December 2014

Dear G&L Traveller,

We can't quite believe the end of the year is here and we want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year of travelling ahead!

We hope you enjoy our last postcard for the year with some stories on our recent travels.

Here's to a cracker 2015!
» MELINDA'S MARKETPLACE
» HOME AND AWAY
» DESTINATION
» Q&A WITH G&L
   
 
 
 
   
 
 
PURE Life Experiences
 
I have just recently returned from attending PURE Life Experiences, an invitation only Luxury Experiential Travel Mart held in Marrakech, Morocco. It was a busy 4 days of 60 meetings where I was able to meet with many of our suppliers and hoteliers from all over the world. From the wonderful operators we use in China to some great new boutique properties in Spain, and a number of South American suppliers with fabulous new product, certainly a worthwhile trip.
 
   
 
Eilish Fahey
 
Welcome to the Team!
 
Eilish Fahey has recently joined the Gregor & Lewis team. Eilish has just graduated with her Diploma of Travel & Tourism from TAFE East Coast in Mooloolaba, after previously completing her Certificate 3 in Travel and Tourism.

Her 12 months of study focused on marketing, finance, customer service, leadership, International and Domestic destinations, travel product training along with computer courses including airline ticket sales.

So when you are next in the Junction come on into the office to meet our newest recruit!!!
 
   
 
 
Silversea new brochures out now
 
The new 2015 Silversea Atlas's have arrived for both the classic and the expedition voyages. The preview brochures for 2016 have also arrived. So if you are interested in cruising with Silversea in the coming years please pop in to the office to pick up your copy. For those of you who are further afield if you are interested please let us know and we can mail you out your personal copy.
 
   
 
Crystal Serenity in Quebec
Melinda and Jo walk the Highline in New York
Dining in Prego speciality restaurant
Newport Breakers Mansion
The attentive staff onboard Crystal Serenity
Acadia National Park - Bar Harbour
 
Fall cruising with Crystal Serenity
 
Melinda and I have recently returned from a 10 night cruise aboard the beautiful Crystal Serenity cruising from Quebec City in Canada to New York during the Fall. The colour of the leaves throughout the cruise was simply amazing. The highlight was definitely the beautiful town of Bar Harbour in Maine with a wonderful National Park with spectacular views, a gorgeous little town with great boutiques and restaurants. Cruising in to New York City was also another highlight, as the sun was rising sailing past the Statue of Liberty and then glistened on the buildings of Manhattan as we docked in Midtown.

Our cabin was on Deck 10 - a Deluxe Stateroom with a Verandah. Our cabin was located right outside the lift area but to be honest, once inside our cabin, we did not hear a thing from outside. A very well equipped laundry was not far from the cabin and the cabin itself was well appointed with all amenities including double sinks. For two girls sharing a twin cabin we seemed to have plenty of room and plenty of hangers in the cupboard!

Dining by Reservation found us in the Crystal Dining Room on a couple of occasions but we mainly spent our nights dining at Prego – the fine Italian Restaurant (you have to try the mushroom soup!), Silk Road – Chef Nobu's signature Japanese restaurant, and Tastes – a tapas restaurant only open in the evening. Prego and Silk Road have a surcharge (US$30pp) after your first visit, but it is well worth eating there over and over.

The entertainment on board varied from pianists to a string quartet, a Magician, and the Crystal Serenity dancers to name a few. The shows on board were very entertaining and Gary – our Cruise Director, who entertained us with his own ventriloquist show, welcomed everyone and ensured smiles and laughter were abundant.

The staff and crew aboard Crystal Serenity were welcoming, lovely, friendly and very professional. Nothing was too hard for them and any requests were attended to immediately – including a request for avocado for breakfast to have with my soft boiled egg!! The crew really make you feel at home and always have a smile and a friendly greeting for you from your cabin attendant, shop stewards, bar staff, waiters, ship security and tender operators right up to management level.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience aboard Crystal Serenity and would highly recommend Crystal Cruises and I look forward to cruising with them again.

For more further information please contact Joanne Rowland on jorowland@gregorlewis.com.au or call 07 5447 4666
 
   
 
Finally found a Panda!!!
Tianamen Square
On our way up The Great Wall
Peking duck - yum!
Decorative lanterns light the streets
 
Kristen's Beijing Jaunt
 
I recently flew to Beijing with China Southern Airlines. China Southern flys directly from Brisbane,Sydney or Melbourne to Guangzhou daily with connections onto Asia and UK/Europe. They offer economy, premium economy and business class cabins from Australia. I flew premium economy class and was really impressed. Although not business class it is certainly a step up from economy. Seats offer more recline and far more leg room. The cabin offers dedicated cabin crew and high quality meals, with touch screen entertainment systems and a wide variety of movies to choose from.

We stayed at the Novotel Peace Hotel in Beijing - a well located, modern four star hotel. This property offers large size rooms, a great buffet breakfast, gym, concierge service, money exchange and tour desk.

A trishaw ride is certainly a must when visiting Beijing, passing through the ancient city alleys of the Hutongs(traditional courtyard homes) allow you to see the lifestyle of the local people.

Tiananmen Square is a large public area located close by the Forbidden City so is usually combined during your sightseeing tour. I was totally unprepared for the vast size of the complex of the Forbidden City. This former Chinese imperial palace is made up of over 950 buildings, all ornate and lavish and still in exceptional condition.

The highlight of my trip was our visit to the Great Wall - when you see the wall for the first time you are instantly in awe. From the bottom it is a very steep climb up the wall and can be very tricky to navigate. The steps are not of even dimensions and the hand rail is very low and rickety. The climb is quite demanding, but people of all physical levels were on their way up. We climbed for an hour and the view from our final destination was magnificent - you can see for miles through the valley and the wall weaving its way in both directions.

The Summer Palace is also located outside of the city so easily combines with the Great Wall. This beautifully maintained area is made up of lakes, gardens and palaces – spread over a vast area, it is easy to wander for hours.

No trip to Beijing would be complete without a traditional meal of Peking duck. I was a little put off watching the ducks slow cook in the open oven, and cooling on wall hooks by their necks - but all that was forgotten as soon as the duck was brought to the table and carved up by the chef. The meal was delicious and a very social experience - a must for all visitors to this amazing city.

For entertainment after dark Beijing has plenty to offer - shopping malls, night markets, lively bars and restaurants. My quick trip to Beijing has definitely left me with the desire to return.

For further details contact Kristen Cahill on kristencahill@gregorlewis.com.au or call 07 5447 4666
 
   
 
Crown Princess sets sail
Relaxing in Mazatlan
Making new friends
The happiest place on earth - Disneyland
Facing fears on the Tower of Terror
 
Roger's Mexican & Californian Sojourn!
 
My family and I had a wonderful opportunity to experience a Princess Cruise from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera in November this year.

These cruises depart regularly from LA and are usually 7 nights duration and are excellent value for money. Even though our ship, the Crown Princess holds 3,300 passengers, Princess still managed a personal approach. The cabins were spacious and well appointed.

Exotic ports visited were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán & Cabo San Lucas all of which are very different from one another but all with a distinctly Mexican flavour. The waters in this region are smooth, clear and warm, great for snorkelling and other water activities. Mazatlán was the less touristic of the three ports with an interesting history, it's also home to the Pacifico Brewery the makers of Mexico's most famous beer Corona.

Cabo San Lucas was a real eye-opener, modern and well catered for with a huge range of activities for tourists. The restaurants are excellent and numerous with the majority of them located around the attractive Marina area. This was by far the best place for shopping, everything from the obligatory t-shirt to local handicrafts or fine Tequilas can be bought here all at great prices. The US$ was accepted everywhere in Mexico. Cabo, as it's known, was my 7 year old daughters favourite place, she got to experience swimming and riding on the back of a Dolphin.

The food and staff onboard the ship were excellent and we also found the atmosphere very relaxed.

After the cruise we went to Disneyland for 3 days as well as Universal Studios & SeaWorld in San Diego. All the parks were excellent and have numerous new rides and attractions. We stayed at the Hyatt Orange County, a hotel that caters extremely well for families, just a 10 minute ride from Disneyland on the twice hourly shuttle. There are numerous restaurants in the area, a huge Target store across the road and a fabulous outlet mall nearby for the serious shopper.

We spent up big as the bargains were fabulous and had no issues bringing everything home as Qantas allow 2 pieces of checked-in baggage per person.

All in all we had a wonderful family holiday, it was varied, interesting and did not break the bank.

For further details contact Roger Koller on rogerkoller@gregorlewis.com.au or call 07 5447 4666
 
 
  Cappadocia - A true natural wonder of the world!  
   
  A room with a view - Argos Hotel Cappadocia  
   
  Sunrise from my balcony - Argos Hotel Cappadocia  
   
  The start of an amazing experience!  
   
   
   
   
   
   
  Fairy chimneys  
   
   
   
   
  Argos Hotel  
   
   
   
   
  Cave room  
   
   
   
  Museum Hotel  
   
   
  There is no place on earth quite like Cappadocia, a masterpiece of nature with its interesting landscape, underground cities, fairy chimneys and the unique luxury cave hotels. The best way to see this fascinating area is by hot air balloon, a truly unbelievable experience. I felt totally safe the whole time. We simply floated above this incredible landscape for almost 2 hours, it was so peaceful and the views just amazing, you could not even tell when we had left the ground, I could not stop taking photos(over 100). It is so professionally run, there are even air traffic controllers! Watching the moon set and the sunrise over this landscape was simply awe inspiring, certainly one of the most memorable experiences of my travelling life. It should certainly be on everyone's bucket list!  
  Gregor & Lewis | 11 Arcadia St, Noosa Heads, Queensland, 4567 Australia
T + 617 5447 4666 | E noosa@gregorlewis.com.au | W www.gregorlewis.com.au