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Discount Coach Tours strongly recommend you read Cosmos’ most frequently asked questions below which is useful information for your trip so that you are well informed.

What exactly is included in my vacation?

The true value of your vacation is in the accurate detailed vacation description, on the websites and in the brochures, that is unusually specific and specifies accommodation, touring in deluxe coaches, sightseeing and included meals. The agenda for each day is spelled out with exactly what is included in the price. Sightseeing with local guides is clearly listed. Inside visits and special features are spelled out in UPPERCASE.

How hectic is my vacation going to be?

Globus Family of Brands offers over 450 vacations and while some are very leisurely paced other are hectic or medium paced. Typically, Panorama vacations covering more countries / cities in a short duration make a vacation quick paced and Regional Discoveries are medium to leisurely pace. Every vacation has a pace meter indicating its pace on the brochure.

Why is it important that I give my name as it appears on my passport at the time of booking?

Due to increased travel security around the world, it is now more important than ever that your bookings with airlines, hotels, cruise liners, etc. match your first and last name exactly as it reads on your passport. We do not allow a change in names of passengers at any time after the booking is made.

How long will we be on the road everyday? How often does the coach stop enroute?

Driving time varies for each vacation. It depends on the itinerary and the driving distance is mentioned in the travel documents. You can also request this information in advance. When driving between cities, the coach stops after every 1 and a half to 2 hours at places where you can pick up a snack / meal and use washrooms. Most vacations do not include drives from one city to another everyday.

How early does one have to wake up on the vacations?

The wake-up call differs based on the type of vacation, the season when you are travelling, the city that you are in and even the weather. Wake up timings are not the same for each day and the Tour Director will advise you of these once the tour starts. Early starts offer the advantage of reaching sightseeing spots before the rush starts and this leaves you free the rest of the day giving you more time to enjoy the destination and to do as you please. It is imperative that all participants maintain punctuality to ensure that no compromises are made on the inclusions.

What meals are included in my vacation? Can I request Indian / vegetarian / special cuisine while on tour?

The exact number of meals included on your tour is clearly specified on the itinerary and is different for each vacation. Breakfast is included daily on most vacations, with the exception of North America, where breakfast is not included in the tour price; but some included hotels may offer complimentary breakfast. Our vacations strive to introduce you to authentic flavors, so you can enjoy the destination in a deeper way. Therefore, included meals are usually local or continental and are never Indian or other specialty Asian cuisine. Please request vegetarian meals at the time of booking, and also with the Tour Director when on tour; this can usually be accommodated when requested in advance, but cannot be guaranteed. In certain countries and regions, such as North America’s National Parks, it may be difficult to find Indian or vegetarian meals. When meals are not included, you may choose an Indian restaurant in the city you are touring. Please see pages our brochure for more details.

Who will be my travel companions?

Our vacations are very popular worldwide and the demographic profile of travellers is varied. Your fellow travellers will include many nationalities including American, English, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, Japanese, Thai, Indian and many others. They are usually of varied ages and professional backgrounds. This is a wonderful opportunity to make friends from people across the world.

Are prices published in the brochure / on the website guaranteed?

Prices quoted in the brochure / website are based on rates and taxes - including all important foreign exchange rates - known at the time of costing. They are subject to increase without notice if rates or taxes change substantially & current price will be confirmed at the time you book your vacation. Once we receive your deposit, the land price is guaranteed. 2013 prices and itineraries are subject to change.

Do vacation prices include tips to Tour Directors, Drivers & Local Guides?

It is customary worldwide to pay tips to Tour Directors and Drivers on all international vacations. Gratuity is automatically added to the tour price on the majority of our tours and river cruises at the time of booking so you don't have to budget for this at the end of the tour. To know if the gratuity will be added and the exact amount of gratuity you are paying, please refer to the price box for your chosen vacation. You will receive Gratuity vouchers with your travel documents and all you need to do is give this to the Tour Director and driver or Cruise Director and ship's crew at the end of the vacation. Gratuity is fully refundable if you need to cancel your tour for any reason. Tips for Local Guides are not included in this charge.

What is the difference between a twin-bedded room and a double room?

A double room is a room designed to accommodate two people, though not necessarily with two separate beds. A twin-bedded room has two separate beds of any size; this is what we usually reserve for our travelers.

What size is a triple room?

A triple room is the same size as a twin-bedded room. It will have beds to accommodate three people; however, we cannot guarantee that there will be three separate beds. If there are only two beds, a rollaway bed may be requested but also cannot be guaranteed.

When can I purchase optional excursions?

Your Tour Director will review the optional excursions available for purchase while you are on vacation. You may choose and purchase any optional excursions at that time. To enable you to budget, approximate costs and descriptions of possible optional tours are listed on our Web site and in your travel documents. They can be booked and paid for on tour only. Some optional tours mentioned in your travel documents may not operate due to weather, minimum participation, or other operational reasons.

When will I receive my travel documents?

Travel documents including any air tickets (if applicable), itineraries, and other information are sent approximately two to three weeks prior to departure, provided full payment has been received. A service charge per reservation may be added for documents requested in advance.

Are arrival & departure transfers arranged for all vacations?

Airport transfers may be purchased on all land-only reservations provided the arrival and departure timings are within the scheduled airport transfer times as specified for the particular vacation. The timings can be checked by your travel agent. Transfers are not available for nonbrochure dates but can be arranged if purchased with pre/post nights. Please click here for more details. Transfers cannot be provided if joining late or leaving early. Transfers will be provided only if confirmed by the Globus family of brands.

What is the cancellation policy if I have to cancel? How can I protect against cancellation?

Cancellation policy differs based on the tour and the time of cancellation. Guidelines of our cancellation policy are available in the brochure, website and with your travel agent. You can protect yourself against Cosmos' cancellation charges by purchasing a Trip Protection from , us incase, you are cancelled due to a covered reason.

Do I need a Passport and/or visa?

When traveling overseas, a passport is required for all citizens, including Indian citizens. Most countires require a visa. You are responsible for obtaing and paying for all visas and entry documents. Non-India citizens should consult with appropriate consulates to determine if any visas are needed.

Why is it important that I give my name as it appears on my passport?

We do not allow a change in names of passengers at any time after the booking is made. Due to increased travel security around the world, it is now more important than ever that your bookings with airlines, hotels, cruise liners, etc. match your first and last name exactly as it reads on your passport. Additionally, any changes, which include spelling, may be subject to a change fee, penalty, or cancellation. We also recommend a minimum of three blank pages in your passport for stamps while traveling.

What size can my suitcase be?

The Due to limited coach capacity, your bag should have dimensions not exceeding 30”x21”x11” (62” linear dimensions) or weight exceeding 50 lb. Carry-on bags should not exceed the dimensions of 12”x11”x6”. We regret we are unable to accept a second suitcase or any luggage exceeding these limits (except on cruises). Please note that air carriers, cruise lines, and other forms of transportation may have other restrictions and requirements including weight, and we recommend that you contact the suppliers directly for additional information.Some airlines also charge for checked baggage. Cosmos is not responsible for any additional fees imposed by airlines on baggage.

How is seating determined on the coach?

We offer daily rotation of seating, which gives everyone a variety of views. The rotation is mandatory and is adhered by everyone, without exception.

How can I make the most of my vacation?

Our vacations endeavour to immerse you in the local destination experience with regional Tour Directors and are of international standards and quality. Your travel companions include people from all parts of the world and being friendly and a part of the group activities, rather than being on your own, makes it more enjoyable for all. You will have free time for your own activities as well. Showing respect to cultural differences often gets respect in return. It is also imperative that you maintain punctuality at all times, for departure timings, optional tours and meeting times so that everyone, including you can maximise on the tour experience. Keep an open mind and exhibit attitudes that set a positive example of our nation outside - every citizen is a country’s ambassador, especially when travelling overseas!

It’s in your interest to book early.

Book your vacation as soon as possible to guard against not finding space on the vacation of your choice. Many Globus family of brands vacations sell out months before departure.

Travel etiquettes

Prior to your journey, it’s important that you read your travel documents and the brochure thoroughly, so you know exactly what to expect on your vacation, what you are paying for, and so that you can look forward to it with a big smile. We urge you to also familiarize yourself with the following expected travel etiquette:

Why it’s Important to Follow Etiquette

Every citizen is their home country’s ambassador, especially when traveling overseas! Our vacations are of international standards and quality, and include travel companions from around the world. Showing respect for cultural differences often gains you respect in return. Being friendly and a part of the group makes it more enjoyable for everyone.

Punctuality

It is imperative that you maintain punctuality at all times—for departure times, optional tours, and meeting times—so that you do not get left behind and so that all participants can enjoy the tour. It is rude and unfair if your travel companions have to waste time waiting for you when they could be enjoying the destination. Moreover, your itinerary has been planned to maximize the touring experience, and on-time operation is necessary to ensure the planned itinerary can be followed. We are not liable for any losses you may incur because of poor timekeeping on your part. We urge you to read our Terms & Conditions to familiarize yourself with our liability in such situations.

Your Travel Companions

Our vacations are very popular worldwide, and the demographic profile of our travelers is varied. Passengers are usually of varied ages and professional backgrounds, and will include many nationalities, including American, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealanders, Japanese, Thai, Indian, and many others, providing a wonderful opportunity to make friends from around the world. Introduce yourself and try to mix with your fellow travelers. It is good manners and more fun for you than being on your own.

On-Tour Behavior

Showing respect and courtesy to fellow travelers during the journey will likely earn you the same in return and will result in a positive experience for everyone. Speaking to others or on a mobile phone when the Tour Director is giving commentary disturbs others on the motorcoach.

Traveling With Children

If you are a parent traveling with children, it is your responsibility to take care of them and tend to their safety. Most of your travel companions will have a real interest in learning about the cultures of countries they are touring and want to enjoy uninterrupted commentary from the Tour Director. It is also a great way for children to learn about other places and to respect other cultures.

Your Touring Motorcoach

Eating and smoking on our motorcoaches is strictly prohibited, so you can enjoy your scenic drives in a clean, hygienic, and state-of-the-art environment.

Bags

For your own comfort, please travel light (baggage dimensions and weight limitations are given in your travel documents). On the motorcoach, carry only essential items in a small backpack to ensure it fits in the luggage rack or under the seat in front of you, rather than on your or your neighbor’s lap! Trolley bags that are used as carry-on luggage on airlines are too large for motorcoaches and are strictly prohibited on the motorcoach.

Your Tour Director & Driver

Every Cosmos vacation is special because of the experienced, knowledgeable, and motivated Tour Directors who escort each tour. These friendly professionals are highly respected, are trained in dealing with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and work hard to provide you with an enjoyable and hassle-free vacation. They will tell you delightful stories, give local insights, and work behind the scenes so that operational details are taken care of for the next day of the journey. Many hold professional degrees and are highly qualified. They justifiably expect to be treated and respected as professionals.

Your drivers ensure that you have a comfortable and safe journey as you discover new places on your vacation. They navigate through heavy traffic and ensure your motorcoach is neat and tidy for your next day of travel. They, too, expect to be treated with courtesy

Tour Director & Driver Gratuities

At the end of each tour, our travelers take the opportunity to thank the Tour Directors and drivers for their services by paying them a gratuity. This has been automatically included in your invoice at the time of booking, so you don’t have to budget for this at the end of the tour. Please contact us if you prefer to pay the gratuities directly on your vacation. The exact amount of gratuity that you are paying is included in the price box for your chosen vacation. You will receive a gratuity voucher with your travel documents—all you need to do is give this to the Tour Director and the driver at the end of the tour. Tips charged at the time of booking are fully refundable if you need to cancel your vacation for any reason. Tips for Local Guides are not included in this charge. Tips added are only for the main tour and exclude extensions. You may pay these directly on your vacation.

On-Tour Assistance

If you have an issue or concern, please approach your Tour Director, rather than wait for the situation to escalate, waiting until the end of the tour to bring it up, not bringing it up at all, or just discussing it with other passengers. The only person who can help resolve any situation that arises is your Tour Director. At the same time, be reasonable and understand that s/he is managing a large group. Everyone wants a wonderful travel experience—including your Tour Director!

In Rome, Do As Romans Do

People everywhere love to welcome visitors to their part of the world. They appreciate those who take an interest in their culture, so having an open mind will help you take away some great experiences. The best way to embrace the local culture is to do what the locals do—and on our vacations, you will have ample opportunity to do so!

Many Meals are Included in the Vacation Price

Meals in Europe

You’ve probably heard stories about high European food prices, and some are certainly true. The Cosmos budget formula also works here to your advantage. We’ve taken care of a large portion of your meals, and yet left you enough free time to sample Europe’s gastronomic delights on your own.

A full cooked breakfast is provided daily in Britain (except London). In London and on the Continent, buffet breakfast is included daily and consists of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, orange juice, cold and hot milk, cereals, yogurt, two types of bread, croissant, jam, butter, and cold cuts (cheese, ham, salami). Many dinners are also included. They are three-course meals and feature perhaps soup or pasta, a main course with vegetables or salad, and dessert. Regional specialties are often offered.

We don’t include hotel dinners where they clash with show times or where dining out at local restaurants is a major attraction. We don’t want you to have paid for a meal that you then skip to take advantage of the best a city has to offer. Your Tour Director knows the local scene and can guide you to restaurants, nightclubs, and other places of entertainment in an affordable price range.

Most lunches are not included, and your Tour Director will prove invaluable in showing you where you can lunch inexpensively. He or she will point out small cafés and restaurants where the locals eat. Perhaps you’ll want to sample one of the local cheeses or sausages. Buy some crisp fresh rolls, and wash it all down with inexpensive local wines and beers. Eating “European-style” can be a lot of fun and a truly memorable experience.

Unlike an airline, we cannot process requests for special meals. While some hotels may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or salt-free food, there is no way for us to guarantee this. Special food usually costs extra.

Meals in North America

Cosmos travel packages vary as to the number of meals included. As most of our hotels offer anything from coffee to a full breakfast, you can start the day the way you like best.

At most lunch stops, your Tour Director will have information on local restaurants. When your itinerary includes a special event, such as a cruise on Prince William Sound, lunch will be included.

Dinnertime is your chance to sample local cuisine. Sometimes your Tour Director will offer an optional dinner outing. At other times, he or she will recommend a restaurant. Years of research have taught us which establishments reliably serve a good choice of dishes at down-to-earth prices. All provided meals are clearly stated.

Hotels

Hotels in Europe

After a day’s traveling, you want to relax at a comfortable, clean, and attractive hotel. We have chosen hotels with the best rooms, service, and food for the money. Of course, they vary as different countries have different standards. However, we ensure that everywhere you get the best available in cleanliness and comfort.

Cosmos hotels are always located in good neighborhoods, some more centrally and others in residential areas. Especially in large cities, we sometimes prefer good hotels in residential areas on the outskirts to less desirable or overpriced downtown hotels.

Rooms at all our hotels include private bath or shower and a toilet. Triple rooms are usually no larger than twin rooms and the third bed is often a roll-away bed put into a twin-bedded room just for the night.

Hotels are mainly superior tourist-class (ST) and tourist-class (T) establishments, but we also feature some first-class (F) hotels. Cosmos hotel ratings follow standards set by the independent Hotel & Travel Index or by national tourist boards. The specific rating for each contract hotel is determined by our quality controllers.

Hotels in North America

After a day of traveling you want to relax at a comfortable, clean, and attractive hotel, and you insist on receiving great value for your money. With this in mind, we have hand-picked your hotels throughout North America. Generally, rooms are air-conditioned and have color TV; many hotels have swimming pools.

Our hotels are listed with each vacation. They are mainly superior tourist-class (ST) and tourist-class (T) establishments, but we also feature moderate first-class (MF), first-class (F), and some superior first-class (SF) hotels.

Cosmos hotel ratings follow standards set by the independent Hotel & Travel Index and by state or province tourist boards. When visiting national parks, accommodations will be provided that are the best available in the Cosmos price range. You will notice that national park lodges and hotels are followed by the abbreviation (NP). The specific rating for each contract lodge or hotel is determined by our quality controllers.

Coaches

Discover the Best Ways to Explore

Your Cosmos coach is a quiet, smooth-riding high cruiser, equipped with soft, semi-reclining lounge seats, huge pan windows, a high-fidelity sound system, and air-conditioning. There is a no smoking policy enforced on the coach, but there are plenty of opportunities to smoke during the frequent stops.

For the other types of transportation used on our vacations, all logistics are handled for you. You don’t have to worry about getting to the ferry on time, or buying tickets for the train, or waiting in long lines to take the cable car.

Cruise Ships

Some of our itineraries in Europe and North America include cruises, learn more about the ships you will be traveling on.

Cruise Ships

MS Ryndam - Holland America

MS Statendam - Holland America

Cristal - Louis Hellenic

Aquamarine - Louis Hellenic

Aegean Pearl - Louis Hellenic

Radamis II - Movenpick

Fascinating Sightseeing and Plenty of Leisure Time

Because the person you are most likely to remember from your Cosmos experience is your Tour Director, we go to great lengths to find the most professional guides. All natives, they deliver commentary in English but are able to speak at least one other language, so that they get around with ease in the countries you are traveling in. Expect your Tour Director to be knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to help you enjoy your vacation. In North America you will have Local Hosts and/or access to a 24-hour customer service hotline on vacation extensions.

They often have bright, witty personalities, and love to share anecdotes and chit-chat with “their family.” They can fill you in on a quaint little restaurant just two blocks from your hotel or suggest a shop where you’ll find the best buys.

These very knowledgeable, delightful professionals can truly make your vacation a breeze. They ensure that you not only see the sights, but that you experience and live your vacation.

Scheduled group activities and free time

The success of an escorted vacation depends to a large extent on the operator’s skill in striking the right balance between scheduled group activities and free time.

Cosmos planners try to give you as much free time as possible. Leisure time is important so that the less energetic can rest and the independently-minded can roam on their own. Your Tour Director is always on hand, with shopping tips and suggestions for optional side trips and entertainment.

Sightseeing and highlights included in the price

Our packages take in Europe’s most popular highlights. They are carefully planned to include visits to places of interest and panoramic drives through areas of natural beauty. There’s so much for you to look forward to! In Europe, you can cruise down the Rhine River; visit Athens, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Venice, Vienna, and other great cities with knowledgeable Local Guides. And in North America you can ride a snocoach on Alberta’s Columbia Icefield, tour Washington DC and Québec City with expert Local Guides, and cruise the swampy waterways of Louisiana’s bayous. Please refer to the itineraries for a complete description of what is included in the vacation of your choice.

Optional excursions at unbeatable value

In addition to included sightseeing, we offer a rich program of optional excursions, all full of interest and very reasonably priced. You’ll particularly enjoy our optional nights out, such as a Swiss folklore evening in Lucerne, a Scottish evening in Edinburgh, a Greek taverna night in Athens, a cabaret in Paris, or a boat cruise on beautiful San Francisco Bay, helicopter flightseeing over the Grand Canyon, and a narrow-gauge train ride in Skagway.

Optional activities can be booked through your Tour Director. Many optional excursions are mentioned in the package descriptions. Your pre-vacation literature will specify cost and content of the optional highlights that may be offered during your trip. This enables you to budget accordingly before you leave home.

Shopping with Cosmos

For those interested in shopping, we recommend shops where we can vouch for the integrity of the owners. The merchants we suggest offer an excellent selection of the best local products. The prices are reasonable.

The staff speaks English and can efficiently dispatch bulky purchases to your home. When necessary, our shops give reliable post-sale service. Shopping can be one of the great pleasures of traveling, and with Cosmos, it’s safe.

Airport Transfer Times & Extra Nights Pricing

Europe Airport Transfer Times

Airport transfers are included when vacation is booked air-inclusive. Airport transfers are available for purchase up to five days prior to departure - $25 for one way or $50 for round trip (brochure dates only) - when vacation is booked as land-only. Extra night transfers are different and vary per city. Note: Transfer times are subject to change, check with reservations for exact times

Cosmos Vacations Offer Flexibility

Joining late and leaving early*

Many Cosmos land arrangements start and end in London. If you have already spent time in the British capital, you may want to skip one or more of the included London nights or even join at the first overnight hotel on the Continent. Call your Travel Agent for any reductions that apply to your vacation for joining late or leaving early. Vacations with these reductions are sold on a land-only basis.

A professional team takes care of you in London

For any help or information you might require during your London stay, please contact the Cosmos hospitality desk at your hotel. Our knowledgeable staff will serve you with a smile; give you guidance on what to do and where to go; and arrange excursions, evening entertainment, and theater outings for you.

Extra nights*

If you'd like more hotel nights than we've provided at the start or end of your tour, we can make reservations for you at the rates quoted below, provided you request them at the time you book your vacation. Rates are per person, per night, and include room with private bath, breakfast, service charges, and taxes. "Guaranteed share" basis is not available for extra nights.

Extra nights are only available immediately prior to or after your tour. Extra pre-tour nights in London are not available if you join your tour later than Day 2. Every effort is made to reserve extra nights at the hotel where your tour stays. If space at the tour hotel is not available, alternative accommodation will be reserved at a hotel of equivalent standard. When this is the case, the transfer to and from the tour hotel is at our expense.

As hotel space is limited, we cannot reserve more than two extra nights before and/or after a tour, unless they are needed to bridge the gap between two Cosmos vacations. During particularly busy periods, hotel space in certain cities can become so tight that we may be unable to sell extra nights.

Airport transfers

Transfers can also be provided when you purchase extra nights before or after the vacation (see tariffs below). Transfers cannot be provided when you join late or leave early.
*NOTE: July 27-August 12, Extra Nights are on request only and subject to availability. Joining Late and Leaving Early not available.

*Airport Transfers can be arranged when you purchase extra nights before or after the vacation. The above tariffs are per person, one way, 24-hour service (except in London Gatwick 6 am-3 pm).

U.S. & Canada Airport Transfers

Airport transfers may be arranged on brochure dates and also, when you purchase extra nights before or after the vacation. Look for confirmation of your transfer arrangements in your important travel documents.Transfers cannot be provided when you join late or leave early. Please contact your Travel Agent or the Globus family of brands Travel Consultant about restrictions, availability, and prices at the time of booking. Flight details are mandatory for confirming airport transfers and must be received no later than five weeks prior to departure. Look for confirmation of your transfer arrangements in your important travel documents.

Hawaii Airport Transfers

Airport transfers are included with Hawaii vacations.

U.S. & Canada Extra Nights

We will make reservations for you at the rates quoted below, provided you request them at the time you book your trip. Rates are per person, per night, and include a room with private bath, service charges, porterage, and taxes. Extra nights are available only immediately prior to or after your vacation and not on extensions."Guaranteed share" basis is not available for extra nights. As hotel space is limited, we cannot reserve more than three extra nights before and/or after a vacation. During particularly busy periods, hotel space in certain cities can become so tight that we may be unable to sell extra nights.

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