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A First Time Cruiser’s Review of Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Escape

Former travel agent Christine Callinan’s review of Norwegian Escape offers a great insight into what it is like to cruise on a luxury cruise for the first time. 

Many of you may know that I love cruising, and I am a big fan of Norwegian Cruise Line’s luxury ships and free-style atmosphere. You can read my review of Norwegian Encore here, however, I think it is important to get different perspectives on cruise holidays. When my travel pal Christine told me she had booked a cruise for her own holiday, I was delighted when she agreed to write a review of Norwegian Escape as someone who is new to cruise.

Christine outlines her reasons for choosing Norwegian, the booking process, her thoughts on the food and facilities on board, and her fabulous port stops. As a former travel agent, Christine also shares her top tips for getting cabin upgrades, airport transfers and what to do in port stops. 
 

 

 
Having never cruised before, I went through each cruise line with a fine tooth comb to find the best value and the best option for travelling with a teenager. My daughter was almost 17 at the time of our trip and her desire was to see as many countries as possible on one cruise. We chose a 10 day Greek Isles and Italy cruise on Norwegian Escape, one of Norwegian cruise line’s newer ships.
 

 

 
Norwegian Escape is a vast ship, but by no means the biggest in the world – at full capacity she can hold 4266 passengers and a further 1733 crew. When we travelled the ship was approximately 60% full due to covid restrictions for US travellers. The test for re-entry to the US was removed the week before we sailed, but not in time for the ship to fill up.

We left Dublin for Rome on the Aer Lingus 6.20am flight, and booked a check-in slot at Civitacecchia port for 12.30 – 13.00pm. On arrival at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport we were picked up by a private chauffeur and brought straight to the ship.

The cost of the transfer was €110 for the three of us plus suitcases. There is also a standard taxi charge of €120, which is still much cheaper than the rate the cruise line charges for a shared bus ride of €75 per person. We used ZIP transfers but there are loads of companies online all offering the same service.
 

 

 
The check-in process was seamless. Before leaving home we printed off our baggage labels for the cruise and placed them on our bags so that they could be brought directly to our cabin. Once we cleared embarkation we were free to start our holiday!
 

 

 

Reasons for choosing Norwegian Cruise Line

restaurants on norwegian cruise line

One of the main reasons we chose NCL was because of their all inclusive offering. We booked the ‘Free at Sea’ package which included all meals, 2 speciality dining options, $50 discount off sightseeing tours (which we didn’t use once), and an all-inclusive bar.
 

 

 
The drinks package included all alcoholic drinks up to the value of $15 per drink. We enjoyed cocktails, beers, spirits, and wine by the glass. We booked a soda package for my daughter which was $89, but she really didn’t need it, as there was ample water and juices available throughout the ship.
 

 

 

How to get an upgrade with Norwegian Cruise Line  

norwegian encore balcony stateroom

Depending on the category of state room you book, NCL will offer you a chance to bid on an upgraded room. We had booked a balcony suite, and when offered we put in a bid for a club balcony suite.
 

 

 
The only difference is a much larger bathroom – double sinks and a huge rain shower. You also get one free laundry service and a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, and a few treats are also left in the room throughout your stay, chocolate strawberries, cookies etc.
 

 

 
We put in a minimum bid of $70pp (only the first two people pay per cabin), and thought no more about it.  Three days before we were due to sail, we received an email to say the bid was successful! I’m sure the only reason we won our bid was that the ship was not at full capacity. You can make bids right up to the Haven level, and you will only be billed if successful, so it is definitely worth a try!
 

 

 
Our Club Balcony Suite for three people consisted of a very large king size bed and a single bed, as well as a large bathroom with double sinks and large rain shower, a dressing table area with stool and a mini bar.

There was a balcony with two seats and an outside table too. TOP TIP: We were on the 15th deck on the starboard side – this gave us great views when arriving and departing from ports. We docked on the starboard (right) side in most posts. 

 

 
The second we stepped onboard our experience began. We had to wait an hour or so for our cabin to be cleaned and checked, but during that time we were free to roam the ship or enjoy a meal, which is exactly what we did, as we had been on the go since 3am. The choice of restaurants and bars is vast…
 

 

 

Dining on Norwegian Escape:

O’Sheehan’s bar and grill is open 24 hours a day and is included on all packages, it is ideal for casual dining and drinks. This is an Irish themed bar (that is a very loose description), but is excellent for snacks and lunch, if more formal dining is not required.
 

 

 
The Garden Cafe is the buffet restaurant located on deck 16, and is open until 11pm for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and everything in between.

There are three main dining rooms: Savour, Taste, and the Manhattan Room. All restaurants serve the same menu and these menus are changed daily. I found Savour and Taste very similar, but the Manhattan Room offered live music while we ate.
 

 

 
Norwegian’s freestyle dining means that there is no specific dining times and you will be seated at your own table – you can eat whenever you want – no old fashioned dining times or captains table! The food quality at all of these restaurants was excellent.

Food on Norwegian Escape

The Speciality Dining that was included in our ‘Free at Sea’ package allowed us to swap the main dining rooms for something a bit more special on two nights of our choice. There are 11 different options to choose from, ranging from Teppanyaki to Tapas.
 

 

 
As we were travelling with a third person, we had to pay a supplement for her to eat with us. We chose the Teppanyaki and Cagney’s steakhouse – both were wonderful fun experiences and the food was excellent.

Top Tip: I am glad I listened to the advice to book our speciality dining options as soon as we came aboard, as they book up very quickly, especially on days that you are at sea.
 

 

 

Entertainment on Norwegian Escape

review of norwegian escape entertainment - a choir of man

There is a vast array of entertainment on board – something to suit everyone. During the day the main Atrium can feel a little like Butlins, with game shows like Deal or no Deal and Mr and MRS going on. Most days we were off exploring beautiful places but on the days at sea, these shows attracted a crowd – some people put a lot of work into winning a t-shirt!
 

 

 
At night there are live shows, a comedy club and a casino. The live shows can book up very quickly so I advise booking them as early as possible too. Not everyone was a first time cruiser and were more prepared than I was. We only managed to see one show and it was fine.
 

 

 
There is an adults-only area called Spice H20 where adults can chill out during the day, and there are themed parties at night time. There is also a waterfront area – that is the quiet zone which is perfect for reading and relaxing.
 

 

 
If travelling alone there is a meeting room for solo travellers to meet up and make new friends. While having a drink on the walkway one evening we sat beside three ladies who had all met in the solo lounge – one English, one Australian and one American. You would never have guessed that they did not know each other before the cruise, all had one goal in life and that was to enjoy themselves.
 

 

 

Pool deck and activities on Norwegian Escape

The top deck is where  the main outdoor action is, and where kids can be entertained. There are also a couple of water slides, as well as a drop slide that my daughter was traumatised on – not literally though… Firstly, they weigh you but that’s not the worst bit, the bottom then falls and you come straight down, definitely not for the faint hearted – we left it to the teenager!

review of Norwegian Escape

The water slide with rubber tubes was much more appealing! There is also large rope course but note you have to have long shorts to be allowed on it. There are also kids clubs on board, but best check with your cruise agent for suitability of ages.
 

 

 
A crazy golf course that is being remodelled at the moment, giant chess and ping pong tables complete the fun zone. There is also a teen zone onboard for kids up to 17 so they can meet up. It was only on our last day did that ours show any interest in this – at this stage I think she was just sick of the parents!
 

 

 

Port stops on Norwegian Escape Greek Isles and Italy cruise

Now to the fabulous places we got to visit! Our first night was a full night at sea, arriving the next afternoon in Santorini Greece.

port stop in Santorini from Norwegian Escape

This is a tender port which means you are taken off by water taxis. TOP TIP: This has to be booked in advance, and the earlier you book the lower the number of the tender – so book this as early as possible to ensure a speedy embarkation.
 

 

 
I did find if you booked an excursion through NCL you got an early tender, or if you just tell them you have a tour booked and they are waiting for you! Well it worked for us to get on Tender 2, but I can’t guarantee it will work every time….

We had no tour booked and decided to play it by ear. On arrival into Fira Port you can either walk up 600 steps to the top of the cliff, take a donkey (not a good option), or travel by cable car. We chose the cable car which was only €6 per person each way and well worth the cost.
 

 

 
Do not be tempted to take a water bus to Oia. It is €20 per person and you still have to climb steps, only in a different location.  Escorted tours can range from €100 per person upwards or you can go it alone. We chose to take a taxi €35 each way to Oia – we had to get the iconic Santorini photos!
 

 

 
It was aabout a 20 minute taxi drive  and the taxi rank in Fira is just off the main road leading into the town centre. We had a wonderful afternoon there, taking photos and enjoying a leisurely lunch. For such an iconic place. we found the food was very reasonable, with a huge greek salad costing just €12.
 

 

 
Our next stop was Mykonos, which was definitely one of my favourites. We were able to dock right next to the port so no tenders were required. There are free shuttles to take you to Mykonos town, but we chose to take a water taxi for €2 per person which dropped us right in the centre of town.
 

 

 
There is so much to see and do in Mykonos. Some people went straight to the beach, but we went exploring the town. We visited the windmills and marvelled at the Venice of Greece. We enjoyed nice drinks and watched the world go by, it was heaven!

port stop in Mykonos from Norwegian Escape

Everywhere we turned there was a photo opportunity, but after a spot of shopping we headed back to the ship to enjoy the sunset on board.

After an overnight sail we arrived in Athens. We didn’t book an excursion here either. I had read that the hop on hop off buses meet the cruise liners, and true to their word they were there. We chose the simple option of heading straight to the Acropolis, and we had view of the Parthenon temple on approach.

acropolis, athens

Unfortunately everyone had the same idea and it was absolutely packed.  It was 38C in the shade, so after seeing the length of the queue we departed for the Acropolis museum. We purchased tickets online, and went straight to the top of the queue. There are lots of fascinating artefacts to see in the museum, as well as a gift shop and restaurant – and the air conditioning was welcomed by all of us!
 

 

 
After a couple of hours we went back to the ship. Our next stop was supposed to be Corfu but the itinerary was changed a couple of days before we departed, to allow more time in Mykonos and Malta. I think was a good option as we got full days in both these destinations rather than a few hours.
 

 

 
Our next stop was Valletta in Malta. We arrived into Valletta at 5.40am as the dawn broke and it was a real treat. We set our alarm so as not to miss the arrival, and wow it was worth the early start.  We sat on our balcony and enjoyed getting closer and closer to this this ancient city. We docked right in the centre of the city and disembarked after breakfast.

best travel deals to Malta

There was lots of taxi drivers vying for business, but we just walked on by and took the elevator from the port into the heart of the city – all for €1 each way. There is plenty of shopping and sightseeing to do in Valletta and tons of photo opportunities.
 

 

 
We did a tour on the sightseeing train that can be picked up in the main square – it cost €6.00 per person. It gave us a fantastic feel for the city and we didn’t have to hike up and down the hills.
 

 

 
We also took the hop on hop off the bus to Mdina –  an ancient walled city about 45 minutes from Valletta. This is a beautiful city and so full of history. It is also a ‘Silent City’, where no cars are allowed into its labyrinth of mazy streets.
 

 

 
Messina, Sicily was our next stop and once again we decided to disembark and ramble on our own. The ship docked right in the town so there was no need to book taxis or take trains anywhere. We hit the main street and went shopping. All the usual high street brands are in Messina, along with top designer shops and Italian souvenirs. There are also a few ornate buildings that warrant a photo or two, but nothing outstanding.
 

 

 
A lot of people booked the Mt Etna tour, but it is a long drive there and back so take that into account if you are considering it. We decided to return to the ship early and take advantage of a quieter pool deck.

The following day we had a full day at sea. These are the best days to book shows, spa treatments, and speciality dining, as you aren’t rushed to get back from excursions. Unfortunately everyone else thinks the same, so early booking is a must. On the at sea days the pool area can be extremely busy with lots of pool games, and lots of very loud people. 
 

 

 
There was an ice sculpture demonstration by the pool in the afternoon that looked interesting, but I can honestly say I preferred to chill on our balcony than at the pool deck on sea days. TOP TIP: When choosing a cruise, take note of how many port stops there are. I believe pool decks on most cruise ships are very busy on sea days so you will want to have as few sea days as possible.
 

 

 
Our next stop was Livorno. This port is used for visits to Pisa, Florence and the Cinque Tierre. As we hadn’t ever been to any of the above, we decided to go to Pisa. We took a bus to the town centre and bought bus tickets to the train station from a tobacco shop.

TOP TIP Remember to validate your tickets or you could end up with a costly fine. Trains to Pisa and Florence run practically every half hour and are incredibly cheap. We paid €2.80 per person each way to Pisa. On arrival in Pisa you can either walk or take a local bus to the Leaning Tower, but buy your ticket from the tobacco shop in the train station, and the bus is right outside. We saw lots of inspectors fining tourists for not validating their ticket here.
 

 

 
We had a lovely walk around Pisa and stayed for lunch, but there really isn’t much to do in Pisa apart from the Leaning Tower. Livorno is also a lovely town to shop in so we spent a little time there too. The cruise bus was waiting for us on return – they operate every 15 minutes all day and it was well worth the €6 charge to get to and from the ship.
 

 

 
Our last stop was Naples and once again we docked right in the city centre. The dock is right beside all the ferries heading south to Capri, Sorrento and on to the Amalfi coast. There are lots of tours to Pompei and Vesuvius also on offer from the NCL excursion desk.

review of norwegian escape port stops on greek isles and italy cruise

As we had been to all of these places before, we chose to walk to Naples main street and just have a browse around. Naples is a lovely old city with plenty to see and do. Having been there before though, if the stop had been longer I definitely would have taken the ferry to Capri. You can read about my previous trip to this area here:

Read: The Ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast

Our final overnight sail took us back to Civitavecchia and eventually Rome. We took the shuttle bus from the ship to the Port entrance where we queued for a further shuttle (€3 per person), to take us to the train station. Trains run regularly all day to Rome and we purchased our ticket from a vending machine for €12.60 for all three of us for just over an hour’s journey.
 

 

 
The train leaves you in Termini Station and taxis are plentiful to take you to anywhere in Rome. Taxis are very reasonable and journeys rarely cost us more than €10 – just make sure they are regulated / metered taxis – a taxi rank is the safest option.  We had a further 4 days of sightseeing and eating pizza in Rome but that’s another day’s story…

 

I hope you enjoyed my review of Norwegian Escape and it will help you plan a cruise holiday soon.

 

Happy trails!

 

Christine signature

Cruises

10 Cruise Deals From Ireland With Flights Included

Sarah Alex cruise

I’ve hand-picked some of my top cruise deals from Ireland to help you plan your next cruise holiday.

Why visit one destination when you can visit several? Cruise holidays offer you the opportunity to see multiple cities or countries on one trip, and you only need to pack and unpack once! They offer great value for money with meals and entertainment included in the cost, and there is a wide selection of cruise deals from Ireland to suit all tastes and budgets.

Want to know what cruise ship is best for you? Check out all my cruise reviews or read my latest post:

Read: How to choose the right cruise for you
 

 

 

1. Enchanted Princess: 7 Night Med Cruise, 27th May, €695

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you were following me recently ou may know I was having the best time on Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess!  This super deal for next summer is cruising on Enchanted Princess – the sister ship of Sky Princess, it was actually launched afterwards so is even newer than Sky Princess!
 

 

 
Fly to Barcelona and cruise to Marseille, Gibraltar, Genoa and Livorno before arriving at your final destination – Rome. This is a similar itinerary to my recent cruise and I loved visiting Marseille and the Cinque Terre. You can also visit Pisa, Florence or the Tuscan hills.

Price of €695 per person includes return flights and a seven-night cruise on the 6th or 27th of May staying in an inside cabin. Airport transfers are extra. Add on Princess Plus for €46 per person per day which includes all drinks up to $12 in value, WiFi and gratuities!

Read: Princess Cruises Free Flights Offer for Summer 2023
 

 

 

2. Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas 7-Night Cruise, 16th October, €1349

cruise deals from Ireland on Wonder of the Seas

The biggest ship in the world was launched this year and is Royal Caribbean’s 5th Oasis Class ship – it can carry 6,988 guests plus 2300 crew. Thrill seekers will love the longest slide at sea, surf simulators, rock climbing walls and zip line, but there are plenty of spaces to relax too, including the adult-only solarium with indoor pool and luxury spa.
 

 

 
There are 9 complimentary and 12 speciality dining restaurants, as well as 12 bars and lounges across the ship. There are 8 different neighbourhoods on board including Central Park with 20,000 plants.
 

 

 
Wonder of the Seas sails from Barcelona this year and visits Palma, Marseille, Florence / Pisa, Rome and Naples before returning to Barcelona for your flight home. This seven night fly cruise includes flights from Dublin, checked baggage,  meals and entertainment. Add Deluxe drinks package from 46pp per night.

 
View offer here
 

 

 

4. MS Arena: Christmas Markets River Cruise, Flights, Hotel Stay & 4-Night Cruise, €799pp

river cruise deals from Ireland

While mega cruise ships get most of the media attention, river cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors within the cruise industry. They are a great introduction to cruising and ideal for people who may not want to cruise on crowded ships – river cruise ships carry an average of 150 passengers. 
 

 

 
Some of the advantages to river cruising over ocean cruising is that you have a different view each day. When you dock in a city, you can walk into the town centre without need for coaches or excursions.  They tend to attract an older clientele, although shorter itineraries such as Christmas market cruises can attract a younger age group.

Cologne Christmas markets cruise

I cruised on MS Arena overnight from Amsterdam, and while basic compared to 4-star ocean cruises, I found the food and service very good. It is a great way to try cruising without breaking the bank.
 

 

 
I found a great offer for a Christmas markets cruise which includes an overnight stay in Cologne. Price for flights, hotel stay and a four night cruise with all meals included on the 1st, 5th or 9th of December is €799 per person. 

View offer here
 

 

 

5. MSC World Europa: Dubai & Emirates 7-Night Cruise, 21st January 2023, €1099

cruise deals from Ireland to Dubai

Cruise Dubai, and the Emirates this winter on board the brand new MSC World Europa. Visit Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Dammam, and Doha, before returning to Dubai for your flight home. This super deals includes flights from Dublin, checked baggage, transfers, and a seven-night cruise with meals, entertainment and gratuities. Add on a premium drinks package for only €200.

This price is based on travel on the 21st of January 2023 but contact TourAmerica / Cruise Holidays for prices on departures from December to March 2023.

View offer here
 

 

 

6. MSC Seaview: 7-Night Med Cruise, 6th May from €1079

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I cruised on MSC Seaview a few years ago and loved its bright modern design and variety of outdoor spaces. This offers superb value for anyone looking to cruise the Med this year. MSC Seaview sets sail from Barcelona and visits Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Valletta, before returning to Barcelona for your return flight home.
 

 

 
Price of €1079 includes flights, checked baggage, meals, and entertainment, staying in a balcony cabin. Contact Travelnet via the link below for prices for alternative dates. 

Read: My review of MSC Seaview

View offer here
 

 

 

7. Harmony of the Seas: 7 Night Caribbean Cruise & 3-Night Universal Stay, September, €1940

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Treat yourself to a three-night stay at the 5-star Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios, before cruising the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas for seven nights! Visit the Bahamas, Royal Caribbean’s private island – Coco Cay, Jamaica and Labadee over seven days and this luxury cruise deal includes flights, checked baggage and all meals and entertainment on board the cruise.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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By staying in one of Universal Studios premium hotels you will also receive early park admission and an Express Pass to Universal Studios, so you can skip the queues at almost all of the top attractions (valid theme park admission required).

View offer here
 

 

 

8. Norwegian Prima: 2 Night Stay in New York & 5-Night Bermuda Cruise, 9th October, €1870

Norwegian Cruise line is launching a brand new ship in August – Norwegian Prima, and I’ve got the perfect deal to showcase it! This shop and cruise deal includes direct flights to New York on the 9th of October, a two-night stay New York and a five-night cruise to Virginia Beach and, wait for it, Bermuda
 

 

 
Price for flights, 23kg checked baggage, hotel stay pre and post cruise, and a five-night cruise with all meals, drinks, WiFi, shore excursion credit and one speciality dining option is just €1969 per person! Add €67.50 for gratuities.

View offer here
 

 

 

9. Princess Cruises: California Coastal 7-Night Cruise & 3-Night Stay, 28th September, €1779pp


Enjoy a three-night stay in San Francisco before boarding Ruby Princess for a California coast cruise, visiting Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego and Ensenada before returning to San Francisco for your return flight home.
 

 

 
This super deal includes direct flights with Aer Lingus, a three-night hotel stay in San Francisco and a seven-night cruise with meals and entertainment included. You can add on Princess Plus, which includes drinks, gratuities and WiFi for just €35 per person per day.

View offer here
 

 

 

10. Norwegian Sun: 10-Night Canary Islands Winter Cruise, 1st December, €995

Norwegian Sun deal with Sunway

You don’t need to venture far to enjoy a sunny winter cruise! This super cruise sails from Lisbon and as well as visiting the Canary Islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, you will also visit Madeira, Gibraltar, Malaga and Cadiz! Priced at just €999 including flights and checked baggage.
 

 

 
And that’s not all, for an extra €199 you will receive a premium drinks package, WiFi, one speciality dining meal and shore excursion credit. Gratuities can be pre paid for an additional €135. This is one of the best value cruise deals from Ireland this winter.

View offer here 
 

 

 
I hope my cruise deals from Ireland will help you plan a cruise holiday soon. Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Want to know what cruise ship is best for you? Check out all my cruise reviews or read my latest post:

Read: How to choose the right cruise for you

 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 14th September 2021

Best Travel Deals Image_opt (1)

I’ve searched the web so you don’t have to! My best travel deals include last minute holidays, winter breaks, city breaks, cruise deals, early booking offers for next summer, and staycations for couples and families.

A last minute deal to Greece, a Royal Caribbean cruise, and a family trip to Dubai feature in my best travel deals this week. I also have winter sun in Lanzarote, a city break to Venice, an early booking offer to the Algarve in July, a girls night away, and a family break between Christmas and New Year.
 

 

 
It is important to be aware that each country has their own entry requirements. If you are vaccinated, you will beed to bring your Digital Covid Certificate with you, and non-vaccinated people will need to produce a negative Covid tests on arrival. 
 
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Most countries require passenger locator forms to be filled out in advance of travel – in some cases these have to be done 24 hours in advance. I have some advice and tips in these posts that you may find useful, but please check the latest updates with your airline or travel agent before you travel.

Top 10 tips for booking holidays during Covid-19

Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Travelling overseas? Make sure you fill out passenger locator forms in advance

Latest travel updates on international travel – your questions answered
 

 

 

Best last minute holiday:

the travel expert has the best travel deals to Zakynthos

Jet off to the beautiful island of Zakynthos this weekend, and stay at the popular Alykes Garden Village for just €308 per person – yes you read that right! Highly recommended on Tripadvisor, you can’t beat this price for a week in the sun. Price includes flights, apartment, return airport transfers and checked baggage for seven nights.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best overnight escape:

Girls night away in Ireland hotel

Due to popular demand, this exclusive offer from the Clayton Hotel Limerick is back for a second time. From a mere €80 per person you can enjoy a night away with breakfast, a 4-course à la carte dinner, a complimentary cocktail, and Prosecco in your room on arrival – can you believe the price? You also have full access to the Club Vitae swimming pool, health and fitness centre.
 

 

 
This exclusive deal is valid right up to the end of the year, even on Friday nights. Price of €80pp is based on three sharing, and is aimed a ‘girls night away’, but you can of course bring your partner, mother etc. Price for two sharing is €95 per person. Supplements apply for Saturday night stays. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best winter break:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Beat the January blues with a week in Lanzarote for just €293. Aer Lingus’ Seat Sale is now on with return flights from just €120 per person on the 27th of January. I found a great deal to the Bitacora apartments in Puerto del Carmen for just €173 per person.
 

 

 
Alternatively choose the 5-star All Inclusive Gran Castillo Tagoro for just €577 (refundable rate), making a total stay here just €697 per person.

View flights here €120pp

View Bitacora €173pp

View Gran Castillo €577pp
 

 

 

Best family holiday:

family offer to Dubai in the travel experts best travel deals

Emirates holidays has a superb family offer in the 4-star Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts from 4th January – 30th September 2022. Enjoy a free upgrade from bed & breakfast to half board, as well as complimentary park tickets to Dubai Parks and Resorts – home to Legoland, Legoland Waterpark, Motiongate and Bollywood Parks. 
 

 

 
I looked at the June bank holiday weekend and price for direct flights with Emirates to Dubai with 25kg checked baggage per person, and a seven night stay with breakfast, evening meal and park tickets included, is €3,645 based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Offer is available throughout the year – price seven nights over Easter holidays is €4,529.

Read: Top tips for a family holiday to Dubai

View offer here
 

 

 

Best family staycation:

irish hotel deals for families in wexford

Rated number 1 on TripAdvisor  the luxurious Talbot Suites at Stonebridge, Wexford is a super choice for families looking for a break between Christmas and New Year. There are two and three-bedroom apartments available, and all have access to the swimming pool and Talbot Quay Leisure Centre and the facilities of the Talbot Hotel Wexford.
 

 

 
Price is €360 for a two-bedroom apartment and €500 for a three-bedroom apartment, arriving on the 28th of December for two nights.

Read: Top 10 things to do in Wexford with kids

See more here
 

 

 

Best city break:

City guide to Venice, best things to do, and where to stay

Now is the time to explore Venice – get there before the crowds arrive! Aer Lingus is offering great value airfares from just €39.99 each way in October, and there are super hotel deals available too.
 

 

 
Price for flights on the 19th of October and a four-night stay in the Hotel Dell’Opera is €362 per person. Highly recommended on TripAdvisor, this hotel is located just five minutes walk from St. Mark’s Square.

Read: Venice travel guide – top things to do and where to stay

View flights here €80pp

View hotel here €282pp
 

 

 

Best cruise:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The value on cruise holidays at the moment is second to none! Did you know you can cruise the Med for seven days on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas for just €899 in October? This amazing offer includes flights, 20kg checked baggage, all meals and entertainment on board, gratuities, and an upgrade to a neighbourhood balcony cabin!
 

 

 
Visit Barcelona, Palma, Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples before returning to Barcelona for your return flight home. I had the pleasure of cruising on this ship many years ago – you can read my review here. See this and lots more cruise offers here:

See more here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Algarve beach

If you believe Michael O Leary’s comments this week, airfares for next summer are set to increase! If you you are in a position to book now, you can secure return flights to the Algarve from €152 in July.
 

 

 
The beachfront Santa Eulalia Hotel & Spa near Albufeira is also offering early booking discounts, so you can secure a week in this popular holiday resort for just €510 per person on the 7th of July.

Search flights here €152pp

View hotel here €358pp 
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 31st August 2021

Best travel deals

This weeks best travel deals include a last minute sun holiday, city break and cruise deal, winter breaks, early booking offers for next summer, and staycations for couples and families.

Last minute deals to Gran Canaria and Bordeaux, as well as a super Greek Isles cruise in September feature in my best travel deals this week. I also have staycations in Sligo and Wexford, a short post-Christmas ski trip, and early booking offers to Sorrento and Lanzarote for next summer.
 

 

 
It is important to be aware that each country has their own entry requirements, and these can change at any time. Most countries require non-vaccinated people to produce proof of negative Covid tests on arrival. Some require PCR tests, others will accept Antigen tests, and child ages vary from country to country.
 
Instagram

It is also vital that if you are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid that you have proof of this. If you have not yet received your Digital Covid Certificate, or need more information on testing or entry requirements, you can find out more in this post:

Latest travel updates on international travel – your questions answered
 

 

 
Most countries require passenger locator forms to be filled out in advance of travel – in some cases these have to be done 24 hours in advance. I have some advice and tips in these posts that you may find useful, but please check the latest updates with your airline or travel agent before you travel.

Top 10 tips for booking holidays during Covid-19

Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Travelling overseas? Make sure you fill out passenger locator forms in advance

 

Best last minute holiday:

Puerto Mogan

Treat yourself to some five-star luxury and enjoy a week in Gran Canaria, staying at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Mogan for just €579. This hotel is located close to the seafront in the pretty fishing village of Mogan.
 

 

 
There are two swimming pools, as well as a Spa and fitness centre with running track and climbing tower. This hotel has been on my wish list for some time, I have personally had great feedback from previous guests. 

This price is based on flying from Dublin on the 14th of September, and includes a seven-night stay with breakfast, in a superior room with balcony. This price is similar throughout September, so if this date does not suit, simply edit the search dates on the links below.

Search flights here €140pp 

View hotel here €439pp
 

 

 

Best overnight escape:

Special Offer at Riverside Park Hotel, Wexford

Looking for a quick getaway that won’t break the bank? This super deal of just €50 per person from the 4-star Riverside Park Hotel in Wexford includes breakfast, as well as a bottle of Prosecco and chocolates in your room on arrival! I stayed here in July – this is fantastic value for an autumn break. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best winter break:

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


Always wanted to try skiing, but not sure if it is for you? This short post-Christmas break to France is the perfect way to try it, and beat the January blues at the same time!
 

 

 
Price of €366 per person includes flights, a four-night stay in the 4-star Le Belmount Arc 1800 apartments, 20kg checked in baggage and return airport transfers, departing January 4th.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best family holiday:

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

I had many requests from people asking about luxurious family hotels for next summer – it seems you want to make up for lost time! I found a great deal in the 5-star Gran Castillo Tagoro in Lanzarote in July. This all-inclusive resort is hugely popular with Irish visitors and currently has a discount of €568 on the 17th of July.
 

 

 
Price of €3640 includes flights, transfers, checked baggage, and all meals and drinks throughout your stay, based on a family of four. The best part – you don’t need to pay in advance for the flights. As this is a package holiday so you only need a deposit of €75 per person to secure a booking.

Read: Why Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island

View offer here 
 

 

 

Best family staycation:

The Diamond Coast Hotel is one of the best hotels with large family rooms on the wild atlantic way.

Located close to one of the best beaches in Ireland, the Diamond Coast Hotel in Sligo is one of the most popular places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way. Families love its large family rooms, and it is a great choice for a staycation over the October mid term break. Price of €480 is based on a family of four for three nights, and includes breakfast too!

Read: 20 family staycations over the October mid term break

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Saint-Emilion close to Bordeaux in France
Saint-Emilion

Explore the wine lands and historic city of Bordeaux for just €203 per person. Ryanair is offering flights from just €26 return from Dublin to Bordeaux in September and October. I found a great deal in the highly rate StayCity apart-hotel which is located right in the heart of the city for just €354, making a three night stay just €207 per person including flights.

I have linked the 9th of October below but simply edit the search dates if this date doesn’t suit.

Search flights here 9th October €30pp

View hotel here €177pp
 

 

 

Best cruise:

holidays to Santorini from Ireland

Cruise the Greek Islands on Norwegian Jade this September from just €788! Set sail from Athens on September 26th and visit Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos, Corfu, Olympia and Santorini, before returning to Athens for your flight home.
 

 

 
This amazing cruise deal includes flights and a seven-night cruise with meals and entertainment included. For an extra €99 you can avail of an unlimited drinks package as well as WiFi or two speciality dining meals. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer: 

The ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast, where to stay in Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi and more

Secure a week on the Amalfi Coast next summer with this super deal to the 4-star Hotel Prestige. Flights to Naples are available from €69 return in June, and a seven-night stay with breakfast is just €425 per person, making the total cost just €494 per person for a one-week holiday in Sorrento on the 8th of June.

The Prestige Hotel is rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor and was a Travellers Choice Award Winner this year. Read my ultimate guide to the Amalfi Coast for more ideas on where to stay and which resorts to visit.
 
Search flights here 8th June €69pp

View hotel here €425pp
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 17th August 2021

best travel deals_opt (1)

This weeks best travel deals include last minute holidays to Italy and Greece, family deals at home and abroad for the October mid term break, a luxury cruise, and a girls weekend in Marbella.

It is great to see so many people travelling overseas again, but for those who haven’t booked a holiday yet, hopefully you will find something in this weeks Best Travel Deals post to tempt you.
 

 

 
I have last minute deals to Sorrento and Belfast, amazing value to Zakynthos in September, a Celebrity cruise, winter sun in Lanzarote, family holidays to PortAventura and Clare during the October mid term break, and a girls weekend in Marbella for next summer.  
 

 

 
It is important to be aware that each country has their own entry requirements, and these can change at any time. Most countries require non-vaccinated people to produce proof of negative Covid tests on arrival. Some require PCR tests, others will accept Antigen tests, and child ages vary from country to country.
 
Instagram

It is also vital that if you are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid that you have proof of this. If you have not yet received your Digital Covid Certificate, or need more information on testing or entry requirements, you can find out more in this post:

Latest travel updates on international travel – your questions answered
 

 

 
Most countries require passenger locator forms to be filled out in advance of travel – in some cases these have to be done 24 hours in advance. I have some advice and tips in these posts that you may find useful, but please check the latest updates with your airline or travel agent before you travel.

Top 10 tips for booking holidays during Covid-19

Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Travelling overseas? Make sure you fill out passenger locator forms in advance
 

 

 

Best last minute holiday:

last minute deal to the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Ryanair is having a Flash Sale to Italy, with airfares from €19.99 each way. Book by 20th August for travel from 17th August – 31st October 2021. I found flights into Naples on the 28th of August for just €83 return, and a seven night stay in the 4-star Hotel Cristina in Sorrento is just €504 including breakfast.
 

 

 
Located just 700 metres from the beach and within walking distance of the town centre, this is rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor.

Search flights here €83pp

View hotel here €504pp
 

 

 

Best last minute staycation: 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


Enjoy an overnight stay in the heart of Belfast city this weekend. Stay at the highly rated Maldron Hotel ( rated 5 out of 55 hotels in Belfast on TripAdvisor ), which is located just 500 metres from the popular Cathedral Quarter and within walking distance of Belfast’s top attractions. Price is just €58pp for an overnight stay this Sunday.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best september sun:

Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos

Gran some September sunshine in the beautiful island of Zakynthos in Greece. Visit the world famous Shipwreck beach, take a boat trip to see the Loggerhead turtles, and enjoy some delicious Greek food. I found a great deal to the highly rated Danny apartments for just €330 on the 19th of September.
 

 

 
Price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven night stay in this gorgeous island – this is less than half price!!

See more here
 

 

 

Best family holiday

Best travel deals to PortAventura theme park

Treat the kids to a short break in Salou over the October mid term break. Visit one of Europe’e best theme parks, PortAventura, explore the vibrant city of Barcelona, or chill out at the hotel’s indoor or outdoor pool.
 

 

 
Price for flights, a four-night stay at the highly rated Villa Romana hotel with breakfast and evening meal included, and two-day park passes to PortAventura and Ferrari Land is just €1496, based on two adults and two children sharing.

Read: Top 10 reasons to visit PortAventura

See more here
 

 

 

Best family staycation

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

Enjoy a two-night break in the Falls Hotel in Clare for just €377 during the October midterm break. Price includes bed and breakfast in a family room, and an evening meal on the night of your choice – kids eat free from the kids menu. Price is based on the 26th of October arrival, but other dates are available.  

Search & Book here
 

 

 

Best winter break:

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


Fancy some winter sun? Spend a week in Lanzarote for only €309 on the 30th of November! Price includes flights and a seven-night stay in the highly rated Bitacora apartments in Puerto del Carmen. Want to go All-Inclusive? The 5-star Dream Gran Castillo Villa Tagoro is just €677 for seven nights, including flights.

Read: Why Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island

See more here
 

 

 

Best cruise deal:

Search The Travel Expert for the best travel deals, including cruise deals.

The term ‘best cruise deal’ is very apt considering this cruise ship is one of the most luxurious cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean right now. Treat yourself to a five star all-inclusive cruise on Celebrity Apex, with mouth watering food and unlimited drinks on board, return flights, 20kg checked in baggage, return transfers, tips, port taxes & all ship entertainment, all for €1750 per person.
 

 

 
Set sail from Athens on the 5th of September and visit Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos and Dubrovnik before returning to Athens for your return flight home.

See more here 
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Search The Travel Expert for the best travel deals for a girls weekend away.

Missing your girly getaways? I think it is time to bring back one of my most popular Best Travel Deals! Plan ahead and secure a weekend in Marbella for just €288 next May. Price includes flights and a three-night stay at the highly rated Princesa Playa apartments. This is one of my most popular Best Travel Deals 

See more here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 10th March 2020

Best Travel Deals

This week’s best travel deals include April holiday deals from €249, a wine tasting weekend in Bordeaux, summer in Portugal and Mauritius, a Mother’s Day break in Westport, Christmas in Disneyland Paris and an early booking offer to Las Vegas.

 

Best last minute:

Jet off to sunny Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria on the 2nd of April, for just €285! Price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-nights stay in the Tamanaco apartments.

View offer here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

 

 

Best April / May deal:

Sunway have super deals to Turkey during the month of April, a country where no cases of coronavirus have been reported. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the 4-star Golden Day Wings Hotel is €299 during Easter holidays, and only €249 on the 25th of April. Prices include flights, hotel with breakfast, airport transfers and checked baggage.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Visit Disneyland Paris for Disney’s Enchanted Christmas Festival. We visited at Christmas time a few years ago and it was magical. Price for flights, transfers, park tickets and a three night stay in the Disney Sequioa Lodge Hotel with breakfast and evening meal included, is just €515 per person, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. They will also give you a FREE Gift Card worth €100 to spend in the parks.

See more here

 

Read: My top tips Disneyland Paris at Christmas time.
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Treat your Mum to an overnight escape with breakfast included in the 4-star Westport Hotel, for just €30 per person! Choose to relax in the brand new Spa Veda, complete with swimming pool, jacuzzi and thermal suite or enjoy the vibrant city of Westport. This deal is available arriving on Mother’s Day, March 22nd. 

View offer here
 

 

Read: 10 Mother’s Day breaks that won’t break the bank
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Finish off the summer with a week in the upmarket resort of Vilamoura on the Algarve. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the highly rated Vilamour Golf Aparthotel is only €374 on the 26th of August.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Can you think of anything better than a wine tasting weekend in Bordeaux 🍷? Flights are so cheap at the moment so why not escape the stresses of home for a few days in May. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the highly rated 4-star Best Western Plus Gare Saint Jean is just €219 per person. Note: when you click on the hotel link below the lowest rate is bookable via the hotel website – €107 per room per night.

View flights here€59pp

View hotel here €160pp
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Another country that has recorded no cases of coronavirus is Mauritius. Enjoy a seven-night all-inclusive stay in the highly rated Veranda Pointe Aux Biches Hotel for just €1469! Price includes flights, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation, based on travel in June. You can save up to €800 per person when travelling between 1st June and 31st August.

View offer here

 

Read: Where to stay in Mauritius
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Choose Las Vegas for your Christmas shopping break this year. Price for flights and a five-night stay in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is only €560 on the 24th of November. Price includes flights, 23kg checked baggage and hotel for five nights. Deposit of €50 secures booking. Many more hotels and dates available.

See more here
 

 

 
Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made
 

 

 
Sarah
 

travel deals

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 3rd March 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s Best Travel Deals include Easter offers in Lanzarote, a week in the Algarve for €199, all-inclusive deals to Greece and Mexico, a city break to Washington and super staycations for couples and families. 

 

 

Best last minute:

Escape the the Costa del Sol at the end of March – Aer Lingus have return flights to Malaga for just €100! Add on a seven-night stay in Marbella for €175pp in the San Cristóbal Hotel, or €230pp in the Princesa Playa aparthotel.

View flights here €100pp

 
View hotels here from €175pp

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

 

 

Best Spring /Summer deal:

Kick start the summer with a week in the Algarve for just €199 in May! Choose the Vale de Carros apartments in Albufeira or the Vilamor apartments in Alvor, both highly rated and both available for just €199 including return flights, departing the 5th of May. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Go all-inclusive in Greece this summer. I found some great all-inclusive deals departing in August with flights, accommodation, all meals, drinks, transfers and checked baggage included! Price for the Rodos Star Hotel in Rhodes is only €584 per person, while the Cavo D’oro in Zakynthos is only €667 per person. Both deals are departing in August and a deposit of €75 secures booking. Use code PAYDAY to save €100 of the listed prices.

See Rhodes here €584pp

 

See Zakynthos here €667pp
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Enjoy a family holiday in Lanzarote this Easter. Prices are particularly good value if you fly on Monday the 13th of April. I found great family deals staying in Puerto del Carmen. Price for flights a seven-night stay in the Oasis apartments is only €230 per person, or choose the popular Rosamar apartments for just €258 per person. #StealOfTheWeek

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Plan ahead and secure a great deal to Mexico this winter. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the 5-star Ocean Riviera Paradise Hotel, with all meals and drinks included 🍹 is just €1017 per person! This super hotel is located right on the beach in Playa del Carmen and is rated excellent on Tripadvisor. Price includes flights and hotel on an all-inclusive basis for seven nights, departing the 12th of November.

View flights here €578pp

Note: This airfare has just one stop. I adjusted journey time to less than 17 hours to guarantee best connections.  

View hotel here €439pp
 

 

 

Best ferry / cruise:

Sail across the Irish Sea for just €7 one-way on the brand new Stena Estrid. This amazing deal is even valid during the summer months! You can also sail from Rosslare to Cherbourg in April, May and from 10th September – 18th December, for just €14! You must book these amazing deals before the 9th of March – so don’t delay.,

See more here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

The highly rated Lough Allen & Spa Hotel in Leitrim have superb deals available until the end of June. Price for an overnight stay with full Irish breakfast, unlimited leisure access, and a €20 spa voucher is only €35 per person! Stay for two nights for just €60 per person. Valid Sunday – Thursday until the end of June.
 

 

 
Want to bring the kids? Price for two adults and two children (under 12) in a standard family room from Sunday – Thursday is only €109 for one night, €199 for two nights and €249 for three nights – these prices are less than half price! If you want a weekend stay, the price is €199 for two nights and €249 for three nights. Prices includes breakfast, complimentary kids club for primary school children, and access to the leisure facilities.

See more here

 

See family deal here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Explore the wonderful city of Washington this summer. Price for flights and a three-night stay in August is only €699 per person based on 2 sharing, or €619 per person based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. 

See more here
 

 

 
Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made
 

 

 
Sarah
 

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 25th February 2020

best travel deals

This week’s best travel deals include short breaks in Prague and Dubai, a family staycation in Cork, a Camino walk, a Caribbean cruise, a wellness break in the Algarve and an Aer Lingus seat sale.

 

Best last minute:

Enjoy the St Patricks Day festivities in Dubai this year. Price for direct flights with Emirates, airport transfers, and a three-night stay on a half-board basis in the 5-star Anantara The Palm Dubai, is only €899 per person.

See more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals? See it here
 

 

 

Best summer break

Walk the Camino with Roz Purcell this summer. Roz is taking part in the last stage of the French Way on the 2nd of July for seven nights. Price of €550 includes hotels on a bed & breakfast basis, daily baggage transfers, airport transfers and walking notes. Single room available from €145.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Enjoy a family break in the highly rated Quality Hotel Youghal in Cork this summer. Choose one of their luxury self catering apartments (sleep up to 4), from €149 or a luxury house (sleep up to 6), from €159 for two nights. Price for three nights is €219 and €249 respectively – this is 40% off! Located right on the beach you can choose the open sea or the indoor swimming pool with leisure facilities. They also give you a €10 spa voucher per person towards a treatment costing €40 or above. Valid until the 30th of June.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Think a holiday in Zanzibar is out of your price range? Think again! I found an amazing deal departing on the 5th of September with flights and a 4-star hotel included for just €892!

See more here

 

 

 

 

Best cruise:

Enjoy a three-night stay in Miami before cruising the Caribbean on the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas! Price for flights, hotel accommodation in Miami and a seven-night cruise in a balcony cabin is only €1699!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Fancy a quick getaway? Book a weekend break to Prague. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the highly rated Lindner Hotel Prague Castle is just €196 on the 25th of April.

See more here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Treat yourself to a wellness break in the Algarve this winter. Spend four nights in the five-star Real Marina Hotel & Spa, with breakfast included, for only €225, departing the 1st of November.

See more here
 

 

 

Best seat sale:

Aer Lingus have launched a new seat-sale today, with up to 25% off flights to Europe and UK. Travel until 30th April and book by 2nd March. 

See more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals? See it here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made

 

Sarah
 
travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel DealsCity Breaks

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 18th February 2020

Best Travel Deals (2) (1)

In this week’s Best Travel Deals I have a spring break in the Amalfi Coast, all-inclusive deals to Crete and the Dominican Republic, a family holiday to Greece, a weekend break in Toulouse for €167, luxury escorted tours and a cruise and stay in New Orleans.
 

 

Best last minute:

Escape to the Amalfi Coast next month and enjoy a week in the highly rated 4-Star Grand Hotel Aminta in Sorrento, for just €390 per person. This hotel receives an Excellent rating on Tripadvisor and is superbly located in the resort centre. Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights with breakfast, departing the 22nd of March.

View flights here €80pp

View hotel here €310pp

 
Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals post? See it here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Swap the Canaries for the Caribbean this summer and enjoy an all-inclusive week in 5-star Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for just €993! Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights, with meals and drinks included.

See more here

 

 

 

 

Best long haul offer

There are some great savings available on luxury tours in Asia and South America. You can upgrade to business class for €199 on tours to India, save €600 on South America tours, and get free VIP door-to-door chauffeur transfers on all tours. If you want to travel solo, avail of the no single supplements offer – saving a whopping €1140 on the Panoramic Peru tour. If you are looking for authentic escorted tours in Asia or South America, don’t miss this post.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Looking for an all-inclusive family complex with a water park on site? I found a great deal to the Sun Palace in Rhodes this summer. Price for flights, transfers, checked baggage and accommodation with all meals and drinks included, is only €2476 on the 24th of June, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Use code SUN100 to save €100 off the listed price of this holiday or any holiday to Greece or Turkey over €1000 in value. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Enjoy a weekend break in the charming city of Toulouse. I visited Toulouse last year and loved it. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the 4-star Privilège Hôtel Mermoz Hotel is only €167 per person, departing Friday the 15th of May.

View flights here €49pp

View hotel here €118pp
 

Read: My Toulouse Travel Blog 
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Combine three nights in the vibrant city of New Orleans with a seven-night cruise around the Bahamas. You will even get the opportunity to visit Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at Cococay. Price for flights, three nights in the 4-star Hilton Hotel in New Orleans,  and seven nights cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, is only €1329 on the 26th of August. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Spend St Patricks Weekend in Belfast. The highly rated Malone Lodge Hotel is offering two nights for the price of one. Price is only €84 per person for a two-night stay with breakfast included, arriving the 15th of March.

Search offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Round off the summer with an all-inclusive week in Crete. Stay at the highly rated 4-star Hotel Dore, with all meals and drinks included for just €470, departing the 11th of October. This hotel receives an Excllent rating on Tripadvisor.

View offer here

 

Read: Top things to do near Chania, Crete
 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals post? See it here.

 
Sarah
 
travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 11th February 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s best travel deals include Sardinia, Mexico, Iceland, Gran Canaria, Christmas markets in Cologne, an American road trip, an all-inclusive cruise deal and a staycation in Waterford.

 

Best last minute:

Escape the cold and book a week in Gran Canaria, where the temperatures are a balmy 23 degrees. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the Tisalaya Park apartments with transfers and checked baggage included, is only €378, departing the 5th, 12th, 19th or 26th of March. 

View offer here

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Alghero in Sardinia is one of the new Aer Lingus routes from Dublin airport for next summer. It happens to have a delightful old town, a beautiful sandy beach, and of course some great Italian restaurants. Alghero is located just ten minutes drive from the airport so it is an easy destination to book independently. I found a great deal staying in the 4-star Rina Hotel , departing the 10th of June. Price for flights and a seven-night stay with breakfast included is just €519 per person. Lots more dates are available, simply edit your search when you click on the links below.

Book flights here 10th June €184pp

View hotel here €345pp

 
Read: 10 new destinations from Dublin Airport for 2020
 

 

 

Best city break:

Cologne is one of Europe’s best Christmas market break destinations, and flight and hotel prices always increase closer to departure. I found a great deal staying in the highly rated 4-star Lyskirchen Hotel. Located right in the heart of the city, close to the historic centre and the Christmas markets, this is superb value for such a popular weekend. Price for flights and a three-night stay on the 12th of December is just €227 per person.

View flights here €86pp

View hotel here €141pp

 
Read Europe’s top 10 Christmas markets
 

 

 

Best family holiday:

I love a good road-trip and this one is right up my street! As well as visiting Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this amazing family itinerary includes rafting along the Colorado River, horse riding on a ranch in Tucson, and an exhilarating glamping experience near the Grand Canyon National Park. You will also have the opportunity to visit Universal Studios and Disney in California too..Price, based on a family of four with flights, accommodation and SUV car hire for 10 days is €1049 per person.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

If you haven’t tried cruising yet, you don’t know what you are missing! This all-inclusive deal on Marella Dream is only €969 in May, including flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-night all-inclusive Mediterranean cruise. This is a great option for first time cruisers, or for people looking for a great value cruise with drinks and tips included in the cost. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Enjoy some winter sun in Mexico next November. This great all-inclusive deal includes flights, 4-star hotel, return airport transfers, checked baggage, all meals and drinks, for just €1186!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Looking for a staycation but don’t want to drive? The 4-star Fitzwilton in Waterford is located just 300 meters from the train station, and five minutes from the Waterford Greenway. Price for an overnight stay with breakfast and main course evening meal, is just €50 per person, valid until the end of May. Use promo code TRAVEL15 to save a further 15% off this price, making it just €42.50!

View offer here

 

Read: 10 Great hotel deals in Ireland from €40 per person.
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Fancy ringing in the New Year in Iceland? This super deal includes flights and three-nights in a 4-star hotel from just €393 per person. Who knows, the Northern Lights might even light up the sky on New Years Eve!

See more here
 

Read: Top things to do in Iceland
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 4th February 2020

Best Travel Deals

This week’s Best Travel Deals include Disneyland Paris, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Alvor, a cruise around the Emirates, New Year in Orlando and a staycation in Connemara.

 

Best last minute:

February is considered peak time for skiing, so when I saw that you can get a week in La Thuile, Italy for just €219 this weekend, I just had to post it. Price includes flights, apartment and transfers for seven nights, based on four sharing. If there is only two travelling, you can get seven nights in Austria, with breakfast included for just €344. 

See more here

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

 

Best summer sun:

I’m a big fan of Alvor in the Algarve and have holidayed there on a few occasions. I found a super deal to the 4-star Pestana Alvor Park, which is rated number 1 on TripAdvisor. Price for flights and a seven-night stay is only €479 on the 30th of August. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

There are so many great Disneyland Paris offers available, the trouble is which one to choose? Breakaway.ie have excellent deals with flights included for the Frozen Festival in March, and the Enchanted Christmas season in December. Prices for flights, transfers, three-nights in a Disney hotel and four days park passes are from €1470 for 2 adults and 1 child, or €1739 for 2 adults and 2 children. You can upgrade hotel for just €25pp to get free Half Board, and they also have free dining offers with €100 spending money on selected dates.

See Frozen Festival here

 

See Christmas season here

 

See Free Dining offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Cruise Dubai and the Emirates on the stunning MSC Bellissima for just €1049! I was on this ship last year and loved it. Price includes flights and a seven-night cruise with drinks package and gratuities included, departing the 29th of February.

View offer here

 

Read: My review of MSC Bellissima
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Enjoy a five-night break in Abu Dhabi for just €479 including flights! This super deal departs on the 3rd of June and you will be staying in the 4-star Le Meridien Hotel. Highly rated onTripAdvisor, this is amazing value for a five night stay. Add on extra nights if required.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Treat your loved one to a romantic break away for Valentines Day. Choose Lisbon from €254 or Barcelona for €319. Both prices include flights and a 4-star hotel for three nights, departing the 12th of February. Travalue have also included a hop-on hop-off bus tour in Lisbon and a Barcelona Express card in Barcelona. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Enjoy a healthy getaway break to the superb Delphi Resort in Connemara. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, but the thermal suite and yoga classes are a great alternative if you just want to relax indoors. This super deal for just €65pp includes an overnight stay in a one-bedroom suite with breakfast, one-hour thermal suite access, 10% off treatments and activities, and a two-course dinner at the 814 Restaurant. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €95pp, and its valid until 25th June.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

If you want to get away for New Year, now is the time to book. This great family deal to Orlando is just €2598 including flights and hotel for ten nights, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

See more here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 
 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 28th January 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s best travel deals include a winter break to Malta, summer in the South of France, Majorca, Marbella and Kenya, a cruise on Allure of the Seas, Mother’s Day breaks in Ireland and an early booking offer to PortAventura.

 

Best last minute:

Explore the beautiful island of Malta in February. I found a great deal staying at the 4-star Seashells Resort at Suncrest, for only €230 including flights and hotel with breakfast, departing 8th February for seven nights. This popular hotel is highly rated on TripAdvisor and is centrally located. You will be away for Valentines Day so this could be a romantic break away…

View offer here
 
Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Explore the South of France this summer with this great deal to Nice. Fly from Dublin to Nice on the 20th of July and enjoy a seven-night stay in the Victor Hugo Hotel for just €529. Nice is a beautiful town and the resort is full of style, but you can also choose to explore the coastline. Pop into the nearby towns of Cannes, Antibes or St Tropez, or go further afield and explore Monaco or the Italian Riviera. The choice is yours…

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

The Protur Bonaire in Majorca is a super family complex. I stayed there when my kids were smaller and they loved it. It is rare to find a Free Child Place in the Bonaire during school holidays, but I managed to find one departing the 14th July! Price for 2 adults & 2 children including flights, transfers & baggage is only €2619 for seven nights. You better be quick though – there is only one room left at this price. Use promo code HOLIDAY150 to get €150 off the listed price 😎

View offer here
 

 

 

Best short break:

Planned your girls trip away yet? Jet off to Marbella over the May bank holiday weekend for just €267. Price includes flights and hotel for three nights, based on 2 sharing.

See more here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Looking to try somewhere new this year? Take a trip to Kenya and enjoy a seven-night stay in the highly rated Leonard Beach Resort and Spa. Located a short drive from Mombassa on the world famous Diani Beach, you will be surrounded by crystal clear waters and coral reefs. This super deal costs just €895 including flights, hotel on a half-board basis, checked baggage and airport transfers!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is one of the most talked about cruise ships this year. Allure is the worlds most awarded cruise ship and it is having a $165 million dollar makeover, before it cruises from Barcelona this summer. This super deal from e-travel is hard to beat: Enjoy a seven-night Mediterranean cruise with flights and transfers included from just €1195.  

View offer here

 

Read all about the newly amplified Allure of the Seas here.
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Treat your Mum to a spa break in one of Ireland’s 4-star hotels for Mothers Day. I’ve got 10 great deals from just €36 per person including breakfast!

See more here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Bring the kids to PortAventura and Ferrari Land over the October mid term break. This super deal includes flights, a four-night stay at the 4-star Dorada Palace Hotel, with breakfast and evening meal included, and 2 day passes to PortAventura & Ferrari Land! Total cost for all of this is just €1082, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

See more here
 

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 21st January 2020

best travel deals

In this week’s Best Travel Deals I have a wellness break in the Algarve, a family holiday to Salou, a three-night Greek Islands cruise, summer sun in Croatia, amazing city break deals, luxury for less in Malaysia and a New Year in Lisbon.

 

Best last minute:

Treat yourself to a wellness weekend break in the Algarve at the start of February. Spend three nights at the 5-star Grand Real Santa Eulalia for just €251 – and that includes flights! Complete with a spa and wellness centre, this is the perfect choice for a winter break. I found this super deal departing Friday the 7th of February but many more dates are available. 

View offer here

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.
 

 

 

Best city break:

Want to plan a few trips abroad this year? With these 10 city breaks for €199 or less, you can do just that. All deals include flights and highly rated hotels for three nights. 

See more here
 

 

 

Best family holiday:

I have had a few requests for 10/11 day holidays, so I did some searching and came up with this great deal to Salou. Enjoy an 11-night stay in the 4-star H10 Mediterranean Village, departing 7th August for just €2514, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. This is one of the most popular family apartments in Salou and receives excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. Price includes flights, accommodation, transfers, checked baggage and a €125 saving when you use the promo code SAVE125.

View offer here

 

Read: My family holiday in Salou
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Cavtat in Croatia is one of my favourite destinations for a summer break. I loved the laid back atmosphere and the great restaurants, and also its proximity to Dubrovnik and Montenegro. The centrally located Hotel Cavtat is the most popular hotel to stay in, and it is usually booked out. However, I found a deal departing on the 26th of August for seven nights for just €536. Price includes flights and hotel with breakfast for one week. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor if you still need convincing. 

View flights here €131pp

View hotel here €405pp

Read: My holiday visiting in Croatia and Montenegro
 

 

 

Best cruise:

This is the perfect taster cruise for anyone who is new to cruise, or for anyone (like me) with Santorini and Mykonos on their bucket list. Enjoy a three-night all-inclusive cruise visiting the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Crete and Santorini, with a two-night stay in Athens for just €1069! Price includes flights, all meals, drinks and gratuities, departing 23rd July.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Pangkor Laut Resort has to be one of the best luxurious places to stay in Malaysia. Located on its own private island, surrounded by some of the world’s oldest rainforests, this is a resort like no other. Expect luxury, natural beauty and plenty of relaxation. I found an amazing deal for just €1099 including flights, transfers and a seven-night stay. I have seen this resort advertised at over twice this price, it really is an amazing deal for such a world-class resort.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Have you seen the new video from Sligo Tourism? It is bound to make you want to visit. I found a great deal to the 4-star Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa for just €89 per couple until the end of March, or €99 until the end of June! This price includes an overnight stay for two with breakfast, spa and dining credit and a late check-out. Two-night stays also available. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Psst… Lisbon flights are on sale already for New Year! I’m tempted to book this myself. Price for flights and a three night stay in the 5-star Corinthia Palace Hotel is only €273, departing the 29th of December. Highly rated on TripAdvisor and with a wellness centre and pool onsite – can you think of a better bargain for New Year? #StealOfTheWeek

View flights here  €113pp

View hotel here €160pp
 
Want to stay somewhere else? Check out guide to Lisbon Hotels here.
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals? See them here.

 

Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 14th January 2020

Best-Travel-Deals-updated-compressor

This week’s Best Travel Deals include a last minute escape to Puglia, summer holidays in Greece, Costa del Sol and South Africa, an Alaska cruise, Christmas shopping breaks to New York and lots more…

 

Best last minute:

Be spontaneous, and fly off to somewhere new next weekend. Spend three nights in Puglia, Italy, from the 25th of January for just €153!  You will be staying in the popular Boston Hotel in Bari, which offers free breakfast too. Explore the region of Puglia, visit the magical city of Matera or simply relax and enjoy all that Bari has to offer.

View flights here €50pp

View hotel here €103pp
 

Read: 3 places you must visit in Puglia

 

 

 

Best spring summer:

Kickstart the summer with a week in the beautiful island of Zakynthos. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the popular Giannis Studios is only €399, based on 2 sharing. Price includes flights, transfers and checked baggage, departing the 24th of May.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

With direct flights to Thessaloniki from Dublin Airport during the summer, why not visit the popular Greek resort of Halkidiki. I found a great deal in the 4-star Halkidiki Palace Hotel. Price for flights and a seven-night stay is only €466, departing 13th July. Highly rated on TripAdvisor, this is great value for a week in peak season.

View offer here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here.

 

 

 

Best family deal:

This is one of the best all-inclusive family deals I have seen for July! Enjoy a week at the highly rated Cortijo Blanco Hotel in the Costa del Sol for just €2328 on the 12th of July, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. This super deal includes flights, transfers, checked baggage, all meals and drinks! Use code SAVE125 to save €125 off the listed price.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Always wanted to cruise Alaska but thought it was too expensive? This great cruise deal from Princess Cruises makes it very affordable. Fly direct with Aer Lingus to Seattle on the 12th of September and enjoy a seven-night Alaska cruise, plus an overnight stay in Seattle – all for just €1499!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

South Africa is one of my favourite countries so when I see cheap flights to Cape Town, I am always interested. Ethiopian Airlines is offering return flights to Cape Town from just €399 in September / October. There are two short stops involved of 1 hour each, but for €399 including taxes, I think its worth it. I flew with Ethiopian Airlines on my last trip to South Africa and found them great to fly with. If you prefer to fly a more direct route, flights with KLM via Amsterdam are €500 return on the same dates. 

View flights here €399 2 stops / €500 1 stop.

Check out my post on how to plan the perfect South African road trip here.
 

 

 

Best city break:

It’s never too early to talk about Christmas shopping, right? If you are thinking of a Christmas shopping break in New York, now is the time to book it. Airfares are at their lowest, and hotels are offering some great early booking discounts. I’ve got four-night breaks from €596 in this post.

See more here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Select Hotels of Ireland is offering 2 nights for the price of 1 on a wide selection of hotels. Prices are available from €129 for a two-night stay for two people, with breakfast included, in the Falls Hotel & Spa, Co. Clare and the Clifden Station House Hotel, Co, Galway. Many more hotels are available.

View offer here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.
 

 Sarah

travel deals
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 7th January 2020

best travel deals

In this weeks best travel deals, I have skiing holidays, spring breaks, summer holidays in Sorrento, Lake Garda, St Lucia and Santorini, cruise holidays and lots more…

 

Best last minute:

Kickstart a healthy New Year by skiing in Andorra –there are some amazing package deals available. Prices from €192 for 5 sharing an apartment, or €373 based on 2 sharing a hotel on a half-board basis. Both offers include flights, transfers and checked baggage.

Search more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.

 

 

 
Best spring / summer deal

Treat yourself to some luxury for less on the Costa del Sol. Stay at the 5-star Senator Banus Spa Hotel on the 16th of April for just €282. Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Summer in Sorrento has a nice ring to it! Enjoy a week in the 4-star Alpha Hotel for just €566 on the 19th of August. Price includes flights and hotel with breakfast, for seven nights. Highly rated on TripAdvisor, this is great value for a holiday in Sorrento in peak season.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

The Bella Italia are one of Lake Garda’s most popular family apartments. Jam packed with activities for kids and located close to Garda Land, it is no surprise they get booked out early. I found a great deal departing on the 1st of August, staying in a 2 bedroom bungalow, with flights, transfers and checked baggage included. Total cost of €2802 is based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Use promo code SAVE125 to save €125 off the listed price below.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Cruise the Greek Isles and Montenegro with Royal Caribbean for just €1268. This super deal includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and gratuities, departing the 3rd of October. A deposit of €165 secures booking.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul deal:

If January has you thinking of detoxing, there is no place better than The Body Holiday Hotel in St Lucia. This 5-star all-inclusive resort is the ultimate wellness sanctuary. You can choose an active holiday with yoga, spin and abseiling classes or simply relax in the award-winning spa. Prices start from €2259 which includes flights, hotel on an all-inclusive basis and airport transfers. This includes savings of up to €900 per person if booked by the 5th February, and there are no single supplements when staying in a Single Garden Room. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

March is a great month for European city breaks. Airfares are particularly good value and weather is starting to get a little warmer. I found cheap flights to Lisbon, departing Saturday the 7th of March, returning Tuesday the 10th, for just €48. Check out my post on where to stay in Lisbon to find the right hotel for you. 

View flights here Search hotels here

 

Like city breaks? You might like:

Top 10 city breaks for less than €199

Top city break destinations for 2020
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

I posted a great deal to Santorini for May this week and many of you asked if it was available for later in the year – so I looked and I found a great deal departing in September too! Spend a week  in the 4-star Veggera Hotel for just €580 on the 19th of September. Price includes flights and a seven-night stay with breakfast included.  

View flights here €223pp

View hotel here €357pp
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Bring the family or friends to Fota Island Resort and stay in one of their 3-bedroom luxury lodges for just €299. Price includes a three-night stay for up to five people with two VIP spa passes, 2 x €20 spa credit for full-price treatment of €100 or more, €20 dining credit towards a three-course meal for 2 people, and €20 golf credit between two people towards a round of golf on any of the three championship golf courses.

View offer here

 

Check out my review of Fota Island Resort here.
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? – See it here.
 

 Sarah

 

travel deals

 

 

 

 

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