• International Certified Tourism Specialist

    Travel Agent/Travel Counselor

    Travel Specialist

    Derek Schemonitz

  • TRIP TALK

    Written feedback sent in by clients after returning from their travels.

    Greece 

    Hello Derek,

    We had a fantastic time in Greece.   We were pleasantly surprised that most of the Greek people spoke English.  In addition, wherever we went, the food and wine were excellent especially the wine and we miss it.
    I highly recommend the hotel in Athens.  It was only 2 short blocks away from the Plaka and we loved the Plaka section.  The hotel had a pool and a spectacular view of the Acropolis.  This hotel was an ideal location for us. The Acropolis was awesome. You can easily walk to the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis plus see Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus from the hotel. 

    We recommend the 3 day tour that we took.  We had a chance to experience the peninsula and the mountain regions.   It was great.  Olympia and the first Olympic village was awesome.  It was an amazing feeling to run in the area where the first Olympics were held. Just wondering the tour was separated into 2 groups.  One group stayed at the better hotels and that is the ones we stayed at.   Did you do this for us because hotels were fantastic with great meals and better views from each room’s balcony.

    We really enjoyed our cruise on the Harmony V.  We liked the atmosphere of the yacht and became friends with a couple from Australia and California.   We enjoyed visiting all of the islands.  Our favorite island was the small island of Hydra and wished we could have spent more time there instead of Naplion.   Santorini proved too crowded for us.   Other favorite islands were Mykonos and Crete.  We had a wonderful time swimming on the beach in Crete.

    You were right about the winds.   We had to do the cruise in reverse.  One night it was so rough Steve rolled from one side of the bed to the other, but we laughed about it.

    Steve and I want to thank you for all your help in making this a fabulous vacation, but Italy is still our favorite.

     

    Client: Roberta D.

     

    Paris & Dubrovnik

    Derek,  

     

    We had a grand time in Paris & Dubrovnik!

    The hotel in Paris was excellent, perfect location and stylish, just down Champ d’Mars from the Eiffel Tower….absolutely perfect hotel.   Dubrovnik hotel was along the coastline overlooking the sea.  Lovely hotel and you got us a sea view room, beautiful!

     

    We took boats from Dubrovnik to a few very nice beaches and enjoyed our time at them as well.   Weather was great, and flying over on Tyrolean Airways was wonderful and much better than when we flew back on United.   Your private transfers worked out perfectly, always on time and exactly where they were supposed to be.  I can’t say enough how great everything was and everything you arranged & booked was excellent.  Thank you!

     

    Client: Jeffri.T

     

    A weekend in New York City

    Derek,

     

    Appreciated your note.  Great weekend in the city.  Everything went off without a hitch - the seats for the show were fantastic.    Although I have to tell you Time Square in the day or night is another universe.   Loved the hotel location, although the room was a bit small.  The service was great and a wonderful experience of old NYC.    Even mastered the subways.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Don and Lin E.

    European Honeymoon

     

    Hi Derek,

     

    I just wanted to let you know that Rachel and I had a great time on our trip to Europe. Everything turned out perfectly and we didn't have any problems. Thank you so much for all of your help planning everything for us. We really appreciate all the effort you went through to make sure we had a great trip.

     

    Thanks again

     

    Aaron R.

     

    [They went to Paris, Rome & Sorrento, on a personalized customized itinerary.]

     

    Trip to Italy

     

    Derek,

     

    We had a fabulous vacation in Italy! The itinerary was perfect. We had enough of time in each city to enjoy the sights without feeling rushed.   We enjoyed the flow of the itinerary – visiting Positano after our full schedule in Florence gave us a chance to relax and unwind in the most beautiful spot in the world!

    We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to travel between cities on the train. Using a car service made our travels stress-free. All of the drivers were punctual, entertaining and acted as our personal tour guides as they drove us to our next destination.

     

    It is difficult to choose our favorite city or excursion because we thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Our day trip to Tuscany was delightful, especially since it was a small group – just six of us. The countryside was beautiful and the wine tasting event was fun! And we are happy that you suggested a tour of Pompeii.   Our guide was amazing.

    The hotel in Florence was our favorite hotel. The location was ideal and the staff was so helpful and friendly. We would definitely stay there again.

     

    THANK YOU for planning an amazing vacation for us!  

     

    Mark & Karen S.

     

    Bulgaria 

     

    Derek,

     

    It was such a nice surprise to get your note when I returned from Bulgaria on Sunday.  First and foremost, Derek, you did a wonderful job of arranging everything. 

     

    The driver was there at the airport with my name on a card, you picked the absolute perfect hotel, right on the pedestrian walkway so we were close to everything and could spend our evenings just strolling outside and both of the tours were also perfect.  The guides were knowledgeable and personable and I felt like I had made new friends.  

     

    Finally, my airport pick up came right on time and in fact, since he wasn't sure what terminal my flight would leave from, he came in with me to make sure he didn’t strand me in the wrong place.  I left my son there for his year as a Fulbright scholar and I hope to go back to visit again.  If and when I do, you will be the first person I call to make the arrangements.  The fee for your service was so worth the benefits we gained.  The trip was flawless.

     

    Again, thank you for your assistance and if there is any way I can help promote your business, I am happy to be a reference.

     

    Client: Lisa .K

     

    London Trip

     

    Hi Derek,

     

    I wanted to send you a note to thank you for helping us plan our trip to London.  We enjoyed every moment of it.  The hotel was in an excellent location, walking distance to everything we wanted to do, great recommendation.  All of our tours were great as well, the tour guides were very knowledgeable and they made it well worth the trip.  We ended up signing up for another tour that we learned about while on the Buckingham Palace tour, we did the “War rooms” from Winston Churchill era.

    Thanks again!

     

    Also, for my sister’s 50th birthday,  I plan on taking her to Paris for a week, so I will be calling you again to help me plan that trip as well.  And any trip in between.

     

    M.R.

     

    Royal Caribbean European Cruise

     

    Derek,

     

    I just wanted to touch base with you concerning our recent cruise. I want to thank you for all of your planning for my wife and I because the trip was awesome. The hotel in London was the perfect location and the private driver to the ship was worth every penny. Everything went smoothly from start to finish and the bonus was we were upgraded to Business Class from London to Toronto. Not a bad way to travel.

     

    Again, thanks for everything. Keep up the great work.

     

    Terry K.

     

    Europe Tour

    Derek,

     

    Thank you so much for helping us plan our European vacation!  We had such a fabulous time.  It was far greater than we had anticipated. Globus is first rate and so are you!!

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Joni & Carl C.

    Italy

    Derek ,

     

     I just wanted to let you know that everything worked out.  The places we saw were incredible.  The hotels were all very nice.  My favorite hotel was in Rome.  The staff there were so incredibly kind.  I was worried that the family would be bored on the tour to Pompeii but they loved it.  When we were on our boat tour to Capri I thought I was in  a Fantasy Island episode.  Words can not explain, photos can't capture how wonderful it was there. 

      

    Thank you for your assistance,

     

    Sincerely

     

    Linda D.

    Venice, Italy

    Hi Derek,

    I thought you might like a report on your recommendations for our recent trip to Italy.

    The hotel in Venice was great! Rooms were very nice, and were sufficiently large. Staff and desk employees were fluent in English and could not have been more helpful. Breakfasts were amazing. Delicious and bountiful. The "internets" (as the Italians call it) were not so good, but I find this to be the case wherever we were in Italy. The internet did not work in the rooms, but (sometimes) one could get a connection in the lobby. Nevertheless, the staff were very helpful and tried to get us connected in the rooms. I think this is just an Italian problem--no big deal.

    We also liked the hotel because mosts guests were from English speaking nations: New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, few Americans. I know that some prefer to be in hotels where there are more Italians, but we liked being with English speaking people. It was a great experience. Also...the location is perfect and easy to find. The hotel is probably equal distance from the Rialto and San Marco. My goodness...how crowded Venice is, but how happy everyone is to be there.

    We also got to experience "high" water and had to take our shoes off to get back to our hotel since San Marco Square and surrounding places were flooded. It was kind of festive and lovely to see. I've been to Venice five times and have never experienced high water--rare in May. The train ride was lovely from Florence.

    As for the the transports to and from the hotel: Our departure from Venice with David was a good experience. David offered to help with luggage, helped assist us getting into the boat, and was extremely courteous and reassuring. The transfer from the boat to the van and to the airport went extremely smoothly.

    Thanks so much Derek. I will definitely call on your services again. We had a wonderful trip.

    With kind regards.

    Karen .Y

    Paradisus Cancun

    Hi Derek,

     

    The vacation was awesome!! Very
    sad that it is over.  The place was so nice and the food was great.


    Also, the bartenders and waiters/waitresses were very good and super
    friendly.  

     

    I would definitely go back!!

     

    Thank you so much for your help!

     

    Brooke T.

    Dreams Palm Beach, Punta Cana

    Derek,

    It was terrific, we had a great time. Beautiful place.

     

    David S.

    Budapest, Vienna & Prague

    Hi Derek:

    It was wonderful. You did a great job at picking out hotels and the transportation was flawless, never even one minute of waiting time. The Cities were beautiful and we had a great time.

     

    Again, thank you Derek. I’ll be calling you again next year to plan my next trip.

     

    Lisa K.

    Breathless Punta Cana

    Hi Derek,

     

    Our vacation to Breathless was perfect; thanks for all your help!    Breathless was a great, fun location.  We have no complaints and enjoyed every minute of it.  We did an excursion to Santo Domingo, which was long, but well worth it.  We also did the Dune Buggy excursion,
    which was invigorating.

     

    Thanks!  

     

    We'll book through you again in the future.

     

    Jared M.

    Pebble Beach

     

    Hi Derek !   

     

    Everything went better than we could have ever expected.    This was absolutely the very best trip and golfing we ever experienced. I cannot thank you enough for all your help getting this coordinated for us !    

     

    We will be in touch with plans for our next vacation.   We cannot think of a location that would exceed Pebble Beach, so if you have recommendations, please let us know !

     

    Thank you SO very much ~

    Kim and Pat 

     

    Celebrity Alaska Cruisetour

    Hi Derek,

     

    I enjoyed the vacation very much. Alaska is truly the last frontier in America with much beautiful wilderness. A truly unique and memorable experience. 

     

    The best part was the overland 4 day trip extension. We really enjoyed the
    scenic train ride and the Gold Dredge. Today, Mary Lou put on the necklace she bought to hold our big score on gold flakes from the gold
    panning demo. That was probably the most memorable part of all. 

     

    All the ports of call were enjoyable. I can understand how a ship is the most practical way to reach them. Celebrity Cruise line could have done a better job of communicating. The left hand and right hand have no idea
    what the other is doing. I understand that they staff with many contractors who are focused on only their own part. This poor
    communication led to much uncertainty and stress on our part. Mary Lou had suggested that a seminar for first time floaters might have helped.  The room service was friendly and personal, but again they focused only
    on their piece. We felt no personal connection to the management. We
    felt a bit like cattle. 

     

    I am very glad we did the trip. 

     

    Some folks had been on this same cruise many times. They certainly love
    it. I don't believe we will be eager to try Celebrity Cruise Line
    again. 

     

    The first night in Vancouver was very pleasant. Thank you for arranging the Pan Pacific hotel. 

     

    Thank you for arranging a nice vacation. 

     

    Greg S.

     

     

     

    Japan Tour

    Hi Derek,

     

    We highly recommend the economy
    plus seating.  

     

    Roppongi:
    we enjoyed this area, went to Mori tower and Tokyo Sky View.  Charge at the door for inside view and charge to go up onto roof.  Worth the visit, great views of city. Ninja restaurant was fun, but more for kids
    with families. 

     

    We visited the Shinjuku area
    on Sunday.  We had lunch at the Park Hyatt NYC bar, visited their Central Park,  Shibuya, Harajuku...etc. 

     

    Fish market: we arrived early and had a sushi breakfast.  Very interesting part of town, soon to be dismantled from what we understood.  We loved walking around the outside market and seeing the vendors.  There is a
    lot to eat, and buy.  I loved it!

    Even though the tour took us to Asakusa Kannon and Nakamise arcade, we went on our own before the tour started.  I'm glad we did, as we did and saw more this way without the tour due to having more time.  We also tried to have lunch in Jimbocho.  This part of town was confusing, we ended up just leaving.  We heard great things about a place called Craft Beer Market, sorry to
    have missed out.

     

    Tuesday we checked out of ANA
    and into the Hilton.  All of the hotels on the trip were spectacular.  We walked around Shibuya and Shinjuku again, then got ready for Robot Restaurant.  That was amazing! We finished off the night in Golden Gai. 
    I felt safe and secure in all areas of Tokyo at any time of day.  Golden Gai, even though it's a grid of tiny bars, you feel safe. 

     

    The tour was wonderful!  I can't tell you enough that I loved it.  The schedule seemed to be tight on paper, but it never felt like that during our traveling time. 

     

    If anyone has any questions regarding the trip or our experiences, please feel free to
    give them my email.  This was worth the time and effort to get there. 


    Japan is extremely clean, friendly, and helpful.  I would go back in a
    heartbeat.

     

    Let me know if you have any questions.   I had an amazing vacation!

     

    Thank you again for all of your help!  I made a good choice in my agent.  Thank you!!!

     

    Cheryl M.

    San Juan + Royal Caribbean Southern Caribbean Cruise

    Hi Derek!
     

    We had a wonderful time. The
    Intercontinental Hotel was absolutely gorgeous. We spent most of our time in their different pools and ate a few times at their beach front restaurant.

    The cruise port of calls were great. We ended
    up doing an excursion at every port. The only things we were disappointed in was the actual boat -- It only had 5 places to eat (including a burger place and a very very small snack shop), and the activities on-board. It seemed like a large amount of the activities were geared towards spending more money.

     

    Overall, we had a fantastic time, but I think we will do another Norwegian Cruise before we head back to Royal Caribbean .
     

    Thank you!

    Lisa O.

    Napa & Hawaii

    Derek,

     

    The trip was great.  Everything went reasonably smoothly as for the flights and accommodations.  We LOVED the Meritage! 

     

    Waikiki was nice but a bit busy for my taste.  The Hyatt at Waikiki was nice enough  but the Meritage and the Hyatt in Maui were much more impressive. 

     

    We ABSOLUTELY LOVED Maui.    Maui just took our breathe away.


    Thank you for all of your help.


    John J.

    Yangtze River Cruise + Beijing/Xian/Shanghai

    What a wonderful experience.


    We made it back late last night.  Most flights were right on time and the connections and arrangements in China were excellent.  

     

    We all had a great time, the food was great, hotels top quality, tour guide outstanding.  We visited all the major tourist sites and were exposed to the Chinese culture.

     

    Shanghai is an amazing city, our favorite, with its Bund walkway along the river and fabulously interesting skyscrapers.  

     

    What I personally liked the most was interacting
    with the people.  Everywhere, the Chinese people were so incredibly friendly.  

     

    So, again, thank you for all of your assistance.  

     

    Arnold C.

    Rome, Venice, Paris & London


    Derek,

    Here is a summary of the highlights from our vacation. Hope that it helps you.

    Rome: The hotel was wonderful. The rooms had ample space for two guests and very clean. The breakfast which was included was amazing and consisted of hot and cold selections. The service at the hotel was excellent too - very helpful on all accounts. We found that the location was very favorable also. It was an easy walk to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, and Pantheon area. We would definitely stay there again.

    Private Tour of Vatican Museums and Coliseum: The tour guide Paula was awesome. She was extremely knowledgable and passionate about Roman history. She also was very accommodating to the needs of our group. The day was very hot and long so we would suggest two half days if time allows. Also, it would have been nice to have the catacombs under St. Peters to be included. Overall, the tour was a wonderful experience due to the knowledge and passion that the tour guide expressed throughout the whole day.

    Venice: The hotel was in need of some remodeling. The air-condition did not work efficiently in a few of the rooms. The breakfast was good including cold selections. The location was excellent. It was a very short walk to San Marco square.

    Water Taxi to and from the hotel: It was very pricey, but it was well worth it. The contact Christian was very helpful and was fantastic at the airport on our departure from Venice.

    Private Walking Tour of Venice: The tour guide Frederica was amazing. We were able to see many of the highlights of Venice in a short time. Her knowledge of Dodges Palace and San Marco Church was impressive along with her passion for Venice.

    Paris: The hotel was very nice. It was clean and in a great location. It was a block away from a few underground metro stations and the train station to Normandy. The location allowed us to get around Paris very easily. Both families were in family suites that included a main door that lead to two separate rooms each with beds and their own bathrooms. This set-up was very helpful when traveling with children, but one of the two rooms in each family suite was very small. There was an outside courtyard on the ground floor which was lovely. We would stay here again.

    Louvre Museum Audio Tour: It was disappointing. It was extremely difficult to follow the map with the audio recordings. Some of the group decided not to use the audio recordings, and they enjoyed it on their own.

    Paris Tour: The tour was a wonderful experience. Again our tour guide was very knowledgable about Paris. It included a whole tour of the city of Paris plus we stopped at Notre Dame and had lunch at the Eiffel Tower. The lunch at Eiffel Tower that was included was surprisingly very good. The tour included a Seine River Cruise too. The boat tour was not very informative, but it was relaxing to see some of the sights from the day from the river.

    Private Tour of London: It was great tour of the London. Again, the tour guide was very knowledgable. We were able to see all the major highlights of London.

    Sincerely,

    The Families of Bill & Laura M. / James & Val R.

    (This itinerary was for 3 families, consisting of 13 travelers overall)

    Avalon on the Danube

    Derek,

     

    We are back and resting.  Despite the pickpockets and low water on the Danube we had a great trip (the water dropped too low for
    us to get to Nuremberg and we stopped and Vilshoven for a day and a half).   The weather was good, although very hot on the middle days of the trip.  Never saw more than a sprinkle of rain.   

     

    We had mixed reactions to the group tour leaders - some were hard to understand even with the Whispers.  Others were just great - a wealth of knowledge.  

     

    We did end up talking with another couple on the next to the last day in Prague - at the Folk Food and Dance event (great evening).   This was their third river tour and they had taken one on Viking.  They said that Avalon was the best, food and organization - nice affirmation for us to hear.  

     

    We are already talking about our next trip.  

     

    Thanks for everything,

     

    Don and Lin E.

    Paris & Italy

    Derek,

     

    Just wanted to thank you for everything. The trip was fantastic! The hotels were excellent with one exception. The hotel in Milan was a great location but the room was dated and the queen bed consisted of the uncomfortable singles pushed together.

     

    The people at the hotel in Paris were very
    nice and actually upgraded us after the passport mishap. The Paris pass
    was well worth it.

     

    In Florence, the hotel was great for both location and accommodations. (I was also amused that the lead character in the Dan 

    Brown novel "Inferno" that I was reading stayed there in the book.)

     

    The wine and food tour was great and Martine was an excellent guide. 

     

    Naples was a mess and the driver there was greatly appreciated, particularly when dealing with the local mafia and gang reps who were
    "selling" tissues to drivers at risk of getting their cars keyed while standing in traffic. 

     

    Anicapri was fabulous. The hotel was excellent. Very modern, great pool and service. 

     

    The trains are wonderful- clean, comfortable, fast and on time. The hotel in Rome was very nice and the rooftop bar was greatly appreciated after getting a little lost in our walking travels. The Vatican tour actually ended up going 7 hours but the guide, John, was excellent -- Very knowledgeable and
    informative. 

     

    All in all, a great trip.

     

    Thanks again. All the best,


    Joe and Anita M.

     

    Now Larimar, Punta Cana

     

    Hi Derek,

     

    It was great!

     

     

    We loved it and had an awesome time!

     

    The resort was very nice and so was all of the staff, and we enjoyed our excursions. 

     

    Thanks for all of your help, again!

     

    Casey N.

     

     

    UK Tour: England, Ireland & Scotland

    Hi Derek,

     

    We had a wonderful time. I think Ireland was our favorite place but we enjoyed all of the places we went. We definitely recommend Globus. Our tour director was really helpful and kept us moving.

    Thank you for recommending the fast pass for the London Eye. I think we would still be waiting there if we didn't have that. Our hotel in London was really centrally located and was next to the London Eye. It was easy to get most everywhere.

     

     

    Still deciding on a little trip next year so I will let you know when we decide. Sort of thinking of going to the hot air balloon fiesta in New Mexico. Then, either Norway or Austria and Switzerland.

     

    I'll be in touch.

     

    Diane S.

     

    (Client travel photo inclusion: Ring of Kerry, Ireland)

     

    Trip to Italy

    Derek,

     

    We are enjoying today- our anniversary and our last day in Italy- here in Tremezzo after spending a good bit of the day visiting Bellagio and other lake towns.

     

    We want the tell you what a fantastic time we have had and what great accommodations and arrangements you made for us. On the whole things have been tremendous.

     

     

    Thank you so much for all your good work on our behalf! Of course we will continue to refer our friends your way as well.

     

    Grazie Mille,

     

    Paul W.

     

    (Photo: Tremezzo, Italy: Lake Como)

     

    Trip to Italy

    Derek,

     

    "Our driver who stayed with us throughout program was excellent, he was incredible and went out of the way to communicate the language with relatives, joining us for lunch with family, and spoke very good english.

     

    This was a trip of a lifetime, our tour was wonderful and our 4th time traveling with Classic Journeys.

     

     

    The hotels were very good, and the owners were amazing. In the countryside location the owner went out to vineyard and brought us back bottles of wine. In Orvieto the hotel owner helped us in recommendations and very knowledgable on Orvieto. In Milan we were upgraded to a Mini-suite at no additional cost, due to our concern of potential small room upon arrival.

     

    Overall an incredible trip to Italy, which may be our last to the country, and we wanted it to be the best. You and the services you arranged made it so. Thank you.

     

    Ernie S.

     

    Photo: Orvieto & countryside.

     

    Italy Trip

    Derek;

     

    Sorry it took so long to answer back.

     

     

    We had an absolutely fantastic time. Everything worked out just fine. The hotels were great, the tours were fantastic, and the down time in between tours was just perfect.

     

    In fact, we will be traveling to London in June, and would love to have you plan a week in London and surrounds for us.

     

    Also, there is a possibility that we will both be going to India (I have a conference in March). Could you help with a week there as well?"

     

    Mark R.

     

    (Photo: Rome, Italy)

     

    NYC

    Hi Derek,

     

    I just wanted to let you know that we had a great time in NYC!

     

     

    Kathy C.

     

    Tour of Italy + Budapest

    First time international travelers just returned from an escorted tour of Italy, followed by a visit to Budapest. The verbal feedback they shared with me is below:

     

    "Derek the trip was great! Globus was wonderful tour company, and Italy was beautiful. Our tour guides and director were amazing and everything was handled very well.

     

    The driver you got for us in Budapest to visit my husband's family origins hometown was perfect, he was a very nice guy and showed us the hometown and being the weather was 30F, we went to the indoor food hall, instead of the ruins. All in all a wonderful day with him.

     

     

    Thank you for everything, we will be in touch soon."

     

    Rachelle G.

     

    Japan

    Derek, 

     

    My trip was fantastic ---great picks on where to stay, travel and trains. Hiroshima and Miyajima were amazing. We made a side trip to Koyasan – excellent. Insane sushi in Tokyo fish market. Great great fun. Make sure to add Koyasan to your next trip and Lake Ashi --- those were two of our highlights ---and the place you put us in Lake Ashi was spectacular. Everyone we meet traveling from US and all other countries said same thing – getting lost in Japan is just part of traveling there. Loved the people, their helpfulness even though they couldn’t really understand us. Would highly recommend Japan.

     

    Thanks for all your invaluable help.

     

    David S.

     

    Photo: (Lake Ashi & Mt. Fuji)

     

    Japan Trip

    Derek,

     

    Just a quick note to say the Japan trip was a success and the kids loved it. We are thinking about Australia in 2018. Thanks for everything. We actually had a chance to meet the other family on the Himeji Castle tour which was one of the highlights of the trip. Our kids will be in summer camp together soon. The Japanese style hotel in Hakone was a huge hit as well. We loved that place.

     

    Ernest T.

     

    (Photo: Himeji Castle, Japan)

    Poland Tour

    Derek,

     

    Just wanted to let you know we had a fantastic time in Poland with Collette. It was absolutely wonderful. Hotels were 4 or 5 star, tour was excellent and I can't say enough about the tour director and guides. We are ready to book our next tour with Collette to Croatia now!!

     

    Thank you!

     

    Christine P.

    Banff

    Good afternoon Derek,

     

    Our trip to Banff went very well.

    We enjoyed the entire experience. My wife loved the Rim Rock resort!

     

    For our next venture Greenland or Iceland next summer. What's approximate cost for a 7 to 10 day trip there?

     

    Thanks for everything.

     

    Regards Andreas F.

    South American Adventure

    Hi Derek,

     

    Everything was fantastic on our South American trip! Monogram had wonderful services throughout the first part of the program in Peru and the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos were so beautiful and amazing, we saw so much sea life and wildlife. It was incredible. Seeing Machu Picchu was eye opening. I will say arriving in Quito late at night was a little sketchy though the hotel was wonderful. Derek this was a great trip, the Belmond at the Iguazu Falls was so classy and beautiful, what a hotel in the perfect location just minutes walk from the falls! With the 2nd half of the trip you arrange the services independently and wow, it was amazing. We loved all the arrangements, 10 stars Derek! The last part of our trip in the Amazon Jungle wow unlike anything we ever experienced before, flying into Manaus and then going down river [wow] to our stay at the amazing Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge. So thrilling and beautiful, our stay there we shall never forget. The local guides were all very professional. Thank you for everything Derek.

     

    Mitch B. & Diane B.  

    Italy Tour

    Hi Derek

     

    Just wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time on our trip to Italy. Sixteen days was still not enough. This was our 7th Globus tour and with your help and experience everything has gone superbly. You are the best.

     

    We arrived in Venice three days before our tour started. The hotel staff in Venice was very friendly and helpful. Our room had a view of the Grand Canal and it was wonderful. We had a small terrace where we watched the boats go up and down the canal. The hotel was in a great location also and it was easy to take the water bus to Burano island. One of our favorite things was the gondola ride, the bell tower and visiting St. Marks’ cathedral on our own.

     

    We loved the Tuscany region. We enjoyed Siena, Pienza, and Monteriggioni. This region is absolutely beautiful. We signed up for the excursion dinners in Florence and a farm house in Monteriggioni. The food was delicious.

     

    We also loved Rome and the Amalfi coast. In Rome the tour included main sights like the Vatican, the Forum, Colosseum. We also went to the Trevi fountain and threw our 3 coins in the fountain. We also went to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Our hotel in Rome was one and one half blocks from St. Peter’s square. We spent time in St. Peter’s in the evening which was very enjoyable because the crowds were gone. Would recommend spending time at St. Peter’s after 5 p.m. until closing at 7 p.m.

     

    While in Sorrento we went to Capri and took the cruise around Capri which I would recommend to everyone. In the evening the main street was closed to traffic and we had fun promenading with everyone. The tour ended in Sorrento with dinner in O’Parrucchiano restaurant, which is the most beautiful restaurant that I have ever been in because of the beautiful gardens and trees.

     

    After the tour ended, you arranged our stay of 4 more days in Positano. The hotel was excellent hotel with a great location and a friendly staff. The view from our terrace was breathtaking. It turned out that we had a full view of Positano bay which in the evening at sunset is breathtaking. We caught the ferry one day and went to the town of Amalfi which we also enjoyed. All of the Amalfi coast is an amazing place but Positano is our favorite place. It is easy and inexpensive to get a ferry to other towns along the Amalfi coast and would recommend travelers to do that.

     

    Thank you Derek for making the arrangements for us and enabling us to have a memorable and stress free vacation again.

     

    All of your recommendations on flights, transfers and hotels were excellent.

     

    Roberta D

     

    [Photo: Positano from hotel]

    Honeymoon to Thailand & China

    Hi Derek,

     

    I hope all is well. Thank you for planning such a spectacular honeymoon for us! We had a wonderful time and saw a lot of amazing things. You have fantastic taste in hotels because we loved every place that we stayed, and they were in awesome locations!

     

    Thank you!

     

    Maggie & Rob M.

     

    [photo: Phuket, Thailand]

    Tauck Euro River Cruise

    Hi Derek,

     

    Just wanted to tell you we had a fabulous time on our Tauck River cruise. It was everything we expected and more. We had ideal weather the whole time.

     

    Thank you for all your help in making this happen. If we ever need your services in the future, we will call you!

     

    Andrea and Ted K.

    Italia!

    Dear Derek,

     

    WOW! Breath-taking, incredible, amazing, awesome, educational, exciting, friendly and beautiful…just a few adjectives to describe our “holiday” in Italy! We could not have asked for more except for TIME!!

    Where do I start? First of all, thank you for taking care of the plane seating at the last minute! We so appreciate your efforts as it made our flight much more comfortable.

     

    #1: Hotels were 5*! Lovely welcoming staff. Rooms were beautifully appointed along with evening turn-down with little treats and the next day’s weather forecast. Breakfasts were plentiful and delicious; loved the coffee with steamed milk, all the fruits, cheeses and Larry loved having prosciutto in the morning. Hotel in Florence was in a great location; easy to walk all over the city. Same with in Rome. The hotel in Venice was also lovely. And the hotel in Positano was exceptional (Larry’s brother and wife stayed there over 20 years ago!)!

     

    #2: Private transfers – all were helpful, kind and welcoming, especially in Venice and also in Napoli. Made us feel so comfortable. Always there waiting for us; never had a worry in the word. And the trains were great…too bad we don’t have that here in the States.

     

    #3: Tour guides were exceptional. It was obvious that they loved their job and also were so knowledgeable. Groups were no more than 15, except in Pompeii where we had our own private guide who was an archaeologist and works at Herculaneum and Pompeii.

     

    #4: Winery in Castellina in Chianti was just an amazing experience. Met the owner as we arrived and he welcomed us with open arms. This is a gated winery. It is not walk able from Castellina due to the windy narrow road which does have a bit of traffic. Would definitely recommend driving. The wine and the food and the service are a 10!!

     

    #5: Rental Cars
    Had great cars in both Florence and Rome. We did not have the GPS in Tuscany and did okay. Many of the road signs suddenly disappear and you wonder where you are going. Part of the adventure and we were fine. Siena was a bit confusing yet fabulous! In Rome we opted for the GPS when traveling to Sant’Angelo del Pesco in Eastern Italy. It was a very, very good choice! Would definitely recommend getting GPS whenever renting a vehicle, as it is worth its weight in gold…took us straight to that tiny village in the mountains. Did have a horrendous gasoline experience when we came back to Rome. Many of the little petrol stations run on a computer with one attendant (some have none). Larry opted to pay cash…unfortunately the attendant did not explain that no change would be given. Spent 50 Euros on about 25 Euros of gas! Definitely should have used the credit card! And truly that was the only bad thing that happened in 19 days, so really all was terrific!

     

    Your planning and knowledge made our trip exceptional. We cannot thank you enough for all of your suggestions and advice. As we sat in Rome on our last night, we both said, “We have to go home tomorrow!” We were not ready! We were ready to go to the Laundromat and get our clothes ready to venture on!!

     

    Feel free to share our comments/pictures with your clients. You provided us with the trip of a lifetime!!

     

    All our best for a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas

    season,

    Jan and Larry N.

    Riu Tequila Vacation

    Derek,

     

    We really enjoyed working with you to plan our spring break trip to Playa Del Carmen. You answered all of our emails/phone calls promptly and was very helpful as it was our first time working through a travel agency. You truly went above and beyond. Of the 4 times I've visited Mexico, this time at the RIU Tequila Resort Mexico was the best. Good food, quality drinks, decent entertainment, and beautiful pools/beach. Overall, it was a great trip with wonderful service.

     

    Thanks again, Derek!

     

    Karianne W.

     

     

    Getaway to St. Lucia

    Client returns from a stay at the Ladera Resort, a hilltop retreat resort located on the island of St. Lucia...and left this feedback to me, upon on her return.

     

    "Hi D,

     

    It was lovely. The resort is so unique and the people are absolutely wonderful. Warm, helpful and kind. It's a very relaxing place to enjoy a tropical rainforest and beautiful sunny beaches all in one day! Just lovely! (Had a great sulfur and mud bath too!)

     

    Thank you for your help!"

     

    Lori B.

     

     

    Secrets Capri Vacation

    New client couple who just returned from a 1 week vacation to Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, wrote me the following feedback to share.

     

    Hello Derek:

     

    We enjoyed the Secrets Capri resort. The staff was very attentive and they had a nice selection of places to dine. The entertainment that they had was nice. We golfed one day and used the spa one day.

     

    Have a nice holiday weekend,

     

    Jim and Debbie R.

     

     

    Bora Bora, anyone!?

    Clients return from a fantastic exotic honeymoon of 9 nights in French Polynesia, and sent me this feedback upon return!

     

    Hi Derek,

     

    We had a great trip! Moorea and Bora Bora were absolutely beautiful! The Manava was a beautiful, peaceful resort. We really enjoyed our private plunge pool in our room! We got to swim with sharks and sting rays on a lagoon excursion. We rented a car to explore the island and do some shopping. And, I think Cook's Bay might be the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The Pearl Beach resort in Bora Bora was also very beautiful. Getting picked up by boat from the airport was pretty incredible! We sat outside of our over the water bungalow for hours just relaxing! We rented a car to explore the larger island in Bora Bora and ended up eating at Bloody Mary's twice. The staff at both resorts were very friendly and very accommodating.

     

    We are so glad we had the opportunity to explore both islands!

     

    The entire trip was planned very well! Thank you for all of your help!

     

    Amy E.

     

     

    The Netherlands - Client Feedback

    Repeat clients just return from Amsterdam, where I arranged for them 2 full day private chauffeured drive tours of the countryside, flower gardens, tulip fields and towns. Upon their return, they written me some wonderful feedback!

     

    Derek,

     

    We had the same driver for all the services - his name was Otto - he was literally the single best driver / guide that we have had on any of our trips to date! He met and exceeded our expectations in every regard.

     

    Please share with his employer our sincere appreciation for his services. Otto made our trip to the Netherlands one of the most memorable trips of our lifetime.

     

    Hope all is well with you.

     

    Jim K.

     

     

    Switzerland & Austria - Client Feedback

    Repeat client returns home from an escorted tour of Switzerland & Austria, to rave review!

     

     

    Good morning Derek,

     

    It is good to be home safely, but it was a trip of a lifetime. The Collette tour was incredible. I kept thinking it can"t get any better but each day I was amazed of the beautiful mountains , the way the bus driver handled the mountain passes,the fabulous castles, the train rides, Marta our tour director was both full of knowledge and had a great sense of humor.

     

    The hotel accommodations were located in the middle of all the activity it was a wonderful group of people I met some new friends. The morning we were all leaving for the air port, I accidentally left my light weight coat in my room and Marta went to my room and told me she would take it and have it sent to me. It was truly a trip to remember and I am almost over my jet lag. Great job on all the flight connections.

     

    Many thanks for arranging a trip I will never forget!

     

    Judy B.

     

     

    Trip to Savannah

    Repeat clients return from their getaway to Savannah, with this feedback upon return:

     

    "Everything was great! We really had a fun time exploring that wonderful city. I highly recommend the Mansion on Forsyth. It was a fantastic location away from all the noise and tourist areas. Plus the staff was phenomenal and the art gallery on site was amazing. One of the best hotels we ever stayed.

     

    Thanks for the follow up."

     

    Jeff B.

     

     

    Destination Wedding - Punta Cana

    Repeat clients return for nice small intimate destination wedding vacation to the Royalton Punta Cana, and had this nice comment upon their return!

     

    "Derek, thanks for your help arranging our trip. We loved the resort. And our wedding coordinator was great. She even went out the night before and got Jen something for her hair. Jen really appreciated what she did. Everything went smooth and easy."

     

    Joe B.

     

     

    Italia! - Client Feedback

    New referral clients return from Italy!

     

    Derek,

     

    I wanted to put in writing how happy we are with our 11 day trip to Italy. Every detail of our trip was fantastic. When we arrived at the airport and three train stations we had someone waiting for us. The hotel's you put us in were all excellent. The staff and the concierge at the hotel were so helpful. The tours were excellent and so were the guides. The highlight of the trip was the two drivers and trips you planned for us. The first one to wine country and Siena was outstanding, We spent four hours with Anthony who ran the vineyard and I would highly recommend that vineyard in the future. His passion for wine and the food they served was outstanding. Our driver took us to Siena and that guide was the best. What a great town. He also took us to other places and let us walk on our own. The one church on the top of the hill gave us the best view of Florence and going inside was inspirational.

     

    Our trip to Scanno to visit family was remarkable and the driver again was a pro. Both drivers enabled us to see so many unique places but also helped us learn about the Italian culture and political system. We would understand why there were so many churches (like 17 in Siena & 6 in Scanno) but our drives explained to us the churches are funded by the state. Plus we got to spend time with our daughter and when the faculty told her she should come to Scanno with us you helped make it special for her.

     

    Derek you were a 10 out of 10 and you have my highest recommendation. Just perfect. I will refer you to everyone.

     

    Thanks so much. What a phenomenal trip! Great job.

     

    Bob D.

     

     

    Dusseldorf Trip

    Repeat clients return from Dusseldorf. Where had them stay at the Derag Livinghotel De Medici, and loved it!

     

    "Hi Derek, Wanted to just tell you how excellent the hotel was in Dusseldorf, it was an amazing and beautiful hotel, We loved it!
    It was in the middle of everything, we enjoyed easy walks to shopping streets, great dining spots and all the sites there were to see in the city.

    It is a lovely city, and the hotel was to die for, beautiful inside and out and very luxurious. Top notch Derek!

     

    Thank you and we will be in touch when we are ready to plan our next trip!"

     

    Susan & Fred H.

     

     

    Family Trip to Paris, Lyon, Athens & Crete

    Repeat client family, returned this week from a European customized trip to Paris, Lyon, Athens & Crete!

     

    "Good Morning Derek,

     

    We are all back from the great Vacation you planned.
    Safe and sound and very happy.
    I normally come to see you and thank you for
    an itinerary well done and well planed
    Thanks again by Email

    Paris was nice but expensive
    Leone was great I would visit again!
    Elounda Crete was amazing. We loved it!"

     

    Regards,

     

    Andreas/Valori F.

     

     

  • Professional Experience

    including:

    Travel Experience

    Industry Certifications

     

    Greater Pittsburgh Travel

    International Certified Tourism Specialist

    Travel Specialist/Travel Agent

    Travel Counselor

    Dec 2012 - Present

     

     

    Euro/Asian travel specialist, assisting with the customizing of travel plans. In all aspects of travel customization such as Hotels, Villas, Apartments, Dinner Res, Guides, Tours, Drivers, Cars, Flights, Cruises, Rail, Event Tickets, Show Tickets, Museum Reservations, etc...I do it all.

    Certified by/as

    • - JNTO Certified Specialist (JNTO - Japan Nat. Tourism Org.)
    • - Italian Certified Destination Specialist - ENIT - Official Italian Tourism Board
    • - French Certified Destination Specialist - Masion de la France - French Tourism Board
    • - Korean Travel Specialist Certified - Korean Tourism Org.
    • - Chinese Travel Specialist Certified - Chinese National Travel Org.
    • - Taiwan Travel Specialist Certified - Taiwan Tourism Board
    • - European Destination Certified Specialist
    • - Asian Destination Specialist
    • - Greek Travel Specialist
    • - Vegas Certified Travel Agent - Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
    • - Celebrity Cruise Consultant - Celebrity Cruise Lines
    • - BritAgent Certified - VisitBritain [British Tourism Board] (earned in '14)
    • - Switzerland Advisor Certification - Switzerland Tourism Board (earned in '14)


    Personal Travel Experience w/GPT:

     

     

    • France: Paris, Versailles
    • Greece: Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Kea, Nafplio, Monemvassia, Kithira, Hydra
    • Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Penang
    • Singapore: Singapore
    • Hong Kong: Hong Kong, Kowloon
    • Washington D.C.
    • Hungary: Budapest
    • Slovakia: Bratislava
    • Austria: Vienna, Durnstein, Wachau Valley, Melk, Salzburg
    • Danube River 
    • Germany: Regensberg,  Nuremburg, Main River, Bamburg, Wurzburg, Rothenberg, Miltenberg, Frankfurt, Rudesheim, Cologne
    • Rhine River
    • Netherlands: Amsterdam
    • Riviera Maya/Cancun, Mexico
    • San Diego, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco

     

     


    Sales: $3.5 Million+

     

    Ponzio International Travel

    Certified Destination Specialist

    Agency Manager

    Travel Agent /Travel Specialist

    Travel Counselor

    Jun 2000 - Nov 2012

     

     

    Certified by: (see GPT for all career certifications.)

    Personal Travel w/PIT:

    • Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Sorrento, Amalfi, Postiano, Capri, Naples, Tuscany, Como, Stresa, Assisi, Ravenna, Verona, Pompeii, Montecassino, Bari, Pisa, Lecce, Ostuni, Manduria, Taranto, Martina Franca, Alberobello, Salerno
    • Switzerland: Lugano
    • Greece: Athens, Delos, Mykonos, Syros, Samos, Santorini, Delphi, Naxos
    • Turkey: Kudadasi, Ephesus
    • Slovakia: Bratislava
    • Hungary: Budapest
    • Czech. Republic: Prague, Chesky Krumlov
    • Germany: Regensburg, Nurnberg, Passau
    • France: Paris, Rouen, Normandy region, Caen, Bayeux, Abby Mont St. Michael, Tours, Angers, Amboise, Chambord, Versailles, Chenonceau, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nimes, Carcassonne, Nice, Avignon, Cannes, Eze, Aix en Provence, Dijon, Cote d'Or
    • Britain: London, Bath, Stonehenge, Cardiff (Wales), York, Stratford Upon Avon, Cotswolds, Salisbury, Newport (Wales), Hampton Court, Chester, Lake District (Windermere, Grasmere), Alnwick, Coventry, Blenheim Palace
    • Scotland: Edinburgh, Gretna Green
    • Ireland: Waterford, Blarney, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Bay, Adare, Limerick, Dublin, Kildare
    • Austria: Vienna, Melk, Linz, Durnstein
    • US Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John
    • Dom. Republic: Punta Cana
    • Mexico: Cancun, Riviera Maya, Chichen Itza
    • Bahamas: Grand Bahamas Island [Freeport]
    • USA: San Francisco, Napa, Carmel, Monterey, Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, San Simeon, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, La Jolla, San Diego, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park, Seward, Anchorage, Denali NP, Fairbanks, Kenai Fjords NP, Boston.
    • Canada: Vancouver B.C.
    • Monaco: Monte Carlo


    Sales: $7 Million+ [career w/Ponzio]

  • Contact me

    Please contact me to assist in making all your travel arrangements.

     

    By Appointment: Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm (In Office)
    Out of Office Appts: Saturday Mornings 9-11am, in only my local district

    Please call or email me to schedule an appointment.
    412-331-2244
    Professional Email
    Gmail
    Professional Facebook Page (please like)
     

  • Social Networks

    Professional Social Pages

    Facebook

    LinkedIn