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Posts Tagged ‘Cyclades Greek Island Hopper’

Save on Friendly Planet Travel tours and receive a Kiva gift certificate

Kiva recently made headlines when Oprah included a Kiva gift certificate in her 2010 Ultimate Favorite Things show. Today, I’m bringing you more Kiva news by announcing that every traveler who books a Friendly Planet Travel tour by Dec. 23 will get a gift certificate for a $25 micro-loan to distribute through the organization.

Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. Here’s how it works. Lenders browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need from different countries throughout the world, and choose someone to lend to.

When they lend, using PayPal or credit card, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of their microfinance partners worldwide. Kiva’s micro-finance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur.

Often, partners provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur’s chances of success. Over time, the entrepreneurs repay their loans. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and e-mailed to lenders who wish to receive them. When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.

Friendly Planet Travel started a Kiva lending team in August 2009. Since then, we’ve grown to almost 200 members who have loaned over $25,000 combined. This is Friendly Planet Travel’s second year offering Kiva gift certificates for every tour booked.

I love the idea of being able to give a gift that never goes away. You lend a struggling entrepreneur $25, which, combined with other loans of $25, can put a person in business in a developing country, changing their life and the life of their family. If you lend to a group of entrepreneurs who have teamed up in a business, you can change the lives of a whole village. It’s amazing. And the inspiration for the system, Dr. Mohammad Yunus, even won a Nobel Peace Prize for the concept in 2006.

At this time of year, it’s impossible not to want to reach out and do something for others. So if you’re looking to take advantage of our gift certificate offer, here are some hot deals that might pique your interest or make a spectacular holiday gift.

Twelve-day Treasures of Egypt: Be mesmerized by Egypt’s sweeping natural beauty on land, then board the M/S Tulip for a seven-night Nile River Cruise where you’ll dock at Edfu, Aswan, Kom Ombo, and more. Take $70 OFF with coupon code 121410-187 on all departures dates.

Ten-day Italian Treasures: Indulge in la dolce vita on a tour that takes you to the Italian classics. Visit Venice, Florence, and Rome, as well as off the beaten path gems, including Bologna, Siena, San Gimignano, and Assisi. Take $70 off with coupon code 121410-141 on all departure dates.

Nine-day Taste of Vietnam: Fall in love with this country’s extraordinary beauty, charming people, and delicious food when you visit its two most important cities: Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Take $50 off with coupon code 121410-178 on the March 16, April 6, and 20 departure dates.

Thirteen-day Aegean Greek Island Hopper: Jump from Athens to Paros, to Mykonos, and Santorini, all while staying in beautiful four- and five-star hotels that show off the individual character and majesty of each Greek Island. Take $50 off with coupon code 121410-192 for the April 27, May 11, 18, and 25 departure dates.

Thirteen-day Cyclades Greek Island Hopper: Stay in cliff-side hotels with idyllic views as you hop from Athens, to Mykonos, to Santorini, and Crete. Take $50 off with coupon code 121410-193 on April 23 and 30, May 14 and 21 departure dates only.

Fifteen-day Best of China: Experience China’s most dynamic, modern cities to its timeless villages and breathtaking natural wonders when you visit Shanghai, Yichang, Three Gorges, Guilin, Xi’an, and Beijing. Take $70 off with coupon code 121410-112 on the April 12, 19, May 10, 17, and 24 departure dates.

Coupon codes are valid until Dec. 28, 2010, for new reservations. Enter the code when booking online or mention the code to your phone agent. For complete details and itineraries for each tour, visit our website. And remember, you must reserve a tour by Dec. 23 to receive the $25 Kiva gift certificate. Happy holidays!

For your suitcase to Greece: Judy Poliva’s advice on island hopping

A lot of ground (and sea) was covered in Melissa’s podcast with Judy Poliva on the Aegean and Cyclades Greek Island Hopper tours. If you want to catch their conversation on paper, the transcript is below. Even better, if you plan to book one of the tours, print it out so you can take it with you. Trust me, the advice inside will come in handy.

Judy Poliva’s advice for hopping around the Greek Islands

As promised in my last post, here’s Melissa’s podcast with Judy Poliva about the Aegean Greek Island Hopper with Athens, Paros, Mykonos, and Santorini and the Cyclades Greek Island Hopper with Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. Judy gives you a first-hand look into two of our newest tours.

They start off talking about Athens, Greece. Then they drill into each island: Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Crete. Judy explains how she packed a lot of value into a small price, why she included Paros on the itinerary (it’s one of the lesser known Greek Islands), what travelers should see and do on each island, what clothes to pack, how smooth it is to hop from island to island on a ferry, and more.

If you want to hear about a specific island, here are the timestamps when Judy and Melissa start talking about them:

  • Mykonos 3:20
  • Santorini 6:25
  • Paros 10:18
  • Crete 11:15

Finished listening? Want to book the Aegean or Cyclades Greek Island Hopper? Then hop to it! (Sorry I couldn’t help myself).

Why the Greek Islands are a hop, skip, and a jump away

Island hopping over the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Lounging on the white-sand beaches. Staying in cliff-side hotels with idyllic views, and sipping ouzo while the sun sets. How amazing does that sound? It’s something I would love to do, but for now I’m going to live vicariously through Judy Poliva who has done it all.

Cyclades Greek Island Hopper itineraryJudy is a Product Development Manager for Friendly Planet and is our resident expert on the Greek Islands. So naturally, I turned to her to help develop our two new Greek Island Hopper tours: the Aegean Greek Island Hopper with Athens, Paros, Mykonos, and Santorini and the Cyclades Greek Island Hopper with Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. Unlike our cruises, you hop from island to island on a ferry.

Judy knows the ins and outs of all the islands. She handpicked the itineraries for both of these tours. But what’s more important is that she found beautiful four- and five-star hotels that really show off the individual character and majesty of every Greek Island in both tours.

Aegean Greek Island Hopper itineraryI couldn’t capture her love of the islands in a single blog post if I tried, so I’m not going to ;-) . I’ll let Judy do the talking. One of our bloggers, Melissa, chatted with her yesterday about the Greek Islands and I will be sharing their interview with you shortly on the blog.

But let me tell you about these two amazing packages we put together first. On both tours, travelers fly to Athens, Greece and spend a day exploring the city that is known as the birthplace of western civilization.

On the Aegean Greek Island Hopper, travelers set off to Paros first. It’s not as widely known to tourists as the other islands, but is famous for its glowing, white marble that was used by Praxiteles in sculptures such as the Venus de Milo. Travelers spend three nights at the gorgeous Paros Agnanti Hotel, a wonderful base for exploration of the island.

Then it’s on to Mykonos and Santorini, which Judy considers MUSTS for travelers to experience on both tours. In Mykonos, spend three nights at the five-star Myconian Ambassador Hotel and Thalasso Spa Center. It’s on the beach, but close enough to the town so that you can wander the labyrinth of winding alleyways and whitewashed buildings.

Hop over to Santorini, probably the most celebrated of all the Greek Islands. Settle in at the lovely Belvedere Hotel where you can catch the spectacular views of the sunken caldera and still-active volcano off the coast. Then, enjoy the fabulous shopping, relaxing atmosphere, gorgeous views, and so much more.

On the Cyclades Greek Island Hopper, like the Aegean tour, you’ll visit both Mykonos and Santorini. But your final stop on this tour is the island of Crete. It’s the largest of the Greek Islands and home to the ruins of Knossos, the palace with an intricate collection of over 1,000 interlocking rooms.

The ruins have been extensively excavated and much of them colorfully painted and restored. After a day of touring ruins and open-air markets, rest up at the Aquila Atlantis Hotel in Heraklion. Lastly, on both the Cyclades and Aegean tours, you head back to Athens for your final day in Greece.

I’ve told you where you’ll go and what you’ll see, so here’s what’s included in the price: round-trip flights from New York (other gateways available upon request and low through fares), 11 nights in superior hotels on the islands and in Athens, daily buffet breakfast, all transfers and ferries between the islands, a flight from Crete to Athens on the Cyclades tour, and more.

With departure dates for both tours starting in September and going through late October, they are sure to sell out quickly. It’s the prime time to visit Greece without the large crowds that August draws. So book the 13-day Aegean Greek Island Hopper for $2,399 or the 13-day Cyclades Greek Island Hopper for $2,599 by July 30.

There’s a lot more information and some personal insights from Judy in the podcast I’ll post a little later on, so listen to that as well. If you have any questions, visit our website for more details and the full itinerary for both tours. And as always, feel free to write to me or call 1-800-555-5765 and speak to our reservations team, who are waiting to help you with any questions or requests.

About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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