I am not an app.

The Safari Endeavor has a custom-made kayak launch pad so you can get in and out of the kayak with ease

I am not an app or a computer program. Instead, I am an experienced travel planner and I use human common sense and practicality when customizing vacations for my clients. I don't just let the computer dictate what you should do but instead will use my real life experiences when making suggestions on where you should go, where you should stay and what you should do while there. More than likely, I have sent clients to your chosen destination before and oftentimes I have personal travel experience there too - especially in Europe where I have traveled extensively. Yes, travel agents still exist.

Never used a travel agent before? Don't worry - you are not the only one. Majority of my new clients have always planned their own vacations - wasting precious hours googling and making notes and trying to make sense of their travel plans. They are usually referrals from my existing clients who have heard through them about my services and the ways I have enhanced both their vacation planning process as well as their overall vacation experience. I can take the stress out of your vacation planning. You don't have to do it on your own.

For land vacations, I handpick each element to customize the itinerary to your travel preferences and style. I don't have any bias when it comes to hotels or tour operators that I work with - except I choose those that offer outstanding quality and value. The OTA's (online travel agents such as Orbitz or Hotels.com) do have bias in their search results - often the hotel companies will pay to be listed at the top of the search results lists. The companies I partner with are not like that.

With cruises, I again only partner with companies that offer quality and value. There's not as much customization with cruises as the cruise lines dictate the itineraries but I can personalize the shore excursions in each port, as well as the pre-/post-cruise stays.

I've been in the travel agency industry since 2000 and have seen the changes it has made in the past two decades. The OTA's have tried to take over the smaller travel agency businesses and it is a shame that many people still rely on the internet when planning their vacations when there is a better option - an experienced travel agent. A few years ago I launched "Travel Agent Awareness" to help spread the word that real travel agents still exist and that we are the better option to turn to when planning your vacation. We do the research and figure out the small details so you don't have to waste hours figuring it all out on your own while worrying if you've chosen the right options. We have the resources and contacts at our fingertips, as well as the personal travel experiences and advice you can't find online.

So, if you are wondering what it is like to have a real travel professional plan your vacation, then seek out a travel agent. Feel free to ask questions to learn more about our expertise and how we can assist you with your travel plans. I am quick to respond to emails and am accepting new clients. So why wait? Contact me now so we can get started on your travel plans!

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Authentic Alaska

The Safari Endeavor has a custom-made kayak launch pad so you can get in and out of the kayak with ease

The Safari Endeavor has a custom-made kayak launch pad so you can get in and out of the kayak with ease

Visiting Alaska via cruise ship is not anything new. Thousands of tourists descend on Alaska during the summer months visiting the main (and touristy) ports of call. The views are beautiful and you can definitely have some great experiences but there is a better way to get closer to the real heart of Alaska - its nature and wilderness.

UnCruise Adventures is the only Alaskan-owned cruise company and their love of Alaska shines through everything they do. They have 7 vessels in Alaska including yacht-style vessels (with a capacity as low as 22-guests!) and expedition-style vessels (which average 60-70 passengers). They have specially curated itineraries to showcase the “real” Alaska - because of their smaller size, they can get into areas that the big ships can’t so you will have Alaska all to yourselves. The captain will also change course if there are reports of whales or bears so that you have the best wildlife viewing experiences.

Each vessel has its own vibe - such as this modern wine bar

Each vessel has its own vibe - such as this modern wine bar

Another difference between UnCruise Adventures and the “normal” cruises in Alaska is the food. You will enjoy healthy and sustainable gourmet meals while on board your ship - including chef-selected wine pairings. There’s always a vegetarian option and other special dietary needs can be met. The chefs will pay attention to how your food options meld with the activities and conditions of the day. You don’t get that on the big ships!

Besides dining, each ship has a lounge and/or bar which will serve local wines and craft spirits and beers. They say they don’t want to brag, but they are confident that they can “hang their hat” on having the best craft bars afloat! Sounds good to me! Oh - and alcohol is included in the cruise price.

Close-up view of the kayak launching area

Close-up view of the kayak launching area

Now to the day-to-day activities - also all included in the cruise fare. You can wake up to morning yoga on the deck. Most ships have a custom-made kayak launch platform so you can get in the kayak without tipping over into the water (I need that). You can also go hiking on glaciers, go snorkeling and/or do stand-up paddle boarding. Typically you’ll have an activity to choose from in the morning and in the afternoon - or you can choose just to relax onboard and just absorb the views which will be incredible from any angle.

While the summer is the most popular time to go to Alaska for the big ships, UnCruise Adventures starts sailing in April. This is springtime in Alaska so there is a high chance you’ll see bears awakening from their winter slumber - with their cubs! There is usually more whales as they haven’t migrated yet. The days tend to be dry and sunny, and there’s even a chance of seeing the Northern Lights. This is the “secret” time to visit Alaska before the crowds!

These cruises are also family-friendly with special activities for kids. They can also do private charters just for you and your closest family and friends.

Besides Alaska, they also have itineraries in Hawaii, Mexico’s Sea of Cortes, Costa Rica & Panama, the Galapagos, the Pacific Northwest and along the Columbia and Snake rivers. There are themed cruise departures including craft beer, photography, wellness, wine and birding (amongst others).

For more information on these cruise options, please email me today!

Best for: adventure seekers, wildlife lovers, retirees, families with kids ages 8+, family reunions, incentive trips, wine and/or beer lovers, those looking for something “different”

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