2018 has been a very busy year for Starship Travel, it’s also been a wonderful celebratory year. The grand opening of Starship Travel West South Elgin has expanded our business considerably. Our agents and clients now have 2 main offices to work at- Arlington Heights and South Elgin. Starship Travel has also expanded to Peoria, Florida, Minnesota, in addition to the Milwaukee agents. The growth of Starship Travel is due to our wonderful staff and independent agents. Here are some of our best memories from throughout 2018. Thank you all for another full year.
To kick off our 2018, Starship Travel got to go on two wonderful trips to some amazing tropical places. We were honored to be presented with two different awards, one through S.T.A.R and the other through Spotlight. Both Turks and Caicos and Puerto Vallarta were beautiful, and we’d highly recommend.
We were invited to the Sandals S.T.A.R Awards at Beaches Turks and Caicos. The hotel was gorgeous, and so was the weather. One perk was talking with and being noticed by the Governor of Turks and Caicos- Mr. Friedman. We had about a 45 minute private conversation about his wonderful island and what a great job he did getting Turks back together after the hurricane.
Starship Travel got invited to Puerto Vallarta Mexico with Playa Resorts for the Spotlight Awards.
Starship won the Spotlight award for Most Improved Seller of the Playa Properties. We felt very honored to be invited to accept this award, and the trip was a blast! We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva hotel. Playa Resorts represents the best of the best sales personnel for all their properties, including the Hyatt, Hilton Hotels and Panama Jacks. Linda, Karen, Rose and Voula had an amazing time in Puerto Vallarta.
We had a very successful April full of learning and reconnecting with friends. Starship got to go to the Annual MAST Conference- this year in Memphis, Tennessee.
We had so much fun meeting up with other travel agent from all over the place, and bonding with our own agents. There was a great dining event for all the agents to thank them for all their hard work throughout the year. MAST also hosted a give back event through St. Judes Hospital, that Starship got to participate in.
One of the best parts of the trip was seeing Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home. It showcased all of Elvis’s iconic outfits, records and guitars. Priscilla Presley’s amazing wedding gown is featured. The house itself is gorgeous- the backyard has a large pool and many of the family members have burials close by. We also went to Gladys’ Diner which is named after Elvis Presley’s mother. The city of Memphis is steeped in musical culture, and much of it is due to Elvis.
We had the Grand Opening for our brand-new South Elgin location. The Elgin Chamber of Commerce did a ribbon cutting ceremony. Decorating and setting up the new office was a blast. Elgin Community College is also helping to promote our brand new location!
In May, we were given a very unique experience. Starship Travel was invited to the inaugural trip for the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship. This ship had amazing new technologies and great innovations. We especially enjoyed the many dining options and the 180 degree observation lounge. The observation lounge is like a huge living room with windows to the sea. We also really liked the nighttime entertainment. A exciting feature for families is definitely the largest race track at sea, laser tag, and even the Aqua Park.
Starship Travel was recognized as an Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency. This is a very prestigious award that we are very thankful to have received. We also went to the Disneyworld Earmark Event to see Disneyworld in all its glory. This trip was absolutely amazing- we got a VIP tour which is well worth the expense to the public. It allows many backdoor entrances so your wait is considerably shorter. New to Disney this year is the Toy Story section. This part of the park is adorable and there is new Slinky ride. We got also got to experience Pandora World for our very first time. Pandora is truly an experience because even while waiting in line to ride the Avatar rollercoaster, it still feels like an adventure.
We also got to see 12 Disney properties first hand on behalf of our clients. Just as our motto says- we know what we sell, because we’ve been there!
Our agent Teri Davids also got to visit Las Vegas for the first time! As she had never been there, we thought it would be a great learning experience. The Las Vegas Tourist Board hosted this great event, and Teri had a blast. https://starshiptravel.com/blog/Las-Vegas-Is-Not-Just-Casinos-Anymore
Starship loves to give back to the community. This August we participated in Police National Night Out. We hosted a booth to meet our new neighbors, and have fun. Getting involved in the community is very important to us.
We also got to participate in the Hidden Glen Golf Fundraiser Event. It’s an annual event at a private golf course in Wisconsin. We played golf and got to meet vendors and other travel advisors. The winning team got to pick a charity to donate $10,000.
Linda went on a another golf outing in August. This time to Arkansas to have fun with friends.
Towards the end of October, we went on a Funjet 500 Club Trip to Secrets Akumal and El Dorado Seaside. Our trip began at Secrets Akumal for 3 nights. This was an award trip for the high producers for the Mark Travel -Funjet company. We were wined and dined with exceptional entertainment, food and drinks. We mingled with other agents from around the country that have become friends over the years. We look forward to meeting year after year at new resorts and in new countries- this year at the Riviera Maya resort in Mexico.
After the awards trip, Karen and Linda continued onto the El Dorado Seaside Resort part of the GIVC properties by Karisma. This is a adults-only complex made up of 2 resort areas. Personally, we preferred the beach low rise property over the Seaside tower.
We took our own excursion to experience 3 additional properties, Beloved, Finest and Excellence, all in the Excellence family of brands. Each one was very unique and individual to each other.
For our fun day, we went to the Monkey Sanctuary that opened in 2017. This is a reclusive reserve for monkeys and other endangered animals. We got to see monkeys and lots of colorful birds. It is just up and running, so it needs some time to grow, but truly a great adventure.
Our November was particularly exciting because we were able to visit China from the 15th to the 25th and go on the Celebrity Edge Inaugural Cruise from the 29th to the 1st.
We were beyond excited to see beauty and culture of China. We flew into Shanghai and stayed for three days. The Yuyuan Gardens and Shanghai museum were both interesting adventures. In the Shanghai museum, we got to see 5,000 years of China’s history through art. A highlight was seeing all the uncovered terracotta warriors.
After Shanghai, we were transferred to the Viking Cruise ship. Aboard the ship, there were incredible foods, talented painters and even traditional tai-chi classes. There was also live music and entertainment. There is a variety of styles of rooms, and all are beautiful and spacious. There is even a large pool on board- perfect for families.
Viking Cruises sponsors an elementary school, so we got to visit through one of the tours. We were lucky enough to meet some of the school children, who were all beautiful and very welcoming.
To hear a more in-depth review of our China trip and Viking Cruise, check out our blog post all about the trip!
Starship Travel also got to go on the Celebrity Edge Inaugural Cruise. This was the most anticipated ship of the year and it was highly innovated. The technology aboard was incredible. We really enjoyed touring the ship and getting to see all the different suite styles. The most impressive room was a 2800sq feet penthouse, but all the rooms were beautiful and well designed. Some of the amazing features of the ship were The Grand Plaza restaurant and the Rooftop Garden. We loved the food on this cruise, and there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. The ship also had a large indoor pool and Camp at Sea for the children.
To end our eventful year, we traveled to the Riu Palace in Puerto Vallarta. It is a truly beautiful family resort. The rooms are large and the service was wonderful. The food is a problem, too difficult to get into the specialty restaurant and the buffet was out of 3 meats at 8:30PM, half way into the dinner service. If food is important, I would skip the Riu. However, we had an amazing time staying at this gorgeous hotel.
Grand Velas was beyond fabulous. It was one of the best hotels we’ve stayed at because the service was unbelievable, the food was amazing and the rooms were giant. We loved all the restaurants because they had excellent food and drink. This was an all-inclusive resort with a golf course, a pool and a spa.