Travel Blog

uniworld river cruise kathy hirstI recently had the wonderful opportunity of taking one of the premier river cruise experiences, Uniworld River Cruises. I have sold many Uniworld Cruises to my clients but had never had the opportunity to enjoy this product myself. We chose the Burgundy and Provence itinerary though Southern France. We arrived via Amsterdam in Marseilles. Uniworld transferred us in a very nice small luxury van to Avignon where we were met at the dock by a steward who checked us in. There were no long lines involved, which was welcome after a long flight a car ride. Our stateroom was a bit small but I realized that this was due to the very large, pillow top king mattress. Most river cruises I have taken have smaller, very firm beds so this was very welcome since I love a good night sleep. Even though our stateroom was small it was very well laid out and had lots of storage either in large drawers, closets or under the bed.

Our evening was a briefing by the very lively cruise director Tania who told us about our week, excursions, the ship and what we could expect. The following day we were treated to a wonderful tour of Arles. This is a beautiful town with an amazing coliseum and lots of beautiful architecture and shops featuring local Provencal pottery and linens. That afternoon we were given free time to explore Tarascon and the stunning castle.

The next day we were back to Avignon to tour the town and see the Pope’s place. The tour was very captivating and the history of the palace and town was enthralling. That afternoon we were able to take a kayak ride down the Gardon River. It was a very hot day and this was extremely welcome. The scenery around the river was incredible with families enjoying the last of summer on the banks. Cruising under the roman aqueducts was so scenic.

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Recently I had the opportunity to sail on the beautiful “Regal Princess”, doing the Baltic Sea itinerary. The ship, activities and ports were amazing.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Venice of the North, Copenhagen was founded during the 12th century, A very charming city with 500 year old gabled houses, several beautiful castles and palaces. Best of all, wander thru “Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s most celebrated pleasure gardens. Denmark is one of the most safest countries in the world.

OSLO, NORWAY – Beautiful, clean, sophisticated, yet cozy charming, with a blend of 19th-20th century buildings, woodcarvings, bright frescoes and wide avenues dotted with public squares and parks. Oslo is surrounded by hills and lakes which makes this city a paradise for winter and summer sports. Don’t miss the Vigeland Sculpture Park with over 200 human life-cycle sculptures.

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Murielle Blanchard 2017 A-List

The entire Morris Murdock Travel family would like to congratulate our very own Murielle Blanchard for making the prestigious 2017 Travel + Leisure A-List for the sixth year in a row (2012-2017)!

Murielle Blanchard 2017 A-ListThe A-List is Travel + Leisure's annual selection of the world's best travel agents and destination specialists, as chosen by the editors. Each year Travel + Leisure combs through hundreds of applications and itineraries to compile this highly selective list. The recognition of being named to the A-List is a testament to Murielle's dedication to excellence, her expertise with her specific destination (France), and the fact that Murielle delivers the highest caliber experiences for clients from start to finish. Only the very best agents in the travel industry are considered.

“Murielle as an amazing travel consultant and her knowledge and expertise to Europe is unprecedented. Anyone lucky enough to work with Murielle in planning a vacation will be truly rewarded," said Brian Hollien, President of Morris Murdock Travel.

T+L sends applications to the travel agents and advisors their readers write rave about. These are the tried and true experts who have tailored perfect itineraries for clients, have logged years of experience, and nurture career-long relationships with all the right contacts and industry connections. Murielle can open doors to deliver customized experiences that fulfill travel bucket lists.

About Murielle: Of French descent, Murielle currently resides in Salt Lake City and considers herself a bridge between French and American cultures. She makes at least three trips to France each year to research new spots and look in on old favorites.

Best for: soft adventure, culture buffs, foodies/epicurean travelers.

Extras: Murielle’s Paris expertise includes shopping, especially one-of-a-kind boutiques.

To reach Murielle, please call 801.483.6533 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Murielle Blanchard
Black Pearl Luxury Services
A division of Morris Murdock Travel

We went to Albania, Kosovo, and Albania. The thing that are interesting about these places is they are cash only. You have to be able to get cash at the ATM or take enough with you. The local hotels are cash only as well. If you stay at bigger well known hotels then they should take a credit card. But no place else will take credit cards.

We started our trip out in Tirana. After the long flight that is the closest place to stay for the night and then go on from there. We stayed at the City Hotel. This is a basic hotel. With U.S. standard it would be about a 3 star property. All of the hotels we stayed at was very clean. In the small local hotels they don’t have any elevators and so you have to walk up the stairs. The rooms have anywhere from 1-4 beds. Sometimes they will have a queen and a twin in the room and some rooms might have 4 twin beds in them and so it just depends.

There are bigger hotels and more 4 star hotels as well. They have the International Hotel that is pretty close to the city center.

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There is no better way to visit the amazing state of Alaska than doing a Cruise/Tour. Many travelers who visit Alaska do so only on a cruise ship along its’ coast, but there is so much more to see and experience. I recently had the opportunity to visit Alaska Cruise/tour destinations on a Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise sponsored trip exploring Alaska’s major interior destinations: Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Talkeetna, Seward and Anchorage. The vast expanse of the state has varied and stunning scenery not to be found anywhere else in North America.

Fairbanks

After arriving in Fairbanks by air, we met our escort at the Pike’s Waterfront Lodge where we spent the next two nights. Pike’s Waterfront Lodge enjoys a terrific location on the Chena River, a mile from Fairbanks International airport, 2 miles from Pioneer Park and 4 miles from the University of Alaska. The hotel has rooms with flat-screen TVs, some with balconies overlooking the river, mini fridges and microwaves and most have free Wi-Fi. Rustic log cabins elsewhere on the property feature private decks, kitchenettes and sitting rooms.

After settling in, we met our motorcoach driver for the trip and drove to the Steamboat Landing where we boarded the “Discovery III”, an old fashioned paddle-wheeler, that took us on a 2 1/2 hour journey down the Chena River. We stopped by the Susan Butcher (a 4 time Iditarod champion) Kennels to see the dogs and witness a demonstration with the dogs in harness pulling an ATV. Further down the river we had the opportunity to see a bush pilot take off from the river and land on the river. There are a great many bush pilots in Alaska and for many it is the only form of transportation. We then stopped to visit a re-created Chena Indian fishing village where we enjoyed a demonstration of catching and smoking fish, how a cache is built to store food, a typical summer tent sleeping area, a typical cabin and a presentation of how the women made clothes out of furs and animal skins. That evening we went to a salmon BBQ . . .yum!

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