Adventures in Ireland; 8-Nights in the Land of Saints and Scholars

The following post is written by Irene from the Boscov’s Travel Group Travel Department.  Irene toured Ireland with a group guided by CIE Tours in October 2016. 

10

cead Mile Failte!   “One hundred thousand welcomes!”

Day 1: After a 6-hour flight from Philadelphia to Dublin, we welcomed the crisp and refreshing air of Ireland. The temperature reached a high in the mid-50’s during the day, and we were fortunate to not have any rain!

Our group boarded a luxury bus and journeyed to breakfast at the Coachman’s Inn Pub, then took in the scenic countryside through the Mullinger lakes. Our final destination was the Kilronan Castle. Built in the early 19th century, the castle boasts a rich history of owners including Lords and Colonels, and proved to be a great start to the trip.

1

Day 2: After a filling breakfast, we made our way to Galway. During the journey, we stopped at the town of Westport. Complete with the typical European square, this delightful little village boasted colorful shops, cafes and delicious restaurants. It’s no wonder this town was voted the best place to live in Ireland!

After lunch on our own, we boarded the bus to our final destination in Galway. Charming and complete with idyllic cobblestone streets, this college town offers a stark juxtaposition of its energetic young residents against the medieval architecture. We enjoyed a view of Galway Bay at the Radisson Blu hotel.

Day 3: Aboard the “Connemara Lady” we took a cruise through Killary Fjord to see the beautiful scenery of the Irish countryside. Look out for the dolphins accompanying the boat during the tour!

2

Day 4: Today we visited another castle on the countryside. Built over 150 years ago by Mitchell Henry for his new bride, Kylemore Abbey eventually transitioned to an Abbey run by Benedictine nuns. For the past 100 years, the sisters have run the estate and adjoining Victorian walled garden where they grow all the food served within their restaurant. The cafe, shop and tour of the gardens and Abbey proved why this is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions.

4

Next, we ventured to the Connemara Celtic crystal Factory and the Connemara Marble Factory. Still being mined from marble created over 500 million years ago, the marble is used around the world in architectural design including the state capital in Harrisburg, PA!

Day 5: Today we finally took in one of Ireland’s most iconic natural wonders, the Cliffs of Moher. Rising 702 feet above sea level and formed 320 million years ago, this is the ultimate photo op.

5

Since there is not a bridge across the River Shannon, we drove onto the ferry and made our way across the river.

We enjoyed a jaunting carriage ride through the national park and past the 15th century Ross Castle on the countryside. This night, we stayed at the modern and elegant Killarney Plaza Hotel in the town of Killarney.

11

Day 6: Today we visited the Dingle Peninsula, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! On the Atlantic coast, the shores feature surfers throughout the year on the sandy beaches and visitors atop the cliffs. We visited the beehive huts, stone igloos built more than a thousand years ago to give its inhabitants a place for shelter, warmth and prayer.

We visited the Blasket Centre where we learned about the inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, inhabited by 300 residents until the 1950’s. With no modern conveniences, electricity or connection to the modern world, this mini isolated civilization relied on farming and fishing for their existence.

Day 7: On day 7, we visited two more castles. Now just a standing facade, the photo below shows the previous family castle of  William Penn, the founding father of Pennsylvania.

12

We enjoyed the stories told by our driver as we headed to Blarney Castle. Up the steep 132-steps, we took the obligatory photo kissing the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that there was a king who suffered from a terrible stutter. He came upon a stone in a field and was told by a woman that it would give him the gift of speech. After much protest, the king kissed the stone and became a great orator. The stone was taken from the field and placed within the castle to bring the gift of elegance to anyone who kissed it.

13

We made our way to The Davenport Hotel in Dublin and enjoyed dinner and a show of song and dance at the famous Merry Ploughboy Pub.

Day 8: Today we visited Trinity College. The library is home to over 12,000 books that cannot be checked out or touched due to their age and historical significance. The space is also home to the Book of Kells, a manuscript of the Gospel written around 800 AD. We ventured to the cafeteria, better known to non-muggles as the Great Hall in the Harry Potter film franchise.

17Our afternoon included a tour of the Guinness factory and cheers with a pint at the Guinness Gravity Bar where we enjoyed a 360 degree view of Dublin.

guiness stout beer.jpg

Day 9: Our guide provided us with hop on/hop off passes for the bus. My husband and I went to the prison (similar to Alcatraz) and the National History Museum. Here we saw the peat preserved bog people dating back 2,200 to almost 4,000 years. Following a tour of the museums, we enjoyed the rest of the day sightseeing the town.

Our final stop was the Parliament building where we took a picture with one of the Guardians of the Police. These unarmed police officers offered a smile for a photo op, and perfectly exemplified the friendly and welcoming nature of the country.

We flew back to Philadelphia the next day with a wealth of knowledge and new found love of Ireland.

If you’re ready to learn more about Ireland, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, DM Boscov’s Travel on Facebook, 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.

Travel Agents Save Consumers Time & Money

There are a variety of reasons to book your vacation with an agency. From having experienced travelers who can recommend resorts, to special deals accessible only to agents, to no cost consultations, there are a myriad of reasons why you should book your next trip with a travel agent.

Now, there’s even more data to suggest that you should book with an agent. The American Society of Travel Agents recently conducted a study that shows travel agents save consumers an average of $452 per trip plus four hours in travel planning. Considering nearly half of consumers book their trip online, there are billions of dollars that could be back in consumers’ pockets if they would have chosen to book with a travel agent. You can view the report here.

If you’re ready to book your next adventure and possibly save upwards of $900 per couple, 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.

Adventure Tourism & Travel: What’s the Right Tour for You?

Travel isn’t always about relaxation. More and more, our clients are asking about adventure tourism options. A 2013 report showed that the demand for adventure travel services were exploding at a rate of 65% growth year over year. Adventure tourists want to see the US and the world, and experience it through exploration of the culture and natural beauty inherent of the locale.

There are many options for adventure tourism and navigating the different tours can become overwhelming. From different locations to activities, to the single young traveler or the family that want to explore, there’s an adventure to fit your preferences. Below, we give you a snapshot of options available in this emerging trend.

Adventures by Disney:


Good for: Families
Destinations: Asia, Africa, Australia, Central America, South America, North America, Europe
Pricing: From $1309 to $8809 as starting price point (not including airfare)
Format: Experienced Disney guides give you insider access to the local scene. Experience activities to take you closer to the culture of the location. From a scavenger hunt in the Louvre to horseback riding in the Rockies, activities are family friendly and enhanced by the magic of Disney.
Learn more here.

G Adventures


Good for: Young couples, 21-35 year olds, young independent travelers
Destinations: All regions of the world; from New Zealand to the Polar regions
Pricing: From $229 to $11,999 as starting price point (typically not including airfare)
Format: Experienced experts guide you around regions and countries in small groups. Choose your adventure based on physical activity from light to demanding. Sail in Havana, explore Mayan temples, camp in the desert, take the polar plunge in the Arctic, dance in Brazil, traverse the Great Wall, or take game walks in Africa.
Learn more here.

Boscov’s Travel Guided Tours of Africa and Exotic Locales


Good for: Adults
Destinations: Africa, India, Vietnam, Cambodia
Pricing: Email sblum@boscovs.com or call Sue at 610-779-8272
Format: Take a jeep ride through the African Safari or barge ride with the locals along a river in Vietnam. See beautiful wildlife and unspoiled terrain in some of the most beautiful parts of the world. With seasoned Boscov’s Travel guide Sue Blum, you’ll visit cultures that will broaden your understanding of the world.
Learn more here.

Boscov’s Travel Exclusive Journey West Tours


Good for: Young adults through mature travelers
Destinations: Alaska, Western US, Southern US
Pricing: From $2187 (not including airfare)
Format: Take in the breathtaking scenery, rich cultural history and wide-open spaces that have made tours of the west some of the most talked-about tours that we offer. Typically 9 and 10 day tours, discover the US with an experienced Journey West Tour Director. Tours include the colorful Colorado and New Mexico in autumn with a hot air balloon festival, a tour through the wilderness of Alaska experiencing the wildlife of land and sea, tours of the National Park System, and a music tour from Nashville to New Orleans. Experience America like never before.
Learn more here.

If you’re ready to take on your next 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.

Cruise News, from Boscov’s Travel

We’re in the midst of Wave Season, the time of year when cruising is on everyone’s mind! Typically the best time of year to book a cruise is this time period from January to March because of great deals and exciting new offers coming from cruise lines. Though Wave Season is coming to an end, there’s still time to book a cruise and save BIG whether you sail this spring or late fall. We’re here to bring you the latest cruise news and deals from some of our favorite cruise brands.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line just announced their exclusive premier island destination in the Caribbean, Harvest Caye.  Starting in November 2016, Norwegian cruise ships will sail to this 75 acre oasis. Relax on the beach in your own private villa, sing “Margaritaville” as you enjoy the libation in Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark Bar & Grill, swim with the fishes in the world’s second largest barrier reef, explore the ancient Mayan archaeological site of Nim Li Punit, paddle board on the crystal clear waters, or enjoy time in the pool.

See applicable sailings and learn more here. Going on now through April 10, 2016, choose 2 Free at Sea offers when you book a balcony or stateroom. Free at Sea offers include limited beverages (open bar), specialty dining, shore excursions, or free wi-fi (all other bookings choose 1 offer). PLUS friends & family sail free and pay reduced deposits. Learn more here.

Ready to book? Call us at 800-755-8020 or visit boscovstravel.com (bookings can be made in person or over the phone).

Royal Caribbean 

Harmony of the Seas, the World’s largest cruise ship, is launching this May in Europe. From May until October, guests will have the opportunity to experience the best that the Western Mediterranean has to offer. Sail from Barcelona, Spain and visit ports in France, Italy and Spain. In November, the vessel sails to her permanent home in the Caribbean with departures from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Onboard, guests will experience big, bold adventures in perfect harmony.  Activities for the family include a kids aquapark and family-friendly sports zone. For the more adventurous, fly across the ship on the zip line, hang ten on the FlowRider surf simulator or plunge down a 10-story slide.

hm-slides-hero

Harmony of the Seas features seven neighborhoods including Central Park, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Boardwalk, Entertainment Place, Royal Promenade, Youth Zone and Pool & Sports Zone. Take in a comedy show or an aqua show in the Aqua Ampitheatre. Enjoy Columbus, The Musical!, multiply your thrills with Grease, or collaborate with friends to find hidden clues and Escape the Rubicon!

Break out the hashtags and post online with Voom, the only high-speed internet at sea. For the over 21 crowd, have your cocktail shaken or stirred by the Bionic Bar featuring two robotic armed bartenders.View the ship’s amenities here and get a sense of its size below: Harmony_Infographic

Going on now through April 4, receive 30% off every guest on every ship (yep, even the Harmony!). Learn more here.

Ready to book? Call us at 800-755-8020 or visit boscovstravel.com (bookings can be made in person or over the phone).

 

Other Cruise Deals

Celebrity Cruises – Spring Sale! For a limited time, receive fares from $799 + get free drinks + up to $300 to spend on board. Discover why Celebrity Cruises was voted Best Premium Cruise Line for the past 8 consecutive years. Learn more here.

Boscov’s Travel Select Cruises – Cruises curated from Boscov’s Travel Specialists with direct transfers from local Boscov’s locations. Earn on board credit and sail with confidence. Learn more here.

If there’s another cruise line you’d like to sail with, let us know and we can help you book it!

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.

A Mom’s Perspective on Universal Studios & Walt Disney World

Stephanie, one of our customers from the Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania area, recently booked a 12 day trip with her family to Florida. Stephanie, her husband and three children took in all the sites and experienced both Universal Studios and Disney theme parks.

Below is Stephanie’s recap of her trip, as well as her tips for any families traveling to Florida amusement parks.

Universal Studios:

I am really glad we took four days to experience Universal Studios as we were able to re-ride our favorites and have some down time to swim in the pool. The hotel was beautiful. In the evening at the hotel, they had movies by the pool and a Hawaiian dancer and flame-thrower as entertainment. It was fascinating to watch and we were surrounded by the beautiful, tropical atmosphere. At the pool, a staff member frequently came around with fresh, warm towels and cucumbers for loungers to place on their eyes (thank goodness my kids were in the pool, they probably would have eaten them!). We were treated very well. The parks were within walking distance of our resort, and each morning and evening we had the opportunity to walk through the tropical gardens to go from hotel to the park.

Untitled design (11)
Scenic Hotel View at Universal Studios

The rides at Universal Studios and Island of Adventure were definitely more intense thrill-rides than what Walt Disney World generally offers. This was certainly better for the older kiddos. A great tip is to have lanyards to hold the tickets and my husband kept all the tickets in one lanyard making it so much easier in Universal Studios. This way, there was no waiting to find everyone’s tickets to show for the express lines and to take a train between the parks (Walt Disney World has the Magic Band wrist bands making it much easier). In terms of meals, we did stop by Mythos at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to eat, and though the online menu did not catch my eye, I am glad we stopped as they had more choices than listed online and the food was to die for!

 

Disney:

Then it was onto Disney. It was our third time there and we stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. The hotel will certainly be our choice next time as well. It was everything that I was hoping for… everything Disney! The family suites were perfect for us. The little kitchenette was even stocked with paper plates (with Mickey Mouse printed on the border of course), paper bowls, plastic-wrapped utensils, a can opener, tea, coffee, paper towels, and cups. It is amazing how they think of everything when designing the resorts. The pool area is next to the laundry area which is adjacent to the “Drop Off Bar.” I have never seen so many people happily do laundry (of course, while enjoying the drinks)!

Resort-B
Disney’s The Art of Animation Resort

I highly recommend making reservation at Beauty & the Beast’s Be Our Guest. It is magnificent! When you look out the windows, it appears as if it is snowing and the food was amazing.

MK-Be Guest-B
The Beast’s Dining Room at “Be Our Guest” Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

We went on our trip in late November, the week before Thanksgiving. The crowds were not bad during our vacation until the Monday before the holiday when you could tell that the Thanksgiving vacationers had arrived.

Walt Disney’s transport to the airport from the hotel was wonderful. We did not have to worry about transporting our luggage and the bus ride was nice.

It could not have been a better vacation and I’m happy our family got to experience both Universal Studios and the Disney parks. I certainly think Disney is more entertainment, Universal much more thrill ride, Magic Kingdom remains our favorite park. We did see the start of Avatar area being built at Animal Kingdom and the Disney Star Wars expansion in Disney – we look forward to experiencing it once it is completed. After our 12 days in Florida, I was wondering how soon we can get back! Thank you to Boscov’s Travel and Kerri from the Selinsgrove location at Susquehanna Valley Mall for all of her work… everything went absolutely flawless.

 

Tips:

Ordering the photo pass online ahead of time seemed expensive but was worth it! They made video clips, including story lines from various rides showing our family as we navigated around the park. The number of pictures we received was really great and I did not have to always worry about stopping the kids to get the perfect picture.

Epcot-B

Ordering Garden Grocer, a grocery delivery service, was fantastic! I got a text when the groceries were delivered to our Walt Disney World Resort. Yogurt and milk were kept in a fridge at front desk.  The website even offers a breakdown of resorts what will likely fit in the fridge, since each resort has different refrigerator sizes. Garden Grocer does offer a discount if you order 30, 60 or90 days ahead of time.  It really was worth it.

We regretted not bringing our stroller for this trip since we have a four year old, and the cost to rent for more than a day is crazy. When we were about to rent the stroller for an additional day, we saw umbrella strollers for sale for just $40. They had a cup holder, mesh bag for items, and a small canopy. We bought one and saved a lot of money instead of renting for an additional few days. It served its purpose and because of its relatively small size, we did not have trouble getting around people. It provided enough room for a four year old to rest and for us to place a few items in it as well.