Frequently asked questions

Why First Cabin?

Expertise & Experience!

It began in 1963 when Robert Kenyon, President of First Cabin, first journeyed throughout the Asia Basin. From those first experiences came a passion for travel that grew ever stronger and led to the inception in 1989 of First Cabin Travel.

It continues with the expertise of our internationally well-qualified tour managers who have led tours to the Third World and beyond most of their adult life. Those same tour leaders accompany each group tour throughout the journey, ensuring the traveler a well organized, rewarding holiday. On First Cabin custom tours, the selection of a local tour manager is as discerning a process in making the proper choice for a well-qualified individual. In less capable hands, ones treasured holiday might easily fall into an altogether different category.

It is embellished by the selection of tour guides en route who have a variety of upper collegiate degrees and who have the charm and ability to relate their knowledge to the small sized groups in a meaningful and energetic fashion.

It thrives on the experience gathered from being on site, in the field. First Cabin creates the itinerary from first hand knowledge, not merely by discussing with overseas ground operators what is available. Each itinerary is well groomed for its important sites, finest accommodations and timely arrival and departure plan.

Value! Rather easily defined when it comes to worldwide touring.

Quality of hotel, in and of itself separates First Cabin from all others. You are strongly encouraged to compare the list of First Cabin accommodations on tour with other self-described “luxury tour operators” to see first hand the difference in quality and thus a very real difference in value. Hands down, First Cabin shall always offer the very finest accommodation at each and every destination.

Two very notable examples are the Nam Hai Resort in Hoi An, Vietnam,http://www.thenamhai.com/ renown to be the finest resort accommodation in all of Southeast Asia and the luxurious Mandarin-Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailandhttp://www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok/, where leaders of the world choose to reside while on a State visit. Neither hotel allows but a certain few tour companies to book their clients at the hotel and First Cabin is proud to be one of the very few that have been welcomed these many years.

Other notable comparisons include quality of meal plan, inclusive features, premier transport en route between sites, the tipping policy, and reputation of the tour operator. Although price is a factor, by no means should it be the paramount consideration. Given the fact that most travelers visit sites such as the Taj Mahal, the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the continent of Africa and similar destinations just once in their lifetime, it simply makes good sense to insure that the holiday is a dream come true and the memories happy ones. In so doing, one should choose a company that has the ability and the reputation to take you there in as fine a style, in as professional a manner and in as smooth a transition as can be provided. Measured value is best calculated by degree of quality.

First Cabin will always welcome an “apple to apple” comparison of our tour programs with any other in the marketplace. The comprehensive nature of our itineraries, the five-star quality of hotel selection, our select meal plan, along with our well educated, knowledgeable tour leaders and local guides are some of the more important parameters one should consider.

First Cabin is committed to having each client return home with a renewed zest for travel and is most proud to acknowledge that the vast majority of bookings come from repeat clientele and their ever-so-enthusiastic referrals. Since 1989, those referrals from satisfied clients have been the mainstay of our business at First Cabin.

Once you have had the opportunity to make the comparisons, we welcome you to contact us, either for a booking on one of our group tours or to begin to experience the excitement and pleasure of designing your own custom tour.

How many tour members accompany a group?

For First Cabin group tours, arrangements have been made for one to travel in a small, congenial group limited to only 18 (eighteen) members. Most often, there will be fewer; on no occasion will there be more.

In addition to limited membership, First Cabin always has been committed to offering transport while on tour that allows for added seating, using vehicles that have far more seating than is required to comfortably seat travelers on tour.

For First Cabin custom tours, the number of travelers will range from solo travelers, couples, families or organizations. Each custom tour is created to match the dream holiday of the person or travelers who would like to experience the many benefits offered with customized touring.

Will you guarantee the tour departure?
When you book a tour with First Cabin, plan to travel. Generally, eight travelers are required to guarantee a departure, however, at times, the tour will be sent off with fewer than eight members.
What does all-inclusive touring mean?

It means that on a group tour, your general touring expenses are covered by the tour price quotation. That includes all meals for breakfast and lunch, admission fees to all sites listed within the itinerary, tipping to all service personnel, transportation and the like. Most dinner meals are not included, since over these many years, our clientele have advised their preference not to have the dinner meal added to the tour price. This allows the traveler to eat lightly or to choose fine dining. On certain tours, such as safari in Africa, most dinner meals are inclusive, since the majority of accommodations are in the bush at safari camps.

All of the tipping for the entire tour program is included. The porters, drivers, guides, staff and service personnel, including the tour manager, all receive their gratuities for services rendered without ever becoming a concern to the traveler. At times, any one of these individuals may provide services to a traveler beyond what is customary during the course of the touring experience. In those instances, a traveler is welcome to show their appreciation by providing a gratuity for those services one might consider beyond the norm.

All of the entrances fees, transport costs, etc., to the sites mentioned in the brochure are included. There are no optional excursions offered on tour to be paid for while traveling. Everything is included. The only exceptions are the balloon ride in Africa and Burma and the helicopter ride at Iguacu Falls, Brazil. Travelers who wish to experience these flights will be assisted in making arrangements on site.

On a custom tour, all breakfast meals are included. All lunch and dinner meals are left for the traveler to manage with the assistance of their guide, who will gladly suggest dining options. Tipping to the guide and driver, along with hotel staff is also left to the discretion of the traveler. This allows custom travelers to enjoy the luxury of a privatized custom tour at a price that often is less than a similar group tour. Rather remarkable, really! First Cabin travelers have grown to love the option.

When is payment due?

Upon booking a tour, a deposit of $300 dollars per person is required to confirm participation on tour. Approximately ninety days before departure, the final balance of the invoice is due and payable.

First Cabin has a cancellation policy, the terms and conditions of which are enumerated in the Terms and Conditions section of the website found at the very bottom of the Home Page.

First Cabin has a long established trust fund account with Wells Fargo Bank of California. All funds sent to First Cabin are placed into this account and used solely for the operation of ones chosen tour and for no other purpose.

How is my money protected?
First Cabin has a long established trust fund account with Wells Fargo Bank of California. All funds sent to First Cabin are placed into this account and used solely for the operation of ones chosen tour and for no other purpose.
What happens if I must cancel the tour?

CANCELLATION BEFORE DEPARTURE:

Cancellation received 90 - 60 days prior to departure will be assessed a $300 per person administration fee.

Cancellation received 60 - 30 days prior to departure will be assessed a 25% penalty of total cost. Should airline tickets already have been issued, all of the refunds for ticking will come directly from the airline.

Cancellation received less than 30 days prior to departure will be assessed a minimum of 50% of the unused portion of the trip and will be limited to the amounts recoverable. Should airline tickets already have been issued, all of the refunds for ticking will come directly from the airline.

CANCELLATION AFTER DEPARTURE:

Cancellation after commencement of the tour will be assessed a minimum of 75% of the unused portion of the trip and could reach 100% of the tour cost. All such refunds will be limited to the amounts recoverable. Should airline tickets already have been issued, all of the refunds for ticking will come directly from the airline.

All refunds for land costs will be made directly by First Cabin. All airline refunds will be made directly by the airline. There can be no refund made for less than three full consecutive days of unused accommodations and/or occasional missed meals, sight-seeing tours or any unused services of scheduled transportation. If any airline should cancel its flight and thereafter arrange ground transportation, there can be no refund by the airline or by First Cabin for any difference between the costs of transport, ground versus air.

First Cabin will do its utmost in attempting to recoup your funds, however, the hoteliers and ground operators generally will adhere to this formula. Please read over our cancellation policy very carefully. Traveler insurance companies provide a variety of options from which a traveler can choose to allay their concerns about loss of funds due to a cancellation.

Is Travel Insurance Required?

Travel insurance is not required, but how grateful one is to have the insurance should it become necessary to cancel a tour at whatever point before or after departure. Traveler insurance should always be seriously considered before booking any tour to protect against loss of funds due to cancellation, accident, illness or for the possible loss or damage to luggage or personal property. First Cabin cannot be held responsible for such occurrences.

As with all insurance, the decision is left to the consumer as to whether and for how much to insure against a potential loss. Every traveler should seriously consider acquiring insurance prior to signing on for a holiday tour. Pre-exsting condition is a term that should be discussed with any travel insurance company to better understand exactly how coverage will be applied once a claim is necessitated due to a cancellation before or after commencement of the holiday tour.

Are inoculations required?

First Cabin cannot recommend which shots one should consider acquiring before departure on tour. Obviously, it is a medical decision, which should be made by those who are qualified professionals.

It remains for the traveler and their doctor or traveler clinic to decide on which shots to administer after reviewing the itinerary and the traveler's medical history. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta http://www.cdc.gov/ can assist your doctor in determining which shots to consider for the tour.

Surely I need a passport, but what about visas?

For United States citizens, not only will you need a passport, but also that passport should be valid up to six months beyond the date that you plan to return home following the completion of the tour program.

For certain countries, U.S. citizens with a valid passport do not need a visa. Certain other countries allow one to acquire a visa upon arrival at their local airport. Whenever a visa will be required prior to departure, First Cabin will so advise and suggest that travelers contact http://visacentral.com/, which will assist in acquiring all of the necessary visas required for the tour.

Please be aware that visa fees are an added expense and are not included as part of the tour quotation.

Will First Cabin provide a roommate for me on tour?

Upon request, First Cabin will attempt to find a companion traveler who is willing to consider the sharing of accommodations. Certainly, the shared camaraderie and release from the single supplement is a tempting option and may result in a wonderful holiday for all concerned.

However, should the blend of personalities be less than malleable, the treasured holiday could easily fall into a different category altogether, making the return home a true highlight of the entire tour. One should seriously consider their personal needs and their priorities before committing to such an arrangement.

If at all possible, once a potential roommate is found, it would be extremely valuable to meet with each other in an attempt to pre-determine the chances that such a sharing of accommodations would prove successful.

Must I book my air travel through First Cabin?

The concept of group ticketing has changed from years past and it is seldom that First Cabin will have the requisite number of travelers choosing group air to qualify for airline group travel discounts.

The vast majority of travelers will use either frequent flyer mileage, choose to book their flights with their credit card company that will frequently offer two for one ticketing or purchase the required mileage to enhance their points and use frequent flyer as their method of obtaining their tickets.

First Cabin tour programs include all intra-country air flights, however, each traveler is required to obtain their round-trip international air tickets to the gateway city. First Cabin will lend assistance to any traveler who requires it when acquiring those international air tickets.

Do you also do custom tours for individuals or groups?

Arranging custom tours is a First Cabin specialty. Whether as a solo traveler, for a family, group of friends or an organization, the rewards offered by private journeys are simply grand.

If you took a tour to South America or India, had your own private driver and private guide, breakfast daily and accommodation at the finest hotel, you would expect to pay a premium price, right?

Not necessarily so!

You could actually pay less than a similar group luxury tour that doesn’t include the personal attention or the flexibility. Experienced travelers are finding the rewards for customized touring to be genuinely positive. A custom tour allows travelers to experience the best of a particular site, according to their personal preferences, while a private driver and private guide caters exclusively to them. With their private car, driver and guide, the traveler can choose when to begin the tour, spend more or less time at a particular site and have the option to end the day whenever they feel the urge to return to their luxurious accommodation.

All First Cabin group tours include a tour manager, breakfast and lunch meals daily, with tipping included to all service personnel, including the tour manager. On a custom tour, the client is met upon arrival in each city, escorted to all sites by private driver and personal guide, who later sees them off to their next destination. Over these many years, First Cabin has established an outstanding rapport with the ground operators overseas, who take it upon themselves to make certain that First Cabin clientele are well cared for throughout the journey. Breakfast meals are included; lunch and dinner meals are left for the traveler to choose and gratuities are left to the travelers’ discretion as well. This adjustment allows the traveler to receive the luxury of a privatized custom tour at a price that could be less than a similar group tour.

Rather remarkable, really!

First Cabin clients have grown to love the option.

May we travel on just part of the journey?

On occasion, due to altitude or other constraints, a number of clients may not be able to visit all of the sites listed on the itinerary.

First Cabin always will work with the traveler to amend the program as necessary and adjust the cost.

Are All Of Your Group Tours Guaranteed Departures?

When you book a tour with First Cabin, plan to travel. A Custom Tour is geared for a solo traveler, couples, small groups or organizations, thus they are set to go unless the individuals themselves for whatever reason must alter their plans or for any reason it might be unsafe to travel to a destination previously considered peaceful.

Group Tours require a minimum of six, however, on occasion the tour will depart with fewer and for all tours that are scheduled as Group tours, should it be determined that the tour cannot operate as a Group Tour, First Cabin will still guarantee the departure. Those who have booked on the Group tour will be provided the exact same itinerary as planned for the Group Tour, but First Cabin will arrange it as a Custom Tour, where-in the travelers will have private transportation and private guides en route be they solo, a couple or a foursome and it will be provided at no additional cost.