More than 1500 years ago, St. Augustine stated, "The
world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
I had always wanted to read some of the other pages.
Where I've Been:
This is a cumulative
representation of the countries in the world that I have visited (shaded
Regrettably, I do not have pictures from all of these places.
It appears that the more I travel, the more there is still to see.
Deeply associated with travel are the logistics of getting
there, the touring, the food/lodgings, and the business dealings.
The English word "travel" first appears around the year 1400, coming from the
Old French travail, which meant 'to toil, labor'.
In those days, travel was indeed a genuine hardship, even for the
Today, travel is much easier for us all; we can go farther and faster than ever
That said, it would be remiss if we did not share some of our experiences.
|Odysseys Unlimited [website]|
|Well organized, small group tours that explore some out-of-the way
sites. Seems geared to the experienced|
traveler, but a good compromise between an escorted tour and a tour with
flexibility. Exhibited exceptional
staffing and logistics.
|Globus Travel [website]|
|Well organized tours, sometimes overly crammed with events. Overall
good logistics and good value for the|
money. Globus offers very good 'overview' and 'panorama' tours for
first-time and experienced travelers.
|Affordable Tours [website]|
|Discount tours for Globus and most other travel providers. A good
website for travel research, and good people|
with whom to do business.
We've been lucky - there have not been too many logistical issues.
That said, we have to share some.
Less Good - OK - Bad Experiences
|Oceania Cruises - near departure, this company changed its exotic
itinerary for one that was quite ordinary.|
I found out quite by accident: I happened by their website and noticed that
the trip had changed. There was
no offer of reimbursement for the lesser value. We contacted Oceania
immediately to cancel the trip and to
retrieve our deposit that they had been holding for almost one year.
Oceania says that it can and will make any changes that it wants, at any time,
even during the trip. And it does so without any compensation to its valued
customers. Other tour companies treat their customers in a much better
This episode is not an only child: Last year, Oceania cancelled
the same exotic ports and substituted others. They offered no compensation
to the passengers involved, and did not include this information in their
current catalogues. Oceania did not reveal that there was a history of
missing these ports and a possibility of missing them again. One could argue that this shows a pattern of
switch", Oceania advertises and sells one product and then delivers something else.
Ironically, other travel companies have successfully delivered the exotic ports
that Oceania had cancelled. Irony or business scam?
Oceania appears not to have mastered Business 101: they have not learned
that it costs thousands of dollars to find and secure customers, but only a
very few dollars to lose them forever. Business 102 expands this concept
further: if you please a customer, he/she will tell 3 people; if you
screw the customer, he/she will tell 10-20 others. It's quite simple
- Oceania - even you can do the math!
OK. I vote with my dollars and won't be doing business with Oceania. Mr
Cesar Marin and Oceania may have saved a few dollars, but they have lost a
frequent traveler and others as customer.
I, for one, will do my part to tell everyone about Oceania's shady
dealings. Share this with your fellow travelers. Maybe, Oceania will get the
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