Encore! For The Norwegian Encore

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. Amanda recently experienced the inaugural “docked cruise” of the brand new Norwegian Encore. The newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, she can accommodate 4,000 guests.

For my first time on a ship, this beauty surely did not disappoint! I am not by any means a “cruiser”. In fact, I have never been on a ship in my life. After this inaugural though, I cannot wait to plan a cruise next year for myself! I think I really have been missing out on this on my entire life…

A few of my fellow Travel Specialists are avid cruises and made the experience smooth sailing for me, giving me great tips and tricks… Thanks Boscov’s Travel! Our Travel Specialists really know their stuff. With all the laughs and tears (from laughing so hard) we had while knowing that this was our mini-vacation, I know anyone will be able to go on this beautiful ship and make great memories – just like I did!

Some of Boscov’s Travel Specialists enjoying the ship!
Some of Boscov’s Travel Specialists enjoying the ship!

A little more about the ship… from the classy atrium to the bake shop, to the race track all the way to the mojito bar, this ship had something to offer for everyone. In addition to touring the ship and experiencing the entertainment, we had a chance to hear from Norwegian’s CEO. He shared his plans for the future and how the company is focused on the environment and issues surrounding cruising! HOW COOL!

One special perk of being invited to the inaugural is the ability to tour the entire ship to better inform each and every client. We were lucky enough to be able to tour The Haven which is their luxurious accommodations, and let me tell you they really are! With their own entrance onto the ship, their own private pool, and their own concierge, The Haven is most definitely worth the extra cost.

The Haven private pool

We were also able to experience the cuisine. The Encore has so many dining options so there is something for everyone! I am a very picky eater and I did not go hungry. The restaurants on this ship were absolutely amazing! I was fortunate enough to be able to experience various complimentary restaurants and one specialty dining restaurant. My favorite – the complimentary Manhattan Room (available on several Norwegian ships) – featured my favorite meal onboard, surf and turf. I must say, it might have been one of the best steaks I have ever had.

We also dined at additional specialty restaurants including Los Lobos,  contemporary Mexican restaurant with a modern twist. Everything our table ordered was spectacular and the views were even better. We sat adjacent to the floor to ceiling glass paneled windows and were treated to spectacular views. Paired with a delicious dinner and table-side guacamole, it is safe to say that this is a great specialty dining choice.

Food on the Norwegian Ecnore
Specialty dining, Los Cabos Salad!
Caesar Salad from complimentary dining restaurant, The Manhattan Room
Surf and Turf from complimentary dining restaurant, The Manhattan Room

I know I keep saying this, but this ship has so much to offer! Shows, the casino, comedy clubs, dance clubs, trivia, the spa, virtual games, an arcade, casino, laser tag and go cart racing you will never go bored on this ship. I was able to experience a variety of entertainment on board. First stop, the shows. Choir of Man and Kinky Boots are performed nightly in the theater and WOW let me tell you, everyone raved about these shows, especially Choir of Man. In fact, it’s the highest rated entertainment on all of Norwegian’s ships! And it’s all included – these guys perform at venues around the globe and tickets are in excess of $140/each (and worth it). Luckily, it will be complimentary for you onboard… just be sure to reserve your seats as soon as you can.

I was able to experience the Galaxy Pavillion – the virtual game room onboard –  which was nothing less than amazing! In one scenario you lay down and it feels like you are soaring through the most scenic places. I also tried a game called descendants which sadly I think I might have had the worst record on the ship but man was that game fun! Shout out to our Travel Specialist Tammy from Camp Hill who rocked it, as the worker reminded me (haha).

One thing I never got up to see due to the weather was the Encore Speedway. My colleagues who had a chance to ride it and said it was epic! This speedway hangs 13 feet over the side of the ship. Then once you’re done racing you can head next door to the laser tag on the same deck! How cool that you can have these experiences on a cruise.

My two favorite parts of the ship? The Waterfront and the Observatory Lounge for their views. Let me tell you these pictures do not do it justice. Floor to ceiling windows in the lounge, you will never have a bad view from wherever you sit. Hang by the comfy chairs and enjoy the scenery because that lounge is spectacular. When you’re done there head outside to the Waterfront for the most comfy chairs and views. They also have built in heaters in the ceiling for when it gets chilly. On a chilly Tuesday afternoon in New York, I felt warm with the help of the heaters.

This ship has so much to offer – I could go on for days, but I won’t. You should just go experience it yourself so you truly understand. I promise you, it will not disappoint. Scroll down for more photos from the ship!

 

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com 

Portugal… Add it to the Bucket List!

The following post is written by Ken from our Camp Hill and Colonial Park locations. Ken recently visited Portugal and shares his experience of this often undiscovered, yet treasure of Europe.

 

 

Portugal had always been near the top of my travel bucket list even though I couldn’t exactly tell you why. After visiting Portugal this fall, I can now give dozens of reasons why this small country is worth a detour. No one visits Portugal by accident. Almost as big as Pennsylvania, it is located in far southwestern Europe with nothing beyond it but the big Atlantic.  You don’t see Portugal just passing through on a grand European adventure. This is actually good news because Portugal is worth a vacation all to itself! Sure you can throw in its neighbor Spain (which I LOVE), but Portugal can definitely stand alone.

Ken and his wife Bonnie

First of all, let me mention the wonderful Portuguese people. They love their country and are eager to share it with the world, which they are doing more and more as tourism to Portugal is growing rapidly. Except for the oldest generation, the knowledge of English is outstanding. Portuguese – very different from Spanish – is not a very widely spoken language so every student gets 12 years of English in school. Their younger people know all about American pop culture, music and movies. The older folk, often seen in traditional clothing, wore Portugal’s tough history in their tanned wrinkles but also in smiles that seemed to say, “At last, times are good.”

We visited 10 locations: Lisbon, Evora, Sintra, Palmela, Sesimbra, Obidos, Nazare, Aveiro, Porto and the Douro River Valley. Lisbon (“leash-bo-ah”) may have the grandest locations of any European capital city. It is often compared to San Francisco with its large bay, steep streets, trolley cars, beautiful overlooks and even its own “Golden Gate” bridge look-a-like (which is almost twice as long!). Lisbon also has the history of a devastating earthquake which destroyed almost the entire city in 1755. One area unscathed by the earthquake is the soul of Lisbon: Alfama. Today this is where you go to enjoy the local Fado music or stroll the narrow, winding streets looking for Portuguese or ethnic foods. On the waterfront, you will be find Belem.  This is where Portugal’s explorers left for new worlds. Go to Belem to be impressed by the Monument to the Discoveries, the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery. Lisbon is definitely worth 3-4 days. In addition, nearby cities are Sintra, Sesimbra, Evora and Obidos which are excellent day trips from Lisbon but equally worthy of an overnight stay.

Portuguese Food
Lisbon
Evora
Portugal’s own “Golden Gate Bridge”
Pamela

Sintra is a fairy tale town in a gorgeous natural setting among tall trees. Once home for the king, Pena Palace was built more for romanticism than for protection. This quirky, mountaintop summer palace has many styles and Crayola colors. On the neighboring mountaintop you can see and visit the imposing Moorish Castle from 711 AD. In the valley below, wealthy commoners built vacation homes to be near the king. One of these, Quinta da Regaleira, comes complete with enchanting gardens, towers, hidden waterfalls and many subterranean passageways.

Pena Palace

Just north of Lisbon you will find Obidos, a quaint medieval village with shops and restaurants serving local dishes like bacalao and caldo verde. ​Just to the west in a wine region, Evora has much to see. There are many well-preserved Roman ruins, a chapel lined with hundreds of human bones, and a Nativity Museum filled with scenes made around the world.

Portugal is also well known for its beautiful seaside towns and fishing villages–these come complete with beautiful sandy beaches, crystal blue water and fantastic seafood restaurants. At the bottom of Portugal, the entire Algarve region is worth an extended stay, but for those with less time Sesimbra, Cascais or Nazare will not disappoint a beach lover.

Lastly, it would be a shame to miss Porto, Portugal’s “second city”. Porto is not second rate by any means. The city is smaller than Lisbon but with tons of walkable charm. Porto’s emblem is the two level Luis I Bridge and it’s amazing day and night. Harry Potter fans will love the city’s influence on JK Rowling. Wine enthusiasts will love the city’s namesake port wine. If you think you don’t like port wine, wait until Porto! There are so many varieties. Then, go to the source of the port wine, the Douro River Wine Valley.  The scenery alone is fantastic, but wait until you visit one of the many quintas or vineyards! The Douro Valley is just incredible.

Bones Chapel

Porto City
Town of Porto
This Cafe in Porto inspired JK Rowling’s Harry Potter
Duoro River
Duoro River
Duoro River
So now you know how much I loved this little country and its beautiful scenery, delicious food and delightful people.  I really look forward to booking my clients to Portugal.   It will be my pleasure to share this find. ​

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

The Ultimate All-Inclusive Experience in Mexico

 

The following post is written by Amy Bressler from Boscov’s Travel Camp Hill. Amy is a Honeymoon & Destination Specialist and recently visited the TRS Coral Hotel and The Grand Palladium Hotel in Costa Mujeres, just north of Cancun, Mexico. 

If you’ve ever stayed at a Palladium hotel in Mexico and the Caribbean, then you will love the adults-only sister property – TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres. TRS Coral Hotel is their newest hotel that’s less than a year old and located a short 35 minute drive from the airport and 20 minutes from the famous Hotel Zone. This hotel will soon become a quick favorite to all!

Far from the bustling hotel zone, Costa Mujeres’s shores are natural dunes without seaweed/Sargassum, rocks, or reefs. Though the beaches lack natural shade from the palms, the umbrella covered loungers and Bali beds offer relief from the sun. The location gives you beautiful views of the beach, Isla de Mujeres and the Cancun skyline to the south. Palladium is fantastic for groups, families, wedding, honeymooners, and singles.

In addition to the service, the atmosphere of a resort is one of the top qualities clients look for when visiting a new hotel. The TRS Coral Hotel is warm and inviting with modern furnishes. With infinity edge fountains and an open, airy lobby, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a lavish hotel in Dubai.

This adult only all-inclusive features huge suites with butler service available for every room. With 24-hour room service, free wifi, keyless wrist band entry into your room, large soaking tub, sitting area with leather sofa, giant flat screen TV, and mood lighting, these rooms feel like your oasis away from home. The rooms include a full minibar, bath products, robe and slippers. The resort rooms feature everything you could ever want in a hotel room and it is all yours! 

We all love to indulge on vacation and TRS Coral Hotel is sure to please. No reservations are needed whether you choose to the buffet, steak house, trendy bars and lounges, or healthy bar. Complemented with oceanfront views, Gaucho the Argentinian steak house was by far my favorite with their surf and turf fare. Or you can see the Chic Cabaret, a 3-hour theatrical dinner production. After dinner, there are endless trendy bars and lounges with entertainment where you can dance those calories away!

By staying at the TRS Coral, you can enjoy unlimited access to Zentropia Palladium Spa & Wellnesscenters every single day of your stay. Relax in the jetted pools, saunas, showers, salt room, and the best part feature – the ice cave!  The spa’s amazing amenities include a roof-top infinity edge pool.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly resort in Costa Mujeres, look no further than The Grand Palladium next to the TRS Coral. You’ll be greeted with an elaborate lobby – a literal art exhibit and definitely a sight to see! This resort offers family friendly rooms and facilities similar to the quality and style of other Palladium resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. With modern amenities, the rooms are well equipped for even toddlers in the family.

Speaking of the entire gang, this hotel offers a bright, fun kids’ clubs and a fun splash park. Even babysitting services are available for families! This resort offers a special section called “Family Selection” – these ocean view split level suites have a Jacuzzi tub on the first level, then a full bedroom and second bath upstairs for mom and dad.  This category gives adults the same privileges as the TRS Coral guests on the adjoining resort property.

This resort features one of two worldwide Rafa Nadal Tennis Centres where you will find 8 clay tennis courts. Bearing the name of the tennis legend and recent US Open Champion Rafa Nadal, this centre offers classes for beginners as well as aspiring professionals.  Throughout the year, camps and classes are held and resort guests can play and will receive equipment for use. This feature is fun for the family and highlights the tennis star’s accomplishments! After a match, stop by the pro-shop and museum to see Nadal’s trophies and uniforms from the years.

This resort features a large convention center, a beautiful Catholic chapel for Sunday service and also capable of hosting ceremonies, the Village where you’ll find restaurants and theatre. Enjoy a 24 hour sports bar, coffee bar along with quaint shops! Make sure to check it out this area of the property as on some night’s vendors are out as well as entertainment.  The complex celebrates everything from Breast Cancer Awareness in October to the Super Bowl. There are endless activities at this well-rounded resort.

If this sound like it would be a perfect wedding destination for you, then you are in luck! There is a fantastic wedding team that will assist with any need a couple could have.  There are various Karen Bussen (wedding coordinator extraordinaire) inspired pre-packaged options or you can customize to make your client’s destination wedding totally unique.

I can’t say enough about this fantastic resort chain from the Palladium family! If you’re ready to book your Mexican getaway, we can make the process easy for you to show up and go!

What You Need to Know Before You Go to Peru (and Why You’ll Want to See More than Machu Picchu)

The following post is written by Kristin from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. She traveled to Peru in August 2018 on a G Adventures tour booked through Boscov’s Travel and shares her experiences.

Machu Picchu, Is it Really Worth Going to Peru for This?
Yep, it’s everything you’ve seen and more. Photos don’t do this majestic place justice. Built by the Incans in the 1400’s, this citadel boasts 200 structures created without the use of mortar – just expertly cut stone which has stood the test of time (think Legos). Lovers of nature and astrology, the Incans constructed the city between two mountain ranges and venerated the gods with temples, compasses, sundials, and more astrological marvels.

You need to see Machu Picchu NOW. The government continues to increase restrictions on and around the Seventh Wonder of the World (in fact, only 500 permits are permitted per day on the Inca trail making the trek to Machu Picchu). There are 2500 visitors per day allowed at the site and you need a bus ticket and ticket to enter before you go (G Adventures  handled this and we had no problem). As the popularity of adventure travel flourishes and Machu Picchu is appreciated by more and more tourists, our guide predicted that it will eventually be closed to the public.

But There’s More than Machu Picchu
The Incans didn’t Netflix and chill. It seemed that every few miles we would see evidence of Incan architecture. We toured the ruins of Moray, the agricultural center where the Incans deployed terraces to conduct agricultural tests and relay the results to their civilization. While in Moray, don’t miss the salt mines where the Incans devised a system to capture mountain springs and extract the salt through a pooled system. The ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are architectural wonders considering the Incans had no use of a writing system and managed to construct structures that have stood for more than five centuries.

You Need A Tour Operator/Guide (Trust Me)
Without a guide, you’ll miss out on the local culture and cuisine. You’ll experience a communications barrier (most of the country does not speak English), wait in lines for hours, pay too much for souvenirs, and be confined to the touristy areas without really experiencing this spectacular country.
I highly, highly recommend G Adventures for your Peru trip. They take care of the details, tours, permits, tickets accommodations, and your own Peruvian CEO – Chief Experience Officer – who will be with you every step of the way. Our guide was Yuri.

A Foodie’s Delight
You’ll be a-maized by the food and flavors of Peru (sorry, hanging out with my dad too much). Being a pescaterian (no meat, yes to fish and dairy), I was concerned that my diet may consist of potatoes and corn but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of vegetables, fruits, fish dishes, cheeses, breads, and dishes that offered something for everyone. This is due to the country’s 84 ecosystems (there are 104 known in the entire world) that allow diverse crops to grow. Don’t leave Peru without trying an empanada and the ceviche.

 

  Altitude Sickness Is Real
Coming from a part of PA where our highest peaks are shy of 1700 feet, it’s a shock to the system to reach altitudes north of 11,000 feet. The first night, our tour guide Yuri advised our group to get a specific type of altitude pills. Even with the medication, my hands and feet felt tingly and my head heavy for the first two days. By day 4, I didn’t need the medication as my body adjusted.
G Adventures takes this into account for their travelers. Their itineraries gradually work you to high altitudes to minimize the negative effects and they always have water available.

Weather
Their weather is opposite of ours in North America. In August, prime tourist season, they experience their winter. We encountered highs of 68F and lows of 35F at night. Bring layers and research the weather when you’re hoping to go.

Be Prepared to Check an Additional Bag on Your Flight Home
Peru has the best souvenirs! You won’t be able to leave this country without some llama swag, Machu Picchu t-shirts, scarves, textiles, Peruvian salt, Alpaca dolls, and more. Your money goes further in Peru. When I traveled in August 2018, the exchange rate was approximately $1USD to 3 Soles. A t-shirt was 10 Soles or approximately $3 and change… I bought ALL. OF. THE. STUFF. In fact, one of my fellow travelers said her airline allowed 2 checked bags free of charge when flying to Peru… and 7 free when departing Peru.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Many things are unlabeled and the price verbally quoted is not necessarily the lowest price.

And the Best Thing You Will Experience In Peru…
The people. These people are hardworking, strong, tough, and prideful. They have very little compared to Americans but these people could not have been more joyful. They are very proud of their Incan heritage and many women still wear traditional dress. Everyone works – whether it is selling souvenirs, guiding tourists, weaving, farming, or caring for the alpaca, from kids to adults these people hustle. And they could not have been more kind or gracious.

 

Other quick facts:
– Don’t drink the tap water. Purchase bottled water as soon as you get to your hotel from the local market. On a G Adventures tour, your guide will collect a few dollars (for us it was approximately 10 soles each or less than $4) and will purchase boxed water for you to refill continuously throughout the trip.

– Get your passport stamped at Machu Picchu (after the exit before the bus line).

– You need to throw toilet paper in the waste can. Don’t flush it down the toilet or you’ll learn the hard way (like I did…).

– Don’t think you can rent your own car and figure out how to navigate this country. The drivers are aggressive! A fellow traveler compared the hectic driving to India.

– If you’re an avid hiker and love the outdoors, hike the Inca trail! As stated, you will need to obtain permits months in advance. G Adventures can assist you with this – whether you want to do the four-day hike or an efficient one-day hike. Just note – the Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance due to the rainy season (Jan – March).

– You should be in fairly good shape if you plan to go to Peru. Not only will the amount of walking and steps of the ruins affect you, the altitude makes the air thinner and tourists can lose their breath fast. It’s not just for 18 to 30-somethings… in fact, the average age of people who do the tour are in their 40’s and 50’s.

– Most places do not take Mastercard, but they will take Visa.

– Safety is key… but I never felt unsafe in this country. Our guide Yuri gave advice where/when to go when we had free time to explore. As long as you are smart about protecting your valuables and passport, you shouldn’t have a problem.

– Brush up on your grade school Spanish before you go!
Donde esta el bano – Where is the bathroom?
Si por favor – Yes, please.
Lo siento – I’m sorry.
Habla usted Inglés – Do you speak English?
Cuánto cuesta – How much is it?
Dos cervezas, por favor – Two beers please.

Peru will leave your mouth watering, your feet tired, camera full, suitcase bursting, your heart fulfilled, and your bucket list shattered.

Why book your G Adventures Peru trip with Boscov’s Travel?
– We are one of G Adventures recommended agencies.

– Book your bucket list trip… and receive special financing offers.

– When you’re on your trip, we’re available 24/7 with our emergency service line.

– You’ll pay the exact same price you see on GAdventures.com

If you’re ready to start planning your Peru vacation, email travelrequest@boscovs.com or call 800-755-8020.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Tour information: G Adventures Explore Machu Picchu

 

Exploring the Best of Europe via Cruise Ship

Lori - title photo gelato

The following post is written by Laurie from the Boscov’s Travel Operations Department at the company’s headquarters.  Laurie recently sailed aboard the Norwegian Epic on a European tour and shares her travel adventures that she booked through Boscov’s Travel. 

I am very excited to share my “European Family Adventure” with all of you.  My parents are avid cruisers and were eager to share a trip to Europe with both my of children and myself while they were active enough to really enjoy it.  To be honest I was a bit nervous that my kids were too young to really appreciate all this amazing experience had to offer. Alexa is 12 and Zachary had just turned 9. We left Philadelphia on a direct flight to Barcelona Thursday evening. Much to my surprise the flight went remarkably fast after a movie and a few hours of sleep we were ready to land. My nervousness subsided the moment we met our driver at the Barcelona airport to take us to the hotel. Zachary became instantly engrossed in the Spanish language and was trying to learn every Spanish word possible from him in the 20 minute drive. Despite the language barrier he did everything to make us feel welcome and was very excited to share his country with us.

Our vacation began with a 2-night pre-cruise stay in a hotel located right on Las Ramblas which is the most famous main street, located in the heart of Barcelona with more restaurants, cafes, and shops than you can imagine. We loved walking around this area soaking up the architecture and local culture by trying tapas, paella, gelato and of course you can’t forget the sangria. During our stay we did a Double Decker Bus tour of the city as well as a trip to the local aquarium. We booked a Flamenco dinner show which was really fantastic as well. I highly encourage the pre-night stay to enjoy this beautiful city and I also think it helps to adjust to the time change.

Norwegian Epic

Sunday morning arrived and it was time to board the Norwegian Cruise Line Ship, Epic.  Check in was flawless and easy to do. I really enjoyed the layout of this ship as it was a bit different than others I have cruised on. It was raining so the water slides would have to wait until the sun came out. The kids managed to occupy their time at the bowling alley and the arcade located in the O’Sheehan’s Sports Bar which would come to be one of our favorite spots. We did make reservations to do the Cirque Dreams Show which was one of the ships highlights. Although the dinner portion wasn’t rave worthy the show was really fantastic!

Norwegian Epic Bowling Alley
Monday was a day at sea to relax before we arrived in Italy. My Dad and I had to check out the Epic’s Ice Bar, where they graciously gave you parkas and gloves so you are able to enjoy your cocktails in a balmy 11 degrees. You tend to drink faster than normal because it’s a little chilly, but to see a bar and chairs all made out of ice was really cool. We both were glad we took the time to try it out and it was worth the cover charge!

Norwegian Epic Ice Bar

Tuesday morning we arrived in Naples, Italy where we had our first shore excursion to the spectacular Sorrento and Amalfi coast by land and sea. The boat ride was picturesque and walking around the villages was so neat. Of course we got to learn a bit of Italian from our tour guide too.

Cannes

Lunch was located in a greenhouse filled with beautiful flowers and lemon trees that I couldn’t get enough of.

Lemon Trees

Wednesday we arrived in Rome, Italy, where we had a full day excursion with sightseeing at the Colosseum and throughout Vatican City. The expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is an understatement. This tour was pretty intense, as it was hours of walking, sightseeing and learning.  Alexa studied the Colisseum in 6th grade Social Studies so this was a once in a lifetime field trip to say the least. I am not sure who was more excited, her or the tour guide, as she was asking a million questions. Once arriving at the Vatican, we learned we had missed the Pope speaking earlier that morning as he does a service every Wednesday morning for the public. Seeing the inside of the Sistine Chapel was breathtaking and my favorite part was looking around to see the different emotions of everyone there. There were people praying, singing, crying, and those that were just in pure awe of the beauty.

Coliseum

Thursday brought us to our final day in Italy where we toured Florence and Pisa. This was my favorite port of the trip. The bus ride through the scenic Tuscan countryside on the way to Florence was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The green hillside vineyards with tall Cypress trees were just beautiful. Once arriving in Florence I instantly fell in love with the cobblestone streets lined with cafes and tiny shops. The walk along the Arno River (photo below) was also the highlight as the scenery was just beautiful. We had a traditional Italian lunch followed by the most delicious espresso.

Pisa

Next we were off again, for a bus ride and a tour of Pisa. Pisa – in my opinion – should be no more than a few hour stop but it was certainly something I am happy we had the opportunity to see. You arrive in what looks like a residential neighborhood and you see this immense leaning tower. Pretty surreal!

Pisa tower

Thursday we arrived in Cannes, France, my second favorite port. My family has a love of boats and water so to see this beautiful French city on the water with yachts and sailboats, we were in paradise. We were lucky enough to be there during the Cannes Film Festival which was very exciting. We did a city tram tour which enabled us to see so much of this area. For lunch we enjoyed the best pizza we have ever eaten, which seemed ironic being in France versus Italy.

Pizza

Our final day was in Marseilles, France, which again is a beautiful seaside port. We took another tram type tour which allowed us to get a taste and feel of this picturesque little town. Of course we couldn’t leave France without enjoying our last cone of gelato.

Marsailles

I truly believe that a cruise was the best way to experience all of these unbelievable destinations. As much as we loved our time spent on the ship we truly used it as a floating hotel. I don’t believe there is any better way that you can explore 3 different countries, cultures and languages all in 10 days. The shore excursions tend to add up but they are truly worth it for the experience. We thoroughly enjoyed each one. I also don’t recommend traveling to Europe on a diet, as the culinary experience alone is amazing. Now that we have had a taste of Spain, Italy, and France we can’t wait to go back.

Coast and boats

If you’re ready to book your Mediterranean adventure, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.