December 7, 2015

One benefit to being a Travel Professional is the opportunity to get a sneak peek of a ship, hotel or destination from time to time. With Travel Industry tours and events, we get a chance to talk with staff first hand, and to see accommodations in person. These events give us a one on one feel for what a company has to offer our clients. We can then share insight from our personal experience with our clients. We can speak directly about what makes a cruise worth taking, which hotel will best meet a client's needs, or what first hand experience about a location makes a destination so incredible.

Recently a few of our partner agents enjoyed a tour and lunch on board a small cruise ship, right here in Portland, Oregon. Un-Cruise Adventures is a cruise company like no other. They provide up-close and personal experiences on this side of the Pacific Ocean. From Alaska, down into the Pacific Northwest, and further south to the Baja Peninsula, Mexico and Central America, as well as west across the Pacific to Hawaii and the Galapagos. The small ships of Un-Cruise Adventures offers exclusive experiences with wildflife, cultural and history unlike other cruise or tour companies.

Guests are pampered in un-rushed comfort with impeccably fine service, while immersing themselves in a variety of  activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking and more. Un-Cruises has unique opportunities for guests to see a destination in its most natural state, to get in touch with a piece of history and share in-depth connections with local communities, all with just a small number of other travelers. Cruises accommodate as few as 22 people on a yacht, to a maximum of 88 people on their largest boats. An Un-Cruise Adventure is truly a trip like no other.

Our lunch tour on the USS Legacy took us onto a replica coastal steamer with a variety of amenities. This boat holds up to 88 passengers and takes travelers on a round trip 1,000 mile cruise up the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  The unparalleled vista of the Columbia River Gorge pass by as you relax in one of two hot tub located on the top deck, sipping a regional wine and meeting new friends. Yoga on the deck helps you start a new day, and the casual elegance of the dinning hall lets you feast on local culinary treats. 

There are two adventures to be had on the USS Legacy. History buffs and lovers of the Pacific Northwest will revel in the Legacy of Discovery cruise which focuses on the history and cultures of the Gorge. With historians and heritage guides the past comes to life as you explore the beauty and unique places of the rivers. The Columbia River Gorge is a region of fine wineries, which you can experience first hand with the Ameritage Four Rivers of Wine and History cruise. Wine experts are on board providing information and taste testings of the best wines in the region. Personally guided tours to several wineries let you see first hand just what makes this such a wonderful area for vineyards.

We enjoyed a nice welcome aboard with mimosas, tea and coffee while small groups of guests were taken by their own Un-Cruise guide to tour the steamer ship. To begin our tour viewed each type of stateroom. We began with the Owner's Suite- primed with fine details to truly spoil you as a guest on board. With a full living space and bedroom with King sized bed, this stateroom had luxury all over it. A full bar complimented the soft leather lounger and the Jacuzzi tub beckoned for a soak. There were many small touches that also made you feel at home, a selection of books to read at your leisure, and even a canister of handcrafted walking staffs and umbrellas for your personal use.

Each stateroom had its own bit of luxury and were all well appointed with an excellent plan to space attended too. The beds not only included drawers for your clothing but space underneath to tuck away your suitcase. Wall mounted flat screens televisions were in each room for night time movie viewing, and while the bathrooms were small, as is necessary on a boat, they were all comfortably functional with the decor hankering back to a bygone era. 

We were shown the cozy hot tubs on the top deck, and images of sipping wine while watching the Columbia River Gorge came to mind, what a unique way to watch the world pass by. The thought of star gazing while soaking made us ready to stay on board for their next cruise down the river! We were taken to the Bridge where you got a real glimpse back in time with the traditional ship's wheel at the stern. This replica steamer will take you back a hundred years and then some. All guests are welcome to join the captain and crew on the bridge at anytime, and stories abound with each interaction you  experience.

The lower decks include an open seating dinning hall and full bar lounge,as well as giving you another historical experience with the Pesky Barnacle Saloon. The history focus of these river cruises invites you to not only listen and learn, but to play along as you wish. There is a great steamer trunk full of hats and props from the days  of the Pacific Northwest of the 1870s, through the 1930s, the heyday of coastal steamer ships. 

We were entertained by two wonderful historic guides who not
only shared a bit of history, but interacted in character from their costumes, to how they spoke and what they said, making all of us feel welcome and intrigued. When you take your own Un-Cruise Adventure, along the Columbia River Gorge, your guides will be with you on the boat and along shore excursion journeys, adding that extra something to make this trip through history that much more memorable.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch as part of our tour. The food was finely prepared and a taste sensation with a grilled prawn and rice noodle dish that was savory down to the last bite. Desert was a fruit explosion with a tart filled with blue berries, black berries, raspberries and strawberries. During lunch we were also able to get to meet more of UN-Cruise crew. Each person we spoke to was not only friendly, but loved what they did and who they worked for. We all know it says a lot about a company when the employees are happy, and the staff on board were spot on for service with smile that was genuine. Everyone made us feel welcome and want to return for a full cruise.

Whether you live in the Portland Metro area, or are looking to come visit our corner of the world, a river cruise along the Columbia River Gorge is an experience not to miss! An Un-Cruise Adventure will take you back in time and surround you with comfortable luxury which you will remember for a lifetime. 

November 4, 2015

Make the Gift of Travel and Adventure a Memory to Last a Lifetime

Now is a great time to get started on your holiday gift shopping, especially when it to giving the gift of travel. There are a lot of great deals from cruise and tour companies, as well as incredible packages for destinations across the country and around the world. A gift of travel provides much more beyond a splendid vacation. Memories to last a lifetime are created, and add even more meaning to the holidays. By planning a special trip for your family or a loved one, you are also giving a unique opportunity for some quality time spent together.

One great idea for a family vacation with the kids and grandchildren is to rent a house at the destination of your choice. A vacation rental home can give you plenty of room for the entire family and a lot of freedom with what to do once you are there. Compared to hotels, a rental home can offer more for less. You get more space, the average vacation home is 2,000 square feet and is designed to sleep at least 6 people. Hotel rooms on the other hand, average around 400 square feet, and you are limited to the number of guests that can stay in one room. There are also amenities that make traveling with the family easier, such as a washer
and dryer and kitchen so you can dine in when you want to. Staying at a hotel means more fees to pay such as for laundry services, or the ever tempting mini bar. Many vacation homes provide extras such as a private pool or hot tub, games, and media entertainment, at no extra cost. By saving money on where you stay, you have more options on what you do while on vacation, this is especially helpful when there is a larger group traveling together.

If you want to take the family on a once in a life time journey, there are some great new options being offered by Adventures by Disney, and Tauk Tours, two of our preferred vendors. Each of these companies cares about you, the client. They seek to provide unique travel experiences for every generation. Adventures by Disney is now partnering with Ama Waterways to provide a Disney family experience while river cruising along the Danube through 4 countries. The adventures Disney provides beyond its resorts are in depth and full of excitement and fun. Families explore the destinations they visit through the eyes of a storyteller, their own guide, to give special history and insight into every location. Disney’s Auluani Hawaiian resort lets your kids experience island life based off the popular Lilo & Stich movie, from Lilo’s point of view.

Tauk Tours offers their Tauk Bridges Family Destination tours, where all the details are taken care of so you and your family can relax. The tours focus on local color and cultural experiences, enriching the lives of every generation. Each tour has family friendly interactive activities to participate in, bringing out the natural curiosity in everyone. For example, kids can learn to make pizza while parents enjoy wine tastings. The tours are also all inclusive and include experiences you can’t get anywhere else, like going on a scavenger hunt in the Louvre Museum, walking hand-in-trunk with an elephant, or riding a trail with a cowboy in one of our National Parks. Tauk offers family travel tours in Europe, the Americas and Africa with each itinerary designed to enrich and inspire. Tauk is leading the way along with other companies such as Windstar Cruises, in a wonderful new trend, that of providing exclusive experiences for tour and cruise guests. Special events such as private dinners at historical locations are included in the latest itineraries around the world. Instead of being just part of a larger crowd of tourists, tour and cruise companies are lining up events where the only guests are those on a tour or ship. This brings a more in depth, intimate experience to your vacation, and adds so much more to the memories made.

If you are ready to pop the question to your sweetheart and want to do so over the holiday season, why not top it off with a romantic weekend getaway? Are wedding plans in full swing but you are not sure what to do about your honeymoon? A holiday gift to a resort could be just the answer. Getting away to a tropical destination during the cold winter months will help keep the spirit of romance alive and well. Sandals Resorts are worth looking into for an adult only, top of the line pampered vacation. Each Sandals resorts has incredible cuisine and amenities such as spa services, pools and hot tubs. There are plenty of activities also from yoga sessions to parasailing, hiking to kayaking, or you can simply dance the night away at the resort lounge. Their pristine beaches and elegant rooms will have you feeling like you are on your own private island, just where romance can reign supreme and make your hearts happy.
Romance is always a welcome gift at the holidays whether there is a proposal pending or not. There are resorts for every budget and destination desired, and these make for an ideally sequestered vacation away from it all.

Whatever you decide to do, when you choose to give the gift of travel, you are giving a lifelong memory that will be treasured. Spend some quality time with your loved ones and enjoy an adventure together, you’ll be glad you did.

August 21, 2015

Eat Well, Be Happy On Your Vacation

The world is a grand place. There are endless opportunities to explore and experience different cultures, histories and landscapes. There are endless options available for traveling, from local or national, to around the world, and there is something to cater to for any budget. But there is one thing that no matter how or where you go, that always unites people and makes any vacation that much more special. That one thing is food. Did you know you can make food your focus for a vacation?

Tourism and travel in general have many facets from the big picture to the finer details which cater to the varied palates of travelers. One aspect includes vacations based on culinary experiences. culinary tour, whether you travel with a guide or independent, brings you up close and personal
to a regions foods. You go beyond eating national dishes and regional favorites, there is more to explore than specific foods known in different destinations. You can learn how to cook in a specific style. You can take the opportunity to bring home the know how to recreate a dish taught to you by experts in their field. And with these opportunities, you can truly get to know the spirit of a place, the heart of the people.

France and Italy have become known as European food meccas where you can receive cooking lessons from renowned chefs in a many locations. Culinary tours go beyond Europe though, you can journey through culinary tours across Asia, the United States, and the Middles East as well. Anyone who has a love of food can take a vacation to enjoy all that a particular region or style of food offers.

Beyond cooking lessons, when you take a culinary tour you get in depth, behind the scenes experiences such as taking a trip to local markets with a personal chef where you can see firsthand where they get the best of their local ingredients. The spice bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey is a feast not only for the eyes but full of exotic aromas as well. 

There are opportunities to tour vineyards that are hundreds of years old, and take a course in wine making. In Portugal you can even get a pampered spa day with wine therapy which uses grapes and other parts of the plant for skin care. 

Take a step back in time in Greece and join in the annual olive harvesting, partaking in long standing traditions from harvesting of the trees to pressing the fragrant olive oil by stone. 

Croatia, home of incredible truffles offers you a chance to go truffle hunting at night with a local farmer and his dog. Imagine the quiet calm of the dark forest and the treasure to be found. 

Photo Zhaffsky
Back here in the states, take a trip to Louisiana for a top rated cook vacation all about creole and Cajun food. These extraordinary comfort foods will be beckoning you to learn and taste all day long.

Photo Nicole Tarazona -

Do you love tea? You can fully immerse yourself in the history and culture of tea in China. There is an international tea festival and tours which give you hands on teach to pick the right tea leaves for a fragrant and tasty blend.

See for yourself the bustling fish market and taste the fruits of your labor as you learn to roll your own sushi from a master in Japan.

Whatever you love about food, if you want to go deeper in understanding that which you love and create a lifelong memory, a culinary tour could be just for you. When it comes to leisure travel, you are the focus, what you want to experience is what we at C.P. Trips will help you plan. For a small fee we will help your vacation dreams comes true. Check out our Website page, Vacation Ideas for You, which is updated regularly for more ideas. Call us at 503-658-5646 or email at for more information.


August 5, 2015

Go Off the Beaten Path along the Oregon Coast

If you live in Oregon, chances are you have been to the Coast and have your favorite places to go and things to do when you are there. If you are planning a visit to Oregon, the coast is more than likely a part of your travel plans as one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. No matter where you begin or how many times you have been, there are always new and exciting things to experience along the Oregon Coast. We have done some of our own research and exploration to find some unique places and activities for you to check out the next time you go traveling down Highway 101.

Seaside is one of the most popular towns in all of Oregon. This quaint town has all the charm you could want in a beach town with a boardwalk, and plenty of shops too. But Seaside has a lesser known side, one which holds a gem waiting to be discovered. At the North end of Seaside is the Necanicum River which flows into the Pacific. You can reach the mouth of the river by crossing it at 12th Street and then head north to the end of the Seaside Promenade. This area is full of rich nutrients and makes the ideal place for Sand dollars, the pinnacle beach combing treasure. Because this part of North end of Seaside toward the next town, Gearhart and you will find more whole sand dollars than just about anywhere else in the state. But be aware when you go, you may run across live specimens. These are usually a light lavender color and look like they have a laye of velvet hairs all around. Take one of these homes and the resulting smell will not be pleasant. Just look for ones that are white, these are the remnant shells of these one-time urchins, and make for wonderful coastal memories.
the Pacific is also fed by the Columbia River just to the north, Sand dollars are able to thrive, and the beach proves it. Take a stroll along the beach between the

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is known the world over, but did you know there is more than one Haystack Rock along the Oregon Coast? There is a taller Haystack Rock in Pacific City, and even a third one in Bandon. Haystack Rock in Pacific City is more than 100 feet taller than the one in Cannon Beach. It stands more than a mile offshore so you can’t get up close to it- but it is quite a sight to behold. The Pacific City Haystack Rock is also a protected wildlife refuge, like the one in Cannon Beach. While you can’t swim out to, boaters have been known to try to reach it- this is not allowed for its protected status, but a good camera can get some great photos. In Bandon Haystack Rock is part of a group of sea stacks, large monoliths that dot the shoreline in the Bandon South Jetty County Park. Looking less like a haystack and more like a hay bale, its sheer size and the surrounding natural landscape make the drive to Bandon worth it. Planning an excursion to visit all the Haystack Rocks on the Oregon Coast could make for a relaxing long weekend.

Another intriguing site along the coast resides in Oceanside, a quaint little town just south of Cape Meares. At the north end of the beach in Oceanside there is a tunnel running through the Cliffside there. The tunnel leads to Tunnel Beach and then on to an amazing treasure around the bend, aptly named Agate Beach.  But you can only access these areas at low tides, so plan your trip accordingly and review current tidal maps so you don’t get caught aware. You can hunt for agates on either beach and are sure to find some beautiful specimens.

For a hauntingly beautiful natural site to view, head to the Central coastal town of Neskowin. Here you will find the Neskowin Ghost Forest, the remains of an ancient Sitka spruce forest which is buried partially in the sand. The forest was discovered after a series of storms in 1997-1998. It is believed that the forest was originally buried 2,000 years ago from either a tsunami or earthquake. When the tide is out up to 100 of these ancient tree stumps can be seen, creating an eerily beautiful sight, a nature lover and photographer’s dream.

A rare site awaits you just north of Florence. This is where you will find the Darlingtonia State Natural Site, a small marsh area which is home to Oregon’s only bug eating plant, Darlingtonia californica, a pitcher plant commonly known as cobra lily. As the only carnivorous plant in Oregon, the natural site is dedicated to the protection of the species which is a rare plant indeed. The name Cobra Lily refers to the elongated tubular leaves which look like a rearing cobra, and a forked leaf that look like fangs.

If you want to experience a bit more action on your next Oregon Coast trip, head down to Florence, the birth place of one of the newest sports around, sandboarding. Instead of surfing along snow, you can now surf along sand, no waves required. The dunes of Florence offer some of the best Sand Master Park is the first sandboard park in the world. Just Oregon took the lead in Windsurfing and Mountain Biking, Sand Surfing is the stuff born of a love of the outdoors. The park has other activities including Dune Buggy tours, sand sledding and boogie boarding. You can also attend a Sand sculpting clinic and play in a giant sandbox.
sand to surf the day away.

Whatever you choose to do at the Oregon Coast, you will find something new and exciting to experience where ever you travel. For a small fee, we at C.P. Trips are here to work with you in planning a stress free Oregon vacation.  Check out our website, and our Visit the Wonders of Oregon page for more information and travel ideas to the 7 Wonders of Oregon. Email us at, or call Cindy Passannante at 503-658-5646 or our Oregon Dream’s Specialist, Julie Hirning at 503-705-8043, today and we can explore the incredible variety of vacation ideas and options waiting for you in our wonderful state of Oregon.

July 24, 2015

Turn Your Passion for Travel into a New Opportunity

Do you love to travel? Do your friends and family turn to you for help with planning their own vacations or for travel ideas? Here in Oregon, tourism as an industry brings in $10.3 billion annually. This includes not only basic travel planning, hotels, food and entertainment, but also event planning, community tourism, family vacations and niche markets, such as the 7 Wonders of Oregon, Golf or Bicycling activities. Were you aware that the tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world? Lifelong memories are created when traveling, but what would you say if you could get even more out of your experiences, turning your passion for travel into a career?

If you have given any thought toward starting a home based business, or expanding on what you already have been doing to help friends and family with their travel plans, you will want to register for the upcoming seminar, An Introduction to the World of Tourism & Travel, being presented by Cindy Passannante, President of C.P. Trips, One thing which has remained constant over the years is the need for Tourism Professionals, and the variety of services they provide to local residents and visitors alike. If tourism & travel is something you are passionate about, this seminar is a great opportunity to invest in yourself, and learn more about the industry.

During the seminar you will get insights into how to run your own home-based travel business. You will also learn about key areas of the Travel Industry, for example, niche markets in culinary tours, eco & adventure travel, cruises and more. You will learn about event planning and how this particular industry is connected to local tourism, through gatherings such as weddings, conventions, entertainment and sports events. You will have the opportunity to meet with local tourism & travel experts and vendors who understand the great impact tourism has on our local economy and communities. By the end of the seminar you will have the information, and access to tools and expert advice to help you take the next steps in creating and expanding your passion for Tourism & Travel into something for yourself.

For $99.00 you will learn the key “Ins & Outs” of the world of Tourism & Travel. The seminar is being held on Saturday September 19th, 2015. If you are ready to move forward with your passion for tourism and travel, this opportunity is not to be missed. Space is limited, to get more details and register for An Introduction to the World of Travel& Tourism, call 503-658-5646 OR go to and complete your registration online.

July 8, 2015

Bed and Breakfast at the Oregon Coast

Photo Credit: Bill Young

A trip to the Oregon Coast is a must do vacation for the Northwest. There are over three hundred miles of public beach just waiting for you to explore. You could spend a long weekend in one area, or take a week or two and journey along the coastline, experiencing the three regions, from the North coast, to the Central and Southern, each of which offers its own flavor of fun. From local breweries, award winning cheeses and incredible wineries, the fresh seafood has plenty of options to accompany menus at restaurants all along the way. There are several lighthouses to visit each with amazing views of the Pacific. The hiking trails are endless along the coast, with viewpoints along the way. Museums, aquariums, antique and artisan shops will never leave you wanting for something to do. Outdoor activities include fishing, crabbing, clamming, boating, camping, golf and more.  But where do you stay when at the Oregon Coast? Bed & Breakfasts (B&B) make a wonderful choice for a coastal vacation. 

A Bed & Breakfast offers you the comforts of home, including breakfast at the start of your day. There is the opportunity to meet local residents, those with the inside knowledge of what makes an area worth the visit. Often, a B&B is also more cost effective compared to a hotel, resort or rental house, so if budget is a concern, this could a great option. Bed & Breakfasts also offer an intimate setting which makes for meeting new friends easy. When you meet other travelers ideas are exchanges, stories shared and sometimes friendships made. During your stay at a B&B, you become family, if only for a short while, and it can make your travel memories that much better.

Along the Northern Coast, there is the Arch Cape Inn & Retreat. This B&B is reminiscent of a French Chateau located near Cannon Beach, home of world famous Haystack Rock (One of two in the state), a natural landmark which has been drawing visitors to the coast for years. The cedar shingled house has several suites designed to meet your desire for comfort. Some rooms have their own soaking tubs, and all have spectacular views, whether of the ocean below, or lovely grounds, whichever suite you stay in, you will be wrapped in luxurious beauty and charm. There are even three pet friendly rooms which have their own private entrances so you can bring your best friend along for your coastal adventure. Arch Cape Inn also offers incredible excursions and eco tours. You can spend a day with a local marine biologist and enjoy some whale watching for example. Another boasting point for Arch Cape Inn is their own approach to going “green” in terms of their services.  They are making updates and changes to how they run the inn in order to help the environment overall. From a romantic weekend to an eco-adventure, whatever your plans are for the Cannon Beach area, Arch Cape Inn & Retreat is an incredible place to call home while on vacation at the Northern Oregon Coast.

Newport is the mainstay of the Central Oregon coast, as one of the largest cities in the region, it
boasts enough attractions that you could spend your entire coastal vacation there, taking excellent day trips all around the area. A few examples include the Oregon Coast Museum, Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Rogue Ales Brewery. One of the highlights of the Oregon coast are the incredible panoramic views to be had. So why not stay in a Bed & Breakfast with a view worth waking up to? Lightkeeper’s Inn in Newport gives you just that- each room has a panoramic view of the coastline. Yaquina Bay, including the lighthouse, Yaquina Bay Bridge, the Newport Bay Front and plenty of activity from sea lions to sailors can all be taken in from Lightkeeper’s Inn. The evenings are picturesque as you watch the sun go beneath the waves and docks and walkways become alight, a beacon in the dark. Lightkeeper’s Inn is a three story home with touches of coastal architecture. It offers 2 suites each with a gas fireplace, as well as a TV and DVD player for those Oregon Coast stormy nights (winter is an amazing season to experience at the Coast). The inn is perfect for an intimate stay with someone local, where you can relax in the comfort of home. There is a large living space, 4 viewing decks and dining room, but you are welcome to eat in your suite if you prefer. Each room is tastefully decorated in coastal themes, subtlety stated, yet charming, they make you feel at home along the coast. It is said an air of friendship awaits you at the Lightkeeper’s Inn, with the warm welcome Bill and Cheryl provide. The Lightkeeper’s Inn holds a lot of family history and connection to lighthouses. One of the owners, Cheryl comes from a line of Lighthouse Keepers, and is a fountain of local knowledge. 

For a truly Oregon experience there is a place in the Southern Oregon Coast which will not only help you understand what Oregon is all about when it comes to our approach to the environment, it will help you become a part of nature yourself. Just outside of Port Orford, Oregon, near Gold Beach and about 60 miles north of California, is a quaint B&B style property whose main focus is to support the natural beauty of the coastal forest, and their guests in luxury. Wildspring Guest Habitat is a five acre retreat nestled in the woods overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Their motto is “For Body and Soul” and they are serious about this concept.  With 5 guest cabins and an open air slate spa, tranquility is the goal that you can achieve when you stay. Wildspring is dedicated to making as little impact on the environment as possible, yet still providing a place where people can come and relax, connect with the peace of nature and the beauty of the Oregon Coast. Breakfast is included with your stay, and the grounds are filled with lush, natural vegetation and contemplative features such as a walking labyrinth and a sculpture garden. With rates starting as just about $200 a night, this is a retreat that is very affordable, yet will surround you with luxury. The owners of Wildspring Guest Habitat want to encourage others to help conserve our natural resources, and the way they bring you to nature in comfort and luxury, it is an easy thing to understand when you there. During your stay in the area you can visit any number of antique and gift shops, enjoy some golf and explore the region’s 8 rivers which flow into the Pacific. The Southern Coast is where the mountains meet the ocean in a sea of forest, and where you can step away from the ordinary and surround yourself with spectacular beauty. Wildspring Guest is just the place to rediscover yourself and connect with the spirit of the Oregon Coast.

 The next time you head for the Oregon Coast, or are planning a trip to Oregon, whether you are traveling from near or far, why not check out one of these Oregon Coast B&Bs? Be sure to check out our next blog, where we will share some unexpected aspects of the Oregon Coast. For a small fee, we at C.P. Trips are here to work with you in planning a stress free Oregon vacation.  Check out our website, and our Visit the Wonders of Oregon page for more information and travel ideas to the 7 Wonders of Oregon. Email us at, or call Cindy Passannante at 503-658-5646 or our Oregon Dream’s Specialist, Julie Hirning at 503-705-8043, today and we can explore the incredible variety of vacation ideas and options waiting for you in our wonderful state of Oregon.