The Masters is Upon Us….

Our TRAVEL SPECIAL OF THE DAY…The Masters Golf event….here it is:
2018 Masters Golf Travel Packages
Our luxury 2018 Masters golf packages include your choice of Masters Badges (tickets), first-class accommodation near Augusta National Golf Course, course transportation, on-site assistance, VIP hospitality options, and much more. Complete 2018 Masters Packages available from $1,995 per person (1 practice round), $3,395 per person (1 tournament round), based on double occupancy. It’s not too early to start thinking about Masters 2018. Start planning your trip today!
About The Masters Golf Championship at Augusta, Georgia
From April 2 – 8, 2018, the world’s finest golfers will converge upon Augusta National Golf – home of the Masters Golf Tournament – for one of the major tournaments held annually in professional golf. The Masters is 72-hole, four-day championship held Thursday through Sunday with Practice Rounds held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the start of the tournament. The Masters history is steeped in tradition. The winner not only receives a huge payday, but also receives a lifetime invitation to the Masters, an automatic invitation to every major tournament in the next five years, and the iconic “green jacket”.
email me…now!

Travel Tips for Seniors

A few years ago I was introduced to Rick Steves….and long time professional in the travel industry, with a great line of luggage…and I got one of the best carry on bags…ever. He also has some travel tips, and I kept the following as it covers a lot about Senior Travel or Travel for Seniors. Here are his thoughts:

More people than ever are hocking their rockers and buying plane tickets. Many senior adventurers are proclaiming, “Age matters only if you’re a cheese.” Travel is their fountain of youth. I’m not a senior — yet — so I polled my readers via my Travel Forums, asking seniors to share their advice. Thanks to the many who responded, here’s a summary of top tips from seniors who believe it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

When to Go

If you’re retired and can travel whenever you want, it’s smart to aim for shoulder season (April through mid-June, or September and October). This allows you to avoid the most exhausting things about European travel: crowds and the heat of summer.

Travel Insurance

Seniors pay more for travel insurance — but are also more likely to need it. Find out exactly whether and how your medical insurance works overseas. (Medicare is not valid outside the US except in very limited circumstances; check your supplemental insurance coverage for exclusions.) Pre-existing conditions are a problem, especially if you are over 70, but some plans will waive those exclusions. When considering additional travel insurance, pay close attention to evacuation insurance, which covers the substantial expense of getting you to adequate medical care in case of an emergency — especially if you are too ill to fly commercially.


Packing light is especially important for seniors — when you pack light, you’re younger. To lighten your load, take fewer clothing items and do laundry more often. Fit it all in a roll-aboard suitcase — don’t try to haul a big bag. Figure out ways to smoothly carry your luggage, so you’re not wrestling with several bulky items. For example, if you bring a second bag, make it a small one that stacks neatly (or even attaches) on top of your wheeled bag.

Carry an extra pair of eyeglasses if you wear them, and bring along a magnifying glass if it’ll help you read detailed maps and small-print schedules. A small notebook is handy for jotting down facts and reminders, such as your hotel-room number or Metro stop. Doing so will lessen your anxiety about forgetting these details, keeping your mind clear and uncluttered.

Medications and Health

It’s best to take a full supply of any medications with you, and leave them in their original containers. Finding a pharmacy and filling a prescription in Europe isn’t necessarily difficult, but it can be time-consuming. Plus, nonprescription medications (such as vitamins or supplements) may not be available abroad in the same form you’re used to. Pharmacists overseas are often unfamiliar with American brand names, so you may have to use the generic name instead (for example, atorvastatin instead of Lipitor). Before you leave, ask your doctor for a list of the precise generic names of your medications, and the names of equivalent medications. See my general advice on getting medical help in Europe.

If you wear hearing aids, be sure to bring spare batteries — it can be difficult to find a specific size in Europe. If your mobility is limited, see my tips and resources for travelers with disabilities.


If you’re not flying direct, check your bag — because if you have to transfer to a connecting flight at a huge, busy airport, your carry-on bag will become a lug-around drag. If you’re a slow walker, request a wheelchair or an electric cart when you book your seat so you can easily make any connecting flights. Since cramped legroom can be a concern for seniors, book early to reserve aisle seats (or splurge on roomier “economy plus,” or first class). Stay hydrated during long flights, and take short walks hourly to minimize the slight chance of getting a blood clot.


If stairs are a problem, request a ground-floor room. Think about the pros and cons of where you sleep: If you stay near the train station at the edge of town, you’ll minimize carrying your bag on arrival; on the other hand, staying in the city center gives you a convenient place to take a break between sights (and you can take a taxi on arrival to reduce lugging your bags). No matter where you stay, ask about your accommodation’s accessibility quirks before you book — find out whether it’s at the top of a steep hill, has an elevator or stairs to upper floors, and so on.

Getting Around

Subways involve a lot of walking and stairs (and are a pain with luggage). Consider using city buses or taxis instead, and when out and about with your luggage, take a taxi. If you’re renting a car, be warned that some countries and some car-rental companies have an upper age limit — to avoid unpleasant surprises, mention your age when you reserve.

Senior Discounts

Just showing your gray hair or passport can snag you a discount at many sights, and even some events such as concerts. (The British call discounts “concessions”; look also for “pensioner’s rates.”) Always ask about discounts, even if you don’t see posted information about one — you may be surprised. But note that at some sights, US citizens aren’t eligible for senior discounts.

Seniors can get deals on point-to-point rail tickets in Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Norway (including the Eurostar train between Britain and France/Belgium). Qualifying ages range from 60 to 67 years old. To get rail discounts in most countries — including Austria, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and a second tier of discounts in France — you must purchase a senior card at a local train station (valid for a year, but can be worthwhile even on a short trip if you take several train rides during your stay). Most rail passes don’t offer senior discounts, but passes for Britain and France (as well as the Balkans) do give seniors a break on first-class passes.


Many museums have elevators, and even if these are freight elevators not open to the public, the staff might bend the rules for older travelers. Take advantage of the benches in museums; sit down frequently to enjoy the art and rest your feet. Go late in the day for fewer crowds and cooler temperatures. Many museums offer loaner wheelchairs. Take bus tours (usually two hours long) for a painless overview of the highlights. Boat tours — of the harbor, river, lake, or fjord — are a pleasure. Hire an English-speaking cabbie to take you on a tour of a city or region (if it’s hot, spring for an air-conditioned taxi). Or participate in the life of local seniors, such as joining a tea dance at a senior center. If you’re traveling with others but need a rest break, set up a rendezvous point. Some find that one day of active sightseeing needs to be followed by a quiet day to recharge the batteries. For easy sightseeing, grab a table at a sidewalk café for a drink and people-watching.

Educational and Volunteer Opportunities

For a more meaningful cross-cultural experience, consider going on an educational tour such as those run by Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel), which offers study programs around the world designed for those over 55 (one to four weeks, call or check online for a free catalog, tel. 800-454-5768).

Long-Term Trips

Becoming a temporary part of the community can be particularly rewarding. Settle down and stay a while, doing side-trips if you choose. You can rent a house or apartment, or go a more affordable route and swap houses for a few weeks with someone in an area you’re interested in. If you’re considering retiring abroad, two good resources are the Living Abroad series (Moon Books), which offers a country-by-country look at the challenges and rewards of life overseas, and Expat Exchange, where you’ll find tips and resources for expatriates.

This blog is part of my goal to inform travelers by those that are pros in the business. If you, or know of others, that have good thoughts about Senior Travel, or Cruise Ship traveling, or International travel in general…please let me know and I will get it out.

2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA World Cup Travel Packages
June 13 – July 16, 2018 Moscow, Russia
Our luxury 2018 World Cup travel packages allow you to see the tournament the way you want, from the opening match to the epic World Cup final. Backed by 25 years of sports travel experience, including multiple World Cup tours, we will take great care to ensure your party is completely looked after every step of the way. E-mail me for details, pricing, etc…this will be a great event.

Monaco Grand Prix

2018 Monaco Grand Prix Travel Packages

Experience an event of unparalleled exclusivity in Monte Carlo. As one of the world’s most recognized destinations and iconic sporting events, the Monaco Grand Prix is a true bucket list experience for any traveler. This glamorous race is one of the world’s greatest and most challenging competitions, not to mention one of the most exotic and recognized events in all of sport. It’s the last remaining street course on the Formula One calendar, staged around the narrow, winding streets of Monte Carlo on a course that allows no margin for error.

The Monaco Grand Prix is always a thrill and 2017 proved to be no exception. Ferrari finally found themselves back on the podium with Vettel and Raikkonen finishing first and second for a convincing end to the team’s 16-year drought in Monte Carlo.

At least once in your life you need to experience this revered destination. Monaco truly has it all: a variety of museums, some of the grandest hotels in the world, sumptuous gastronomy, enviable shopping, and perhaps the most enjoyable people-watching anywhere in the world. Add in the casinos and clubs of its vibrant nightlife scene and you could keep yourself busy 24 hours a day.

Complete 2018 Monaco Grand Prix travel packages available from $4,995 per person (based on double occupancy).

E-mail me for the Brochure, and more details on packages…..

Holland America, New Zealand, Evaluation, and Speaking

So far Holland America has been very impressive. Here are some of the highlights

  1. The food is very good quality and a lot of variety is offered from the Lido dining both inside and out including eating by the pool area or on the back deck  number 9.The sit down dinner’s in Vista dining on decks two and three is excellent and the service is out of this world good.
  2. The room is spacious with a lot of storage and a large veranda and very comfortable and quiet.
  1. The entertainment offerings are very good and a lot of choice from the rock and roll band to the piano to the Lincoln center stage a very nice variety.
  2. Scheduling of the events and the excursions is fine …..again with a lot of choice and variety
  3. Holland America does not use the speaker program and the descriptions of the upcoming ports probably is the weakest part of their ship so far. There seems to be a bit of a breakdown on the organization of the excursions and the tenders and this need work. They do not give port updates the day before you arrive such as what Viking does and this leaves passengers a bit up in the air and confused…. at least this is the impression from those that I talked with.
  4. On these longer trips which I much prefer there seems to be an older group almost all retired and it has to do with the length of the trip which is about 3 weeks from beginning to end for most. But your audience is very receptive and wants to be entertained so it is a good audience for speakers and entertainers and does not seem to be expecting much more than what Holland America offers.

In comparing cruise lines I think it goes back to what the passengers are looking for in that Viking includes the excursions and does a very good job.  Holland America does not include excursions, but offers good excursions. And the age of your passengers will be a factor especially for families. 2 weeks is a long time to be on the ship but I think will work best for me as it’s a more relaxed schedule or so it seems. As far as the facilities are concerned…. a good fitness area; a very nice library area…a smaller casino but seems to be very nice…. and large lounge  areas.  The Crows Nest area and then the open observation areas are well done.

We have had 3 days in New Zealand and it has been very impressive. The Fjords were magnificent especially as the weather cleared and we were able to appreciate the beauty of the second and third Fjords..Port Chalmers and Dunedin were equally as impressive with Dunedin showing its Presbyterian and Scottish background and traditions. Not only are the communities of Port Chalmers and Dunedin impressive but the port of Port Chalmers is a very active and attractive small town. Dunedin is a very beautiful area downtown with the railroad station and the Cathedral being the two focal points. But there is a lot of shopping and a lot of tourist attractions so well worth 3 or 4 hours.

The day in Christchurch so far has been a major attraction in that you see first hand evidence of what a massive earthquake can do and how a city can recover. But the other part of the Christchurch excursion is the drive over and back where you get to see the real beauty of the South island. Just magnificent.

The Ship tender from the ship into Akaroa is about 15 minutes. You then go directly to the bus and there were about 10 buses waiting at that time. You drive about 10 minutes through the little town of a Akaroa then start the trip to Christchurch ..initially you go through some hills but then follow the bay around and great photo shots and then up the mountain. Really impressive.

For many years I have heard that Christchurch and the South Island was the most beautiful area of New Zealand, Certainly  this trip over to Christchurch verified that. It is a slow trip over the mountain but then when you start down you start seeing the beautiful fields filled with sheep and cows and trees

Christchurch was the epicenter of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in 2011 followed by some major aftershocks. The earthquake lasted 45 seconds and has cost billions of dollars to rebuild the downtown area. The area that was most damaged was in the center of town where the Cathedral was located. Immediately after the earthquake rebuilding and rehabilitation and reconstruction of the downtown area began. Except for the Cathedral which got caught up in a political battle between the church and the city and probably the state of Canterbury. The result is that it remains fenced and in the same condition as when it was damaged. The part of the Cathedral that collapsed was the main bell tower or alter tower as some of the building, maybe one half of it, is still standing. There are various memorials for the 180 that were killed around the downtown area and those killed were primarily in one building, as it happened midday so many workers were downtown.

The two shuttle buses drop off passengers right at either the art museum which is very very modern, or the Christchurch Museum which is in one of the buildings of the original Canterbury University that moved to another location in 1974.The old University buildings were damaged and evidence of the repair and renovation work is very obvious.When the university moved to another location various other organizations took over the building mainly for government use. Some of these buildings are behind the fence and others are being used  as the Information Center. The city tram is adjacent to the bus stop and is a good 20 minute round trip but you can get on and off as at the stops.

When speaking about Christchurch, prepare travelers for the 90 minute bus ride to and from. Prepare them for the new construction and the new modern building. Prepare them to see how they have repaired the old Canterbury University prepare them for the fences and the board fences that’s around the mini damage buildings.There are many cafes and bars especially along Victoria Street which is a tram stop and there are small cafes near the bus stohoff but also the red double decker bus.

Akaroa is the port city from which we boarded the buses for Christchurch. We tendered in and it took about 15 minutes and then got on the buses for the 90 minute ride over the mountains into Christchurch. Akaroa is a small French village- town very picturesque and a quaint little town. There is virtually no time in town before you board the buses but there is some time when you get back to look at the shops and do some souvenir shopping.

The day  to Christchurch started off with a tender into the small port town of Akaroa where we caught the bus for the one in a half hour drive to Christchurch. Before the 2011 earthquake the cruise ship would come into a port about 20 minutes from the city center of Christchurch. Since the earthquake all of the cruise ships come into the port and are then bussed the 75 kilometers into Christchurch.  The road goes along the water and then immediately heads up over the mountains on a very dramatic trip with magnificent views coming over the mountains and down into valleys and the flat plains that are extremely rich with Agriculture sheep cattle and orchards. As we started to approach Christchurch the driver started giving us more detail has to the earthquake and what transpired immediately after and then in the 7 years since.. initially the town look very normal and as we approach the downtown area we found that the epicenter of the quake was nearby and follow this straight line into the downtown Cathedral area. Then as we got downtown from started to see the buildings that have been ruined and it was very evident that the quick get some of the major buildings in the downtown area. What was done immediately was $0.02 off the entire downtown area that had been affected by the quake.  They then started a process of the evaluating the damage putting all building that were in the destroyed area into three categories yellow amber and red. Today there is a great deal of construction reconstruction repair and rehabilitation going on all over the downtown area. Much has been done in these 7 years almost to an amazing degree especially with Canterbury University buildings. The Cathedral itself is there is still about 1/ 3 totally destroyed but they have not been able to repair the balance due to issues with the church and the city. We took the tram around the downtown area and it is a hop on hop off arrangement for about $20 a person and well worth it as it gives you a ride around the town. We had both coffee and lunch and buildings that have been hit and then repaired and are fine now. After the tram ride we walked around the key Cathedral grounds and then back down to the museum and the museum was exceptional and definitely a must see. The Botanic Garden is adjacent and very beautiful and well maintained and in full-bloom today. The photos show that destruction and the work this thing done to repair but also shows the construction on the new library as well as other downtown going areas that were hit by the earthquake. We met back at the bus at 3 for the 90 minutes ride back over the mountain into the port and into the tenders.

Christchurch should be a must see on any New Zealand trip and the drive is well worth it over the mountains as you get to see the real New Zealand farms, sheep,and cattle as well as the magnificent fields and varied agricultural programs going on in this part of the country.

This part of the world is unknown to many but in reflecting back this is one of the most beautiful areas we have ever seen.  The people are very friendly and they have a great outlook on life are hard working and they’re very very proud to be a New Zealander. I think my talk on this part of New Zealand should be very practical on what you  should you do and see in the time that you have using a lot of photos.

Dunedin is a remarkable little city in that it is about 100000 people and then there are about $25,000 in the university. We went in in the morning for a walk around and got to see the railroad station and the beautiful church octagon square and it was  worthwhile and our morning included going to Cadbury.  The railroad station is one of the most famous photo spots definitely a requirement when you’re in Dunedin. We came back to the ship for lunch then. On our tour bus took is to the Olveston house which is an old 1850 home built by a Jewish businessman that came here and it is a remarkable house and gardens and of course the Fiat 1921antique auto,  so well worth it to go through the house. It is one of a number of excursions that are offered but this is one of the  oldest houses and tour is great. We then came back by the Dunedin Botanic Garden and if it were in bloom would be spectacular but according to one of the workers the heat that they have recently had almost killed a lot of the flowers and they’re just now coming back for their second blooming … and should last through early April.  We concluded the tour buy another drive thru Dunedin to see the downtown area and back to the ship. The Scottish history of Dunedin is significant ….and the railroad trip from the station for about 90 minutes is well with it to see the surrounding areas.