Listen Up!

Chris_Sheila_new smallChris and I recently spent an exciting and information-packed weekend at the amazing New York Times Travel Show.  As veterans of the Show, we are very familiar with exactly how to have succinct conversations with attendees and can quickly ascertain most folks’ travel needs and desires. Many times we get an added bonus and develop a personal relationship and friendship.
As with our regular clients, these relationships are nurtured by meeting face-to-face and listening, so that we can use our expertise to suggest unique and special tour, resort and cruise experiences.  Listening closely to clients, directs our entire planning process each and every day.
Don’t worry, we have plenty of knowledge to share and help to guide you to the perfect travel choices: but first we “have a listen”.
Experience Equals Expectation 
Our enthusiasm for travel is contagious so we love to plan vacations by “sharing” ideas, thoughts and options not by “selling” you a trip.  Planning starts by having a conversation with you (in person or on the phone) to hear and read your expectations.  Meeting and talking helps us to gauge where you are in your life, what you really want from a trip and what components are most important to you.
Are you burnt out at work and just need to recharge the batteries? Are you recently retired and ready to finally see the sites?  Are you about to become empty nesters and want one last memorable, action-packed family vacation? Travel is your chance to dream, a chance to step away from your everyday pressures and think about what type of experience would bring you the most joy.
Planning a trip can be stressful, so let us handle the logistics. You revel in the excitement and expectation of the opportunity. Our first-hand knowledge can help prepare for unforeseen needs and our conversations will help us unearth your hopes for the journey.  Our expertise will enable your experience to equal your expectations.
There is no better time than now, the doldrums of winter, to start a conversation. We’ll go first….Close your eyes…Picture your ideal vacation…what do you see? We’re listening.
Korte Travel (631) 893-4232
Winners of Best Travel Agency in the
LI Press 2014 Best of Long Island List!

We Know It, We Love It And We Live It

Is Travel Part of Your “Second Act?”59891_aux_image_1
Chris and I are entering our sixth year as professional travel planners, and we couldn’t be happier.  We really enjoy helping people plan spectacular vacations and being able to travel ourselves.  We often say that we are into our “second act” because we came to be professional travel planners after raising a family and pursuing other careers. Chris and I actually met when we were both air traffic controllers for the U.S. Army.
Explore the Possibilities
Chris went on to become a broker on Wall Street for 31 years and I was involved in a serious car accident and had to leave my air traffic controller position.  The insurance company offered a re-training program, which directed me to ask myself, “What would you like to do next?”  Since Chris and I had started traveling after the kids had grown and we enjoyed it so much, I chose to pursue a degree in travel and tourism.  I graduated in 1999 with a B.S. degree from Dowling College on Long Island.  I then wondered, “What should I do now?”
Fate Steps In
Ironically, I was at a local Jiffy Lube when fate seem to intervene and showed me the way.  As in most waiting areas, they had a selection of magazines on a rack.  I reached for a ladies’ magazine and Entrepreneur magazine dropped out onto the floor.  It lay open at an Cruise Planners American Express ad. The lime green ad immediately caught my eye and intrigued me.  I phoned Cruise Planners the very next day and within the week we purchased a franchise.  Once Chris retired he joined me in the business full time and we were on our way to our “second act”. We are looking forward to a long and exciting run!
We love what we do and we are realizing our dream to helping our clients make their dream vacations a reality.
As a seminar leader once told me, “Do what lights you up … what lights you up from the inside.”
If travel “lights you up” and is your dream, let us help you because we know it, we love it and we live it.

Give us a call at 631.893.4232 and Chris & I will help to make 2016 the year that your travel dreams come true!

Happy Holidays from your Cruise Planners agents: Chris & Sheila Korte

Impact+ Travel Enables You To Make A Difference

Cuba-woman_yellow-wall-2-1300x700For me, travel has always been about discovery and personal growth.  That’s why I’m very excited to tell you about an opportunity to transform how you travel, to not just discover new places and people, but to engage in communities and actually make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.  Impact travel, pioneered by Fathom™, the newest brand in the Carnival Corporation family, is a whole new category of cruise travel: it’s travel with purpose and “travel with heart”.

Impact travel to the Dominican Republic gives you the opportunity to build community with like-minded travelers, become immersed in another culture, and work alongside local people to create long-lasting social impact. After you sail from Miami, your time on board will be an adventure too, as experts in the local culture prepare you to make the maximum impact during your time on the ground.  In the Dominican Republic, you’ll be partnered with established impact organizations with strong community connections.  You’ll meet the people of these communities and immerse yourself in their culture.

People + Passion + Partnership = Enduring Social Impact
Community involvement programs include assisting people with English language learning, small business entrepreneurship, and creative arts, music, and sports.  You’ll come home seven days later knowing that, for the people whose lives you’ve just touched, the world has become a little brighter because of you.

Coming in 2016 – CUBA!
Beginning in 2016, Fathom will begin cultural exchange voyages to multiple locations in Cuba, including Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba, in order to enable more people to experience Cuban society.  As with other Fathom trips, your on-board journey will include an orientation to the country’s history, customs and culture, including guided sessions with the Fathom team to share your insights, ideas, and opportunities about the future of cultural exchange travel to Cuba. On shore, you’ll put that orientation to good use as you get involved in people-to-people experiences that include a variety of cultural, artistic, educational, and humanitarian activities.

If you would like to take a journey of a different kind that you can be proud of for a lifetime, give us a call at Korte Travel, Cruise Planners, at 631-893-4232 and we will start planning your impact travel to the Dominican Republic or Cuba!

Visiting Unspoiled Lands Takes Time: Cruise to Galapagos and Antarctica


galapagosMaybe you’ve done the “grand tour” or Europe, cruised the coast of Alaska, and soaked up the sun on beaches from the Caribbean to Hawaii.  Now what?

For a few discerning travelers, nothing beats the allure and mystery of the untouched islands of Galapagos and the frozen-continent of Antarctica.  Two “must sees” for any adventure seeker that wants to check off the ultimate bucket list destinations.

The Galapagos Islands are a province of Ecuador, lying about 600 miles off its coast, and are considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing.  Their isolated terrain shelter a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else.

antarcticaAntarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. With an area of over 5.4 million square miles, it is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle.

We have sent quite a few clients on these adventures, but they are not for everyone.  First off, you have to do a lot of planning, at least two or three years in advance, and because these trips sell out fast they are already sold out for 2016!

Secondly, you need to work with travel professionals like us who can tailor your trip to your specifications.  Luxury or rustic?  Are you a full-bore offshore explorer? These destinations are both physically challenging and can take 10+ days to complete. It would be very difficult to book these trips successfully without a knowledgeable professional.


The creatures that inhabit this famous archipelago are as engaging as they are unique because they don’t fear humans.  Here’s your once in a lifetime opportunity to experience this living museum of natural history.

One option is aboard the Celebrity Xpedition.  This 98-guest mega-yacht sails to the islands seven days a week, 365 days a year.  The knowledgeable crew and Galapagos National Park-certified on-board naturalists all help to preserve this delicate archipelago, while enlightening you to its natural and evolutionary significance. You can also travel to one of the last uninhabited places on Earth in style aboard Silversea Cruises.  You can snorkel with sea lions, hike along lava tunnels, and experience this living museum of natural history while indulging in the unrivaled all-suite comfort and elegant sophistication of these small luxury ships.  All accommodations are spacious, ocean-view suites and most include butler service and private verandas.


On board Silversea’s luxury cruise ship the Silver Explorer you can revel in the beauty and overwhelming power of nature as you pass giant prisms of ice riding in an ink-blue sea.  You can take a Zodiac boat to get up close and personal with whales, and walk among elephant seals and penguins, all unafraid of your presence. Hurtigruten Explorer ships also visit Antarctica, and they offer numerous planned and unplanned field landings ashore designed to challenge you mentally and physically, including everything from long hikes, kayaking, and glacier traversing to camping onshore and even multi-day ski expeditions. Quark Expeditions is more affordable and somewhat “rustic,” but not inexpensive.  For over two decades they have been leading polar adventures, including many first-ever passenger voyages to Antarctica, including the circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent.  In February 2014 we planned a fabulous Antarctic cruise for two of our clients aboard a Quark Expedition cruise.  If you would like to see what their trip looked like, click here: Norton and Herb’s Excellent Antarctic Adventure.

So you have many options that include using the Cruise Planners’ layaway plan, which will help you save for these once-in-a-lifetime trips. We will help you pick what’s best for your situation and budget. And our computerized rate alerts advise us in the event prices drop and we always pass those savings on to you.

Sound exciting?  Give us a call now at 631-893-4232 and we will start planning your adventure holiday to the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica for 2017!

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

Korte Travel Long Island Travel Agent located in Babylon, NY

Can You Picture Yourself On A British Open Golf Cruise? Brilliant!


golf cruisesRecently, we were treated to one of the most exciting British Opens in history at St. Andrews in Scotland.  Jordan Spieth battled to the end in his quest to win his third major and Zach Johnson fought off two other contenders to take home the coveted Claret Jug trophy.

If you wish you had been there, I’m happy to tell you about a unique opportunity to take a luxury cruise, AND attend the final round at the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland (or the 2017 British Open in England), AND play famous courses such as Turnberry, Gleneagles and Royal Birkdale.

If golf is your thing, this is the ultimate way to travel the world – and bring your clubs.  For this cruise, world famous Perry Golf is partnering with luxury cruise line Azamara Club Cruises to offer this once-in-a-lifetime golf adventure.  On this trip you’re not schlepping your clubs from place to place.  Everything is done for you, including transporting you and your clubs, tee time reservations, the caddies, meals, final round tickets – you just show up and enjoy.

There’s also plenty to do for non-golfers: fabulous onboard facilities, a wide selection of shore excursions offered at each port, and simply enjoying the beautiful amenities on this luxury liner including 24-hour room service, many options for evening entertainment, first-rate spa services, and daily classes including fitness instruction. With one staff member for every two guests, you’ll love the attentive, personal service.

To make this trip more budget friendly, you can hold your spot with a $500 deposit and then make payments every month, or every other month. Not all travel planners offer that, but we do!  You can also use American Express reward points to bring down the cost.

We can also offer you golf packages on other voyages to Australia and New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Sea, with an outstanding collection of courses including Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers, Valderrama, and many others.

The British Open packages sell out quickly, so if this trip is on your bucket list you must act soon.  Give us a call at 631-893-4232 and we’ll reserve your cabin for this luxury cruise! Fore!!

Chris and I are cruising Azamara in November and are looking forward to experience the Azamara Journey. I will be blogging about our experience as we cruise Madeira & the fascinating Canary Islands.

Coming Next Month: Galapagos & Antarctica- 2 “Must Sees” that must be planned ahead.

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

Korte Travel Long Island Travel Agent located in Babylon, NY

Unparalleled Romance: Cruising the Islands of French Polynesia

French PolynesiaWhen you think of exotic and romantic cruise locations, what comes to mind? For many, the top answer is French Polynesia, best known for the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora.  There arguably is no other place on Earth that epitomizes the ultimate romantic getaway.

These small islands feature perfect white-sand beaches with swaying palms, crystal-clear blue water, and gentle breezes.  The friendly people and easy-going lifestyle enable you to disconnect from your hectic life and reconnect with your significant other.  Cruising here is perfect for a honeymoon, a milestone anniversary, or to check off the ultimate get-away on your bucket list.

Departing from the East Coast of the U.S., you will need to plan for at least a 10 to 14 day holiday. You can either fly to Tahiti directly or fly to Hawaii and take a 3 day cruise to the islands.  While the islands are French protectorates, no worries, as everyone on board ship and on the islands also speaks English.

Instead of taking short-hop flights around the islands (many of which don’t have airports), cruising on a beautiful boutique-sized cruise ship gives you access to the smaller island’s harbors.

These modern ships also deliver beautiful accommodations in cabins overlooking the ocean, world-class food and service, and an endless choice of things to do, from relaxing poolside to playing slots in the casino.

For example, a relaxing 7-day itinerary could start in Tahiti where you might wish to walk the unspoiled beach, shop for local crafts, or embark on a dolphin-watching expedition. Your ship can then take you to the island of Huahine, known as the “Garden Island” from its lush rainforests. Here you can explore archaeological sites, enjoy snorkeling and scuba in the blue lagoon or picnic on the beach. On the island of Taha’a, you can take a launch over to a private white sand beach where you can swim, snorkel, kayak, or even learn Tahitian cooking secrets before a fabulous lunch on the beach. On world-renowned Bora Bora, you can experience what has been aptly called “the most beautiful island in the world.”  Explore the lagoon on a snorkeling tour, take an exciting helicopter ride, or get a thrill on a jet boat ride.

Turning back to home port, your ship can dock in the quiet harbor of Morrea, graced with spectacular mountain peaks, peaceful multi-hued lagoons, and palm-fringed beaches.

French PolynesiaYou can simply lounge on these beaches and decompress with your honey, or take advantage of an amazing array of activities.  We can pre-book activities with recommended local services and guides.  Like all destinations, there are the things most tourists do and see – and then there are the unique experiences that are known only to locals and experienced travel professionals, like us.  Allow me to open your eyes to just a few of these possibilities:

For photography buffs
: Don’t miss a unique and exclusive half-day guided photo tour of Moorea with an accomplished professional photographer who will offer photographic tips and interesting information about the island throughout the tour aboard a private, off-road vehicle visiting the interior of the island and the coast.

For an unforgettable romantic evening: Spend a night in one of the famous over-water bungalows that appear to “float” in the haze above a sparkling blue lagoon. You can admire the colorful underwater life of the lagoon through glass tabletops right in your room.

For adventure: Circumnavigate beautiful Bora Bora in a traditional outrigger canoe on a private island lagoon tour, complete with ukulele music and expert commentary on local culture, history, and nature. Enjoy stops in a coral garden where you can snorkel, visit tame stingrays, and observe black-tip sharks in their natural habitat.

Sound exciting?  Give us a call at Korte Travel @ 631-893-4232 and we will start planning your romantic, Polynesian getaway today!

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

Korte Travel Long Island Travel Agent located in Babylon, NY

Why an African Safari Should Be on Your Bucket List


2006-09-18 12.05.40

On our African safari, Chris and I watched a lion and her cubs (from the safety of a Range Rover) … walked the property of a five star hotel among zebras, giraffes, impalas and monkeys … listened to wild Africa awaken at sunrise … even sipped champagne next to Victoria Falls.

I think you get the picture that on this safari we didn’t rough it by sleeping in tents, or slogging through the jungle like in an old movie. We enjoyed beautiful accommodations, gourmet food, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that we are still talking about today. And this is coming from very experienced travelers!

2006-09-18 11.17.20We went to Africa for almost three weeks and visited four different countries. One of the highlights was a stay at the beautiful and serene Royal Livingstone Hotel, a 5-star resort on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.

We walked over to breathtaking Victoria Falls through a private entrance and watched wildlife wander around right on the hotel grounds. We were offered amazing adventures like river cruises and helicopter rides, or just relaxing in a hammock and getting a massage overlooking the river.

If you have ever toyed with the idea of your own African adventure, you should know that this type of trip takes a lot of planning and expertise. We can guide you through the fine points to make your experience one-of-a-kind.

2006-09-19 03.22.26Africa is a huge continent, and we will advise you on where you should go, countries to avoid, what you need to bring and what you should leave at home. We can arrange all the details, including flights between countries, and we have other African experts on speed dial to help make your trip worry and stress free.

There are many options to fit your budget, from moderate to high-end luxury. Some of the special reasons to add an African safari to your bucket list include:

· Romance: What an amazing place to honeymoon, celebrate an anniversary, special birthday, or even pop the question!

· Wildlife adventure: If you are an animal lover and photographer, you will be in heaven.

· Family memories: what an unforgettable, special learning experience to give to your children or grandchildren.

· Unique experiences: from jogging with Maasai warriors, balloon rides over the Serengeti Plain, whitewater rafting, even golf – we can arrange your custom itinerary.

Chris and I went on our safari in September and Africa was absolutely gorgeous at that time. Give us a call and we can start planning now for your Fall safari. Korte Travel (631) 893.4232

Coming in next month’s blog: Cruising French Polynesia.

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

It’s Romance Season: Surprise Your Valentine With A Personalized Vacation

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It’s Valentine’s Day this Saturday, and many people will be giving and getting the same old boring gifts, like roses, candy, or a piece of jewelry that most often winds up in a drawer long forgotten.


Korte Travel/Cruise Planners/American Express TravelAs Valentine’s Day also kicks off the “Season of Romance,” why not jump out of the box with something that will surprise and delight your special someone?   This year create beautiful, lasting memories with the gift of a personalized vacation.


Give Korte Travel , a Cruise Planners, American Express Representative, a call at (631) 893-4232 and we will design the personal vacation or cruise that will thrill your sweetheart. We could make arrangements to mail a gift bag with a gift certificate and exciting brochures that will detail your romantic adventure.


Since time is short for Valentine’s Day, we can an even create a “virtual” gift and email the gift certificate to your heart-throb via e-mail.


This “thinking out-of-the-box” idea isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. Imagine how excited your significant other will be when they receive a vacation gift bag for an upcoming anniversary or birthday. You can even include the whole family if you like!
Give us a call today and Chris or Sheila will design a custom vacation that will knock your Valentine’s socks off!

See Korte Travel Blog– where vacation memories are made

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

"Wave Season” is a Great Time to Book Spring Break Travel


Many of my clients are just hearing the term “Wave Season” for the first time. The beginning of the year is what the travel industry calls “Wave Season” and by booking travel plans now, travelers will save money by getting the best deals. At Korte Travel, a Cruise Planners American Express Representative,

Wave Season

Wave Season

Wave Season means we can offer our clients deep discounts on the price of a cruise taken in 2015. And due to our relationship with the cruise companies, we are typically able to offer incentives such as free accommodation upgrades, onboard spending credits and early booking discounts. The goal of most of the cruise lines is to get reservations on the books, for the rest of the year. Our goal, at Korte Travel, is to find you the best offers.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, people should prepare for below-normal temperatures and above-normal snowfall during most of this winter. If this holds true, a spring break getaway will be a welcome relief. Wave Season is the hottest time to book a vacation and it’s going to be a long winter so having a spring break trip planned ahead will give you something to look forward to during the cold, dark days.

At Korte Travel, we offer cruises and land vacations to warm-weather destinations including the Caribbean, Bermuda, Hawaii, the Mediterranean and more. We will customize your trip to any travel destination during any time of the year while finding the best value-added deals in the marketplace.

By booking now you will eliminate the headaches associated with last-minute planning and you will be able to take advantage of the great deals available right now during Wave Season. Don’t wait; cruise lines typically raise their rates at the end of March.

Chris and I love to travel and we use all of our personal travel experience to provide full-service cruise and vacation planning for individuals, veterans, and families. For more information, please visit us at, or call 631-893-4232.

Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

Our Voyage on Cunard's Amazing Queen Mary 2


photo 1After reading this blog, I think you’ll appreciate that Chris and I really enjoyed our recent twelve-day voyage on Cunard’s’ Queen Mary 2. It was a totally different kind of cruise (in a good way) that just can’t compare to the mainstream cruise lines.

You see the difference from the moment you enter the ship as you are warmly greeted by an international staff dressed in tuxedos and white gloves. You feel like you are taking a step back in time to the ocean liners of yesterday that you see in the old black and white movies.

Exploring the ship, we found luxurious common rooms full of beautiful fresh flowers. I have to admit that just strolling around was fun as we were able to “people watch” the many elegantly dressed passengers on board. As Anglophiles who love everything about England, we were enamored with the ship’s formal English customs like high tea at 3:30 pm with white glove service of tea, finger sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream. There were many people from the U.K. on board who had crossed over on the ship’s seven night cruise from Southampton, England to our port in New York.

photo 2The Queen Mary 2 boasts accoutrements that no other ship offers, like the largest dance floor at sea, and every afternoon during the tea there is a live band playing and people go out on the floor to dance. It’s just lovely. “Queen Mary 2 is the only ship to host a planetarium at sea. Take a virtual tour into outer space, view the stars and journey to the moon or take a course on celestial navigation” are just a few things you can do while on board on sea days. The Planetarium is also used as a movie theater.

Chris and I love to dress up, so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in four formal nights, including an amazing masquerade ball. Ladies break out the family jewels and some wear their long white gloves. The tone was set at the opening Captain’s Cocktail party where people came dressed to the nines. Gentlemen all wore jackets at dinner. This cruise is definitely not for folks who want a more casual “dine anytime” experience. Even the wait staff is a bit reserved. On many cruise lines, the staff is directed to be informal and chat with the guests. Here they were friendly and attentive, but very quiet and subdued.

photo 3Our part of the cruise left New York and we traveled up the coast to Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, and Quebec. On shore, we enjoyed the Newport cliff walk and toured the Breakers, both highly recommended. We traveled to the Saint Anne Cathedral outside of Quebec and an amazing waterfall – a special tour that was off the normal tourist path.

On board, the highest category of cabins are called Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites. Queens Grill suites feature a large sitting area, walk-in wardrobe, and a spacious private balcony. There is also a butler on hand to ensure your stay is perfect. Princess Grill suites are just a bit smaller and don’t include the butler, but you get a shared concierge. These passengers also eat in the exclusive Queens’s grill and Princess Grill restaurants; two separate restaurants where they have their own table and can eat anytime during set hours. We were in a regular balcony cabin that was about 200 square feet that was so well designed that all of our stuff (including for formal wear) packed away nicely. We never felt cramped. They also offer free washers and dryers, so you can keep up with your laundry – and pack less!

Not surprisingly, this is not a family oriented cruise, and it’s mostly baby boomers who can afford to enjoy this high-level of luxury and service. Most of the 60 people in our Mariner’s Club travel group are such big Cunard fans; they don’t want to cruise with anyone else. I met one mother-daughter team who had logged over 1,800 nights on Cunard ships! This cruise was sold out and many people had booked their cabins one year in advance. This is a very special cruise line … it’s so special that you can even reserve a kennel for your dog and “Fido” can come along on the cruise.

Cunard’s fleet includes the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary 2, and the Queen Victoria ocean liners. If you would like to take a dream cruise on Cunard and experience this level of elegance and luxury, please give us a call and we can give you first-hand information on which itinerary would work best for you. The scones alone, are worth the journey and price of admission on the QM2, not to mention all of the other amenities and extras that would be included. Happy Travels!!!


Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702