All posts by Tim

Michele & Paul’s Disney Norway Cruise Featuring Adventures By Disney Excursions (Summer 2016)

Thanks to our client Michele from Illinois for this review of her and her husband Paul’s Disney cruise in Norway featuring Adventures by Disney excursions.

norway cruise

The Norway cruise and Adventures by Disney (ABD) add-on were just wonderful. Norway is so incredibly beautiful.

Our stateroom worked out well. We were on the same floor as the laundry and far enough away from it where we weren’t affected by people standing in the hallway. We did hear noise from the movie theater, but most nights we were so tired from our ABD activities we had no problem falling asleep. Paul and I both felt that the ABD add-on was money well spent and will certainly keep this option in mind for future cruises. If we had not done ABD we would have been lucky to get two excursions in per port, but with ABD we had three to four activities planned in each port. We were able to see and do so much! One of the benefits of the ABD was the fact that they had a contingency plan in place. We were supposed to be going to an island through an undersea tunnel, but there had been an accident in the tunnel. So instead of going to the island we went to an aquarium instead. From what people on excursions had said, they were stuck in the tunnel for three hours! We actually left port four hours late because passengers were stuck on the island and stuck in the tunnel.

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Tim’s Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour (June 2016)

grand canyonby Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)

A bucket list item for me was to see the Grand Canyon once in my lifetime.  My dream came true with an amazing 3 1/2 hour helicopter tour from Las Vegas thanks to Grand Canyon Helicopters.

“As originators of this industry we’ve been very lucky to access some of the most exclusive and coveted locations in Grand Canyon,” says Sherwin Mercado, senior sales manager of Grand Canyon Helicopters.  I was to find out first hand how true this statement was!

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The Best of Las Vegas Dining: Tim’s Lip Smacking Foodie Tour (June 2016)

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by Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)

I have visited Las Vegas many times in the past.  I have eaten at the buffets and some excellent restaurants, but nothing compares to the feast I experienced on my Lip Smacking Foodie Tour in June 2016!

“Las Vegas is known to have some of the best culinary options in the world, which can be overwhelming for visitors,” says Don Contursi, President of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours. I asked Don what gave him the idea to start his company. “I figured in order to have the best meal in Vegas you have to experience a meal of only the most memorable signature dishes from the absolute best restaurants in Las Vegas,” he said.

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Snapshot Story: High Seas Scrabble

scrabble1Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 2.28.18 PMSometimes the most memorable times on a cruise are those simple moments with family members.  On our cruise last month I played Scrabble with sons Josh and Andrew on at “at sea” day.  As we were playing I remembered, “we played Scrabble before on a cruise”.  Sure enough I looked back at our old cruise pictures and found a cruise Scrabble photo from 12 years earlier.  We were seated in the same positions!

Larison Family Liberty of the Seas 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise (May 2016)

Larison Family Liberty of the Seas 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise
May 2016
by Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)
with contributions from Travel Agent Anne Larison, Andrew and Josh Larison

larison familyThe cruisin’ Larison family was off again on another adventure in May 2016 – this time to celebrate the college graduation of our sons Josh and Andrew and my 60th birthday.  In this report we’ll give our impressions on what turned out to be a wonderful cruise.

The Ship

“It’s going to be a brand new Liberty of the Seas,” said captain Rune Johnsen in this video describing the renovations made to the Liberty of the Seas earlier this year:

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Tim’s Desert Getaway at the Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch

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Tim’s Desert Getaway at the Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch

by Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)

As part of the Global Travel Marketplace West travel conference in Tucson I was fortunate to stay at a wonderful guest ranch for one night – the Hacienda del Sol.  Though my stay was brief I grew to love this amazing property.

I liked the remote location of the resort with spectacular views of the surrounding Catalina Mountains.  Yet it is close to all Tucson has to offer – the downtown nightlife, hiking trails, museums and galleries, golf, shopping, and the University of Tucson – are nearby.  “Most of our guests rent a car at the airport or drive in from Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Nevada,” says Susan Kowalcek, the resort’s director of marketing. “They like to have a car with them to explore Tucson. Of course, our property is a destination unto itself and if they choose to stay several days without a car, we can help them arrange airport transportation. The airport is 30 minutes away.”

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Tim at Global Travel Marketplace West – The Sequel

Tim at Global Travel Marketplace West – The Sequel

by Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)

tim at GTM West

“It was the best travel agent conference I’ve ever been to,” I wrote in this blog one year ago, describing my experience at Global Travel Marketplace West.  I felt honored to be invited back to this prestigious event, having been selected as one of only 80 travel professionals to attend out of hundreds of applicants.  Would GTM West 2016 be as good as last year’s?  Yes!  In this report I’ll give you a behind the scenes look at how I stay current with my industry’s top travel providers and the exciting destinations they offer.

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Calgary – Gateway to the Canadian Rockies

This is the concluding post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

winsportWhen I visited Canada 27 years ago we flew into Calgary, picked up our rental car, and immediately drove 1 1/2 hours to Banff to start our Canadian Rockies vacation.  On my 2016 trip I learned that Calgary is not a city to ignore – it has its own treasures to explore.

My favorite Calgary attraction was the WinSport Winter Sports Institute where Canadian athletes train for the Olympics.

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A Look at the Canadian Rockies Fairmont Resorts

This is another post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

jasperentry27 years ago I visited the three Canadian Rockies Fairmont resorts with my wife Anne during our wonderful Canadian Rockies honeymoon.  In 2016 I had the opportunity to return with a group of travel agents from around the U.S.  I was to discover these resorts were just as magnificent as I remembered them.

jasperentry2First up: the Jasper Park Lodge.  We were greeted by a friendly doorman.  I was impressed with the level of service from all the Fairmont employees we met (our dinner hosts, wait staff, and adventure guides)

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Wildlife Viewing in Canada

This is another post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

canada wildlifeOn my weeklong trip to the Canadian Rockies I was surprised at the wildlife viewing opportunities – even in the winter.

buffalo3My first opportunity to view wildlife was at Elk Island National Park near Edmonton.  Elk Island has one of the largest remaining buffalo herds in North America (or a more accurate term – a North American Bison herd).  Here the park rangers gave us an interesting overview of the bison.  I learned  that there were over 30 million bison in the 1800’s.  Through unmanaged slaughter for their hides this number was sadly reduced to 1000 over the course of about 70 years.  A reserve like Elk Island keeps these magnificent animals protected from hunters.

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