Posts Tagged ‘Paul Largay’

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!’

Paul Largay Among Agents Recognized

By Amanda Klimak CTIE   Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The 2010 Travel + Leisure A List Award
The 2010 Travel + Leisure A List Award

Travel + Leisure

VP/Publisher J.P. Kyrillos and Deputy Editor Laura Begley Bloom congratulated Paul Largay and 72 other Virtuoso® member travel advisors and preferred suppliers who are featured on Travel + Leisure’s 2010 A-List of Top Travel Agents at the Bellagiohotel in Las Vegas during Virtuoso’s annual Travel Mart conference on August 16th.   Selected by the editors of Travel + Leisure, Largay is one of 121 in an elite group of travel specialists who are on the ninth annual Travel + Leisure A-List. 

“It is a true priveledge to be included for the seventh year in a row on this prestigious list.  I am both honored and humbled to be in the company of such amazing travel specialists.” said Largay in a recent interview.

For full details on the list, you can visit Travel and Leisure online at beginning September 15 and in print in the magazine’s October issue, available on newsstands September 24.