Elizabeth Crabill is the CEO of CIE Tours, known for highly rated, all inclusive vacations to Ireland, Britain and beyond. The Irish-owned tour company was established in 1932,the year Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. In that spirit of exploration ,Ms. Crabill led the company’s expansion into Italy and Iceland, backed by authentic Irish hospitality.

Experiential travel: doing, seeing, tasting, smelling are what make a trip come alive. How does CIE Tours help travelers access authentic encounters and meaningful interactions?

Our destination experts craft each unique itinerary to seek out the interesting and genuine, so our guests feel fully immersed in the country and in the experience. As locals, our tour directors find hidden gems – out-of-the way places, local legends, untold history and colorful characters that create a lifetime of memories for our guests. They enrich the experience by bringing history, culture and insider knowledge to life in a way a guidebook or independent travel can’t. Even with identical itineraries, each tour departure has its own flavor as the tour directors get to know the guests and share the stories and insights that make the trip more meaningful for that specific group.

How do your guides help travelers interpret historical landmarks, iconic sights, traditional lore or a display of typical culture?

In the Irish language, the word “seanchai” means storyteller, keepers of ancient folklore who have acted as custodians of history for centuries. We are passionate about preserving the rich tradition of stories passed from person to person. Whether we are taking our guests to Ireland, Scotland, England or other destinations, our friendly guides keep history alive through a spirit of storytelling, transforming travel into an unforgettable journey. Beyond our tour directors with deep destination knowledge, most CIE Tours vacations also include walking tours conducted by local experts in towns like Waterford and Derry in Ireland; Windsor, England; and Florence, Italy. Both our tour directors and local guides offer their personal experiences of the destination. While not on tour, our guides return to their local communities, often working at the family business or farm.

How can tour guests find unique excursions to get a real sense of place along their journey?

Our long-standing local relationships mean guests will have access to exclusive venues and authentic experiences. On each itinerary, we’ve selected excursions that give our guests a true sense of place. Some experiences unique to CIE Tours guided vacations include:

• An evening of traditional Irish music complete with a pint and BBQ dinner with the Hurl family, owners of The Crosskeys Inn in Antrim, the oldest thatched roof pub in Ireland dating back to 1654
• Irish language lesson and private dinner with entertainment at Muckross Schoolhouse
• Storytelling or trad (traditional) music evenings in historic Irish pubs
• Punting on the River Cam in Cambridge, England
• A private tour, tasting and music at Irish Whiskey Museum
• The chance to sip Irish Coffee atop Donegal’s spectacular Slieve League cliffs

Tell our readers about what travelers can expect from a culinary perspective.

All our destinations have a robust farm-to-table scene, so expect fresh food that’s locally sourced and follows the seasons. As part of our itineraries, guests will have delicious, hot breakfasts every morning. Many dinners are included with the group either in the hotel or at a local restaurant. All included dinners are three-course meals with a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert, with tea or coffee included. Guests will also have free time to dine on their own and experience authentic pubs and restaurants. Our tour guides can recommend the best places to try, whether a particular cuisine or a genuine local experience. Many of the itineraries also have tasting and immersive dining experiences, including:

• Tea and scones at a local farmhouse after a sheepdog demonstration in rural Ireland
• Handmade ice cream made with milk from local Kerry cows at the original Murphy’s Ice Cream location in Dingle, Ireland
• A tomato-centric lunch among the plants in the greenhouse of Fridheimar Tomato Farm in Reykholt, Iceland
• Wine tasting in the scenic hill town of Orvieto, Italy
• Whisky tasting at a renowned Scottish distillery, Blair Athol
• A Sunday roast lunch in a local English pub (a beloved British tradition)
• Dinner and beer tasting at family owned Walled City Brewery, housed in a former army barracks in the heart of Derry

What sorts of personalized journeys are available to families traveling together?

We offer several types of guided vacations to suit any type of family. You can travel together on a guided coach tour and enjoy the camaraderie of other travelers on a shared group vacation or, for families of 10 or more, you can take any of our scheduled tours as a private tour. Another option for families is a private driver vacation where we can completely customize an itinerary for up to nine passengers. This is perfect for multi-generational families where someone may have mobility issues or if there are young children who need naps or time to stop at a beach or playground. If you have 10 or more travelers, we can also build a custom group personalized to your specific interests or needs and include additional perks. For parents or the planners in the family, one of the best parts of a CIE Tours vacation is there is nothing to organize or worry about. We manage all the logistics so every member of the group can sit back and relax and enjoy itineraries that are planned to maximize vacation time and include the benefit of an expert driver/guide. We select the right hotels and restaurants and reserve spots in line at popular attractions. Guided vacations are perfect for families because the itineraries are varied and include something for everyone – history buffs, heritage seekers, shopping enthusiasts and every interest in between. With more than 90 years’ experience, we’ve perfected the ideal balance of planned sightseeing and leisure time, and we partner with hotels, attractions and restaurants that get rave reviews from guests. And with CIE Tours’ All-In Inclusive Advantage, all excursions and most meals are included. By including most everything at one up-front price, guests get exceptional value.

Which CIE Tours connect guests with nature and outdoor interests?

Every itinerary has time outdoors taking in the fresh air and wide-open landscapes. Some examples include:

• See spectacular vistas over the Atlantic Ocean along Ireland’s iconic Cliffs of Moher
• Climb over the majestic basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
• Travel by ferry for a day trip to the remote Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland
• Soak in one of Iceland’s many geothermal hot springs
• Stroll one of the many exquisite gardens across our destinations including the Japanese Gardens at National Stud in Kildare, Blarney Castle and Gardens, Glenveagh National Park in Donegal or England’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden
• Ride in a horse and carriage known as a “jaunting car” in Killarney National Park

Contact our agency today to start planning your dream vacation.