50 Years of Triumph

This year, Boscov’s Travel is celebrating their 50 year anniversary. As these 50 years have passed by in seemingly, a blink of an eye, Boscov’s Travel has weathered some of the world’s biggest storms from pandemics, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and much more. As I sat down for a discussion with the company’s President, Pat Cinfici, who has been with the company since the beginning, I gathered my thoughts on how it must have been to work here when these world events occurred. I honestly couldn’t fathom any of this, at least until our conversation.

“Certainly, we have weathered a lot – recessions, political climates, 9/11 and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cinfici said. I had just asked her what some of the biggest challenges have been in the last 50 years of Boscov’s Travel. Her tone changed to saddened as she began to remember the many times when mountains were climbed with challenges to overcome.

The Rise of the Internet

Before the internet, Cinfici recalls handwriting plane tickets with many steps and tariff books involved. Travel Advisors also had to search through brochures, following with a call to travel partners to book their client’s travel. The process was a tedious one that they completed every day. When the Internet arose, she explained there was a time where people thought it would be the demise of travel companies – for the sole fact that people were able to book travel on their own. Unfortunately, for some companies it was. But Boscov’s Travel stood their ground with their no cost for complete vacation package planning services, their diversified product, and trusted presence in the community – all which still stand as the foundation today. Cinfici explained, “You cannot get human connection from a “box” (computer), as you would working with a Travel Advisor.” ‘This is true,’ I thought.

9/11

Cinfici recalled the worst impact for her on a personal and professional level being the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With the loss of many lives that day and the horrible memories, this day was a tragedy. Cinfici says she can “still see the day as if it was yesterday.”

She explained that Boscov’s Travel used to have the Boscov’s Department Store television department underneath them at their East location. Cinfici’s secretary at the time was at the office with her, and one of their coworkers called them as she had not come in yet.

“She called and told us a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. We ran down to the televisions and saw it. The first consensus was this had to be a fluke. We knew this was happening, but none of us thought this was a terrorist attack. As we were down there, we watched as a second plane hit the other tower. These events changed the makeup of everything,” Cinfici said with tears in her eyes. She told me the loss of lives were the most horrific thing about that day. I agreed with her.

As far as travel was concerned, the air space was closed for some time so Boscov’s Travel put a team into place who worked around the clock to get clients home safely. They rented cars from all over the country for clients just so they could drive home. Even after clients were home, Boscov’s Travel still had a lot of work to do.

“We had to face the challenges of clients being ‘understandably’ afraid to get on an airplane, for what was a very long time,” Cinfici recalled. “Not only that, but I had to eliminate positions because the business fell off. For me, this was a hard thing to do as I was affecting people’s lives and these people were my professional family. It was very difficult.” Cinfici was crying at this point. I’ve worked for her for over two years and I’ve never heard the full impact of these events. While I knew the impact was there, I finally understood the pain she felt during those very times and even now – loss.

Even after things started to settle and became more ‘normal,’ phones were not ringing as much as they used to for Boscov’s Travel. Cinfici explained, “We had to go outside the Boscov’s Travel offices to make business and to find business. This was the only way we were able to truly survive as a company. It worked, not only by my efforts but a lot of people’s efforts.”

Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Eruption

When Europe closed down due to the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano eruption, the ash affected the air which affected flights. This meant there were clients in Europe who couldn’t get home. “All of us, especially our Corporate Travel department worked tirelessly to get people home, but we got people home,” Cinfici explained. “We took our clients into different countries by boarding them via train to the next destination and so forth. As a country’s air space would close, we would get our clients to the next country. Italy was one of the last countries to close so we got them home through there.” These type of weather-related activities and even political climates are constantly changing the way people travel and Boscov’s Travel Advisors are on top of it day and night with a 24/7 emergency service line.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

We all know the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entire world, not just a single country. Four years ago, a Global Pandemic was deemed and those days were extremely difficult for Boscov’s Travel.

“Those days were very hard. For me personally, they went very fast. My office was at my dining room table so when I would get up at 4AM, I’d come downstairs, power up the computer and try to think of an inspirational quote and message that would get people motivated. I didn’t want anyone scared and worried about what was going to happen to us. That was one of the biggest challenges during that time,” Cinfici expressed.

I personally, was not with the company at the time, but I couldn’t imagine it – what she had to do or what anyone had to do during this time. The times of the pandemic were difficult and the waters were murky. One thing I did know as I listened to Cinfici recall these events, is that she is a go-getter and cares about her staff and clients – so I knew she would push through until she couldn’t, and that she did.

Cinfici explained, “The days went by so fast because I was on the phone from morning to night with people. I couldn’t wait until we reopened the offices as I had to assist clientele and my staff at home. I was also dependent on the store and the government telling us when we could reopen. I actually think the only reason we got through the pandemic was because of God’s grace, truly. That which does not kill you will definitely make you stronger.”

With that being said, the world began to open back up and Boscov’s Travel staff were back in office. Cinfici told me, “It was hard because every day each country had different rules and regulations which were being changed. My employees were nervous to sell some things to clients because one day a country may have been open and the next it could’ve been closed again.” She explained it was a tough road to navigate. “We lost some key staff members. They left the travel industry because of how the world was and how difficult the industry was becoming due to it. This was difficult, very difficult for everyone. I don’t want to go through it again, and I don’t want the world to go through it again. I don’t want us as an industry to go through it, nor us as a company – ever again.”

Pat Cinfici only skimmed the surface of just some of the things Boscov’s Travel has seen over the past 50 years. If there’s anything to take away, it’s that as a travel company, Boscov’s Travel is subject to what’s going on in the world – whether that be weather, politics, and much more. This is why it’s so important that the company has survived.

“I believe we survived because we have diversified product. People can come here and go anywhere they want in the world. They can go on a one-day trip or take a trip around the world, or everything in between. One of the reasons we did survive through all of these hard times is because we had to change. Change is hard. Some people don’t change, but then they will not be as successful,” Pat longed. “You truly just have to put one foot in front of the other. You have to recognize the fact that if God brought you to it, God gets you through it. That’s how I face it.”

Today, 50 years later, Boscov’s Travel is still standing stronger than ever. Pat Cinfici thanks you, our valued clients and her incredible team. Boscov’s Travel would not have gotten through some of the world’s biggest storms without all of you.

My Personal Experience Onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Brand-New Ship the Viva: Q&A Edition

In November 2023, one of our Boscov’s Travel employees went on an inaugural cruise onboard the brand-new Norwegian Viva! Read her incredible experience below:

Norwegian Viva

Q: Was this your first time sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line? – A: No, this was not my first time sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line. I have sailed about six times with them!

Q: Where did you sail to and from? – A: The ship sailed round trip from Miami, Florida to Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

View of Miami from Norwegian Viva

Q: What stateroom did you stay in? – A: I had a wonderful and cozy balcony stateroom.

Q: What did you love most about the ship? – A: What I loved most about the ship was actually the décor! From the colors and all – it was extremely warm and welcoming.

Q: What surprised you most about the ship? – A: The layout of the ship surprised me the most! It was very different than any other class of Norwegian ships that I’ve been on. The new design is a ‘smart design’ allowing for all the fun to be right in the middle of the ship.

The Atrium

Q: What was your favorite entertainment onboard? – A: My favorite entertainment was definitely the Improv at Sea shows. They were hilarious and I laughed all night. I also played a game in the comedy club with other passengers one day and we all had a great time!

Q: What was your favorite restaurant onboard? – A: I enjoyed Hudson’s Dining Room the most. The design was stunning with floor to ceiling windows and great food. One of the times I ate there, I had the Beef Wellington and it was so tasty and savory. I did not have a meal I didn’t like!

Q: Did you enjoy the Indulge Food Hall concept? – A: I really liked the concept of Indulge Food Hall and have never eaten somewhere like it before. Indulge is an eat around the world concept all in one place. I tried a good bit of the food there and it was delicious! Another neat thing about Indulge is there is not much of a wait time. It felt as if my food was fresh and on the table right after I ordered it!

Indulge Food Hall

Indulge Food Hall Outdoor Dining

Q: What was your favorite bar onboard? – A: My absolute favorite bar onboard was the Observation Lounge. I loved the décor there especially and the views! Plus, the drinks were fantastic.

Q: What activities did you do onboard and which was your favorite? – A: I tried out the Viva Speedway (sooo fun!), spent time at the pools and bars, and also played the game at the Improv at Sea as I mentioned. If I have to pick a favorite onboard activity, it would definitely be the Viva Speedway. There were beautiful views of the ocean and it was so fun to zip around three levels of track!

Pool Deck

Infinity Pool

Waves Pool Bar

Q: What did you think of the Oceanwalk? – A: The Oceanwalk was pretty neat with how you are able to walk on the glass above the ocean!

Q: Was there anything on the ship you’ve never seen before? – A: There was much on the ship I have never seen before from the Indulge Food Hall, the Viva Speedway and the layout. This ship was so neat and fun!

Q: You mentioned you sailed to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. What do you want to share about the port? – A: Great Stirrup Cay is a port where the ship tenders. So once on the island, I had a great time and the weather was beautiful. I was able to take a behind the scenes tour, spend time at the beach, ate and explored the island. The beaches were extremely beautiful, and there were many activities/excursions including ziplining, wave runner tours, shopping, eating, relaxing and more. As the island is private, there were no locals haggling at the beaches which was very nice. Great Stirrup Cay is truly a relaxing port to visit!

Great Stirrup Cay Beach Entrance

Great Stirrup Cay Beach

Jumbey Beach Grill

Great Stirrup Cay Ziplining

Great Stirrup Cay Lighthouse

Q: Did you go on any excursions? – A: Yes! I was fortunate enough to go on a behind the scenes tour of Great Stirrup Cay which showed us where the employees (who actually live on the island) stay, what they can do when they’re off work, where they shop, and more!

Great Stirrup Cay Behind the Scenes Tour Entrance

Great Stirrup Cay Behind the Scenes Tour Employee Housing

Q: Is there anything else we did not discuss that you would like to mention? – A: The staff onboard the Viva and at Great Stirrup Cay were all very friendly and helpful. They made the cruise even more enjoyable than it already was!

Q: What do you recommend to anyone sailing on the Viva? – A: Definitely, it’s a nice ship whether you’re going for the ship itself or the itinerary.

Q: Would you sail on the Viva again? – A: Yes! Of course.

Does this incredible experience incline you to sail on the Norwegian Viva? Your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor is ready to assist you in planning whenever you’re ready! Contact your local Boscov’s Travel or call 800-755-8020 or visit https://www.boscovstravel.com/cruises/norwegian/index.html to learn more.

 

My Personal Experience on Boscov’s Travel Exclusive Private Non-Stop Charter Flights to Orlando & sailing on an MSC Cruises’ cruise

Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel Advisors took our Boscov’s Travel exclusive private non-stop charter flight to Orlando. Read her incredible experience below.

MSC Cruises’ Seaside

My husband and I went on the Boscov’s Travel exclusive private non-stop Orlando charter the week of October 22, 2023. We weren’t traveling with family this trip so we decided to forego the theme parks in the Orlando area and instead take a relaxing 4-night cruise to the Bahamas along with 2-days in St. Augustine after the cruise.

As a Boscov’s Travel employee, I have taken our charter several times before and it’s always been such a pleasurable experience compared to flying out of the other airports where there’s lots of traffic congestion and extra costs.  The Reading Regional Airport is easy to get to, easy to park (we were right in front of the terminal, mere steps away), and the Boscov’s Travel check-in and TSA security were fast and efficient (all done within a few minutes).  We did not have to pay to park, pay for our seats, or pay for luggage! When you add up all of these costs, these are big savings, plus driving time to the airport is a breeze!

The Southwest Airlines flight crew was friendly and welcoming and our plane ride was very fast and smooth (we arrived early). We were booked on the MSC Cruises’ Seaside sailing to Nassau and Ocean Cay – MSC Marine Reserve, Bahamas. We met an MSC Cruises representative shortly after our arrival at the Orlando International Airport and were effortlessly transferred to Port Canaveral (less than an hour ride) where we boarded the ship.

MSC Cruises’ Seaside

We had a cabin in the Yacht Club which is an exclusive ship-within-a-ship experience with excellent service from the ship’s staff (special praise to Jordan, our waiter and Glen, our butler). As part of the Yacht Club experience, a private butler meets you at the pier and escorts you onto the ship bypassing the long lines. We were checked in promptly at their Concierge Desk and were eating a delicious lunch within minutes at their private dining room. Our Yacht Club experience included the Premium Beverage package, unlimited Wi-Fi and complimentary access to the Thermal Spa area.

Nassau Port Terminal

Our first stop was Nassau, Bahamas which has a very nice and new Port Terminal & Shops.  If you traveled to Nassau in the past, you may remember the old straw market and vendors.  This was not a pleasant experience… very claustrophobic and chaotic with lots of pressure from the vendors to buy their wares.  This new Port Terminal & Shops is very clean, bright and organized with lots of open space, beautiful landscaping and friendly vendors. Such a great improvement! After our shopping jaunt, we returned to the ship where I decided to take advantage of the Thermal Spa (my husband went off to explore the ship). I spent two hours experiencing all the features which included a steam room, two saunas (a dry and a European), a snow room, a salt room, a Vitality pool with oxygen-intensified water, an aromatherapy shower and a heated stone lounge chair. I absolutely loved these last four options!

Our next stop was Ocean Cay – MSC Marine Reserve, their private island.  This island was a former industrial site where sand was excavated that MSC reclaimed and restored to its natural beauty. What was nice about this stop was we were here overnight so we didn’t feel rushed and could enjoy a leisurely day and a half at the beach using the ship as our hotel. As part of the Yacht Club, we were escorted off the ship by our private butler (again bypassing the lines) and taken by a dedicated tram to the Ocean House Beach & Restaurant.  The Restaurant was very nice and served several options for lunch including local fish, lobster and tropical drinks.

Bimini Beach

The beach here is pretty, but we decided to walk a short distance to the North Beach which was located on the lagoon and had beautiful calm clear water with a palm tree-lined beach. On our walk we passed Bimini Beach which has a spectacular lighthouse and views. In the evening, the beach is filled with night-life including a beach party and light show!

Casa Monica Resort

Dinner at Forgotten Tonic

We disembarked the ship on Thursday morning and picked up the car rental shuttle at the pier for the next part of our adventure. We got our car then drove to St. Augustine! Our drive took a little over two hours as we took the scenic route rather than major toll-ways. We checked into the Casa Monica Resort (part of the Marriott Autograph Collection), which is a beautiful hotel built in 1888 nestled in the heart of St. Augustine’s Historic District. We spent the afternoon exploring this area which was all within walking distance of our hotel. Later, we had dinner at a quaint little restaurant called Forgotten Tonic. The restaurant reminded us of dining in a cafe on a Mediterranean street.

St. Augustine Historic District

Flagler College Hall

Alcazar Hotel/City

Spanish Moss – Fountain of Youth

Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the U.S.A.

The next day we took a narrated sightseeing tour of St. Augustine’s historic landmarks on Ripley’s Red Train tour. A special perk is they offer military and senior discounts, but you must ask for it.  Our driver/guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining as he told us about the history of America’s oldest city.  After this tour, we went back to the Orlando area for our overnight stay at the Embassy Suites-Orlando International Airport. The next day check-in at the airport was easy with the help of the dedicated Southwest staff at the North East Flight Departures ticket counter. We did check in three hours ahead of our flight departure time because security lines at Orlando International Airport can be very long. Our flight back to Reading Regional Airport was again enjoyable with a colorful fall aerial view of Berks County as we arrived back in Reading.

We had a wonderful vacation and the charter was truly the best way to get to Orlando! I highly recommend trying Boscov’s Travel’s exclusive private non-stop charter flights to Orlando at least once (and when you fly once with us, you’ll agree it’s the best way to get to central Florida)! Your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor is ready to assist you in planning your Orlando vacation whenever you’re ready! Contact your local Boscov’s Travel or call 800-755-8020 or visit https://www.boscovstravel.com/exclusives/orlando-charter/default.aspx to learn more.

My Personal Experience on an Alaskan CruiseTour: Q&A Edition

My Personal Experience on an Alaskan Cruisetour: Q&A Edition

In August 2023, one of our Boscov’s Travel employees’ Grandmother took a CruiseTour in Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas. Read her incredible experience below:

Q: How long have you wanted to go to Alaska and what made you want to go?

A: I’ve wanted to go since the 90’s! Alaska sounded beautiful, nice and different. There seemed to be a different way of life and the thought of going there sounded adventurous. Prior to going to Alaska, I have been to 43 of 50 states. Alaska being an additional one I wanted to check off my list!

Q: How old are you? If I can share because it truly makes this entire experience more incredible in my eyes that you were able to finally make your dreams come true, especially at your age! I admire this.  

A: Yeah yeah, sure. I’m eighty years old.

Q: What finally got you to go to Alaska?

A: I finally found someone to go with me and my granddaughter made it very easy to finally go because she works for Boscov’s Travel. She had my friend and I come in to meet with one of the Travel Advisors. This was my first time using a Travel Advisor, but the service at Boscov’s Travel was phenomenal and we were well taken care of. We took an Alaskan CruiseTour for about two weeks – which means when we arrived in Alaska, we saw places by land and then halfway through we boarded Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas to see even more of the incredible state by ship!

Q: What did you pack that came in handy?

A: My raincoat and rain pants. While it did not rain much, it did rain early in the morning at Icy Strait and on the last day in the morning at Ketchikan. Otherwise, we had great weather, but that’s why these came in handy. My granddaughter also made us matching shirts which were fun to wear on embarkation day. I wanted matching shirts like you see people wear on cruises and she surprised us with them. We got many compliments and it was fun to strike up conversations with fellow passengers because of our shirts!

Q: What do you wish you packed with you?

A: I wish I packed more capris since the weather was pretty in between each day, which I am grateful for. I do feel I had everything I needed as my Boscov’s Travel Advisor gave me a packing list for Alaska. I felt well set with what I took.

Q: What was the weather like during your time in Alaska?

A: The weather for our time there was great! It was between 65 and 75 degrees most days and sunny. There were a few days that started out with clouds and fog, but it always became nice later on in the day. The entire land portion of our tour was sunny and warm. On the ship it was a bit cooler, but it was still very nice. We encountered rain in Icy Strait, Skagway and Ketchikan, but most of the rain was early in the morning or a drizzle so it did not affect our days very much. Overall, there was not really bad weather at all!

Q: What was your favorite hotel you stayed at during the land portion?

A: Sophie Station Suites in Fairbanks. We had a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. We could walk to a strip mall nearby which had fast food restaurants and also a few grocery stores to get food to make breakfast. There was a restaurant at the hotel, beautiful flowers, and an exercise room. The beds were also very comfortable. Here’s a tip for you, if you go to the bathroom in your room here – the doors are sliding so be careful you don’t get locked in. This was really funny because both my friend and I got locked in.  If you do get locked in, there’s a little round button inside the door hole that you have to push. It took us some time to figure out, but it worked.

Q: What was your favorite land tour destination?

A: Denali Village because it was a cute little village on the river with a beautiful deck off the main building lobby with a restaurant, bar, coffee bar, couches, TVs and a huge deck overlooking the river. There were also hiking paths, little shops, fire pits and the Cabin Night Dinner Theater which had a fun singing and dancing show about Alaskan pioneer times. The family-style food at the theater was very good.

Q: What was your favorite land tour excursion?

A: The excursion we took in Fairbanks was one of my favorites. We started by visiting the Alaskan Pipeline which was really cool. I learned a lot – the pipeline goes from Prudhoe Bay all the way down to Valdez. It was neat to see how big it really was. After the pipeline, we went to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska. They had a lot of artifacts from when the Alaskan villages had tribes. From there we went into downtown Fairbanks and had lunch at the Crepery – absolutely delicious!

After the Crepery, we completed my favorite part of this excursion, the paddleboat ride! This boat took us up and down the river where we got to see many houses that were built along the river, an airplane landing on the river, and Susan Butcher’s Musher Dog Camp which is now run by her daughters. We were able to see how they hooked the dogs up and watched them pull an atv with wheels since there was no snow at the time. Afterwards, the dogs went swimming! Then the boat went further down the river to a village where they explained the process of how to catch salmon and cure it. Then we got off the boat and went through a village which depicted how the Alaskan tribes used to live. They showed us the animal skins they use to make coats with, the coats themselves, elks they raised and recreated houses that we walked through. The final part of this excursion is where they brought over the dogs from the musher camp so we could pet and play with them. The dogs really liked the kids which was very cute. We ended this fun excursion with a paddleboat ride back to the dock.

Q: What was your favorite place to eat on the land tour?

A: I think the meals we had on the Wilderness Express Train that went from Fairbanks to Denali, then Denali to Talkeetna, and later, Talkeetna to Anchorage were my favorite. We were on this train three different times and each experience of the train was very fun. We ate great food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), had drinks and met fellow travelers. It sounds a little silly but an atmosphere like the Wilderness Express Train makes all the difference for your meals. We got to see a lot of animals and stunning scenery while onboard. The train was a double-decker with the top half being a domed-glass rail car for viewing – phenomenal.

Q: What is your favorite memory from the land portion of your tour?

A: Seeing Mount Denali from Talkeetna Resort. We had beautiful views during the sunset on the back deck of the resort. At first, Mount Denali’s peak was the only visible part of the mountain, but when the sun went down the clouds dissipated and we could see the entire mountain. It was a beautiful and breathtaking moment.

Q: Moving on to the cruise portion of your tour, how was Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas?

A: The ship was very nice! It was just the right size for cruising Alaska. If we were on anything bigger, the ship would not have been able to go to all the ports it did, plus it would’ve taken me too long to get to where I needed to go onboard. They had a lot of activities and our stateroom was nice.

Q: What did you love most about the ship?

A: There were a lot of activities going on so you never were bored. They had trivia in the Schooner Lounge and other games that were fun to play, but also watch. Plus, you can’t forget about the fabulous entertainment and dining options! One of my favorite activities onboard was the parade of flags where they had everyone who was working on the ship carry their country’s flag and put on a performance to show off their country.

Q: What was your favorite entertainment onboard?

A: The Piano Man show was very good. There was a lot of singing, dancing and of course, piano playing.

Q: What was your favorite restaurant and meal onboard?

A: Hands down, my favorite dining experience onboard was Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant. We had a seat by the window and a very attentive waiter. The food was very good. For my appetizer, I had breaded eggplant parmesan with sauce. I’m getting hungry just talking about it. For my main course, I had filet mignon with mashed potatoes, broccoli and dinner rolls on the side. Last but not least, was dessert – tiramisu and coffee. Everything was extremely delicious and my friend also really enjoyed her meal.

Q: What was your favorite excursion from the ship?

A: This is hard to choose, but I really enjoyed Whale Watching in Icy Strait Point. We saw a lot of whales, some were even swimming in groups of three or four, going in and out of the water. The excursion tour operators were great with their knowledge, where to go and where to watch the whales. We learned if you watch the birds and where they flew, there were typically fish there. If there were fish, the whales would also be around.

Q: What was your favorite port?

A: My favorite port was definitely Skagway because there was a lot to do. We went on another favorite excursion of mine here, the White Pass Railroad! This excursion included a ride on the railroad, a salmon bake, Liarsville, and a Red Onion Saloon Tour. We began the excursion by boarding the White Pass Railroad to the Yukon in Canada where we saw some really great scenery along with the path that the prospectors had to take from Skagway up to the Yukon in Canada.

From Canada we took a bus down to Liarsville with a stop at the Alaska welcome sign to take a photo. Liarsville is like a tent city where the miners used to stop before taking the path up to the gold rush fields. We learned the town was called Liarsville because prospectors would make up stories about how much gold they found in the Yukon. I found it very interesting. Liarsville also had entertainment and gold panning where we panned little flakes of gold. There were also little tents set up to demonstrate how the prospectors used to live including a press, madams’ tents, stores and more.  After Liarsville, we went to a salmon bake which was delicious!

Following the salmon bake, we went to the Red Onion Saloon and took a tour of the upstairs brothel and had champagne – very fun! To end our time in Skagway we walked around town and got some ice cream. Something funny to share with you is that we got ice cream in every port because each port in Alaska claims that their ice cream is the best, so we had to try it all.

Q: That’s funny, so who do you think has the best ice cream?

A: They all tasted equally good. But I will say my favorite flavor was Moose Tracks in Skagway, which is ironic being in Alaska (moose), but it was yummy!

Q: What is your favorite memory from a port?

A: This isn’t a port where you can get off the ship, but seeing and cruising the Hubbard Glacier was incredible. The ship did a 360-degree turn during this part of the cruise. We had a balcony stateroom so we sat on our balcony taking in all the scenery and wildlife of this beautiful area. We saw many seals lounging out on icebergs which was cool. I highly recommend a balcony stateroom just for this experience alone.

Q: We’ve talked a lot about the Alaskan wildlife so let’s go over the animals you saw.

A: We really did see a lot of animals! The one place we saw many animals was in Denali on the Tundra Wilderness Tour excursion – so much fun! The animals we saw on this tour included a moose hiding in bushes, brown squirrels, the Alaskan State Bird: the Willow Ptarmigan with its babies, a brown grizzly bear eating berries, caribou, and Dall sheep up on the rocky part of the mountain. If you want to see Alaskan wildlife, this is a great excursion for you! My suggestion would be to go on an early morning excursion so you see more animals as they are very active in the morning. Throughout Alaska we also saw more moose, seals, cows, otters, salmon, bald eagles and of course the musher dogs!

Q: You have shared with me previously you made new friends on your trip. Do you want to share more about that?

A: Sure! We met and bonded with six different pairs and two families during our time in Alaska. During many of our land excursions, we all hung out together and got to know each other. After boarding the ship, we saw some of them and caught up, but we weren’t on any excursions together. Since being home, I have been in touch with about five of the pairs and hope to visit them in the future. We agreed if we ever get to each other’s neck of the woods we would meet up!

Q: What surprised you the most about Alaska?

A: What surprised me the most was how barren Alaska was, even in the towns. There were not many people there at all. Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska and it’s not much bigger than Reading, Pennsylvania.

Q: Was there anything you did or saw that you wish you skipped?

A: Actually, no.

Q: Is there anything else we did not discuss that you’d like to mention?

A: Well, in Ketchikan the excursion we took was really great! We went to Potlatch Totem Park and saw many Totem Poles. We actually went in a building where they did all the totem carving and learned that the trees are hollowed out so they don’t rot once carved. The carvings each tell a story which is very neat.

After the totem park, we went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, which was recommended by my granddaughter and a lot of fun. I also now recommend it! After the show, we went to Creek Street a little section of Ketchikan that is built over the water of the Ketchikan Creek. There were houses built on stilts and many shops where the prices were more reasonable than some of the other ports.

We were blessed at Creek Street during the time that we were visiting because the salmon were swimming upstream – meaning we got to see the salmon climbing ladder and jumping out of the water. We also got to see some seals and otters, one which was eating the salmon. We enjoyed this port so I feel it is worth mentioning.

Q: What is a summarization of how Alaska made you feel?

A: Oh boy, I was extremely glad I went there and learned more about the state. It felt like a different country and was so pretty. I was very happy to see everything and had a very good time. So, happy would be the answer to your question.

Q: Would you travel to Alaska again? 

A: Yes, but I would try different things and see new places. I would really like to go to Seward and see the Fjords. I would love to see different towns during the land portion of the tour and cruise to other ports. There’s a lot to see and do in each port so even if I went to the same ports again, I could do something different every time. I also want to go to the Mendenhall Glacier on a raft because I was supposed to do this on an excursion, but it was cancelled due to permafrost causing a flood. This was the only disappointment of my entire trip, which was no party’s fault. This just gives me more of a reason to go back!

Q: What do you recommend to anyone wanting to travel to Alaska?

A: Take a CruiseTour and use a Boscov’s Travel Advisor. If you take a CruiseTour, do the land tour portion first because it is very busy and then once you board the ship you can rest the first day since you’re at sea.

Q: What advice would you give someone going to Alaska for the first time?

A: Pack different types of clothing because the weather can be anywhere from 30 to 80 degrees – you truly never know what it will be. Pack some of everything, but make sure you have layers so you can put them on and take them off. Also, take a backpack so you can use it for said layers as needed.

Q: What was your favorite part about using Boscov’s Travel and would you use them again?

A: I enjoyed the ease of being able to have someone assist me in planning my vacation itinerary and flights. It made my vacation experience much more relaxing. I would definitely use them again. Their services were phenomenal from start to finish. My Travel Advisor was there to assist me along the way with any questions I had. This was the best way to book my Alaskan CruiseTour and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Does this incredible experience incline you to explore the Final Frontier? Your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor is ready to assist you in planning whenever you’re ready! Contact your local Boscov’s Travel or call 800-755-8020 or visit https://boscovstravel.com/cruises/alaska.html to learn more.

My experience on the BRAND-NEW Norwegian Prima

Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel employees took a cruise on the brand-new Norwegian Prima. Read her incredible experience below.

I’ll be honest with you the thought of cruising made me nervous, neither my boyfriend Matt nor I have gone on a cruise before. My grandparents and my coworkers have all raved about cruising, but I only vicariously lived through their experiences. I wasn’t sure if I ever planned on cruising, but when I was given the opportunity to go on the new Norwegian Prima, I thought ‘how could I possibly not take this incredible opportunity?’ Our cruise was an inaugural sailing on the BRAND NEW Norwegian Prima. The sailing was 4-nights to Halifax, Nova Scotia roundtrip from New York City, NY (no need to fly!).

The morning of our departure was seamless with transportation to the pier and the ease with being able to be dropped off right at the terminal (and right in front of the big and beautiful, Norwegian Prima). Our driver, which happened to be my mother, giggled, got out of the car and asked us to take her photo because that’s the closest she’s ever been to a cruise ship. It was hilarious, but as you can see, none of us have ever cruised before and this was a big deal. My boyfriend and I said our so-longs to her and we went into the terminal. Everybody in the terminal was so friendly and willing to help us navigate where to go and check in. The process was smooth and it only took us approximately ten minutes. We were given a keycard lanyard that would give us access to all things including our room and reservations. We actually found all of this easier and friendlier than the airport. I couldn’t believe I was actually about to step on to a cruise ship for the next five days.

As we walked onboard the Prima, I was amazed. The first area I saw was the atrium which felt like a five-star hotel – three stories tall with a bar on the main level, Starbucks on the next, and a whiskey bar at the top. ‘Am I really on a ship right now?’ I thought. We made our way to our room which was easy to navigate, but there were Norwegian workers to guide the way if assistance was needed. Our room was a balcony stateroom and it was absolutely stunning. The layout was much more spacious than I thought it would be, the bathroom was quaint, the balcony was cozy and the bed was comfy! I was even able to put on my makeup at our room’s makeup stand and hang all our formal attire up in the room’s closet.

Once we got settled in, we went onto the deck and took in the views of the Manhattan skyline and as we sailed away from port we waved to the Statue of Liberty and saw Ellis Island. The view was incredible with the sunset behind Lady Liberty. After this, we knew it was time to explore and make our reservations for dining and entertainment. We wanted to experience every single thing we could to get the most out of our first cruise – and that we did.

My onboard experiences

Dining

I cannot begin to tell you how delicious the food was on the Norwegian Prima. Some of our favorites include the Indulge Food Hall (complimentary), The Local Bar & Grill (complimentary), and Cagney’s Steakhouse (specialty). The nicest part about Norwegian Cruise Line is that there are no fixed dining times which means you can eat when you want, with who you want. I enjoyed this because Matt and I never eat at a consistent time – when we’re hungry we’re hungry, so this worked out well for us. We did have to make reservations for our included specialty dining which can be done on the NCL app.

Indulge Food Hall

AMAZING! In an onboard meeting, I learned that Indulge Food Hall is a new dining concept onboard and I truthfully would not want to go without it. You can literally dine around the world from Indian Food to Italian, Latin and more – don’t forget the incredible Coco’s desserts. There are eight dining options and the food hall is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We went here at least once every day. The food choices are endless and I mean it – even if you went here every day for a week-long cruise, you could enjoy something different every single day.

When you order at Indulge, you use a screen to look at all your options and the waiters in your section of the food hall serve your orders and drinks. The staff were super kind and attentive. We even made a friend with our first-day waiter, Bhilly. After our first meeting, he was always ecstatic to see us – he asked us about our day, would recommend food, and just make sure we were having an overall great time. The waiters truly gave exceptional service and I hope to see Bhilly one day again on a cruise.

The Local Bar & Grill

The Local Bar & Grill was a dining option we figured would be more American food as it is a pub option so we waited to go there until our third day for lunch. Boy, were we glad we finally did. I had the fish sandwich the first day and I went back for another the next – that’s how delicious it was. Matt did the same, but with the chicken salad sandwich. All of our appetizers and drinks were perfect. I highly recommend the Local Bar & Grill.

Cagney’s Steakhouse

Apparently, a lot of people like Cagney’s Steakhouse and you can add us to that list. Matt really wanted to go here and we had one specialty dining package to use. For our inaugural sailing, specialty restaurants required reservations so our first day on board we snagged our Cagney’s reservation.

Matt and I ordered an abundance of food to try and there was not a single thing we didn’t enjoy. For starters we ordered the black tiger shrimp trio and the lobster bisque, which had big pieces of lobster in it. I’m getting hungry again just talking about it. For our entrees, I got filet mignon and Matt got the ribeye. Our waiter, Cloyd (fun side note, he said the way you remember his name is either Pink CLOYD or CLOYD Mayweather) came to our table with a box of knives to choose to use with our steaks. Cloyd explained what each knife was good for and what he recommended. Then our steaks came out and I have to tell you, I am not the biggest steak eater, but I’ve never had a better steak in my life. I crave Cagney’s filet mignon all the time now, that’s how good it was!

For our sides we took Bhilly from Indulge Food Hall’s recommendation of parmesan dusted truffle fries and Cloyd’s recommendation of potatoes au gratin, plus some broccoli. I can’t express enough how delicious our food was. For dessert we got the seven-layer chocolate cake and the “omg” caramel-butterscotch cheesecake, both were incredible. If you are a steak-lover or a good-food lover (who isn’t?), I am confident you will LOVE this specialty dining restaurant.

Side note on specialty dining: A few of my fellow coworkers tried out some of the other specialty restaurants including Le Bistro, Palomar, and Los Lobos. Everyone enjoyed their food and recommended their specific choice in specialty dining. I have a feeling you can’t go wrong with any of the specialty dining options.

Bars and Lounges

The bars and lounges on the Prima were so neat and diverse. I’ll touch on some of them.

Belvedere Bar

The Belvedere Bar was tucked away behind the casino. They had fun cocktails and the bartenders were very kind and informative to us as we were new to cruising. The Belvedere Bar was nice for a quiet cocktail during the day and a bit livelier with a small crowd in the evening.

Waves Pool Bar

We visited the Waves Pool Bar as we waited for the ship to sail. My favorite cocktail was the frozen Pina Colada. The drinks were delicious and it was nice to watch all the activity on deck.

Observation Lounge

The Observation Lounge is beautiful because its wide-open windows allow you a beautiful panoramic view of the ocean. We were here for two cocktail hours and the time spent was great and the bartenders were very attentive. My favorite part of this bar and lounge was definitely watching the moon come into view over the ocean as the sun went down.

Penrose Bar

The Penrose Bar is so fun and pretty as it is on the lowest level of the atrium. Plus, being in the atrium it’s a great place to people watch.  After one of the entertainment shows, we went there with a fellow colleague and her husband, had some drinks and listened to the live band. They were phenomenal! Every evening there was a band that played here so don’t miss out as they did not disappoint.

Starbucks

The good ole morning friend, Starbucks. There’s not much to say other than every morning my coffee was great and the lounge was cozy. Keep in mind, there’s a Starbucks in Indulge Food Hall if the line in the atrium Starbucks is too long.

Onboard Activities

The activities and entertainment on the Prima were top tier. From the games, slides, experiences and more, there was always something fun to do!

Prima Speedway

I have to tell you the Prima Speedway was so impressive. How can a three-level go-kart race track on top of a cruise ship not be impressive? This had to be one of the most fun activities on board. Zipping around a race track on top of a cruise ship at almost thirty miles per hour is loads of fun. The track had many turns, dips, and brought you up to the top where you could see amazing views of the ocean. All of us got at least fourteen laps in!

The Speedway also has an observation deck where you can shoot lasers at the go-karts in play to give them a speed boost. On the deck there is a winner’s circle where you can pose for a photo op and see the leader boards for your sailing. The Prima Speedway is great for anyone who likes to have fun, is adventurous and competitive. Even better, get off the track and turn the corner and you’ll be at the Speedway Bar for a drink. The Prima Speedway was incredible and you have to try it out at least once!

Tee Time

Mini-golf on a cruise ship, but not your usual mini-golf, this is an interactive course and tech-immersive! There are nine holes mapped out in a Vegas-style backdrop (out of this world). You will receive your golf ball that has technology in it so every time you place your ball on the green, it syncs up to the hole. The course knows it’s you, knows how many times you’ve hit your ball for par, and at the end you can even win a prize – including a free cruise!

The Bull’s Eye

The Bull’s Eye is your classic game of darts with a twist! The game has a video tracking system that automatically calculates each person’s score. There are multiple types of dart games you can play and the technology keeps your game light-hearted, but competitive. So fun!

The Stadium

The Stadium is a fun place to play it up with tabletop shuffleboard, pickleball, subsoccer (our favorite), beer pong and more! Some of these classic games even have a few twists. Matt and I found our competitive sides yet again, and had such a fun time testing out each game.

Galaxy Pavilion

If you enjoy virtual reality, top golf, and simulators – this is for you! The Galaxy Pavilion has a flying, interactive theater, a TopGolf “driving range,” racing simulators and more. The high-tech world of the Galaxy Pavilion is fun for everyone and I can tell you, we definitely had fun here.

The Drop

Intimidating? Kind of. Fun? YES! We stood on the top deck watching people free-fall down this 10-story slide and it was a bit nerve-wracking. I kept reminding myself that I sky-dived before so I could handle a slide. But this was a free-fall slide that went over the side of a ship. Oh well! We gave it a go and it was SUPER FUN! Once it’s your turn, you get in at the top of the slide and the Norwegian employee will explain how to lay for the ride. Then the door closes over, the countdown begins… woosh – The Drop! The slide was fun with turns and at one part there is a window section of the slide where you can see down to the ocean. If you can overcome the nerves – do try this, it’s worth it.

Pool Deck

While it was a bit to chilly for the pool, we did enjoy the pool deck on our first day since it was a bit warmer than the rest of the sailing. If you like to people-watch like I do, this is a great place for you. The pool deck is definitely the hub area for people to gather, hangout and lounge. The scenery of the ocean was stunning and the pool is fabulous. Don’t forget about the infinity hot tubs (super relaxing with stunning views) and waterslides or get a drink at Waves Pool Bar!

Oceanwalk and The Concourse

The Oceanwalk was beautiful and thrilling. Take a walk and you’ll be impressed as you’ll find the first glass walkway at sea! The ocean is right under your feet and the views are incredible! Right next to Oceanwalk is the The Concourse where beautiful interactive artwork is displayed. We took a lot of fun photos and videos here.

Casino

Casinos aren’t necessarily our thing, but it was really neat to see a full-running casino on the cruise chip. If you enjoy casinos, you’ll love this!

Mandara Spa & Thermal Suite

We decided we wanted to have a nice relaxing day here and we’re both glad we did. If you enjoy spas, you’re going to love this. We bought a day pass to the Mandara Spa & Thermal Suite which allowed us access to robes, towels, refreshments, and some of the spa’s neatest features including: the Vitality Pool & Salt Flotation Pool which has a multi-story waterfall, a relaxation area with hot stone loungers and a beautiful ocean view, a charcoal sauna, a Finnish sauna, an infrared sauna, a salt room, an ice room, a steam room, an experiential shower! The spa also offers massages, acupuncture, manicures/pedicures, facials and more. Plus, there is the Pulse Fitness Center attached to the spa for all to use. The fitness center also has panoramic views of the ocean too. The spa was definitely the place to unwind and feel good so do try it if you like that kind of thing!

Entertainment

I cannot say enough how incredible the onboard entertainment was. For each show you need to reserve your spot to the theater on the NCL app, but if you can’t get a reservation there’s no need to worry! Every night before the show begins you can join a standby que on the NCL app and if someone does not show up for their reservation ten minutes prior to showtime, you’ll get notified that you are able to go in to the show! So get there early and all you have to do is show your notification or reservation and you’ll be on your way to enjoy the entertainment. We were able to get into every show by doing this which was so worth it! Keep reading for our favorite entertainment on board.

Prima Theater turned Nightclub

To begin on the entertainment, the Prima Theater was spectacular because not only were there incredible shows, but it is the first venue in the world that transforms from a three-story theater to a spectacular Vegas-Style nightclub. We watched the theater transform in a matter of minutes. After the transformation, the seats were gone and the dance floor was open – AMAZING! Our favorite theme night at the nightclub was the 80’s Flashback night. The music, lights and vibes were all set as we danced the night away!

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

This Tony Award-nominated Broadway show did not disappoint. I thought it was spectacular. You’ll be immersed in Donna Summer’s incredible life journey all while singing along and dancing to the Disco Queen’s hits. Even though I was not alive during the disco era, I can tell you this Prima Theater show is incredible no matter your age!

The Price is Right Live

Yes, this is exactly what you think it is. The Price is Right brought right to the Prima Theater. Seriously, they brought the real traveling Price is Right Live replication right to the ship. When you arrive at the Prima Theater you will get your name tag and hope you are one of the lucky players to hear “come on down” to the stage to play. We weren’t called down, but the entire experience was super fun.

Syd Norman’s Pour House

At Syd Norman’s you’ll have drinks and sing along to your favorite rock hits. We had so much fun here that went more than one night. The house band was comical, fun, and interactive all while rocking out. It’s one of those things where I will say you have to see it for yourself.

The Improv At Sea

We went to both the family show and the late-night adult show, both of which were hilarious! We really were laughing the night away. Comedy at its finest.

Destination and Excursion – Peggy’s Cove, Halifax, Nova Scotia

I was actually fairly nervous to do an excursion as I did not know what to expect or how it worked. We made our reservations for the excursion on Norwegians website and were told to meet in the Prima Theater prior to our excursion start time. Once at the theater, Norwegian employees called the excursion names and when your excursion was called you met with your tour group. We met our group and followed our guide off of the ship. We immediately got into our excursion van and were on our way!

Our ship docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and we chose the beautiful Peggy’s Cove and Arcadian Maple Syrup excursion. Throughout our ride to Peggy’s Cove our guide told us about the area and pointed out popular sites and attractions that we passed. When we finally arrived to Peggy’s Cove and fishing village, our guide explained what we could do and see as well as told us what time we needed to be back at the van. After that, we took off exploring the entire village. We viewed the lighthouse, tried a lobster roll (YUM), took photos, went into the fishing village shops and more. The area was stunning and if you ever go on a cruise to Canada, I highly recommend Peggy’s Cove!

Once it was time to meet back up with the group, we had a head count to make sure everyone was there and moved on to the Arcadian Maple Syrup store to taste the maple syrup and shop. After this stop we made our way back to the Prima. To get back on the ship all we had to do was scan ourselves in with our keycard lanyard and then be double-checked with facial recognition. Going on an excursion was much simpler and exciting than I expected it to be. I’m so glad we went on one!

I’ve officially filled you in on all of our favorite highlights and experiences from the Norwegian Prima inaugural sailing. The morning the ship arrived back in New York City, I was sad to leave. Thankfully, the process to unload was as easy as the process to board. The Norwegian crew announced on the ship’s overhead speakers when it was each group’s time to load off. We waited in a line and the process was simple to go through customs. Then we found my Mom in the pickup area and as soon as Matt and I got in her car we told her she needs to go on a cruise! We do hope to take her on one someday as she would absolutely love it.

Soooo…. To answer your question, yes, I would cruise again! And yes, the Norwegian Prima is really this incredible. I never thought that I’d be on a cruise ship, let alone something as magnificent as this. What I am going to leave you with is if you have the opportunity to go on the brand-new Norwegian Prima, do it! Explore everything you possibly can, relax and have fun! I really hope to go back on a cruise ship soon and by soon, I mean, like yesterday.

I recommend cruising on the Norwegian Prima as soon as you can, and with our wealth of knowledge, your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor can help you plan your next cruise too! Contact your local Boscov’s Travel or call 800-755-8020, boscovstravel.com.

My personal experience visiting Japan

Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel Advisors took a trip to Japan. Read her incredible experience below.

Chrysanthemum Flower

While most travelers think of visiting Japan in the Spring during the Sakura or Cherry Tree Festival, I visited in Fall which is a wonderful time to visit Japan. The weather is still on the warm side and the attractions are not nearly as crowded. Similar to Fall in our New England states, the Fall foliage in Japan is brilliant and breathtaking, especially if you travel into the countryside. Fall also brings the annual traditional Chrysanthemum Festival, known as Choyo, where the flower is celebrated throughout the country with large displays of magnificent blooms. In Japan, there are unlimited experiences and sites to see. Below is just a glimpse of what I experienced and saw on my trip.

Mt. Fuji

While in Japan I visited Mt. Fuji which can be reached by bullet train from Tokyo. Don’t assume that you will be able to get a great, clear picture of the mountain as it is most usually obscured by clouds. You are able to climb the mountain and hike many of it’s trails.  The train transportation system is very good throughout Japan and is easy to use.

In the main cities, you will find that English is widely spoken and understood. Japanese people are extremely friendly and are happy to help tourists who are in need of assistance.

Nagoya Castle

The history of Japan is fascinating and worth learning about. This is a picture of Nagoya Castle which was built in the 1600s at the beginning of the Edo Shogunate after the battle of Sekigahara and now houses a museum and palace that are open to the public. There are a number of Castles like this one throughout the country that you can visit.

The Village of Shirakawa-go

The village of Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Toyama Prefecture where it is like stepping back in time. These original, specifically designed houses have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. The steeply pitched roofs are in response to the amount of snow that the area receives. The community was largely cut off from general access due to the surrounding rugged terrain.  The inhabitants made their livelihoods by cultivating mulberry trees and raising silk worms to produce the silk used to make beautiful kimonos and other silk goods. Some of these buildings are as old as 300 years.

Sensoii Temple, Tokyo

Throughout Japan you will see many Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines that are as beautiful as they are interesting. Visiting these shrines and temples are a great way to spend the day and connect with the beliefs of the Japanese.

There are so many wonderful things to see and do in Japan and Fall is a perfect time to visit. This is just a sample of what is available and I can’t wait to go back to experience more of this beautiful country. I recommend visiting Japan to everyone at least once. With our wealth of knowledge, your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor can help you plan your next vacation to Japan too! Contact us today!

My personal experience at RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres, Mexico

Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel Advisors took a trip to Costa Mujeres, Mexico. Read her incredible experience below.

We travel to Mexico two times a year and stay at different resorts each time. We enjoy the beautiful sand, drinks, and food – it’s a great place to go! In the past some of our favorite hotels that we have stayed at are RIU Palace Costa Mujeres, Hard Rock Riveria Maya, Sun Palace and Blue Bay Esmeralda. This April 2022 we stayed at the RIU Dunamar, Costa Mujeres, and all-inclusive beachfront and kid friendly resort. We loved it!

This resort is across the bay on the mainland, just north of Cancun. The beauty is its location. This area feels calm and secluded, but is just thirty minutes away from Cancun’s bustling restaurants and nightlife. Isla Mujeres is visible from the resorts in this area.

Some of the best parts of our trips to Mexico is the all-inclusive amenities! RIU Dunamar offers four specialty dinner restaurants, a lunchtime poolside barbecue grill, six bars, including a 24-hour bar with snacks, and two swim-up bars.  I would highly recommend this resort to families because of the Splash Water Park, RIU Land Kids’ Club and poolside activities during the day which are geared towards families.

When staying in Mexico there is a lot you can do with many excursion options to choose from if you want to stray away from your resort. Every time we take our vacation, we take a day trip from our resort to explore the area. On this trip we took a three-hour snorkeling excursion that picked us up at our resort to visit a coral reef, the MUSA statues which are made of material for coral to grow on, a shipwreck and underwater cenotes. The entirety of the excursion was beautiful, fun and educational. Afterward, we visited El Meco which is a small archaeological Mayan Ruins site, which was stunning.

The Mayan Ruins have eighteen structures located off the beaten path to the North of Cancun en route to Costa Mujeres near the Puerto Juarez ferry dock. It has the tallest pyramid on the Northeast Yucatan Peninsula. From the top of the Castillo Ruins one can see the Caribbean Sea, all of Cancun’s lagoons, and Isla Mujeres. I highly recommend visiting some of the Mayan Ruins on a vacation to Mexico.

Obviously, we love vacationing in Mexico and I highly recommend going at least once. Cancun, Rivera Maya and Costa Mujeres are all great vacation spots for singles, couples and families. Since I have a wide range of knowledge on the area, and with all the lodging options and areas to stay in, it is important that I qualify my clients to fit them with the right resort for what they expect on their vacations. Your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor is ready to help you find the perfect fit for your next vacation in Mexico and beyond. Contact us today!

 

My personal experience at the Virginia International Tattoo

Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel Advisors took a trip to Virginia International Tattoo and its surrounding areas. Read her incredible experience below.

“I recently had the pleasure of attending the Virginia International Tattoo.  To the surprise of many, it has nothing to do with skin tattoos, but is a military exhibition that is the signature event of the Virginia Arts Festival.  This was an especially great experience because it was the 25th Anniversary “Silver Jubilee.”  This performance showcased 25 years of presenting the world’s most patriotic Tattoo, with an all-star lineup up of performers including: Military Bands, Massed Pipes and Drums, Elegant Highland Dancers, Precision Drill Teams, and Stunning International Performers.

The Tattoo was very entertaining and commanded audience participation throughout the show.  Most amazing was the Star Spangled Banner, which brought everyone to their feet; service songs from all branches of the military that asked people to stand when your family’s service song was sung; and a grand finale of hundreds of pipers, military musicians, and singers joining together to perform Amazing Grace.  This event occurs annually in Norfolk, VA.

While there, I took the opportunity to visit various other points of interest including:  Virginia Beach; King Neptune, a colossal 34 feet high bronze statue that rises from the depth of the Atlantic Ocean at 31st Street and Atlantic Avenue overlooking Neptune Park; Virginia Military Aviation Museum; Norfolk Botanical Gardens; Navy Cruises “Victory Rover” sightseeing cruise; Nauticus, The National Maritime Center; General Douglas MacArthur Memorial, and the Chrysler Museum.

If you’re looking for a fun, educational, vacation, definitely consider booking tickets for next year’s Virginia International Tattoo and plan several days before and/or after to explore the rest that Norfolk and Virginia Beach have to offer.”

Contact your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor today to book a trip to next year’s Virginia International Tattoo.

My personal experience onboard the Disney Dream

The following post was written by Ken, Branch Manager at our Camp Hill location and is a review of his recent experience onboard Disney Cruise Line’s Dream and the ports of call.

Almost 25 years had passed since I last sailed on Disney Cruise Line. It was both Disney Cruise Lines’ first year and their first ship, the Disney Magic. Walt Disney World was still celebrating their 25th anniversary. Fast forward to October 2021 – my wife and I took our second Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream. This was also our first post-pandemic cruise and I was quite ready to have a change of scenery and take a “real trip.”

I knew that travel during COVID times was going to be a little different. After spending a couple days at Walt Disney World (this time celebrating 50 years), we headed over to Port Canaveral to prepare to board the ship. The protocol was to be vaccinated and take a pre-cruise rapid-antigen test at the pier. Disney very efficiently administered the testing and within 40 minutes we were notified on their Disney Cruise Line Navigator app that we were cleared to board. 

At that time we were required to wear masks in indoor public spaces on the ship, but this requirement has since been lifted. The word on the pier was that there were about 1,500 passengers onboard a ship holding up to 4,000. The lack of people onboard certainly made it easy to space people out. In the theatre we were seated at least one row and three seats away from any other passengers. We were even encouraged to only share the elevators with those you were traveling with.  

Our 4-night sailing was both a special Halloween-themed voyage and a double visit to Castaway Cay, DCL’s private island in the Bahamas. The Dream was decked out in fall decorations and the lobby’s centerpiece was a spooky pumpkin tree (which became the backdrop of many photos). Guests and crew really went all out for Halloween. Costumes were encouraged on several evenings and guests really got into the spirit. The costumes were mostly homemade and either Disney-themed or pirates.  It seemed like the entire ship dressed up for “Pirate Night,” including the dining room staff and all the Disney characters. Pirate Night culminated with everyone out on deck for DCL’s exclusive “fireworks at sea” show.  

Throughout the cruise we gladly lined up to have our photos taken with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and so on. Sometimes this was in the lobby, other times it was up by the pool on Castaway Cay. We mostly used the adults-only pool deck area; but, since there were hardly any lines, we happily rode the AquaDuck Water Coaster numerous times. This was a Disney Cruise after all, where Disney music plays throughout the ship (except in the adults-only areas) and Disney movies are on the big (make that HUGE) screen out by the pool. We were happy to revert back to being kids for a few days when appropriate.

We kept track of all the happenings on the Disney app on our phone which included our “rotational dining” throughout the ship, plus all the various entertainment. I remembered “rotating” through the various dining rooms on our first Disney cruise and how the wait staff remains with you. The big “wow” show was their Broadway style version of “Beauty and the Beast.” It was extremely well done. Other smaller venues offered singers or music throughout the ship. 

The highlight during the day was our TWO visits to the beautiful Castaway Cay. We took the shuttle to the adult beach, Serenity Bay at the far end of the island. The water here was crystal clear and very calm. You didn’t really have to leave the adults area as it had it’s own bar and a fantastic buffet/grill area. 

I still dream about tropical Castaway Cay and the amazing Disney Dream. I just hope we don’t wait another 25 years to go again!

Away for the Holidays


The holidays are the busiest and most wonderful time of year. There’s joy in the air, people are thankful, and time is spent with loved ones. Many people travel to see their family or desire to travel for a holiday vacay away during this time of year, but it can sometimes be stressful and even daunting. The days before Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest travel days of the year. But don’t let that stop you- there’s no need to fret! We have a few tips up our sleeves to help you enjoy your holiday away and to keep you in the holiday spirit.

Prepare yourself for peace of mind back at home. – Most of us have seen Home Alone and do not want to live Kevin McCallister’s time at home in real life. Depending on where you live, you may be worried about leaving your home for your holiday travels. Holidays tend to spike in burglaries as a lot of people are away from home for them. Try placing some of your house lights on timers, which will make your house appear as if someone is home. Ask your family or friends to stop by regularly when you’re away to check the mail, water plants, and keep an eye on your home. These two steps will give you peace of mind while you’re on your holiday trip.

Be patient and kind. – Prepare yourself for bumps in the road like crowds and delays. These times can be stressful and it may be hard to keep calm, but there’s plenty of ways help you keep your cool. One way to keep calm is by practicing breathing techniques to help you stay relaxed in crowded situations and during delays. You can also download your favorite shows and movies, take earbuds, snacks, and a magazine or book to help you stay occupied during your wait. Be sure to treat your flight attendant, drivers and fellow passengers with kindness as everyone is under the stress of the holidays.  A smile can go a long way and it will also encourage others to be kind. It is the holidays so spread some cheer!

Ship your gifts. – You’ll want to do your best to avoid lugging more than your necessary suitcase through the airport. Ship your gifts ahead of time so they will be at your destination when you arrive. This relieves you of the unnecessary stress of lugging and worrying about where your gifts are. Take a moment before you leave to do the same with gifts received to make your return trip home easy.

Keep your luggage tagged properly. – You will want to keep your luggage tagged properly in case it gets lost in your travels. Your luggage tag should always have your name, surname, email, and phone number on it. This will ensure that your luggage will be able to make its way back to you just in case.

Check Covid-19 protocols to where you’re traveling and remember your masks. – If there’s one thing we know for sure about Covid-19 travel restrictions it’s they are subject to change. Covid-19 restrictions are staying in place for now and it is important that visitors research every country and state’s guidelines. Your Boscov’s Travel Advisor will know the most up to date and accurate guidelines. It is helpful to check in with the experts before your trip to ensure the best travel experience and least amount of stress. Also, don’t forget your masks and bring extra ones along too. Airports and public transportation methods like rail and motorcoach still require masks to be worn at all times. Depending on your destination you may need your mask, so it’s important to pack extra ones just in case you need it.

Fly on the actual holiday. – The busiest travel days in the year are the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas and usually the Sunday following the holiday. The best way to travel is by avoiding the most popular days which will reduce crowds and delays.

Travel late or early in the day. – Statistics have shown planes that travel earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. If your flight is cancelled you will have more options of taking a flight later in the day since your flight was originally earlier. If you’re driving, the best time to hit the road is when everyone else is asleep – either early in the morning or late at night. If you are solo driving, you can nap once you arrive at your destination and if you have a travel companion, you can take turns driving.

Arrive early to the airport. – Getting to the airport early is always a good idea and is especially important during the holidays as more people are traveling. This means that lines and wait times could be longer than usual, especially with Covid-19 travel regulations and short-staffed companies.

Always have a backup plan. – Things can change in a second. You should always have a Plan B (and even a Plan C). The preparation and knowledge from a Travel Advisor can help set expectations and curbs stress if something comes up and your travel plans need to be cancelled or rescheduled.

Are you ready for your holiday travels after these tips? We are! With these holiday travel tips you can make the most of your travels and arrive full of holiday cheer. Speak with your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor for more assistance with your holiday travel or book your holiday vacation today. Happy Holidays and safe travels!