My husband and I wanted to take a cruise after the holidays. We are veteran cruisers and could have just booked through a cruise website directly, but we had a few questions we felt a travel agent could help us with related to which line/ship/itinerary and geographic location at the time of year we planned to travel (over New Years). Because of great experience with other WOW List Travel agents in the past, I started there. But I could not tell from the online descriptions who might be the best fit. So I emailed Wendy directly (!) – and got 2 names of cruise specialists who could meet my needs, with Leslie having a slight edge, based on our specific needs. I had a great first call with Leslie within hours of connecting by email.
She guided us through options by asking the right kind of questions and we ultimately settled on a 7-day cruise on the Paul Gaugin with a day on either end in Tahiti. From there it was pretty seamless to complete the rest of the air and land arrangements with her (with our preferred airlines, etc). We sometimes questioned Leslie’s recs, but are glad we ultimately followed them as they were always right on target. We particularly appreciated the advice to splurge on the over-the-water bungalow on the day of arrival at the Intercontinental Papeete. I’d been skeptical that our room would truly be available at 7:00 am when we arrived at the hotel and that we’d end up in “day room purgatory”. But it was fantastic! we checked in before 8 am and had a wonderful pre-cruise stay in our own little luxury hut.
The Paul Gaugin exceeded expectations in that the mix of other guests was so varied by age and country of origin including multi-generational family gatherings, honeymooners, mid-life romances, a few kids. It was a very international (not US) group and a fairly substantial minority of guests were Polynesian—amplifying the authenticity of the onboard cultural activities. When the Polynesian guests wore leis to dinner and sang along—harmonizing with the “entertainment”, you felt that you weren’t watching a show made up for tourists, but more like being a guest at a family celebration.
Then there was the whole WOW Moment (or WOW DAY-Night-Morning!- that’s a whole other review!)….I will never know how much WOW was Leslie and how much was Wendy, but this was one of the most magical days/evenings of our lifetime travel experience. Thanks!
Leslie Fambrini is fantastic. We are very experienced travelers – over 130 countries visited — and seldom use travel agents, usually arranging our own trips or traveling with affinity groups. But since we were doing an expedition cruise that wasn’t sponsored by an affinity group, we decided that to deal with Silversea we should use an agent. For this Micronesia-Melanesia Silversea trip, Leslie got us a discount on the great cabin she recommended, found out the group pre-cruise hotel early enough to avoid the high Silversea price with an internet price, and got all our information to us early since we were leaving 13 days before the cruise. Silverseas transfer prices are ridiculously high but in expedition ports, there are often no taxis available. Leslie went out of her way to find a transfer agent in Port Vila, Vanuatu, (not a place she would normally deal with) and arranged our ship to hotel transfer for “free”. Two issues arose on our trip. One: I had to supply a copy of our flight ticket leaving Vanuatu to the ships financial officer for the Vanuatu visa. Somehow in transferring all my documentation from my home computer to my traveling laptop, the flight out of Port Vila did not transfer. An e-mail to Leslie got a copy of the flight info in less than an hour. Not a big thing unless it is the night before the immigration officers are due on board. Secondly, we were traveling without our i-phones. We discovered the morning we were to disembark that our ship was not arriving at the usually port but at an out of the way one and we had no way to contact the transfer agent (the ships reception people being busy with other duties). We e-mailed Leslie again and she contacted the transfer agent. They were there waiting for us when we arrived. Perhaps they had already checked without her input but it was so reassuring that we would not be standing in the pouring rain with no taxis available wondering what to do. These may be minor things but as people who usually seldom use travel agents, not having a moments worry (well the 20-30 minutes between e-mails) is worth a great deal to us (I might add that on a previous trip that we booked through Leslie, much went wrong due to the expedition staff. I complained to Leslie and received a generous credit from Silversea due to efforts.)
Leslie went above and beyond to ensure that our cruise was perfect! She was incredibly knowledgeable about Silver Seas and forthright about the positives and the few negatives we might encounter.
She was charming and personable, yet always professional, in our communications while planning the trip as well as after our return.
Well most definitely use Leslie on our next cruise!
Leslie Fambrini and Wendy Perrin’s The WOW List recently supported my husband and me in planning and executing a three week trip to the Adriatic from June 23 to July 14, 2017. We spent seven nights at the Villa Dubrovnik in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We then embarked on a seven-night cruise up the Dalmatian coast on the Sea Dream. We ended our trip with a six-night stay at the Ca Sagredo in Venice. It was a perfect trip thanks to Leslie.
We initially selected Leslie from The WOW List for her expertise in European luxury cruises. I’ve been an avid reader of all things Wendy Perrin for many years and her selected travel specialist list has always been great fun to read.
Leslie listened to our ideas about what makes a trip special for us and we decided Sea Dream Yacht Club would be perfect for us. We asked her to help us expand our cruise to a three-week vacation and after a lot of discussion with us, she suggested the above hotels.
Sea Dream turned out to be the perfect ship for us. It is a small, beautiful ship with a high-quality staff and Leslie reserved the perfect cabin for us. We felt like we were on a private yacht. Leslie also got us a very nice credit in the ships lovely spa.
The hotels could not have been better for us. They were amazingly beautiful. They were perfectly located and their staffs were outstanding. Our rooms were magnificent with unbelievable views — essential for us. Leslie got us the rooms at a fantastic price with included upgrades. We could not have done this on our own.
Leslie provided us with a very comprehensive travel packet before our trip began. It included precise information on all details of our travel including names and numbers for local contacts. It was invaluable. Leslie took a lot of worry out of our trip by arranging all of our taxies, and boat, transfers between airports, hotels, and our ship. In all cases, it was VIP quality transportation. These arrangements were booked directly to our accommodations so there was no need to procure our own services or negotiate prices in foreign currencies.
We did not ask Leslie to arrange any special restaurant experiences or local tours during our trip as we usually prefer to roam on our own. Fortunately, we did not need any emergency assistance or other support during our trip. Based on our stateside experience with Leslie, we felt confident we could contact her from overseas if necessary.
We love Leslie. She really listened to us. She knows her business. As a result, we had a fantastic adventure! Thank you, Leslie and The WOW List.
My husband and I were cruise newbies. All we knew was where we wanted to go and that we wanted to do it by ship. Leslie helped us pick the cruise line, the ship, and the location of our room—-all of which were just right for us. She also found us our own guide and driver for St. Petersburg, saw to it that we got tickets to see Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theater, and made suggestions for what to do in other cities. And she recommended hotels for the beginning and end of the cruise that were just right for us.
Leslie Fambrini handled the cruise booking with Seabourn in its entirety, as well as a few of the hotel accommodations and a shore excursion. At all times, Leslie and her staff were knowledgeable, competent, responsive and accommodating. Leslie was in a position to help us take advantage of a last-minute upgrade on the ship (Quest) and in obtaining onboard credits. Because of her association with Virtuoso Travel, Leslie was also able to secure advantages at hotels, including potential upgrades, check-in and check-out flexibility and food & beverage credits. Leslie’s Personalized Travel Consultancy operation served us very well, and we highly recommend her as a WOW List member.