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Forums » Online Reservations, Packagers & Tour Operators » Extended Stay Vacation

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Captain Larry

Extended Stay Vacation

by Captain Larry »

A few years ago I took a three-week vacation stay in January in an efficiency apartment on the Costa del Sol in Spain. The tour company arranged the transportation to and from and while there. They arranged the hotel room and most of the meals. The meals were not all at the same restaurant, but rather vouchers that were good in a number of local restaurants. There were a few excursions included in the cost of the tour and a few more that were available for an additional charge. There was a "program director" who was available to both lead tours and to provide local knowledge for self guided tours. And the overall cost was probably cheaper than what I could have arranged transportation, lodging, and meals independently.

Well, it must have been too cheap, because the company dropped the program. It was very popular and many of the loyal travelers with that company have expressed their displeasure with the discontinuation of the program. The company's stated reason for the cancellation was that they could not maintain the quality without a significant price increase, and I don't doubt the truth of that statement.

I have been looking for such a vacation, either through another company or independently, and I have discovered that there are a lot of bases to cover and hoops to jump through. There are a couple of other threads across thiis forum in which I have discussed various aspects of my search.

My question is, do you know of any tour company, packager, or travel agent who does, or can, put together a vacation such as what I have described? Because of my familiarity with the venues I have been searching the Costa del Sol and Malta, but I would be willing to look at other venues with similar winter climate characteristics.

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Captain Larry

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by Captain Larry »

Not that it matters much to anyone but me, I've long since given up on finding the kind of package for which I was seeking. Instead, I am four weeks away from departing on a four-week trip to Malta. I found the hotel, I found the air itinerary, I found the day tours i wanted, and I booked them all on line. Obviously my evaluation after the trip will be more meaningful, but for now, it looks great!

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yostwl

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by yostwl »

CL--Malta is on our short list of destinations, so we'll be very interested in your experiences.

 

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Captain Larry

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by Captain Larry »

I made several visits to Malta in the late 1960s, when I was a young sailor. I loved the place, but it took until 2011 for me to revisit. As one might expect, much had changed in the intervening time, especially with me and in my point of view. But Malta was, I believe, a totally different culture in the most recent visit. But it was still a delightful place to visit. The history (and pre-history) didn't change much -- what's 45 years when you're looking back 4,000 years? Or even looking back 400 years?

My 2011 visit was as part of an escorted tour, with nearly every minute planned in advance. Now that is the most efficient way to check the items off of your "must see" list, but we wanted the opportunity for a more leisurely visit, doing what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. Hence our four-week "unstructured" visit coming up, basically for the month of February 2014. With just a rudimentary knowledge of Malta, my First Mate and I will be the de facto "tour guides" for the other couple traveling with us. They have not visited Malta before.

So, we'll see how it goes. I will certainly have some successes and some failures to report. I will be able to report some recommendations, and I will probably have some suggestions of things to avoid. I will make plans for future visits, or I will say, "The heck with it. I ain't goin' back!" Whatever the outcome I will have learned a lot. And the planning and execution have been a blast!

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Captain Larry

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by Captain Larry »

Leaving my Western Pennsylvania home tomorrow morning with the temperature a balmy -8 F. Arrive in Malta on Thursday where the forecasted high temperature will be 66 F and the low 63 F. Now, let me think. Why am I going there?

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yostwl

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by yostwl »

Have a great time.  Looking forward to your report.

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Captain Larry

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by Captain Larry »

OK. Been in Malta at the Seabank Hotel for four days and having a great time. The hotel seems to me to be definitly worthy of its four star rating. I'm enjoying the "all-inclusive" concept immensly.

So far we've stayed rather close to the hotel, just walking on the beach and around the area. Yesterday we went to the English-language mass at the Mellieha Parrish Church and then walked around the town. Since we had an all-day bus ticket (1.5 Euro) we decided to ride the bus into St. Jullians to see what the "livelier" part of the country was like. Even on Sunday afternoon the traffic was moving at a crawl and the sidewalks were wall-to-wall people, even in the rain. We need to rest up a bit before making that trip again. I expect in the next few days to do some more "bus window" touring and just stop when we see something that attracts us. I've promised arion that I will report on the Barraka Lift so I'll need to go to Valletta pretty soon.

 

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Captain Larry

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by Captain Larry »

Still putting off the trip to Valletta, but we'll do it this coming week, for sure. We still have twelve more days here in Malta.

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arion

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by arion »

Can you tell us please what the weather is like?  What are the average temperatures?  I supposee I could look it up (and should) but you are there on the ground and so we can have it from the horse's mouth, if you'll pardon the expression.  Thank you.

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yostwl

RE: Extended Stay Vacation

by yostwl »

arion--if you want weather information for a future trip, you'd be better off looking at a site like weatherbase.com that provides historic averages.  If you are just curious about how the Captain is doing on this particular visit, then forget I posted this.

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