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Green Lakes, Blue Seas and Pink Beaches on Multi-Coloured TravelManagers’ Famil

March 28, 2018 Mobile travel consulting No Comments Email Email

Thirteen agents and wholesalers joined Viking Cruises on a famil that began with Portuguese fado and tapas in Lisbon and ended with Cuban music clubs and empanadas in Miami: a twelve-day Atlantic crossing that took them from the Old World to the New.

TravelManagers’ Erin Beckford was one of the group of New Zealand and Australia-based travel professionals that took part in the famil, accompanied by three representatives from Viking Cruises. Beckford, who is representative for Anna Bay NSW, took advantage of her time in the departure city of Lisbon by visiting the nearby towns of Sintra and Cascais before immersing herself in the city’s local culture and cuisine on a walking tapas tour with a local guide.

“Our transatlantic crossing then began, with two days at sea aboard the impeccable Viking Sun, taking in all the wide-open spaces on board, dining on exquisite cuisine and enjoying on-board lectures and entertainment.”

The ship followed a route taken by countless explorers who set sail from Lisbon in the Age of Discovery during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, before arriving in the Azores: a string of nine islands roughly one-quarter of the way across the Atlantic.

The ship’s stern infinity pool provided a great vantage point leaving Bermuda for TravelManagers’ Erin Beckford (centre), pictured with Byron Bobby Horne and Leon Hill

“We spent the day discovering the stunning scenery for which the Azores are celebrated on a guided excursion that took us to the western reaches of the island of São Miguel, with its ancient remnant volcanoes, blue-green lakes and tiny villages.”

From here, the cruise continued westward, and the group had four days in which to enjoy ship life, taking part in a traditional Nordic spa night where they enjoyed both the sauna and snow-grotto in the traditional Norwegian way.  Other highlights included the authentic Norwegian waffles in Mamsen’s and High Tea in the picturesque Winter Garden.

Personal travel manager Erin Beckford (right), soaking up flavours and sounds on Cuban food tour of Miami (pictured with Johanna Dash)

Beckford says the group also used their time at sea to learn about each facet of the ship and how the crew work to keep their well-oiled machine sailing smoothly.  “There was never a shortage of activities and enrichments programs available on board, or you could simple take a dip in the infinity pool off the bow of the ship and watch the Atlantic go by.”

Day nine of the group’s Atlantic crossing was spent docked in Hamilton, the capital and cultural centre of the British territory of Bermuda.  Although much closer to North America than Europe, Beckford says she found a distinctly English ambience at every turn as she walked the pastel-hued streets.

Thirteen travel professionals crossed the Atlantic on a Viking Cruises famil (from L to R, from top of picture): Loretta Abernethy, Patricia Dangelo, Martine Hero, Byron Bobby Horne, Bev Moffat, Jeff Leckey, Sharee Mitchell, Marisa Plenge, Johanna Dash, Deborah Mondon, Erin Beckford, Kate Tricket and Carrie O’Connor, accompanied by Viking’s Leon Hill, Kim Vaughan, Liz Sawers (front row)

“I loved exploring historic St George, which is the longest continuously-inhabited English settlement in the New World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the island’s pink-sand beaches are breath-taking!” she enthuses.

After two more days of relaxing at sea, the cruise concluded at Miami, where the lively Cuban-American culture and vibrant Art Deco architecture of South Beach were a big hit with the group, with Beckford treating herself to a walking food tour: “I couldn’t go past a Cuban empanada and cerveza in Little Havana to wrap up my trip!”

Beckford says her experience with Viking far surpassed her expectations, thanks their emphasis on individual enjoyment and their offerings of stunning food, wine, wellness experiences, enrichment programs and captivating entertainers.

“I can honestly say I will be cruising on a Viking Ocean Ship again, sooner rather than later, and hopefully with a group of my lovely clients in tow!”

For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.

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