About Pacific Grove Travel
For 40 years, PG Travel has provided our clients with the service and expertise to provide them with the most positive travel experience possible. Our experience ensures that your travel needs are handled with professionalism and discretion. We are familiar with all of the current travel requirements for documentation and will work to help make your travel as smooth as expected. We have been voted Best Travel Agency by the readers of the Carmel Pine Cone multiple times. Most recently, we were voted Monterey Herald’s Reader Choice Award winner.
Joe Shammas of Pacific Grove Travel established the company in December, 1979 and has built a solid reputation for good service, fair prices, ethical business practices and friendly service. In the past several years, we have been very successful in organizing and escorting groups on both cruises and tours. For our groups, we often provide transportation right from the Monterey Peninsula so that your vacation begins long before the first flight. We work with all types of cruises; large-ship, small-ship, river cruises, and sailing ships. With our large volume on certain cruise lines and tour operators, we are often able to negotiate the lowest fares possible, and through our affiliation with Ensemble Travel we can get bonuses for our clients as well.
Below, learn more about our founder and owner, Joe Shammas, and advisors Laura Lockett and Mary Potter. All together, we have more than 100 years of experience! Let us put that experience to work for you. Call us the next time you are planning to travel. We would love to help. Remember, if you're not working with a travel advisor, you're traveling alone. We look forward to hearing from you.
Joe Shammas, CTC and Owner of Pacific Grove Travel since 1979, is proudly celebrating 40 years in business in 2019. He started his career as a trainee in a travel agency in high school and when the opportunity to buy the agency came up, he was able to buy it. Joe is a hometown guy, was born and raised in Pacific Grove, attended St. Angela’s Catholic Grammar School, Pacific Grove High School and Monterey Peninsula College. 1982 he earned his Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) from the institute of Certified Travel Agents in Massachusetts .
Joe loves the travel business and it shows in his dealings with his long time and new clients. His mantra for his entire career has been the Golden Rule, “Treat people the way you want to be treated”. It has served him well as many of his clients have become friends in his long career. He loves to help people realize their travel dreams and will work with them to get the perfect trip put together. He also loves a challenging itinerary to work on! Clients love to work with Joe and remark on his upbeat and positive attitude.
Joe hosts his group trips around the globe a few times a year. Last year he went to Norway on Crystal Cruises from London all the way to the North Cape. It was one of his dream trips. Another favorite trip was Joe’s trip to Kenya where he went on a safari. He has been to many countries around the world. In his spare time out of the office, Joe is an avid volunteer. He gives his time to the PG Rotary, PG Chamber of Commerce, St. Angela’s Catholic Church, Pacific Grove Feast of Lanterns, and sits on their boards and committees. In 2013 he was honored to receive Pacific Grove’s Citizen of the Year Award and in 2015 was inducted to the Monterey Peninsula College Hall of Fame for Noteworthy Achievement in Business and Community Service. He has two grown sons and just became a grandfather.
Suffice to say, to this day, travel is an integral part of Laura Lockett’s life. A Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), she is a retail travel consultant with over 40 years in the industry. She started working in the industry in 1975 and has been with Pacific Grove Travel since 2003. Laura received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Chapman University in Orange, California and was certified as a CTC from The Institute of Certified Travel Agents in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
No stranger to globe trotting, Laura traveled around the world through World Campus Afloat on Holland America's SS Ryndam at 21 years of age. Her parents opened one of the first travel agencies in Southside Virginia in the early 1950’s, called “Lockett’s Travel.” She lived with her family in Mexíco City and traveled throughout Mexico from the 60’s to the 90’s.
Laura speaks conversational Spanish, favors all Romance language countries destinations, and enjoys immersing herself in color as a plein air watercolorist. If Laura’s ever not in the office, she might very well be off on a Silversea or Crystal Cruise.
Mary Potter is the resident Disney expert, having graduated from the College of Disney Knowledge. She’s been to Disneyland many times, to Walt Disney World twice, Disneyland Paris twice, cruised on Disney Cruise Line twice, and visited Tokyo Disneyland. In her Marina house, one spare room is dedicated entirely to Disney pictures.
Mary’s clients appreciate her patience and thorough attention to detail. A travel advisor since Valentine’s Day 1990, she’s worked in two small agencies; AAA for 15 years; and then came to Pacific Grove Travel in March of 2007.
A life-long learner, Mary holds an Associate Science Degree in Travel Marketing, is a Certified Travel Counselor, and received recognition from The Travel Institute for completing Destination Specialist courses for the South Pacific, Western Europe, Latin America, East Asia, Hawaii, Caribbean, North America, Alaska and Luxury Travel. In addition, she completed Princess Academy and Cunard Academy courses for Commodore status with each, and maintains her status by taking refresher courses each year.
A prolific traveler since childhood, Mary was raised in Monterey, born in Iowa. She lived in San Diego, Sicily, San Pedro, Pittsburg, and Concord. Recent trips include taking a Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver to Banff. In her spare time, she does cross stitch, shops for bargains, and visits family. She has a large nativity scene, started in Sicily, to which she’s added figures nearly every year since the 1970’s. Her favorite saying is by Susan Sontag: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” She’s ventured to Peru, Tahiti, Japan, China, Germany, London, Paris, and Italy. Having recently learned that she’s 84% German, anticipates more trips to Germany and Europe. Growing up, she did not imagine even needing a passport. Now she believes the St. Augustine quote: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”