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We very much enjoyed the trip! Seems like we got away at exactly the right time.
It’s certainly a little weird traveling internationally during COVID but the positives definitely are less people around so we always felt pretty safe. We usually wait an hour or so in the Cancun customs line and this time we had no wait! This was the third time we’ve flown since last March (visited friends in San Diego and Colorado) and we flew Delta twice and Sun Country once. Delta is far and away handling this better than any other airline in our opinion.
For the resort, it was great considering the situation. We were able to upgrade to a swim up room for $400 (according to the hotel that’s about half price vs what it normally, although we aren’t sure if that’s true or not haha). The room was great, the staff of course was super friendly and super safe (masks and shields) and there was hand sanitizer everywhere. The grounds are beautiful and they have more cabanas/day beds than all the other resorts we’ve stayed at combined! The food was better than most of the other all-inclusive resorts we’ve stayed at as well. Their rule of not requiring masks for guests unless walking in a restaurant makes sense but the “main” pool was pretty full every day, as well as the “theater” at night so we steered clear of those just to be safe.
We only ran into a few bumps. The resort is pretty large and they run golf carts but multiple times we waited 15+ minutes for a cart. I’m not sure if it’s because they have a smaller staff or if that’s a common complaint. No buffets obviously which means you’re always at the mercy of how quickly the kitchen can cook so we ended up having a few very long breakfast and lunches. Again, could be because of a smaller staff but if you’re a big beach person like we are or want to take advantage of their very cool salt pool, the closest bars are *very* far away and they had minimal staff working those areas. Small things, that most likely get cleaned up when they are at full steam.
They have the COVID testing down pretty good also well considering it’s only been a few weeks and everything went smoothly with it at the airport!
We would certainly go back!
Josh & Tess
Sorry for the late response. Busy day today. WE JUST LOVED IT! You picked the perfect spot for us, THANK YOU! What is there not to LOVE!! Transportation to and from that darling town is kind of an issue (just so busy and Trolley not always there when you think it should be). Not sure how picky you want me to be?? Still LOVE PV MEXICO, but Fort Myers Beach is just as good. They both for our family has pros and Cons. Would we all go back…..ABSOLUTELY!! THANK YOU AGAIN!!
Let me know if you need any other questions about it. Would be happy to help you out!
Jeanie & Mark
I'll piggy back off my mom. The location was wonderful. The beach set up was wonderful, just what we wanted in terms of being in the sun, by the ocean, service on the beach. The hotel was great. We were disappointed that we couldn't get rooms together, although I know you mention it, and it's not guaranteed we usually have pretty good luck, especially in Mexico. The rooms were great, the showers was great, water pressure was awesome, very clean. We didn't like the breakfast set up. It looks like Jack's (their main breakfast location) was being renovated, which we can't understand why they would renovate during their biggest travel season, when they could have done it last summer or even this fall to prep. We were put in a old ball room that was clearly a make-shift room, but it wasn't the end of the world by any means. We did go out to breakfast downtown a couple of times to get out of the ballroom. They did have a great set up though for breakfast if you didn't want to sit inside, you could request at an outside table to get a to-go box, go in and get the food you like and bring it down to your beach chair. Had we thought of that earlier in the trip we would have done that sooner to avoid being tucked away in the make-shift room. The hustle and bustle of Times Square is so cute. So many lively shops, restaurants, smoothie stands, you name it. So much going on, so much to see. The traffic does get pretty tight down and there they do have both a tram and trolley going, however, they mention the tram would be every 15 min and the large trolley (you had to pay 75 cents for) was every 30, but we never once we were able to get it so that was a bit frustrating. It's not a far walk to downtown but for adults in their older age that may be more of a chore for them. We ended up scheduling an uber to pick us up from the hotel every night for dinner and then bring us back home for dinner. While, that was ok - it was more of being on a schedule at that point, which isn't the end of the world but when you're on vacation it's nice to not have to rush to be a certain place by a certain time.
Bongo's was the afternoon bar and grill that provided the drinks and food during the day for the breach service. The first day we got there, the food was terrible (we aren't picky people by any means). We ordered nachos, and they were super burnt, we ordered chicken on them. It didn't have chicken, and there was no cheese. The service at Bongo's was not that great either for a large resort like that. The next day we ordered a wrap for lunch to have delivered to the beach, it never showed up so we went up there to cancel the order as we didn't want it to show up, as we were headed to our rooms to get ready for dinner. We tried it again the next day, day 3 (3rd time trying) and it took over an hour. We asked the beach servers where it was, and they ended up compiling it for us and bringing us a fresh one. So 3 times ordering from bongos, and 3 times it was a disaster. We opted to not order from there during the day anymore.
I do think they could have had more beach service. Oftentimes we found ourselves waiting a long period of time for our orders in general, even if it was pop or water.
They provided wrist bracelets as your key to get into your door. That was the neatest invention. It saved so much time. Instead of having to set everything down on the ground when you come up from the beach to get your room key out, you'd just hold up your wrist to the key fob things and it would buzz you in. VERY efficient.
All in all, the weather was perfect, minus a few things, we'd go back in a heartbeat, highly recommend it and it's definitely a great resort for children and families. I'd love to bring my 4.5 and 1.5 year old back in the near future. Although we are partial to Mexico and it's a bit cheaper, we'd certainly go to the Pink Shell again.
Alison & Ryan
It was a great vacation! The kids LOVED it! The weather the first few days weren't the best, but at least we were able to go! On one rainy day we went to Chichen Itza (which the weather was fine there)... We went to the Croco Zoo/Puerto Morelos shopping, a submarine snorkeling tour and cirque dul sole. I got a massage at the resort and Kira and I had a toe polish change which SHE LOVED! About every night there was a live band that was very enjoyable to watch (NO baby-shark songs or "fold the towel contest games between adults" thank goodness!!)
When we arrived we were told they were at 15% capacity (YAY,... but SO SO SAD!!!)... On Wednesday a new shipment of people arrived and it seemed MUCH fuller (which was good for the resort). We KNEW we were going to Mexico so I cannot complain - but we were not able to enjoy the water (ocean) as much as we would have liked to because of the trash that came up every night... and the lifeguard on duty told us there have been a school of some kind of fish (I cannot remember the name) from Africa - and they swim in LARGE schools and are apparently more dangerous than eels and stingrays... He spotted 4 the day before we arrived and was out on his kayak keeping close watch so we didn't feel super comfortable with the trash and these particular fish swimming around (even though our resort beach WAS ROPED OFF - I can't imagine the garbage if it wasn't)...
Anyway, Margaritaville was most excellent for Mexico!
Enjoy your week!!!! Thanks again for all that you do for us!
Oh! Our transfer when we landed was VERY DIFFICULT to find. I wish he had a shirt on or something that said the company name or a larger sign.. It took us a good half hour to find him in all the commotion outside the airport. Finally, a nice man with another taxi service was able to help us find our guy. The pickup from resort back to airport was just find though - he was waiting early for our pick-up time... fyi
Mindy, Andy & family
As always, that was an AMAZING trip! Thank you!! We got upgraded accommodations on Oahu and Maui, everything went very smoothly, and the only way we could have enjoyed it more was if it could have lasted another month... although we definitely wouldn't have been able to afford that!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! We really, really appreciate what you do!!
Chelsea & Mike
Good afternoon Carol,
I just wanted to drop a note to let you know we had a FABULOUS time on our vacation. The Breathless resort was so nice, with daily activities and excellent entertainment each night! There was never a dull moment, and so many nice people.
Thank you so much for the recommendation!
Thank you is all that we can say! We had the best time on our honeymoon and have you to thank for planning the most perfect honeymoon. The beaches were beautiful, the staff and amenities were outstanding and the all-inclusive was just what we needed.
Some highlights of our trip:
* Catamaran Cruise
* Mayfield Falls
* Rick's Cafe
We would highly recommend Couples Swept Away and are considering revisiting in the future. :) Here are a couple of pics to show you how beautiful the trip really was.
We can't wait to book our next trip with you!
MARI & DANIEL
So sorry this is coming so late! By the time we got back, we had a million things to catch up on.
The trip was absolutely wonderful. Thanks so much for setting everything up. I don’t think I can recommend the time of year we went enough. The weather was pretty much ideal every day (low/mid-50s, a healthy chunk of sun, mixed with clouds and just a tiny bit of rain and a couple of days of low 60s and one day of low 40s with rain coming down sideways!). I think when/if we go back we would probably go at the same time, maybe just a week earlier. There were no lines for anything. We went to Blarney and saw the “90-minute wait from here” signs but we walked right up with no wait at all. I think being able to do all the things you want with no waiting is worth giving up 5-10 degrees of warmth!
All together we put on about 1200km and we did see pretty much everything we wanted but I think one or two extra days would have been perfect. Given us a little bit of a breather in between travel or a chance to see 1-2 of the things we had to skip.
The castle was great, really pretty location. All the B&B hosts/locations were really wonderful. The booking of them was quite easy as well. The only thing I might change would be for some of the bigger cities (Galway, Cork) that we stayed, we maybe would have booked a hotel in town the day of. The B&Bs were usually in the outer edges so we either had to drive or find a taxi service to get into town so if you wanted to have a couple extra Guinness’ for dinner you had to plan ahead a bit more, instead of just being able to walk back. I’m guessing booking hotels day of in June/July/August isn’t an option but seemed that almost every hotel had vacancies for the window we were there.
The on/off bus tour in Dublin was perfect. I would say the only other thing was the dinner party/music event in Dublin wasn’t exactly our scene. It was fun and the musicians were super talented but we only had 2 days in Dublin and that ate up about 3 hours or so. There’s just so much good food/live music in the pubs around there that for our personal taste we probably would have skipped that. I think for anyone maybe 45+ it might have been a bit of a better fit? I still enjoyed it but don’t think we would do it again!
We had a wonderful trip! You did a fantastic job planning it for us. We had a private greeter at each destination. Logan enjoyed receiving the leighs at each destination.
Four nights at each destination was the right amount of time to spend at each location. There is not much to see in Papeete. All the destinations were beautiful and unique in their own way. On Sundays, most places are closed or close by 2:00 p.m. Food and drinks were expensive at all three resorts. A can of coke was $8.00, a beer (tasted like Old Milwaukee) was $10.00 and any cocktail such as a Mai Tai or Miami Vice was $28.50. We never saw a single drunk person in the resorts. LOL!! We found grocery stores in Moorea and Bora Bora and bought pop, beer, juice and snacks to take back to our rooms which is what most people were doing. Lots of older couples and honeymooners. Not many families. Not many Americans. None of the resorts are good for handicap individuals. Activities are snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking. No night life or pool activities on the resorts. They didn't even have music playing by the pools. Pools were empty most of the time as most people seem to stay in their bungalows or the lagoon. Sun begins to set at 5:30 p.m. and it is very dark by 6:00 p.m. All the breakfasts were really good. All were buffet style except at the Conrad. The Conrad had a menu for the main course (waffles, eggs, crepes, pancakes, omelets) that you ordered first and then you went to the buffet for everything else (tons of pastries and fruit jams).
Moorea: More wooded feel and we definitely needed bug spray (both on the safari tour and in the evenings); lots of mosquitos. Monday was a bank holiday and most businesses were closed so we were unable to go to the juice factory on the safari tour but he took us everywhere else. We almost had a private tour; our guide was great and had very good English. They do not have taxis in Moorea so many guests either rent a car or bicycle and go off the resort alone or hitchhike to their destination. I would not feel safe riding a bike as there is only one main road that goes around the island and it is narrow with no real shoulder. The resort had a list of restaurants that provided free pick up and drop off so we did that. All of them were very good and half the price of the food in the resort. The worst meal in Moorea was also the most expensive and was the resort's Polynesian Culture show and buffet. We paid $110/person which did not include any drinks, not even water. Lots of raw fish. This did include their dancing and fire show which was fine but not as good or cheap as the Hawaiian luau we saw in Hawaii. Our garden view room was very nice and very private. We really liked the plunge pool on our deck and spent a lot of time floating and drinking in it. The living room and bedroom had doors to close off the rooms. There was a pull-out trundle bed under the sofa for Logan to sleep on. Ceiling fans and great air conditioning. Lots of chickens everywhere so we heard a lot of roosters crowing thru out the day and night, which Logan enjoyed. Gary and Logan kayaked and had a shark swim under them. Also saw stingrays in the kayak and walking along the shoreline. It was hard to walk out into the lagoon because of all the sea cucumbers and coral. You had to snorkel out. Big clean swimming pool.
Bora Bora: The airport is on an island so every resort has its own boat to take you from the airport to their resort. Each resort has a booth set up right when you walk into the airport. They instantly greet you, get your bags for you and walk you to their boat. They take you by couples and not by the entire group which feels more personable. We were on a beautiful new catamaran with two other couples going to the Conrad which took about 30 minutes. Once we stepped off the boat, we again had our own individual greeters who welcomed us with cold juice and cool cloths. They then drove us around the resort in a golf cart showing us and explaining where everything was. It was before noon and our room was not ready so we ate lunch by the pool and relaxed. Once our room was ready, they drove us over in the golf cart and gave us a tour of the room and explained all the switches, etc. Bicycles were parked by our front door. Our deck faced the main boat dock of the resort which we did not mind because it was fun to sit and watch the different boats and shuttles arrive. The room was huge and beautiful. The snorkeling was great right off our deck. Our deck also had a see-through window that you could view from either inside or outside to watch for fish under the room. We spend a lot of time on our deck and Gary and Logan snorkeled a ton. They had blue ray speakers throughout the room and deck so we could play music. The bungalows are all staggered so you really do not hear or see the bungalows next to you while you sit on your deck. They really enjoyed the underwater scooter adventure. They said they were underwater for over 30 minutes and saw a ton of fish. We ate at the Chinese restaurant in the Conrad and it was fabulous. The Conrad charges $15/person (12 and under was free) round trip shuttle to the mainland (Bora Bora). They also make reservations for restaurants which includes pick up and drop off from the dock. We ate at Bloody Mary's and The Yacht Club on Bora Bora. Both were good but we really liked Bloody Mary's. The catch is that most of the stores close by 4:00 p.m. and the restaurants don't open until 6:00 p.m. so you have to go back to your resort and pay the $15/person again to go back to eat dinner. The Conrad was gorgeous and the staff was great. They have call buttons by each of the pool and beach chairs to call for a server to order food or drink. Everything was super clean. You didn't even see a leaf on the sidewalks.
Papeete: 5-minute ride from the airport. They charged $20/car one way to get downtown which was about a 15-minute ride. We went downtown one night to try the food trucks for supper. It was good but most of the vendors did not speak English so the menus were a lot of pictures you would point at. We went downtown during the day to shop and explore and found a little place to eat for lunch. We spend the remaining time at the resort in the pools. They had two large pools and a hot tub. One of the pools had a sand bottom which was nice. All the swimming pools were much deeper than we are used to (5 feet 6 inches - 6 feet). The pool boys and baggage boys were all shirtless at this resort. :)
I could go on and on but in a nutshell; we had a fabulous time and made great family memories. It was expensive but worth the beauty. Now, it's back to work so we can start saving for the next trip. LOL!!
Gary, Lori, and Logan
It was a trip of a lifetime! Viking took great care of us from the time we arrived at the airport until the time we checked in at the airport. We're considering another trip with them in the future.
Thanks so much for coordinating this trip for us!
Thank you for your email. The vacation went great. The resort was nice. Not as beautiful as the Paradisus! Food was hit and miss. Breakfast I always thought was good and dinners are sometimes great and sometimes OK. We usually did a light poolside lunch which was convenient.
I would definitely recommend this resort to my friends with kids. The pros outweigh the cons.
There was construction on the Tropicana Plaza between building 7A and 8A. Rumor is...it’s going to be a new waterpark! I haven’t seen any literature on their website and the construction seems to be moving very slowly. Men were out there working when we were on the property but nothing seemed to get done. If this is true and finished by the time we’re booking our next vacation I would consider this resort again.
Planning a destination wedding can be stressful and frightening...but luckily we had Carol by our side through every step of the way. She helped with resort research and we chose Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Carol assisted us and our group with finding the best flight and hotel options. She even reached out to the resort on our behalf to ensure all details were completed on their end.
We had no worries leaving to our dream wedding because we knew Carol could/would handle anything. We and our guests were so pleased with the entire vacation, the resort was a quick 20-minute shuttle (which Carol arranged for us) from the airport and the resort was breath-taking! The all-inclusive adult's only resort was perfect for our guests, there were plenty of restaurants (nine) to choose from, lots of activities to do during the day and evening. The beach is dreamy with perfect white sand and peacefully tucked away from other hotels or hecklers.
We recommend Carol and her services 110%, she has made this particular vacation very special, magical and stress-free...can not wait to use her again!
THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!
What an incredible trip😁 We hit Venice 1 day after the "historic flooding" but you would never know. We had an entire day of sunny beautiful weather in Venice and filled it with exploring. There was rain the other days but it would clear up at some point to get out. The weather throughout the trip was in the mid 60s to mid 70s - perfect.
Viking cruise was A+. The boat, staff, service were all great😊
Thanks for helping us have a trip of a lifetime💜
Laurel & Warren
We had a fantastic trip and want to Thank you for all your help and extra kindness. Weather was awesome, loved each city for a different reason and the accommodations were GREAT. MONOGRAMS was more than efficient with very nice tour guides.
Looking forward to working with you again on our Cuba trip!
Nancy & John
Here's a little Thank you for all the work you put into making our trip fabulous. The trip was everything and more than I imagined. There were many highlights, beautiful sights, great beer, incredible weather. Your planning made it go so smoothly.
Thank you so much!
Lisa & Kerry
It was great!
There were some water issues, but Viking handled it very well. There was low water between Passau and the Wachau Valley. They bussed us from Passau about 4 hours to meet a ship coming from the opposite direction. The transfers went really well and Viking did a good job of accommodating us with the low water level.We cruised through the Wachau Valley ,which is the most scenic part of the trip before getting to Vienna.
We did two excursions. The Mozart and Strauss concert in Vienna and the Thermal Baths in Budapest. (We had seen enough castles and cathedrals and this was really different) We also did the upgrade on the alcohol package and it was well worth it!
Your suggestion about The Veranda room was perfect. The food was great (too much)
Thanks again, we will be in touch the next time we are planning a trip
Ron and Debbie
I just wanted to give you a quick update about our Iceland trip. We all loved it! We had great weather and we were able to do and see at least 90+% of everything on the itinerary. There was a tremor on a glacier that caused flooding and a road closure for several days that caused us to have to miss a few sights because they detoured us to a "not so good" gravel road that added another hour to our trip to the glacier lagoon. Gary loved and ate seafood every day. Logan was not ready to come home. Our favorite excursion was "Inside the Volcano". It was amazing. All the excursions and guides were great. Our favorite hotel was Hotel Kria in Vik. It was only a month old and it had a restaurant and bar inside. It was very modern looking with a rustic feel inside. We had the second floor end room with two walls of windows with a great view of a mountain outside. Logan also liked the room/apartment in Hella because it looked like a steel shop building and had a small kitchenette, etc. The hotel Silica by the Blue Lagoon was really nice too and it had a really nice lagoon with only a handful of people using it. They also had pails of the mud to put on your face and body. We walked to the Blue Lagoon from the Hotel Silica which was a short distance. The hotel made reservations for us at the restaurant in the Blue Lagoon so we went into the water, ate and then went back into the water. It felt wonderful relaxing after a week of a lot of walking and driving. We were all so happy to do that on the last day. We also loved having the phone that Bjorn from Cool Iceland provided us. It had WiFi, our itinerary downloaded and he checked in with us several times in addition to letting us know about weather conditions and road closures. He was concerned that the Glacier Lagoon boat tour may be cancelled due to heavy winds but we got lucky and our time slot did go. They cancelled some earlier times due to wind. The phone' Google map worked much better than the car's GPS which did not recognize a lot of the point of interest sites listed on our itinerary. We also went to the Perlan museum and observatory in Reykavick which had an inside ice cave which was fun to walk thru and learn about the ice. We also went to the Whale museum which had a bunch of life size whales and the Lava Center which mapped out all the volcanos on the island with real time maps of volcanic activity along with a movie and simulations. There was no tipping and the staff all worked together so you never had the same person coming back to your table. W knew the gas ($8.60/gallon) and food (always over $100 for the 3 of us) was going to be expensive so we were not unprepared and would still recommend Iceland to everyone.
Thank you for all your hard work in planning this fabulous vacation for us. Now, we need to think of another place to go next year; maybe Scotland? 😊
We had a great time in London and Normandy. The trip went off without a hitch given your excellent planning and guidance. We will definitely keep you in mind when planning our next adventure.
Thanks again for everything!
Just emailing to say we are just home and had a wonderful vacation!! Seven Miles Beach and Couples are awesome! Will do again sometime!!
Thanks again for all your help and suggestions and look forward to planning the next trip!!
We had a great 3 days at Disney - with the Magic Kingdom voted their favorite. Discovery Cove met most of our expectations. The food was average but no complaints. We also rented a Cabana for all of us-it included a small fridge that they kept full for us-a locker to lock up our backpacks-towels-an employee checked on us about every hour-refilled fridge-etc. The snorkeling was great- especially for the kids-we had many stingrays by us-the Dolphin swim was good but a little short-the employees were great with the kids-the Aviary was great and excellent info from employees. We all voted this as our favorite of the week.
We also reserved a table for the Desert Buffet before the fireworks started- it was awesome- a bit expensive but worth the “seat” and location was great. We spent one day on Clearwater Beach- rented 2 “tents”- the beach was awesome. We had great weather most of the week. Monday we had 2 downpours but cleared up before the fireworks and parade.
Thanks for all your help. Any questions- please call or email me.
We left Minneapolis that first morning at 8:30 after being deiced 3 times and had a very bumpy ride for about 45 minutes but we were so glad to be able to leave MN.
It was a wonderful trip & we were delighted with Hurtigruten and the Spitsbergen. Great way to see the Norwegian coast. Our cabin was wonderful - we truly appreciated the extra room and the balcony with outdoor space. We were blessed with perfect weather and Northern Lights every night for 5 nights in a row! Several "real photographers" on the ship and their pictures were outstanding! But we did pretty well with our iPhones using an app called Northern Lights. One young man on the cruise had his drone along and he flew it at North Cape with great results.
Not many Americans on the ship; we met people from several countries. It was possible and pleasant to either be social or to just enjoy time alone.
The food was wonderful; table service meals every night featuring locally sourced foods. Smallish portions which is our preference. Vegan meals available and the vegan menu looked delicious too.
We fully enjoyed the train ride from Oslo to Bergen. We decided to upgrade the tickets we had to a more comfortable class of ticket. Very much worth it without much additional cost. I'd recommend this for your future clients taking this train ride. A beautiful ride across the country!
One thing I can recommend also is that the Raddison Blu at the Oslo airport is a great location for someone who is leaving on an early morning flight or coming in later in the evening and just wants to get to the hotel. The Raddison Blu is literally right across the street from the doors of the airport on the check in level. I've walked further distance to get to a taxi in some airports! A covered walkway from the street to the front door of the hotel is provided to keep it easy if it is raining. Also, a fast train into the city center from the airport makes it easy to spend the day in Oslo, come back to the hotel and still be right there across the street from the airport check in for an early morning flight the next day with no hassle.
Thanks so much for your help with arrangements! We would like to return for another Hurtigruten trip sometime in the future.
Katherine & Randall Seifert
Thank you for your note. We had a GREAT time. The whole process was very smooth, the trip was breathtaking, the staff was exceptional. I cannot say enough good things about this venue and the things we did.
Thank you for helping to facilitate this for us. We cannot wait to go again!
I am happy to report that we had the trip of a lifetime. Everything was so fabulous and we have shared this with many of our friends. The whole experience was perfect, from food to fun to staff. I am so pleased we chose to do this trip. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a great experience. The scenery was spectacular and we had gorgeous weather!!!
Thank you so much for arranging such a memorable trip anniversary trip to Arica/Botswana for Srini and I.
We absolutely loved every camp and were comforted knowing someone would be waiting for us with a smile on their face to transport us in between locations.
While we knew we wanted 2 weeks of safari, we didn't know much else about Botswana. You did an excellent job of ensuring we had a variety of locations, each with unique qualities and adventures. Between, Chobe Natural Park, the Okavango Delta and the beautiful Linyanti river we saw a wide variety of plant and animal life and came to appreciate the differences of each.
Each camp was as beautiful and hospitable as the last--we especially enjoyed all of little surprises and details celebrating our anniversary. The champagne waiting for us at arrival and especially the surprise helicopter ride you planned over the Delta. That was amazing and so spontaneous. We would have never thought to have done that on our own. The view from above was fabulous and really made us feel special.
We cannot think of a single thing we would change. Thank you again Carol for another successful trip. We cannot wait to start planning the next one.
Angeeneh and Srini Iyengar
Thank you so much for checking!
Yes, our trip was wonderful! It was hard to come home, actually. The hotels were wonderful. Connecting to the internet was tough but of course that is to be expected. Everything was in good working order (no elevator snaffus). Weather was great as well. We all felt very safe the entire time which was good.
I think the favorite day was touring the cigar farm and getting to try some "samples". The food was all great as was our guide. He was a very intelligent young man who knew so much about Cuban and American history. I'll keep you posted and let you know once we decide on our next trip. Thank you so much for all your good work on our Cuba trip. It was amazing!
Talk to you soon!
Carol Peterson has helped me plan several trips in the last 10 years, and she has always been fantastic to work with. In each case, she's helped guide me through the planning process, making several suggestions that always end up being spot on. She has also had access to deals and packages through vendors, and I've found that I save significant money by going through her.
Just recently, I asked her to help me plan a trip to Costa Rica. I also was intending to propose to my gal Emily while on the trip. Carol helped me to hatch plans and strategize about where and how best to kneel down, and I will be forever grateful for her help and involvement in such a special moment for her and I (Emily said yes, of course ;).
I highly recommend Carol and everything that she does and has to offer! You
will benefit from her assistance. Bon Voyage!
I have been meaning to touch base with you. I wanted to THANK YOU for recommending Aruba as our trip destination because we LOVED IT!! The weather was great - mid 80's and sunny but with a nice breeze to keep you comfortable. The beaches - Palm Beach - and the water were breathtaking. We went off the resort and did a half day UTV trip around the island which was fun, interesting and educational. Weird to see dessert, cactus and rocks but in the distance see the ocean. The language and money differences were not an issue at all, which can be when you leave the country. All the people we met were so friendly and helpful it was a delight.
We enjoyed staying at the Riu. You know I was a little concerned after I had read some of the reviews but we were very happy. Our rooms were side by side and spacious. Yes, they may have been a little humid on some days if you didn't have the air conditioner cranked but we also were in South America! The food and restaurant options were good and we did venture off resort for a couple meals as well which were also great. The entertainment crew at the Riu made each day spent on the resort fun between sand volleyball, water aerobics, morning stretching, etc.
You always emphasized the safety of Aruba and I can't agree more! One day the kids and I grabbed a local taxi and went into Oranjestad and explored
without any hesitation. I have attached a few pics from our time in paradise.
Take care Carol and many thanks for giving us this experience!
Thank you so much for everything!!! The trip and wedding was OUTSTANDING! Everything was perfect and turned out beautiful. Again thank you for all the help I know our group was a handful but everyone only had great things to say!
Have a great week,
Carly & Zach
Hi Carol -
Thanks for checking in. It was a fabulous place and we're very happy with the accommodations, getting butler service and having access to a smaller, quieter pool away from the bigger resort. We wouldn't recommend the golf course, or bringing clubs. It wasn't worth it as the course is short and very hilly, difficult to maneuver.
If future clients can swing it, we'd definitely recommend the butler service and either the Sunset Bluff 2 story places that we stayed in, or the millionaire suites (we toured them when we were there). The millionaire suites were set apart with the same service, but much larger.
Chris thought we were in the perfect place as we had the sunsets every night. He didn't think the upgrade would have been worth it.
The food was great. We went to La Grande one day but didn't enjoy it as much as it was larger, more congested, louder, etc. When we get away we definitely like less people, quieter setting and La Toc was a good spot for That as long as we stayed up by the smaller pool.
I wish we would have made use of the butlers more.it was our first time signing up for such a service and it took a while to understand the benefits of calling them for whatever we needed (maybe that's a Midwestern feeling). Also, as you pay extra for that, we should have utilized them more.
The helicopter ride was very worth it and taking it to the resort was a better choice, and then enjoying the ride back to the airport on the return trip. It was nice to get an aerial view initially and get to the hotel quicker than to be in that long drive on the front end.
The flights were brutal, especially at that hour. I'd recommend the Atlanta flight that left instead around 2:00 out of St. Lucia as we had to be out of the room early anyways. No sense in sitting around any longer than we had to and it would have, hopefully, gotten us back at a more reasonable hour.
Thank you again for all of your help! It was a great recommendation.
Yes it all worked out and we got to sit together and the island was beautiful! We loved it and had an amazing time. Thank you so much for all your help! We'll be in touch.
Catie & Noah
Good morning Carol,
We had a wonderful trip, thank you and Collette! All went smoothly, we had great guides and our tour manager was a gem. Thank you for your help and guidance. I would do it again!
I hope you enjoy the pictures!! I wanted to send them because we LOVED our
honeymoon, and you made it happen!!
Thank you so much for your fabulous work, and please let us know if you have
any further questions.
Blessings to you, your family, and your business,
Rachael & Brian Rich
Really good planning thank you. Balloon ride happened to be on a really beautiful day. Limo tour and train worked great. Staying at the Railway Inn was a great location.
Judy & Jody
We had a fantastic time on our trip.
Things we loved:
Things we might do differently:
All in all, we were absolutely thrilled. Everything was so well organized and met our expectations for the type of trip we were hoping for. It was fantastic!
It was a fabulous trip!
In Amsterdam we stayed at the Doubletree next to the main train station. It was an ideal location. I was glad we had time in Amsterdam before the cruise - there was so much to see. We didn't get to do everything we planned. A highlight was taking a train outside of town and visiting Zaanse Schans where there was a wooden shoe museum/shop.
The ship was lovely. There were 130 passengers and 51 staff. There were many other people in their 50s. It was an active group. I think we had all been a bit nervous about that.
My room was spacious with both an outside balcony and a French balcony. The food was divine. We were able to eat at the Chef's table twice (usually people only get 1 time). Lots of fun extras - beer and sausages one morning, evenings with entertainment. They seemed to do a good job of balancing time on the ship and excursions. Some days we were so exhausted by the end of the day it was nice not getting up for a tour the next morning.
Something I really liked was the choice of tours. Every day there was a biking tour. A few days there were choices of which city to tour. Each tour had different pace groups. If you wanted to explore on your own that was fine too. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the tours - having mostly been an independent traveler in the past.
All the guides were great (except 1 - which we told the cruise director about). We learned a lot. When we spent our day in Zurich I really missed having a guide - I felt like we were fumbling a bit even after getting suggestions from the hotel concierge.
I can see why people say this is the trip of a lifetime. It was luxurious and we were pampered at every turn.
Something I would change as our day in Zurich. In many ways it was just a big city. I wish we had gone to Lucerne instead.
Thanks for all of your help along the way!
Hi Carol – I have been meaning to email or call you. We ABSOLUTELY LOVED it! This trip ranks up there with one of the best trips we have ever taken. Here’s why:
- Incredible Service – All of the staff are truly there to ensure that you have everything that you need and are very genuine.
- Small & Adult Only – Loved the size of the property and that it’s adult only. Layout of property provides close proximity to everything. AND my biggest peeve is “chair saving” – this resort has 2x the amount of chairs on the beach as there are guests – and there isn’t a bad spot as the beach is huge. The pool is small and the beach is gorgeous so most guests would prefer the beach over the pool.
- Culture – The people there are fantastic – you can tell that tourism is 85% of their GDP – it shows!
- Safe & Clean – you never feel like you need to watch your back or would feel unsure about walking anywhere at night.
- Location – Well placed between the high rise hotel area and cruise port area (which we went to check out, but really wouldn’t need to go back – too touristy --- but there was a restaurant on that end of the island that we really liked) – so the location was smack in the middle it felt like. An easy $9 cab anywhere and a few places that were within walking distance for dinners.
- Food – AMAZING! Total foodie heaven! Fantastic meals each night --- you had mentioned that, but it totally exceeded my expectations and some might call me a food snob! They also boast about the water – 2nd best in the world – great to be able to drink filtered water and not worry about a thing! The restaurant on the property was so much fun – very expensive, but a very memorable experience – we could have sat and drank wine with the chef for hours! Carte Blanche – I added us to the waiting list when we booked and they called a few weeks before we left to let us know that there was a cancellation. 14 person chefs table dinner – multi-course.
- Very relaxing and beautiful weather – outside of the hurricane belt and almost a guarantee of sunshine each day. 2 of the days were fairly windy, but only bothered us a tiny bit if we were walking the beach and got a bit sandblasted if the wind gusted. Otherwise the breeze feels great and you NEVER SWEAT – it’s awesome!
- Beautiful beaches and landscapes – went on a private jeep tour and loved it. Very cool terrain, rock and cliff jumping in a cave – mixed in with dessert cactus’, etc. Very glad that we did it – a very unique and beautiful island.
- Easy airport to get in and out of -- small and all hotels/resorts are within 15 mins from airport – love this! Definitely no car needed.
We were very sad to leave and would highly recommend Bucuti & Tara to any couple traveling. We did see a few other others and the only other properties that we would consider if we were there with the boys would be the Marriot Vacation Club and the Ritz Carleton.
Thanks for everything – I hope all is well!
Just wanted to say Thank you for making our trip to Italy a trip of a lifetime! It was great and all the train tickets, hotels, and the tour's were wonderful. My Favorite was the Tuscany wine tour. Our guide gave us a semi-private tour and took us all around Tuscany! It was Beautiful and the wine was the BEST!
We did really good on the trains and it is the easiest way to travel from city to city. The location of your hotels was also a bonus. The one in Rome was walking distance to our tour of the Vatican and the location was great to also walk and see the shops, sites, and Trevino foutian. The hotel in Florence was also a good one with the breakfast and it was also with in walking distance to everything and the train station.
Thanks for planning it all out for us and also for finding Gary's Sales Award trophy. I bought to many things in Italy and took it out of my suitcase. The resort we stayed at first with Gary's company was 5 star and that also made us feel more comfortable traveling around Italy after talking with so many other co-workers about what they went and did for site seeing.
I want to go back and hike more in the North in the Cinque Terra area; and also see other places that we did not get to! Thanks again for all your hard work and organizing a wonderful trip for us!
Kimberly and Gary Kocken
I am sending you a quick follow up to let you know that we appreciated your service and that our family had a FANTASTIC time in St. Lucia! Coconut Bay was a wonderful resort, the staffs were all very pleasant, and we would go back again!
I have been meaning to send you an email to tell you how much I loved my vacation. It was absolutely PERFECT!
They upgraded me to a swim up room. I was also able to upgrade to first class going down and my return flight. That was definitely worth the extra money as it was a long flight.
I LOVE Punta Cana. The Dominican people are so friendly and beautiful. I will definitely go back there. The Excellence is in the process of building a new resort. The talk is they will keep the current one open even after the new one is completed. I told them if the current staff stays at the old location, I will go to the old location. If they transfer to the new, I will go to the new! I actually had tears when I said goodbye to Dyanara in the President's Club. She came around the desk and gave me a huge hug and she had tears as well.
This was an excellent choice for a woman to travel on her own. I always felt safe and they took excellent care of me.
The food, room, grounds, service was "EXCELLENTE"!!!!!!
I gave your name and number to a couple I was sitting next to at the airport in Punta Cana. They were asking me about my trip and loved everything they heard. I told them you helped me plan it and they asked for your contact info.
They are from Victoria. Her name is Peg and I don't know that I ever got his name.
Thanks again for all your help. I will let you know when I am ready to book the next adventure.
I hope you had an excellent trip to Costa Rica.
I finally have a free moment and wanted to send you an email. Thank you - thank you - thank you for organizing our trip. It was absolutely fabulous! I don't know if you ever stayed at Mystic River Resort, but we absolutely loved it! The side trips we booked were awesome. Ramon's Resort was very nice as well, but next time we will probably want to stay at the northern end of Ambergris Caye. The landing strip for the planes is 200 yards from the resort. It can get very noisy starting at 6:00 in the morning �� I struggle with that because I loved the resort. We plan on going back to Belize next January hopefully for two full weeks. I wil be contacting you again to help organize that trip.
Thanks Again Carol - you did an awesome job!
Sorry for the delayed reply! We had an absolutely incredible time on vacation! We want to thank you for all of your hard work and being so hands on even while we were in Italy! We will certainly be recommending your services to anyone who is looking to go there!
Are there any other destinations you plan for? It would be great to know for future reference! I think we are trying to book another (shorter) trip in February!
Now that we are back to the daily grind, I want to take the time to thank you for all you did for our cruise. It was very smooth to make all the transfers, and everything went very well. It was such a nice surprise, and thoughtful one when you had sent us a beverage card, sparking wine and a dine around card at the specialty dining. It made our trip even better, Now we can’t wait for our next adventure.
I’m looking forward to working with you again, and again thank you so much.
Thanks for reaching out! We had a wonderful trip! The heat in Italy was quite oppressive, but having that said, we were super thankful to have skip the line passes for things like the Vatican, Coliseum and the Uffizi! We thought the allocation of days between our five stops was just about perfect, and other than the usual stresses of those travel days, it all worked out just great. Here's a quick summary of our highlights and maybe a couple things we would do differently:
- Rome - We loved the Coliseum tour and really enjoyed the Vatican tour as well, as mentioned, skip the line was crucial.
- Cinque Terre - really just a great place to relax, and we really loved our hotel here!
- Florence - the Tuscany tour was fantastic! Really good tour guide and great to get out of the city and see the highlights of the rest of Tuscany.
- Venice - we just really loved St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace was really cool and interesting, and it was nice to be so close to the square - nice hotel stay!
- Paris - we really enjoyed getting out of Paris doing the bike tour, a great way to experience a different pace of life. We really enjoyed Versaille (though it was our one day of rain), and we're very thankful to have the Museum Pass and Metro Pass. Our highlight was probably a evening/nighttime Seine River Cruise & Eiffel Tour by City Wonders. Don't know if you worked with this company before, but their tour guide was incredibly personable and knowledgable. The hotel hear was wonderful as well.
A Couple Things We'd Probably do Different:
Cinque Terre - the trains threw us off a little hear, as the trains when you are on the ramp don't really provide you with much information in regards to the train. We got mixed up once as we didn't realize there was a train that skipped the middle villages. Might just be worth the fair warning. This was really our only real travel mixup, and it was actually after we had gotten to our hotel, so really was a big deal.
Florence - this is the one hotel that I'd maybe have spent a little more money for a better stay. The location was great, though at least where our room was it was a little loud, and the hotel was a bit outdated. The other thing we'd do is get a skip the line pass or buy reserved time tickets to the Accademia to see the statue of David ahead of time. We ended up buying them in line in the interest of time and heat. Our tour guides were also so-so at both the Accademia and the Uffizi, though perhaps we were just Renaissanced out.
Overall, it was fantastic! Thanks for all you did to set us up to go on this trip!
Brian & Jennie
Thank you for checking in, we did have a good trip to Alaska. Thank you for finding and putting together all the pieces. We put on 900 miles in our week, so we covered a lot of ground. LOTS of road construction, but we were on vacation so we wait. The fly and drive was a good plan for my Dad. We could go and stop as needed. The excursions boat trips were just right for his level of activity. The bus trip into Denali was beautiful, but we maybe could have been happy with a shorter trip. We had a lovely day in the park, it started early due to road construction all around the park. No way to avoid that. In the park we did see a grizzly, caribou, big horn sheep and a moose with babies. On our Seward boat trip we saw whales, three types, sea otters, puffins and sea lions. first time whale watching for my Dad!
Attached is a photo of the EarthSong Lodge. We each had our own little cabin. The owner runs sled dogs into the park during the winter, the lodge is a summer "hobby".
The accommodations were in good locations and comfortable, clean, and they worked well. Someone who travels a lot at higher end business hotels would probably not be as pleased with the Ramada and Breeze Inn, but Alaska is not a business trip! I have never seen so many small groups of men traveling together. They were out to catch fish.
Thank you for your email. WE HAD AN AMAZING VACATION!!!!! It was FIRST CLASS all the way!!!! Mom and Dad were so very blessed. Dad wants to know when I’m planning our next vacation because this one was so perfect.
EVERY stop, hotel, meal, bus, ship, ferry, train, excursion, etc was perfect and wonderful. I really wouldn’t have changed anything on the itinerary. Our tour guide Anna was also wonderful and most definitely knew what she was doing. Highly, highly recommend this trip to anyone. Well worth the price.
You will definitely be hearing from us again for future adventures.
Have a great day!
Carol did an outstanding job working with 6 gals trying to visit Italy in a very short time frame. Carol used her excellent organization skills and lots of patience to jungle a variety of different schedules to ensure we got in all the "bells and whistles" that Italy had to offer. We first traveled into Venice and experienced goose bumps riding the water taxi down the Grand Canal........it was magical! We stayed at a lovely hotel right on the Grand Canal - so much activity to see there. We took the fast train to Florence to shop and see the sights. Then it was off to stunning Siena.......oh it was so beautiful! Carol booked us at the Hotel Duomo which was a charming place with a terrace that allowed us to create our own "wine and cheese party'. The hotel location was perfect for lots of sightseeing. The Chianti Wine tour with Roberto was very special and a great way to see rural Tuscany. Rome was our last stop in our 12 day journey which concluded with great history and so many churches.
Carol's recommendations were spot-on and we could not have navigated through Italy without her!! It was truly a trip of a lifetime!
We had an absolutely fabulous trip! The weather couldn't have been better (it got up to 47 degrees one day!) We packed for much colder weather - but I would never complain about winter weather being too warm. The tour director, Randy Hammond, was excellent. Even folks that weren't on our tour commented that they had watched him at the Snow Lodge and noted how professional and on top of things he is.
The scenery was incredible. Everywhere we turned, something would catch our eye and amaze us. We saw lots and lots of animals - we got behind a "bison parade" on the road one day. We also saw elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelopes, mule deer, coyote, a fox, moose, ravens, swans, ducks & eagles.
This is the first escorted trip where we ate from the menu most of the time; other trips had mainly buffets. That was a real plus. Also, the change of hotel from Chico Hot Springs to the Gallatin River Lodge was fantastic. The Gallatin River Lodge is a small place - our tour group had all the rooms! The owners and all of the staff there went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. They even drove all of us (most of the group arrived a day early) into Bozeman so we could go to the Museum of the Rockies. They arranged to come back and pick us up at again.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Many of our fellow travelers had been to Yellowstone previously, but this was the first time in the winter for all of us. We all agreed that winter brings an incredible beauty to the park. I now have about 1300 photos to weed through!
We will definitely look at TAUCK for future travels.
Thank you very much for providing a wonderfully organized trip to South Africa for our honeymoon.
From the pre-planning, the safaris and hotel suggestions out trip would not have been the same without your expert planning.
Before our trip the zipper binder with our tickets itinerary and other useful information was, well organized and helped us prepare perfectly.
You thought of everything from the currency to the electricity.
Once we got to South Africa our drivers were not only on time but extremely professional and thoughtful.
You recommendations for hotels and lodges were exceptional. We even found ourselves in the middle of a traditional African dance at Ulusaba, a memory we will surely treasure.
We traveled from Johannesburg, to Kruger National Park to Cape Town and not a single pick up was delayed and every driver was just as professional as the last.
The tours you suggested in Cape Town were stunning! The wine tour was our favorite and we were welcomed with open arms everywhere we stopped along the way.
Our honeymoon trip to South Africa was beautiful and made a lasting impression on us.
Thank you for thinking of everything and allowing is to enjoy our honeymoon. You truly are world class.
Srini and Angeeneh Iyengar
We had an AMAZING trip!!! Thank you so much for putting together such a wonderful vacation for us. Everything went smoothly and couldn’t have asked for nicer drivers and hotel personnel
We were able to see Arenal two of the three days we were there – there was no cloud cover! So that made the hanging bridges and the lava field hike extra special J
We saw a lot of wildlife including monkeys, birds, frogs, toucans, and caymens (like a crocodile)
The time out on the coast at RIU was nothing but relaxing, just what we needed – the food was wonderful
We ended up taking a van to Tamarindo Beach one day, which was about an hour or so from RIU- this beach had waves for surfing – a very fun surf town
We would go back again in a heartbeat, what a beautiful country
Thanks again for setting this up for us, it was wonderful.
OMG....so so fun. It was an incredible trip. The rainforest excursion was amazing, and the 5 day Inca trail hike was SO incredible...just beautiful everywhere. The whole trip went very smoothly, everything was great. Thank you so much for everything you did, I'm grateful!!
For future clients I think you are doing a great thing recommending Explorandes and their 5-day version of the Inca Trail hike. The classic 4 day that most people do doesn't explore as many ruins and the overnight camp sites are inferior. I also think my group encountered much less people traffic as well, since our route was staggered by a half day I think. Plus being able to experience Machu Picchu over a day and a half and spending a night in the town was really fun.
No negative feedback at all. The only thing I felt slightly indifferent about was having transfers to and from airports and accommodations and such. I felt more "pampered" by this aspect perhaps than I like personally, plus finding your way around can be part of the fun lol. But that's just a tiny thing, and maybe something that I'll know for next time.
P.S. I'm kinda thinking about New Zealand next year...
We had a wonderful vacation in Cozumel. We loved the resort and upgrading to the Royal Club was definitely worth it. Lauren got certified for Scuba right at the resort. It was awesom
We would like to meet soon to book our Australia trip.
Can you forward some dates that work for you.
The trip was wonderful, the kids well never forget it. Morgan, the 4 year old, got a big hug from Ruppenzal and brought a tear to our eyes. It was chilly though-coldest in years they said.
Everyone was so nice to both adults and kids they even found a Cabana for us even though when we tried they were sold out.
It was great, now the family wants this for their Christmas present every year, not likely.
Thanks so much for all you do for us!
We absolutely LOVED Turks and can’t wait to go back! The Seven Stars was so wonderful. Outstanding service, extremely nice resort, the most beautiful beaches and fantastic food. It was very hard to go home and we are already planning on going back. We loved the Seven Stars and would highly recommend it to others, but checked out Grace Bay Club and would maybe like to try that next time. We really felt like you probably couldn’t go wrong with any of the hotels along our beach. We loved the proximity of Seven Stars and being able to walk or bike everywhere. Grace Bay Club was only 3 resorts down the beach, so still close to everything.
J Brian and I were trying to decide if we would rank Excellence Playa Mujeres #1 or this trip to Turks/Seven Stars . . . a tough decision as they are both so fabulous! We felt that the winning ticket was Turks as we didn’t have to worry about getting sick, drinking the water and the food. We so loved Excellence too. Both so wonderful, but are slightly different trips for various reasons.
The food was definitely one of those surprises on this trip. Honestly, you don’t really expect the food to be “foodie” delicious and it was! All of the food at the resort (i.e. breakfast, lunches, etc) was great and all of the restaurants were top notch! The other thing about the service in the restaurants is that everything was very fast. The flip side to that is that is all comes with a price tag . . . and once you get over the initial shock of how expensive some of little things are – you just chalk it up to “vacation” and roll with it. The $$ was interesting . . . Examples – A case of Coors Light = $70, but a nice bottle of wine $30 and a bottle or Vueve Cliquot champagne $70. The prices at the restaurants were not any more expensive than restaurants we eat at here in Mpls – we just don’t eat at them every night! J Definitely options to cook or have food in your hotel if you’d like, as the kitchen was very well equipped. But I would estimate that we spent $120-$150 on dinner each night and $100-$150 for food/drinks during the day. Likely all due to importing basically everything.
Happy to be a testimonial or a reference for anyone who would like to travel to this area --- I could go on and on!
Thanks a million for all of your help with this trip – it was paradise!
I have been meaning to let you know about our trip but keep forgetting. We had a good time in Punta Cana. Both flights went off without a hitch. The resort was very nice and clean. The rooms were really nice with a huge bathroom that had a walk in tiled shower and a separate enclosed toilet. Our rooms were in a great location and we loved being on the first floor. We were next door to my parents which was really nice. Travis and Alicia were down the hall and Gabriella and Brandon were 3 rooms down from my parents so it worked out well. We would leave our patio door unlocked during the day when we were at the pool because it was closer to walk to our room to use the bathroom versus going to the one bathroom by the pool. The staff and service was very good. Some staff did not understand/speak English very well. I don’t think none of the staff in the casino spoke English because we never heard one of them speak a word. We thought the food was better at the Now versus the RIU. We ate at all the different places except for the French which did not allow kids. The shows were good too. The beach was really nice - long and wide with soft sand. There was some seaweed but they were quick in getting it removed. The ocean was fairly warm but somewhat wavy. Logan could not go out to far because of the waves. They had lots of activities on the beach (games, cooking papaya, etc.). The vendors on the beach were not pushy. There was always at least one woman on the beach topless every day. LOL. The weather was good but was pretty windy on the beach. Too windy most days that they could not do any water activities. It did rain several times in the evenings but it never lasted very long. They did have to stop and cancel the beach party one night due to the weather. They had a really nice kid's club; best one we have seen so far. The facility was very modern with lots of flat screen tvs for the kids to play video games. They gave you a cell phone to carry in case they had to reach you or if the child was ready to leave. They had lots of different activities. Logan spent some time there and went on a snail hunt, kayaked in the pool and did a beach campout where they ate dinner, watched a movie (Rio) and had a campfire with smores on the beach. He loved it. We did do two excursions through the Delta Vacations Rep. He was very good and friendly. He met us right away when we arrived. We did a spa boat which included 3 hours of pilates, body detox, full body massage, floating on blow-up beds in the ocean, mechanical massage bed with hot coals and the fish that eat the dry skin off your feet. They also provided salad, sandwiches, wine and water. It was really good and well worth the $125/person, especially since the spa on the resort was very expensive. The boys did a snorkeling tour where they went on a pirate ship to swim with the sting rays and vegetarian sharks before they were taken to a place to snorkel. They said it was also good but that the snorkel instructors did not really explain how to snorkel. They appeared to expect everyone to know what to do. Logan and Gary did it and Gary said there was a guy that did help Logan. Logan liked it and he did say he saw lots of fish. Logan loved the bubble party and blow up slides they had at the pool on certain days. They even let him try to do the surf board game. He was the only kid that went up to try it.
All in all, it was a great time. Even if the weather could have been warmer, it was still much better than being in Minnesota. LOL! Now I can start saving again and think about our next destination. We still all agree that we like Negril the best. It still has the best ocean (calm and shallow) and beach (soft sand and no seaweed). Gary and Travis did like the food in Punta Cana but they still miss the jerk chicken in Jamaica. LOL. The meat (pork, fish and beef) in Punta Cana was definitely better than what we had at the RIUs in Jamaica. I saw that Beaches has a resort in Negril. We may have to think about that for next year. I would probably go a little later next time (like mid-February) to have warmer temps.
Thanks again for your help in planning our vacation. Stay warm.
Thank you for your help setting up our trip to Costa Rica. We had a great time! We did end up going on a day trip to the Blue River and spent an afternoon on a catamaran. There is still lots to see and do in Costa Rica! We're thinking we'll have to go back!
The Riu Palace was nice; the staff there were helpful and the food was good.
Thanks so much!
Karen and Rod Thompson
We had a marvelous time! Everything went smoothly, travel, hotels, activities, and the weather! We felt so fortunate for everything to work out as it did. Both hotels were great, and I think the Rincon Beach Resort was our favorite as it was right on the beach. We did the bioluminescent bay, hiked the rainforest to a waterfall, ziplined, SCUBA dived (that's us in the underwater picture...a woman with our group happened to have an underwater camera!) and took a surf lesson. To be accurate, I did not do the zipline nor the surf lesson...but I did SCUBA dive which was incredible.
Thanks again for all your recommendations and work in helping us have this fantastic vacation! I already want to go back!
It was wonderful - it was fun to see my parents reaction (they have never been to an island)... it was priceless! We scuba-dived, went on a pirate cave trip, saw the glow worms and relaxed by the beach!
Can't wait for another trip in 3 years!!!
Thanks again for everything!
We have been so busy that I had not gotten around to letting you know about our trip. Everything went off without a hitch. We had a great time! The weather was beautiful every day. We left the resort twice. Once was to do the Jamaican Zipline. We booked it through the Delta Vacations representative at the resort. A very clean and newer van picked us up and drove us into the hills to the Zip Line. The staff at the zip line were all very friendly and fun. They also had a security guard who went with us. The man who drove us up to the hills in the van waited for us until we were done and then he drove us back to the hotel after he let us shop at the local market for a while. On a separate day, we took the free shuttle across the road to some newer shops. One of the stores called the driver to come back when we were done shopping. It was very convenient.
The RIU was very clean and definitely appeared newer than the RIU Palace in Negril. It looked very similar but on a smaller scale. This one had elevators, less stairs throughout the resort and was laid out in such a way that you never had to walk very far to get to the shows, pool, beach and restaurants. There were not as many ocean view rooms but we could see the ocean through the buildings. We never saw another person in the halls on our floor the entire week. We never saw our cleaning lady either. She just cleaned the room in the morning. I think they turned the bed down in Negril. The shows were very similar. The drinks were a lot stronger but they usually only had 2 bartenders working behind each bar. You would have to wait in line to get a drink. They did not have any waiters anywhere, including the pool, evening shows and restaurants. You had to always get your own drinks. The RIU Palace did have servers but they were not very aggressive. Montego Bay had a disco and a sports bar which had a pool table and slot machines. Once the shows were over, the disco was the only place for music. The RIU Palace always had a reggae band play after the show. Montego Bay was definitely more hip hop music and entertainment versus the reggae sounds. Gary preferred the reggae. Montego Bay also had the jerk chicken shack on the beach that everyone really enjoyed. They also had tap beer and red and white wine at the buffets. There was fewer restaurants in Montego Bay. An Italian, Asian and a steak place. We did try all of them. The buffets changed every evening from Jamaican, Chef's choice, Mexican, etc. We thought the food was good. They also had cappuccino machines which a lot of people really liked. There seemed to be a better variety at the buffets in Montego Bay than Negril
Montego Bay was very close to the airport so the plus side was getting to and from the airport quick. The minus side was that airplanes would fly right over the top of the resort several times a day. They were really low so it was very loud when they passed overhead. The beach was nice with a lot of chairs and shade trees. It was a private beach so there were no vendors. We only saw a few vendors in canoes in the early morning but they could not come to shore. You had to walk out in to the water to talk to them. The ocean was warm but not very clear. There was a lot of seaweed on the floor so very few people swam in the ocean. The ocean was much better in Negril. The pools were very nice and large. Montego Bay's pools were nicer than Negril's. They were not heated so they felt a little cold at first entrance. They had a ramp to walk into them slowly which was nice. The entertainment staff were all very friendly. Logan did a few activities with the kid's club and had fun at the kid's disco every evening before supper. We did do the paddleboats and kayaks one day. They also had small sailboats to use. We did not use the spa this time. It seemed expensive. $200 for a couple massage. Travis used the gym which was pretty nice with new equipment. They also had free wifi in the lobby.
I would say a majority of the people there said they were return customers or at least past RIU customers. I think we all agreed that we would do RIU again. We are already talking about planning another trip for April 2014. Maybe Dominican, St. Lucia, Aruba, etc. Some people we met at the resort told us that the Iberostars are nicer but more expensive.
You will have to let us know of anygreat deals or any suggestions for fun in the sun
I don’t know how may time I thought of sending you a note to thank you for setting up our Alaska cruise. I don’t know if you remember but we had never gone on a cruise or anything like it before. We wanted to make sure we knew what to expect and didn’t have any surprises as to the cost. You did a great job preparing us for the trip.
You will think I am crazy sending you a note after all this time, but I wanted you to know we had a fabulous time.
Juno – Tram to Rainforest – Loved Red Dog Saloon
Skagway – White Pass Yukon railroad - walking on the pier to Old town
Vancouver - Beautiful walk into town
We had a great time. Just wanted to add Glacier Bay was worth the whole trip. Absolutely Fabulous!!
You never know what might come up as we are getting close to retirement. If we are ever in need of your help we will be sure to call or if we know someone that needs a Great Travel Agent we will have them call you.
Thanks for the wine voucher
Barb & Greg Rivet
Carol...sorry if this is very forward...but I love you. And my wife and kids love you too.
I have been searching and trying to coordinate this vacation for months. Seriousl....it has been months of looking searching and agonizing about how to fit the flights and $$ with a resort and flight times and packages, and kids activities and cruise vs resort and what destination, domestic vs foreign......etc.
After calling you....within 36 hours, you took my confusion/frustration and turned it into a real vacation package!!! Thank you so much!
Take care and looking forward to working with you again.
Thanks Carol for all your help with the trip!
We love bora bora so much and were sad to come home...but happy to see our 2 kids!
The weather was terrible....we didn't see the sunshine until the last day, but when the sun did come out...it was amazing! Even with the hurricane in Fiji interrupting our trip...we still had an amazing time! I attached a photo from me jumping off our bungalow!
Our friends had a great time as well! they were upgraded in their bungalow which made them very happy!
Until our next vacation.....
Hi Carol: You have likely heard from others, but just in case you haven't, I wanted to tell you that we had an absolutely wonderful vacation. There truly could not have been anyplace more perfectly suited to everyone. From age 6 to 24 - and all of the adults too - it was so awesome! The scenery is stunning, the food (despite the reviews) was always wonderful, the fitness center lovely, the pools and activities, the all-inclusive piece (they never make a nickel with my 3 in tow).....it truly was lovely.
Linda wanted me to mention that the boys did not have individual beds, but truly it didn't matter one bit. One eventually did get it after some long discussions, but it worked out so well it really wasn't an issue. If I'm picky (and truly this was fine - but worth noting) the language is truly a barrier. We had a few spanish speakers in tow, and we may have had some tough exchanges without this.
We all decided we'd love to go back next year - for a week - around the same time. I know this is probably cost prohibitive for most, and Linda won't be footing the bill again, so, with a few concessions, we're wondering if it would be possible. We would all prefer the basic, entry level rooms. The suites were generously sized, but we were never in the rooms. Even Kris (with the kids) said a smaller room with roll aways would be perfect (if allowed). The pull outs were not sleepable (almost laughable really - but they got the rollaways and it was ideal). I wouldn't want to be in The Reserve (Preserve?)....too far away from most everything.
Not sure when it would be best to start looking for this, but I wanted to put it out there.
This trip was truly a dream, Carol, and I-we are so grateful to you for all of your expert guidance in making it happen.
Thank you so much!
I wish I had a bit more time right now so that I could write something more descriptive but, meantime, I have attached brief responses for you. I would be glad to elaborate on any points. That is an amazing company you work with down there. They are precise and very detail oriented. I am not doing any other big trip without you and that's for sure.
Thank you so much for everything you did...it really was beyond my hopes and dreams. the whole thing was so well orchestrated. I also felt that the company in Peru took huge pride in their work. Let me know if I can provide any specific feedback. Note that the hotel in Aquas Callientes was absolutely beautiful, very unpretentious, small and different with exquisite rooms.
OK, thanks again!!
Comments: This was our first big family trip and one that we put a lot of thought and money into. Carol tailored the trip according to our requests and it was absolutely seamless. I cannot thank her enough. The crew in Peru was superb. The whole holiday was meticulously planned so that we were able to be in cruise mode the whole trip without having to worry about any of the logistics.
What did you like best? There was nothing I didn’t like; it’s very difficult to rank such a diverse range of experiences in any order because each was so distinctive and interesting. For example, my children saw other children making the mud bricks that are the walls of their homes; sat with women intricately weaving on the hotel lawn; saw an Inca settlement as close to the sky as they have ever been on foot along with prehistoric birds, monkeys and tarantulas.
I wanted to email you, and let you know that we had as AMAZING honeymoon to say the least! We were very impressed with The RIU Tropical Palace. We did a lot of walking around in the bay that we were in, and hands down in our bay that hotel keeps the cleanest property, including beach front as well! We did venture off and walked parts of the rest of 7 mile as well, and still thought the same from what we were able to see. Not saying the hotels and rooms at other resorts might have been nicer, but as far as the cleanliness of from the beach itself we were very impressed. The rooms were still very nice, and the hotel was very accommodating…
We went and did a few excursions as well, and had a great time.
We are already thinking of planning to go back next year, around the same time. This time we would like to invite friends to go with us. If this works out to do for us, I will most definitely be booking our groups vacation through you.
Once again, thank you so much for the help and planning that you did for us. We were very impressed, and it could not have gone any better at all!
Tyler & Maddie Hemmesch
Good Morning Carol,
We want to thank you for all of your efforts in assisting with our travels to Italy! The hotels that you booked were excellent. We had a wonderful time. We enjoyed every second of it! Travel out was good-except for the sleeping part. Neither one of us could sleep. The first day there we were zombies but got on schedule the following day. There was an assistant for Delta waiting at our gate when we arrived in London for our connection home. He lead us to security and to our gate. We were on the plane 20 minutes before it left! We were pleasantly surprised with our flight home- we had the individualized screens and watched movies and were home before we knew it. (I was dreading the flight home, in fear, that it would feel like an eternity since it was a day flight.)
Onto the driving---it was insane but doable!!! They drive wickedly fast there! We had a little problem navigating the signs-our GPS was a little delayed. And the 11 signs on each round-a-bout were VERY confusing. However, had we not rented a car we would have not seen and found the places we did in wine country. It all worked out for the best!! At times of stress, I just thought to myself, I'm in Italy.....a drink is right around the corner! :) lol
All of our connections- boat taxi, airplane shuttles, flights, trains- it all went so smooth. (Thanks to you!) We really lucked out. We didn't have one bad experience; except maybe for driving- if you ask me. Chris on the other hand would say the opposite. He really enjoyed driving and thought it made our trip more memorable. Boys. :)
Thanks again for all of your work and we look forward to using you in the future!!
Amy Persson & Chris Abbott
I have been meaning to send you an email to let you know how fabulous the whole vacation was. We had a wonderful time and all loved every minute of it. Everything went smoothly with the flights and baggage handling. The villa was perfect and so comfortable.
Thanks so much for your help. I look forward to working with you again.
Everything went super! The house was in a great location, and the drive to Disney was very easy, even with traffic, fairly quick. The pool area even felt a little private, since we backed to the freeway, and the neighbors were mostly gone. The kitchen was well stocked with utensils, pots & pans, etc., which we put to good use. There was a SuperTarget, Winn-Dixie, and enough restaurants within a 2-minute drive to keep us happy. Magic Kingdom was a zoo, but we used the fastpass system, and were able to get what we wanted done. We scrambled by the end of each night to get everything in… If we could have swung it, another half day at each park would have been useful. We had rain at Animal Kingdom, and a little at Epcot, but we trooped through and had fun despite the couple hours of wet. We had a breakfast with the characters, and that went very well. Each one stops by every table for pictures and autographs.
Sun Country was stellar, as always. I have always held them in high regard. Probably the only airline to have employees who appear genuinely happy at their jobs, in my experience.
The only small negatives I have are about the house. Windsor Hills may have been better with Jordis, since they have the better kiddie pool, but we didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the property. We woke, went about our day, and returned by 10 or 11 too exhausted to do much else. They only supplied one garbage bag per can, which we filled soon, and were forced to use our Target bags for half the week. There was also only one TP roll per bathroom that lasted until the last day. We actually nabbed some from Epcot to get us through (Don’t tell Walt!). There were four patio chairs in the pool area – for a house that can sleep 8! We made do, though, with the kitchen chairs.
We went to Cocoa Beach, too. Jordis could have stayed there all week, as could we all. Eat at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville. A co-worker tipped me about the place, and it was fairly cheap, and very good seafood.
Alright, I find myself gushing… I must still be on a vacation high. The whole week went too fast, as always, but we filled it to the brim with everything we did.
On behalf of my family, thanks again for your help, everything went smoothly.
We had a great time! Alaska was beautiful! It was a bit chilly, more for our parents than us. It was a damp cold. The boat was nice, clean and had great service. It was far from full (they were short over 700 people) so I don’t know why it was so hard to get rooms together. Our rooms were at the very end of the hallway, away from the elevators and next to the cruise director’s suite. We rarely saw any other passengers in our hallway. On the third night, Gary’s parent’s toilet would not flush. They were told there was a problem in the system on a group of rooms. When they got back from dinner, their bathroom was full of water. It was clear water but it stunk really bad. I guess they blew out the system which caused the water to shoot out of the toilets. They were then moved to a room on Deck 8 with the navigator’s verandah. They received a call every day asking if everything was ok and were given a plate full of chocolate covered strawberries. Gary’s dad liked the new room.
The food and service was really good. We ate at different places every night. They had us pre-assigned right away so all we had to do was read the ticket that was left in our room. Logan really like the banana bread we had on the first night so every night thereafter they had a loaf of banana bread sitting by Logan’s plate. This was the quickest and easiest on and off the ship we have ever experienced. Very well organized. They also handed you wet wipes before you entered every restaurant/club and every time you boarded the ship - so they were very cautious about spreading germs. They also had all the tipping done for you on the last night. If you did not want to give the suggested amount you could change it.
There weren’t as many kids as I expected. The pools were very small, which surprised us. Logan used them twice and on the last day the pool was pretty full. I can’t imagine what it would be like if it was hot weather. We also expected the characters to be walking around the ship more than they were. They had very short time periods when they would be in the lobby. We enjoyed the evening shows more than our parents because you had to know the Disney movies to understand them. The graphics were really good. They even had snow and bubbles coming down in the theatre several times. They did a great theatre play of Toy Story. Logan did the kid’s club twice. That was very well organized. Each kid wore a tracking bracelet so they could not get out of the room plus it would work if a child got lost on the ship. We also carried the mobile phones so they would text us if Logan wanted to get out. They had a lot of different things for the kids to do (science experiments, dress-up, movies, computer games, Wii games, slides, music instruments, etc.).
We all really enjoyed the excursions. Again, very well organized and all were very close to the ship. We had sunshine in Juneau and some rain in Ketchikan but we had our raincoats and umbrellas so it was all good. The train ride in Skagway was amazing. Victoria was also very beautiful. We did not see a lot of wildlife. We wished they would have announced on the ship if/when they saw whales or porpoises. We did see some harbor seals laying on ice chunks when we went into Tracy Arm. I saw a whale the first morning while I was standing on our deck. Gary and I hiked to the Mendenhall glacier from the visitor center which was really nice. Our family saw white mountain goats in the mountains at the visitor center because they had a guide looking for wildlife thru binoculars.
Logan said he liked being on the cruise ship more than going to a resort with a beach. I think everyone else still prefers a resort with a beach.
All in all it was a wonderful trip. Definitely different from the sunny, hot, south of the border trips we are used to. Now, we are thinking of another trip for February – Punta Cana or the Caymans. We will have to discuss this later when it gets closer to the end of the year.
Thank you for all your help in scheduling this trip for us. We truly appreciate it. Have a great rest of the week!
We did have a good time in Italy. Mike was a very good tour guide. We loved all the hotels we stayed at. We would definitely go back to the hotels in Rome, Manarola and Venice. The hotel in Siena was a little far from the action, but was good if you had a car as it had lots of parking. Hotels closer to the city center would not have.
About the car, I would not recommend people renting cars if they have no experience driving in a foreign country. We made it alive and no damage to the vehicle, but it was an adventure. I had to peel my hands off the steering wheel after the drive from La Spezia to Siena. We tried to do a day trip, but a main road was closed so we took the car back a day early and then took the buses. We only got to visit two towns in Tuscany, along with Siena, but that was ok. We did not get any money back from returning the car early, but we were alive and the car was in one piece. I think if we would have had it back earlier in the day, they might have given us some money back, that is what I think I understood.
Manarola was wonderful and so was the hotel, they were so helpful and the view was spectacular. We had wonderful weather, hiked, took a boat trip and ate good food.
Rome was great. The hotel is right across the street from the American Embassy, so we felt very safe and it was in a good neighborhood and easy, but long walk to the sites. We were ready to walk after the flight.
Siena, was cooler and a little rain and then the car incident, so we didn’t enjoy that part too much, but made the most of the area and did see some great things in Siena. Siena was a great spot to be because you could get to other places as it was the main hub to Tuscany bus trips. Next time I think I would stay in Siena and pre book little side trips to other towns. The bus system worked but it was confusing at times.
Then Venice made up for our little disappointment in Tuscany and we had a wonderful time. The hotel upgraded our room, we had a big patio, 3 big rooms, it was wonderful. The area we were in was perfect. We could site see and go back to the room to relax and go back out again. Went on a gondola ride and I think we have a great picture for our Christmas card.
The food was wonderful, wine was great and we ate lots of gelato. Mike is already thinking about our next trip to Italy and still reading the tour books.
Hope you had a great trip.
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you but it's been a busy spring!
Overall our trip was great. The flights worked out well and except for the Sydney connection from Cairns to LA there was plenty of time between flights. For me paying the extra for economy comfort was worth it as it gave us just enough extra leg room to be comfortable. If a person had access to exit rows that would probably be better but you can't always count on those!
The Air New Zealand flights were good too. The first hotel in Christchurch (Chateau on the Park) was very, very nice. The restaurant had amazing food too. We were so exhausted by the time we got there we all just went to sleep after dinner so didn't really have much time to explore that first night. We called Pacific Horizons first thing the next morning to see if they could pick us up early and they could, so we had breakfast and were off getting our RV by shortly after 8.
The RV was relatively easy to drive but I've had practicing driving a short school bus so it wasn't a great leap. None of the other girls wanted to try it out. Driving on the left side of the road wasn't as difficult as I had expected. In NZ they have most roadways marked so as to remind you to stay on the left. Campgrounds were prevalent and all quite nice. We paid anywhere from $26 one night to over $80 at another place. Some charged extra for showers, some did not. All had some level of kitchen facilities as well so you didn't have to always use the camper to cook. Lots of people do the RV thing as hotel rooms are quite expensive.
We were not able to cover as much territory as we had hoped in NZ and could easily have spent another 4 to 5 days on the south island. Maybe we'll get back there again some day. The hotel in Christchurch at the end of the trip, Sudima Hotel, was literally right next to the airport so it made it very, very easy to get there on time for our early morning departure. We took their shuttle but it was literally close enough to walk!
Once in Australia we found our way to our hotel - a ways away from the airport but close to many things in the main portion of the city. Sydney is very much a large metropolis and it was quite a shock to the system after being in nature for the previous 8 days. We did a one-day excursion to the Blue Mountains which was interesting and spent the other two days just checking out the various things in Sydney Harbour. I'm glad we went there but I don't feel a need to ever return!
Our trip to Cairns was uneventful but once we landed we were told that the coastal road was closed because of the heavy rainfall so it would be a 2 hour drive to Port Douglas rather than a 1 hour drive. Thankfully when we left 4 days later the road was open. I wasn't terribly impressed with Port Douglas and never had a chance to see Cairns so I can't really compare. Cairns is obviously much closer to the airport. Also, this doesn't appear to be a beach resort town in the sense that we are used to. There are no resorts on the beach - it is all natural habitat - and we couldn't even swim in the public beach area because it was stinger season. Just a few of the things we didn't know about ahead of time! We did go out to the reef two days but if a person doesn't want to spend that kind of money (several hundred dollars each day) the only other option would be to spend time at the pool at the resort - again, not on the ocean! There wasn't really much tourist-y shopping in Port Douglas either. As with Sydney, I'm very glad we went there but would not probably do back again. The hotel in Sydney was very nice. It was small but located in a very convenient spot. It would have been nice to have breakfast included but there were lots of small shops in the area to help us with that. The resort in Port Douglas was nice too. We had a 3-bedroom condo with a living room, kitchen, laundry, and 2 bathrooms. It was nice having the space and gave us an opportunity to do some laundry before heading home.
I think that's about it. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. Generally, I'd say it was a trip worth taking but in my mind it doesn't even come close to comparing to our safari in Kenya in terms of a 'trip-of-a-lifetime' vacation.
Thanks for your help. Once we decide where we are heading for our next adventure I may be calling you again.
We got back from our trip on Wed. Thanks for all your help in planning this trip.
We had a great time. It was wonderful and relaxing. I wasn't sure we would like spending that much time on board the ship but we had a great time. There was so much to do if you wanted.
The ship was beautiful and the rooms had lots of space we did not use all the drawers and had lots of room for hanging clothes. The only down side was coming home and doing two and half weeks of laundry!
Jackie and Gary Lane and crew
Great to hear from you. Dave and I were just saying that we need to contact you and let you know how the trip went. We have been super busy, sold our house, teen age kid drama and car troubles J etc.
The trip was awesome!!! Hotel was good, very clean and newly renovated bathrooms. Great location, we felt very safe walking around at night and plenty of restaurants, shops, convenience, patisserie just down the street. Breakfasts were great in the mornings. We miss the coffee!!!!! Shuttle from airport was great, nice vans, Mercedes, and very friendly drivers. Weather was great, sunny and 50’s & 60’s, just cool and rainy on Saturday.
Metro worked out great. We took it everywhere. Museum passes great too.
Places we went to:
Arche de Triumphe
Notre Dame then great shopping across the river
Sac Sucre Church
Shopping on Champs Elysees
Tons of walking, shopping and exploring on foot.
Moulin Rouge – very fun show - Lauren got pulled on stage for one of the acts J
Brian Adams Concert at the Zenith Centre (Dave’s friend from Canada who lives in Beaujolais was going and invited us to join them for dinner and concert, concert was great)
Thank you for all your suggestions, everything went perfectly smooth and we all had a great time.
Thanks again and we will definitely call for future travel planning.
Dave & Theresa Andrews
Just wanted to say "THANKS" for the great vacation!! We had an awesome time and the weather was very HOT- I started peeling before we left. The resort was very nice and food was very good. Beaches were awesome. Would definitely go back. Met some great people and hope to keep in touch with them. We went to "Aqua Marine" one night for dinner. What a grand place. The only downfall was that we had to sit in the airplane in Punta Cana yesterday for an hour, because they lost everyone’s flight plans, but we had a good pilot and made it back only about a half hour later than what we were scheduled. Long drive home, but went well.
thanks again for all you did!!
Hi Carol - We're back and what an incredible trip we had. Our 36yo tour guide Salvatore was amazing and with help from some crazy amateur comedians on board had us in sidesplitting laughter morning and night. Wonderful bunch of people and all the things we saw just blew our minds. Definitely a trip of a life time. Thanks for helping us make it happen. Louanne
I am personally writing to express my gratitude and our family's gratitude for having created an
outstanding and lasting memory in our adventure to
complex trip that could have been filled with complications and difficulties, but it turned out to
be seamless and joyful. Frankly the entire experience was nothing but extraordinary.
Carol, we have used your services for many years on a number of trips for our family and
individually and it's always been handled with impeccable attention to detail and
professionalism. We have never, ever had a glitch or a problem. The extraordinary thing about
it was smooth and dreamlike. I believe that was because of your experience, your attention to
detail, your caring ways and your commitment to making this an ecstatic and joyful memory.
My heartfelt and deep gratitude to you for what you've done, what you continue to do and the
way you do it.
With deep admiration and gratitude,
Jeff and the entire
Carol: Thank you sincerely for everything you did to ensure a fantastic experience for Jeff and Casey. They had an amazing time together - i can't wait to see the pictures! Everything was absolutely seamless (that's how you roll it seems - never a hitch when you're involved....). Jeff is going to give you a call later today and talk to you about everything. The book for Casey is so thoughtful - it's just gorgeous!
I just can't thank you enough Carol. They had such a spectacular time together, and it could not have happened without your expert guidance and understanding. Jeff was completely out-of-range the whole time - he focused on nothing other than hanging out with Casey. What a life-long dream you've created.
Thanks again....it was truly a memory that will last both their entire lives.
We all made it back from
Thank you so much for your help and patience in planning our 2011 family vacation. Now we can start thinking about where to go next year!
The vacation was fabulous. The return to snow…not so much.
Isla was beautiful, very comfortable and safe. The Ixchel was great. Accommodations were excellent. Staff very friendly and helpful. Turned out that we received another upgrade. This seems to be a common theme since we started going through you!! (You must really have some “pull”!) Since all of the ocean front suites were in use we got upgraded to an ocean view penthouse suite. The room itself was wonderful, walking in to the kitchen, living room area with a sliding door out to the patio. If you take a right off the kitchen you have the bathroom vanity area then into the actual bathroom/shower area (very nice glass enclosed – tiled), and another door to the bedroom. King size bed, TV, large closet w/safe, and another sliding door to the patio. Patio was very nice with table and chairs, overlooking the garden/pool areas. We were about 3 units in from the ocean but still had a very good (side) view of the ocean. But, the best was the spiral staircase that went up to our own private patio area that expanded over the entire lower ½. The patio had cushion benches, a concrete table with benches, a grill, a bed with canopy, a bathroom/shower area, several lawn chairs, and a good size hot tub that was enclosed in plexi-glass to block any wind and to ensure a great view of the ocean and sunset. It was spectacular. The beach was great too. The sand is very fine and almost like air conditioned so very easy walking on it. No problems getting beach/lounge chairs. The main “drag” in town was
So, that’s probably much more than you ever wanted to know. Andy will let you know if I’ve forgotten anything!
Thanks for Everything!! Have a great day!
Pam & Andy
I would definitely do this deal again. We stayed at the Secrets Silversands and really liked it! I know you weren't a big fan of that place, but we thought it was a nice change from the normal traditional Mexican themed places we stay. It was fun to wait and see what resort they chose for us. It was a bit far from the Iberostar you and Tod were at, otherswise we would have stopped by for a drink. I wish I could snap my fingers and magically be back in my lounge chair :) I see new sprouts of grass popping up in the yard, so I'm feeling like spring isn't too far away.
Thanks again Carol!
Good Morning Carol! Thanks again for a WONDERFUL spring break experience!! Lee and I both agreed this was the best trip yet! Even with my reluctance to do the plane change thing, the destination was worth all my unfound worries.
I have been meaning to send an email since we got home, but yes, I am digging out from the hundreds of emails I did not have to read in the past 2 weeks
We have a wonderful time and all of our accommodations were wonderful! It was great wrapping up the trip with Kelsey and I actually wish we had spent even more time with her. Had she not had a such a busy travel schedule, we probably would have. Everything went really well with all of the plans …. Thank you for all your help! If I were planning it again, I may change a couple minor things, but it was nothing to do with what you arranged for us, mostly my preference. For example, I would have cut one night in
One funny thing that happened in
I was actually a little concerned about being gone so long, but the time really went fast and since all our accommodations were so welcoming it was very relaxing staying everywhere. Thanks again for all your help. You really made this planning process for us so easy and simple, which was so valuable to us! Hope you and Tod had a great Thanksgiving. Talk to you soon..
Thanks for the welcome home, We had a great time and saw a lot of sites and a few funny travel stories on the train and buses.
Like Colleen said the rooms and locations were great, have to tell you more someday this winter.
Thanks again for the planning.
Hi Carol – We had an amazing time on our honeymoon and were able to see and experience so much together. Each location was unique and offered something different from each of the others that we really felt fulfilled as we moved from place to place. We were able to get through
It feels great to be home!
Thanks again for your recommendations! Let’s plan to talk next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Thanks so much for helping to arrange a wonderful trip to
Let try to get together after hunting (ist of the year) give us a call we would love to see you and Tod again
Ken And Lu
Carol: Just ran across your business card on my desk and wanted to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful trip to Greece that you planned for Susan and myself. We had a great time and your services were exceptionally well done and much appreciated.
As you can see, we made it to Cortina (and BACK - my greatest fear). There was no such thing as first class on that train and it only ran as far as Pointe de Nellie, then they put us on a bus to Calaizo. We learned from a local on the train that they were repairing a section of the track. The bus station there was right next to the train station, so bussing to Cortina was actually easy. We had a good time, good food and lots of interesting time trying to converse with the locals. By the time we got back to the train station they had completed the repairs and we were able to take the train all the way back to
Yesterday morning the water taxi was indeed there for our pickup at and the hotel even gave us boxed breakfast to go. (Jim was certain he would have to swim to the airport with his bag on his back.)
Everything was great - especially the Monogram hosts and guides, all very helpful. You even provided us with great weather and airlines and Eurostar trains that ran on time. As you suggested, the train trips really help make the excursion memorable and there was always a host to help us fine the correct seat and tell us when to get off - then a new host at the end to show us to our hotel. Your upgrade suggestions were perfect - we we always in the best hotel.
Thanks so much - we'll call you "next time."
- Donna & Jim
Mike just told me we need to start thinking about a next trip. I do want to do
I know we will probably put in some little trips also, so keep you posted.
Thanks for all your help, we greatly appreciate it. The rooms you booked in
Carol Peterson, Extreme Destinations Travel
When I approached Carol about traveling to Kenya, I knew at the outset that planning our trip would be challenging:
Carol was patient, honest, thorough and enthusiastic about our plans. She expertly and calmly handled our flight purchases, our last-minute passport problems, and our final decisions being made from a campsite with limited cell reception. We appreciated her candor, sense of humor and ability to find answers to our questions.
The arrangements based on her recommendations were fantastic. Wildlife Safari provided a guide and driver who exceeded my highest hopes, and the accommodations (Kitchwa Tembo Tented Camp, Mara Serena and Sunbird Lodge) were superb.
This trip was such a success, I look forward to someday taking our twins (when they are old enough) on a similar exciting adventure. When that time comes, I’ll be calling Carol.
Kimber Sullivan (for Steve and Timothy, too)
Thank you for another fabulous trip. Mary Pat and I had a wonderful time. Thought you would enjoy a few of my pictures - especially the "wet" ones at Victoria Falls. Looking foward to another safari in about 2 years.
Thanks so much for arranging my Africa trip! I have so many great memories and fun times that it all feels like a beautiful dream.
Everything was so organized. I really appreciate all the work you put in to make our trip so special. I've spoken to Mary a few times and she is still in Africa heaven!! Me too!
I still think the hippo was my favorite - loved his low grunt.
Thanks again for all you did to make this trip the best ever!
See photos and information on Heidi & Brian's trip at:
Our trip was a great success. When we arrived Herme (Rajah Tours)and Mr. Vic-Vic were waiting at the airport for us. Herme told me that the Century Plaza was overbooked, and we will be moved to another hotel. Of course Joey went ballistic and I told him to settle down. I asked Herme if the hotel was nice that we would be staying at and she said ‘Yes’. We ended up staying at the nicest hotel in Cebu City called the Crown Plaza. It was also the tallest building in Cebu City, so we had fabulous views from the 27th floor. It was also located at the center of the Sinulog celebration in Cebu City. Mr. Vic-Vic was always on time and informative. I highly recommend Rajah Tours. We loved Moalboal and the Cabana. The Cabana had a wonderful restaurant connected to it and was located near all the dive shops. I want to thank you for your help on making this a wonderful vacation.
Just wanted to let you know that Dreams Resort was all we wanted it to be.
The arrangements you made for transfers, etc., all worked out very well,
and the whole week was just lovely. We didn't meet anyone at the resort
who wasn't completely happy with the service, accommodations, food, and
offerings. So--if you get more requests for suggestions, this is a good
one to make. Thanks for the help in creating a great vacation for us.
Ruth and Dave
The resort was fabulous. Friendly staff, clean facility, nice pool and beach, good food and drink. We are seriously thinking about returning in two years, when Maddie is a Senior in High School. Bit of a tedious drive to the resort. Becky made a note to write down all the resorts we passed between the Airport and Playa Del Carman.
We did encounter one mishap. Maddie’s camera was stolen one of the days we set up shop on the beach. A bit disappointed with the concierge and the filing of the security report. The following day I wanted to revise the report but they were unable to find my report. I already filed claim with Travel Guard. All in all, a Good trip.
Sorry it took so long to respond, but seem to be busy since getting back.
Australia was wonderful.
The hotel in Melbourne was perfect, we had a view of the MCG which is where the race started and ended. We just had to walk across the street and we were there for everything. Could not have been any better. The hotel was very nice also. All the hotels were excellent.
Port Douglas was nice and relaxing. The snorkeling adventure was ok. I think next time we would do a smaller tour instead of the one we did. It was nice for families, but a little too commercial and there were not many fish in the area. Think it was because there was so many people in the water. We noticed that there were trips that took only up to 10 and to a more private area and I think we would have seen the reef in a more natural way. Again, the trip we did would be good for families
Next trip, I think we will try to plan half day trips and leave more time for sightseeing on our own. The trips again were very good, but felt rushed and limited as they were trying to fit in a lot in one day. All the tour guides were great, the companies you booked us with were great. We just learned that it was tiring doing too many full day trips.
Sydney was a great city to see. The bridge climb is something to recommend (even though I cried half way up because of my fear of heights) The staff who take you are wonderful and very calming. Going up was the hardest, because you dont know what to expect. Coming down was much easier and the view was well worth my anxiety!!!! The Opera House was something to see. I couldnt wait to see it and was not disappointed. Glad we were able to see an Opera (even though Mike fell a sleep :) The tour we took was very private, just us and another couple and we learned a lot. We are not sure we would recommend the Rocks Tour we took, it was not what we expected and very short, but did learn a little. Sydney was VERY expensive. Not sure it was because we were in the main tourist area and downtown. Australia overall is expensive, especially for food and drink, but we still ate well, just paid the prices
Quantas was a wonderful airline. They treat you well, feed you well, good entertainment with the movies and other things you can watch. No american airline comes close to the service and I think that is sad. That included the flights between all the cities we flew to, the same great service whether you were flying 3 hours or 15.
We happened to have the greatest weather also. Warm, sunny, the only time it rained was on our walk home from the opera. The hotel in Sydney was good because we could walk wherever we needed to go.
Again, thanks for your help with the planning, you should travel there sometime. The Australians are very friendly, you kind of get what they are saying after awhile. Even though they speak english, they have there way of saying things and it was fun trying to figure that out and them trying to understand what we were saying at times.
Now we just have to decide where we are going next, and I need to save up vacation days!
Thanks again, Cindy & Mike
Hello Carol, What a trip. We had a phenomenal time and will be going back soon. We took in the Armstrong red woods, several wineries, Alcatraz, the Pacific Ocean and had 80 degree weather so we more than enjoyed the convertible. The accommodations were excellent, great location in the middle of everything. Good food and multiple venues to choose from.
Next year we may look to combine a Nascar race with the wineries and another couple or two.
Have a great day and thank you once again for setting up this trip for us.
Brian & Linda Pechacek
The trip was fantastic! We had such a great time – it truly was the trip of a life time. With the exception of getting stuck in Amsterdam, everything went off without a hitch. We thank you for all of the hard work that you put into this and the fact that you stuck with us through so many changes!
So, for some feedback. It will be a little generic but I guess we would say that we were happy with everywhere we stayed. In Florence and Rome, I would definitely not say we were blown away by anything, but didn’t have any complaints either. We were extremely happy however with the B&B in Cinque Terre. Here is a little more feedback on each one
AUGUSTA LUCILLA PALACE – Rome – recently redone so everything seemed pretty new and fresh. The location had both upside and downsides. The upside was being so close to the main metro station. This was fantastic! We pretty much took the Metro everywhere, and it was great being so close to both lines. The downside was that the area probably wasn’t the best (not terrible, but not great). However, the upside of the location outweighed the downside. The breakfast was definitely enough food to keep us full until lunch which was nice as well.
BRUNELLESCHI HOTEL – The rooftop deck on this hotel made it definitely worth it. It was a little older so there were things that could have used to little refreshing (the carpet and the walls weren’t the cleanest). However, it was neat because it had a very historic feel – and very few people knew about the deck. The deck overlooked the city of Florence, the Duomo, etc. We would pretty much hang out there every night after going out to dinner. The location was good as well. We were a little further from the train station, but still walking distance and we were only a few blocks from the bridge which we loved.
LA POESIA B&B - CINQUE TERRE – we loved this. I will say that the room was EXTREMELY tiny – just as a warning to anyone who books there. I know that there is one bigger room and then 3 smaller ones (like ours). That being said, I would stay there again in a heartbeat. We loved staying in Monterosso, and Nicolleta (owner of the B&B) was probably the warmest and kindest person we met on our trip. Although the room was tiny, it was very nice (marble tile everywhere, extremely updated etc.). The breakfast every morning was really good and plenty for two people. When we got there, Nicolleta greeted us with wine and appetizers out in the little garden terrace, which was such a nice touch. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone going there – but I would be sure to prepare them for the room being really small.
HOTEL DIANA – hotel was fine – nothing terrible but nothing great either. Nothing much to report on it.
I would say that all in all, we were happy with the places we stayed and have no regrets. I think after talking to some people while we were there, were we to go back again we would spend a bit less hotels (especially in Rome). I would probably at least compare the places a little more to places that were less expensive. From what we gathered we may have been able to spend less and not sacrifice that much in terms of the hotels. However, we would stay at the B&B again without a doubt, and we would pay more to have a rooftop deck (like we did in Florence) because we loved it so much. Hopefully that all makes sense.
As far as tours, etc:
· The Tuscany tour was amazing – worth every penny and I would definitely recommend that exact one to anyone going. The only thing is that they give really poor directions on where to meet and we almost missed the tour (even though we were there early enough,, we just couldn’t find the right corner). That is the only thing I would warn against – other then that it was awesome and one of our favorite parts of the trip.
· Vatican tour – also very good, and would strongly recommend. We were so glad we did this because without it I don’t think we would have really understood all the amazing things we were seeing. We were very happy with our tour and tour guide.
· Cinque Terre – place in general was amazing. I think it was so such a nice contrast to Florence and Rome, I would definitely recommend this location to anyone making a trip to Italy. It is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
Please let me know if you have any other specific questions. Once again, I want to say that we truly appreciate all the hard work you put into helping us plan what turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. We really did book this trip on pretty short notice, and the guidance and help you provided were so essential to making it all possible. We changed our minds on location so many times, that I can’t imagine how much work this was for you. However, you have once again nailed it! It is a great feeling to have a travel agent who is so knowledgeable and that we can rely on. We will definitely continue to utilize your services in the future and continue to refer people to you.
Christine & Phil
First of all, thank you for the bottle of wine in our room in Bologna! It was such a wonderful gesture and the wine, itself, was delicious. As far as the whole trip is concerned, we cannot express how much we enjoyed it and how well-planned and executed it was every step of the way.
We thoroughly enjoyed all of our guides. They were all wonderful in their own different ways and we will be sending a letter to Visit Italy Tours to compliment each of them. We will be sure to copy you on that letter.
The hotels were wonderful. Villa Scacciapensieri was beyond any expectation – it was heaven on earth. It was absolutely beautiful and the service and hospitality were unbelievable! It was so lovely that we didn’t want to leave it to go to the wine and olive oil tasting! (We did call the day before to let them know we wouldn’t be coming)
Again, thank you for putting together such a wonderful trip. It was everything and more than we could have hoped for.
Kim and MariBeth Theusch
Carol, Jenny really loved the trip. She said everything went so smoothly. There was a van from the resort waiting to pick them up and one at the end to take them back to the airport and each time it was really nice. She said the food was good, not great but plenty and the breakfast were the best with all the fresh fruit. Beach was really nice and she did the horseback riding with Dani and really liked it.
Thank you for all your help setting up the trip, there were no worries on my end knowing that everything was taken care of!
We had a terrific time! The kids loved Mexico! The Gran Porto offered many activities throughout the day that they looked forward to reading the board each morning to see if they could fit something in between their beach and sun time. The entertainment each night was nice. We had great rooms with an outstanding view - one with a huge patio (mine) and the other with a balcony.
One day we took the ferry to Cozumel ,snorkeled, had lunch and shopped around. We spent so much of our time on the beach, that we really needed one more day so we could have traveled to Tulum.
The kids liked strolling 5th Ave., shopping and just watching people.
Ray and I both said that we don't think we could go to Mexico again without taking the kids. It really turned out to be a great family vacation. If I was to "complain" about anything, it would about the food offerings/restaurants at the hotel.
Will be in touch with any future plans we come up with.
Thanks for everything, Mary Beth Williams
We just returned from our Belize trip, and on behalf of the three of us, I just wanted to say that the trip was splendid. Thank you for all the arrangements, as both Chaa Creek and the Sunbreeze hotel were perfect locations.
Hopefully we can work with you again next year for our next trip!
Hi Carol -- we had a wonderful time in Cancun. The only snafu was that one suitcase didn't arrive for a couple of days. Not such a tragedy though -- he had his swimsuit and deodorant in his carry on. Seem that's all he needed!
Travel went smoothly - both there and back. The service at the Moon Palace was fabulous. Food was okay -- we tried several of their menu restaurants this time - along with the buffets. Some good, some okay. I would still recommend the PALACES as a place to go. I thought they may have been using more of the top shelf liquors this time... I didn't remember that from last time (maybe I wasn't paying attention).
Here's how accommodating they were... all 22 of us ate together every night. Sometimes we were at different tables, but in the same section. Was wonderful - especially for Dad to see all of us together.
We had a blast! Thanks for the arrangements!!!
I have been meaning to email you back on how much we loved!!!! our Honeymoon! You made it so easy and so economic for us! We really appreciate it! We have recommended you to so many people and plan on using you for our next trip! I love the deals emails you send us-also-it keeps our minds running on what we want to do next!
Holly & Adam Knudtson
Carol, Thank you for the welcome home message. We had a great time even though it rained most days. Seems like the weather was great the week before last and will be nice this week. The Iberostar was very nice. We were able to get to adjoining rooms and actually were put in ocean view rather than garden view. What a pleasant surprise!
Chris from Apple Vacations was great. He greeted us at the airport Monday and took care of us at the resort. He helped us make plans to visit the city of Puerto Plata on Tuesday. He came in on his day off (Wednesday) to book us for the Outback Safari for Thursday. We were running late Thursday morning and he dashed to the parking lot to stop the safari truck as it was leaving.
I was afraid we might have to cancel our trip. My youngest daughter came down with the flu on Sunday. I called AIG regarding the Travel Guard insurance late Sunday night. They said if we needed to cancel they would refund the entire cost of the trip. She felt well enough to travel Monday morning and was feeling much better by Tuesday morning. Even though we didn’t need to cancel, I’m really glad we had the travel insurance.
Thanks for booking us a great vacation. We’ll definitely call you next time we make vacation plans.
Just a quick note to tell you THANK YOU!!! We had a WONDERFUL time and I LOVED it!!! I liked the beach/ocean SO MUCH more than Ixtapa!! Lee only golfed once!! Let him tell you about that. This was a fun, relaxing trip and I'd go back in a heartbeat! The resort was VERY accomodating and we felt VERY safe as well. Just wanted you to know that you "slam-dunked" on this suggestion!!!!
Thanks again!!! ~Ann & Lee
It was wonderful....even better then I expected!!!! Thanks you so much for all your help...I'm ready to go back!!!
A PERFECT VACATION !!! Thanks Sherry
Thank you so much…the trip was wonderful. I would go back for sure!
It was awesome! The resort was absolutely huge! The food and drinks were fabulous as well.
It was an absolutely fabulous trip. The best we've had so far. I would highly recommend it to anyone and we will go back some day.
Thanks for everything.
Jane & Jerry
Carol, Thank you so much for all your help in planning this trip of a lifetime! We all had an amazing time. Now I've got my sights set on Antarctica -- the only continent I haven't been to.
Heidi & Brian
Hi Carol, We had a wonderful time!! I will email you some pictures. The Moon Palace was perfect for our event!
There were 2 lobbys. One lobby was smaller, quieter, more laid back with a smaller quieter pool and then the other side of the resort had a larger lobby that had a casino, sports TV room, disco, etc, and was much busier. With both of those options, plus the golf resort and spa, everyone was happy.
If it was just the 2 of us we would definitely have gone somewhere else, but this was perfect for a destination wedding!
Thanks again Carol! I will send pictures!
Mrs. Cheryl Weimer
Hi Carol, Oh my gosh!! It was everything we had hoped for! No disappointment at all. No problems we just want to go back! I give it a big thumbs up!!! I do hope to be in touch with you in the future about other travel plans. We would really like to take the kids to Hawaii maybe. But that will be in a little while! Thanks again for handling all the details I will pass your name along to anyone I can and I hope to need your services again soon!
Marci & Robb
I have said so many times that I need to email you - and then in all the craziness of the summer it keeps slipping my mind. The honeymoon was AMAZING! I can't imagine a more perfect place - and honestly I would recommend it to any couple, especially honeymooners. Actually, I have recommended both the resort and you to a number of friends.
We met people who were staying in other resorts and they couldn't believe how nice our resort was and how much it included for the price. Everything there was top notch. I am sure all of the resorts there are nice, but in talking to other people I realized that there were a lot of extra touches at ours - for example the fact that you could eat at any restaurant any night you wanted. A lot of the other resorts had restrictions on things that ours didn't.
We were so happy with everything and thank you so much for your help. If you have specific questions about any of the things we did there or anything, please just let me know. I'm sure you will hear from us in the future!
Christine & Phil
Hi Carol.... The trip was just wonderful!! Kevin and I are definately going back! My Mom and Dad said it was everything and more than they expected! They loved the hotel. It really was very nice. The trolley company was sold to someone else, so we had a little mix up on Saturday. We bought tickets for the wrong one on Saturday, because that is the one we took from the hotel. Turned out fine...then one Sunday we went on the one you got us passes for. Both were different and very nice. I'd say the one you put us on was better. It was a double decker bus and very nice tour. It was also good for 2 days instead of just one, but didn't end up using the second day. We rented the van and went to Mt Vernon...just beautiful.
The weather couldn't have been better. Flying in to Reagan was sooooooo worth it. It really works out nice, not so hectic. My parents were thrilled and exhausted by the time we got home! Kevin and I are going to Duluth for a couple days in July just to relax! Family trip was wonderful, but sitting on the balcony looking at Lake Superior sounds pretty good.
Thanks again for all of your help Carol.
You'll be the first to know about our next adventure.