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

Do you see beauty in the world?


tall trees in lake georgeWe recently had the privilege of attending Americade, held in Lake George, New York, the beginning of June.  Americade is a motorcycle rally.  The first year we went, back in 2010, there were 30,000 motorcyclists who attended.  Not a rowdy bunch, but a group of older motorcyclists who just loved to ride.

We’ve gone to Americade three times in the past five years – something we had wanted to do years before, but the kids were younger and it was hard to take the time away.  Adding to that was that only two people fit on a motorcycle.  Americade wasn’t the ideal family vacation for us while the kids were younger, for sure.

Nostalgically, Americade is where the first ideas behind the time to play project began.  We were driving around, enjoying the scenery, when I started to wonder at what age we begin to prioritize life enjoyment and take that most important “time to play”.

Before it’s too late…

But that’s a topic for another discussion.

Today’s reflection is simple.

One thing I love about riding on motorcycles is how big and vast your surroundings can be.  It is a completely different experience than driving in a car.  Living on Long Island where things are generally flat, I was amazed when we rode through the Green Mountains in Vermont.  Driving up and down those roads with huge mountains on both sides of us was a most unforgettable and humbling experience.

This year at Americade, I could not help but marvel at the amazing, massive pine trees we drove past in Lake George.

I have a lot of time to think when I ride as a passenger on the back of Jim’s motorcycle and not on my own.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the residents who live in the beautiful area we drove through notice those amazing trees.  Or, because they live there, do they not notice them.

I wondered if they noticed the smells of the passing foliage that change as you drive down the roads.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they noticed, or, because they lived there, if they did not.

Or, perhaps, were they too busy running through their day that they forget to notice.

I’m sure that most of us rush around without really noticing the beautiful things we may encounter in our day.  Do we notice the sunshine?  Or, if it’s raining, do we notice the beauty of a reflection in a puddle?  Or the smell of fresh air?  Or a bird chirping?  Do we stop to take it in and to embrace the amazing beauty around us, or do we just pass by without noticing because of a priority to on our “to do” list?

I have come to realize that there is so much beauty in every moment of every day.

Now, as I have become more aware of my surroundings and the importance to enjoy life, I try very hard to remember to notice and appreciate things I encounter every day.

It was not always like this.  I truly had years where I was shocked to notice leaves on the trees and wondered when that might have happened.  And then there were the years I was shocked to notice the leaves had fallen off the trees; again, wondering how I could have possibly missed that.

I was just too busy to see.

It is a privilege to see the beauty in the world.  To stop, even for a moment, to soak it in; to catch a smile from a passerby; to smell the ocean air.

Personally, it is a privilege for me to notice something that I might have missed in those past years.

Look at the beauty in the world.  Embrace it.  Welcome it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life.  It is time to play.

Love, Doreen

# # #

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life.  Please see for more information.

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

Building a Foundation of Love Through the Art of Acting

heartSo today I am thinking about love as I do every day, every moment.  Love is very important. As the Beatles say “Love Is All You Need.” Love is what makes the world go around. Love makes us feel safe. Love makes us feel confident. Love makes us feel like we can climb a mountain. I love, LOVE. I love to give it and receive it. It’s magical, it’s healing. It gives us the gift of play.

 But without being grounded it is next to impossible to feel the love or to give it.  In the recent months many of my friends single/divorced/married seem to be out of sorts. Some of them can’t find a mate, some who have mates hate them, some have just lost one and can’t figure out why, some have mates just for sex because they can’t connect to love, some want love so badly but it just isn’t coming.  Our get togethers long phone conversations are filled with anxiety, sadness, pain, anger and list goes on and on. I can’t help but feel that they are all lacking love, love of the self and love of others. It’s not that it isn’t available. It’s all around them and I know for sure I love them. Do they feel it? I send it every day if I am with them or not. They just don’t know how to accept it, feel it or should I say love it.  

As an acting coach I truly believe it is because they aren’t grounded in themselves. They have no connection to who they really are and what they are truly feeling. I know when I’m not grounded I feel anxious, confused, unsafe and very alone. So many are not grounded in the moment. They are not able to work off the other person or people they come in contact with on a daily basis. They aren’t listening to themselves and others. They are afraid. They don’t have faith. They don’t believe in their circumstances. They don’t know what they want and if they did they don’t know how to get it. So how can they possibly obtain the love they want and need so badly?

You’ll think I’m crazy but a strong acting training will ground you. Ground you to your core. It will build a foundation that no one can shake must less knock down. Oh yeah, you will get hurt or feel lost at times but you will come back to your foundation, it lives in you once you get it. Once you work for it. It will not only help you find love for yourself and others but it will get you through difficult times you never thought you would survive. It has done this for me. Sometimes I wonder how I am still standing and how I am capable of loving with all my heart after my foundation has been shook over and over again and even cracked. It’s my acting training. It’s my strong grounded emotional life. It keeps me moving, it keeps me feeling, it keeps me dreaming, it keeps me taking risks with love.

It starts with repetition and the walls grow from there. Just simply being there with another human being and being there with yourself. Just learning to listen and learning to be with another person. Then the foundation begins and each layer there is a discovery which leads to grounding the self and grounding brings love.

Try it what have you got to lose.  Be brave and take an acting class with a coach who will help you build your foundation so you can become grounded in love. Love will make you grow, it will make you happy, it will make you feel comforted and it will make you feel like nothing is impossible.  And for children it will instill a self grounding that will last a lifetime.  Stay grounded and feel the love!

My Multi-generational Experience at Disney


Disney MagicI just finished the Disney Agent Education Program a few weeks ago.  This involved a 2 day stay at Walt Disney World resorts in Orlando, and then transferring to the Disney “Magic”, where we set sail for a 3 day cruise to Nassau, Bahamas and Castaway Cay, Disney’s own island.

I was skeptical at first that I would find the Disney experience any different than my last visit when my children were little.  But, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised; the Disney organization has upgraded the parks, added the cruise segment and is constantly working to add new rides and attractions.  It truly was a special experience and I have to say it was magical.  I witnessed first-hand how a Disney vacation can bring a family together.  There were moms and dads, children and lots of grandparents really enjoying themselves and making special memories that will last a lifetime.  One such memory will stay with me; I saw the Disney “Princesses”, arrive to meet with a group of little girls, each dressed in princess costumes.   The little girls excitedly and with no fear, ran straight to the Princesses and into a big group hug.  It was very special and it brought tears to the adult’s eyes who witnessed it.

The cruise portion is available without the park experience, for those who prefer all the amenities of a luxurious cruise along with Disney themes for the little ones.  Yes, I said luxurious!  The feeling on the Disney Magic was not campy or cartoony, but gave me a sense that I was stepping back in time to the early days of luxury steam ship sailing.  If you choose to combine the park and cruise, you leave from Cape Canaveral, which is only a 1 hour bus ride from the park.  You can choose a 3, 4, or 5 night cruise to destinations that vary depending on the length. Interestingly, the Disney ships transition to Europe and the west coast for the summer and they offer longer cruises to many faraway ports including Europe, Canada and Alaska!  There were quite a number of adults on the cruise without children and I spoke to a few who told me that they love the Disney experience and felt that they get good value for their money with a Disney cruise.  Yes, there are lots of areas on the ship that were adult only and weren’t swamped with kids. We enjoyed a lovely, multi-course meal at Palo, a specialty-dining restaurant onboard and there were also several lounges where we “adult” beverages were served.

If you choose to just go to Walt Disney World, my advice would be to stay “on property”.  I learned that the special perks include book fast+ passes and rides, access to dining plans, easy transportation, free parking and extra “magic hours”; hours added before the park opening or after park closing, when only guests staying at a Disney resort are allowed to enjoy the rides – or technically be in the park.  The transfers to and from the airports are also included and I must say that I was very impressed that my luggage was picked up and transferred everywhere it needed to go without any issues!

I now have the familiarity with the Disney products to speak from experience. If you’re looking for a special and unique, multigenerational and fun experience, I would recommend Disney cruise and park vacations.  I am very excited to help my clients, who might be considering a Disney vacation, to pick out the one that would suit them best! Give us a call if you would like to learn more about experiencing a Disney vacation.   (631) 893-4232


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

Babylon, NY 11702


Thanks to You, Korte Travel Named 2014 Best of Long Island Travel Agency


Wow!  The new year is starting off great!

Chris and I just found out that Korte Travel has been named “2014 Best of Long Island Travel Agency” in the ninth-annual Bethpage Best of LI poll conducted by the Long Island Press … and we couldn’t have done it without YOU!

We would like to extend a big thank you to all of our clients who voted for Korte Travel.  We are very honored that so many of our loyal clients not only took the time to nominate us, but followed-up by voting for us during the three months that voting was open at the end of 2013.

On top of that award, you may have read that I recently achieved Accredited Cruise Counselor certification by completing a comprehensive program of cruise training and product instruction that puts me in an elite group of cruise planning professionals.

From planning a short cruise in the Caribbean to a dream cruise around the world, I have the skills and experience to advise you on how to select a cruise line, where you should – and shouldn’t go, and how to save money.  For more information, please give us a call at (631) 893-4232, or  Let’s go cruising!


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

Babylon, NY 11702

You're Just In Time for WAVE Season!


Just in time for wave season, Sheila Korte of Korte Travel receives an Accredited Cruise Counselor designation.

Wave Season is the time of year (January – March) that you can pick up fantastic cruise deals including possible free upgrades, onboard credits and other perks!  Many cruise lines offer sales during this time, and Korte Travel can help you take advantage of these promotions to get a great deal on your next cruise vacation.

Sheila of Korte Travel, has been designated as a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Cruise Counselor after recently completing the organization’s Certification requirements.  Sheila is now recognized within the cruise industry as an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC).

Sheila Korte achieved Cruise Counselor Certification by completing a comprehensive program of cruise sailing training and product instruction, delivered through a combination of extensive classroom training and personal cruise experience.  CLIA’s Certification program graduates are widely recognized as the foremost cruise vacation experts among American travel agents.

Korte Travel is one of the more than 16,000 North American travel agency members of CLIA.  According to CLIA statistics the overwhelming majority of travelers – about 90% – book their cruise through a travel agency and for good reason – travel agents understand the products they recommend and excel in finding the perfect cruise to match their clients’ needs, lifestyle and budget.

About Korte Travel
Sheila and Chris Korte of Korte Travel are Cruise Planners/American Express franchise owners and travel agents. They have traveled the world for over 20 years and proudly served their country in the U.S. Army.  They use all of their personal travel experience to provide full-service cruise and vacation planning for individuals, veterans and families.  For more information, please visit Korte Travel or call 631-893-4232.


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

Babylon, NY 11702