Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Choose Regent Seven Seas Cruises for Your Alaskan Adventure

"Alaska is still wild and untamed. Its lure is intoxicating. In Alaska, nature has the power to transform even the most city-hardened hearts. You'll never be the same. Man is dwarfed by the proportion of nature. [...] Embrace Alaska and awaken your soul." -Terry Breen, cultural anthropologist and storyteller

Alaska is a destination at the top of many travelers' bucket lists, and for good reason! With towering glaciers, snow-capped mountains and exotic wildlife, The Final Frontier offers majestic views of untouched wilderness. If you're thinking about embarking on an Alaskan adventure in 2014, read on for the top 5 reasons why you should choose a Regent Seven Seas cruise!

1. Regent is the best way to see Alaska—Explore all the natural beauty Alaska has to offer by getting up close to its scenic coastline. A highlight for many traveling to Alaska is Hubbard Glacier, North America's largest tidewater glacier. Regent guests are able to fully experience all the sights, sounds—even smells! of the glacier, as the size of Regent's ships allow for sailing as close as half a mile away from the glacier. Most other cruise ships are only able to get as close as six miles away! 

In another feature unique to Regent, cultural anthropologist and storyteller Terry Breen sails on all Regent Alaska cruises, offering colorful commentary about the history and wildlife of Alaska. Many of our clients say that Terry's insights provide the WOW factor that make the trip worth it!  

2. Truly all-inclusive cruising—Airfare, shore excursions, gratuities, beverages and ground transfers are all included on Regent cruises, which can add up to a savings of thousands of dollars! Considering that shore excursions on other cruise lines typically cost between $125-300 per person, per excursion, this an exceptional value.

3. Personalized service—With a maximum capacity of 490 passengers, Regent's fleet of ships offers the best ratio of staff to guests among similar cruise lines, allowing for a more relaxing and luxurious experience. 

4. Ideal timing—Alaska's cruise season typically runs from June through August, when temperatures are the warmest and daylight hours peak at 14-18 hours per day.

5. Hassle-free traveling—Forward your luggage to Anchorage and breeze through airport securitywithout the headache of dealing with your luggage. 

Beyond Group Travel is offering two Alaska cruises on Regent next year:
  • Glacial Serenity, sailing June 18, 2014
  • Timeless Alaska, sailing July 16, 2014    

Beginning in Anchorage, each sailing stops in 6 ports along the Inside Passage aboard the Seven Seas Navigator. Prior to embarkation, you will have the option to explore nearby destinations such as Denali National Park. The 7 night voyage concludes in Vancouver. 


Contact us today to make your reservation on this unforgettable journey to Alaska!

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825 or 1-877-648-1973.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fit for Foodies!

Experience the Rich Culture of Northern Italy by River

June 22-29, 2014

As a culinary mecca, foodies from all over the world flock to Italy—and as the only river cruise line recognized by Zagat with the best dining in the industry, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is the perfect complement to wining and dining your way through the country! We're excited to announce Italy’s Po River & the Venice Lagoons, where travelers will explore Northern Italy's hidden gems and culinary delights on this eight day, seven night cruise aboard Uniworld’s River Countess.

You’ll spend a total of five days in Venice, soaking up the enchantment of the city—including an exclusive evening opening and lighting ceremony event at St. Mark’s Basilica; 

Next, you’ll journey to Padua, one of the oldest and most picturesque cities in Italy;

Then you’ll sail to visit Seravalle, where you’ll embark on an excursion to Ravenna, the City of Mosaics;

From Seravalle, you’ll meander along the Po River to Polesella, where you’ll spend a full day in Bologna and participate in a pasta making workshop;

Last, you’ll tour the famed city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, before sailing back to Venice. 

Now, we’ve mentioned the growing popularity of river cruises in our previous posts, but if you’re thinking about a river cruise for your next vacation, USA TODAY blogger Gene Sloan explains another reason why Uniworld should be at the top of your list: Beginning in 2014, the company will offer unlimited complimentary wine, beer and spirits as well as complimentary gratuities for onboard and onshore services for all of its European river cruises—creating a new standard in luxury river cruising with a truly all-inclusive experience!

Our exclusive package also offers the following amenities:

  • The Epicurean Adventurer Program, including an Italian dessert-making demonstration and tasting; an olive oil and wine tasting; and a special wine and food pairing dinner
  • A complimentary cocktail party with hot and cold canapés
  • $50 onboard credit per person 
  • Six onshore excursions led by engaging English-speaking guides.  You’ll have the opportunity to visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Airport transfers on embarkation and disembarkation days

As a special offer for Beyond Group Travel clients, you can guarantee 2013 pricing for this 2014 sailing if you book by September 30! Click here to view the brochure, and contact us to make your reservation on this unforgettable journey exploring the food, scenery and culture of Northern Italy.

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825 or 1-877-648-1973.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cruise Through the Heart of Europe with The Dining Diva!

September 29-October 10, 2014

We are thrilled to announce our next cruise with The Dining Diva! Our clients always have a fabulous time with Molly, and we've worked together to make sure this European adventure is filled with unique experiences you won't find anywhere else.

Fall is absolutely the best time of the year to visit Europe - by then, the temperatures have cooled down and the throngs of summer tourists have dissipated. And if you have yet to travel Europe by river cruise, you're in luck! River cruises are growing in popularity because they are a spectacular way to see some of Europe's most extraordinary capitals as well as its quaint, smaller cities. In fact, Cruise Line International Association estimates that river cruises have seen a 10% annual passenger increase over the past five years.

You'll start your journey with three nights in the charming city of Prague! In the bustling capital of the Czech Republic, explore the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square and more. As all of The Dining Diva's trips are designed with culinary delights in mind, she'll guide the group to find the best Czech dumplings in Prague!

Next, the group will travel to Nuremberg, where you'll set sail on the Danube River aboard the brand new Avalon Illumination. Launching in 2014, the Illumination features suites with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows so you can take in the beauty of quaint towns from your very own room. The Illumination also features exquisite fine dining and unparalleled service.

Avalon Illumination River Cruise Ship

Avalon Illumination Photos

Avalon Illumination Photos Map.jpg
The seven night cruise winds along the magnificent Danube, stopping in three countries along the way. Each port features guided sightseeing tours.
  • Nuremberg, Germany 
  • Regensberg, Germany
  • Passau, Germany
  • Melk, Austria
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Budapest, Hungary 

Click here to view the brochure, and contact us to make your reservationyou won't want to miss this one-of-a-kind trip!

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825 or 1-877-648-1973.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stress-Free Packing Tips

With nearly every airline charging fees for checked baggage these days, more and more savvy travelers are opting to use carry-on bags. It can be tricky to fit all of your belongings in a compact carry-on, so we’ve gleaned some tips from the experts to take the stress out of packing: 

  • Plan accordingly: One to two weeks before your trip, take a look at your itinerary and create a packing list that takes into consideration all of the activities you’ll be doing and places you’ll be visiting. A good list will make the packing process go smoothly and will ensure you don’t forget anything!
  • Forget folding—roll your clothes: Rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones, allowing you to utilize more space in your carry-on bag. As an added bonus, travel expert Caroline Costello points out that the rolling technique decreases the likelihood you’ll end up with wrinkled clothes when you arrive at your destination!
  • Streamline your liquids: If you’ve taken a flight in the last decade, you should be aware of TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons: each passenger is allowed to bring one quart-sized, clear zip-top bag containing liquids, aerosols and gels stored in 3.4 ounce bottles or less (by volume). Most drug stores and pharmacies carry travel-sized toiletries that meet TSA requirements, or you can fill empty bottles with your favorite products. If you’re still having trouble whittling down your liquid allotment, try finding solid alternatives. For example, travel blogger Caroline Morse suggests bringing cleansing face cloths instead of liquid face wash.
  • Make the most of your personal item: Most airlines allow passengers to bring one personal item in addition to a carry-on bag. Travel blogger Caroline Morse advises travelers to use a large tote bag as your personal item. Not only does a tote bag give you extra storage, it also keeps essentials like medications and cell phone chargers and close at hand during the flight.
  • Expect the unexpected: Traveling can be unpredictable. Be prepared for split seams or the occasional loose button with a small sewing kit. Stain remover pens are great for minor spills. And in the midst of an unanticipated downpour, you’ll never regret packing a travel-sized umbrella and/or a rain jacket! 

With these tips, you should be well prepared for your next adventure!

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825 or 1-877-648-1973.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Ultimate Escape to the Caribbean

T.S. Eliot once said April is the cruelest month…if that's true, then January can’t be far behind! Think about it: all the joy and excitement of the holidays is over, the days become shorter and the temperatures hover around freezing. Blech!  

It’s around this time every year that people start dreaming of sunshine, sand, and warmer weather–which is why we’re excited to offer the spectacular Sun Splashed Isles Cruise from January 23-February 2, 2014! Experience a different kind of "winter blues" sailing in the eastern Caribbean's cobalt and turquoise waters aboard Oceania Cruises’ elegant Riviera.

Click Here to enlarge map

This ten day voyage was carefully created to ensure that you’ll wake up to a new port nearly every day. 

Discover the colorful Spanish colonial architecture in Old San Juan...

San Juan

lounge in the famous baths at Virgin Gorda in Tortola... 


and snorkel in the crystalline waters in St. Barts... 


Of course, since this is an Oceania Cruise, you'll be able to enjoy all the luxuries of upscale cruising, including gourmet dining, spacious staterooms and indulgent spa services. Enjoy all that Riviera has to offer with a $100 spa or shipboard credit per stateroom, prepaid gratuities (a $150.00 value) and a 1-hour cocktail party with hot hors d’oeuvres – exclusive amenities just for our clients!

Click here to view the brochure, and contact us to make your reservationyou'll thank yourself next winter!

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825 or 1-877-648-1973.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Hideaway REVEALED!

Oh my.  What a VOYAGE!!!  We enjoyed an incredible time onboard Oceania Cruises Riviera for Caribbean Hideaways from January 23rd-February 2nd with The Dining Diva.   This voyage was created with a culinary focus in mind, complete with a culinary course in the culinary center onboard!  Our group of 30 travelers were a delight to escort on this journey, and we are already looking towards our next journey with The Dining Diva (stay tuned)!

We discovered the hideaways in the Eastern and Southeastern Caribbean from Bathsheba in Barbados, the rum distillery in St. Lucia, to the quaint French township of St. Barts.Bathsheba beach in Barbados

Of course, our sailing was fulfilled with the ports alone, but, as our loyal travelers know, we aren’t just about the voyage as planned.  We thrive on enhancing the journey!!  The Dining Diva worked with us from May 2012 to develop this culinary trip, and the cuisine of Oceania Cruises paired with our added cuisine-focused shore excursions and cooking class in Oceania’s onboard culinary center.Dining Diva with Chef from Jacques

A highlight for many included our rum distillery tour and rum tasting the beautiful St. Lucia!Rum tasting in st Lucia

By the way, did you know St. Lucia had these awe-inspiring pitons?  We knew they existed, but we didn’t realize the beauty these add to the coast of St. Lucia.  We actually know of a couple luxurious resorts facing these pitons!Pitons at Lucia

As an added bonus to the exciting ports, delectable cuisine, and excellent service-oriented vessel, our group took advantage of the extra days at sea.  In fact, this was a large draw for this selected itinerary because of the number of days at sea allowing our travelers to experience all that Riviera has to offer. 

While our 10-day voyage was joyous in every way, it seemed to go by so quickly!  The sun has set on this unique experience, and we are already planning our next.  Leaving st Lucia sunset

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Istanbul to Rome on Oceania Cruises

August 16-28, 2013

It’s safe to say that, in this day and age of cruising, you can sail away your vacation just about anywhere in the world, including by river.  That said, we’re not just any travel agency offering any and every departure!  As our seasoned travelers know, we look for the unique…one-of-a-kind…has-a-lot-to-offer type of voyages; especially when we hear from clients that have specific ports in mind for their sailing or perhaps are looking for something culturally diverse.RVA130525

This is precisely why we have chosen to share with you this week the Treasures and Monuments sailing on Oceania Cruises newest Riviera.  There are a multitude of reasons why this is a sailing to both consider and remember:Santorini

  • The best way to see Greece

    In the past, we shared logic on viewing Australia and New Zealand by cruising is the best way to experience the region because of the ground to cover, the distance traveling by land, and, most importantly, the best views of this area are from the water.  The same details apply to the beauty of Greece.  Because of Greece’s many islands and amount of travel required to see much of the country, cruising suits your travel needs best to unpack once and also allows you see its INCREDIBLE COASTLINES from the water.  With the perfectly arranged stops in Rhodes, Santorini, Crete, and Cephalonia, take this sailing to view and capture the best of Greece.Marina anchored in Amalfi 5-Oceania Cruises
  • Visit Italy for five days

    On top of the splendor of Greece at the beginning of your sailing, experience the west coast of Italia including the breath-taking coast of Amalfi.  Your ports of call through Italy include Taorminia (Sicily), Amalfi/Positano, Olbia/Porto Cervo (Sardinia), Florence/Pisa/Tuscany (Livorno), and your disembarkation port of Civitavecchia.  Positano-Oceania Cruises
  • Sardinia, Italy and Crete, Greece

    These two unique ports are lesser traveled and accessible by smaller vessels at sea such as Oceania Cruises.  This means there will be fewer cruise travelers present in these ports!  In Sardinia, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the Nuraghic culture through their cuisine, enigmatic remnants, and handmade goods inspired by them. privee
  • Finest cuisine at sea

    In our many posts about Oceania Cruises, we have shared intermittently about their exquisite cuisine.  This stunning cruise line has a culinary team led by the well-known Chef Jacques Pépin which further affirms the quality of gastronomy served in their Grand Dining Room and four specialty restaurants.  After several groups sailing with us on Oceania Cruises, our travelers have each concurred that their dining experiences onboard were top-notch with haute cuisine, for sure!  We continue to encourage our clients to consider Oceania for their preferred sailing because of the continuous rave reviews.Penthouse Suite_Marina
  • Unmatched accommodations and service

    Further to the delectable cuisine onboard, Oceania provides you with gorgeous and spacious staterooms, and 96% of those on Riviera have a verandah!  With certain suites decorated by Ralph Lauren and Dakota Jackson, the cruise line spared no expense to make sure that you travel in comfort and elegance for your voyage.  Pair these accommodations with divine service, and you have another reason why Beyond Group Travel wants you to experience Oceania Cruises!

Vatican CityAs we do with each of our sailings, we are able to help you with extending your voyage prior to embarkation or at disembarkation.  This means, we can assist with your stay in Istanbul or complete your voyage with a history-rich stay in Rome.  Your ideal 3-night stay in the Eternal City could really conclude your once-in-a-lifetime journey!

Take this opportunity to sail this extremely well-planned itinerary on a voyage that has numerous experiences to offer in location, diversity, beauty, cuisine and accommodations.  Special 2 for 1 CRUISE FARES with INCLUDED AIRFARE available for reservations made on/before
March 31, 2013.  Contact us today for more information and to reserve!  Click here to view the brochure.

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825 or 1-877-648-1973.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kentucky Derby–May 1-5, 2013

It’s THE most exciting two minutes in sports.  Even those who aren’t into the pageantry of the race know they watch this exciting event every year!  And for those who love the history, the fashion, or the Super Bowl of horse racing will love this exclusive opportunity to experience the “Run for the Roses!”Kentucky Derby 1
Of course, there are many ways that you can travel and experience the Kentucky Derby.  Why yes, if not this year, you could attend another year.  However, there’s no other opportunity to experience the Kentucky Derby the way that we have arranged!  To watch this 139th run at Churchill Downs, you’ll receive exclusive access to enjoy private hospitality in the indoor Kentucky Derby Museum!Kentucky Derby Museum Party 4
As you can imagine, it’s great to have this indoor space if the weather turns south during the hours prior to the race.  While viewing the complete Derby experience within the newly remodeled museum, avoid waiting in lines across the Downs. Access is complete with a full buffet at reserved seating, open bar, and private betting windows. See the ‘best of hats’ contest right inside the museum!  We will also provide private transportation via motor coach to/from the race.Kentucky Derby Start

Beyond Group Travel has prepared a luxurious package for you which is inclusive of the following:

Four nights hotel accommodations at the newly rebuilt Marriott Louisville East
Breakfast each morning at the hotel
Welcome reception and appetizers at the hotel on Wednesday evening
Thursday day trip to Lexington with guided tours of horse farms, Keeneland, and Buffalo Trace Distillery with lunch included
Cocktails and dinner on Friday evening
First floor or third floor Grandstand ticket to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday
Exclusive private hospitality in the indoor, newly-renovated Kentucky Derby Museum, with full buffet, reserved seating, open bar and private betting windows
Post-Derby buffet dinner at the hotel on Saturday evening
On site hospitality staff
Taxes and tips on included features
Transportation via private bus to included events
Visit our website and view the brochure to read more about the details of this bucket-list trip!
Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713-954-4825

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beyond Group Travel Turns THREE!

Did we really just say that?  Have we really been in business for a full THREE years?  It feels completely unbelievable, and it’s also hard to imagine that we were never not in business as Beyond Group Travel!  Looking back at our post from when we celebrated our first birthday, it’s incredible to reminisce and also see just how much our company has accomplished in these past three years!

We’ve enjoyed going from being partnersThanksgiving 2010 007

to a team of threeIMG_1898

to our now wonderful team of five!!!BGT Christmas dinner 2012 2

We’ve further been blessed this year to take travelers around the world to destinations such as:

  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Holland
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain
  • New York (both Manhattan and Long Island)
  • Alaska
  • Boston
  • Montenegro
  • Croatia
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Oxford, Mississippi
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Austria
  • Aruba
  • Cartagena
  • Panama Canal
  • Los Angeles
  • Tahiti
  • Cyprus
  • Israel
  • Egypt
  • Antigua
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Russia
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Belize
  • Grand Cayman
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Costa Rica
  • St. Lucia
  • Utah
  • Canada

Perhaps we could have told you the few places we did not visit!

A few details we were thrilled to see, in relation to our clients and their journeys in our third year, are that we have seen a greater interest in river cruising.  Thus, we have increased the amount of sailing we offer, which we will be showing you in year four.  We also were pleased to offer our signature New York trips (both Thanksgiving and Holidays) to new alumni organizations, and we are looking forward to having new groups in the future.  If you are interested in hosting your group (family, friends or any other type of group) contact us to discuss the options available to you.  We are looking forward to an even better 2013!

Most importantly, we are so grateful to our past and current clients.  We are pleased to say that nearly all of our business comes via referral (word of mouth), and fellow business owners and marketing gurus can attest that this is not only the highest form of flattery to a business, but also the biggest success for earning new clientele.  THANK YOU TO ALL!

Happy New Year to all of you and Happy 3rd Birthday to us!  What a fabulous year this has been!


Traveling Aggies Reunion 2012-Ashley, Krista and Linda

New Canvases

Sandra at Mary Poppins


M DSC_2452

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours!