Are all meals included?
We include all of your meals – each breakfast, lunch and dinner. On a number of occasions on most tours we offer dine-around evenings, where you can select from a choice of restaurants and dine from the a la carte menu. At other times we may have dinners that feature regional entertainment.
Do you include alcoholic drinks with meals?
Wine, beer and soft drink are included at all group dinners.
Do you have many solo travellers on your tours?
We know sharing the experience is an important part of travel but for many reasons people travel alone. On an average Captain's Choice Tour approximately 25% of our guests leave Australia as a solo traveller, but all return home with many new friends and companions. To make meeting new friends easier we hold a special welcome reception at the start of each tour for single travellers. This enables you to get to know others travelling alone as well as providing a great opportunity to meet the Tour Escort Team. In addition to your fellow travellers, members of the Tour Escort Team are always available to dine with and chat to, so you should never feel alone on your holiday.
I am travelling alone, do I need to pay for a single room?
The Captain's Choice Tour guarantees to match solo travellers with another person of the same gender at no additional cost (with the exclusion of cruise and train tours). If you do not wish to share with a stranger you can guarantee your own room by paying a single supplement; we keep our single supplements as low as possible. On cruise tours and tours involving overnight train travel (except for Silk Route where we guarantee twin share) we will endeavour to match you with another traveller however this cannot be guaranteed and occupancy of a single cabin by choice or circumstance will require payment of a single supplement.
Is travel insurance included?
A comprehensive policy is included in the price of your tour (except when you do not travel on the group flights). It is a fully comprehensive policy and will cover you for; cancellation of your holiday (for medical reasons), medical bills incurred whilst travelling, loss of luggage and/or personal items, additional travel expenses incurred due to illness, etc. Passengers over 81 years of age or with pre existing conditions may be required to pay an additional premium. If you elect to decline the included insurance a reduction in the tour price will be made. The information relating to insurance is general advice only. The insurance policy document and wording will be forwarded to you at the time of booking and you need to consider how appropriate this insurance is for you.
What if I have my own travel insurance?
Travel insurance is very strongly recommend and The Captain's Choice Tour include this for you. However for those who wish to take out their own travel insurance we will refund the insurance cost off the total payment due for your tour, (the cost of insurance is dependent on the length of the tour). If you elect to use your own travel insurance we strongly urge to you read all of the fine print and ensure you are completely covered.
What about tourist visas for certain countries?
Many of the countries featured on our tours require visitors to have a visa in their passport prior to entering the country. The Captain's Choice Tour arranges the relevant visas on your behalf. Visa costs are not included in the tour price as many of our guests have passports of various nationalities, each with their own visa requirements and cost structures.
What level of health and fitness will I require to be able to participate in a tour?
Our tours travel to remote and exotic destinations but do not entail high degrees of physical activity. However, to ensure the enjoyment of the tour for all guests we do have a minimum fitness level requirement, according to basic fitness criteria, for all of our journeys. The criteria have been established with your best interests in mind and in consideration of your fellow travellers. If you are not of a certain level of fitness it may result in spending less time at places of interest, which can detract enjoyment from the tour for your fellow passengers. These 5 Criteria are in the form of a 'Fitness Agreement' which will need to be completed and signed before we finalise your booking. · Walk 2 kilometres (with stops) comfortably (in hot, humid conditions) · Walk up 2 flights of stairs comfortably and unaided · Walk comfortably along uneven and loose surfaces · Embark/disembark boats, trains and buses unaided · Carry your own hand luggage. If you are unable to fulfill all activities listed above it may mean that The Captain's Choice Tour is not suited to your needs. We encourage you to talk to your personal GP or contact our office to receive further advice about the level of activity on a specific tour. The Fitness Agreement must be completed, signed and forwarded to our office within 7 days of your booking confirmation. The Fitness Agreement can be downloaded from the Terms & Conditions page (see bottom of page).
Can I extend my trip at either the start or the end of the tour?
Yes, you can leave Australia before the group departure date and meet at the hotel on the day the group arrives and/or you can stay on in the country after the tour has been completed. Charges may apply if travel is not on group flights, please speak to one of our Tour Consultants for full details. Your Tour Consultant is happy to make any additional arrangements that you require.
Can I use a different airline and/or use my frequent flyer points and join the tour at the international starting point?
Yes, it is possible to travel with another airline or use your frequent flyer points. Please see the Land Only, Cruise Only or Private Jet Only price of each tour; this price does not include transfers to/from the airport or travel insurance.
How much money do I need to take and in what currency?
The Captain's Choice Tour is fully inclusive of all travel costs, it is possible to complete a tour without spending an extra cent! However if you would like to buy souvenirs, extra drinks or do some laundry, this is at your own expense. Generally speaking, the best option is to purchase US dollar or Euro travellers cheques and/or currency (in small denominations) before you leave Australia, these can be exchanged for local currency whilst overseas. Travellers cheques you have left over can be changed back into Australian dollars. Please bear in mind, some countries travellers cheques can be extremely difficult to exchange. More specific information on what currency to take on your holiday will be provided prior to departure of each tour.
Do I need to carry small change to tip hotel porters, tour guides, etc.?
All Captains Choice Tours are inclusive of all tipping and taxes. In some circumstances you may wish to tip for exceptional service but it is not expected as your Tour Manager will tip guides, drivers, porters, restaurant staff, etc. on your behalf. However you may find carrying small change useful for small purchases such as stamps or additional water; small change may also be handy for use of public toilets.
Why does a Doctor travel on each tour?
The Captain's Choice Tour often visits countries where English is not widely spoken and where healthcare facilities often do not meet western standards. Having a doctor travel with the group provides reassurance and enables travel to continue uninhibited if minor health concerns, such as colds or stomach illness, arise. The Tour Doctor provides immediate but limited medical assistance for tour guests if the need arises. The Tour Doctor does not provide extended care for pre-existing conditions.
Do I have to pay to see the Tour Doctor?
No charge applies for seeing the Tour Doctor but medicine prescribed by the doctor may be at a nominal cost.
I have previously travelled with The Captain's Choice Tour, am I entitled to any discounts?
All people who travel on a Captain's Choice Tour automatically become members of the 'Captain's Club'. Members who have completed 1-3 tours receive a $250 reduction per person off their next tour. Members who have completed 4+ tours receive a $500 per person reduction off their next tour. Members who have completed 4+ tours also receive complimentary home-airport-home limousine transfers (within a 40km radius of an international airport, not included on Land Only, Cruise only or Private Jet Only packages).
Do I need vaccinations before I travel?
Prior to departure you will receive a letter from The Captain's Choice Tour Doctor, outlining recommended vaccinations and medications to take on your holiday. Generally speaking, you will be required to have your tetanus/polio and Hepatitis A/B vaccinations up to date. We strongly advise you talk with your own doctor and consult the Traveller's Medical & Vaccination Centre (TMVC) in your area about vaccinations and any health concerns you may have.
What advantage are the personal headsets?
Personal headsets are provided for use on most sightseeing tours whilst on tour, they are particularly advantageous for walking tours and museum visits. The personal headsets allow you to listen to our guide's live commentary at your preferred level of sound. The headsets also allow you to move a small distance away from the group to investigate something of interest whilst still hearing the commentary. Personal headsets are provided on all tours listed within our Luxury Overland Tours category. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of our Tour Consultants if you would like more details.
Why should I take the whole tour package including flights rather than purchasing the Land Only package?
We have selected the most appropriate flights considering airline's schedules, airline's reputation and price according to each itinerary. When you purchase the full package from The Captain's Choice Tour it includes your travel insurance and your transfers to/from the airport to the hotel - the Land Only price does not include transfers or travel insurance. In addition you will be escorted from Australia by a member of the Tour Escort Team. (Dependent on total passenger numbers from each city, it is possible you will meet your Tour Escort half way or at the airport in your final destination.) You will still accrue your frequent flyer points if you are a member of the airline's frequent flyer program. (On rare occasions some airlines may not allow this. Unfortunately on our private jet tours frequent flyer points cannot be used for flights nor does the airline allow frequent flyer points to be accumulated.)
Can I elect to travel on only part of a tour?
The Captain's Choice Tours are designed to be experienced in their entirety. However, on occasions, there may be opportunity to take only part of the tour. This varies for each tour, please contact The Captain's Choice Tour email@example.com or 1800 622 628 for further details.
How many people are on each tour?
The number of guests per tour varies greatly depending on the tour. On average our tours carry a maximum of 32 passengers but our private train and private air charters carry more guests. We do not fill coaches to capacity, enabling you additional room to relax and view out of the windows. On our large tours, such as Eastern Europe by Private Train, each coach will take a maximum of 30 guests and operate to a different daily itinerary to avoid congestion of 5 buses at the one site. The advantage of travelling in a large group is that we have the convenience of our private train (or aircraft) and we are able to offer a number of spectacular dinners including top quality, privately performed entertainment - such as a ballet performance in the Hermitage and an incredible dinner with jazz band in the Salt Mines in Poland.
What are the luggage restrictions?
The Captain's Choice Tour includes porterage of one suitcase size of luggage per person. You should also consider airline's weight restrictions, normally 20kg in Economy Class and 30kg in Business Class and First Class.
There are some tours, where we use smaller regional aircraft, when all guests may be limited to 20kg per person - of course this would be advised prior to travel. Excess luggage charges must be paid by the guest.
What is the benefit of travelling aboard a Private Train?
Travelling aboard your private train affords you the luxury of direct connections to the destinations you want to visit. Our private train adheres to our schedule and waits for us in each of the destinations. We use a private train on a number of our tours, some for the whole tour and some for only parts of the tour. Examples of benefits of private train travel are that you simply relax and watch the scenery go past. Lunch and some dinners are served in the dining cars and you are free to move about - stretching your legs and chatting to fellow travelling companions. Also, there is no need for queuing at road border crossings, which during the peak travel periods can take up to five or more hours. On Eastern Europe all travel is done during daylight hours and you spend two or three nights in luxury hotels in each city. On Cape Town to Cairo we travel aboard the Rovos Rail luxury train from Cape Town to Pretoria.
What forms of payment do you accept?
The Captain's Choice Tour accepts all major credit cards (AMEX, Visa, Diners, Mastercard) and will not charge you a service fee. We also accept personal cheques, bank cheques and direct deposits into our bank account.
After I make a booking, what happens?
When you make your booking and pay your deposit we send you a confirmation letter, booking form (where you complete your essential information) and travel insurance application form. We encourage you to return the travel insurance form at your earliest convenience so that we can take out your insurance and obtain coverage as soon as possible.
Three months prior to travel (four months for some tours) you will receive a comprehensive letter from us that provides additional information about your tour. At this time we will also send you the visa forms to be completed and returned with your passport. One month prior to travel you will receive some additional information including a comprehensive Tour Compendium, detailing the culture, history, politics, etc of each destination you will visit as well as the day by day activities you can expect whilst on tour.
Two weeks prior to travel you will receive your air tickets and travel documents including your passport with the necessary visas inside. Of course your appointed Tour Consultant, or anyone within our office, is always available to answer any questions you may have.
What happens if I pay my deposit but cannot obtain travel insurance for any reason, e.g. pre-existing condition?
We require a deposit to confirm your place on a tour and then we send insurance forms. If our insurance company decline to cover you for travel insurance and you are unable to find travel insurance through another provider we will refund your deposit. The refunding of your deposit is contingent upon your effort to apply for travel insurance within two weeks of your booking.
Why do you say we stay at five star or best available hotels?
Where there is a five star hotel available and suited to a group The Captain's Choice Tour will utilise the five star hotel. Because The Captain's Choice Tour specialises in travel to remote destinations, there are sometimes simply no five star hotels in the area - this is when we stay at the best available hotel (often 3 or 4 star).
What is the benefit of travelling aboard a Private Aircraft?
Travelling aboard your private aircraft enables you to reach the destinations you wish to visit with ease and speed. It eliminates much of the time you would normally spend waiting at airports as we can often arrange expedited Customs and Immigration arrangements (dependent on local conditions). Private air travel also provides you with direct connections between cities for which no scheduled services fly, often the time (and cost) saved is enormous - giving you more time to spend your holiday relaxing and sightseeing. The camaraderie between guests, Tour Escorts and crew aboard the private air charters makes it a very pleasant way to travel - completely unlike an ordinary flight!
What will the weather be like?
The weather depends on the countries you visit. Generally speaking The Captain's Choice Tours visit a region at the opportune time for mild weather. More specifically, guests on each tour are supplied with details on the expected weather for each destination.
When is the best time to visit Africa?
Different regions within Africa have different optimum times for visiting. We find the best time to visit the continent, particularly the regions covered by our 'Cape Town to Cairo' tour, is September/October. Whilst this is the dry season and Victoria Falls is not flowing at its strongest, it does mean that waterholes and rivers have dried up and game populations have become more concentrated around water sources - thus providing much better opportunities for game viewing. This period is also the time of the great wildebeest migration in Kenya and presents the best opportunity to see the natural phenomenon of moving lines of animals within Masai Mara National Park. September/October is also a good time to visit South Africa as it is mild at this time of year and Egypt is pleasantly warm.
Who will be on the tour with me?
On each tour we take a Tour Escort Team. The size of the Escort Team depends on the number of guests we have on each tour. On a tour of 20 people we have a Tour Manager and a Tour Doctor. On a tour of 40 people we have a Tour Manager, an Escort and a Tour Doctor. You will also be in the company of fellow travellers. The majority of our guests are Australians but we also have a number of people from New Zealand and from the UK who travel with us on each tour. Of course we welcome people from all countries to join our tours.
Is there free time on the tours?
On each tour we do try and incorporate a number of free afternoons (and sometimes mornings) so you have the freedom to 'do your own thing' - be that shopping, individual exploration or resting. Please refer to individual itineraries for details.
I have special dietary requirements, what happens on tour?
Generally speaking we are able to cater for most dietary requirements, e.g. diabetic, vegetarian, celiac. We also make small cards for you to take on tour, providing the translations into the local language about your dietary needs. However it can sometimes be difficult in places, such as China, to provide varied and nutritious meals for people with strict dietary restrictions. We will do our utmost to cater for all dietary needs but if your dietary requirements are strict we suggest you bring some of the essentials from home (bearing in mind customs restrictions of some foods).
What electrical plugs should I take?
You can purchase electrical voltage adaptors and corresponding plugs for use in other countries from many stores - including department stores, luggage shops and duty free outlets. We recommend purchasing a worldwide adaptor which can be used in most countries, and bringing along a power board that will fit your electrical items. This way you can carge your phone, camera and laptop all at the same time without having 3 different adaptors for each country.
When does my Tour Escort Team get selected?
Your Tour Escort Team will be selected and advised to you one month prior to travel. The details of each Tour Escort will be in the Tour Compendium (sent one month prior to travel).
What about laundry facilities whilst on tour?
On each tour there will be several occasions where there is normally ample time to have your laundry done by the hotel (own cost). If you wish to hand wash small items we recommend that you take a small travel clothesline on which you can dry items overnight in your room. On most ships there is a self service laundry onboard where you can wash and dry your own clothes at no additional charge, alternatively you can have your laundry sent out (own cost).
Do I have to pay for shore excursions on the ship tours?
No. The Captain's Choice Tour includes exclusive, private shore excursions as listed in the itinerary. There is no need to queue and then pay extra whilst on your cruise.
Do the tours have many early mornings?
Most of your touring days will begin between 9am-10am. On travelling days the time of departure is dictated by the distance to cover to the next destination. Where possible we avoid having very early mornings however sometimes an early morning is necessitated by an airline or train schedule. If you are planning on participating on game drives in Africa you can be assured that there will be some very early starts.
What about photography?
Taking photos is one of the great joys of travel and you are sure to find many great photographic opportunities on your holiday. Whether you are an aspiring professional or a 'click and shoot' photographer we strongly recommend you purchase sufficient film, batteries and memory cards prior to departure as these can sometimes be difficult (and unreliable) to obtain overseas.
We also recommend that, particularly when exploring a city independently, that you carry your camera safely in a bag rather than around your neck. When taking photos of people it is always good practice to first ask their permission. Some cultures have a strong aversion to being photographed and others are simply timid about having a foreigner take their photo. If you are using a digital camera you can overcome many barriers by showing them their image on the display; this also provides a great opportunity to interact with the local people. To save you the hassle and stress of always remembering and carrying your camera and to enable you to live in the moment and enjoy the experience rather than peering from behind a camera lense, The Captain's Choice Tour will provide you with a DVD of photos taken aboard your tour.
The photos will be taken by a member of your Tour Escort Team, who is not a professional photographer but who is capable of taking some good snaps. The DVD of photos will be sent to you with a Tour Certificate and group photograph after you return home from tour. On our private Qantas air tours we will have a videographer on tour who will make a personalised DVD of the tour, which is available to purchase.