our holiday offer included not only half board but a 'dine around' option meaning we were able to eat in all the Jumeirah hotels at Al Qasr, Mina Salam, the Madinat Souk, Jumeirah Beach and the Zabeel Saray at the Palm.Our favourites were Al Hambra spanish restaurant and Segreto stylish italian where you arrive by Gondola - but saying that there was an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main Arboretum buffet restaurant. I think understanding the geography of Dubai is really important to any travel agent. I had already completed my Dubai Expert course before visiting but nothing is the same as personal experience. It is a very busy city and traffic is quite heavy in some areas, the beaches are beautiful but again there are different beach areas so knowing what to recommend to suit people is essential. I was lucky enough to do several site visits (yes during my holiday!) whilst in Dubai and visited several downtown and beach hotels including the Burj al Arab - Wow!! So if you are thinking of a holiday, stopover or shopping trip to Dubai please get in touch as I will be able to offer suggestions and tailor make my recommendations to suit you. I am definitely converted... although I must admit I couldn't personally cope with staying down in the city itself - I would always stay out at the beach - probably the Madinat Al Qasr again as we really loved it! Definitely going to try to squeeze in couple of nights at the Burj al Arab in the future too - for a special occasion of course!
16 November 2011
'Celebrity Eclipse' one of the newest ships in the 5* fleet of Celebrity Cruises - What an amazing ship!! I was lucky enough to win a place on an educational Seminar at Sea sailing from Southampton to Cork, Ireland recently. It was a public cruise but our exclusive seminar programme was hosted by sales and training staff at Celebrity so gave us a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the ship and the brand. Very exciting opportunity for me personally, as it is my favourite cruise line!! Where do I start? So many highlights! Her Maiden Voyage was 2010 so still sparkly and new... the embarkation process was really straightforward although would recommend passengers always complete online check-in, order luggage labels and pre-arrange parking as she has over 2,800 passengers embarking! First impressions were wonderful, sat in the Sunset bar on the Lawn deck on a sunny afternoon drinking cocktails whilst sailing away. We were allocated balcony staterooms, which I found really well designed and spacious, flat screen TV's! - the bathrooms had thoughtful touches with plenty of room!! Dinner on the first evening was in the main dining room..Delicious Food!! Equivalent at least to a top quality restaurant - and the service second to none! Four courses later we headed for drinks in the Martini bar. A new addition to Solstice class ships, its a great place to 'chill out' - although should have been named the Ice bar as the bar top made of ice! During our seminars we had chance to discover the ship - I was particularly enthralled with the 'adult only' indoor solarium and pool relaxation area, close to the spa and gym, with it's own healthy eating cafe! If you are someone who likes to keep fit and healthy, you will be impressed by the gym - top of the range equipment, spacious and plenty of machines so no queues!! The staff run interesting health seminars and fitness classes whilst at sea.I might even try an Aqua class stateroom next time which gives free access to the Persian Garden - sauna/relaxation area in the spa plus lots of other benefits and personalised health and fitness advice I was stunned by the array of places to eat and drink onboard from top notch speciality restaurants to huge buffet restaurant, bistro, ice cream bar, creperie and wherever you went people were sat down chatting and socialising so a very friendly atmosphere on board. We were lucky to eat in the speciality restaurant Qsine where you don't have a meal you have 'a culinary experience'. It is well worth the $30 per person extra cover charge. You pick an array of sampler dishes from around the world (selected on Ipads!). I wont give away the menu as I don't want to spoil the fun but will just say it is a really innovative concept and great fun! We managed to see two shows, one was a compilation of well known Broadway musicals, and the other a 'Cirque du Soleil' experience - my favourite was Cirque du Soleil but both were very professional and by far the highest standard of entertainment I have seen on a cruise ship.We had a Galley tour so were able to see the meticulous food preparation and skills of the chefs and were also privileged to have a Bridge tour and to meet the Captain and other ship directors in one of our training sessions. We were also invited to attend the Captains Club party - Captains Club is the loyalty programme for repeat passengers and seems very worthwhile joining as lots of benefits given for future cruises!. We did venture on shore briefly, but it was a wet, miserable day in Cork so we were soon back seeking the ship's refuge and relaxing in the solarium with a healthy salmon salad, fruit smoothie and chilling out by the pool - before hitting the gym! Whether you are a couple, a family or single traveller, there is something on Celebrity Eclipse to suit you - you can escape and find tranquility, or you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere on board and never feel alone. I was really surprised by the variety of activities onboard for children as well.I had never thought of Celebrity for families prior to this cruise.finally, I would recommend paying what is sometimes only a little extra, to enjoy a balcony or even Concierge Class stateroom! If you want to know more about cruising just let me know!
13 February 2012
Wow! that's the first words that come into your head as you cruise into Geiranger Fjord in Norway... breathtaking scenery and an air of peace and tranquility..... but do not be fooled into thinking that all there is to do is cruise up and down looking at the glacier valleys... if you want to relax then why not!! You can sit in the jacuzzi and watch the world go by or join a coach tour and learn a little more about the area. My husband and I like to join the more active opportunities available....five days of kayaking, speed boats, glacier treks and rafting on the glacial lakes later we figured we had a great time!! We went with my husband's sister on a 7nt Norwegian cruise with P and O Cruises on Oceana. We had a balcony cabin and my sister in law had an inside cabin as I got her a really great deal for a single traveller. Prevously I have always done a fly-cruise and flown out to meet the ship , this was the first time I had actually embarked the ship in Southampton and how fantastic! we set off after breakfast on the saturday drove to Southampton in a couple of hours, pulled up at the terminal and it was so easy. We had booked parking so out bags were taken to the ship , we signed a form and our car was driven off to the car park and we just walked on to the ship with a small bag each. The first day was at sea and lovely weather so we spent it on deck in the jacuzzi and relaxing with a book by the pool bar then it was formal night... lovely to see everyone all dressed up in black tie and evening dresses! The food was absolutely wonderful and our waiters were some of the best we have ever had! Our first port was Stravanger where we boarded a catamaran and zoomed out to see all the inner fjords and the famous Pulits rock - with a stop for hot waffles! the next day we spent kayaking and exploring in the beautiful Geiranger fjord... unexpectedly goats were a highlight of our holiday as everywhere we went we got visited by goats as they have their summer holidays on the mountainsides - one of them even tried to board the instructors canoe and nearly got wet! Next came a visit to Olden where my sister in law went off for a glacier trek and had the time of her life! It was one of the more expensive excursions as you would expect and we had already done this in Alaska so we choose to trek up to the base of the glacier and then go rafting on the lake below it - had great fun and saw the glacier calving down into the lake! We got back to the ship and decided to go out on a jet boat with friends for high speed thrills! Our last port was Bergen and we went into town to explore with full intention of going up the funicular but we were so busy window shopping we ran out of time! The food in the main restaurant was wonderful every evening, great selection and something different to choose from every night. We tried the Marco Pierre White speciality restaurant one evening and the seafood platter was to die for! the Yacht and Compass was a traditional english pub, great to meet all our friends after our days on shore and swap stories... then it was Magnums champagne bar for pre-dinner drinks and Le CLub for the disco and drinks in the evening... This is great for an easy and really interesting break from the UK, stunning scenery, fantastic ship with really friendly staff and great food and entertainment.... home from home!!
25 October 2010
A special trip not only because of the destination but because it was our honeymoon!! Despite the fact our journey took considerably longer than expected as snow delayed us and we missed our connection in Los Angeles - as soon as we touched down in Honolulu/Oahu everything was perfect. We were whisked away to the Kahala resort just outside Honolulu, an oasis of peace and tranquility - and a dolphin sanctuary! Our honeymoon was arranged by luxury tour operator Carrier and we had champagne on arrival and a personal message from the hotel director advising our missed first night would be refunded and a complimentary late check out had been arranged. How lovely! We made the most of our shorter stay relaxing at the beach, drinking champagne on our garden terrace and the next morning we went swimming with dolphins! A short taxi ride took us to our ship Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America to sail a 7nt Hawaiian Islands cruise. This is the only ship registered to sail in and out of Honolulu, others have to come from West Coast USA which takes several days. We had a balcony cabin and had treated ourselves to a Honeymoon package so had champagne and canapes waiting in our cabin. We found the ship to be bright and cheerful more of a 3* than it's official 4* but much less formal than previous ships had sailed on with free-style dining the only option.. so you could eat where and when you wanted, although personally we do prefer the more formal option but would rather sail from Honolulu any day. First port of call was Hilo / Big Island for Volcanoes National Park. We didn't do the excursion to go see flowing lava as extremely expensive (about $200 per person) but we did go into the Naitonal Park, really interesting - and the ship sailed past the lava flowing into the sea in the evening anyway so didn't miss out! Maui was next for a two day call, much hotter and sunnier as no volcano to interfere with the weather. We did the cultural aspect first to Iao Needle and Valley to learn about the historic battles and the Ocean Centre then went on an evening whale watching cruise - we were lucky enough to see lots of humpback whales and a few flying fish! On our second day we went out on a catamaran to Molokini crater snorkelling and swimming with fish - and turtles!! Back to Big Island, Kona on the West coast next. The ship was at tender but we had priority disembarkation as had booked an excursion (always a good idea on a tender day!) and went off in a rib around the coastline snorkelling and swimming at Captain cooks monument - this time a pod of spinner dolphins paid us a visit.. How lucky were we!! What a fantastic sight!! Our last port of call was the island of Kauai for two days. Firstly we went to Waimea Canyon - and the wettest place on earth followed by an exploration of extinct lava tubes. In the evening we went to a Luau show to eat traditional food and watch the Hawaiian dancers - great fun! Our last day was spent kayaking (through a location for an Indiana Jones filmset) and then back on the ship drinking cocktails with our new found friends from the kayaking expedition. On arrival back in Honolulu we went on a sightseeing trip around the city and visited Pearl Harbour and the USS Arizona - very moving and emotional. Our excursion ended at the airport where we boarded a short 20 min flight back over to Maui. We had a luxurious relaxing week at the Four Seasons in Wailea, S. W. Coast of Maui - although only a standard room it was amazing. Carrier had advised the hotel we were on honeymoon - so another bottle of champagne was awaiting us. Lovely room, balcony, large marble bathroom, king size bed and excellent service. Hotel has a private beach area and two pools, waterfall and hot tubs, kayaks and snorkelling equipment available to hire and staff constantly brought iced water, cakes, fruit and ice creams throughout the day. We had a wonderful time although be warned, Hawaii and especially Maui is very expensive... I would also advise to be in Oahu/Honolulu for a day or so before flying home as we did it straight through Maui- Oahu-Los Angeles - Heathrow and were exhausted! Pure Heaven!
16 November 2011
I have to be honest - cities are not normally my thing! I prefer to be outside and active, exploring the countryside BUT Vancouver allows you to do that and still explore the city so it was a really interesting experience! We flew out of Heathrow with Air Canada, Economy Class, very comfortable, no delays, good service on board. On arrival it took about 30mins to drive to the hotel.We stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront (4-5*). We had booked a standard room but were upgraded to waterfront view room, extremely spacious with lovely views of the waterfront and majestic Pan Pacifc hotel opposite. First stop was the rooftop pool area, to relax and grab the last rays of sunshine after our long trip. Although there is a main road alongside, the pool area was surprisingly quite sheltered by screens. Pool is a good size for a city hotel with plenty of sun loungers, towels supplied for both gym and pool, and waiter service. Breakfast at the hotel was delicious, although rather a strange location just off the reception area ( turns into bar area later ) but you can watch the world go by... as with most american hotels we were on room only basis so breakfast on the first morning proved rather expensive ( $65 for two people). After we explored a little that day we found a food court next to the hotel which catered for all tastes and budgets so there were plenty of alternative choices. We had no problems at all, filling our five days in Vancouver.The first day we set off walking along the waterfront promenade to Stanley Park (about 20mins walk) passing the marina and watching sea planes landing... We spent hours in Stanley park itself, visited the Aquarium, Totem Pole display and walked round the headland to Lion's Gate bridge which connects crosses to the north shore - plenty of waterfront cafes and restaurants to choose from for lunch. The next day we purchased tickets for the Vancouver Trolly which stopped right in front of our hotel. The trolley busses circuit around the city with about 20 different stops to jump on and off at your leisure. We chose to make stops at English bay to go to the beach for a couple of hours and grab fresh fish for lunch, then went on to Granville Island to wander around the market and craft shops before travelling back through China Town and Gas Town back to the hotel. Our third day was really exciting - we had pre-booked a full day excursion whale watching from Vancouver Island so boarded the sea plane over to Victoria, put on our survival suits and sped out to sea in a large rib. Absolutely fantastic experience not to be missed if you are in Vancouver in the summer time when the whales are around. We were lucky enough to encounter a large pod of killer whales who even obliged by jumped out the water for us - twice! The photos are unbelievable! Fish and chips in the harbour gave the perfect end to our day at sea. On our penultimate day we caught the shuttle bus running outside the hotel over to the north shore. About 20mins later we arrived at Capilano Suspension Bridge 70m high over the gorge. Awesome sight but as I am scared of heights, I did not take full advantage of the tree top walks. We jumped on the bus again for 10mins to Grouse Mountain and went up in the cable car,watched a lumberjack show and flying displays from eagles and owls. The last day we went down to Robson street for bargains and gift shopping. Great array of clothes shops but neither of us are great city people or shoppers so after a couple of hours we headed back to the pool! Most of our evenings were spent in Gas Town area, only 5mins walk from the hotel - a rejuvenated area 'old style' with fake gas lamps, tourist shops, restaurants and a steam clock which whistles. Lots of restaurants to choose from, we liked the ambience in the Waterfront Cafe and the French Onion soup at the Spaghetti Factory is to die for! we only scratched the surface of what Vancouver area offers and regret not spending more time on Vancouver Island. We had a fantastic time, plenty to see and do and I would recommend anyone transiting through Vancouver or joining an Alaskan cruise to spend 3-4 days here.
16 November 2011
Alaska!! One of those places my husband and I had always wanted to visit. We chose a seven night north bound cruise with Celebrity Cruises on Millenium (Vancouver to Seward). We spent one night pre and five nights post Alaska in the Fairmont Waterfront hotel in Vancouver - see my Vancouver journal. Cruise check in was very smooth and within half an hour we were on board, cabins as normal were not ready until later that afternoon so we grabbed a cocktail and soaked up the Vancouver sunshine poolside.Our cabin was mid-ship Deck 9 Concierge Class Balcony. We really appreciated the extra Concierge Class touches - champagne on arrival, fresh fruit and canapes daily, binoculars, umbrella and bathrobes.We had a table for two second sitting for dinner, food was of an extremely high standard and the waiter and sommelier service was faultless. However, the passengers dressed more casually than on the British ships, the americans do not seem to dress up for dinner, even on formal night there was only about 50% of passengers in evening dresses and dinner suits so a good point to note as we felt a little overdressed. The first day was spent at sea cruising through the Inside passage and the scenery was more spectacular than I could ever have imagined. The naturalist on board advised everyone the best spots to look for whales and we were lucky to see several humpbacks - having attended a seminar earlier in the day on whale behaviour we were able to identify their 'bottleneck feeding' so were thrilled. First port of call was Ketchikan 'Salmon Capital of the world' - so what did we do - go crab fishing! We did however see salmon literally leaping out the water into the nets at the docks. We boarded our crab boat and ventured about 7 miles down the inlet - our catch was very small but we did see seals and bald headed eagles too. Once back in Ketchikan we spent a couple of hours wandering through the village and shops. Next stop Juneau and a crazy morning white water rafting - quite chilly and wet but thoroughly enjoyed it! A friend recommended the 'Red Dog Saloon' for lunch - What an experience - saw dust on the floor and basket meals - great fun! The following day we arrived in Skagway 'Home of the Goldrush'. We boarded the White Pass Railway and followed the path of gold prospectors. Dramtic scenery all the way up to the summit and into Yukon Territory.(Don't forget your passports). Lunch was BBQ style back down the mountain in a replica goldrush camp. We had the opportunity to pan for gold and were unsuccessful - but had fun. Our last stop of the day was Red Onion Saloon, a former brothel to listen to ghost stories and learn about madams of the goldrush era - as we were getting further north the weather had started to worsen so we bought some freshly made fudge and headed back to the ship to make use of the solarium - a really useful feature on an Alaskan cruise when the weather is unpredictable. Icy Straight Point, home of the Innuits and with only one ship per day allowed to tender not too crowded. We had pre-booked an excursion as we always do on tender days so had priority disembarkation and our morning was spent sea kayaking, very hard work with the wind and the rain but did not feel the cold as was so busy paddling! We were so hungry after all our activity and had the perfect afternoon on a culinary course, preparing, cooking and eating fresh salmon and crab. Our last day was at sea, firstly, we cruised into Glacier Bay, icy walls higher than the ship and that undescribable sound of the glacier moving, splashes and waves as the glacier calved in front of us - an incredible experience I will never forget! Afternoon in the gym and spa and moderate seas as you would expect in the Bearing Sea. We took a bus transfer from the disembarkation port of Seward to Anchorage for one night in the Hilton post cruise. Journey took about 2 hours and the coastal scenery was stunning. the ship and service were really 5* excellence, food even in the buffet restaurants was of very high standards and a wide choice. a very fulfilling experience I would recommend to anyone - can not wait to do it all again!!
16 November 2011
Walt Disney World Florida - my favourite playground - What can I say other than I love the magic! I can only highlight a few of the experiences below of when I took my husband to Disney so if you are considering Disney World and Florida as a holiday then please just contact me as I can never cover everything here in a journal. I have spent so much time there, I know disney so well and I am a Disney All Stars Expert so just let me know what you need and would love to help!! We decided to just stay in Disney and enjoy the parks this time and come back another time to do the Gulf Coast, Kennedy Space centre, Cocoa Beach, Miami etc etc...although we did squeeze in Seaworld and a day at Discovery Cove swimming with dolphins - Highly Recommended! We flew Virgin Atlantic economy class (my favourite airline) and we stayed at the African themed Animal Kingdom Lodge in a savannah room so woke up to giraffes walking past the window - How magical! The hotel has a fantastic pool area with pool bar, sloping beach style pool, waterslides for the kids, hot tubs and in the evenings there is a buffet style restaurant (which gets very busy early evening with all the families) but also Jiko's, a more upmarket african style restaurant - and the food is delicious. We travelled all over Disney going to different restaurants each evening and we have three favourites a) Jiko's for its food and atmosphere b) the Flying Fish on the Boardwalk as the fish is heavenly and you can sit at the counter and eat watching the chefs and lastly c) the Disney Character Dinner in Liberty Square - just for pure fun! We of course visited all the Theme parks and my personal favourite is the Animal kingdom....be sure to get up early to go on the Kilimanjiro Safari as this is when the animals are active and the ride is less busy and Expedition Everest is a must - be brave and go on the front! There is also a rainforest cafe at the entrance to the park which is fun for the children.Magic Kingdom is fantastic, especially that feeling as you walk down Main Street and see the castle.... for big thrills do not miss Space, Thunder and Splash Mountains , Buzz Lightyear is also a real laugh. Epcot is interesting and fun, have a look through all the different lands, although more for the adults than the children... great rides are Mission Space, Test Track and Soarin'. MGM Studios is really good fun you feel as if you are in one big movie, the stage shows such as Indiana Jones and the Lion King and the Stunt show are really not to be missed and the Rocking Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror (more for the adults) are out of this world - but you need to be brave! Out of the two water parks I prefer Blizzard Beach to Typhoon Lagoon, I like the beach area to relax after all the slides and there are also two crazy golf courses at the entrance to the waterpark which are great fun... be sure to go to Typhoon Lagoon once though to swim with the sharks - Warning - the water is very cold!! We found lots of other things to do - we went up to Fort Wilderness Camp and went horse riding and we also played the challenging miniature golf course over at the Swan and Dolphin hotels, we did a backstage tour on my birthday - which was very exciting and we went to see La Nouba - the Cirque du Soleil production in Downtown Disney - I was mesmerised, it was absolutely fantastic - the best show I have ever seen! Worth paying extra for good seats. We made full use of the free transportation from the Disney Express transfer from the airport to hotel through to the buses, mono rail, steam paddle boats and little ferry boats. You really can get from anywhere in Disney to anywhere else using free transportation. Be prepared if it is your birthday, my husband persuaded me to wear my town hall birthday badge. I got stopped in the street by everyone, sung to by the barber shop quartet and had a really crazy day! Disney is pure fun if you get it right and there really is something for everyone....old or young!
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