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Adventures With Robin

Your Go-To Travel Source

Welcome! This space serves as a platform for travel agent Robin Norell to share her trips, experiences and expertise with you. Exceeding your customer service expectations is Robin’s primary goal. Having worked for Disney for 2.5 years, she knows how to make your vacation magic. 

Robin has visited 25 countries (Caribbean, Europe, Asia) and 31 states, and has been on 26 river and ocean cruises (so far), visited Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris multiple times, and she is happy to share her travel experiences and knowledge with you to make your vacation the best it can be.

Robin has been awarded the distinguished certifications of CLIA’s (Cruise Lines International Association) ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) Certification, as well as earning her CTA (Certified Travel Associate) certification, has completed the College of Disney Knowledge, and continues to learn more about the travel industry every day.

Excelling in administration and customer service, she takes care of all the details, leaving you free to relax and enjoy!

Independent Vacation Planner

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March 11-12. Ship Tours

Tuesday March 12 

 

We set our alarm for 7am because we were told we had to be checked out by 8:45am and we weren't sure how long breakfast would take.   

Breakfast was good – it was a buffet, and they even had a chef making omelets to order. 


After breakfast we ‘checked out’ and walked back to the Muziegebouw with our bags and waited for the morning session to start.  We spent the morning attending several small group presentations.





Lunch time came quickly – we were assigned lunch onboard the Riverside Debussey. They are a relatively new company, and this ship and their other ships were purchased from Crystal cruises when they went out of business during Covid. It was very nice and was served in the restaurant - a fixed menu, 3 courses, with a choice of beef or a vegetarian risotto for the entrée.



After lunch, it was time for ship tours. Today we were seeing 5 ships – AmaSerena (Ama Waterways), Emerald Dawn, Riverside Debussey, A-Rosa Sena, and Amadeus Cara.  I had seen ships from Ama, Emerald and Amadeus at the last river cruise expo I attended (in Budapest March 2022). The level of luxury and quality on some of these ships is truly beautiful, they have such a different feel to ocean cruise ships.



The biggest surprise was the A-Rosa Sena – they have cabins for up to 5 people (a bed, bunk beds, and a sitting area that folds down).  There is a kids center on the ship, and excursions designed for families.  It was a big ship – 4 interior decks (all the others only have 3), and on the lowest deck they have a full spa and the largest fitness center I've ever seen on a river cruise ship. And kids under 18 sail free! Definitely a great choice for families.  



I met with their rep at the Trade Show and asked if they sell in the US. They said they do, but don't have any sales reps there. I gave him my card and said I want to sign up my agency to sell their cruises! What a great option for families and multi- generational travel! 


By the time we finished the 5th and last ship of the day, we were tired.  The schedule had said dinner would be at 6:30pm (last night didn't start until 7:30pm) and we were glad because it's hard to eat and then immediately go to bed (later than usual). Well, they were wrong.  We had to get a bus to the other ship docking area where our ship for the night was docked. Then we got on our ship, the Nicko Spirit, "checked in" (showed our passports) and went to our room.  This is a line that we in the US don't sell, and it definitely felt like a budget line.  

 

At the cocktail party and dinner we sat with Karla, who was also attending both the CLIA and ASTA conferences, and she's from Chicago.  We met her yesterday and kept bumping into her.  We also sat with Kevin, originally from Ireland but living in England.  He shared stories of his many, many travels – he told us he's in his 70s and still traveling often (on his own since his wife passed). Dinner started at 8:30pm. At 10:15 we said we were skipping dessert and headed to our cabin. 15,000 steps for the day.  



Wednesday March 13 

 

Our alarms had to be set early (despite the late bedtime) because we were told we had to be out of the rooms by 8am, and that's when breakfast stopped as well.  

After breakfast, we went to the lounge for a little bit and then headed out.  This conference continues with ship tours until 2pm, but we are done because we will see these ships with the ASTA conference (or at least the ships we sell, not the 3 European brand ships that were the first 3 on the schedule for us today). 

 

We took an Uber to the Passenger terminal, checked into the conference, walked to the AmaMora (our ship for the next 4 nights), checked in and handed over our luggage, and were sitting in the lounge by 9:15am. 




Our first item today is a 10am meeting in the Mövenpick hotel lobby with Scott, from Travefy. Millbrook subscribes to Travefy, which is a tool we use to send itineraries and documents to clients for their trips.  Trish met up with us and Scott answered some of my questions, showed us some features I am not currently using, and promised to send us some additional information and resources.  

 

Next on the agenda was a lunch meeting with Ensemble, my agency's consortium.  A few of their senior staff were also attending the conference, and they had reached out to invite us to lunch.  The restaurant was about a half hour walk, and it was only 10:30am, so we decided to walk.  We were quite early when we found the restaurant, so we went a couple doors down to Madam Pancake and had tea and coffee

Lunch was at the Cannibale Royale, and they had very good food. We all ordered a bit of everything, and the conversation was great. Always good to connect with our consortium staff – great opportunity to share feedback about suppliers and clients and slip in a few requests to make our jobs and our clients’ trips better. 


We finished lunch just after 2 and caught a ride back to the expo with one of the Ensemble staff. We went to the ship on which we were staying for the next 4 nights (AmaWaterways’ AmaMora), and our bags were already there.



We actually were able to unpack (the first time this trip, since we’re here for a few nights). Nice stateroom. We asked them to separate the beds – two gals came and it was done in like 5 minutes.  


The first item on the ASTA agenda was the 5-6:30pm Cocktail Party, so we walked over to the Passenger Terminal and went upstairs. My good friend Kyle had arrived earlier and gone to see a couple hotels, so first on my agenda was to find him. It took a few minutes, but since he’s so tall, I found him. Kyle and I attended the 2022 River Cruise Expo in Budapest, and I served on the board with him in the Central Florida chapter of ASTA (of which he is now the President).  Lots of networking and meeting people, because Kyle knows everyone. Got to meet our Viking cruise line rep in person and connected with her about a challenge some clients had recently, so that was a good contact. 


The agenda was a bit unclear about dinner – it said dinner was on our own, but some of the ships had said they were serving dinner. So we walked as a group to Tauck, because Kyle’s friend Belinda was staying on that ship, and just sat down like we knew what we were doing, and had a very nice dinner! Trish and her husband had decided to find dinner on their own, and they too had a great meal at a local restaurant.

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Robin is an Independent Travel Planner who has been awarded CLIA's (Cruise Line Industry Association's) Accredited Cruise Counselor Certification and The Travel Institute's Certified Travel Associate designation. Her excellent service is yours at no cost - she's paid by the suppliers (hotel, cruise line, etc.), nor does she charge a fee for services. She may even save you money over booking it yourself, as she follows all the specials and will get you a better price after you book with her. When you are planning a family vacation or celebrating a special occasion through travel, you want the best experience possible, and Robin is ready to help you! She provides excellent customer service, and your happiness and satisfaction is her top priority. With the knowledge gained by her extensive travel experience (25 countries, 31 states, and 26 cruises so far) and customer service experience (2.5 years employed at Walt Disney World Resort), she's excited and ready to help you plan new adventures!

Location: Alexandria - VA
Email: Robin.Norell.Travel@gmail.com
Phone: (567) 307-3476
Toll-Free: (866) 779-4830

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