Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Customer Comments - Patagonia South America

Hi Char,

The trip was just great beginning to end -- the hiking, the scenery, the weather, the food, the guides, our fellow hikers, the accommodations, the overall organization ... All of it. 

Paine Towers
Smile for the camera Steve and Lana

We made all our connections without any hitches and the business class flights down and back were quite comfortable. Our fellow hikers (15 including us) were all from the US, most of them retired, all of them very interesting, and all of them well traveled.  We made some good friends and hope to travel with them again sometime. 

Beautiful Patagonia

Moreno Glacier

Lago Azul

The cruise was also amazing, but different from the hiking and also different from my other cruise experiences.  The passengers were from all over the world.  We were assigned to a specific table for meals and were paired with a couple from Canada and Scotland.  That was great because it was still international without language barriers.  We were kept busy the entire cruise with zodiac excursions during the daytime, a meeting every evening on the next day's excursions, an interesting program each evening on a relevant subject, and then the meals (which were as good as it gets) and a visit to the bar.   At the bar, all drinks and snacks were free for the asking and beer and soft drinks were self service.  We were even allowed and encouraged visit the bridge.  There was no other entertainment aboard, which we liked.

Char, Lana and I would like to thank Palmer Travel and you in particular for all of the efforts that made our vacation such a memorable one.

Steve & Lana

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Our Thoughts And Prayers

We would like to extend well wishes to all of those in Brussels Belgium who felt the effects of the awful attacks last week.  While we cannot undo what has happened we can offer our prayers and thoughts for you.  We pray for all of those involved and for speedy recoveries for the injured.  We pray for comfort and peace to the families of those who lost their life in this tragedy.

We hope and pray that the violence comes to an end and that those responsible are brought to justice.  Peace be to all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

100th Anniversary of the U.S. National Parks

August 25, 2016 marks the 100th anniversary for the the U.S. National Park System.   The Centennial will celebrate the achievements of the past 100 years, but it is really about the future. It’s about kicking off a second century of stewardship for America’s national parks and for communities across the nation.  

Most importantly, it’s about inviting you to join them.  There are so many parks for you to select from including Everglades, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Redwoods National Forest and of course the Grand Canyon.  The National Park System has a website, that helps you locate parks across America.

Of course, Palmer Vacations is a great resource in finding your parks too.  We have a host of tour operators that have National Parks tours for 2016 and 2017 available for reservations. Some of the tour operators, such as Globus Tours, are offering discounts for the 2016 programs as they celebrate the 100th anniversary.

Don't hesitate to contact us today to learn more about tours that visit the national parks and to reserve your space before they are sold out.

Below is a paragraph from clients who traveled out west last summer and visited some of the parks.

Our family just returned from a great vacation that Palmer helped us plan.  We travelled and spent time in Yosemite, San Francisco, took Amtrak from Oakland to LA, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, and finally the Grand Canyon.  We enjoyed every stop and hit all the main points in the 11-12 days we were out of town with a beautiful drive to Yosemite thru the fruit/nut orchards in northern California,  hikes to the Yosemite Falls, visiting the redwoods in the national park, driving thru the mountains, Bay cruise in San Francisco Bay, seeing the sea lions at Pier 39, spending time in the wharf, visiting China town, riding the cable cars, crossing golden gate, driving the crooked street, visiting Sausalito, taking an awesome train ride along the Pacific Coast to LA from Oakland, riding bikes from Santa Monica to Venice/Muscle Beach and spending the day in Venice, driving thru the desert of California/Nevada to Las Vegas, seeing a great show in Vegas (Mystere),  visiting and touring the Hoover Dam,  hiking the grand canyon rim, taking a mule ride in the grand canyon, and it goes on.  Thanks! J.K.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Client Comments From Recent Holland America Cruise

We received an email from one of our clients who recently enjoyed an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard a Holland America ship called the Nieuw Amsterdam.  The clients opted to travel to Fort Lauderdale for 1 night before the cruise to allow for travel delays and also for 1 night after the cruise so they didn't have to rush back to the airport from the ship.  The review is pretty thorough and informative so we felt the desire to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Hi Todd,

E. and I had a wonderful cruise!  We thoroughly enjoyed HAL Nieuw Amsterdam ship.

 The entertainment was fantastic (especially B B King Blues Club Band, Island Magic Steel Band and Dancing With the Stars) as was all the food.

 Staff was always smiling, always helpful.  I found the signage on the ship and the layout made it very easy to find our way around.  To my taste this ship is just the right size, not too big, not too small and it looks like a ship, not like a floating box with amusement park/shopping mall interior. 

The veranda stateroom was great to have- well designed with lots of storage, comfortable beds and was worth the upgrade.

The Pinnacle Grill dinner was delicious as was every meal we ate on the ship and "as you like" dining is more relaxing.  Even though we never made reservations we never had to wait for a table. The beverage packages were nice to have as well-Mango Mojitos and Margaritas oh my! 

Grand Turk was lots of fun as we took our own snorkel equipment with us and took underwater video and shots with iPhone. Half Moon Cay was beautiful.  I hope Carnival Corp. doesn't develop it any more in the future than they have to this point.  St Thomas Megan's Bay beach (our only purchased excursion with HAL), was overcrowded but okay.  We didn't go downtown to shop and opted to just check out the shops at Crown Bay where we docked.  I miss the old days when ships docked right near town and it was less crowded.  In Puerto Rico we walked around Old San Juan and did some shopping.  On HAL's recommendation we ate at Casa Cortez Chocobar on Calle San Francisco.  Who would think a little cheddar cheese in hot chocolate could be so delicious-yum!

St. Thomas
Half Moon Cay

Riverside Hotel on Las Olas is a great location!  Thank you for the recommendation. We were able to check in when we got there in the morning and then took Carrie B boat ride tour that day after first having to take a cab to the Galleria Mall to buy new luggage after one of our pieces fell apart at the wheels at Cleveland Hopkins.  We ended up being up for 33 hours that day after leaving for CLE at 3am..  It was a long day but we still had fun.  Riverside is a nice hotel and the location was great but they seriously need better lighting throughout.  Rooms, bathroom, restaurant are all dimly lit.  I requested a better room for the second night's stay 1/10. It was a much larger room in the tower with a nice view of the river, nicer but still had poor lighting.  I would stay there again, though, because of the location.

Embarkation and Disembarkation was a breeze, very organized and relaxed. Flights were on time and no lost luggage so all good there as well. 

I have to say this was overall one of the best cruises I have take in recent years and this was my 15th cruise (12th cruise line).  My first cruise was in 1969 on the RMS Franconia/ Cunard Line and I also cruised on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam in 1970 and QE2 the same trip returning to the US from Great Britain, along with various other cruise ships over the years.  This was E's second cruise (first one was Royal Caribbean) and E enjoyed this ship as much as I did.

I thank all of you- Todd, Mustafa and staff at Palmer Travel who helped make this a very enjoyable and memorable vacation for us.  I am grateful for your knowledgeable help and great personal service over the years.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Five years ago we spruced up our name to reflect a commitment to a new era of travel and thus Palmer Travel became Palmer Vacations & Destination Planners.  Same company but a new logo and color scheme.  Along with that came a new road sign to catch the attention of those going to and from on Fulton Road in Lake Cable.

Original Sign from 1996

We were happy to have our new sign and more advertising lines to spread the word.  The original sign was a bit lower and we were able to reach the letters with a just the help of a ladder.  Changing the message was fairly quick and easy.  But with the new sign, the message panel was raised higher to become more visible and this made the sign too high to reach by ladder.  We had a pole with a suction cup to change the letters but this required that we remove the letters one at a time which became time consuming.

Updated sign from 2010

Add in the weather elements such as rain and snow, there were lots of days that we were unable to change the message promptly.  Factor in the letters freezing to the sign in the winter and there would be weeks gone by that we couldn't change our message.  Not only was this frustrating for us, it was not allowing us to get a message out that one of you might see and let you know we have a trip that is right for your family.

So, with lots of thoughts and discussions we have decided to take down the old manual sign and replace it with a new digital display version!

Our new digital display

This sign has the same surface area as old sign but we are able to design eye catching messages with as much or as little as we like.  Before we only had 4 lines of type to display a single message or multiple messages.  Now we can have numerous slides that can change as fast as every 8 seconds!! 

As with all new electronics there is a learning curve.  We are learning size and colors that look good or bad.  If you see a message that is hard to read, please don't be afraid to call or email us.  We would appreciate the feedback.

We are very excited about our new sign and hope you will be able to swing by and take a look at it some time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stuffing Recipe for Thanksgiving

People travel for the holidays and people eat stuffing for the holidays after they travel to their destination.  That is our way of justifying why a travel agency is posting a recipe instead of a travel related post.  Don't wonder why we do what we do, just make this stuffing for your Thanksgiving feast and thank us later!!

Bacon, Sourdough and Mushroom Stuffing


1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups) 
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
1 large yellow onion, finely diced 
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
3 to 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth 
2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage 
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves 
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. Spread the bread onto a large baking sheet in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, put the cubes into a very large bowl. 

3.Increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

4.While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. 

5. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the saute pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. 

6. Add the mushrooms to the bread, and then add the onion/stock mixture, egg, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined. The dressing should be very wet, add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

Note again: You want the dressing very wet but be careful not to go crazy. This stuff absorbs moisture like crazy and before long, you're stuff will look "very wet" but really be a swamp which tacks on a lot of cooking time and makes the flavor much saltier.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Top 10 Longest Nonstop Flights

Sometimes flying back from Europe on a 9 hour flight can feel like an eternity.  Some travelers don't mind the hours of peace and quiet so they can enjoy several movies or binge watching a favorite tv show.  Arguably the airlines serve decent meals and on a long flight you will have several opportunities to test the meals for yourself.  

All of those things would have to get very old traveling on some of the longest flights in the world.  The 9 hour flight time is several HOURS shorter than the world's longest nonstop flight that will debut in February 2016. 

Statista, an online statistics portal, recently made a list of the 10 longest flights and we thought we would share them with you.  Sit back, put on your headphones and grab a cheese ravioli meal as you have lots of time to waste!!!

10) Dubai United Arab Emirates to San Francisco California - 8,103 miles - 15 hours, 50 minutes - Emirates

9) Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates to San Francisco California - 8,157 miles - 16 hours, 15 minutes - Etihad Airways

8) Dallas Texas to Hong Kong - 8,123 miles - 16 hours, 20 minutes - American Airlines

7) Dubai United Arab Emirates to Houston Texas - 8,167 miles - 16 hours, 20 minutes - Emirates

6) Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates to Los Angeles California - 8,390 miles - 16 hours, 30 minutes - Etihad Airways

5) Dubai United Arab Emirates to Los Angeles California - 8,339 - 16 hours, 35 minutes - Emirates

4) Johannesburg South Africa to Atlanta Georgia - 8,440 miles - 16 hours, 40 minutes - Delta Airlines

3) Los Angeles California to Jeddah Saudi Arabia - 8,332 miles - 16 hours, 55 minutes - Saudia

2) Dallas Texas to Sydney Australia - 8,577 miles - 16 hours, 55 minutes - Qantas

1) Dubai United Arab Emirates to Panama City Panama - 8,588 miles - 17 hours, 35 minutes - Emirates

We told you they were long flights.  Hope you saved some pennies to upgrade to business class!!!  Next time, the 9 hours home from Europe will feel like a regional commuter flight!