Frequently Asked Custom Luxury Tour Questions
Why First Cabin?
Experience and Expertise!
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 guides who welcome each of our clients into their perspective cities and accompany them on tour, ensuring the traveler a well organized, rewarding holiday. Our selection of local tour guides ensures that those who will be assigned to care for your day-to-day activities are well-qualified individuals. At First Cabin we make that selection understanding that ones treasured holiday might easily fall into an altogether different category were it not for the caring and professionalism of the person selected to host them at various venues en route.
It is embellished by the selection of transport vehicles, most often an SUV for both comfort and safety, accompanied by a private driver and a private guide throughout the journey. Africa is one exception, where safari vehicles used on game drives are shared with 4 to 6 other residents of the camp. Even on the Yangtze River cruise, First Cabin arranges for a private driver, a private boatman and a private guide on all shore excursions.
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. The client chooses between a well-appointed 4-Star boutique hotel and a 5-Star hotel with all of the accompanying amenities normally offered at such a resort. It may also be a combination of the two, choosing the best value based upon our 29 years of operations with the ground operators, which afford us the best rates at all locations.
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 quality of hotel selection, together with our well educated, knowledgeable local guides are some of the more important parameters one should consider.
For an example, look at this: Compare First Cabin To A Luxury-Styled Group Tour
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 booking an itinerary from the selection of Favorite Tours or to begin to experience the excitement and pleasure of designing your own custom tour.
Is there an option to modify any of the Favorite Tours?
Absolutely so, and we encourage it. One important consideration is to arrive a day or two before commencing with an itinerary to acclimate to the local time zone and recover from what would have been a long flight overseas. Adding to or taking from the itinerary as shown within the Favorite Tours selection is perfectly fine and most welcome.
What meals are included on tour?
On a custom tour, all breakfast meals are included. All lunch and dinner meals are left for the traveler to decide with the assistance of their guide, who will gladly suggest dining options. Over the years, we have found that clients prefer not to have all of the meals arranged for them and necessarily added to the price of a tour, but rather decide for themselves whether and where to enjoy their meals. For lunches, the local guide will suggest an excellent favorite restaurant according to the tastes of the traveler, and for dinner meals, the choice is to eat light or indulge in some of the local flavors and delicacies of the region. The guide and the hotel concierge will have a list of options from which to choose and help you with location. When on safari at the designated camps, and while on the Yangtze River cruise, three meals daily are included with the program.
What about Gratuities to the guides and drivers?
Tipping to the guide and driver, along with hotel staff is left to the discretion of the traveler. An advisory letter will be sent well before the departure listing a variety of ideas for preparation, mention of local customs to observe as well as a tipping guide to be used as a guideline.
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.
Have you special offers on occasion?
First Cabin does not have special offers on any of our tour programs. There are ways to receive a savings when booking a tour, either from the Favorite Tours selection or when creating a customized tour with a personalized itinerary.
If a traveler books well in advance of their travel departure date, generally stated to be six months or more, and pays in full at the time of booking, they are eligible for a 10% discount off of the land arrangement price.
A second option is that First Cabin does not include credit card service charges as part of the cost per tour, allowing travelers who choose to pay by check or wire a 3% savings on cost. If one wishes to pay by credit card, the 3% left out from the tour cost will be added to the cost of the payment.
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:
A cancellation of tour will be assessed a $300 per person administration fee.
Cancellation received 60 – 45 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 ticketing will come directly from the airline.
Cancellation received 45 – 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.
Cancellation received 30 or less prior to departure will be assessed a minimum of 75% of the total cost of the trip and will be limited to the amount recoverable.
Should airline tickets already have been issued prior to the cancellation of the tour, all of the refunds for ticketing 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 ticketing 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.
Refunds will be passed back to the traveler upon receipt of those recouped funds from the ground operators and hoteliers who will likely have been paid weeks before the departure date.
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, and 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-existing 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 and have full knowledge of a traveler’s health condition. 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 https://visacentral.com, which will assist in acquiring all of the necessary visas required for the tour. This is but one choice. There are innumerable companies offering visa service and many embassies and consulates now offer E-Visas, which can easily be acquired on line.
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.
I have another question
If we haven’t answered your questions above, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help. Contact Us
From Our Clients
A careful review of the many quality tour offers available led us back to choose First Cabin with great pleasure.
Beyond Perfect is my best description for our holiday tour across the wonder that is Burma.
I chose Nepal and Tibet with First Cabin. They assigned female guides for me throughout the journey; it was a marvelous experience.
The most remarkable, well run tour that I could have imagined and at a most remarkable price.
Burma on custom tour was superb. Our personal guide Daniel accompanied us the entire journey doting on our every need. We still marvel at how… Read more “”
I use First Cabin to assist in creating custom tours for my clientele. It has been a highly successful and rewarding experience.