Monday, September 10, 2012

Crystal Cruises Unveils It's Living Wall

LOS ANGELES, September 10, 2012 – In an industry first, ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises has unveiled the world’s first self-contained, free-standing living wall at sea, created and crafted by UK-based ANS Group Europe.  ANS Group Europe spent two days installing the living wall on the 922-guest Crystal Symphony as the ship sailed from Portland to Dover to complete its 11-night “British Isle Brilliance” voyage.











Monday, August 20, 2012

Virtuoso Adventure Travel Specialist Training

One of my favorite areas of travel is adventure and experiential travel and every year when I attend Virtuoso Week at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the VAST Globetrotting event is always a highlight. VAST, which stands for Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel, is comprised of thirty eight companies in the Virtuoso network from all over the world and with all different specialties.

The World is VAST for Largay's Top Travel Advisors


One of my favorite areas of travel is adventure and experiential travel and every year when I attend Virtuoso Travel Week at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the VAST Globetrotting event is always a highlight. VAST, which stands for Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel, is comprised of thirty eight companies in the Virtuoso network from all over the world and with all different specialties.
Gail, Ken and Honey- Largay Travel Advisors 
These companies offer clients experiences that range from skiing to heli-hiking to yoga trips and more. Although these companies are a small segment of the entire Virtuoso Portfolio, the advisors who sell them are passionate in a big way. These companies are the best-of-the-best when it comes to adventure travel and the advisors realize that knowing every detail about them is imperative to their clients satisfaction.


What makes VAST training truly special is the time and effort that each company puts into their booth so the advisors can get a true feel for what their company is all about. I mean really, how can you not fall in love with Africa when you are sitting in front of a campfire with a beautiful view of the Masi Mara with a story teller from African Travel giving you the ins and outs of safari travel. Pictured to the right is Gail Rosenberg, Ken Sause and Honey Mistry, three of Largay Travel’s best African specialists.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bermuda is THE Family Vacation Paradise


We arrived to Bermuda aboard the Enchantment of the Seas, a large Royal Caribbean ship that sails out of Baltimore, MD.  We docked at King’s Wharf which overlooks the historical Royal Naval Dockyard.   Boasting Bermuda’s largest museum, a marina, a shopping mall, restaurants, and an authentic British pub, Dockyard is one of Bermuda’s key attractions. We ventured to the Bermuda National Museum where the Dolphin Quest is located.  The dolphins which have been trained from birth are very friendly and amusing.  This is a must-do in my opinion!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Touring St. Herman's Cave in Belize


Today we met our tour guide Omar Deras at the entrance to St. Herman’s Cave in the Blue Hole National Park.  St. Herman’s Cave is of great archaeological interest. It was used by the Maya during the Classic Period up to 2,000 years ago.  The ancient Maya believed that caves, particularly those with rivers flowing through and out of them, were entrances to the underworld, Xibalba. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sagamore Hotel at Lake George Host Largettes and Larguys


On Friday, April 27th, Largay Travel will host its annual company retreat. The Sagamore Resort and Hotel will serve as the backdrop for the Largettes as they work with each other and travel suppliers to improve their already incredible skills and abilities. Suppliers attending the annual gathering include, Adventures by Disney, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Micato, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Tauck World Discovery, Travel Impressions, Travelex, and Virtuoso. Over the course of the weekend the Suppliers will showcase their travel offerings, while the Largay Travel team assesses each, in order to strengthen their understanding of each supplier’s market. This way, customers will be directed to the best tour or cruise for them, based on their own travel desires. Company Vice President Amanda Kilmak is very enthusiastic and optimistic about the weekend.
“Our company retreat is a way for us to improve our business on every level. We get to work with each other and enhance our abilities as travel advisors, we get to work with our travel suppliers and see how they have changed and evolved for the future. This year we are giving the suppliers incentive to really WOW us but rating their presentations. Our ultimate goal is to find better ways to serve our clients, and what better way than to pull all the pieces together for an annual tune up.”
All in all, the annual retreat looks to be successful, enjoyable and very productive as it is every year.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas: BIG done Very, Very well!

When I first 1st learned that the Allure of the Seas accommodates in excess of 6000 passengers and has a crew of 2500+, I was initially tempted to QUICKLY jump ship & swim for shore. After all, I was interested in a cruise not a stampede- what I envisioned at dinner time would be the Caribbean equivalent of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Oh how wrong I was.

There is no denying it; it has the title of ‘World’s Largest Cruise ship’ because it is, but big in this case is not synonymous with bad or inferior. Quite the contrary, after having a look around, I was pleasantly surprised that the ship was designed & strategically divided into what can best be described as neighborhoods complete with names such as Central Park, and the Boardwalk. Central Park was home to a number of intimate, alternative restaurants and a fabulous wine bar proudly displaying the world’s largest bottle of Cabernet!



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Backroads Biking Adventure through Calgary


Each time I consider taking an active vacation there are some immediate  questions/concerns that surface prior to taking the trip itself: have I chosen the right company, have I chosen the correct trip for me in regards to activity levels,  geographic venues, style/levels of hotels? What will my group of fellow travelers/adventures be like? Most importantly, HOW GOOD WILL THE TOUR DIRECTORS/GUIDES BE?!

 Prior to ultimately selecting the back roads Canadian Rockies biking trip, I spent considerable time seeking answers to all my aforementioned questions. I knew I wanted a physically challenging program that had multiple options for both longer & shorter days on the bike. I wanted (4-5) star hotel properties.  I wanted nightly fine wine & dining opportunities. I wanted less travelled country roads. I wanted magnificent scenery and authentic wildlife encounters. I wanted moderate temperatures conducive to long days on the saddle. I guess you could say, like most folks, I essentially wanted it all…


Back roads and the National Parks of Canada didn’t disappoint & delivered in style.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Disney's Dream Cruises the "High Seas" to the Caribbean


What cruise line could possibly think of having fireworks (yes, fireworks!) at sea, a pirate dance party on the pool deck, Captain Jack’s special appearance, a water slide flowing across both sides of the ship and even OVER the edge? Of course, it’s Disney, with the entrance of its new ship into the fleet, the ‘Disney Dream’.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Small Fleets with Big Hawaiian Adventures on American Safaris Cruises


If you ask me, choice is one of life’s greatest challenges because eventually, by its very definition, you need to make one! So, here I am again, it’s another year, with another February vacation opportunity; ultimately another choice needs to be made. Oh where oh where should I go this year? And what should I do once I get there? Said the cobbler’s son :))
Well, after reviewing multiple options, translated professional & personal zip code fantasies, I’ve decided upon a rediscovery tour of the Hawaiian Islands. The 1st runners up, The Maldives, Tahiti, Dubai, etc., etc., etc, will just have to take their rightful, patient place in my traveler’s universal category of ‘must see & do, just not now!’

 
I describe my choice as a “rediscovery of the Hawaiian Islands” because I’ve been fortunate to have traveled there several times on traditional, multiple Island hopper itineraries-staying a few days on one Island and then taking a puddle skipping transfer to another. Can you say fly & flop? But this time, I wanted to see it from what I anticipated would be a unique and rewarding perspective: from the vantage point of cruising on an ultra yacht.
The ship we (my significant only Ms. Reenie is always at my side)! Chose, the Safari Explorer, was one of three ships in the fleet from American Safari Cruises. Can you/should you call it a fleet if there are only three vessels?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cayo District, Nature Reserve in Western Belize

Today we visited the Cayo District in the western part of Belize close to the Guatemalan border.  As we drove from the coast to the west, we were marveled by the beautiful hills and mountains rich in green dense jungle.  From the humblest of beginnings Chaa Creek Cottages has grown into a 365 acre private nature reserve offering a range of exciting, educational adventures, expeditions and cultural experiences.

The Natural History Centre, Butterfly Farm, Conference Centre, Macal River Camp bungalows, Rainforest Medicine Trail, Organic Maya Farm, eco-friendly Hilltop Spa and swimming pool are linked by miles of beautiful jungle trails perfect for bird watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, or just strolling through a pristine rainforest. The canoes remain the most popular way to explore the river and enjoy scenic excursions into San Ignacio Town.  The Chaa Creek region has been a hub of Maya civilisation for thousands of years.   They are now internationally recognised for providing an authentic Maya experience, and already this year played host to leading Mayanist and author Dr Mark Van Stone as well as a team from National Geographic magazine. Throughout 2012 they will be offering unique Maya tours, presentations, events and activities, culminating in the grand Winter Solstice celebrations on December 21.  They offer the Reef and Rainforest Tour where you can combine a true Caribbean getaway with a Maya experience.

Xunantanich, the tallest Mayan Ruin in Belize



Xunantanich, located in the Cayo District is the tallest Mayan Ruin in Belize.


We made the steep, but short, climb to the top of “El Castillo.” This vantage point provides a breathtaking, 360 degree, panoramic view over the jungle canopy
of the Macal, Mopan and Belize River valleys, as well as a vast area of the Guatemalan Peten District, which is only a few miles away. You will also get a close look at the restored portions of two unique stucco friezes, which appear on the east and west sides of the upper portion of the pyramid.

Located in the Cayo District in western Belize, Xunantunich is easily accessible. Most of the lodging facilities in the area offer day trips to the site, which is very popular with all tourists in the region.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's for lunch in Belize, Central America?

Lunch served by beautiful Mayan ladies dressed in white dresses with bright floral accents.  The dishes were typical of the Latin culture.



Salbutes stuffed with pico de gallo, cabbage, and chicken


Ceviche with plantain chips



Chicken soup with cabbage and potatoes

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spelunking in Belize


I felt like Indiana Jones. I even had the obligatory chapeau, although in this case, it was a hard hat equipped with a headlamp. Actun Tunichil Muknal, or ATM, is only one of the many unique excursions one can take from the Cayo district in Belize.

The full day excursion started with a 40 minute hike, complete with three river crossings, to the staging area, where we quickly scarfed down box lunches and strapped on our equipment. Then we climbed down a hill and literally swam into the cave. Once inside, we alternated between walking, swimming, crawling and climbing. Definitely a challenge, mentally and physically (if you are an almost middle aged average Josephina)!

Of course, there were numerous stalagmites and stalactites. But, the true reward was the treasure trove of Mayan pottery and human sacrificial remains. I had been concerned that viewing the skeletons would seem irreverent and overly voyeuristic. But, the requirement that all hikers remove their shoes and the accompanying educational commentary insured proper decorum. My children, ages 20, 18 and 16, having been blessed with many wonderful trips during their short lifetimes, declared that ATM was truly one of best, most unique experiences.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway in Arizona


Twice a year I travel to sunny Scottsdale for my TAMS (Travel Agency Management Solutions) meeting.  Traditionally, my trip has involved a long connecting flight followed by two days of intense and enlightening meetings which leave me thoroughly drained as I rush home to return to the office with a notebook full of ideas and a body full of exhaustion.  This hurried pace often leaves little time for reflection and pondering about how I will once again take on the world of travel.  However, on my most recent trip to Scottsdale in February, I decided that a few days after my meeting with my significant only, Gary, and visit the immense beauty of Sedona, Arizona was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Goldman "Family Mission" to Israel


FACT: Goldmans don’t gush. I, in particular, tend to be a woman of few words, especially in the company of my ever-loquacious family. For some odd reason, however, I desire to memorialize my feelings our family trip to Israel.
I have had the privilege of traveling extensively, both in the United States and abroad. Without exception, I enjoy my jaunts during the time of the travel and lament their end once I return home. This Israel experience, however, is quite a different matter. It has “legs.” Every moment was jam packed with adventure, history and just plain fun. Now that I am home, I find myself reliving and analyzing each day.
A trip to Israel usually requires overcoming some mental obstacles. I will admit to a few, although security was not one of them. I felt sure that the Israeli government and Tourist Board would ensure that visitors not find themselves in harm’s way. The first concern was the very title of the trip, “ Family Mission.” The word “mission” sticks in my craw, in the same manner as the hackneyed terms “closure” and “giving back.” Sure, I had a “mission,” to see the country, each kosher meat, learn some history, spend time with family and friends, and stimulate the economy with excessive purchases of jewelry, food and object d’art. Nothing altruistic or ego-gratifying.
The Goldman Family in Israel