Testimonials from our clients

We had a fabulous trip! Your organization was fantastic, Lindsay!

Alison and Phillip, Strathroy - (trip to Italy)

Your organization for our Mediterranean Cruise on the Royal Princess was fantastic.  Each stop and transfer went like clock-work, and that made for easier travel. 

The ship was great.  Very new and clean.  Our room was very spacious, the bed comfortable, the balcony lovely.  The location mid-ship likely helped with the movement.  I was more conscious of a constant vibration but I doubt most people would be aware of it.  Mid-ship also was a handy location from which to get around the ship.

For such a large ship we were pleasantly surprised at how cosy it seemed, we could get to everything easily.  And we were also surprised that it never ever seemed crowded with people.  Even leaving and arriving back to the boat after days/tours in port had minimal wait time and were organized very smoothly.  They did a tremendous job of the transfer to and from ship!

A few things of note though were a sense of being nickel-and-dimed. The drink packages, alcohol and non-alcohol were expensive (unless you are both very heavy drinkers which we are not) but to be constantly offered "water bottles for sale" began to be a bit annoying. Also many of the social activities throughout the day were geared  to promoting their stores and services.

As well everyone on the ship was very polite and we had a couple noteably great staff (our cabin manager, and our assistant waiter at dinner) but there was certainly a helpful but casual attitude from most of the staff.  Almost 30 dollars a day in tips was not reflected in the speed/attentiveness of service.  Casual seemed to increase with days at sea. 

Also we were surprised that all the "specialty dining places" came with a significant cost. We are used to Caribbean all- inclusive where everyone gets a certain number of specialty options.  Would be interested in how other cruise lines organize their services.

Itinerary - we loved Rome and could have used another day there, or gone to the ship much later on the transfer day.  The hotel was very well placed for us to get around easily from.  Vatican tour - our excellent guide made the experience!

We enjoyed all of our ports but as Philip comments, they began to look the same after a bit.   For me, I did find the 10 days at sea long, for a first time and not being the best traveler.  We might have found 7 days enough the first time around.  Or 7 plus a few days saved for the last port. 

We especially liked Italy, Pompeii, Dubrovnik, Montenegro.  We  found our later calls of port less different, or perhaps getting tired.  Sorry we missed out on Mt.Etna and Taormina. We ended up just striking out on our own instead of taking the tour in a couple of ports and our port time tended to dwindle in the later days.

 We had a wonderful time!!!  And we recognize that you had us organized to the moment which made our travel smooth and comfortable (I just grabbed your package and and was ready for the next adventure).

Thank you again for your time, your organization (and your hand-holding).  We had a very memorable trip and we will certainly come to see you again when we decide to plan another one.

 Regards,  Alison

Couple loved their Insight coach tour of Scandinavia

Linda and Dave, London, ON - (trip to Norway)

We had a full, enjoyable two week immersion in Nordic culture, and after travelling 3000 km by bus we have lots of pictures to organize. There were 38 travelling companions from a variety of places (Saudi Arabia, India, New Zealand, Australia, Georgia, North Carolina, New York State, California, Philippines, 3 Canadians, a British tour guide and Hungarian driver). Fortunately the group was generally within the same age range and everyone got along well.

Some days the bus ride was long and there was a general consensus, which most people expressed on the Insight survey, that the trip should be a couple of days longer or a few km shorter. I felt that we got a good sampling of the highlights and there was a variety of optional excursions to meet different interests. There was never any pressure from the tour guide to sign up for the optionals. Some people participated in all of them while others were more selective. We participated in only one excursion because we felt that their prices were inflated and that we could usually do the same visit on our own for sometimes half the price. (i.e the Vasa Museum in Stockholm). The included guided walking tours were always good. 

For the most part the accommodations were 4 star, but in a couple of smaller centers there obviously wasn't a lot of choice. Due to the distances travelled some days we didn't arrive at the hotel destination until early evening, so that by the time you got your luggage, got settled, and had dinner you didn't see too much of the town or hotel. It was simply a place to sleep before heading out early the next morning. The breakfasts were included each day and usually offered a good selection. Complimentary wine and beer was served at the welcome dinner, a mid-trip dinner and the final dinner. 

I think the biggest advantage to this coach trip is the fact that we got to see a lot of the interior of Norway and the fjords. Flying from city to city would be faster and give more time in each location but you wouldn't see the countryside. Train travel would be faster, but the coach tour allowed for more incidental scenic stops and a better opportunity to experience the little towns, resort areas and lovely countryside. After seeing the size of the cruise ships, the idea of sailing around the fjords didn't appeal to us either. Fortunately there weren't many ships sailing yet, so we weren't competing with the large number of people disembarking into port. 

A number of the people on the trip had travelled with Insight before and obviously enjoyed their different itineraries. Depending upon the country and availability of other travel/tour options we would consider travelling with Insight again. There are pros and cons to coach travel but overall we had a good trip without any serious complaints.

Thanks, Heather, for helping us once again. Haven't decided where to go next but we still have lots of places on our bucket list!

Thanks, Beth, for taking so much of the stress out of trying to book this myself!

David and Amanda, London, ON - (trip to Cayo Coco Cuba)

The Iberostar Playa Pilar resort in Cayo Coco resort was nice – our room and everywhere we went was always clean.  We got our king bed and ocean view room no issues – and a lovely birthday bottle of champagne was waiting for us so thank you!  Our room was in Bungalow #3 and looked out on the rocky coastline and ocean…it felt like we were the only ones there as there was zero foot traffic from the resort in that area!  The entire staff was friendly, the entertainment was great and it was a great adult getaway for us.

The food was better than I remember for Cuba – and the Japanese a la Carte was fantastic. 

Beachfront was great  (but we wouldn’t go there with kids) – always lots of beach chairs available and a short walk along the boardwalk to get into the ocean…the first four days we were there the weather was perfect and there were no waves.  You could see all the way to the bottom…great for snorkelling!

Only 2 “complaints” if you want to call them that – first being the mosquitos at night!  If there was little or no wind, they were all over us and bug spray did NOTHING.  There was one night that was TERRIBLE.  Oddly there was nothing on Trip Advisor in anything we read about mosquitos so I’m wondering if it was a timing thing and they all hatched right before we got there! As we left the resort, you could see how many standing ponds of water there were which explained the bugs.  The other thing is the HORRENDOUS amount of “towel” reserving that happened.  We never got a spot at the pool or on the boardwalk at the beach…everything was always “taken” even though you wouldn’t see people there for hours at a time.  I’m not sure what time those people got up but we were never up early enough. Fortunately, we found our spot on the beach and were happy there every day.  I’m not sure what the resort can do about that and I know that is a common problem many places.

We don’t see ourselves going back there in the near future – partly due to the mosquitos but partly due to our kids – the next trip we will be bugging you about will be in a few years when we do a sunny destination with them to a more kid-friendly beach resort!

This trip was epic! G adventures is incredible!

Lauren and John, Strathroy, ON - (trip to Machu)

Everything went seamlessly! And we had an amazing group. We got a real taste of Peru and the spiritual Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. G Adventures really give the best tours and have the best guides!

I can’t even put into words how indescribable Peru and Machu Picchu and just the trip in general was It was so amazing….. everyone there was so friendly. It was neat as well because the vibe of everyone was amazing. Its like a backpackers dream there Everyone who is searching for themselves or answers in life goes there it seems to find something bigger than themselves and even just for a challenge. So incredible. 

We will definitely be using you, Monica, in the future every time we book a trip!

Young family were impressed with Memories Flamenco, in Cayo Coco

Erin, Strathroy, ON - (trip to Cayo Coco, Cuba)

We had a wonderful trip to Memories Flamenco Cayo Coco.  We all were very impressed with the property. We thought the vegetation and gardens were quite nice. The kids (9 and 11) loved the pools.  I guess in December they redid the beach and brought in a huge machine that pumps sand from the ocean to create a bigger beach.  So the beach is much improved from before and it is absolutely gorgeous.

 They do bus trips to Pilar Beach which is 40 mins away and apparently is an outstanding world famous beach.  We were going to do this bus trip but once getting to the resort and talking to the resort tour people we decided not to go because the Memories Flamenco beach is just as beautiful as Pilar Beach.  And now Pilar Beach is building big resorts at either ends so there is big cranes that ruin the view.  I hope that all makes sense. 

We found for the most part the workers at the resort were very friendly. More friendly then we found them to be when we went to Holguin. The food was just 'okay'.  But we expected this and it didn't really bother us.  It is worth noting that there is NOT 110 volts in the room.  It was suggested on Trip Advisor that there was (and there is 110 volt on the wall hair dryer but it didn't work).  

 The only complaints that we have are:
the beds were VERY VERY hard
- t
he system of getting or reserving the beach palapas was ridiculous.  We went to the beach at 6:30 am in the morning to get a palapas for shade and even at that early hour they were all taken because the resort workers place items of their own on the chairs and you can only get them if you gave the workers the appropriate amount of money.  

We would definitely go back to this resort. Thank you for suggesting the valet parking.  It certainly was worth the money.

Thanks for all your help in preparation for the trip.

The Generations in the Mayan Riviera was one of the best trips we have ever had!

Bill and Susan, London, ON - (trip to Riviera Maya Quintana Roo Mexico)

The service at the Generations hotel was great from the moment we arrived.  Immediate room upgrade, no hesitation (yep, Jaccuzzi tub and infinity pool on the 4th floor balcony).  Concierge service was perfect.  Two staff members were assigned to us and took care of any questions or things we wanted – very helpful (and we were not hassled to buy a time share, or into their club).  Meals were the best of any resort.  Resort was small, all the restaurants in one place, elevators – made it easy for Susan to get around. 

Our flight left 2 ¼ hours late, otherwise Transat did an awesome job with buses etc. and we used them for three off resort expeditions – they always seem to pick the best tours with the most service oriented staff. 

The only issues we could think of were 1) spa and wine credits were pretty useless, as the prices were entirely out of sight to begin with (Susan said three times more expensive than in London) and 2) dress code for dinner was disregarded – I know it’s a resort so they can’t enforce it.  I would consider going back to El Dorado, their adults only next door.

Anyway, thank you Beth for an awesome trip!  

Our first trip to Mexico was great!

James and Sharon, Strathroy - (trip to Riviera Maya Quintana Roo Mexico)

Thanks for helping us with our first trip, Lindsay. I think it went fantastic! The resort, Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal, was great. It was so easy to get around.  We had access to all 4 properties. We never had to wait very long for a trolley to get from place to place.

The property was immaculate right from the highway to the room. Everything was clean, the gardens were beautiful, the pools were great and the beaches were being kept clean.  The beaches were fairly rocky and water shoes are definitely necessary. The wave barriers worked great so we could spend time in  the water on windy days. 

The food was great. It was difficult to get into the al acarte restaurants.  We had to book almost as soon as we checked in. We were able to get one for every night but didn't have much choice of time and had a very limited choice of which restaurants we got. We enjoyed all the restaurants. The buffets were great also.

The room was really nice. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a king size bed.  They could have moved us 3 days later but we chose to stay. 

Our excursion to Chichen Itza was great. Not a huge fan of being so dependant on the clock but probably wouldn't want to travel that far from resort by ourselves. 

All in all we had a great time. Thanks again!

Heather did such a great job organizing this trip

Catherine and Doug, London ON - (trip to Panama)

The whole holiday was a treat from beginning to end! 

The Royal Decameron in Panama is very good.  It is a very large resort as you know which would not be good for folks with mobility restrictions but we enjoyed the walking and exercise.  The resident Peacock is a great show off.  The Air Transat reps are extremely helpful.  I managed to book our tour from Decameron for the canal And Panama City so that a driver was arranged to pick up us at the canal and take us to Gamboa.  I would recommend this to anyone who is doing the duo of these resorts. 

Gamboa is just spectacular and I would describe it as a 5 star boutique hotel in the Panama rainforest.  Fabulous food and luxury accommodation.  They offer a night safari included in the price which is such a treat.  We also took the gondola and went up to the observatory, saw the butterflies,frogs, sloths, monkeys, alligators.  I could go on but it was just fabulous and almost everyday we said to each other "Heather did such a great job organizing this trip"

Thanks for everything!  Next stop Italy!

Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos was just amazing!

Kirsten, London, ON - (trip to Turks and Caicos Islands)

The service, food, everything was just perfect and worth the cost. Is it worth paying that much for a week? Yes and no. You can still have an amazing week away for almost half of the cost. But not being allowed to tip, having a restaurant open all the time (there are so many!) and having free actives (snorkel, scuba, glass bottom boat..) does add to the value.  

The concierge level was good.  They made our reservation at the only reservation restaurant as soon as we arrived.  There were full bottles of liquor and beer and champagne (woo hoo) and pop and juice and water in the fridge (no concierge means water only). A guy arrived at 10:55am on check out day to take our bags (we didn't call him).  Other than that we didn't use the concierge.  I think no concierge also means no room service, which we didn't do anyway. 

After three nights, the PING PING PING sound in the wall (elevator) was driving me nuts.  I hear every little sound.  I walked over to the lobby and asked for any other room at all as long as it was quiet.  I wasn't expecting much because it was March Break. They put us in a two bedroom villa.  OM*G it was such a treat.  It was huge with two bathrooms.  It was the bottom half of a townhouse. Spoiled!!!

The scuba place was good, but not as good as other places Craig has dived with.  It wasn't too difficult to schedule the dives, but the dive staff members were just ok. The diving was amazing (sharks, yes sharks ugh.)

The only village we would avoid is the Italian one because it is so busy. We ended up at the French pool a lot.  It was quieter and really close to the water park.  Key West is really nice and quiet, but the pool is very small.  The Caribbean area is very relaxed.  I loved it but none of the room types work for us.  

Thank you for making the planning a breeze!

John and Lorna, Strathroy, ON - (trip to St. Maarten)
First, I want to commend you and your office for making the planning a breeze – we will definitely be back. Secondly, after some horrible experiences with Air Canada, Westjet was a breath of fresh air – flight and transfers went off without a hitch.

Our last trip to Grand Case Beach Club was in 2009 when 11 extended family members went for a week. We found that the size of the resort was perfect (we don’t care for huge developments) and the staff was very good and although it was clean and well run it was a bit tired.

I am happy to report that they have maintained the small resort charm but have improved the facility significantly – new pool area and office, updated rooms, as well as reliable wifi everywhere.

There are plenty of diverse areas to lounge – two beach areas, spots above the beaches, and areas on the boardwalk that leads around the rocky outcrop between the beaches. It was never an issue finding a quiet spot to relax or watch the sunset. We spent most days on the Petite Plage beach area where Mickael will bring you a “parasol” to provide shade and cold drink to quench your thirst.

The Sunset Café at the resort run by Chantal and her staff offers very good food at reasonable (for the island) prices. We sampled breakfasts (a continental breakfast is included), lunch, and dinner our first night and all were great. We also went to their sister restaurant Café de Paris at the marina in Marigot - a twenty minute cab ride from Grand Case – and it too was fantastic.

Speaking of food, Grand Case is truly a destination for the “gourmand”. The town is lined with great dining options from the Lolo’s (inexpensive bbq)  to fine French dining and no fast food chains in sight. Expect to pay somewhere between $75.00 to $100.00 Canadian dollars each with two to three courses ,wine and tip at the finer restaurants but the service and food is exceptional. We recommend getting a table on a porch fronting the street on Tuesday night for Mardi Gras and watch the people, street vendors ,and parade as you enjoy your meal.

We made the 5 to 10 minute stroll to town from Grand Case Beach Club most nights and were never disappointed with our choices. If you don’t or can’t walk  there is  a golf cart that will provide a lift which is more practical than a cab but the walk is very safe and doable.

With regards to walking, however, our one complaint about the location is the lack of walking or hiking areas as we enjoy getting up and walking before breakfast. We did take the road past the regional airport to Hope Estate (about 1 hour round trip) where we find some interesting shops (including a gourmet food and wine shop GrapeWine) but the narrow road, speedy traffic, and lack of sidewalks make it a bit precarious. We did take a cab the one day to Loterie Farm at Pic Paradis (the highest point on the island) and for 5 euros used their trails and discovered some incredible vantage points of the entire island. There is a really nice restaurant and bar there as well but the hike itself is strenuous.

We went to relax but as far as activities are concerned the island is somewhat laid back. Diving ,snorkelling ,and boating would be the main diversions and we found that it is not as lush of a location as say Grenada is.

All in all I would say that the Grand Case Beach Club despite its “3 star” rating is a “4 star” experience although price wise it is pushing the latter price point. We liked the size of the resort and the food although finding a good cup of coffee in the Caribbean is hard. St. Maarten in general is a fantastic destination with great weather, good food, and a new and improved airport  all adding up to a great holiday.

Thanks to you, Monica, for a wonderful experience.

 

Share your story!

Had a great trip with the help of Blowes Travel & Cruise Centres Inc.? Email it in (and any photo) to:

info@blowestravel.com