My family and I (8 people) recently returned from a 23 day trip to six countries in Eastern Europe. The detailed itinerary was planned working with this travel agency and its CEO. My overall rating for the experience was excellent! From the planning stages to the execution everything was practically flawless. My favorite part of working with our agent was his responsiveness. Any questions, concerns or changes were attended to within 24 hours. Nothing was ever treated as incidental. As a result, we were able to plan a truly one of a kind trip, especially for us.
The accommodations throughout were exactly as presented to us. We did have one problem in one hotel that was resolved to our satisfaction. The quality of the hotel service was for the most part exceptional. Food was outstanding.
Our travel agency arranged for two guides. One for the Ukraine portion an one for the remainder of the trip. We were impressed with the Ukrainian guide's detailed knowledge of Lviv. The areas she described truly brought the beautiful city to life. She was also able to show us things of interest along the rough roads driving to Sniatyn, our ancestors' town.
Our guide for the remainder of the trip was outstanding! His knowledge of every area we visited was very detailed. It was obvious that he was totally prepard to make our tour memorable. He connected events in history that made each place we visited more interesting than you could imagine. He was attentive to every request and even the changing weather to keep us comfortable while touring. We never had a problem fitting in something extra we mentioned that was not on the itinerary. Somehow he made it work. He even included a lovely day in Vienna that was an unexpected delight! He was kind, considerate, humorous and so personable that we felt like we were leaving a friend at the end of our tour. We would likely call him a "perfect 10"!
Needless to say, I would recommend this agency without reservation for planning an outstanding personal trip.
The first thing that comes to mind was a pierogi making class that we asked to have included for the group. The class was arranged at a local restaurant and we had a wonderful time...even our guide took part in the making of the dough! Once finished, we had a feed together and left with full stomachs and a wonderful memory!
Secondly, our trip was rather complicated since it did not just involve the usual tourist destinations. We planned to combine seeing Poland with a trip to the Ukraine to see the town of our ancestors, not a well known destination by any means. After that we went on to see Budapest & Prague. The coordination of all of this was not easy but the logistics worked out perfectly thanks to the help of our agent and his company. Our agent's professionalism in working with our local genealogist proved to be a plus for us in the small Ukrainian town. We had both our genealogist and our Ukrainian guide, provided by our travel agency. As a result, we had two sources to help us translate and navigate. This made the visit so personal and the time spent there was a very special experience for all. We were treated like royalty! Everyone there was so honored that we had come so far to honor our Ukrainian ancestry!
Finally, we felt that our guide there, made a point of showing us the quieter, more impressive "back doors" in every city. We were able to avoid walking with the large groups of tourists in many places. This gave us a real feel for the true personality of each city/town. Some of my favorite pictures are of the out of the way walks we took to see the things that may not be in the tourist guidebooks.
For the most part, I wouldn't change very much, if anything. Most of our hotels were centrally located near the main squares. The one hotel that was a bit outside the city in Gdansk felt rather remote. The setting was beautiful and if we were to have some down time, the hotel offered a beautiful spa, pool and grounds that would have been wonderful to take advantage of. However, since our days were pretty full with touring, we would have preferred to be closer to town to take advantage of eating dinner or having a nightcap in a local restaurant or cafe which we preferred.
Other than that I think you always feel you wish you had more time to spend in several of the locations. Since we were incorporating this trip with some special family stops, I don't think we could have done any better. My advice to anyone planning a custom tour is to do your own research of the cities you want to visit. Make sure you make a list of your "must sees". I guarantee that if it can be done, this travel agency will make it happen!
We will definitely use this company for a future trip!
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