Travel To Greece: Athens and the Greek Isles
Posted on tripadvisor, Oct. 16, 2011
"Travel In Style travel agency"
I know there is not a place for reviewing travel agencies on here, but I wanted to post a review anyway. I hope this is okay.
I have used Travel In Style travel agency, based in San Francisco, for two different trips – one to Greece in 2007 and again this summer (August 2011) for a trip to Israel and Jordan. My experiences with them were both very positive.
For Greece, we used TIS to book our hotels and to handle all in-country transportation. Upon arrival in Greece, our local travel representative met us at our hotel to provide us with our information, vouchers and tickets, and to answer any questions. He followed up with us every day to ensure that everything was going okay, even making dinner recommendations and reservations for us.
At one point, weather prevented us from being able to take our boat between islands. Our tickets were re-booked and hotels were adjusted before we ever knew that there was an issue.
For Israel/Jordan, we actually decided that we wanted a private guide and driver for our entire trip. I worked with TIS to create the customized trip that I wanted, adding and removing sites and activities until everything was as I desired. When we arrived at Ben Gurion airport, we were met by an airport representative who whisked us through the paperwork and out a side door to our waiting car. A great start to a great trip! I had a couple of small questions for TIS during out trip; I emailed them and they responded promptly.
I will definitely consider using them again, should I be traveling to a location that they cover.
Egypt and Greece: Summer 2010
Ron and Deepti
For those of you considering booking your next vacation with travelinstyle.com, I have broken down my feedback into each phase of the vacation to Egypt and Greece that my wife and I took this past summer.
Initial planning: I probably exchanged 50+ emails with Omar during the planning phase. At this point, we hadn't booked a trip or paid any deposits. Omar was very prompt and professional in providing advice and answering our many questions. When we travel to distant lands like Egypt and Greece, we really try to maximize our time and make the most of the experience. Omar provided the details we needed to plan a fantastic vacation and he also steered us away from ideas which his expertise told him would adversely impact our journey (i.e. if you take the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor, you will not get a restful sleep and will be worn out the following day).
Pre-departure: Omar advised us on the timing to seek travel visas, he assisted with finding the most convenient flight options, and calmed all of our pre-trip 'jitters' about what to expect upon arrival. We received detailed itineraries, packing list guidelines for our desert safari, and all vouchers required for our hotels, cruise, and tours. This was by far our most complex itinerary and everything was managed flawlessly.
While abroad: Our trip consisted of 11 individual flight segments through 3 countries, a 5 day cruise, a 2 day bus tour, a 2 day desert safari, and countless shuttles, transfers, connections, taxi rides, and horse drawn carriages. Travelinstyle serves as the hub and coordination center for all the local guides, Egyptologists, and other service providers on the ground. Having to worry about all of the details of the trip would have been a lot of mental stress that we didn't need or want while on vacation. We were very happy with the decision to leave this to Omar and the experts at Travelinstyle. The local guides took great care of us and went out of their way to ensure that we enjoyed the trip.
Egypt is a wonderful place and full of history, culture, and adventure, but it can be quite overwhelming for American or travelers more accustomed to the US or Western Europe. Not all destination require such coordination and planning, but if you are considering a journey to Egypt, I would highly recommend that you connect with Travelinstyle.
Date: Sunday, October 04,03:45 pm
Subject: Re: Travel to Turkey , Greece and Egypt
Hope you and your family are well and happy.
It was definitely a trip of a lifetime for us. We had exceptionally great weather and our accommodations were wonderful, although I did not realize how tiring 8 flights in 18 days could be! I don't think I would schedule that tightly again. We could never unpack our suitcases and totally relax, as we always had another destination to go to in a day or two. It was such a wonderful sampling of fabulous places to visit, the people were friendly, and all the guides really worked hard to make sure that we got to where we were supposed to be. Although it was an ambitious schedule, we managed it with big smiles on our faces.
The worst part of the trip was our 3 am wakeup call in gorgeous Santorini and the 5 am taxi ride to the airport to get back to Athens so that we could take another plane to Istanbul. You need to change that schedule if you can for future clients. In fact, I'm thinking that if we had just reversed our trip and saw Egypt first, then we could have avoided that altogether.
Our favorite Greek Isle was Santorini -- what a spectacularly beautiful place! We had to take 120 steps down to get to our room, which was not fun and dangerous since they did not have a hand rail that we could hold on to during our climbs up and down the mountain, and the steps were all different heights and widths. Because of that, if we return there, we would stay in another place besides the Katikies, although we absolutely loved it there and the view was spectacular. I didn't mind walking the steps, but I minded that there was no handrail and it was unsafe. If I had a few drinks, then I probably would not be able to make it to the room at all, lol.
We loved the hydro foil ride between Mykonos and Santorini. It was a very pleasant ride and a beautiful way to see the other islands. The fact that we were in business class made it that much more pleasant, as the boat was packed with people, and we had a little more room and quiet upstairs in business class.
Egypt was our biggest surprise. So much to see and so fascinating! We did as much as we possible could in our short time there. Many thanks to our excellent guide, a woman by the name of Samah Gamal, and our driver, Essam. She really made our visit memorable. She had a lot of experience, had a no-nonsense approach with all the guards, and was both very sweet and aggressive at the same time to make sure we did what we had planned to do. Please ask for her again, she was absolutely TERRIFIC. Our driver was great too, he was calm and had nerves of steel, whereas we did not. Who knew that Cairo, a city of 20 million people, has no speed limits and no traffic lights???!!! We even were able to go for a camel ride in the dessert. Those pictures will be a legacy to our grandchildren, to show them that even at our age, we refuse to sit in a rocking chair and watch TV all day. In the morning, my 70 year old husband smoked a camel, in the afternoon he rode one. Life is great!
Many thanks to you and your staff, Omar, for making it happen for us.
With warmest wishes,
Travel Experience in Greece and Egypt
Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2008
Subject: Re: Mr. Jim ... / Ms. Meredith ... - July- 2008
We just want to say thank you so much for putting together our trip. It was one we will never forget and we really did feel like royalty while we were travelling. Im sure you do this for everyone though. We will definitely recommend you to anyone. It was a trip of a lifetime. Thank you again.
Jim and Meredith
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2008
Subject: Re: Great Pleasure indeed - Harpstead
We had a perfect vacation in Greece!
Dinner our first night at the rooftop restaurant of the Titania overlooking the Acropolis as the sun set and the lights came on!
Santorini was magical - though we enjoyed the sunsets from Fira instead of Oia. We did rent an ATV and got to Red Beach and Oia on day trips.
The ferry to Crete made half the boat sick - but not us!
The Movenpick in Crete was really beautiful - a luxurious place to rest after a long week.
We were upgraded to executive suites by both the Titania and the Athens airport Sofitel, you should know. They took good care of us!
We loved the Ouzo, the shopping, the sunsets, the beaches, the colors of the sea and sky, the friendly waiters, the people at the Tzekos Villas, the shop owners - we loved Greece!
We WILL return someday, especially to Santorini!
And contacting you via the Internet to arrange it was the perfect way to set it up.
Let us know if we owe you money - the hotels said everything was pre-paid though we charged a few things, like bottled water, to our rooms.
Thank you again, Omar, for everything! I've already referred a couple of other people to you. You do a fine job!
Jodi and Stan
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2007 2:04 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org>, > Subject: We're Back!
We just wanted to let you know we made it back home after our weeklong detour through Italy. Athens was fantastic. The tours were very good, and short of heading out to the islands, I can't think of a single thing we would have rather done while there.
Although we had an excellent time in Athens, Egypt was by far the highlight of our entire trip, including Italy. We just can't say enough about Ahmed, Isis, Ashraf, and all our drivers. We simply could not have done the trip without their help. Ahmed was very professional, courteous, and helpful, and always went out of his way to make sure we were where we needed to be at the right time. Our Egyptologist guides, Isis and Ashraf, were both very knowledgeable and made our visit so much better with their endless supply of information. We wore out both days long before they did. We will definitely try to come back to Egypt when
we have more time to spend.
Thank you so much for arranging the trip, allowing us to customize what we needed to, and putting us in touch with such good people. And please find attached pictures of us enjoying a camel ride. :-)
Adrian & Melina
Honeymoon in Greece and Egypt
From: L. Deak
Sent: Monday, October 08
Subject: Re: Just checking on service- Travel In Style
Dear Fatima, Omar, and Travel In Style Staff:
We had such a WONDERFUL vacation that it has taken us more than a week to stop feeling sad about our return home and to regular life. :)
From the moment we passed through customs in Athens to the moment we passed through passport control on our way out of Cairo, Josiah and I were treated with the utmost care and respect. Our transportation service was wonderful in all locations, and all representatives from Santos and Sakkara were quick to answer our questions and provide any additional information or services we required.
Our accommodations were top-notch (we especially loved the view from the rooftop of Hotel Stanley in Athens :) , and our guides were always informative and personable.
We cannot say enough good things about our trip--it is something we will remember forever. If you are interested, please feel free to look over our pictures at www.charlesrae.net.
Thanks to everyone at Travel in Style who helped to make this trip such a success!!
Re: Hall trip to Greece- Sep
The jetlag has passed and we've resumed our regular life. But the memories of our trip to Greece will remain with us for the rest of our lives. It was a truly wonderful experience from start to finish.
We loved every place we visited. Walked and climbed (everything historic in Greece is UPHILL) until we thought we could not take another step, then drank great and so inexpensive wines, ate wonderful food and started all over the next day.
We did not come back with a favorite place, hotel or experience, we loved them all.
The arrangements you made for us made the trip easy and free of stress. Your colleagues in Greece were prompt, courteous and very helpful. We especially appreciated the driver, George, who met us on our arrival in Athens. He waited two hours for us while we dealt with missing luggage. Then Kosta met us at the hotel to get us settled. We were extremely tired and really appreciated that.
Similarly, the person meeting us in Santorini went above and beyond. Due to a problem with the ferry, we were several hours late. But she was there, took us to the hotel and arranged a wonderful boat excursion for us the next day.
We travel frequently, but have never used a travel agent before. You and your staff lived up to all our expectations and more.
Thank you so much.
S. and P. Hall
Indeed share our comments with your team in Greece and you may post our comments on your website. I was remiss in not mentioning Kika, the guide who took us all over the markets in Athens and then to one of her favorite tavernas for lunch. She was a delight and seemed to enjoy showing us the meat/fish/vegetable and spice markets.
Greece Sep Tour
From: Debbi & Nikki
Fatima and Omar – Thanks you for your kind replies. I hope that I did not sound too negative. We did have a very nice time, and I pointed out those couple of items only because they seemed out of the norm from the high quality of the trip that you had put together for us.
And indeed, Kosta did contact us about the boat (speed hydrofoil) cancellation and change to the ferry. My apologies if I misrepresented that. He was quite attentive to us throughout our journeys. I was simply stating the fact that the ferry was cold and miserable! Brrrr…! I now understand all of the comments that I had read on various travel websites about the ferries. I am sure that the hydrofoil that you originally had scheduled for us would have been many levels improved from the ferry, and I certainly can't hold you accountable for the lousy weather. However, I continue to search for the person who is in charge of the weather – I have several issues to discuss with them! ;-)
Being in a service industry myself, and specifically focusing on consumer research, I know how important it is to have feedback from consumers. I hope my comments were seen more as opportunities and less as a complaint. But don't make everything too perfect – sometimes the unexpected things create the most interesting memories! I have told my 'screaming at the cabbie' story on several occasions!
Many thanks, and I would definitely consider using TIS in the future.
Traveling with children: Egypt, Mediterranean Cruise & Greece
Jerry Walker writes:
OK, I have had enough work today and am anxious to give you my feedback, so here goes:
Arrival in Greece we were met by Costas and he was wonderful and made us feel very welcome. His sign was very professional and big enough for us to see, although my daughter missed him the next evening. This was definitely not his fault. Dimitri met us at the hotel and made sure we knew about everything that was going to happen from that point on. Again, he made us feel welcome and comfortable, which made us relax. The hotel we stayed in was terrific. We loved the roof top restaurant and the view. Service at the hotel was great and the food was average.
Dimitri did an excellent job of getting us on the cruise ship and of picking us up from the cruise ship. We never were worried about any of our connections. He made sure the cruise ship knew we had to get off early and the cruise ship was very accommodating to make sure that happened.
The cruise was terrific and we loved everywhere we stopped, especially Turkey and Santorini. The service on the ship was very good and the employees were terrific. The food was average at best.
Our two day excursions from Athens were definitely worth our time. We loved Delphi and really enjoyed Argolis as well. Again, Dimitri made sure we got picked up both days and were delivered back to our hotel by the tour we were on. Dimitri again met us in the evening to get us to our early morning flight to Egypt and we got a chance to meet his lovely wife. He did everything he could to get us checked in and going in the right direction in the airport. We absolutely think he and his brother were wonderful and did an outstanding job taking care of us.
When we arrived in Cairo we were met by Memo (spelling) and Michael. Again, Memo did an excellent job of greeting us, getting us our Visas and getting us and our luggage through the airport. This was very important to us as this part of our trip was the most concerning for us. He got us on a bus to our airport and made us feel very comfortable and very welcome to Egypt. I was incredibly impressed by his ability to anticipate our needs. He had already changed our tour, which was to begin at 8:00 AM to begin at 10:00 AM since we were getting in so late in the morning. The additional two hours sleep was very well needed by all of us. He made sure we were checked in properly in our hotel then took care of our wake-up call. We literally had to do nothing but go to our room and go to bed. Our tour to the pyramids was outstanding and probably our highlight of the entire trip. Our female guide did a superb job explaining everything we were going to see and talking about what we were seeing when we were there. We had no idea we would be riding camels, going to a perfume store, stopping by to shop for gold and silver and then finishing up with a trip to a local shop that made rugs. All of this was unexpected and was a wonderful way to see some of the local areas. Lunch was superb, although I couldn't tell you where we ate. It was very close to the pyramids and definitely in Giza. We were also made very comfortable with the additional security that accompanied us everywhere we went. Our safety was never in jeopardy, at least we thought so. Arriving back to the hotel after a long day we were very tired and wondering how much fun the dinner cruise was going to be but again Memo anticipated this and had already changed the dinner cruise to the next evening, which made all of us very very happy. Again, I was blown away by his ability to stay one step ahead of our needs and really knowing what we were thinking. The dinner cruise was again more than we expected. The food was good, not outstanding but the entertainment was superb. Although we were expecting the belly dancer we were not expecting the whirling dervish or whatever he was, but he was incredible and a memory we will never forget. Michael accompanied us on the cruise and he made sure we were well taken care of. He also did an outstanding job of making sure we had a wonderful time. He was very service oriented and we were blown away that he had only been with the company for three months and that we were his first group to go solo with. If he hadn't told us, we would have never known. Michael met us in the morning to take us to the airport and along with him and Memo made sure we got our luggage checked with very little hassle. Everyone in Egypt did everything humanly possible to make sure we were taken care of.
I would do anything necessary for references for either Athens or Cairo. The people you are working with there are absolutely first class and made sure we had a wonderful vacation. I would love to write letters to both locations if you think that is appropriate. The only bad news is what myself and daughter brought back with us from Egypt and that is being sick. We both have spent way too much time in the bathroom the last five days. Other than that our vacation was simply the best! Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!!!
Subj: Re: Feed back on your trip with us & your Honeymoon: Egypt & Greece
Thank you for your follow up.
All of the people that met us were very kind and very helpful. We spent an extra day in Cairo - and got to relax by the pool. The accomodations in Cairo were fabulous - as were the ones in Santorini. We had a wonderful honeymoon and will cherish the memories for the rest of our life.
Thank you for all of your help
April and Gagan Singh
Subj: Re: M/M Ward -May-Feed Back
Kenneth Ward and I talked today, and they just loved their trip. he said all the hotels were first class and the best there and all the transfers and those who meet them were great also. I want to thank you so much for taking care of my clients and making there trip a memorable one.
The Travel Society, Hailey, ID
Greece Summer Trip
Sorry that we didn't get back to you sooner w/ our impressions but we had the usual hecticness of returning to life. Kosta, Dimetrie and all of the people who transferred us were perfect. We never received such great service; the guide from Istanbul as well as the other tour guides were equally great.
We would not hesitate to use travelinstyle again, or to recommend it to others.
Bonnie & Michael Greenberg
Greece Summer Trip
The trip was fantastic. Everything went very well and the accommodations were higher than my expectations. The Chromata Apartments in Santorini were unbelievable.
Thanks for your help. Dmitri in Athens was very nice and went out of his way to make sure we were taken care of.
I will recommend your company to all my friends.