I often receive emails from our guests and travel agents. This one struck a chord with me because Nancy Knudson is both a travel agent AND a Classic Journeys guest. A veteran of 20 years in the industry, she’s worked with many fine companies in her own travels and for her clients’ vacations. So I decided to post her comments for everyone to read as a mini travel guidebook for planning a great vacation. The questions are mine. The answers are hers:

How did Classic Journeys compare to your other travel experiences?

I toured with Classic Journeys in 2010 for the first time on your Peru and Machu Picchu trip. And I will tell you, as a travel agent and a traveler…Classic Journeys is by far the best tour company I have ever worked with or toured with. From answering my questions beforehand, to offering advice, to giving us one of the best guides ever, it was an outstanding experience!

What’s the value in a guide, and how they impact your time in-country?

I have a guide I work with in Egypt. I have traveled there four times escorting clients. Having traveled all over the world and having had many great guides and some not so; my guide and dear friend in Egypt has been head and shoulders above any other guide I had ever had…until I went to Machu Picchu with Classic Journeys.  Your head guide Franklin was our guide in Peru, and I found him to be the first guide to equal my friend in Egypt.  Not only knowledgeable but so passionate about what he was showing us. He loved his job, he loved his Inca sights, his country, and he passed that passion and enthusiasm on to us.  In addition, he took such great care of us.  I have had many knowledgeable guides who loved their jobs and took good care of their clients, but this passion for what they are showing us like Franklin and my friend in Egypt…that is what takes the trip to a whole new level!

Isn’t all customer service the same?

My husband and I traveled to the Arctic this past June on [one of the highest-end cruise lines]. The crew and staff were wonderful. However, their reservation agents in New York were horrible. It was like pulling teeth to get any help from them. I called several times with questions and not only got the impression they had no idea…they did not feel the need to find out for me.  I have been in the travel industry for 20 years…I was stunned. I say all of this because I have worked with budget travel and high end travel. Needless to say I expect more from high end and got horrible service from them.  BUT, the service I got from the Classic Journeys office in terms of answering questions, being proactive, helping with logical thought process to make our decision, your friendliness, professionalism, patience—it was all The Best I have ever experienced.

How do the phones work in Peru?

This was a first for me! The Classic Journeys’ office called me half way through the trip to be sure everything was going well and was there anything they could do to help make it better…amazing!

What’s next on your travel agenda?

A few months ago I saw that Classic Journeys was going to offer island based tours in the Galapagos…I was hooked!  I am very excited to see that once again you have a tailor made tour for me and my traveling friends! I have been recruiting people and plan on taking this tour in 2013. I know for sure my husband and I will be doing this, and I also have 4 or 5 more people very interested.  We would most likely extend our time in South America to include Machu Picchu along with the Galapagos. I want my husband and my friends traveling with me to see it. And I hope we can request Franklin to be our guide again!

About Classic Journeys:

Classic Journeys offers adventure vacations in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. Guests enjoy luxury accommodations and gourmet meals that reflect the best of each region, coupled with easy-going walks, daily interactions with locals, and native guides who make countries and cultures come alive.