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Testimonials

Arrangements booked through Avanti Destinations. Rome hotel – Cosmopolita Hotel, in Positano – Hotel Villa Franca

Joanne,

Where do I even begin!? Thank you so much for everything you have done in planning the trip of a lifetime for us! Rome was truly amazing and the hotel was in the perfect location to everything!! And so clean and nice with the best wine bar and cafe right downstairs! When we got to positano, we were blown away. The hotel was gorgeous, with the most breath taking views! The staff at both hotels went above and beyond for us. Thank you also for the wine you sent up to our room! And as far as the tours, each tour was wonderful! And most were either small groups or completely private!! We learned so much and saw everything and more, ate a ton of food, drank a ton of wine and most importantly had gealato twice a day! You truly are an amazing travel agent, and we will absolutely be using you for our future trips and will definitely be recomending your services to our friends and family. You went above and beyond with everything for us and could not be happier and more thankful.

Love,
Shannon and Alex


Central Holidays Escorted Italy tour

I can't even start to explain what an amazing time that we had. Central Holidays was great, I don't think that we would have seen half of what we seen with out them. I can't say I have a favorite between the ancient ruins, art, and natures beauty!! I think ending it in Sicily was perfect way to relax before going home it was beautiful. I can't say I have adjusted yet but all caught up on all things at home. Thanks for everything, it was even better than we could have imagined!! I will be posting pictures soon!
See you soon!

Lori


Dear Joanne,   

What a wonderful trip you planned for us and how thankful I am that you were so careful and professional about everything.  The hectic days in Amsterdam (bikes and whizzing cars), the totally fabulous AvalonWatereays cruise, and the very easy train trip to Paris simply thrilled Lesley and me.  In Paris, I upgraded our room to a balcony spot overlooking Haussmann--we could see the statues on the Opera.  It was perfectly situated but the Millenium needs some upgrading and a total managerial restaffing in the breakfast area.  However, they were very sweet and helpful to us when we had questions and needs.

Paris always thrills, especially the little cafes and to-die-for desserts.  I can't believe I LOST 2 lbs.!  Kathy and I walked and walked, and I feel I have covered everything I ever wanted to explore.  A side trip I planned to Giverny and Auvers sur Oise with Private Tours Paris (privatetp@gmail.com) was unbelievably delightful with Frederic as our guide and driver.  This was the same company that I hired for our private tour to Versailles two years ago.  They are expensive but worth every Euro.  They speak excellent English, and he took us into tiny villages around VanGogh and Monet's dwellings that would never have been seen on a regular tour bus.

I'm assuming you were able to find on Facebook our posts and pictures.   A trip of a lifetime, Joanne, and I thank you with all my heart.

Best wishes,

 Penny


ROYAL HIDEAWAY,  Playa del Carmen, Mexico – November 2015

Hi Joanne! This is way past due.. but wanted to say Thank You for finding us the perfect place for a relaxing retreat in Mexico. The weather was a bit rainy in the beginning, the sunshine did peak out to remind us it was there.. at one point, we were on the beach when it started to lightly rain and we layed on the lounge chairs and had the rain fall on us… quite calming experience.. very nice.. .. The hotel was beautiful! The grounds were kept beautifully, the buildings were charming, the room was very comfortable, the food was delicious.. but I have to say, the service was impeccable! The staff was WONDERFUL! From the moment we walked in to when we left… Leigh and I laughed A LOT!! Cried a few tears.. Yelled at the wind.. Swam in the ocean and even did exercise in the gym and pool aerobics! Love the “ Mexican Water” a.k.a. tequila.. . We have decided that the first weekend of December will be our getaway long weekend .. and we will extend it to whomever wants to join us.. I need to download the pictures from facebook to send you a few.. but wanted to reach out to you to say Thank You!!

Have a wonderful Happy New Year!!
Thank you!
Chrystia


Hotel K+K George in London booked through Avanti Destinations – October 2015

Hi Joanne.   We returned from London last evening and had a fabulous trip.  Couldn't have been better.  We LOVED the hotel.  While the rooms were on the small side, they were fine and frankly we were not in them very much anyway.   The triple that the girls had worked out great.  Bathrooms were all very nice and updated.  Wi-fi worked great (and that was important).  Breakfast was excellent, and the location was perfect.  It was literally a two block walk from the tube stop and we rode the tube everywhere.  We never took a taxi once!  The hotel staff was very nice and helpful.  I would definitely recommend this hotel again.

The weather was fine.  Surprisingly mild....not as cold as I had expected.  We had one day of drizzly rain when we went to Stonehenge and Bath, but it did not deter us.  The tour guide was great.  A proper English gentleman who has been a tour guide for over 40 years. He talked to us the entire ride, and really knew a lot about everything.  I am very glad that we added that excursion into the trip as it gave us a chance to see the countryside.  The drive from Bath back to London was really pretty.

Let's see...I will give you the rundown of where we went in London.....We rode the London Eye, went to the Tower of London, saw the Crown Jewels,  saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, visited Portobello Road in Notting Hill, saw Wicked (it was wonderful), had afternoon tea at the most magical place ever (called Sketch), shopped at Harrods, went to Big Ben, Hyde Park, and St. Paul's cathedral.

Barbara


Central Holidays – July 2015

Joanne ,

Thanks so very, very, very much! Everything was awesome and more! All the transfers and flights went flawlessly. All the accommodations were just beautiful and absolutely fantastic. We did a couple boat excursion, a cooking class in Ravello, swam in the Mediterranean, lounged in the pools in Sardinia, ate, and enjoyed the culture. Rome was a great starting point and we met up with some old friends one night, and walked the whole city ( 15 km a day ;) ). Positano is just one of the nicest places I've ever been. Le Agavi was an awesome place on the cliff over looking the whole city, with multiple levels, and access to a private beach club, and dinners on the balcony seeing the cove and city below. Sardinia was relaxing and beautiful with waters the color of the Caribbean, and was exactly the chill out few days we wanted. La Collona was very swanky, had beautiful pools, and also had a great view of the coast for some nice slow dinners and digestivos! It was just an absolutely fantastic time that I would do over and over again.

Thanks again for all your help, and thinking about us on our trip. It is finally back to reality on our first day back at work, but at least I can look back at the picture from the last few weeks and day dream a little.

All the best,

Patrick and Lindsay

 


The Hotel Powers, Paris  September 2014 
 

Dear Joanne,
 
This is simply a quick note of thanks for the guidance you provided in arranging our recent trip to Paris.
 
The Hotel Powers was outstanding with its location a block off the Champs Elysses, fantastic.  When we checked in they upgraded our room to a junior suite.  The additional space (with large closets) was a treat compared to a more typical European hotel room that I expected.  While the extra room was nice, the hotel’s real strength was in its exceptional service and outstanding buffet breakfasts.  Their staff was always friendly and ready to help with arrangements or reservations.  The restaurants they recommended were uniformly excellent.
 
Your advice and tips about the cultural differences were helpful as well.  We found everyone we interacted with friendly.
 
While the real purpose of this letter is to thank you for your help with the trip, it is also to let you know that you may feel free to have anyone wanting a reference to contact us.  Thank you again for a vacation that Pat now describes as “the trip of a lifetime.
 
Sincerely,
 
Russ


 

Now Larimar Resort, Punta Cana, D.R. 
 

Hey Joanne,
 
So sorry for the delay!  The vacation was AWESOME, so relaxing - it was exactly what we were hoping for. 

Thanks again for everything.  We will definitely be booking our next vacation with you!

Kelly J


Paris and Spain with Avanti Destinations
 

Dear Joanne,
 
Our excursion was just fantastic, fabulous, amazing.  My brain is only working at about 70% right now, so I will give you a complete rundown after it begins to function again and my photographs/notes are gathered.  I cannot thank you enough for your planning.
 
Sincerely,

Penny


Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, Dominican Republic January 2014

Hi,Joanne,

We all had a wonderful time over Christmas. The Bahia Resort was a perfect choice for us. The Club level was the right recommendation for us. Check in at the Club lounge was efficient,quick, and pleasant. Club staff was friendly and helpful with no language difficulties.  Rooms were nice....by the way...my dgt. and her boyfriend's room was in fact provided with the "specials" of T shirts, fruit and rum. ( and NO, there was no engagement announcement!....they are waiting until Randy returns from Kuwait, where he just today arrived ) When I mentioned this to the Club concierge she apologized for the "honeymoon " error and had the same accoutrements delivered to my room....with the addition of 3 balloon bouquets since I mentioned it was my husband's birthday.
Staff throughout the resort were energetic and friendly....most wearing Santa hats,getting into Christmas spirit. Food was great.We were able to eat at all the specialty restaurants as well as at the buffet. The buffet was an amazing array of  foods to please every palate...all displayed in a very pleasing manner.  Christmas Eve dinner was spectacular.....with ice sculptures, champagne ,and singing Santa hat - clad waiters delivering  cake with a cradle for my husband to enjoy since it was his birthday.
     The beaches were spotless,plenty of lounge chairs were available. Beach drinks flowed freely, food at beach snack shack was always available and tasty.
     Snorkeling was good.....many colorful fish in shallow water coral. My son and I got to have a beginner scuba intro lesson in the pool which was enjoyable.
     We all spent Christmas on an excursion ,easily arranged through recommendation of Club concierge, zip lining ,visiting a new tree- house ecolodges just getting ready to open next month, and learning about the local,organic farming . 
     Only one minor annoyance occurred.....2 mornings we were awoken at 7:30 am by landscapers chopping ,digging, and talking loudly. Two calls to front desk and in person talk at Club desk still did not resolve the issue.......good thing all the positives outweighed this  negative.
     So, a great trip ...thanks, Joanne, for arranging it for us. Here are some pictures for you.

Regards,

Jenny


 

NYC Weekend January 2014

 

Hi Joanne,
 
Happy New Year to you as well. I am so sorry I did not email you sooner. We had a wonderful weekend in NYC. The hotel was perfect. Walking distance but not the craziness around the tree or times square. The room was comfortable and we even had a street view. We are hoping to make this an annual celebration. Thank you again for taking such good care of us.
 
Have a wonderful day,

Joanne G


 

 

Cheeca Lodge, Florida Keys January 2014

Hi Joanne,
 
Yes, we did not forget you. My wife wanted to respond to you directly, but once we returned her normal health issues surfaced during this brutal weather.
We had one of our best vacations ever, thanks to you. She was thrilled with the lodge, including the environment, and she has it all captured with pictures on her computer. We would like to do it again. We had no rain, 80's the first four days & mid-60's the last 3 days.
 
The Margaritas were great! An environment better than we have ever experienced in the past.
 
If you need a marketing director, let me know.
 
Thanks,
Bob


 

Caravan Tours – Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce and Zion

Hi Joanne,

I was so pleased with this tour. I would highly recommend it to anyone. I wasn't sure I would like being on a tour (too confining), but that was not the case at all. We had plenty of time on our own and they frequently made stops of the most picturesque scenery, it was perfect for picture taking. Our tour director was friendly and fun, we became fast friends with her. Our bus driver was very professional and also informative. Our accommodations were excellent. I especially liked where we stayed when at the Grand Canyon, Thunderbird Lodge, part of the Bright Angel Lodge. It was such an advantage to stay in the park, at night we saw so much wildlife that comes in to graze on the grass at the lodges (elk, long horned sheep), just outside your window.  We had drinks in the afternoon at the El Tovar Lodge which has a lovely open porch that overlooks the canyon, we had breakfast one morning on the second floor of our lodge and I had to pinch myself to know it wasn't just a dream ( having my morning coffee while overlooking the Grand Canyon, it doesn't get any better than that).

We moved on to Lake Powell, beautiful, and again the resort we stayed at was great although the food here was below par, except the buffet breakfast, once again the scenery while having my morning coffee, fabulous. The boat ride that is included should not be missed.

I was concerned about seeing the Grand Canyon first, thinking I would be disappointed with all other sights after that, but I was wrong. The order of the trip is perfect, especially the ending with Zion National Park, my favorite! Again, the individual cabins we stayed in at Zion were rustic but upscale and the scenery all around is breath taking.
 
My husband took 960 pictures,  just to give you an idea of how awesome every stop along the way was.

I feel the need to especially return to Sedona, since we didn't have much time there (just a couple of hours), but I think that will be a girls trip in the future.

Thanks for suggesting this trip it was fabulous.

Lorraine


 

Viking River Cruise – Romantic Danube  September 2013

 

Just wanted you to know we all had a wonderful cruise, food was great, service couldn't have been better and we won pub trivia for a free round of drinks.
 
The weather could have been more operative, but never really interfered with sight seeing.   The river was too high to get under the bridge for Nurmburg, but in true Viking style they made land accommodations which were just fine.
 
We did book two extra excursions, one was the concert in Vienna which I recommend highly.  John was very happy we talked him into it.  The other was the beer garden and river cruise up the narrow part of the Danube to a Benedicten Abbey, interesting, but not necessary. 
All flights were effortless.  Brussels airport was a bit tricky,  but we had plenty of time for our connection.
Thank you for helping make this a very memorable celebration.  I'm not sure if you knew but this is our 40th wedding anniversary, John turned 60 and we both turned 65 so we all had reason to celebrate.
 
Fondly,
Pauline


Tour operator:  Avanti Destinations,  Rome hotel:  Cosmopolitan

 

 

Buon giorno, Joanne --

So nice to hear from you. . .our trip was just wonderful!

Everything went smoothly -- flights and trains were on time; the staff at the Cosmopolita couldn’t have been more accommodating and helpful; the morning buffet breakfast was excellent; and the panoramic tour provided a wonderful introduction to Rome.

I guess our only regret would be to have had more time to enjoy all that Italy has to offer.

Thanks so much, Joanne, for all your help, insight, and advice during the planning process of this memorable trip -- we all loved every minute of it.

Grazie,
Noeline


 

Couples Negril, Jamaica

Hello!  We returned on Tuesday and had a wonderful wonderful time.  Couples is so clean, so beautiful, lush, very very friendly and the service their is the most amazing thing we have ever seen.  If their servers came to usa, ALL our waitress and waiters would lose their job.  The food was always available and so plentiful.  It was a great mix of Jamaican food and for breakfast and lunch they incorporated American foods too, like grilled cheese and fries.  The pool was huge and if every body in the resort jumped in, it still wouldn't' be crowded.  The beach was soooooo clean and smooth and the coolest aqua color.  We took some excursions, like the glass bottom boat and snorkeling - they were fab.  We had a massage and it was the best I have ever had and I have had several.  Jet blue was great.  I haven' t been on a plane in a long time but Danny says that it was more spacious then many he has been on.  It rained for 10 minutes out of the whole time we were there and we couldn't have asked for more.  The vendors on the beach had really nice stuff and in no way where they pushy at all.  The au' naturale beach was really nice and very respectful.  The staff sweep and clean all day long, pick fresh fruit from the trees in the resort, spread fresh flower petals on your bed after they make it.  You can even look out the window in the wee hours of the morning and see the staff holding baskets collecting fresh flowers for the vases on every table in all the restaurants, and for the rooms.  We went to the casino room, did aqua aerobics in the pool, watched live shows and a night beach bone fire with a chocolate and fruit fountain.  No complaints, sooooooo relaxing, so romantic, so wonderful. We were sad to come home!  Thank you very much for pointing us in the perfect direction.  Our wedding was perfect and so was the honeymoon.  We would definitely go back again and definitely refer you to any of our friends!!!  Feel free to share this email with anyone thinking of going to couples!

Meg


The Iberostar Grand Jamaica

Hi Joanne,

 

 

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but we have been playing catch-up after a wonderful week in Jamaica.

The Iberostar Grand was beyond our expectations and was truly a wonderful resort with incredible people.  The people in Jamaica do not get enough credit for their hospitality and friendliness, and we loved our week there.  The hotel itself was fantastic and we were truly pleased that we had decided to stay at the all adult facility at the Grand rather than the Suites next door.  Although the  Iberostar Suites next door was also very nice, it did not compare to the Grand and the fact that our resort did not permit children made it the most relaxing vacation we have ever had since our honeymoon!
We absolutely love the way the Iberostar Resorts does things, and the luxury of the Grands is unmatched.  From the huge balcony with the wicker swing and couch, and the huge bathroom with dual sinks, a shower that you could fit a baseball team in, and a large whirlpool tub it was an amazing week.  Although we had good intentions of going into Mongtego Bay to do some shopping and sightseeing, we never got there between everything to do at the property, long walks on the beach and just relaxing at the pool with incredible rum, coconut and other fruity concoctions, we never made it shopping!   We are already looking to check out the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Playa Del Carmen for next spring!  Keep and eye out for specials for us!

Thanks for all your help and assistance with this choice!

Best regards,
Gene and Cathi


The Iberostar Quetzal Riviera Maya

Dear Joanne:

 

 

My entire family, I thank you for a wonderful experience on the Maya Riviera.  The Iberostar Quetzal was just beautiful.  We were  put in a room at the Tucan which was a mirror image of the Quetzal and divided by a jungle path and shared swimming pool.  The accommodations were lovely, service was exceptional, grounds and beach were immaculate and accomplished with seemingly not too many personnel around during the day.  The food was also exceptional with a choice of two very large buffets , two poolside buffets, and four or five al a carte restaurants of which we managed to go to two.  They have a lovely small spa and gym (which we did not have the opportunity to view). I would certainly recommend this hotel and even though it has over 300 rooms one has a feeling of privacy .

You were so helpful to me and I thank you so much for handling the reservations for us and informing me of the best airline connections.  Everything worked out perfectly, weather included!

Sincerely,
Ethel


Barcelo Maya Colonial and Tropical Riveria Maya

Joanne,  You did it again!  It was just wonderful.  We had such a good time, did the ruins and Playa del Carmen...Loved it, loved it, loved it.  Many thanks.
 
Jean L.


 

 

Majestic Colonial Punta Cana

The Majestic Colonial was very nice, clean, staff was friendly.  No line in lobby to make dinner reservations which make us very happy.  I can always count on you to plan a great vacation for us!  You obviously know our standards.
 
Maire B.


 

 

Grand Hotel Continental Siena
Empire Palace Rome and Hotel Villa Franca Positano

 
Hi Joanne,
 
Italy was fantastic!! Our hotels were great and service was wonderful. The trip as a whole couldn't have been more beautiful or romantic.  This a honeymoon we will never forget.  Thank you so much for fruit and wine, that was so kind of you.  Thank you for choosing our hotels they were fabulous.
 
Melissa and Rich F.


 
San Juan Marriott

We absolutely loved it!  The room was great, oceanview on the 20th floor overlooking the harbor and Old San Juan.
The staff at the Marriott were wonderful and happy to take care of any request.  We truly felt welcome.  You were right on the mark with your recommendation.
 
Gene and Cathi R.


Joanne,
 
Many, many thanks for all you efforts in making our family cruise a memorable one. From the Hotel Renaissance accommodations to the disembarkation from the Ruby Princess, it was all just wonderful. My thanks for the lovely flowers in our stateroom....birds of paradise, amaryllis, carnations and so many more. Thank you too from my family and me for all the gifts of wine that you put in each stateroom. It was extremely thoughtful of you. Everyone kept saying how delicious and plentiful the food was and how gracious and helpful the staff was in seeing that we had everything we needed. They participated in bingo, the teen gatherings, the evening shows, shopping and much more. I enjoyed the balcony and reading and the beauty of the voyage. I put a deposit on another cruise. They all seem eager and will check on the dates. Thank you again, Joanne, for your attention to all the details.

 

 


M. Brady