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Opera River Cruise Canadian opera fans will be able to indulge their passion next year on the first opera-themed cruise to be offered by Avalon Waterways. As well as onboard presentations and the opportunity to travel with fellow opera enthusiasts, the cruise will be enhanced with performances by four emerging artists with Calgary Opera. The 130day Blue Danube Discovery tour and cruise – from July 15 to 28, 2015 – will begin with two nights in Budapest, and then set sail for seven nights towards Nuremberg and ending in Prague for three remaining nights. Highlights include stops in Vienna and the medieval towns of Dürnstein, Melk and Regensburg. Optional day trips are offered to Salzburg and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Českỷ Krumlov in the Czech Republic. All meals are included on board, featuring many regional specialties with local wine and beer served at dinner.

Passengers also enjoy access to the ship’s fitness and beauty centres as well as a library/lounge and a spacious Sky Deck rooftop terrace. Nightly entertainment will include opera-themed talks and performances by soprano Natalie Fagnan, mezzo soprano Cassandra Warner, tenor Derek Johnson and bass-baritone Tyler Ferguson, all from Calgary Opera. The sleek Avalon Impression, launched this year, accommodates just 166 passengers with an English-speaking crew of 47. The majority of staterooms are Avalon’s elegant and spacious 200 sq ft Panorama Suites, featuring 3.3 metre floor-to-ceiling windows which open over two metres wide to create an Open Air Balcony, bringing the sights and sounds of Europe indoors. Elegant marble bathrooms are complemented with L’Occitane amenities and the satellite flat-screen TVs feature films produced throughout Europe. Ashore, a choice of guided tours are available at each port-of-call and are always included with Avalon. This special themed cruise is priced from CAD4,150 per person double, cruise-only, category D or E plus CAD126 port charges, but you can save CAD500 per person by reserving before 30SEP14.

Call us for Avalon Waterways reservations.


Bermuda's Endless Summer To keep summer going, Bermuda’s hotels and resorts are offering an Endless Summer promotion that offers guests an option to extend their stay and receive complimentary third, fourth or fifth nights, based on a three-night stay. Travel must be booked by 27NOV14 for travel now through 30NOV14 and is available through participating hotels and resorts including Grotto Bay Beach Resort, Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton princess, Coco-Reef, Newstead Belmont Hills, Pompano Beach Club, The Reefs, Elbow Beach, Cambridge Beaches and Rosewood Tuckers Point.

Boasting the highest concentration of golf courses in the world, Bermuda’s Golf Around Getaway provides the chance for visitors to perfect their game at a number of courses around the island. All packages include golf carts and 50% off golf club rentals. Air Canada offers non-stop service Toronto to Bermuda daily except Wednesday and WestJet offers flights on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

Call us for Bermuda reservations.


As agency approaches its 40th anniversary, Trish McTavish says secret to success is providing excellent customer service - Terrilyn Kunopaski

The McTavish Travel team - Back row: Cathy Faleiro, Marian Strus, Jessica Scott, Allyson Pelisek, Marybeth Parrott, Diane Hink, Jody Grierson, Kathryn Butt, Christine Hillis, Kelly Howard, Carolyn Valenti, Ance Gheorghescu, Deanna Pesa, Sandra McGregor, Nadine Davies, Betty-Anne Ley, Lisa Spears, Dianne McHugh, Tina Leslie & Jo-Anne Wilbur. Front: Ross & Trish McTavish. McTavish Travel has earned the title of Travel Agency of the Year in the Awards of Excellence contest 2011.

No stranger to industry recognition, the agency was also recently awarded the title of North America’s Leading Travel Agency at the World Travel Awards and has an array of other trophies on display at their Oakville office.

Ross & Trish McTavish, owners, McTavish Travel with Terrilyn Kunopaski, editor-in-chief, “We’re honoured to have even been nominated. I think when you’re given an award by your peers, it’s probably the biggest honour you can be given, particularly by our industry in Canada,” said Trish McTavish about the Award of Excellence. “I have to say, I’m really proud of the travel industry in Canada - I think we have a really good industry here, a lot of integrity, so to win this in that circle is a great honour.”

The Award of Excellence comes at an appropriate time as McTavish Travel approaches a special milestone of 40 years in business. When the agency was first launched by Ross McTavish, it was Ross plus one teammate running the show. Trish started working with the business in the early 80s and now, the team has grown to 28 in total and continues to attract new business as well.

Originally, McTavish Travel focused mostly on leisure travel “because that’s what travel was all about,” Trish said.

But, after seeing a lot of corporations coming to them in the early 80s, the agency established a dedicated corporate department and now, that niche represents 50 per cent of the business. Twenty-five per cent is leisure, and another 25 per cent is made up by humanitarian/mission bookings as well as groups.

In fact, McTavish Travel is one of only two humanitarian/mission-accredited agencies in Canada, which means it holds contracts with most of the legacy and large international carriers to provide special fares to large charities, not-for-profits, humanitarian organizations and missionaries.

Whatever the reason for travel, McTavish’s clients come from across Canada, as well as some from the U.S. and other international markets.

So what’s the secret to the success of an agency that does very little marketing yet continues to grow year-after-year?

“Our success has definitely been on the foundation of providing exceptional customer service and referral,” Trish said.

“We have never strayed from our core value and that has been client-centric, client-focused; we always have felt that if we do right by the clients, everything else will fall into line. There are a lot of organizations that put call centres in place and that’s not about the client, that’s about profits. Anything we do, the first question is: how does that benefit the client? If there isn’t a benefit to the client, why are we doing it?

“We’ve never taken on an action because it’s better for us; some of the things we do are more difficult for us, but there’s a huge benefit for the client – it doesn’t matter how hard it’s going to make it for us to do this thing, if it’s good for the client, that’s what we do. And it’s worked for us – if you look after your clients and you look after your staff, your staff will look after your clients and it all works out in the end.”

Being in business for 40 years, McTavish Travel has had many clients with them for more than 30 and staff that has worked there just as long.

In the economic downturn of 2008, the agency was impacted just as everyone else in the industry but was still able to turn a profit without making any layoffs.

“We don’t have growth for the sake of growth,” Trish said. “The important key to growing is just growing enough that you don’t lose business because you’re not able to provide that same level of service.”

McTavish Travel is affiliated with the Ensemble and Uniglobe networks in Canada.


McTavish Travel wins big at World Travel Awards

travel McTavish Travel is very proud of two recent awards!

McTavish Travel was awarded "North America's Leading Travel Agency" in the 19th annual World Travel Awards. It's McTavish Travel's third World Travel Award in 5 years! In 2007 and 2008, we were named "North America's Leading Business Travel Agency". The much coveted World Travel Awards are considered to be "the Oscars of the travel industry".

Launched in 1993, the awards "acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry." A World Travel award is "regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel company could hope to receive. Separating the good from the outstanding. Identifying companies that consistently excel beyond expectation. Taking customer expectations to a new, unparalleled high." For more information on the awards, visit

On December 22, 2011 McTavish Travel was named "Canadian Travel Agency of the Year" in the Awards of Excellence.