In this blog, globetrotter Rose Morrissey, a $10 million sales producer and 20-year Pavlus Travel personal travel planner, happily provides our readers with her “take” on top vacation picks and travel tips for 2024.
But first, The Meandering Traveler chats with Morrissey about her travel experiences and background. (See photo above by Rose Morrissey.) You’ll often find Morrissey crisscrossing the globe to broaden her range of travel experiences.
Recently, for example, she took two very different cruises. First, she journeyed to the southern end of the Earth on an expedition cruise.
“My unforgettable Antarctica experiences included kayaking and hiking up a snow-covered hill to see colonies of penguins,” she emphasizes.
Second, she sailed on a New York City-to-Quebec voyage in the U.S./Canadian Northeast including the St. Lawrence Seaway. That was memorable too, given the storied, historic destinations and the colorful fall foliage along the sailing route.
Globetrotter by Land, Sea & Air
Throughout her 38-year travel industry career, Morrissey has always been a globetrotter. Today, she works remotely from her home in Albuquerque, NM, but it’s interesting to learn that she previously resided in Guam, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific.
There, she was partial owner of a Guam travel agency. So, for four years, she served as president of the Guam Society of Travel Agencies. And earlier in her career, Morrissey took to the skies as a flight attendant for South Pacific Island Airways and Samoa Air.
Her Top Vacation Picks
Asked about her favorite spots across the globe, she cites Spain, Portugal and other European destinations. “They’re so rich with history that my husband and I never tire of visiting,” she says.
In particular, she enjoys delving into the Iberian Peninsula’s culture and heritage including Moorish and Spanish influences. Plus, “as a foodie, I enjoy different local foods,” Morrissey says, “including sitting at a sidewalk café enjoying a glass of wine and people watching.”
She enjoys cruising through the Mediterranean region too as “the five-star lines such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea and Explora Journeys all provide ‘top shelf’ onboard services and have luxury ship and stateroom or suite furnishings,” she emphasizes.
During a vacation cruise, she loves to socialize with fellow passengers and relax — taking a break from her day-to-day work routine. As for her favorite things to do on cruise, Morrissey says that’s “reading a book near a window where I can watch the ocean waves, and at the same time, sip on a glass of wine.”
A Veteran Guest on Tauck
She’s also a veteran tour goer. “I’ve also been on 10 Tauck tours and love the product very much,” she tells The Meandering Traveler. So, we asked why.
“Tauck offers unique cultural itineraries with extensive knowledge of each location visited,” she responds. In addition, the vacation includes “personalized service from tour guides who are attentive to the guest’s needs.”
Inclusive value is another big perk, she tells us: “You pay one price for an all-inclusive package that includes transfers to/from the airport, airline transportation, first-class hotel lodging and daily meals.”
In addition, people who travel with Tauck typically enjoy touring with small groups. “They’re sophisticated, cultured, and know what they want for their travel experience.” That’s the case for luxury cruise travelers as well.
Travel Planner’s 3 Top Vacation Picks
Morrissey prides herself in creating personalized vacations that exceed her client’s expectations. Most often, she’s asked to book luxury trips – ocean cruises, escorted tours, river cruises, airline tickets or all-inclusive packages.
So, here are the top vacation picks she’d personally like to make in 2024!
Top Vacation Picks: Sailing the Eastern Med
Morrissey would love to take Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ seven-night “Ancient Treasures and Crossroads” voyage from Athens (Piraeus), Greece, to Istanbul, Turkiye (formerly called Turkey), on April 30, 2025. It’s a port-intensive Eastern Mediterranean voyage.
Guests will sail on the ultra-luxury, 746-passenger Seven Seas Splendor and explore the Turkish cities of Istanbul, Ephesus, Antalya, and Bodrum. They’ll also experience Greece including the isles of Santorini and Mykonos, plus Athens on the Greek mainland.
At press time, fares started at $5,299 per person, double occupancy. A similar weeklong voyage on the 698-passenger Seven Seas Voyager departs May 8, 2024.
That itinerary substitutes Marmaris, Turkiye, as a port call, instead of Bodrum. The line also operates another voyage mid-summer.
Seeing Santorini on a cruise certainly provides a good snapshot look at the destination. But Morrissey also shares that one of her most desired “bucket list” future activities would be a chance to live on that Greek isle for three months!
Top Vacation Picks: Southeastern Europe
Even for veteran European river cruisers, this may be a new experience on the continent. This luxury river cruise operates from Budapest, Hungary, to Ruse (or Rousse), Bulgaria, on the lower Danube River.
Guests will go ashore in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria. “These are fascinating countries and I’d definitely like to learn more firsthand about their cultures, traditions and natural beauty,” Morrissey says.
At press time, pricing for this itinerary started at $2,999 per person double. If interested in this river cruise, be sure talk with your personal travel planner, ask questions, discuss accommodations and get the vacation planning process started.
Top Vacation Picks: China Coastal Voyage
Citing Asia as another of her favorite regions of the globe for her personal travel, Morrissey says: “Asia is so unique that each country is a world unto itself,” she stresses.
She’s explored Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore. “The amazing sights that a traveler sees beg the mind to understand more about how these civilizations, particularly in the distant past, accomplished so much,” Morrissey says.
Shanghai to Hong Kong
Thus, she’s selected an Asian ocean voyage as one of her top vacation picks. Providing an immersive look at China’s coastal destinations, Viking’s 10-day “China Discovery” voyage in 2024 sails from Shanghai to Hong Kong (Shenzhen), China. It’s operated by the 998-passenger Viking Di Yun, built in 2017.
In addition to experiencing those two storied destinations, the coastal itinerary also includes visits to Zhoushan, Dongtou, Pingtan and Xiamen. Eight departures are planned between September and November 2024.
“This fabulous itinerary will provide a colorful, in-depth experience encompassing China’s coastal cities and its maritime history,” Morrissey believes. At press time, pricing began at $4,499, per person, double occupancy.
Top Vacation Picks and Travel Insights
When not dreaming of travel or planning a cherished vacation for her clients, how does Morrissey spend her personal time in Albuquerque, NM? Admittedly, “I’m a gym rat, as I belong to two different gyms,” she quips. She also enjoys volunteering at her local church.
But she truly enjoys helping her customers plan their vacation. Morrissey cites “the excitement they have for a destination and the reasons they chose that vacation. Helping our customers achieve their travel goals and thus enrich their life experience is very satisfying.”
Going Beyond the Norm
Most trip planning by a personal travel planner is a smooth process, so guests can just sit back and relax. But at times, challenges surface. Morrissey cites many instances where Pavlus Travel has gone far beyond the norm to try and assist its customers.
“Putting the customer first has been at the very heart and soul of Pavlus Travel since Craig Pavlus started the company more than 30 years ago,” she stresses. Here’s one good example she provides.
“A World Cruise customer of ours had no access to a computer nor a family member to help her apply for an electronic Australian visa,” Morrissey says. In addition, “I was working from Albuquerque, and she lived in South Carolina.”
However, Pavlus did have a staff member who worked from Charlotte, NC. Yet, that was still hours away by car.
“But that agency staff person drove four hours to the customer’s residence to help her complete her visa application,” stresses Morrissey. “I’m proud that Pavlus worked as team with a ‘can do’ attitude to solve this lady’s problem.”
Beyond Top Vacation Picks, Top Travel Tips Too
Vacation purchases are booming in 2024. Post-pandemic, people often view a cherished vacation as a necessity, not just a nicety. Morrissey provides these tips for those traveling in 2024:
- Always arrive at least one full day before your cruise or land tour starts. The rest period is essential to unwind. It will allow your circadian timing to adjust to the local time zone. Plus, it’s helpful should any transportation hiccups arise.
- Check your passport expiration date to make sure your passport will not expire during your overseas vacation. Check the specific countries you’re visiting for their passport policies. Some nations require that passports must have at least six months of validity left before they’ll grant a visa or allow entry.
- Purchase trip insurance as you may not get a refund from the vendor if you cancel, even if the trip is paid in full.
- Keep in mind that it’s the traveler’s responsibility to read and understand all the documents received prior to your trip. Ask your advisor immediately if you have any questions.
- Take cell phone pictures of your key documents so you can access them quickly. This is especially true for your travel itinerary.
- Pay careful attention to travel timing. Don’t let your cherished vacation that has involved months of planning turn into a disaster because you misread the itinerary and missed the ship or tour due to international date line or time zone changes.
If you desire more travel tips, check out the The Meandering Traveler’s previous blog about packing tips from frequent travelers and travel industry executives. Another blog earlier this year provided more cerebral tips from Oceania Cruises and Scenic Group executives about packing your appetite, your patience and your sense of discovery.
As 2024 gets under way, Morrissey is dedicated to creating great vacation experiences for her clients. Two pluses? “I’m dependable and I think outside the box,” she stresses.
Most importantly, “I’m always pushing the envelope to make sure our guests are getting everything they are entitled to,” she adds. That’s certainly the beauty of using a skilled, experienced professional travel planner!
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