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Mediterranean Odyssey: Amazingly, everything worked perfectly!!!
When my wife and I joined Vacation Inspirations (the Club), we were admittedly apprehensive. It just sounded too good. We wondered would the Club serve us as well as our local travel agent? Would the expense of membership prove worth the investment? Would the member rewards actually materialize? If they did, would the check clear the bank?
We first utilized the Club's services in the late summer and early fall of 2015. The trip was from our home near Atlanta to Gas City, Indiana to attend my wife's 45th high school reunion. She made this a three week road trip revisiting all her home towns (as a minister's daughter, she moved often), schools, houses, and churches. Visiting her remaining family members added to our “Roots Revisited” trip.
Included were stops at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indiana and Kentucky State Fairs, Churchill Downs, and other sights.
Accommodations were arranged by our Club travel representative, Christina Hardcastle. As it happened, Christina lives near Indianapolis. We met her for dinner and found a “real person” to go with the voice on the phone and a face to go with the e-mails going back and forth between us and her.
The only glitch on this trip was a hotel chain that had our booking but scheduled us in their hotel in another city from where we were. They were able to accommodate us in the correct city and Christina secured a refund of our deposit for the original booking.
This was a successful test run that increased our confidence in both Christina and the Club!
Before the Indiana trip, we had already begun working with Christina on what we named our Mediterranean Odyssey for the spring of 2016. The Mediterranean Odyssey can be summarized simply: 8 weeks; 3 continents; 16 countries; 6 flights on four airlines (American, Iberian, Czech Air and British Airways); too many hotels to count; two land tours with Trafalgar traveling Spain, Morocco, Portugal and Italy; a Holland America cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean starting in Athens, Greece and visiting Turkey, several Greek islands, Albania, Montenegro and ending in Venice, Italy; an independent train trip from Venice to Rome via a three-day stop-over in Cinque Terre with tours from Avanti; a Viking River Cruise on the Danube Germany to Hungary; 15 transfers; scores of private tours and tour/cruise excursions; and much more.
Amazingly, everything worked perfectly!!!
Our only issues were:
1. The ticket agency reversed my wife's name on her ticket for Czech Air from Rome to Prague. When Christina could not get the agency to cooperate on correcting the ticket, she helped me talk directly with Czech Air in Prague, Czech Republic, to make the correction. I was able to take care of our extra baggage in the same call.
2. A grumpy transfer driver in Italy. She was grumpy because the train arrived late causing her to be late for her evening plans.
3. In Venice, we had two agencies arriving to transfer us from our hotel to the train station. What a wonderful problem! So much better than no one showing up! Christina was able to obtain a refund from the agency that arrived second!
When we returned home, we almost forgot we had a 60 day timeline to submit a request for our Club rewards! Home computer issues ran us too, too close to our 60 days. Even so, the Club honored our request (next time, we will get onto this much sooner after our return home)! The Club took almost all of its 120 days to process our rewards, but they did! Better yet, our bank honored the check (they ran a check on the account before accepting it), and it has now cleared. In other words, the check was good! How much did our rewards come to? Something over $4,000!
We are much indebted to Christina for the hours and hours she worked on our behalf. Timelines changed. Destinations were added to fill in gaps between the tour/cruise schedules. On and on it went for a full year and a half. Our thanks to her for honoring our wishes as they continued to change over time, for working on our behalf, for making suggestions, troubleshooting, etc.
It was a wonderful experience due to our preparation and input, Christina's patience and professionalism while she worked with us and the myriad companies and contacts on our behalf, and Vacation Inspirations for fulfilling and honoring the membership agreements it made with us.
We look forward to future travel adventures with Vacation Inspirations!