Luxury Travel Advisor
Derek Schemonitz's: TRIP TALK
LATEST post: 8/21/19
I'm very happy of the trips that my clients enjoy through me, and even more pleased to share their direct comments & feedback.
Hello Derek,We had a fantastic time in Greece. We were pleasantly surprised that most of the Greek people spoke English. In addition, wherever we went, the food and wine were excellent especially the wine and we miss it.I highly recommend the hotel in Athens. It was only 2 short blocks away from the Plaka and we loved the Plaka section. The hotel had a pool and a spectacular view of the Acropolis. This hotel was an ideal location for us. The Acropolis was awesome. You can easily walk to the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis plus see Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus from the hotel.We recommend the 3 day tour that we took. We had a chance to experience the peninsula and the mountain regions. It was great. Olympia and the first Olympic village was awesome. It was an amazing feeling to run in the area where the first Olympics were held. Just wondering the tour was separated into 2 groups. One group stayed at the better hotels and that is the ones we stayed at. Did you do this for us because hotels were fantastic with great meals and better views from each room’s balcony.We really enjoyed our cruise on the Harmony V. We liked the atmosphere of the yacht and became friends with a couple from Australia and California. We enjoyed visiting all of the islands. Our favorite island was the small island of Hydra and wished we could have spent more time there instead of Naplion. Santorini proved too crowded for us. Other favorite islands were Mykonos and Crete. We had a wonderful time swimming on the beach in Crete.You were right about the winds. We had to do the cruise in reverse. One night it was so rough Steve rolled from one side of the bed to the other, but we laughed about it.Steve and I want to thank you for all your help in making this a fabulous vacation, but Italy is still our favorite.
Paris & Dubrovnik
We had a grand time in Paris & Dubrovnik!
The hotel in Paris was excellent, perfect location and stylish, just down Champ d’Mars from the Eiffel Tower….absolutely perfect hotel. Dubrovnik hotel was along the coastline overlooking the sea. Lovely hotel and you got us a sea view room, beautiful!
We took boats from Dubrovnik to a few very nice beaches and enjoyed our time at them as well. Weather was great, and flying over on Tyrolean Airways was wonderful and much better than when we flew back on United. Your private transfers worked out perfectly, always on time and exactly where they were supposed to be. I can’t say enough how great everything was and everything you arranged & booked was excellent. Thank you!
A weekend in New York City
Appreciated your note. Great weekend in the city. Everything went off without a hitch - the seats for the show were fantastic. Although I have to tell you Time Square in the day or night is another universe. Loved the hotel location, although the room was a bit small. The service was great and a wonderful experience of old NYC. Even mastered the subways.
Don and Lin E.
I just wanted to let you know that Rachel and I had a great time on our trip to Europe. Everything turned out perfectly and we didn't have any problems. Thank you so much for all of your help planning everything for us. We really appreciate all the effort you went through to make sure we had a great trip.
[They went to Paris, Rome & Sorrento, on a personalized customized itinerary.]
Trip to Italy
We had a fabulous vacation in Italy! The itinerary was perfect. We had enough of time in each city to enjoy the sights without feeling rushed. We enjoyed the flow of the itinerary – visiting Positano after our full schedule in Florence gave us a chance to relax and unwind in the most beautiful spot in the world!
We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to travel between cities on the train. Using a car service made our travels stress-free. All of the drivers were punctual, entertaining and acted as our personal tour guides as they drove us to our next destination.
It is difficult to choose our favorite city or excursion because we thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Our day trip to Tuscany was delightful, especially since it was a small group – just six of us. The countryside was beautiful and the wine tasting event was fun! And we are happy that you suggested a tour of Pompeii. Our guide was amazing.
The hotel in Florence was our favorite hotel. The location was ideal and the staff was so helpful and friendly. We would definitely stay there again.
THANK YOU for planning an amazing vacation for us!
Mark & Karen S.
It was such a nice surprise to get your note when I returned from Bulgaria on Sunday. First and foremost, Derek, you did a wonderful job of arranging everything.
The driver was there at the airport with my name on a card, you picked the absolute perfect hotel, right on the pedestrian walkway so we were close to everything and could spend our evenings just strolling outside and both of the tours were also perfect. The guides were knowledgeable and personable and I felt like I had made new friends.
Finally, my airport pick up came right on time and in fact, since he wasn't sure what terminal my flight would leave from, he came in with me to make sure he didn’t strand me in the wrong place. I left my son there for his year as a Fulbright scholar and I hope to go back to visit again. If and when I do, you will be the first person I call to make the arrangements. The fee for your service was so worth the benefits we gained. The trip was flawless.
Again, thank you for your assistance and if there is any way I can help promote your business, I am happy to be a reference.
Client: Lisa .K
I wanted to send you a note to thank you for helping us plan our trip to London. We enjoyed every moment of it. The hotel was in an excellent location, walking distance to everything we wanted to do, great recommendation. All of our tours were great as well, the tour guides were very knowledgeable and they made it well worth the trip. We ended up signing up for another tour that we learned about while on the Buckingham Palace tour, we did the “War rooms” from Winston Churchill era.
Also, for my sister’s 50th birthday, I plan on taking her to Paris for a week, so I will be calling you again to help me plan that trip as well. And any trip in between.
Royal Caribbean European Cruise
I just wanted to touch base with you concerning our recent cruise. I want to thank you for all of your planning for my wife and I because the trip was awesome. The hotel in London was the perfect location and the private driver to the ship was worth every penny. Everything went smoothly from start to finish and the bonus was we were upgraded to Business Class from London to Toronto. Not a bad way to travel.
Again, thanks for everything. Keep up the great work.
Thank you so much for helping us plan our European vacation! We had such a fabulous time. It was far greater than we had anticipated. Globus is first rate and so are you!!
Joni & Carl C.
I just wanted to let you know that everything worked out. The places we saw were incredible. The hotels were all very nice. My favorite hotel was in Rome. The staff there were so incredibly kind. I was worried that the family would be bored on the tour to Pompeii but they loved it. When we were on our boat tour to Capri I thought I was in a Fantasy Island episode. Words can not explain, photos can't capture how wonderful it was there.
Thank you for your assistance,
Hi Derek,I thought you might like a report on your recommendations for our recent trip to Italy.The hotel in Venice was great! Rooms were very nice, and were sufficiently large. Staff and desk employees were fluent in English and could not have been more helpful. Breakfasts were amazing. Delicious and bountiful. The "internets" (as the Italians call it) were not so good, but I find this to be the case wherever we were in Italy. The internet did not work in the rooms, but (sometimes) one could get a connection in the lobby. Nevertheless, the staff were very helpful and tried to get us connected in the rooms. I think this is just an Italian problem--no big deal.We also liked the hotel because mosts guests were from English speaking nations: New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, few Americans. I know that some prefer to be in hotels where there are more Italians, but we liked being with English speaking people. It was a great experience. Also...the location is perfect and easy to find. The hotel is probably equal distance from the Rialto and San Marco. My goodness...how crowded Venice is, but how happy everyone is to be there.We also got to experience "high" water and had to take our shoes off to get back to our hotel since San Marco Square and surrounding places were flooded. It was kind of festive and lovely to see. I've been to Venice five times and have never experienced high water--rare in May. The train ride was lovely from Florence.As for the the transports to and from the hotel: Our departure from Venice with David was a good experience. David offered to help with luggage, helped assist us getting into the boat, and was extremely courteous and reassuring. The transfer from the boat to the van and to the airport went extremely smoothly.Thanks so much Derek. I will definitely call on your services again. We had a wonderful trip.With kind regards.Karen .Y
The vacation was awesome!! Verysad that it is over. The place was so nice and the food was great.
Also, the bartenders and waiters/waitresses were very good and superfriendly.
I would definitely go back!!
Thank you so much for your help!
Dreams Palm Beach, Punta Cana
Derek,It was terrific, we had a great time. Beautiful place.
Budapest, Vienna & Prague
Hi Derek:It was wonderful. You did a great job at picking out hotels and the transportation was flawless, never even one minute of waiting time. The Cities were beautiful and we had a great time.
Again, thank you Derek. I’ll be calling you again next year to plan my next trip.
Breathless Punta Cana
Our vacation to Breathless was perfect; thanks for all your help! Breathless was a great, fun location. We have no complaints and enjoyed every minute of it. We did an excursion to Santo Domingo, which was long, but well worth it. We also did the Dune Buggy excursion,which was invigorating.
We'll book through you again in the future.
Hi Derek !
Everything went better than we could have ever expected. This was absolutely the very best trip and golfing we ever experienced. I cannot thank you enough for all your help getting this coordinated for us !
We will be in touch with plans for our next vacation. We cannot think of a location that would exceed Pebble Beach, so if you have recommendations, please let us know !
Thank you SO very much ~
Kim and Pat
Celebrity Alaska Cruisetour
I enjoyed the vacation very much. Alaska is truly the last frontier in America with much beautiful wilderness. A truly unique and memorable experience.
The best part was the overland 4 day trip extension. We really enjoyed thescenic train ride and the Gold Dredge. Today, Mary Lou put on the necklace she bought to hold our big score on gold flakes from the goldpanning demo. That was probably the most memorable part of all.
All the ports of call were enjoyable. I can understand how a ship is the most practical way to reach them. Celebrity Cruise line could have done a better job of communicating. The left hand and right hand have no ideawhat the other is doing. I understand that they staff with many contractors who are focused on only their own part. This poorcommunication led to much uncertainty and stress on our part. Mary Lou had suggested that a seminar for first time floaters might have helped. The room service was friendly and personal, but again they focused onlyon their piece. We felt no personal connection to the management. Wefelt a bit like cattle.
I am very glad we did the trip.
Some folks had been on this same cruise many times. They certainly loveit. I don't believe we will be eager to try Celebrity Cruise Lineagain.
The first night in Vancouver was very pleasant. Thank you for arranging the Pan Pacific hotel.
Thank you for arranging a nice vacation.
We highly recommend the economyplus seating.
Roppongi:we enjoyed this area, went to Mori tower and Tokyo Sky View. Charge at the door for inside view and charge to go up onto roof. Worth the visit, great views of city. Ninja restaurant was fun, but more for kidswith families.
We visited the Shinjuku areaon Sunday. We had lunch at the Park Hyatt NYC bar, visited their Central Park, Shibuya, Harajuku...etc.
Fish market: we arrived early and had a sushi breakfast. Very interesting part of town, soon to be dismantled from what we understood. We loved walking around the outside market and seeing the vendors. There is alot to eat, and buy. I loved it!
Even though the tour took us to Asakusa Kannon and Nakamise arcade, we went on our own before the tour started. I'm glad we did, as we did and saw more this way without the tour due to having more time. We also tried to have lunch in Jimbocho. This part of town was confusing, we ended up just leaving. We heard great things about a place called Craft Beer Market, sorry tohave missed out.
Tuesday we checked out of ANAand into the Hilton. All of the hotels on the trip were spectacular. We walked around Shibuya and Shinjuku again, then got ready for Robot Restaurant. That was amazing! We finished off the night in Golden Gai. I felt safe and secure in all areas of Tokyo at any time of day. Golden Gai, even though it's a grid of tiny bars, you feel safe.
The tour was wonderful! I can't tell you enough that I loved it. The schedule seemed to be tight on paper, but it never felt like that during our traveling time.
If anyone has any questions regarding the trip or our experiences, please feel free togive them my email. This was worth the time and effort to get there.
Japan is extremely clean, friendly, and helpful. I would go back in aheartbeat.
Let me know if you have any questions. I had an amazing vacation!
Thank you again for all of your help! I made a good choice in my agent. Thank you!!!
San Juan + Royal Caribbean Southern Caribbean Cruise
We had a wonderful time. TheIntercontinental Hotel was absolutely gorgeous. We spent most of our time in their different pools and ate a few times at their beach front restaurant.The cruise port of calls were great. We endedup doing an excursion at every port. The only things we were disappointed in was the actual boat -- It only had 5 places to eat (including a burger place and a very very small snack shop), and the activities on-board. It seemed like a large amount of the activities were geared towards spending more money.
Overall, we had a fantastic time, but I think we will do another Norwegian Cruise before we head back to Royal Caribbean .
Napa & Hawaii
The trip was great. Everything went reasonably smoothly as for the flights and accommodations. We LOVED the Meritage!
Waikiki was nice but a bit busy for my taste. The Hyatt at Waikiki was nice enough but the Meritage and the Hyatt in Maui were much more impressive.
We ABSOLUTELY LOVED Maui. Maui just took our breathe away.Thank you for all of your help.John J.
Yangtze River Cruise + Beijing/Xian/Shanghai
What a wonderful experience.
We made it back late last night. Most flights were right on time and the connections and arrangements in China were excellent.
We all had a great time, the food was great, hotels top quality, tour guide outstanding. We visited all the major tourist sites and were exposed to the Chinese culture.
Shanghai is an amazing city, our favorite, with its Bund walkway along the river and fabulously interesting skyscrapers.
What I personally liked the most was interactingwith the people. Everywhere, the Chinese people were so incredibly friendly.
So, again, thank you for all of your assistance.
Rome, Venice, Paris & London
Derek,Here is a summary of the highlights from our vacation. Hope that it helps you.Rome: The hotel was wonderful. The rooms had ample space for two guests and very clean. The breakfast which was included was amazing and consisted of hot and cold selections. The service at the hotel was excellent too - very helpful on all accounts. We found that the location was very favorable also. It was an easy walk to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, and Pantheon area. We would definitely stay there again.Private Tour of Vatican Museums and Coliseum: The tour guide Paula was awesome. She was extremely knowledgable and passionate about Roman history. She also was very accommodating to the needs of our group. The day was very hot and long so we would suggest two half days if time allows. Also, it would have been nice to have the catacombs under St. Peters to be included. Overall, the tour was a wonderful experience due to the knowledge and passion that the tour guide expressed throughout the whole day.Venice: The hotel was in need of some remodeling. The air-condition did not work efficiently in a few of the rooms. The breakfast was good including cold selections. The location was excellent. It was a very short walk to San Marco square.Water Taxi to and from the hotel: It was very pricey, but it was well worth it. The contact Christian was very helpful and was fantastic at the airport on our departure from Venice.Private Walking Tour of Venice: The tour guide Frederica was amazing. We were able to see many of the highlights of Venice in a short time. Her knowledge of Dodges Palace and San Marco Church was impressive along with her passion for Venice.Paris: The hotel was very nice. It was clean and in a great location. It was a block away from a few underground metro stations and the train station to Normandy. The location allowed us to get around Paris very easily. Both families were in family suites that included a main door that lead to two separate rooms each with beds and their own bathrooms. This set-up was very helpful when traveling with children, but one of the two rooms in each family suite was very small. There was an outside courtyard on the ground floor which was lovely. We would stay here again.Louvre Museum Audio Tour: It was disappointing. It was extremely difficult to follow the map with the audio recordings. Some of the group decided not to use the audio recordings, and they enjoyed it on their own.Paris Tour: The tour was a wonderful experience. Again our tour guide was very knowledgable about Paris. It included a whole tour of the city of Paris plus we stopped at Notre Dame and had lunch at the Eiffel Tower. The lunch at Eiffel Tower that was included was surprisingly very good. The tour included a Seine River Cruise too. The boat tour was not very informative, but it was relaxing to see some of the sights from the day from the river.Private Tour of London: It was great tour of the London. Again, the tour guide was very knowledgable. We were able to see all the major highlights of London.Sincerely,The Families of Bill & Laura M. / James & Val R.(This itinerary was for 3 families, consisting of 13 travelers overall)
Avalon on the Danube
We are back and resting. Despite the pickpockets and low water on the Danube we had a great trip (the water dropped too low forus to get to Nuremberg and we stopped and Vilshoven for a day and a half). The weather was good, although very hot on the middle days of the trip. Never saw more than a sprinkle of rain.
We had mixed reactions to the group tour leaders - some were hard to understand even with the Whispers. Others were just great - a wealth of knowledge.
We did end up talking with another couple on the next to the last day in Prague - at the Folk Food and Dance event (great evening). This was their third river tour and they had taken one on Viking. They said that Avalon was the best, food and organization - nice affirmation for us to hear.
We are already talking about our next trip.
Thanks for everything,
Paris & Italy
Just wanted to thank you for everything. The trip was fantastic! The hotels were excellent with one exception. The hotel in Milan was a great location but the room was dated and the queen bed consisted of the uncomfortable singles pushed together.
The people at the hotel in Paris were verynice and actually upgraded us after the passport mishap. The Paris passwas well worth it.
In Florence, the hotel was great for both location and accommodations. (I was also amused that the lead character in the Dan
Brown novel "Inferno" that I was reading stayed there in the book.)
The wine and food tour was great and Martine was an excellent guide.
Naples was a mess and the driver there was greatly appreciated, particularly when dealing with the local mafia and gang reps who were"selling" tissues to drivers at risk of getting their cars keyed while standing in traffic.
Anicapri was fabulous. The hotel was excellent. Very modern, great pool and service.
The trains are wonderful- clean, comfortable, fast and on time. The hotel in Rome was very nice and the rooftop bar was greatly appreciated after getting a little lost in our walking travels. The Vatican tour actually ended up going 7 hours but the guide, John, was excellent -- Very knowledgeable andinformative.
All in all, a great trip.
Thanks again. All the best,
Joe and Anita M.
Now Larimar, Punta Cana
It was great!
We loved it and had an awesome time!
The resort was very nice and so was all of the staff, and we enjoyed our excursions.
Thanks for all of your help, again!
UK Tour: England, Ireland & Scotland
We had a wonderful time. I think Ireland was our favorite place but we enjoyed all of the places we went. We definitely recommend Globus. Our tour director was really helpful and kept us moving.
Thank you for recommending the fast pass for the London Eye. I think we would still be waiting there if we didn't have that. Our hotel in London was really centrally located and was next to the London Eye. It was easy to get most everywhere.
Still deciding on a little trip next year so I will let you know when we decide. Sort of thinking of going to the hot air balloon fiesta in New Mexico. Then, either Norway or Austria and Switzerland.
I'll be in touch.
(Client travel photo inclusion: Ring of Kerry, Ireland)
We are enjoying today- our anniversary and our last day in Italy- here in Tremezzo after spending a good bit of the day visiting Bellagio and other lake towns.
We want the tell you what a fantastic time we have had and what great accommodations and arrangements you made for us. On the whole things have been tremendous.
Thank you so much for all your good work on our behalf! Of course we will continue to refer our friends your way as well.
(Photo: Tremezzo, Italy: Lake Como)
"Our driver who stayed with us throughout program was excellent, he was incredible and went out of the way to communicate the language with relatives, joining us for lunch with family, and spoke very good english.
This was a trip of a lifetime, our tour was wonderful and our 4th time traveling with Classic Journeys.
The hotels were very good, and the owners were amazing. In the countryside location the owner went out to vineyard and brought us back bottles of wine. In Orvieto the hotel owner helped us in recommendations and very knowledgable on Orvieto. In Milan we were upgraded to a Mini-suite at no additional cost, due to our concern of potential small room upon arrival.
Overall an incredible trip to Italy, which may be our last to the country, and we wanted it to be the best. You and the services you arranged made it so. Thank you.
Photo: Orvieto & countryside.
Sorry it took so long to answer back.
We had an absolutely fantastic time. Everything worked out just fine. The hotels were great, the tours were fantastic, and the down time in between tours was just perfect.
In fact, we will be traveling to London in June, and would love to have you plan a week in London and surrounds for us.
Also, there is a possibility that we will both be going to India (I have a conference in March). Could you help with a week there as well?"
(Photo: Rome, Italy)
I just wanted to let you know that we had a great time in NYC!
Tour of Italy + Budapest
First time international travelers just returned from an escorted tour of Italy, followed by a visit to Budapest. The verbal feedback they shared with me is below:
"Derek the trip was great! Globus was wonderful tour company, and Italy was beautiful. Our tour guides and director were amazing and everything was handled very well.
The driver you got for us in Budapest to visit my husband's family origins hometown was perfect, he was a very nice guy and showed us the hometown and being the weather was 30F, we went to the indoor food hall, instead of the ruins. All in all a wonderful day with him.
Thank you for everything, we will be in touch soon."
My trip was fantastic ---great picks on where to stay, travel and trains. Hiroshima and Miyajima were amazing. We made a side trip to Koyasan – excellent. Insane sushi in Tokyo fish market. Great great fun. Make sure to add Koyasan to your next trip and Lake Ashi --- those were two of our highlights ---and the place you put us in Lake Ashi was spectacular. Everyone we meet traveling from US and all other countries said same thing – getting lost in Japan is just part of traveling there. Loved the people, their helpfulness even though they couldn’t really understand us. Would highly recommend Japan.
Thanks for all your invaluable help.
Photo: (Lake Ashi & Mt. Fuji)
Just a quick note to say the Japan trip was a success and the kids loved it. We are thinking about Australia in 2018. Thanks for everything. We actually had a chance to meet the other family on the Himeji Castle tour which was one of the highlights of the trip. Our kids will be in summer camp together soon. The Japanese style hotel in Hakone was a huge hit as well. We loved that place.
(Photo: Himeji Castle, Japan)
Just wanted to let you know we had a fantastic time in Poland with Collette. It was absolutely wonderful. Hotels were 4 or 5 star, tour was excellent and I can't say enough about the tour director and guides. We are ready to book our next tour with Collette to Croatia now!!
Good afternoon Derek,
Our trip to Banff went very well.
We enjoyed the entire experience. My wife loved the Rim Rock resort!
For our next venture Greenland or Iceland next summer. What's approximate cost for a 7 to 10 day trip there?
Thanks for everything.
Regards Andreas F.
South American Adventure
Everything was fantastic on our South American trip! Monogram had wonderful services throughout the first part of the program in Peru and the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos were so beautiful and amazing, we saw so much sea life and wildlife. It was incredible. Seeing Machu Picchu was eye opening. I will say arriving in Quito late at night was a little sketchy though the hotel was wonderful. Derek this was a great trip, the Belmond at the Iguazu Falls was so classy and beautiful, what a hotel in the perfect location just minutes walk from the falls! With the 2nd half of the trip you arrange the services independently and wow, it was amazing. We loved all the arrangements, 10 stars Derek! The last part of our trip in the Amazon Jungle wow unlike anything we ever experienced before, flying into Manaus and then going down river [wow] to our stay at the amazing Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge. So thrilling and beautiful, our stay there we shall never forget. The local guides were all very professional. Thank you for everything Derek.
Mitch B. & Diane B.
Just wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time on our trip to Italy. Sixteen days was still not enough. This was our 7th Globus tour and with your help and experience everything has gone superbly. You are the best.
We arrived in Venice three days before our tour started. The hotel staff in Venice was very friendly and helpful. Our room had a view of the Grand Canal and it was wonderful. We had a small terrace where we watched the boats go up and down the canal. The hotel was in a great location also and it was easy to take the water bus to Burano island. One of our favorite things was the gondola ride, the bell tower and visiting St. Marks’ cathedral on our own.
We loved the Tuscany region. We enjoyed Siena, Pienza, and Monteriggioni. This region is absolutely beautiful. We signed up for the excursion dinners in Florence and a farm house in Monteriggioni. The food was delicious.
We also loved Rome and the Amalfi coast. In Rome the tour included main sights like the Vatican, the Forum, Colosseum. We also went to the Trevi fountain and threw our 3 coins in the fountain. We also went to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Our hotel in Rome was one and one half blocks from St. Peter’s square. We spent time in St. Peter’s in the evening which was very enjoyable because the crowds were gone. Would recommend spending time at St. Peter’s after 5 p.m. until closing at 7 p.m.
While in Sorrento we went to Capri and took the cruise around Capri which I would recommend to everyone. In the evening the main street was closed to traffic and we had fun promenading with everyone. The tour ended in Sorrento with dinner in O’Parrucchiano restaurant, which is the most beautiful restaurant that I have ever been in because of the beautiful gardens and trees.
After the tour ended, you arranged our stay of 4 more days in Positano. The hotel was excellent hotel with a great location and a friendly staff. The view from our terrace was breathtaking. It turned out that we had a full view of Positano bay which in the evening at sunset is breathtaking. We caught the ferry one day and went to the town of Amalfi which we also enjoyed. All of the Amalfi coast is an amazing place but Positano is our favorite place. It is easy and inexpensive to get a ferry to other towns along the Amalfi coast and would recommend travelers to do that.
Thank you Derek for making the arrangements for us and enabling us to have a memorable and stress free vacation again.
All of your recommendations on flights, transfers and hotels were excellent.
[Photo: Positano from hotel]
Honeymoon to Thailand & China
I hope all is well. Thank you for planning such a spectacular honeymoon for us! We had a wonderful time and saw a lot of amazing things. You have fantastic taste in hotels because we loved every place that we stayed, and they were in awesome locations!
Maggie & Rob M.
[photo: Phuket, Thailand]
Tauck Euro River Cruise
Just wanted to tell you we had a fabulous time on our Tauck River cruise. It was everything we expected and more. We had ideal weather the whole time.
Thank you for all your help in making this happen. If we ever need your services in the future, we will call you!
Andrea and Ted K.
WOW! Breath-taking, incredible, amazing, awesome, educational, exciting, friendly and beautiful…just a few adjectives to describe our “holiday” in Italy! We could not have asked for more except for TIME!!
Where do I start? First of all, thank you for taking care of the plane seating at the last minute! We so appreciate your efforts as it made our flight much more comfortable.
#1: Hotels were 5*! Lovely welcoming staff. Rooms were beautifully appointed along with evening turn-down with little treats and the next day’s weather forecast. Breakfasts were plentiful and delicious; loved the coffee with steamed milk, all the fruits, cheeses and Larry loved having prosciutto in the morning. Hotel in Florence was in a great location; easy to walk all over the city. Same with in Rome. The hotel in Venice was also lovely. And the hotel in Positano was exceptional (Larry’s brother and wife stayed there over 20 years ago!)!
#2: Private transfers – all were helpful, kind and welcoming, especially in Venice and also in Napoli. Made us feel so comfortable. Always there waiting for us; never had a worry in the word. And the trains were great…too bad we don’t have that here in the States.
#3: Tour guides were exceptional. It was obvious that they loved their job and also were so knowledgeable. Groups were no more than 15, except in Pompeii where we had our own private guide who was an archaeologist and works at Herculaneum and Pompeii.
#4: Winery in Castellina in Chianti was just an amazing experience. Met the owner as we arrived and he welcomed us with open arms. This is a gated winery. It is not walk able from Castellina due to the windy narrow road which does have a bit of traffic. Would definitely recommend driving. The wine and the food and the service are a 10!!
#5: Rental CarsHad great cars in both Florence and Rome. We did not have the GPS in Tuscany and did okay. Many of the road signs suddenly disappear and you wonder where you are going. Part of the adventure and we were fine. Siena was a bit confusing yet fabulous! In Rome we opted for the GPS when traveling to Sant’Angelo del Pesco in Eastern Italy. It was a very, very good choice! Would definitely recommend getting GPS whenever renting a vehicle, as it is worth its weight in gold…took us straight to that tiny village in the mountains. Did have a horrendous gasoline experience when we came back to Rome. Many of the little petrol stations run on a computer with one attendant (some have none). Larry opted to pay cash…unfortunately the attendant did not explain that no change would be given. Spent 50 Euros on about 25 Euros of gas! Definitely should have used the credit card! And truly that was the only bad thing that happened in 19 days, so really all was terrific!
Your planning and knowledge made our trip exceptional. We cannot thank you enough for all of your suggestions and advice. As we sat in Rome on our last night, we both said, “We have to go home tomorrow!” We were not ready! We were ready to go to the Laundromat and get our clothes ready to venture on!!
Feel free to share our comments/pictures with your clients. You provided us with the trip of a lifetime!!
All our best for a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas
Jan and Larry N.
Riu Tequila Vacation
We really enjoyed working with you to plan our spring break trip to Playa Del Carmen. You answered all of our emails/phone calls promptly and was very helpful as it was our first time working through a travel agency. You truly went above and beyond. Of the 4 times I've visited Mexico, this time at the RIU Tequila Resort Mexico was the best. Good food, quality drinks, decent entertainment, and beautiful pools/beach. Overall, it was a great trip with wonderful service.
Thanks again, Derek!
Getaway to St. Lucia
Client returns from a stay at the Ladera Resort, a hilltop retreat resort located on the island of St. Lucia...and left this feedback to me, upon on her return.
It was lovely. The resort is so unique and the people are absolutely wonderful. Warm, helpful and kind. It's a very relaxing place to enjoy a tropical rainforest and beautiful sunny beaches all in one day! Just lovely! (Had a great sulfur and mud bath too!)
Thank you for your help!"
Secrets Capri Vacation
New client couple who just returned from a 1 week vacation to Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, wrote me the following feedback to share.
We enjoyed the Secrets Capri resort. The staff was very attentive and they had a nice selection of places to dine. The entertainment that they had was nice. We golfed one day and used the spa one day.
Have a nice holiday weekend,
Jim and Debbie R.
Bora Bora, anyone!?
Clients return from a fantastic exotic honeymoon of 9 nights in French Polynesia, and sent me this feedback upon return!
We had a great trip! Moorea and Bora Bora were absolutely beautiful! The Manava was a beautiful, peaceful resort. We really enjoyed our private plunge pool in our room! We got to swim with sharks and sting rays on a lagoon excursion. We rented a car to explore the island and do some shopping. And, I think Cook's Bay might be the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The Pearl Beach resort in Bora Bora was also very beautiful. Getting picked up by boat from the airport was pretty incredible! We sat outside of our over the water bungalow for hours just relaxing! We rented a car to explore the larger island in Bora Bora and ended up eating at Bloody Mary's twice. The staff at both resorts were very friendly and very accommodating.
We are so glad we had the opportunity to explore both islands!
The entire trip was planned very well! Thank you for all of your help!
The Netherlands - Client Feedback
Repeat clients just return from Amsterdam, where I arranged for them 2 full day private chauffeured drive tours of the countryside, flower gardens, tulip fields and towns. Upon their return, they written me some wonderful feedback!
We had the same driver for all the services - his name was Otto - he was literally the single best driver / guide that we have had on any of our trips to date! He met and exceeded our expectations in every regard.
Please share with his employer our sincere appreciation for his services. Otto made our trip to the Netherlands one of the most memorable trips of our lifetime.
Hope all is well with you.
Switzerland & Austria - Client Feedback
Repeat client returns home from an escorted tour of Switzerland & Austria, to rave review!
Good morning Derek,
It is good to be home safely, but it was a trip of a lifetime. The Collette tour was incredible. I kept thinking it can"t get any better but each day I was amazed of the beautiful mountains , the way the bus driver handled the mountain passes,the fabulous castles, the train rides, Marta our tour director was both full of knowledge and had a great sense of humor.
The hotel accommodations were located in the middle of all the activity it was a wonderful group of people I met some new friends. The morning we were all leaving for the air port, I accidentally left my light weight coat in my room and Marta went to my room and told me she would take it and have it sent to me. It was truly a trip to remember and I am almost over my jet lag. Great job on all the flight connections.
Many thanks for arranging a trip I will never forget!
Trip to Savannah
Repeat clients return from their getaway to Savannah, with this feedback upon return:
"Everything was great! We really had a fun time exploring that wonderful city. I highly recommend the Mansion on Forsyth. It was a fantastic location away from all the noise and tourist areas. Plus the staff was phenomenal and the art gallery on site was amazing. One of the best hotels we ever stayed.
Thanks for the follow up."
Destination Wedding - Punta Cana
Repeat clients return for nice small intimate destination wedding vacation to the Royalton Punta Cana, and had this nice comment upon their return!
"Derek, thanks for your help arranging our trip. We loved the resort. And our wedding coordinator was great. She even went out the night before and got Jen something for her hair. Jen really appreciated what she did. Everything went smooth and easy."
Italia! - Client Feedback
New referral clients return from Italy!
I wanted to put in writing how happy we are with our 11 day trip to Italy. Every detail of our trip was fantastic. When we arrived at the airport and three train stations we had someone waiting for us. The hotel's you put us in were all excellent. The staff and the concierge at the hotel were so helpful. The tours were excellent and so were the guides. The highlight of the trip was the two drivers and trips you planned for us. The first one to wine country and Siena was outstanding, We spent four hours with Anthony who ran the vineyard and I would highly recommend that vineyard in the future. His passion for wine and the food they served was outstanding. Our driver took us to Siena and that guide was the best. What a great town. He also took us to other places and let us walk on our own. The one church on the top of the hill gave us the best view of Florence and going inside was inspirational.
Our trip to Scanno to visit family was remarkable and the driver again was a pro. Both drivers enabled us to see so many unique places but also helped us learn about the Italian culture and political system. We would understand why there were so many churches (like 17 in Siena & 6 in Scanno) but our drives explained to us the churches are funded by the state. Plus we got to spend time with our daughter and when the faculty told her she should come to Scanno with us you helped make it special for her.
Derek you were a 10 out of 10 and you have my highest recommendation. Just perfect. I will refer you to everyone.
Thanks so much. What a phenomenal trip! Great job.
Repeat clients return from Dusseldorf. Where had them stay at the Derag Livinghotel De Medici, and loved it!
"Hi Derek, Wanted to just tell you how excellent the hotel was in Dusseldorf, it was an amazing and beautiful hotel, We loved it!It was in the middle of everything, we enjoyed easy walks to shopping streets, great dining spots and all the sites there were to see in the city.
It is a lovely city, and the hotel was to die for, beautiful inside and out and very luxurious. Top notch Derek!
Thank you and we will be in touch when we are ready to plan our next trip!"
Susan & Fred H.
Family Trip to Paris, Lyon, Athens & Crete
Repeat client family, returned this week from a European customized trip to Paris, Lyon, Athens & Crete!
"Good Morning Derek,
We are all back from the great Vacation you planned.Safe and sound and very happy.I normally come to see you and thank you foran itinerary well done and well planedThanks again by Email
Paris was nice but expensiveLeone was great I would visit again!Elounda Crete was amazing. We loved it!"
Honeymoon to Maui
New clients just returned from Maui, and sent me this excellent in depth happy review!
Hey man, can't thank you enough for creating such a great time for us. After speaking with the Alamo car rental guy he said mention to as many people as you can that you're here for your honeymoon and they'll treat you pretty good. " you might get a free wine bottle at a restaurant" was one of his exact quotes. Easy check in process, and we were on our way to the resort.
First day checked in to the hotel, (mentioned we were on honeymoon) got a free upgrade to a different higher floored room that was still ocean view and boy was it awesome. They also cut the $30 a day resort fee, but did keep the $30 a day valet parking fee. Couldn't see just the ocean but there were plenty of palm trees on the grounds of the hotel that still made it amazing. The grand Wailea was awesome, if normally out of our price range for a usual vacation. We sure did take advantage of it. Room service was amazing and quicker than I imagined. Breakfast was $35 each for the buffet, we did that 2x and it was great both times. That evening we went to Humuhumunukunukuapua'a ( state fish, also had to look up spelling lol) Restaurant and it was one of the best dinners I've ever had in my life. The waitress was amazing and helped explain the menu and made us feel like we were immersed in hawaii and its culture already on the first day.
Second day we just chilled at the resort. Lots of kids and families running around at the lower pool so we moved up the steps to the adults only pool and that was much more relaxing. After doing some research it sounds like Hawaii in general is very kid-friendly, and I know all the travel agents we talked to said there are no adults only resorts in Hawaii. Once we figured out how to navigate around all the youngin's it was fine.
The parasailing experience on the third day was great and would highly recommend them, it was UFO parasail if i remember correctly. Easy check in process, and right outside the main "mall shopping" area on the beach. Could get confusing if you didn't know where you were going, but we found it just fine. Rained in the afternoon which sucked because the Luau got cancelled at the Sheraton, so we had to figure out what to do for dinner on the fly. We found a restaurant, Roy's, close to that area of Hawaii and it was good, but not great. Came as a recommendation from a friend who had been to Maui before.
25th, tuesday we got to the beach early (still on east coast body clock times) which I highly recommend if other people choose this Resort. Pool, beach and chairs/umbrellas fill up quick and we got there around 7am and there were already chairs set up and pool deck spots reserved. Not sure how much cabana or casabella reservations cost, but figure it was out of our price range so we never bothered. In the afternoon we went to Maui Brewing Company, which I highly recommend as well. Great beer selection and the tour guide was awesome. They don't have a restaurant yet but it's currently in the building process. Will definitely be back there if we ever get back to maui.
26th, road to Hana tour was amazing and everything we wanted. Little hiccup in the morning as they got to our hotel 20 minutes late and I started to get worried at about 6:50 when they said 6:40 pickup time. There was another side of the resort we had to get to where valet said tours usually pick people up and "they didn't have a number to call us" which i actually could have sworn i gave to them when i called a few days in advance to reconfirm pickup time and lunch. Picked up a few more people on the way and ended up getting breakfast at a golf course (weird right?) ha but the food was actually really good, i recommend the ham breakfast sandwich over the quesadilla. Our tour guide Brannon, was amazing and so informative (former professor and publisher of two books). He knew so much and all the good stops and even took us on a little side journey to a freshwater cave that is closed to the public after it used to be a tourist attraction previously. Highly recommend doing this for first time Road to Hana tour or we would have been completely lost. He actually said on the tour "sometimes they call it the road to divorce" because newlyweds do it and fight so much over where to go and what to do and directions, etc. It was an all day event so tell people to be ready for that. Pickup at 7am, dropoff around 6:40 pm i think. But we had a blast. Next time we go back we'd do it on our own and do some hiking.
27th, breakfast buffet again, then signed up for a couples massage at Grand Wailea in the afternoon. Whew! expensive! but it was awesome. They have this thing called the "healing waters of Maui" which was fun and different for us both. Massages were great and then at the end they take you out to the Lanai which has an amazing view of the outside landscape of the hotel. Speaking of landscape, walking around the Grand Wailea itself is amazing, so many different paths to walk around and check out the place. That evening we signed up for the luau at the hotel which was a lot of fun. The food was alright, but the entertainment was really good. Not sure what you get with other Luaus, but some google searching led to better reviews of other Luaus in maui.
28th, another beach day, then we went back to Humu... for dinner because it was so good the first time. Luckily it's right on the grounds of the Grand Wailea so we could just walk there. Food again was amazing, we split the big steak dinner if anyone ever asks for recommendations. Seriously one of the best restaurants and two sets of meals we've ever had. expensive but so worth it!
29th, snorkel in the morning- Maui Reef adventures is a newer company and the signage and breakfast points to that. They only had a little table set up with some snacks, and even based on reviews from others I thought we were going to be getting more for breakfast. Little tough to find, but the Tour and captain more than made up for it. We left after one of the big boats headed out to the crater itself and we ended up passing them on the way to Molokini crater. We got to hop out of the boat on the outside of the crater whereas everyone else pretty much only heads to the inside. It was awesome doing the snorkeling, we then went inside the crater and left before EVERYONE got there, because by the time we were leaving a ton more boats showed up. That was the really nice thing about them as well, we never got overcrowded and were kind of in and out before tons of people showed up to get in the way. we then headed back to "turtle town" and got to swim off the coast in a little less clear waters but got to see sea turtles. I would highly recommend this company if people want to get in and out and don't want to waste all day feeling overcrowded the whole time. Lunch with them was small but good as well. Would just recommend that people seriously show up about 30-45 minutes early to be able to find parking place fills up super quick.
Sunset cruise at night on the 29th was awesome too. 3 free drinks and a good dinner with a guy playing guitar on the top deck was a great last evening dinner in Maui. Couldn't have asked for a nicer evening. Definitely recommend this as well, although if you get there late, parking could be a bitch.
30th, before we left to fly home we stopped at Mama's fish house for lunch, which was awesome food as well, but also a little pricey (just like everything in Maui). would definitely recommend this place as well, and a friend said try to go during sunset hours, but a local said I wouldn't really waste my money on that amount of food for that price and the views are just alright. then we flew back to reality.
Sorry if this was along and winded but would think you want more info to pass along to anyone else who might be going to hawaii for anything.
Can't thank you enough, and if we ever plan a big long vacation with lots of excursions I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again.
Thanks and let me know if you need anything else.
Jesse & Nicole K.
Holland America - Alaska Cruisetour
Repeat clients, return from a wonderful Alaska cruisetour on Holland America, and had this kind feedback to share with me.
Spectacular time away - A+ all around. And the Shangri-La was a completely wonderful surprise.
All the connections worked as did the excursions. Lin and Lynn got sick on Tuesday so we had to cancel one dinner and the White Pass trip but the ship refunded that money. We think they got a norovirus (?) as others throughout the ship had it too. Captain had to change a few things mostly in the way the meals were served. They also had people throughout the ship with Purell containers squiring everyone's hands at every opportunity.
We hadn't realized we had booked such early excursions. I think we were up and on the road or path by 6:00Am most days even on the boat. The ship was great and the food in the Pinnacle Restaurant was superb. Had good meals all around. Joe Fortes was out of this world. We wish we had planned a few more days in Vancouver - city of glass.
We were also thankful we had booked the land first, then the sea. The land days were very full (we estimate we walked about 7+ miles each day) and we needed the ship to recover a bit. Loved it all but were a little tuckered by the bus trip to the ship.
The ship where the murder took place pulled in and out ahead of us in Juneau - talk of the town.
A wonderful time was had by all - a few glitches but nothing worth talking about.
Would recommend this trip to others - lots of breathtaking mountains, huge glaciers, humpbacks, Orkas, brown and black bears, eagles.
Thank you so much
Don & Lin E.
Costa Rican Adventure
Repeat clients just returned from a fantastic trip to Costa Rica, when they went on a 9 day tour, and returned to share with me this feedback & photo!
It was incredible. Thank you!!!! Still getting my feet on the ground, but G adventures did an awesome job.
It was awesome. We were in a small group tour, 8 people total (2 from Ireland, one from Germany)….the country was incredible. We stayed 4 different places, went to cloud forest, walked over hanging bridges in the tree canopy, bathed in the hot springs, went whale watching (saw one), saw 3 types of monkeys, saw 30 crocodiles from a distance, saw sloths close-up (in the wild). So good to get away, far, far way. LOL. "
Regards, Mike C.
Family vacation in the Riv. Maya
Repeat client family returns from a vacation to the Riviera Maya, Mexico where I had them stay at the Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa.
All went as planned, good time had by all. Preferred Club Swim Out Jr Suite was definitely the correct way to go, it was the best. They helped us setup food allergies at all the ala carte restaurants, and we had no dining problems all week. We did a lot of excursions and had a blast at them all. Lots of weddings around the main pool, but that's going to happen at these all inclusive upscale resorts. All the food & dining was good, beach was very nice. Overall we are very happy and no complaints. We loved our swimout room, just being able to sit out there and hang out, have some drinks and chill, no need to go to the main pool.
Thanks Derek, the best."
Secrets Maroma - Honeymoon!
Awesome new honeymoon clients, just got back from Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, and had this feedback to share!
Thanks for reaching out also thank you for the letter in the mail. It was an awesome vacation, the resort was so nice. The most impressive portion was the service and professionalism by all the employees.
I am glad you recommended that place! Thanks again for all the help, we definitely would be using you for future trips like that."
London & Paris
New upscale client returns from a trip to London & Paris with his family, and is kind to leave the following detailed report/feedback for me.
I hope all is going well with you.
Just wanted to give you some general and specific feedback on the trip, now that we’ve been back for a couple of days and had some time to get acclimated with real life again.
The Flemings Mayfair is a wonderful hotel. Having been to other 4 and 5 star London hotels before, we felt this hotel was a tremendous value
The private guide (Sam) on Monday the 18th was phenomenal. We’ve had several private guides in other cities and he was the best.
The Harry Potter Tour was fantastic, and the transportation services were easy to understand and painless. The guides were wonderful. The studio itself doesn’t do a good job of separating those on VIP tours with those in the general admission. We had our own guide, but everyone just followed her around and listened to her as she was talking to us. We got the same experience as general admission. We DID NOT get to skip the queue for entry as they promised. While inside, we were not made aware of additional photo opportunities not available to the general public as promised. We did have the option to go back through the studio and stay as long as we wanted, but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that. The tour was comprehensive.
Hotel Montalembert in Paris was lovely. I felt it was overpriced for what we received, especially having just come from such a wonderful property in London. But not having been to Paris before, we have nothing to compare it to, so I may be too critical.
Our room was not ready until 4:30pm on check in day, which was rather frustrating.
The 2-hour driving tour of Paris was wonderful – glad we booked this on the first day as it gave a nice overview/layout of the city to help inspire ideas for other days. Our semi private tour of the Louvre was cancelled because of threat of a strike, so we rescheduled from Thursday to Saturday.
The full-day tour of Versailles was amazing – couldn’t have been more pleased with this experience. The tour guide was great – not as good as Sam in London, but Sam was the best.
The evening dinner cruise was wonderful. A bit of a cattle call and rush experience at the beginning, but once everyone was settled in, it was a very enjoyable experience and well worth the expense
Semi-private tour of the Louvre was great. These tours are definitely the way to go.
Thanks so much for your help in putting all of this together for us. It was a wonderful trip; one we will never forget.
Rome & Taormina
New clients just returned from a short trip to Rome and Taormina, Sicily, and returned these kind words.
"Welcome home to you as well. Our trip was great! Everything worked out perfectly. The pick-up drivers were where they needed to be and even early, which pleased us. Hotels were awesome. We highly recommend them. Return trip was perfect with American Airlines.
Will be recommending you & maybe returning for a trip in 2 years.
Trish & Bill B.
Italy Group of 36 Returns
My Italy customized escorted tour group of 36, returned back home late last week. One of the travelers, wrote me this kind feedback on her experience!
I recently returned from my second trip to Italy - the trip with St. Barbara’s Parish. WOW! I hardly know where to begin to thank you for putting together such an amazing experience!
When I went to Rome and north two years ago with St. Mary’s, I truly thought that nothing could compare, it was so fabulous. This trip was every bit as wonderful and such a different view of Italy. Rome was everything I dreamed it would be. It was so overwhelming the first time that I felt I had to return to take in the breathtaking sights. It certainly didn’t disappoint. From there, it just kept getting better and more beautiful each day.
Our guides were exceptional. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful Salvatore Russo is! He has such a passion for his work and his country. He always goes the extra mile to make sure that each person gets the most from the trip. He accommodates, to the best of his ability, each person’s every need. I particularly enjoyed the flexibility in scheduling daily activities based on the best weather and time of day. He always got us where we needed to be and as much ahead of the crowds as possible. His knowledge, caring, sense of humor and PATIENCE made the trip so much more memorable.
I didn’t think anyone could compare to Oreste, our last guide in Rome, but Patricia gave us so much information and a different perspective. She was wonderful. Pasquale, our guide in Pompeii was so informative, his education background made for a memorable trip, filled with such an interesting presentation.
The food! I don’t have words to describe how fabulous it was! Each meal was so different, thoughtfully prepared and wonderful! No matter how I try, I can’t choose a favorite. I just wish I could do it all again.
The olive oil tasting, the mozzarella making, the boat trip in Capri - each experience only added to the incredible memories created on this trip. Each place we went, I was in awe of the beauty and thrilled with the learning experience. I felt like I saw so much more than would be available on a “regular” tour.
With the exception of the hotel in San Giovanni Rotundo, our accommodations were great. Each place was unique and added to the experience of the areas that we visited. The rooms were clean and well appointed. I loved the first hotel in Rome!
I could go on, but I am sure that, by now, you understand that I am so grateful for this fabulous trip.
Thank you for working with Michael and putting together such a beautiful, informative itinerary. Everything was so well organized. My only regret is that I am not there, living all of those moments again.
Honeymooners return from St. Lucia
Honeymoon clients return from St. Lucia.
We had the best time at Sandals Grande St. Lucian in St. Lucia! We would definitely go back. It was so beautiful there and the food was great and so were the people!
I would definitely recommend to others!
Thanks for your help!
Clients return from Rhine River Cruise + Lucerne
Clients return home from Rhine River cruise on Viking River Cruises!
We had a fantastic time on our Viking Rhine River boat cruise. Our weather was great, temps in the low 70's and 60's during the day. Only rained the last day of our trip. Viking could not do enough to make your experience enjoyable.
Our accommodations were great. We loved the fact you slept in the same bed every night but explored a new city every day. We did the included excursion each day but still had time to explore on our own. The towns were so pretty, flowers still blooming everywhere. Our food was good on the ship. We liked the fact that we chose who we sat with each meal. This gave us the opportunity to meet many different people.
We started our Europe trip by visiting Lucerne, Switzerland for 2 days. I was surprised how easily we were able to navigate the train system. Our hotel was only a block away from the train station which was a great location. Lucerne was a walkable town. We also went by train to Mt Titlis in the Alps. The scenery was phenomenal.
Thanks for all your help in putting our River cruise vacation together. We both agree this trip was one of our favorite vacations ever.
We will keep you in mind for our future travel needs. Hi to Tom as well.
Dublin + Boyne Valley, Ireland
Repeat clients return from a business trip to Scotland, and tie in 4 night leisure trip to Dublin,Ireland. Return to leave this feedback!
The Dublin trip was fantastic! Thanks so much.
The hotel was great, well located, and staff was excellent. Highly recommend. The Boyne Valley tour was also really great.
Now that it is no longer a surprise, Eileen and I will figure out when we can do the Paris trip and have you reschedule that - it will probably be in May."
Sandals St. Lucian, the Grande Honeymoon
I hope all is well with you.
Nick and I got back from our honeymoon on Sunday that, you had originally helped us plan for back in September- but we rescheduled due to the hurricane and we HAD THE BEST TIME EVER!!!
Derek when you originally helped us plan we booked Sandals La Toc, but when we rescheduled we did the Grand St. Lucian and we had so much fun!!
The weather was amazing- it rained on and off 2 of the days but was mostly perfect weather, everyone at sandals was so amazing and took such great care of us. The vibe was most definitely a younger party crowd which we loved!!! We ended up doing an excursion one day through the resort called JJ’s which was honestly a blast!!
It was honestly the best week ever! Food was awesome! We drank so much and met a ton of awesome people. I literally couldn’t have asked for a better week!!!!
Thanks so much for all your help booking! Can’t wait to book our next vacation with you !!
Vacation to Couples Negril
We had a real nice time.
Really enjoyed Couples.
Will be in touch for future trips.
Dreams Las Mareas, Costa Rica
Repeat clients return from Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica!
"Good Morning Derek...!!!!!
Oh Yeah the resort was great
We had such a great time, we loved it.
Highly recommended, we will go there again
We had a great vacation thanks so much for the arrangements!"
Best Regards Andreas & Valori F.
Amsterdam & Copenhagen
Hi Derek !
We are back home now.... Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Everything worked out perfectly. Your coordination with Volvo’s flights and itinerary was planned out to the T! Flights , pick ups, hotels , and tours were all great choices. We also managed to squeeze in Anne Frank and Heineken tour.
Friday was Kings day in Amsterdam so that was crazy and fun!
It was a trip that I will cherish in my heart and memory forever with my daughter. You are the best!!! Have a great day, Judy C
........ picture from the Keukenhoff, it was breathtaking!!!
Hakone & Kyoto, Japan
Hi Derek, Everything was perfect, thank you so much.
I would recommend the hotel in Hakone to anyone. Wonderful view and access to the ropeway was just around the corner.
Kyoto Tokyu hotel staff were great, the hotel seemed to be having heating/cooling issues centralized on our floor. We used the JR pass and cabs to get around. We rode on the Shinkansen. We loved the green car access.
Thank you so much!
Derek: Had a wonderful time in Italy. Deb and I were just saying that we should call or email you.
The Monograms program was great, would do it again.
Hotels were all in great locations, and the trip from Sorrento to Rome came off without a hitch.
Thanks for all of your help.
Viking Danube + Salzburg & Prague
Hi Derek - I want to thank you for helping us plan an amazing vacation!
It was all we anticipated & even more! The only change I would make would be the use of the Euro train. It was a little stressful for us “senior females”, having to carry our luggage on & off the trains, otherwise, our trip was near perfect.
I’m now looking forward to my trip to Maine in August!
Paris, Rhodes, Athens & London.
Very good repeat clients return from their latest Euro trip.
"Good morning Derek
We are all good and back home from a long and very very nice vacation
Thanks for a great itinerary,,, all went well with our trip.
At Rhodes we also booked on a ship and went to Turkey for a day.
For our next vacation we plan to go to Key West again."
Thanks Andy & Valori F.
Eze, Monte Carlo (Grand Prix), Scotland/London & Positano
Repeat clients return from a VIP trip to Europe, which included Scotland, London, Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix & Positano.
Everything worked out flawlessly. All your drivers were fantastic and went out of there way for us. Our drive from Eze/Monte Carlo back in forth several times in two days was always there for us.
The accommodations were out of this world, amazing, my wife loved all of them. The Chateau we stayed at in Eze was like another world, our little castle! Positano was beautiful, and everything worked out perfectly for the Grand Prix in Monaco.
Very happy and pleased with everything you did and how it was all handled.
Thank you so much, be in touch next year for another trip!"
Custom Designed Upscale Italy Family Trip
New upscale client family returns from Italia!
"Derek, We've been back a week and I have not had a chance to email you. The trip was great and that is in large part to your extraordinary efforts.
Everything you handled - flights, car service, trains, water taxis, guided tours & hotels - went very smoothly. Your suggestions on cities & sights and the appropriate time for each were spot on.
Thank you very much for everything you did.
We will refer others to you. Take care."
Family friends and new clients return from Italia.
Everything and I mean everything was as advertised! We had a absolutely fabulous time!
Thanks so much,
Dave & Tammy P.
Grecian Honeymoon + Rome
New honeymoon clients return from a trip to Greece & Rome!
We had a great time in Greece and Italy, we loved all the tours and the hotel and beach in Mykonos was amazing. Thank you for setting everything up for us!
Zack & Kelly F.
Tuscan Getaway + Rome
Corp Client becomes a leisure client on trip to Tuscany & Rome.
Derek, Thanks for checking.
Everything went great. Both hotels worked out perfectly.
Would absolutely recommend Borgo Scopeto. It is peaceful, beautiful views, service was excellent and the restaurant is fantastic (we ate there 2 of the nights). It was a great Tuscan experience.
Tour of Vatican was very good and, as you recommended, not something to do on your own.
Transfers and trains all went smoothly.
If you have specific questions or want to talk, feel free to give me a call.
Best, Joe F.
Biking in the San Juan Islands
Repeat client returns from bike tour program with Backroads around the San Juan Islands of Washington State.
The trip was great and Backroads is a very nice company to tour with. Everything was taken care of and your arrangements were perfect. We had a great time and we did see orcas, both a humpback whale and orcas along with an eagle and a group of seals.
Highly recommend this trip for anyone looking for a unique bike experience.
Thanks again, the trip was amazing!"
Back from Italia!
Repeat clients return from a tour of Italia!
A HUGE thank you for planning our trip of a lifetime!You did an amazing job in arranging for all the intricate pieces!
Globus was terrific. Our guide, Sabrina, was amazing and went out of her way to take care of everybody.
I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR ALL YOU DID! IT WAS PERFECT!
Have a good weekend."
Pat & Nancy M.
The Luxury of Italy & France
New VIP client family returns from their upscale trip to Italy & France. Where they split time at luxury hotels between Florence, Portofino, Lake Como & Cannes.
"Thanks, Derek. Everything was great. Wonderful dinners , absolutely lovely hotels, great weather and we had super adventures. You arranged everything perfectly!"
Dreaming in Punta Cana
New client family returns from Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana.
We had a great time! Everything was very nice, people were extremely nice, food was also great.
Thank you for your help coordinating. Really appreciate it. "
Emerald Isle Self Drive
Repeat client family returns from a customized self drive trip to Ireland.
Derek - The trip was just wonderful.
The hotels were good, and just as you described. dylan, Dublin is a bit out of the center city but we loved it, and I cannot say enough about the The Europe Hotel & Resort. That was just spectacular - we loved the setting, the room, the food, the service.
Thanks for the terrific suggestions.
Paradise for a week at Secrets.
New clients just returned from their week at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.
Vacation was awesome!
Secrets was amazing, food wasn’t the greatest but we loved our week in paradise!"
Custom Bavaria & Switzerland
New client family, returns from customized trip to Germany & Switzerland.
Thank you - we had a wonderful time.
Again, we had to run to our connecting flight in Dulles due to major lines in customs, but it made for an memorable ending.
The tour to Mt. Titlis was incredible and I recommend that city pass in Strasbourg…we packed a lot in. The private tour of the castles was interesting…the rest of my gang got a kick out of our guide - I, on the other hand, needed a glass of wine after speeding through the alps. We laugh about it now.
Upscale customized luxury Paris trip for a repeat client of mine.
The Paris trip was amazing! My wife wants you to plan all out trips from now on. The guides were outstanding and the Raphael hotel and staff were incredible.
Thanks again for everything!"
Hawaii. Maui. Escape. Mauna Kea.
Hi Derek -
I am sorry this took so long to write - I came across the nice note you sent to me after Ed and I returned from Hawaii. We had a great time! Thank you so much for making all the arrangements. It isn't in the news anymore, but the volcano on the Big Island started erupting the day after we got back. It would not have affected us where we were staying, but still.
I really like the Mauna Kea hotel (Marriott property). It was lovely, very 'old world' kind of refinement, though not dated. It was low key. A pretty small pool, which suited us just fine. The upshot of that is that it doesn't attract a lot of families with kids who want to scream and yell and go down water slides. So perfect for middle-aged people like us. The breakfast buffet was amazing, and resulted in some weight gain.
I don't remember the exact class of room we had, but it was very deluxe. Very spacious, with a walk in closet, and a HUGE bathroom that was beautiful. We also had a nice lanai, and we slept every night with the screen door open listening to the waves.
I would definitely stay there again. So thank you again, it was a terrific vacation, the car worked out fine, everything was very well done. I appreciate your help, I'll be in touch for other vacations I am sure!!
Deserts of Jordan to Coast of Croatia
My apologies for the delay in writing this- the summer has flown by! Here it goes:
My sisters and I have been very fortunate to be exposed to travel since we were young. With several countries in Europe, South America, and New Zealand comprising our list of places we've been, and with one sister teaching in the Mid-East and the other sister about to move to the West Coast, it felt like the perfect time to check Kuwait, Jordan, and Croatia off of the travel bucket list.
Around Christmas, I started to compare flight costs with the rubik's cube of departure cities, connecting flights, and entry visas. The task was tricky: two different departure cities from the states, round-trip travel from Kuwait to two additional countries, and three return trips, again all to different cities in the states. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with the undertaking, I found Greater Pittsburgh Travel's contact information on the Visit Jordan website as a tour operator. The day after I sent my initial email, I was on the phone with Derek, a leisure travel specialist, who took the time to explain how flights, accommodations, and land travel could all be arranged for the entire trip.
Again, my family travels quite a bit, and we have learned our lesson regarding splitting up an itinerary, so Derek walked me through connection options and departure times so that I, and each of my sisters, had a complete round-trip itinerary; the fear of being separated or stranded in a country with no plan on how to get home- should the airline delay/cancel a flight- disappeared.
The next step was accommodations and I had zero idea on where to begin. One sister wanted to camp in the desert in Jordan while I wanted to stay in a building that had a history in Croatia, while still being close to the list of things we wanted to see and do, not to mention transportation to/from each airport. Derek took this task and compiled a list of three options for each leg of our trip, ranging in cost, location, and style so we could choose what made the most sense for us and our travel style. During this process, Derek and I worked together to choose each stay based on what we would be doing in each part of the country.
Then came the most fun part, what to do when we got there! Jordan and Croatia not only are radically different from each other, but different than any other country we had visited previously; how could we choose what to see? My sisters and I each made a list of the top three things we wanted to do and thanks to how Derek had arranged our hotel stays and airport transfers, everything that was on our list as a "must-do" was done (not that there isn't so much more to go back and see)!
In Jordan, we traveled from Amman, to the Dead Sea, to Petra, and finally Aqaba.
The private transfer Derek arranged for our airport pick-up even offered to drive for us the following day from Amman to Petra with wonderful stops in between. In addition to the planned visit to the Citadel and Roman Theatre, a quick stop in Madaba showed us the beautiful mosaic work, done by hand, that you could see throughout the country and a sneak peek of the Dead Sea, from Mount Nebo, was another sight we hadn't stumbled across in all of our research. I was by far the most nervous about our desert camping adventure, but the Bedouins in Wadi Rum were knowledgeable, and so kind, we could have spent many more days wandering the desert and exploring. Luckily, while in Petra, we were taught how to tie our head scarfs to protect us from the sun, from two wonderful women who owned stalls near the Monastery, and throughout our adventure we were spoiled with the most delicious spiced foods and endless tea, making the thousands of steps we took each day that much more necessary. Less than a full day into our trip to Jordan, my sisters and I kept a list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites we had visited, and of each one we would have to come back to explore.
After our trip through the desert, arriving in Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast, could not have been more of a shock. The shifting shades of the blue water and scent of lavender was like starting a totally different trip. Every seaside town built into the cliffs was more beautiful than the last, and walking the cobblestone pedestrian streets, through alleyways to find tasty treats and local shops, was like the greatest game of hide and seek you could imagine. We visited countless monasteries and were in awe of the palaces that have lasted hundreds of years. We spent each night on the main land but after a day trip to Hvar, we immediately agreed we would need to make a return trip just to visit the islands. Seeing the Old City Walls of Dubrovnik from a sea kayak was perfect respite from the sun baked streets. We also spent one of our precious days in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from Dubrovnik, to see the Mostar Bridge and Kravice Waterfalls, which was surreal and breathtaking.
Our list of places to see has only grown since our trip, and if it wasn't for our rule of visiting one new place before returning to an old one, I would have already planned our return visit to Jordan and Croatia.
Until the next awesome adventure with you as our travel expert!, thank you!
Safari Bucketlists! (S. Africa/Kenya & Tanzania)
I had a marvelous experience in the 4 African countries. The tour of the wine country was beautiful. Kapama Camp experience in Kruger National Park was great. I also enjoyed the elephant refuge experience. The lodge on Zambezi River was great. Both places made me some special low salt meals as did all the other lodges. Nikki at the Zambezi Lodge arranged for Monica and myself to have a tour of Victoria Falls and ride to the airport for our two different flights. David in the various Kenya safaris was very informative and Elias in the Tanzania safaris were both very informative and caring. Elias made a stool for me so I could more easily get into and out of the van. Loved all the animals and I took hundreds of photos. We joked about the African passage of all the miles of dusty , rocky roads to get from one area to another’s.
Northern Italy Customized
LOU and I cannot say thanks enough for all your recommendations. All were spot on! Great hotels. Pictures show Bellagio hotel du lac staff surprising us with anniversary celebration. Staff treated us like family.
Thanks again. Thinking of next trip!
Dan & Lou D. (Trip saw them visiting Bellagio, Garda, Verona & Venice)
Tour - Poland & The Baltic States
We had a lovely time on the trip. Poland had the best food, and Estonia had the most unique and medieval scenery.
Thanks for all you did to make our arrangements.
Christine and David P.
Married in Venezia!!! + Costa Smeralda & Barcelona!
The arrangements as always were AMAZING. Bauer is located in great spot but last year’s hotel was way more beautiful inside. Breakfast on the patio was really awesome at Bauer.
Milan Hotel was very cool. If people stay there let them know that restaurants are scare in high fashion district. Eat before you enter lol!
Our rooftop restaurant was very cool though.
Hotel Cala Di Volpe is gorgeous! It really is for the extremely wealthy. We did take a boat ride to La Maddalena... fabulous! We LOVED LOVED IT but just so others know!!
Barcelona was FAB and our Almanac was GREAT!! Location awesome, service awesome (everyone was young and beautiful), breakfast were very good. Highly recommend.
The wedding experience was priceless!!! I cannot day enough about how magical that experience was!!! FABULOUSO!!!
I can’t thank you enough for everything!!!
So so happy!
We will plan next year trip earlier.
We are going to go same time each year. If you hear of any great opportunities let us know! Also what is best time to book?
THANK YOU!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!
Renee H. & Jeff N.
Florence & Tremezzo on Lake Como
We had a wonderful time.
Both hotels were excellent. In Florence we loved being on that side of the river. The streets were so crowded in the main city center that it was nice to get away from the crowds at night. The staff at the hotel in Florence was excellent. And the view from the rooftop bar is magnificent.
Tremezzo was also a wonderful hotel and place to sit and relax.
Thanks for all of your recommendations. We were very happy with your service. I understand that you met with friend of mine and that he and his wife are close to booking a trip. I have another friend that I am going to send your information to later today. He lives in Boise, Idaho, but I am sure that you can work remotely to plan a trip for next year.
(Organized a self drive vacation for repeat VIP clients, that included Key West, Key Largo & Vero Beach)
Thank you so much for helping put together our vacation. We had a wonderful time. October was a great time to travel as the weather was pleasant every day in mid 70s, and the crowds were significantly less than in the summer time. The tours you arranged for us were ideal. Small groups that allowed it to be more intimate and informative. All of the hotels were luxurious and a great retreat after a long day of sightseeing. Finally the transportation were easy and convenient.
Thank you again!
Bella Italia & Cuoco in Tuscana
Sorry for the delay in our response. We had a wonderful time in Italy! All three places were so unique in its own way. All arrangements by you turned out perfect! No issues. The tours/tour guide in Rome was awesome. She really was knowledgeable and enlighten us on the history of Ancient Rome. We also did a tour ourselves in Florence.
We went on a Tuscany cooking tour. That was so much fun!! Now we need to come up with our next destination!
Sam & Michelle W.
Secrets Cap Cana
Secrets was Great!
Everything was wonderful, we had a fantastic vacation,
Everybody loved it, and I highly reccommend.
The pref. club & the rooms we were assigned were perfect.
The service, staff, dining, everything was perfect.
You are great, and a real pleasure to work with.
Thank you, and will refer friends.
Spain & Lisbon Escorted
All went great, thanks much. The guide gave us an extra city (Evora) in Portugal for great group behavior. Talk more soon.
Family Luxury Vacation to Disney
Things went well- the suite was a good choice for us and gave us access to the suite level which gave us free breakfast and allowed all of us to be in one room. Disney was a good choice for the combo of grandparents, parents+sibling, toddler+infant cos they're infrastructure was good for the little ones.
Everybody had fun , our son still talks about his adventures there...
Costa Ricaaa! Customized
We had a great trip to Costa Rica,
The Arenal area resort and our time there was wonderful. We did the hiking in the rain forest and around the volcano, and decided on doing th hanging bridges up there to, instead of in Monteverde. Then you had us taken to Manual Antonio Nat. P., and we really liked the resort you arranged for us there, up in the forests hills but over looking the coastline, fab. Lastly to Guanacaste were you had us at a really nice luxury adults only all inclusive. While we are not big on drinking, we found this a new experience for us and enjoy the food and location of the resort. All your private drivers we re excellent and worked out great. Thank you again for a wonderful vacation, and be in touch next year for another!
Mitch B. & Diana B.
Italia, Italia, Bella Italia
Thanks for your message. We were very pleased with the trip and the hotel selections.
The hotel in Rome was central to everything without being in the middle of all the craziness.
The hotel in Florence was spectacular. Beautiful rooms, great staff terrific location.
The hotel in Pisa was a perfect for our needs. You could view the Leaning Tower from the rooftop and it was two minute walk to get there. It is probably the best hotel in Pisa, but is a bit dated. No worries, you warned us. I would recommend it for anyone who is looking for convenience to the Tower. Again, nothing wrong with it - just a but dated.
All transfers and tours worked fine. If I am nitpicking the one thing I would change is the amount of time allocated to getting us to our trains. We arrived 90+ minutes early for our trains. I understand that it is better to be early than late but it was a bit too conservative.
Thanks for your help and best wishes with your new opportunity.
Everything went very well - Secrets was a really nice spot. Loved it.
Recommended - He was very knowledgeable and very thorough.
Yes we had a great trip, although we had awful weather.
Thanks for all your help.
Now we want to go to the south of Italy.
Repeat client sends the following email feedback in :cc: to me and 30 additional of his friends/family:
All,We hope all is well. We are sharing something that we think you may enjoy.Attached is a segment that ran on CBS Sunday Morning on May 19. It features an American couple, Phil and Sandy, the new owners of Relais Ortaglia in Montepulciano (Tuscany) where we happened to stay last week. This was quite a coincidence as it is not a large place, but they got tons of calls for reservations last week due to this segment. It is a set of beautiful, restored farmhouses and the views are amazing!
Thanks to our travel planner, Derek Schemonitz with Avenue Two Travel, for helping us find this wonderful, authentic country experience.They are great people (Phil has Italian heritage and was a Disney animator and Sandy is Jewish and grew up on Long Island) and their story is interesting about acquiring Italian citizenship. I hope you enjoy seeing the segment and a glimpse of where we stayed while in southern Tuscany (in addition to our favorite- Lucca, and Parma in Emilia Romagna region).We are always happy to talk about favorite places to visit and contact Derek to help plan your Italy vacation!Paul and Connie W.
Family Customized Small Group - Italy
A note of thanks for all of your help.
We had a great trip.All of the hotels were good. Activities were great and we enjoyed each city and town that we visited. The transportation and transfers were very good. All timely and drivers very courteous.
The yacht in Amalfi was a highlight.
Venice tours and Gondola tour were also very good.
Opera was awesome but a very hot evening.
Overall it was excessively hot in all of Italy.Well done!
B&B Self Drive Ireland + Dublin
We are back from Ireland and had a great time.
Thank you Derek!
Honeymooners to Maui & Kauai
Trip feedback for our honeymoon in Hawaii that you planned for us, so here are my thoughts.
As you'll see, we had a wonderful time and are dying to return!
1. The Kayak/Hike to the Secret Falls was more athletically strenuous than expected, and it took several hours. This is definitely not the trip for those looking for a relaxing excursion, but the Secret Falls were very pretty.
2. The Trilogy Excursions snorkeling trip was absolutely fantastic! The staff was engaging and helpful and they took us to see vibrant fish and sea turtles. On top of that, they provided a substantial lunch, and fresh cinnamon rolls to start our trip!
3. The Grand Hyatt in Kaua'i was a gorgeous resort that really highlighted the lush natural beauty of Kaua'i. Their pools and salt-water lagoon were great, and being open 24-hours led to a serene nighttime swim under the stars, a honeymoon highlight! We especially liked the Tidepools restaurant that is situated within the water and our breakfast views of the ocean from every angle.
4. The Marriot Wailea Beach Resort in Maui was so luxurious, and their adult-only infinity pool was our favorite place. We started our days with swimming in the Pacific every morning, thanks to the Wailea Beach path that provides direct access to both the Wailea Beach and Ulua Beach. We treated ourselves to a private meal overlooking the ocean at sunset that was very special for us.
5. The Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Regency was very fun and impressive, featuring songs, dances, and even fire spinning from regions all over the Pacific. I especially appreciated hearing the history of the performances.
-Ariel L. and Anna S.
Return to Italia!
The trip was wonderful - although it was hot. There was only really one or two days where the heat slowed us down. Rain on the first day in Parma, but that was no big deal.
All the travel connections worked well and your contact did a great job with the drivers and vans.
The accommodations were great and we are glad we started in Parma and ended up in Bellagio - places just simply got better and better.
Hope all is working out well with Avenue Two Travel
We had an absolutely wonderful time! Your arrangements were fantastic. The hotels exceeded our expectations, especially Pine Cliffs, which could be a destination in and of itself.
It was fantastic and you did an amazing job, as usual. Thank you so much!!!
I’m sure we will be touching base for our next adventure soon!