Europe Here We Come!
You may have heard the news – Europe is reopening this summer. Eager travelers finally have something to look forward to. I can tell you from experience that you should start to plan now, as weary but ready travelers are doing. The phones in my office have suddenly sprung to life with plans for this year through 2023!
Of course, there are concerns about safety and constantly changing regulations, but the key here is – if you are vaccinated and healthy – it’s a go! We are one step closer to normalcy, thankfully. It is time for bucket-list trip planning.
If ever there was a perfect time for a guided vacation, this is it. We have planned a series of small group, exciting travel programs in places like Croatia, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland. There are capacity regulations – we have limited our departures to 18 persons. If you can’t take your favorite travel advisor along with you, a guided vacation seems like the next-best thing.
In the past year, nature has had an opportunity to recover and we have lots of outdoor places to explore, like turquoise Plitvice (Plitvicky) Lake in Croatia, or the scenic hills of Killarney in Ireland. Limited capacity in indoor spaces, small group adventures await.
Read what we have in store, and call us 516 248 2042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am starting a series of learning webinars about different destinations. This month's feature is Scotland. Beautiful Scotland, home to highland cattle, Outlander, highland games and stunning scenery.
My Trip on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2
I have always thought that a trip on a Cunard ship would be like a visit to my Grandmother’s house – with Victorian décor to match. I had heard stories of elaborately dressed ladies in formal dress, and men in tails with ballroom skills dancing the night away, white glove dinner service, and other extravagances. Not exactly my speed. I could not have been more wrong.
I had a wonderful time on the Queen Mary 2, which conveniently left close to home. I sailed on the Fireworks cruise to Boston, Canada and Newport over the 4th of July holiday.
The QM 2 is a cruiseliner, made for transatlantic voyages, so it is sturdier than your average cruise ship. There was none of that rocking and rolling you experience, especially as you leave New York harbor. It was a completely smooth voyage. The decor is very musch "grand ocean liner" with beautiful wood paneling and giant murals. Even the art gallery had tasteful pieces for sale.
With about 2,600 passengers on board, it never felt crowded, and there was never a wait for anything. It was all very relaxed and well organized. Even the disembarkation processed was civilized. A usual QM2 voyage would have mainly UK guests, but this cruise had the majority of Americans, with fewer Brits.
I was recuperating from eye surgery, so what better way to relax than on board a luxurious cruise ship. There was nothing to do but chill out and enjoy the world class lectures (Jim Kennedy, the former head of NASA was a guest speaker), great food, wonderful weather – and the scenery. They even have a planetarium on board, and there were two different star shows while we were on board. Two formal nights, and a roaring 20’s party, where everyone dressed up, were fun. There were professional dancers on board, of “Dancing with the Stars” quality, who were fun to watch.
On our week long cruise, we had just three ports to visit. The first was Halifax, where we rented a car and drove to nearby Lunenberg, a quaint port town with colorful clapboard houses and shops, a whaling museum and enough to entertain us for a few hours.
On July 4th, we were in Boston, both for daytime activities, and for the fireworks across Boston harbor. Frankly, I was underwhelmed by the fireworks, particularly we were so far away from the action.
It was foggy when we reached Newport, but we did eventually get into the port, with enough time to explore the waterside shops and restaurants.
Back on board, we had afternoon tea every day, and unlimited soft-serve ice cream (my favorite). The food, in general was good, a notch above other cruiselines like Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
One nice thing about traveling with a group is that you always have someone to have dinner with, or to do something with, but you can be on your own if you like. There were just 5 of us in the group this time – Helen, Avia, Diane, my husband (in a rare appearance) and myself, so we had a large dinner table with a couple from England. It made for some interesting conversations – about Meghan and baby Archie, Trump, Brexit and more
The only drawback to the whole trip was reaching the ship’s departure point in the far end of Brooklyn (Red Hook). All in all though, I would sail on Cunard again (and we just might – stay tuned).
People often ask me how many countries I've been to. Here is my list, and it's growing!
Where I have been
Isle of Man
Papua New Guinea
Turks and Caicos
US Virgin Islands