Destinations

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I have always wanted to tour the Christmas markets of Europe and Cosmos tours made that a reality.

Cosmos is an affordable option that provides everything you need, nice hotels, a knowledgeable guide, very comfortable and modern bus with reclining seats and wifi. The bus driver was very skilled and professional. We were well taken care of throughout the tour. Cosmos includes much of the sightseeing but also gives you time for your own sightseeing. They also offer some optional excursions. We took advantage of most of these excursions and they were well worth the money. The dinners were superb with entertainment highlighting the local cultures.

Our first destination was Prague. As we drove from the airport to our hotel I was overwelmed by the beauty of the city. It had recently snowed and the city was covered in white. It was a real winter wonderland. In the evening when we first walked into the old town square I was overwhelmed by beautifully majestic lit up spires of the Church of our lady. To me it looked like a fairytale castle. Then as we entered the square there was a massive Christmas tree lit up with glittering white lights. The smell of cinnamon treats, mulled wine, freshly made potato chips filled the air. We also enjoyed tasting and watching them make their famous Trdelnik or chimey cake. It is a sweet bread like dough wrapped around a hot iron tube cooked over hot coals. It can be rolled in cinnamon, sugar or filled with Chocolate or ice cream. We were also able to watch the oldest working astronomical clock which dates to 1410 chime in the middle of the square.

Our next stop was Vienna.

Cosmos Tours ensured we experienced the musical magic of Vienna with visits to the homes of Mozart and Beethoven. We also visited the majestic Schonbrunn palace where we learned the history of Franz Joseph, the longest-reigning emperor of Austria. We then walked the main parts of the town to admire the beautiful architecture and stopped to get a glimpse of the horses in their stalls at the Spanish riding school. We visited 2 markets while in Vienna. One was in front of the Schonbruun Palace and the other the Wiener Christkindlmarkt in Rathausplatz. There were roasted chestnuts, steaming mugs of punch and hot chocolate. Many booths of handmade crafts and gifts and all of this is spread in front of a lighted magnificent historical building.

Then on to Budapest.This was my 2nd visit to Budapest and it was just as beautiful the 2nd time. With the Danube river and Parliament building as the highlighting features. We did a short cruise down the river while feasting on delicious snacks. Our knowledgeable guide added depth to the experience, sharing tales of Hungarian holiday traditions and the historical significance of each charming corner. Then of course more Christmas markets.

Salzburg was our final stop. It is the birthplace of Mozart. We stopped to see the home he grew up in and learned more about his life. We toured the area surround the beautiful grounds where the Sound of Music was filmed and learned more inside secrets about the movie. The Christmas market in Cathedral square was the most magical yet. There were live musicians playing Christmas carols from the balconies of the cathedrals and historic buildings surrounding the square.

My winter Cosmos Tour of Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Salzburg was a symphony of festive delights, historical wonders, and cultural immersion. From the charming Christmas markets to the grandeur of imperial palaces, Cosmos Tours curated an experience that will forever hold a special place in my heart. If you're yearning for a winter escapade filled with holiday magic and European allure, let Cosmos Tours be your guide through the enchanting landscapes of Christmastime in Central Europe.

Happy travels!

All the best,
Joy Sanders
Morris Columbus Travel - Bountiful

(801) 483-5215
Email me

A Panama Canal cruise is a great cruise that should not be missed. It takes you through an enchanting tapestry of natural wonders and cultural treasures. I sailed on the beautiful Emerald Princess out of Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, with my first stop in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, where pristine beaches and the charming Old Town beckon. Explore local art, taste delectable cuisine, or bask in the sun's warm embrace.

Next on to Huatulco Mexico which is known for its nine picturesque bays, and is a paradise for water enthusiasts. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, hike through lush hills, or simply unwind on the untouched shores.

Puntarenas Costa Rica was one of my favorite ports, it unveils a lush rainforest paradise teeming with exotic wildlife, offering incredible ecotourism opportunities. Next onto Fuerte Amador which is the port closest to Panama City.

The Panama Canal was the crowning jewel of the voyage, it showcases human ingenuity. You watch your ship glide through the legendary locks, connecting two vast oceans, while you learn about the history and engineering marvel that shaped the world.

The final stop was Cartagena Colombia, the city was filled with colonial charm, cobblestone streets, and vibrant markets. Shopping was great! Dive into the rich history and culture, from historic fortifications to delicious street food. The fusion of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences makes Cartagena a captivating destination.

Embarking on The Emerald Princess for a Canada New England Cruise, to see all the fall colors, was a dream come true. It held the promise of a journey filled with historic charm and maritime beauty. The first port of call, Newport, Rhode Island, unfolded like a page from a nautical novel. The opulent mansions along the Cliff Walk echoed the grandeur of the Gilded Age, transporting me to a time of extravagance and luxury. We found a little AM Eatery called the Franklin Spa that was so quaint and delicious.

As I stepped off the cruise ship onto the quaint port of Bar Harbor, Maine, I was instantly captivated by the charm that enveloped this coastal town. The brisk sea breeze carried with it the scent of saltwater and the promise of adventure, setting the stage for a day filled with exploration and natural beauty. From the narrow streets, Lobster rolls, Strolling the Shore Path, breathtaking Victorian Mansions and enjoying a Habor Cruise to see the Coastline and Wildlife was all Magical.

Boston, a city steeped in revolutionary history, greeted me with cobblestone streets and the echoes of Paul Revere's ride. From the Freedom Trail to the vibrant Quincy Market, every step was a walk-through time, blending the old and the new seamlessly. The North End Foodie Tour, with Viator, hit all our wants when it came to food in Boston. It was fabulous and worth every penny.

St. John, with its quaint streets and the iconic Reversing Falls, offered a taste of Canadian hospitality. The Bay of Fundy's powerful tides was amazing to witness and the friendly locals created an unforgettable experience, leaving me with memories as vast as the maritime landscape.

With more than 1,100 miles of coastline and hundreds of islands, everything about Croatia is connected to the seas. Known as the Dalmatian coast, southern Croatia is recognized for its charming medieval cities, national parks, and rich Mediterranean cuisine. Of course, the traveler will recognize cities like Dubrovnik and Split, but there are other areas begging to be explored like Ŝibenik and Trogir, both just a short drive from Split. There are also other charming cities ringing the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, which is a short 1-hour drive from Dubrovnik.

I recently spent a week discovering this beautiful country with Leonidas, a destination company that works closely with Morris Columbus travel. They have built unique relationships throughout the region with hotels, tour guides, and restaurants to provide travelers with a remarkable, unique experience.

Croatia is small country of 4 million people. Its most visited city, Dubrovnik, has a population of only 40,000. Croatia shares a border with Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until 2023 one could not travel from southern Croatia along the Dalmatian coast to northern Croatia without crossing a 12-mile coastline of Bosnia. In early 2023, Croatia built a bridge that skirts the Bosnian border by taking advantage of the many islands along its coastline. This new road system makes the drive from southern Croatia to northern Croatia seamless.

There are so many amazing food experiences in southern Croatia: fine dining, local flavors, farm-to-table, and sea-to-table options. One of the lunches we enjoyed was provided by a local agritourism company. Here the guests assist in gathering fresh ingredients from the garden and then join in the meal preparation. We enjoyed homemade bread, vegetable soup, lamb kebabs, mashed potatoes, and a cake prepared by the family’s grandma. Another amazing food experience was on a local fisherman’s boat; we watched the captain pull up the ropes that dangled into the ocean where the oyster and muscle made their homes. He then served the oysters right from the shells with only fresh lemon juice. They were amazing. The muscles were steamed, creating a rich flavor.

Leaving southern Croatia, it is simple to visit nearby Montenegro from Dubrovnik. After arriving at the Dubrovnik airport, I took the short 40-minute ride to the One&Only resort in Portonovi on the Bay of Kotor. The border crossing was easily navigated by the transfer company, although it can become crowded, so during the busy season it is best to arrive early to the border.

Nestled within the picturesque landscape of Montenegro, the Bay of Kotor is a breathtaking destination. It captivates visitors with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The medieval city of Kotor, with its well-preserved architecture and winding cobblestone streets, invites exploration, while the panoramic views from the ancient fortress provide a mesmerizing perspective of the bay's intricate fjord-like formations. Travelers can also venture to Perast, a quaint town boasting Baroque architecture and the famous Our Lady of the Rocks islet.

After the Bay of Kotor, we traveled north to Dubrovnik back in southern Croatia. Visiting Dubrovnik is like stepping into a medieval fairy tale where history, culture, and the breathtaking Adriatic Sea converge. We had a unique tour of the city by combining food, culture, and architecture as we tasted our way through the city’s Old Town. After our food tour, I ventured out on my own to get lost in the labyrinth of narrow stone streets and charming squares. For a unique perspective of the city, our group took a 4x4 buggy ride into the nearby foothills where we could enjoy the view of Dubrovnik and the coast. For a quick return to the city, there is a tram that transports travelers to just outside the city gate.

Our final visit on our southern Croatia trip was to Ŝibenik, located about 1 hour north of Split. Ŝibenik offers a sophisticated, calm alternative to Split. It is also very close to Krka National Park. Krka National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder known for its cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and lush greenery. Visitors can explore the park on wooden walkways that lead through the forest, providing panoramic views of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscapes.

Southern Croatia has so much more to offer than this small sampling–culture, cuisine, adventure, and beautiful scenery to name a few. If you haven’t made a point to visit this part of Europe, you should.

Happy travels!

All the best,
Lara Maxfield
Morris Murdock Travel - Salt Lake City

(801) 483-6436
Email me

Embarking on the Emerald Princess for a New England cruise was a dream come true. From the moment I stepped aboard, I was enveloped in a world of luxury and excitement. The ship's elegance and impeccable service set the stage for an unforgettable journey.

Our first stop was Newport, Rhode Island, a place steeped in Gilded Age history. We explored the opulent mansions, marveling at their grandeur and the stories they held.

Bar Harbor, Maine, offered a complete change of scenery. The rugged beauty of Acadia National Park left us in awe. Hiking along the trails and witnessing the stunning vistas was a true highlight.

Boston, a city teeming with history, was next. We walked the Freedom Trail, visited the USS Constitution, and indulged in the freshest seafood at the Quincy Market.

St. John in New Brunswick, Canada, was a charming surprise. The Bay of Fundy's massive tides and the Reversing Falls left us marveling at nature's wonders.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, was the perfect end to our journey. We explored the Maritime Museum, enjoyed a lobster feast, and strolled along the waterfront.

Each day brought new adventures, and the evenings were filled with delicious dining and top-notch entertainment on the ship. The Emerald Princess truly made our New England cruise a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's a voyage I'll cherish forever.

Give me a call and I will take care of your next cruise or land vacation in 2024 and beyond!

Jane Mcbride

If I can help plan your vacation, please contact me:

Street: 563 West 500 South, Suite 180
City: Bountiful, UT 84010
Phone: 801.483.5213

Business Days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday