CruiseCompete's Cruise Podcast

Cruising the British Isles on Celebrity Reflection (CruiseCompete Cruise Podcast #1 with Celebrity Expert Tim Joseph of Revitalize Travel)

October 22, 2019 Host: Bob Levinstein, CEO, CruiseCompete.com / Guest: Tim Joseph, CEO, Revitalize Travel Season 1 Episode 1
CruiseCompete's Cruise Podcast
Cruising the British Isles on Celebrity Reflection (CruiseCompete Cruise Podcast #1 with Celebrity Expert Tim Joseph of Revitalize Travel)
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CruiseCompete's Cruise Podcast
Cruising the British Isles on Celebrity Reflection (CruiseCompete Cruise Podcast #1 with Celebrity Expert Tim Joseph of Revitalize Travel)
Oct 22, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Host: Bob Levinstein, CEO, CruiseCompete.com / Guest: Tim Joseph, CEO, Revitalize Travel

On this edition of CruiseCompete Cruise Podcast join your host CruiseCompete.com CEO Bob Levinstein and guest Tim Joseph of Revitalize Travel for a detailed discussion of Tim's once-in-a-lifetime experience cruising to the UK and Ireland on the Celebrity Reflection. Highlights include a visit to Giant's Causeway, a Beatles Tour in Liverpool, and lots of details and advice about this cruise in particular and cruising in general.

Show Notes Transcript

On this edition of CruiseCompete Cruise Podcast join your host CruiseCompete.com CEO Bob Levinstein and guest Tim Joseph of Revitalize Travel for a detailed discussion of Tim's once-in-a-lifetime experience cruising to the UK and Ireland on the Celebrity Reflection. Highlights include a visit to Giant's Causeway, a Beatles Tour in Liverpool, and lots of details and advice about this cruise in particular and cruising in general.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to CruiseCompete’s Cruise Podcast, where we share tips, ideas and inspiration to help make your next cruise a fantastic experience. I’m your host, Bob Levinstein. Today we’ll be talking about a journey through the British Isles on the Celebrity Reflection. My guest today is Mr. Tim Joseph, owner and senior agent at Revitalize Travel. Tim is a veteran of more the 20 cruises, and has been recognized for the past three years in a row as a top seller of Celebrity Cruises. He has also been a member-agent of CruiseCompete for more than ten years. We’ll be back with Tim right after this.

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Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 3:

Welcome back. Today my guest is Mr, Tim Joseph owner, and senior agent at Revitalize Travel and an expert on Celebrity Cruises. He and his wife ginger recently sailed to the British Isles onboard the celebrity reflection. Tim, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me Bob. Congrats on your sales awards from celebrity. That's a great achievement. It is indeed a great honor. I absolutely love working with celebrity cruises.

Speaker 5:

But it's not just about the business for you. Celebrity really is your overall favorite line. What makes this line of perfect fit for you and ginger? You know, just a, everything from what I call the culture of the cruise itself. They're just a perfect fit. When I always tell clients is that finding the right cruise line is like finding the right spouse. It just has to be the right fit. So everything in terms of the people who work on board, the crew, um, the level of service that they provide you, you can always tell, um, that they're happy to be there and be of service for you. And, uh, the itineraries, the excursions, everything is just the right fit for us. We love, um, the luxury feel of the ships without being overbearing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think a, that's something a lot of people don't really understand about cruising that, um, different lines have, have different things they do, they do better than others. Um, and really it depends on what's your preference profile is if the nightlife is the most important thing to you, if you're a real foodie, if, um, you know, the, the itineraries and destinations are most important to you. Um, if you don't want to be on a ship with a lot of kids, if you want to be on a ship with a lot of kids, and a lot of the value in, uh, in having an experienced expert travel agent is about somebody who can understand what your needs are and then matching you with an experience that you're really going to enjoy.

Speaker 4:

That's exactly right. Uh, where we are in a way in matchmakers, we try to find the, um, the right options based on certain questions that we can answer. Um, especially if you are a new cruiser. Um, there are certain cruise lines that most new cruisers start start out with mostly due to the price that they see. Um, but as you get more and more experienced, um, you will certain certainly, uh, start to notice the differences in the cruise lines and what they offer. Uh, but that's something that an experienced travel advisor, um, can help you figure out if you are new to cruising before you even step on your first cruise ship.

Speaker 3:

Nice. Um, so I understand you're a bit of a history buff and interested in Emily's genealogy. How did that play into your choice of this particular cruise?

Speaker 4:

Well, this has been a, um, a little bit of a lifelong dream for my wife and I, both of us have, um, family lineage going back to Ireland and England as well to a certain extent, but more so Ireland. Um, so we both, um, we're really excited about this itinerary. We had, um, three ports of call in Ireland, Dublin Cove, which is for court as well as, uh, Belfast in Northern Ireland. So we were excited to, uh, to go over and, you know, learn a little bit about the history of Ireland. Um, and I came home, uh, understanding actually a little bit more about family. My family name is, uh, McAvoy, which, um, I was able to learn was, uh, an ancient Celtic, um, lineage, which is very, very interesting to me. And of course I'm, one of the other sites that has been on our bucket list for a long time was a giant Causeway outside of Belfast, which, uh, about, I know that you said that you've really wanted to see an outside. I've got to tell you, it is something that you do not want to miss it. It's a life once in a lifetime experience.

Speaker 3:

Uh, what, what was it about it that, uh, that made it so, so overwhelming to see in person,

Speaker 4:

you know, just, um, getting there. Uh, once you get there, you, there's this trail that you walk along and you can oversee all of the clips and the, the Causeway itself, which is, um, looks like these, uh, Finch stones that are kind of put together as a puzzle piece. Um, you start to see that and as you get down towards the, uh, the stones itself, it becomes a little bit clear how amazing. It just, it really is. Um, you walk out onto the stones and behind you are these big lush green clips and while you're there, uh, you know, you start to think about this is something that was carved out by nature. It's not something that any humid had any kind of hand. It, it was just placed there by nature.

Speaker 3:

I love experiences that, you know, take us out of our everyday lives and uh, um, you know, allow us to refocus on things like that. That's very cool. Did you take any good pictures?

Speaker 4:

We've got some amazing pictures including, uh, you know, I don't do selfies too often, but I had to do this one, you know, standing on the rocks with the, with those lush green cliffs in the background.

Speaker 3:

Think about, uh, think about doing a print on metal. I'd hang up in your house. I've done a bunch of those. Um, my particular strategies. So I go on Groupon and I see who's got a deal. Cause if you just go straight to the site that prints a, it's five times as expensive. But if you go on Groupon, you can get relatively cheap prices. Uh, you just pay the shipping. Then when you go to the website and then you can get these fantastic pieces of art that will, every time you look at it, it takes you back there just a little bit. So I would highly recommend that as a a, a, if you've got some good shots, very cool. If you come across one, uh, one of those Groupon deals, she would go, just go on Groupon and search. You'll find them. They, uh, they, they have them every day of every day of the week. And if you really like the light, and I suspect that's going to be an element of this printed on metal instead of canvas, if it's just more of a, if it's a softer scene, go on campus. Uh, but I've done a lot of experimenting with that and it's been, uh, it's been very cool. So let's, uh, let's talk about your crews on the reflection. Uh, how was your experience in, uh, in getting the Amsterdam and

Speaker 4:

boarding the ship? It was really easy. You know, we've been to Amsterdam before, so we have figured out a little bit. Um, so, you know, one of the, uh, the great things about living where I live in New York is that we have GFK right here, which we can get almost anywhere in the world, relatively easy. So, um, flights are never a big problem for us. So we had nonstop right into Amsterdam. Um, we arrived mid morning, which, um, if you could work that out at all, uh, you know, going over to Europe works out perfectly. Your room is almost always ready by the time that you get there. And of course, uh, flying to Europe overnight, you're going to want to take a quick nap before doing anything. Um, so we, we flew into Amsterdam, we got there and mid morning I had a car service ready, um, pick us right up and took us right to, to our hotel.

Speaker 4:

Hotel was great. Um, it was, uh, located right next to, to the port, literally within walking distance. Um, so the next day, uh, we just walked out of the hotel and about a half a block later, we were at the court. Um, if you're one of the greatest inventions of this century of less entering Arctic, my God, it can sound believable right now. All we need is one that will just follow us without having to pull them. Right. They have them, they actually have them, but the problem is they have batteries that the airlines don't like. And uh, I think you've got pretty heavy motors and things. Yeah. What we need actually is one of the suitcases to be made on Harvard grafts. Oh, there you go. That'd be even better. Send me the address and send them ahead. Exactly. Exactly. Uh, but baby's looking for great hotel Virginians who the port in Amsterdam.

Speaker 4:

It's called a moving pick hotel. Mov N T I C. um, so that, that's the easiest hotel if you're cruising out of the port of Amsterdam. Well, that's good to know. So tell me about the reflection herself. Amazing ship on after sailing. Honored. Uh, definitely my, my favorite, uh, definitely in the celebrity fleet. My favorite and even overall. Um, and I absolutely love the Royal Caribbean ships. Uh, they're amazing. But this one just blew me away. Um, we did, um, almost nothing but, uh, specialty dinners on board because there are so many great options that we didn't want to miss any of them. And we actually, we repeated the couple, uh, because we had 12 nights, uh, we were able to repeat a couple of our favorites. So, um, throughout the ship it's amazingly clean. You always see people cleaning more so than I've ever seen on any cruise ship.

Speaker 4:

Um, my wife, who is a clean freak, um, absolutely was amazed by how clean it was, said that she, she never had a problem touching anything, which sometimes she does. Uh, so, uh, we were just amazed by that. Uh, the artwork on board, uh, one thing that we discovered the first couple of days and it was really cool is that the name, celebrity reflection is not just name of the shifts, it's what they do on boards to a lot of the artwork is reflective in nature. So it's kinda cool. It make it almost like a game to walk around the ship and try to find pieces of art that have some kind of reflection in them. [inaudible]

Speaker 4:

so that part was really cool. Uh, the dining options in general, even if you're not going to do the specialty dinners, uh, we're really good, I'll say, um, had high quality food for lunch and breakfast, especially tons of options. Um, the, the main dining hall we did for lunch one day, uh, was really also great service, uh, phenomenal as well there. Um, and really the, there's just not a bad thing I can say about it, about the ship. It's a big ship, four celebrities, fleet, um, and holds more passengers in just about any other than the edge class now. Um, but you do not feel like there's a lot of people on board. So you're, um, you're a, uh, a bit of a, a bit of a chef yourself. And, uh, I would assume also a bit of a foodie. What, um, what are your go to dishes that you'd like to make?

Speaker 4:

And, um, in light of that, did you have a favorite restaurant? So, um, my, my favorite dishes to make tend to be, uh, Italian in nature. So you know, the, the pasta dishes with, you know, fresh vegetables, um, in Parmesan of course is a staple meatballs. Um, anything Italian that I can get my hands on. I, I love the way, um, that Italian cuisine is prepared with the, a lot of the, um, local mindset so to speak. So you, you use what is local to you, what's natural in your, um, in your area, so to speak, uh, what they call slow cooking. Um, so, uh, I, that's what I love to cook. Um, as far as the food on boards coming from that standpoint, w was absolutely amazing. Um, one of our favorite places to eat on board, uh, is called the lawn club. Um, so if you imagine, um, the reflection as well as a few other ships in the fleet of an actual living lawn on top of the, the ships where they have the owl about what they have to do to, to set that up and maintain it and make sure it grows.

Speaker 4:

And just the idea of saying, Hey, we have a ship, let's put some grass on it. It's kind of wild to me. Absolutely. And what I found most amazing about that part is that we're in Northern Europe where there's not a lot of sunlight and the grass was still as green as when you watch a baseball game.

Speaker 3:

Wow.

Speaker 4:

So that part was incredible. Uh, if it were warmer weather, they have the nice alcoves out there. And I would definitely have rented one if I was in the Caribbean. Uh, but, uh, being more of a Europe, the, the weather's not exactly conducive to that, but out of the long club they had the lawn club grill. It's a nice enclosed restaurant overlooks the lawn club. Um, they have the, the heaters in there, so it's not cold. They give you a really nice, um, blankets to put over your, if you get cold. Uh, but it's, it's a real grill experience, which, uh, which is very nice, uh, and tons to choose from skewers. Uh, they, they make flatbreads. They have really nice, um, salad bar. Uh, what am I absolute favorite things. And one of my favorite cuisines to either, I haven't been able to master it at all is Indian cuisine. And what they serve at the, uh, lawn club does well. My favorite thing to eat on the ship is called tandoori chicken.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] one club, a specialty restaurant. Is it, uh, does it have a charge or is it just included? It is a specialty restaurant. And what does it cost to keep there?

Speaker 4:

Uh, I wanna say it was about 50 or 55 per person. I don't know exactly because we, because we were eating so many times at the specialty restaurants, we actually bought a package ahead of time. Um, so the, we bought a package of nine, so the average per meal worked out to about $35 per person.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's not bad on the fall, what you buy at, what else did you buy before you got on the ship?

Speaker 4:

A short excursions of course, because, um, you know, certain things like a Giant's Causeway we're afraid would sell out. Um,

Speaker 3:

was there a reason why you went through the ship instead of going through a third party vendor?

Speaker 4:

You know, I have two third party vendors that I really like to work with. Short trips and shore excursions group. Um, I just, uh, the, the options that they have in this area were all privates were so a lot more costly.

Speaker 3:

Got it. Got it. Yeah. I usually have very, very good luck, a shore excursions group as a partner of ours, a cruise compete and we've done, I've been on a bunch of their tours. Um, I've had just very, very good experiences, but it's nice to have a variety of different options to choose from and, and uh, and pick what you want. Did you, did you buy the wifi package and in advance as well?

Speaker 4:

Of course you to, it's a business expense, so

Speaker 3:

yeah, I find that, I find, uh, that one is a very good, it tends to be a very good deal I have to get before you get on board. Um, just to be able to stay in touch if needed. Also, I don't know, does the celebrity have a, have a, uh, one thing that I like about carnival is they have a water package where very cheaply for like five bucks, they'll put 12 bottles of water in your cabin, which

Speaker 4:

they do have a water package. Um, and we were, we were tossing it back and forth, whatever we wanted to do, the water package or if we wanted to do, um, a regular package. So what we decided is actually to do, um, a non alcoholic beverage package. Oh huh. The root, the reason, uh, well there, there were several reasons, but what it came down to for us is we get unlimited bottled water. We drink a lot of water. Oh, there you go. Um, and with the package that we bought, we got the pre what they call the premium package. Um, they include Avi-on, which is one of our favorite, um, bottled waters to drink. Uh, on top of that you get unlimited, um, specialty coffees. Um, you know, we drink a lot of, uh, Mateus and things of that nature. So that worked out nicely for us. Um, and you do get, you know, uh, juices included and, um, so some other drinks that we might have every once in awhile. Uh, we're not big alcohol drinkers, but, uh, some of my wife, you know, we, we pushed a couple of bottles of wine for her and that, um, did well for her throughout the crews and for myself, a couple bottles of beer. Um, but that, that's really, um,

Speaker 3:

Oh, do I think the customization aspect really comes back to, you know, what we were talking about earlier in terms of fitting the crews to, you know, your own personal needs and style and, and you know, what's important to you. Um, I've looked over the, the drink packages and all, you know, as far as the alcoholic beverages, like you, you know, I like to have a glass of wine or a beer or whatever, but there's no way I can drink. I can drink so much on seven and seven on a seven day cruise to make it pay for itself, you know, um, finding, finding what fits for you and what makes sense for you, uh, is really important. Part of this. And again, a good reason why you want to have an agent, uh, who's familiar and can maybe help talk you through some of these things and without you having to figure it all out on your own. But moving on to entertainment, what was your, uh, your favorite entertainment onboard?

Speaker 4:

My favorite entertainment on board a celebrity has, uh, their own in house production. So meaning other cruise lines will take Broadway style shows and just put them in their theater. So celebrity does their own original, um, Broadway style shows. And my, my absolutely favorite one, um, and I, I don't remember the name of it, but the, they do, um, an aerial show. So, uh, it's completely acrobatic and um, their performers, uh, are just amazing at doing this. You can tell obviously that they practice a lot. Um, it really shines through in what they do. And, um, what's really nice is that a lot of the performers on board, um, throughout the cruise will give, um, uh, classes on, wow, that'd be cool. What they do. So you fail hard, but I still like to try it. Yeah. I wouldn't even attempt to, you know, thankfully, you know, the, the moves that, that, that I saw in that I was able to do were very, very basic.

Speaker 4:

Um, she, you can see how much they actually work on and when you get up close to the personal list with the performers, you can see just how passionate they are about what they do. And that part is really nice to see. Yeah. I mean, even just getting a little bit of experience with it, you get with anything really. I mean, you get a much better appreciation for how hard they have to work and what they go through and how fit they are and how, how really strong and flexible. Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's, that's, that's a part where I definitely, so was there a favorite music then, you, that you liked on the ship? Likes to hang out? Yeah. You know, my favorite place to hang out was, uh, what they call the Centrum. Um, it's a, it's a big open areas. Yeah. It's where the main elevators are.

Speaker 4:

Uh, but, uh, from time to time throughout the cruise, they'll have, uh, you know, live performances there, uh, usable performances. Um, they'll have certain parks there. They'll have, um, contest there. For instance, they hide a putting contest. Um, they had a, uh, archery contest. So that's really the place to, to, uh, to hang on board ship when there's nothing else to do. And we'll be the archery and the archery contest, uh, w the, the, they didn't use real at Rose. I don't know how they use these arrows with these big plastic flat piece on the front. Um, yeah, I've never seen that before, but it was very interesting. Um, so no, thankfully no injuries. Um, what I, what I really love about the central areas, that's where the cafe is located. So, uh, you know, you grab, you grab a cup of coffee, uh, and the pastry and you can just hang out there, watch live music, watch the, uh, the contest or, or get involved in the contest. Uh, there's also a few bars right around the Centrum. If you've heard of average drinking and sit and watch and you're making me, you're making me really want to go on another cruise right now. My favorite. Yeah. My

Speaker 3:

favorite parts of cruising. Uh, it's the live music for me especially, and just meeting people and kind of drawing him in, getting people to get up and down, uh, stuff definitely is all, um, uh, a big part of it for me. Um, so are you a big Beatles fan?

Speaker 4:

I am. I am, uh, you know, any, it goes back, I'm a little bit younger than that generation, so it really goes back to my mother who was a, a big Beatles fan. And then as I started to get into the music when I was in high school, um, it was seeing how, um, my favorite modern day is, um, were really influenced by the Beatles and, um, some of the other, um, bans from, from that era. And, and when, when I got to college, um, you know, through electives, there was this a really interesting class, um, that I had the opportunity to take. That was a history of rock and roll. And of course, a big part of the history was the Beatles. So we spent a lot of time on the Beatles and just learning about, um, the Beatles, uh, through that made me, um, get more interested in their music.

Speaker 3:

Okay. So tell me, so, um, so I assume that's why you opted for the beetle tour in Liverpool. It is

Speaker 4:

absolutely. Um, put a beautiful city on its own. Uh, but, uh, having the opportunity to, to learn more about the Beatles and their music was, um, just a absolute wonderful experience. Um,

Speaker 3:

don't you get a picture of yourself in that crosswalk? [inaudible]

Speaker 4:

we didn't actually go, uh, to, to, to Abbey road. Um, what we, what the main focus of the tour was, uh, is the cavern club, which is the club where, um, the Beatles played most of their, their, uh, early gauge in Liverpool. So getting to visit, uh, the cavern club and just walk around and see all of the members of Delia. Um, it's almost, uh, you know, brings a tingle to your spine.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's neat. So you also experienced some, uh, some, uh, more, uh, more ancient, less modern history at a, at Blarney castle in cork. I understand.

Speaker 4:

Yes. So a bloody counsel in court, really interesting. Um, beautiful old castle. Um, as you drive up, you can see, uh, the, the castle kind of in the distance with all of these beautiful, um, gardens all around. Um, we didn't do the typical thing, although we did have the option to, to go up and kiss the Blarney stone. Um, my wife having done it already and um, myself, you know, I'm not big on very long lines, so you have to gift of gab anyway. So yeah, that one. Yeah, we that that too, you know, being in, in, uh, in this, uh, in this job for as long as I have, you kind of developed that anyhow, so I don't want to chew people's ears off maybe more than they have to. So we, we opted to, to walk around the gardens, uh, and they have a lot of really nice, um, trails like hiking trail and you can go through and see different types of, uh, Fonda flora.

Speaker 4:

Uh, so just absolutely beautiful, um, little waterfall throughout the property. Uh, and, and of course not to be no, uh, misses the, the wooden, uh, woolen mills shop. Um, which is a great place to get some authentic Irish gifts. Uh, especially if you're in the market for um, wool clothes just to amazing varieties there. So you're all set. You're Chris, you checked out your whole Christmas list then I take it, we, we did Christmas, we did birthdays. Um, well there's days. Yeah. Nice. That's a, that'd be a great, that's a great gift. Cause I mean that's the kind of quality that will let somebody for years and years, absolutely New York winters accurately. And to say that this, Hey, this came from Ireland, you know? Yeah. Seriously. All right, well next up is our cruise skip of the week and after that we'll be back with Tim. Do your, his overall thoughts and advice right after this.

Speaker 2:

Hi Bob. Living Stein here with a cruise compete travel tip. Today we'll be talking about the ranger role. Now arrange your role. May sound like something you might order it in New York sushi restaurant, but it's actually a military packing technique that's easy to learn quick to employee. It allows you to pack more clothing with fewer wrinkles than any technique I've ever seen. Though it can be used for almost any garment. I find the range of role to be most useful for shirts. Here's what you do. Lay a shirt flat on the table with a collar away from you in the front, facing down at the bottom. Fold about three inches of fabric up and out all around the shirt. If this is hard to visualize, imagine that if you were wearing the shirt, you'd have a pocket all the way around at the bottom. So turn the shirt around in the table so the collar is towards you and that pocket that you've just created faces away.

Speaker 2:

Now fold each side of the shirt in, so it's about the width of the collar, tucking in the sleeves, starting at the collar. Roll the shirt up. Now take your time here. Make sure you keep the roll tight and that both sides state, even when you get to the pocket you created with the fold at the bottom, just pull that extra fabric back over the roll and it will hold your ranger roll in place. It may take a few tries to get this right. If you need extra help, there are lots of YouTube videos demonstrating the technique, but you should be able to master it in as little as five to 10 minutes. And once you do, I guarantee you will never pack any other way. And we're back with Tim Joseph

Speaker 3:

revitalized travel. Tim, from everything you've told us, this was a really fantastic experience for you and for ginger. Any overall thoughts or general advice for others about this cruise and itinerary?

Speaker 4:

Be prepared for weather, weather and as part of the world can be very unpredictable. Um, the week before we were over there, they were experiencing a heat wave. So, uh, we, we thought that may be that we carry you over to our crews, but luckily we kept checking the weather and found that I was going to be a little bit cooler. So we were prepared for cooler weather. We also brought a few things, um, for warmer weather just in case we did hit another, um, warmer spell. Uh, so that's one thing. Definitely be prepared for that. Uh, currency is always an issue as well. Um, the, the thing that I would recommend, um, traveling anywhere where there's a, a different currency is to check into credit cards that will allow you for, and transactions at no additional fees. That's the best way to go. And of course, a little bit of cash on hand. Um, so you don't get stuck in case you want to, to purchase something that does not, uh, accept credit cards.

Speaker 5:

Very good advice.

Speaker 3:

Okay. Well, Hey, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Uh, I really appreciate it and I'm sure our listeners will definitely appreciate all the founder advice and having a chance to share your experience. So, uh, for Tim, uh, I'm Bob Levinstein for cruise compete. Uh, thanks and have a fantastic.