Best Tours of Italy in 2014

Italy is a must-see destination and our two exclusive group tours in 2014 will provide you with the opportunity to explore so much of this fascinating country in style!!

We’ve taken escorted groups to Italy now for the past three years with Insight Vacations and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to offer TWO tours in 2014.  This really is one of the best ways to explore Italy and very well-balanced.  This tour includes stays of three nights in Rome, one night in Assisi, two nights in Venice, two nights in Florence, and two nights in Sorrento!!  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Learn more about our Group Tours to Italy

Best Tours of Italy

Fall Tours of Italy

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Susan May named Branch Manager at Fox World Travel – Kenosha

OSHKOSH, WI – Fox World Travel has named Susan May the Branch Manager for Susan Maytheir office located in Kenosha, WI at 5721 75th St.  

May has been in the travel industry for 14 years and most recently worked for Adelman Travel Group as a Groups & Incentives manager and Supervisor of Vacations in Milwaukee. She has worked directly with fortune 500 corporate accounts creating budgets as well as developed customized reports for arrival/departure manifest that fully met customer’s expectations.

May looks forward to using her experience and leadership to create unforgettable vacations for the Kenosha area and enhancing Fox World Travel’s reputation for outstanding customer service.

Fox World Travel, headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has been in business for over 50 years and operates 11 vacation travel offices in Wisconsin. In addition to the Vacation Travel Division, Fox World Travel owns Fox Premier Meetings and Incentives, Fox World Travel School, and a Corporate Travel Division. Fox World Travel ranks in the top 20 of over 18,000 travel agencies in the United States, according to the Business Travel Survey in Business Travel News.

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Review of Traveling to Panama

Hi there, my name is Laurie Daul and I have been in the travel industry for the past 17 290years and am currently at Fox World Travel’s Manitowoc office. I recently took a trip to Panama and had a great experience. I would love to share my travel experiences in order to help you plan your own new and exciting travel adventures!

Everyone who enters Panama is given an insurance card. You are covered for your first 30 days of residency for FREE on accidental death, hospitalization, medical evacuation, even dental! We were actually handed a card as we made our way through the airport.

ECONOMICS

According to “Forbes”, Panama is the #2 place for citizens of the US and Canada to retire. It is very big on “Medical Tourism” as health care is very reasonable-especially for seniors…over age 56 they get discounted pharmaceuticals, dining and other entertainment such as ½ price movie tickets!

Education is free through high school and college courses can be taken for as little as $27/credit. Both Spanish & English are taught in all schools. Panamanians are very well educated and obviously very employable!

USD is readily accepted. Panamanian currency is called the BALBOA (after a famous 010president). The size, denominations and value is exactly as ours…one quarter USD=25 cents Balboa.

The government wants everyone to “stay connected” so ALL public areas of Panama offer FREE internet! We had no problem connecting!

Panama will be the first Central American country to have a subway. Currently city buses in Panama City are free. They are old school buses painted kind of carnivalish and they are called “Red-Devils”!

As I noticed in the airport, Panama offers LOTS of upscale, designer shopping. We were told there is a 3mile long mall in PTY but we didn’t see it at all…probably a good thing. The city gets very busy on the weekends especially with people from South America (Brazil in particular) as the prices are much better in Panama…they compare to US. (Good destination for shoppers)

The Bridge of the Americas connects the two parts of Panama with the Pan-American Highway which takes you all the way to ALASKA!

Panama has an 8-9 month rainy season with twice as much rain falling on the Caribbean side than the Pacific.

With 79 floors, Trump Tower in Panama City is the tallest building in Latin America.

Walt Disney World is planning to build a resort in the Royal Decameron area (about 2 hours from PTY)

Some animals you might see as you travel through Panama are: Sloth, Coati Mundi, Ocelot, Capuchin and Howler Monkeys, white tail deer and mosquitoes! By the way…aside 273from a few mosquitoes, we didn’t see any of the above! :o I would recommend bringing some bug spray even though the hotel gardens and woods are sprayed.

Panama has the Caribbean Sea on its North border and Pacific Ocean on the South…this was rather difficult for us to grasp…we were all used to water on the East & West as in Mexico. It was difficult to get our bearings as to what direction we were traveling.

THE PANAMA CANAL

Of course, one of the first things you think of when you think of Panama is The Panama Canal…we got to spend some time at a set of locks and watch how they operate. Currently there are 2 sets of locks 310and the third will be opened in 2015.

We learned lots of fun facts and were able to go through exhibits on the building of the canal as well as watch 2 ships go through a full transit.

HOTELS

PLAYA BONITA HOTELS  (About 45 minutes from PTY)

Because of how the tide is in this area it is important to know that every 6 hours, it goes in or out. The beaches are nice but if you want to swim in the ocean this may not be the best area…at least for ½ the day! On the other hand it is an AMAZING location to watch the 002ships line up to go through the canal. I thought it was awesome to see during the day but then at night! We were able to watch from our balcony at the Westin…probably a highlight of my trip…no kidding!

INTERCONTINENTAL PLAYA BONITA

Optional all inclusive, 2 buffets & 1 a la carte, 3 bars, 3 pools (zero entry), putting green & golf. There were coffee makers and mini-fridges in the room. Rooms around the perimeter with pool, bar and beach grill are in the middle. This is a good resort for people who want to explore-maybe shop in PTY but want to be on a beach.

WESTIN PLAYA BONITA

Our first host hotel (1 night). All-inclusive with some imported drinks, 24 hour room service, 6 restaurants, 4 bars, 3 pools with swim up bar and children’s pool, kids club. 046There was also a long walking beach. Good resort for families and those who have been to all-inclusive resorts and want a different destination.

PANAMA CITY HOTELS (20 minutes from PTY)

HARD ROCK HOTEL PANAMA MEGAPOLIS

This was your typical Hard Rock hotel…very contemporary and loaded with rock memorabilia. This is downtown Panama City EP hotel that offers $20/day/room voucher for food & beverage. The place to be at night is the “Who R U” disco. Awesome rooftop pool and a really cool beauty salon makes guests feel like stars! The rooms were 047contemporary and this is a good hotel for shoppers and the “Hip Crowd”

RADISSON DECAPOLIS

Right next door to the Hard Rock Hotel but not as flashy and perhaps a bit more affordable was the Radisson Decapolis. The lobby is on the second floor so accessible by either elevator or escalator. There is a bar, sushi bar and a lot of seating in the lobby so it’s a great gathering place. Rooms again are very plain…old fashioned tub & shower. The very small roof top pool (whirlpool & bar up there as well) has windows in the bottom of it where swimmers can look down into the Fusion restaurant…interesting. Good hotel for those who want the Hard Rock location but aren’t looking for luxury.

INTERCONTINENTAL MIRAMAR

This hotel is just a little ways from the hustle & bustle of the other two in Panama City. It is across the street from a little park on the marina…it reminded me of the area in Chicago along the drive to Shedd’s and the Museum…grassy areas with people gathering here and there. Rooms have either water view or city view (both are impressive). Lobby is very elegantly decorated with marble and brass…there is a baby grand piano in the dining room and a great sports bar. Pool and tennis court on ground level. Good for people who want to be in the city but want a water view and don’t want to be in the concrete jungle.

GAMBOA RAINFOREST RESORT

Optional all-inclusive plan with one buffet and two a la carte restaurants. One a la carte allowed for every three night stay. This is a very beautiful eco-friendly resort that FEELS like Panama. You go over a one lane bridge on the Chagres River and through a rainforest to 285get there. There is a section of 4-plex residences that used to house military personnel and then the main hotel. The lobby overlooks the Chagres River and the beautiful rainforest. It is decorated with dark mahogany and many plants. There is a pool with a swim up bar and quite a few meeting rooms. Rooms with balconies have hammocks. Good resort for nature lovers.

PLAYA BLANCA HOTELS (2 hours from PTY…waiting for new airport)

SHERATON BIJAO

Our second host hotel (three nights). All inclusive with three restaurants, four bars, three pools including a swim up bar and children’s pool with slide. Rooms were very stark…not “cozy” at all…with French balconies and old tub/shower combos. Great walking beach in this area! Good 118resort for those who are not fussy about décor and elegance, and who want the value of an all-inclusive and like to walk the beach or swim in the ocean.

JW MARRIOTT RESORT

This is a European Plan hotel that had a lot of villas equipped with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens. Very elegantly decorated and much attention to detail…rooms have beautiful hardwood floors and they even had a pillow embroidered with “JW Marriott Panama and FUNJET Vacations”! They have a lot of wedding groups here with families. Lobby to beach is about a seven minute walk. The beach is 11 miles long! They also have boats or golf cart transfers. The beach/pool area had several small plunge pools with lots of beach chairs. Your group can reserve one of these poolside entertainment areas for $50. There is an awesome golf course at the resort. Green fees start at $80! Great resort for golfers, beach walkers, families and weddings.

WYNDHAM GRAND PLAYA BLANCA

This All-inclusive beachfront resort also offers one and two bedroom suites with kitchenettes, large living rooms and private balconies. Zero entry pool, beach beds and many cushioned beach chairs are highlights of the pool area. The beach is very wide and long. Good resort 244for families or couples looking for the value of an all-inclusive and wanting a nice pool and beach area.

***IN BETWEEN WYNDHAM GRAND AND PLAYA BLANCA there is currently a new Riu Resort being built!***

PLAYA BLANCA RESORT

This is an All-inclusive resort with a little lower rating and it feels that way…not that there’s anything “wrong” with it…just no WOW factor. There are blue & white Mediterranean style buildings with the same colors in the rooms. VERY small bathrooms-shower stalls only. ONLY buildings 1, 3 & 5 have elevators. Buildings 3 & 5 have rooms with three beds! The sushi bar is the only restaurant with air conditioning. Nice beach and pool area. Good resort for families or couples on a budget.

ROYAL DECAMERON HOTEL

All-inclusive beachfront resort built into kind of a cliff. Ocean view rooms are on top of the cliff with LOTS of stairs. Book oceanfront rooms for the beach level and no stairs. There are three main check-in lobbies. This resort has over 1100 rooms and is not overly accessible…qualify! They offer 2 double or 1 king bed with sofa bed 101and some connect. There is an adults only pool with a swim up bar. The resort isn’t very “deep” but stretches quite a ways along the secluded beach. The pools and restaurants are all located between the rooms and the ocean. 18 hole golf available and they have a great disco. Good resort for those who are young and active and who enjoy nightlife or families.

Overall, I really enjoyed this trip to Panama. I learned and experienced some exciting things! If you are interested in planning your next trip, contact a travel specialist to assist you in answering any questions you may have and we’ll take care of all the details!  You can also reach me directly by calling our Manitowoc Travel Agency location at 800-232-1701.

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Gorgeous Resorts for Outdoorsy Travelers

Calistoga Ranch – Napa Valley, California

This resort has 48 private lodges and is lined with surrounding trees to maximize privacy. There are a variety of outdoor activities that include a number of hiking trails, outdoor yoga, a heated outdoor pool or enjoy a wine tasting seminar.

Canyon Ranch – Tucson, Arizona

This health spa and fitness all-inclusive resort has a focus on wellness and nutrition. Outdoor activities offered include biking, racquet sports, golf, survival skills seminar and four swimming pools.

Half Moon – Jamaica

Stretching over 400 acres and with 230 rooms, this resort offers attentive service, quality cuisine and limitless activities. Enjoy horseback riding on the beach or swim with the dolphins!

Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa – Scottsdale, Arizona

This is one of the top resorts in the southwest. This resort overlooks Praying Monk Rock and the desert. Hiking trails, bicycles, nature walks, tennis classes as well as personalized fitness programs are available for your enjoyment.

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff – Bluffton, South Carolina

A one-of-a-kind experience blends southern history with natural beauty. Activities include golf, tennis, swimming and naturalist and wildlife tours of the bluffs and wetlands.

andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp – Botswana

Experience this remote luxurious safari lodge. Get up close with the wildlife on both land and water.

Selva Negra – Nicaragua

This is a coffee estate and working farm and nature reserve. Take a tour designed to see the properties such as a coffee tour, nature tour or a night walk. There is also horseback riding available.

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel – Connemara, Ireland

This is a 40-room castle hotel. The house dates back to the 18th century and has been untouched by time.  On-site activities include woodcock shooting, fly fishing and hiking.

The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows – Big Island, Hawaii

This hotel has top-rated dining, golfing, tennis, fitness training as well as spa experiences. Kayak, surf, stand-up paddle boards and canoes are available for rent on the beach. Tours of historic rock carvings and the former royal fishing ponds are available.

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Destination Weddings Available – No Passport Required!

These days  beautiful and exotic destination weddings are all the rage.  With so many great options in Mexico and the Caribbean –  it’s easy to forget that the U.S. can provide many of the same great services and gorgeous landscapes for wedding photographs.  Katie Tappa, a travel agent in Green Bay, WI  recently welcomed home a wedding group from Fort Myers, Florida.  The group of approximately 30 guests celebrated this very special occasion at the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina. One guest said it perfectly, “The ceremony and reception were absolutely beautiful and very classy. Their tabletop décor was beautiful.  Musician was excellent.  Food was very good.” The group raved about the service as well…“They were attentive and friendly – Many of them work an entire day from breakfast to close, and with smiles on their faces.”  We want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Ritter for choosing us to help plan with this important day!

We want to help you plan YOUR destination wedding! For ideas on domestic or international options, contact Katie Tappa or any of our Vacation Travel Specialists!

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10 Cruise Itineraries You Didn’t Know Existed!

Cruising to the Bahamas, Mexico and Jamaica are places we’ve all heard about before. What many don’t know is that there are hundreds of exotic cruises that take place on smaller ships. According to USA Today, here are the 10 best cruise itineraries you didn’t know existed.

Micronesia: This is a 19-night adventure through Australia, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea with Orion Expeditions. This cruise offers many unique ports of call like Rabaul and the “Pacific Pompeii” and includes exciting activities such as snorkeling, local dances and demonstrations of thatching, loom weaving and rope making.

Kerala, India: This luxury cruise with Oberoi Hotels and Resorts navigates the backwaters of Kerala India with a 3-night itinerary. Have the chance to meet local fisherman, take a boat ride excursion or observe a “Lathakali” dance which tells ancient Hindu Legends.

The Great Lakes: Great Lake Cruise Company offers voyages from June through October through waterways in the US including the Erie Canal, Hudson River and St. Lawrence Seaway.

Grenada: This 6-night cruise voyage on a 12 passenger schooner sails through Carriacou, Union Island, Bequila, Tobago Cays and Mayreau. Passengers can enjoy kayaking or assist the crew in sailing.

Scotland & Ireland: Enjoy an 8-night Gaelic Trilogy combining Scotland and Ireland starting in Oban, Scotland’s seafood capital. Take the journey to Jura, Bangor, The Isle of Man and Tynwald Island aboard the luxury Hebridean Princess.

West Africa: Greek-owned Variety Cruises offers a 7-night voyage along the rivers of West Africa. The ship sails to a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Senegal, St. James Island in the Gambia River and Gambia National Park. Have the opportunity to view wildlife such as baboons, warthogs, chimpanzees, crocodiles and hippos!

Patagonia: This 4-night cruise follows the path of Charles Darwin from Punta Arenas, Chile to Cape Horn, Argentina. Creuceros Australis specializes in expeditions that include zodiac excursions through glacier and national parks.

Russia: Boutique cruise line, Uniworld offers an “Imperial Waterways of Russia” cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg. This is a 15-night adventure that gives you the opportunity to experience palaces, armories, 15th and 17th century cathedrals and medieval fortresses.

Labrador, Canada: This trip welcomes passengers to join in on Arctic dogsled and snowshoe expeditions in Canada.

Myanmar (Burma): Pandaw River Cruise Expeditions offers a 14-night stay in the middle of Burma and explores Pagan, known for its 3,000 monuments. Also visit local markets, teak monasteries and the ancient center of the Pyu Civilization.

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Vacation with Country Music Stars

Fox World Travel recently announced their tenth annual Great Escape vacation.  The Great Escape features private country music concerts, autograph sessions, radio broadcasts and more at an All-Inclusive resort in Mexico or the Caribbean.  Great Escape 2014 will be held at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo and Paraiso Maya for 7 nights, January 25 – February 1, 2014 or January 26-February 2, 2014.  This year’s trip will feature two private concerts and private meet and greet autograph sessions with popular country music recording artists, Thompson Square, Love & Theft and Brett Eldredge.

Country Music Vacation

Great Escape 2014

Radio station partners FM106.1 in Milwaukee, Y100 in Green Bay and 96.3 Star Country in Madison will be broadcasting their morning shows from the resort Monday through Friday.  Travelers are able to interact with the hosts and take part in special events.

“We’re really excited about this year’s event and to host some of country music’s top artists for our 10th Great Escape anniversary.  Our Great Escapers really appreciate the extras they receive while staying at such great resorts and that keeps them coming back year after year,” said Brian Hurley, vice president of the Vacation Travel Division for Fox World Travel. “We offer two private concerts including one concert on the beach, autograph sessions, special events, radio broadcasts, an opportunity to hang out with their favorite country stars in addition to the all-inclusive amenities at the Iberostar resort complex.  “You won’t find another vacation like it, which is why our percentage of repeat travelers is so high,” said Hurley.

Pricing listed on the website includes nonstop airfare with Funjet Vacations from Milwaukee and Chicago O’Hare, but travel agents at Fox World Travel can also provide land-only pricing and pair it with airfare from cities nationwide.  This trip always sells out, so we recommend booking early. Space is limited.

Visit www.gofox.com/greatescape for details or call 866-463-6946 to ask a travel agent.

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