Posts Tagged ‘Largay Travel’

Crystal Symphony Debuts World’s First Living Wall at Sea

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

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

Crystal Symphony's Living Wall

Crystal Symphony's New Living Wall

Designed for an al fresco area in the ship’s Deck 11 Trident Grill, the unique living wall uses a varied and diverse selection of indoor plants to display a world map.  The living wall is 37.7 feet (11.5 meters) long and 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) high and will receive regular maintenance by Crystal Symphony’s onboard team of florists.

“In keeping with our ongoing focus on design, we wanted to create a focal point that was both highly contemporary and visually stunning,” says Alexandra Don, Crystal’s vice president, hotel design and services.  “The end result is a living wall that brings the Trident Grill to life and serves as an eye-catching backdrop to the incomparable service and choices that always characterize a Crystal holiday.”

Trident Grill Living Wall

The Living Wall at the Trident Grill on the Crystal Symphony

Joel Nash, marketing manager for ANS Group Europe added, “This bespoke project is an exciting and exhilarating scheme.  Installing living walls on a cruise ship is taking us to a completely new level and opens up all sorts of possibilities.  When you think this wall will be travelling as far north as Lapland and down to Cape Horn, it takes your breath away.”     

A living wall is a vertical garden that is pre-planted in panels and then attached to the wall or facade of a building.  Plants stay intact in their vertical positions because their root structures are anchored in two to four inches of soil kept within the panel.

 

The installation of the wall on Crystal Symphony is yet another example of Crystal’s “Crystal Clean” environmental and educational efforts both onboard and on shore.  A living wall acts as a bio filter, enhancing air quality by breaking down harmful airborne contaminants and transforming them into clean oxygen.  By absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, it reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort or hotel in history.  A keen focus on design has also earned the line numerous industry design honors, including first-ever awards from Hospitality Design magazine and the Association of Retail Environments (A.R.E.) in 2012.

For more information on Crystal Cruises and reservations, contact a Largay Travel Specialist at 1-800-322-9481, online at www.LargayTravel.com or email us at vacations@largaytravel.com




Discovering the World of Global Entry

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Monday, September 10th, 2012

In the world of luxury travel, there are many things I have learned.  First, my job as a travel advisor is to give advice based on my first-hand experiences so I know what works and what doesn’t.  Next, that well-traveled individuals HATE, and I mean HATE, to stand in line.  Most hotels and cruise lines make a conscious effort to help travelers avoid lines, however, US Customs and Immigration was different.  Traditionally travelers could spend a small eternity (anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes or more) waiting on line to be welcomed home after long international flights.  This was a sad fact because as advisors, we would spend hours planning the perfect trip, carefully selecting the itinerary, choosing the hotels and arranging flights on the airline with the best on-board experience.  Only to have our precious travelers left holding their bags in an endless line when re-entering the US.  Traditionally, this was out of our control to advisors, however, now, with the new Global Entry program, we can make those lines disappear and the trip home seamless.  So, as all good travel advisors do, I took the two hour ride to JFK Airport to complete my Global Entry application, so I can test the system and make a recommendation.

The Global Entry membership allows travelers to walk past the long lines at immigrations and customs, breeze up to a kiosk, insert their passport and have their fingerprints scanned.  They then bypass the immigration agent, for they have already been pre-qualified as a Global Entry traveler.  For those of you who travel internationally and are unfamiliar with Global Entry, you need to pay attention because this information will change your traveling life forever.

The Global Entry membership program allows travelers to go through an application and screening process in order to bypass immigration and customs lines when you re-enter the US from abroad.  The application is quite simple and only takes a few minutes online and the interview, which is scheduled in advance with the Global Entry Officer, is only about 15 minutes long. Once the interview is complete, you are photographed and fingerprinted, which allows you to use the kiosk in the airport when re-entering the US.  The membership fee is $100 and lasts for 5 years AND, as if that wasn’t good enough, you are automatically qualified for TSA PreCheck clearance, which allows you to keep your shoes on and laptop in your bag at certain domestic airports when you travel domestically.  Also, anyone paying with an American Express Platinum card will receive reimbursement for the charges.

There are a few qualifications for Global Entry, however, as long as you haven’t broken any laws, smuggled snails in to the country or lied on your application, you should be all set.  For more information on Global Entry, you can CLICK HERE for a Global Entry brochure or go online to www.globalentry.gov

Later this year Largay Travel will host a Global Entry Day in our headquarters in Waterbury, Connecticut, where Global Entry Officers will be on site to perform interviews.  If you are interested in participating, please email me at Amanda@LargayTravel.com and I will let you know the details when they are available. 

So, this October when I return from hosting a Voyager Club group on the Silver Spirit, I will test the system once and for all.  And maybe I won’t skip past all the weary travelers waiting in the endless line at the airport like I imagined during my long drive to JFK.  Maybe, instead, I will just smile and walk on by knowing that all of MY travelerswill do the same.  Safe journies my friends!




The Sagamore Hosts Largay Annual Meeting

By Paul Largay   Thursday, April 26th, 2012

On Friday, April 27th, Largay Travel will host its annual company retreat. The Sagamore Resort and Hotel will serve as the backdrop for the Largettes as they work with each other and travel suppliers to improve their already incredible skills and abilities. Suppliers attending the annual gathering include, Adventures by Disney, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Micato, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Tauck World Discovery, Travel Impressions, Travelex, and Virtuoso. Over the course of the weekend the Suppliers will showcase their travel offerings, while the Largay Travel team assesses each, in order to strengthen their understanding of each supplier’s market. This way, customers will be directed to the best tour or cruise for them, based on their own travel desires. Company Vice President Amanda Kilmak is very enthusiastic and optimistic about the weekend.

“Our company retreat is a way for us to improve our business on every level. We get to work with each other and enhance our abilities as travel advisors, we get to work with our travel suppliers and see how they have changed and evolved for the future. This year we are giving the suppliers incentive to really WOW us but rating their presentations. Our ultimate goal is to find better ways to serve our clients, and what better way than to pull all the pieces together for an annual tune up.”

All in all, the annual retreat looks to be successful, enjoyable and very productive as it is every year.




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

By Paul Largay   Monday, April 9th, 2012

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

There is no denying it; it has the title of ‘World’s Largest Cruise ship’ because it is, but big in this case is not synonymous with bad or inferior. Quite the contrary, after having a look around, I was pleasantly surprised that the ship was designed & strategically divided into what can best be described as neighborhoods complete

with names such as Central Park, and the Boardwalk. Central Park was home to a number of intimate, alternative restaurants and a fabulous wine bar proudly displaying the world’s largest bottle of Cabernet!

In contrast, the Boardwalk neighborhood’s authenticity immediately reminded me of my childhood days in Coney Island. There are hot dog/ice cream stands, carnival games, popcorn/candy apples, and of course the requisite/magnificent wooden, hand carved carrousel. Does incredible begin to come to mind?

The active and adventure sports offered on-board are highlighted by a (40) foot rock climbing wall, flow rider(s) (go figure I’ve always wanted to know what it was like to surf, and now I do), a zip line -yes an actual zip line- strung 50 feet

above the deck (the 1st step is the most difficult!), and a running track that encircles the ship that helps you to keep pace with the additional calories found around every corner of the ship (kinda, but not really!).

The gym/workout facilities and spa boast abundant, state of the art pieces of equipment, instructors, and attendants. Not only can you get a personalized exercise/nutritional program,but have your teeth whitened, receive a Botox treatment and experience acupuncture as well. Lions & tigers& bears, oh my!

If nighttime action and entertainment options ‘float your boat’ (sorry it was there) then you’re in luck. AGAIN! As a matter of fact you may be exhausted just deciding between jazz/rock/disco/karaoke music. Or perhaps you want your evening’s entertainment menu to include a combination of a comedy club and a Broadway show (Chicago), or maybe an Ice Capades performance followed by an aqua theater nightcap.

The aqua show can best be described as a unique combination of Cirque de Soleil meets the cliff divers from Acapulco. The choices go on as long as the night.

After sailing for (7) days, my experience/impression is that this ship is a ‘boat load a fun’, unique, and certainly in a class by itself. This ship, like all ships, is NOT for everybody. Folks accustomed to more intimate settings, variety of ports, large cabins and surroundings will be better served elsewhere. But, singles, active couples, families (so PERFECT for multigenerational trips/reunions) should seriously consider adding the Allure to their respective bucket lists. The food, entertainment, and service all exceeded my expectations.

The net result when I think back upon this cruise-and I’ll do so very fondly-is a big ol’ Fashioned smile.




Backroads Biking Adventure through Calgary

By Paul Largay   Sunday, April 1st, 2012

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

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

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

 For (6) days we were treated to a buffet and endless stream of brilliant blue skies, iridescent , jewel-like lakes, majestic, craggy-faced relentless mountain peaks.  Abundant wildlife seemed to magically and strategically await us around each bend in the road (big horn sheep, elk, black bear, and yes even a mother grizzly bear…YIKES!).

 The challenges of the daily distance and considerable elevation gains were a test of our collective wills, but whose attainment always offered the reward of a magnificent, scenic, visual dessert.

 The guides were all incredibly energetic (they had no choice with all these ‘type A’ personalities!) knowledgeable, personable, and unilaterally available.  They somehow innately understood & catered to the uniqueness of each participant and, in certain select instances, when somebody climbing a mountain pass ‘ran outta gas‘ , provided a seamless ‘lift‘ to the top where they eventually toasted & celebrated our arrival.

 The hotels were all ‘best in show’ in their respective locales.  The service, accommodations, & cuisine at the Post Hotel was in a category second to none and would rival ANY US/European ‘best of the best’ property.

 Because of our desire to be situated in a very remote wilderness environment, everyone understood that on certain nights the level of accommodations would be adequate but NOT exceptional.  On those particular nights the level of service, food, charm ,and dinner conversation offered by the inn keeper and his staff more than compensated us for the utilitarian accommodations.

 What a privilege it was to bike & physically experience this hidden gem, pristine and well preserved wilderness area.  The memories of this experience, like the endless rewarding scenery & wildlife of Calgary, will provide lifelong memories for all fortunate enough to have participated!




American Safari Cruises through the Hawaiian Islands

By Paul Largay   Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

If you ask me, choice is one of life’s greatest challenges because eventually by  its very definition you need to make one. So, here I am again, it’s another year, another February vacation opportunity; ultimately another choice needs to be made.
Oh where oh where should I go this year? And what should I do once I get there? Said the cobbler’s son :O)

Well, after reviewing multiple options (translated professional & personal zip code fantasies!) I’ve decided upon a rediscovery tour of the Hawaiian Islands. The 1st runners up, The Maldives, Tahiti, Dubai, etc. etc. etc, will just have to take their rightful, patient place in my traveler’s universal category of ‘must see & do, just not now!’
I describe my choice as a “rediscovery of the Hawaiian Islands” because I’ve been fortunate to have traveled there several times on traditional, multiple Island hopper itineraries-staying a few days on one Island and then taking a puddle skipping transfer to another. Can you say fly & flop? But this time, I wanted to see it from what I anticipated would be a unique and rewarding perspective: from the vantage point of cruising on an ultra yacht.
The ship we (my significant only Ms. Reenie is always at my side!) chose, the Safari Explorer, was (1) of (3) ships in the fleet from American Safari Cruises (can you, should you call it a fleet if there are only three vessels?). Their ships range in size from 8 to 36 passengers and sail, depending upon the season, to

Alaska , British Columbia, Sea of Cortez/Baja, U.S./Canada, and most important of all, (because this is after all.. all about me!) to the Hawaiian Islands from October to May.
Our ‘official ‘Hawaiian itinerary included The Big Island/Maui/Lanai/Molokai. The unofficial, actual itinerary was where the wildlife, culture and the real, pristine beauty of Hawaii led our talented and affable captain.
(5) minutes after embarking and setting sail from the Hilo area our published course took a 180 degree turn as we lazily paralleled (20) migrating

humpback whales and their recent offspring, and a school of spinner dolphins intent on doing their best to live up to their name! The only aspects more incredible than the immediacy, and abundance of the wildlife sighting were the resolute discipline of the crew to respect a non-invasive distance from the marine life, and the breadth of their mammal and environmental knowledge that they dispensed with ease, precision, and artistry-as if they were the love children of a maestro conductor and a college professor.
The precedent of flexibility and ‘Hawaiian go with the flow’ had been established and magically mirrored for the balance of the week. We were treated to a blended collage of water sports (snorkeling/scuba diving/kayaking/zodiac tours), contemplative sunsets, cultural immersions, active hikes, bike rides and good ol’ fashioned Happy Hour socializing with our fellow travelers. We would gather at day’s end to reflect and share the personal experiences, activities and insights we had collected during the day.
One of the most unique and enriching aspects of the experience was the familiarity and intimacy of the group that developed and matured as trip progressed. We seemed to magically morph from (12) individual couples to a familial, fraternal group similar to the social dynamics in one of my favorite movies The Big Chill.

I LOVED this ship and experience, but it is NOT for everybody. Travelers accustomed to, and expecting the more traditional cruise experience are best served elsewhere. If multiple dining venues & extensive menu options, nightly choreographed entertainment, spas, large commodious cabins, assigned dining room seating, and a large variety of daily shore excursions and a formal shipboard dress code is what constitutes the ‘DNA’ of vacation success, you won’t find ANY of this aboard the Safari Explorer.
What you will find is a floating house party properly primed (great bar!) and supported by the all inclusive nature of ship board life. Your fellow passenger (historically 50+ years of age) will be successful, highly educated (present party and author excluded!), well travelled, and most willing to share their

respective life & discovery experiences with you over a hearty glass (or two) of scotch. The nightly meals include a choice of meat or local fish accompanied with fresh vegetables & all too delicious homemade desserts. All meals are nicely prepared and graciously delivered in portions that thankfully won’t have you mistaken as cargo as you disembark the ship.
The entertainment, when not generated by the interaction of the passengers, usually consists of a compelling lecture about the local marine creatures or the culture and traditions of the local people. You will find a very upscale but incredibly understated experience. Never to be confused with bohemian, but, with a complete and refreshing absence of glitz and pretense.
In closing I would be remiss if I did not point out that the crew was indeed the crown jewel in the overall experience. The crew (2 to 1 ratio to the passengers) were a magical, eclectic group comprised of eager, gregarious, talented, interesting, and knowledgeable individuals, (where did they learn ALL that stuff..I think they would clean up on Jeopardy or perhaps Cash Cab!) who were ready to please and delight. They essentially personify the essence of what the cruise; authentic, unstructured, beguiling, educational, engaging and just plain and simple..A total ‘hoot!’




Equitrekking Travel Names Largay Travel Preferred Provider of Travel Services

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Friday, December 30th, 2011

Emmy-Winning Team Expands Client Service Capacity for Exceptional
Equestrian Vacations with Virtuoso Travel Agency

Washington, D.C., January 2, 2012– Equitrekking Travel, which features exceptional equestrian vacations from the Emmy Award-winning Equitrekking PBS TV show, has announced Largay Travel, a veteran Virtuoso travel agency, as their new Preferred Provider of Travel Services.

The Equitrekking team, who started their business with a single Virtuoso agent two years ago, joined forces with Largay Travel to keep up with the demand from travelers for their riding vacations. Much of this interest is spurred by the popular Equitrekking TV series, which broadcasts nationwide on PBS stations and internationally in over 65 countries. At their interactive website, EquitrekkingTravel.com, equestrians and those seeking to horse ride while on vacation can choose from a variety of hand-picked riding holidays, many of which have been featured by equestrian travel expert and three time Daytime Emmy nominated TV host Darley Newman on Equitrekking. Photos, videos, traveler reviews, blogs, travel tips, detailed itineraries and more engage travelers with personal insight into each special vacation.

“After riding horses with local people all over the world and receiving inquiries from travelers who wanted to ride with the guides they saw featured on our TV show, we launched EquitrekkingTravel.com to feature these unique experiences that combine horse riding with other adventure, culinary and cultural travels,” said Darley. “We are excited to work with the highly regarded team of travel consultants and horsewomen at Largay Travel as we expand our offerings and welcome new travelers.”

Largay Travel, one of New England’s premier travel organizations, has been arranging exclusive travel experiences since 1969. Their dedicated team of 30 skilled advisors have been recognized for four consecutive years by Conde Nast Travel magazine as one of “America’s Top 100 Secret Travel Agents” and for the past 8 years has made the A-List of the world’s top travel agents published by Travel & Leisure magazine. With 26,000 eligible agents competing for these honors, Largay Travel continues to stand out and bring clients the best in adventure, family, cruising and African safaris.

“We are excited to carry through our goal of providing life long memories from travel to the equestrians and their non-riding partners who take Equitrekking Travel’s featured tours,” said Amanda Klimak, Vice President of Largay Travel. “Our expertise in adventure and luxury travel and our ability to customize experiences paired with Equitrekking Travel’s extensive equestrian travel expertise makes for a winning combination for travelers.”

By working with Largay Travel, clients have the option for a full service experience from start to finish. This has been of special interest to equestrian groups, who receive special discounts and travel deals when booking a trip found on EquitrekkingTravel.com. Travelers also have access to trips found nowhere else, including EquitrekkingTravel.com’s exclusive Maui, Big Island and Cappadocia, Turkey horse riding vacations, a medieval village trek in Ireland and a special tour of Wales featuring riding Welsh Cobs in the breathtaking Cambrian Mountains, a visit to the Derwen International Welsh Cob Centre and a traveler favorite… a horse ride to the pub.
Equitrekking Travel continues to rapidly grow its client base, increasing its revenue three fold in its second year of operations. In addition to being featured on television in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe and earning high praise from travelers, Equitrekking Travel has been profiled in USA Today, The Boston Globe and Martha Stewart Radio.

With an already popular TV series, Newman continues to spread the word about her personal passion for eco-friendly horseback riding exploration and supporting locally owned, sustainable small businesses, all the while working to serve a growing niche community of equestrian enthusiasts and their families.

For more information, visit www.EquitrekkingTravel.com.

About EquitrekkingTravel.com

Founded by Darley Newman, an equestrian travel expert and the three time Daytime Emmy nominated host, writer and creator of the Emmy winning Equitrekking TV show, EquitrekkingTravel.com features exceptional horseback riding vacations. Visitors may watch video clips, view photographs and get first hand accounts of riding with the local guides in each destination as they dream, plan and learn on the website, which features detailed itineraries, travel deals and upcoming departures. Visit www.EquitrekkingTravel.com for itineraries and upcoming departures.

About Largay Travel

Largay Travel was founded in 1969 by Roland F. Largay. Paul Largay, Roland’s nephew, joined the organization in 1982. Together they have traveled the world and built one of New England’s premier travel management organizations. Largay Travel, headquartered in Waterbury, Connecticut, employs a staff whose average tenure with Largay exceeds 15 years. The company is strategically divided into three separate divisions: leisure travel, group & incentive and independent agents, to ensure all the respective, unique needs of each sector are satisfied.




The “Why” of the Largay Travel Specialist

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Recently thirteen travel specialists from Largay Travel attended Virtuoso’s Travel Mart in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This event is designed to connect the best travel suppliers in the world, with the best travel specialists in the world and enable us to provide the most amazing experiences possible. 

This was the opening session video and truly represents what your Largay Travel Specialist can do for you.  This is why we love this business.

Virtuoso on You Tube




Dream Jobs Interview

By Paul Largay   Wednesday, August 18th, 2010