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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 in red).
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.

JP Travel Map
Map of My Travels

 

Travel Experiences:

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 very wealthy.
Today, travel is much easier for us all; we can go farther and faster than ever before.
That said, it would be remiss if we did not share some of our experiences.

Good Experiences

bulletOdysseys Unlimited [website]
bulletWell 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.
bulletGlobus Travel  [website]
bulletWell 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.
bulletAffordable Tours [website]
bulletDiscount tours for Globus and most other travel providers. A good website for travel research, and good people
with whom to do business.
bulletMalaysia Airlines

 

  We've been lucky - there have not been too many logistical issues. That said, we have to share some.

X Less Good - OK - Bad Experiences

bulletOceania 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 fashion.

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 "bait and 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 message.

 

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Jerrold Patz "Jerrold Patz"  "Oceania Cruises" Oceania    "Globus Travel"  "Affordable Tours"