We often make our travel arrangements directly, but were running out of time when we came to Zicasso for help about 5 weeks before we wanted to depart for Croatia. Our travel agent was very responsive and helpful in finding our international flights and putting together an itinerary on short notice - we finalized it in a week. I really appreciated this, she was a lifesaver! Given the short timeframe, there were availability constraints and there was not a lot of time to discuss and fine-tune based on our personal preferences; we had to quickly assess the initial recommendations and figure out how to adjust based on our desire to slow the pace and extend the time, and in a couple cases to avoid being too far out of the center of town at hotels that were lovely but not convenient - I am especially glad we paid the price to stay right next to the old town in Dubrovnik, rather than a 15-minute bus ride away. We ended up with a very good itinerary and good to great hotels.
Having prearranged airport transfers and car rentals was great, went very smoothly. This agency doesn't provide a cellphone for clients' use, which I thought was a nice touch some others do, but I actually think it turned out better to bring an old (unlocked) phone and buy a local SIM card, which allowed me to have all my own contacts and other info. Everything on the trip went smoothly, and we had no need to contact the agency for help, except that our initial flight was significantly delayed and I was concerned we might miss our connections into Dubrovnik. I sent a message but never heard back from our agent, who perhaps determined that we were going to make the connection OK and didn't need any further assistance.
Dubrovnik is very special, Hvar was a wonderful island vacation spot (particularly in mid-September when it has calmed down), and Plitvice Lakes was gorgeous - I'm glad we allowed two nights and a full day there.
Overall it was a good itinerary, I wouldn't change much. I probably would not have continued north to Budapest and Vienna in October, because the weather was much colder and not a good fit with our Croatia wardrobe. I would make sure our one full day in Zagreb was not a Sunday, when many places are closed.
Travel Company's Comments
Donna's departure was on the week-end and our office is closed on week-end's. I do check e-mails from my home but we still have 9 hours time difference (Donna was in Seattle and I was in Croatia). Since Donna's departure was in the middle of the nigh (Croatian time) I received e-mail next day when she already e-mailed me again saying that she made connection for he flight to Dubrovnik. Our driver was already waiting at the airport at that time and there was no reason to worry. We always provide vouchers with direct driver's phone number so the client can contact our driver directly from the airport in the case they lose connection. Our drivers are available 24/7 and we always give this information to our clients.
Donna accepted hotel Hilton so we booked the room in requested hotel. Not necessary that client will like every hotel we suggest him/her. We always go for the nice hotel with the best value and we always give our client some time to check all the hotels and let us know if there is any hotel they do not like. If there is such a case we check other hotels.
Unfortunately ferry company is under the Government and they are the only ones that can sell tickets. They sell them only 24 hours prior the trip and no reservation is possible. There are two different companies that have catamaran boats.
Most of our clients go to island Hvar and we did not have anyone that was not able to buy tickets for catamaran boat but we always warn people to buy them as early as possible. Going from Split to Hvar is never a problem if you arrive to Split about 2 hours prior the trip. The problem is going back from Hvar to Split because this catamaran goes from island Korcula to island Hvar and then to Split so we never know how many people will buy tickets at island Korcula. This is why we always recommend travelers to buy tickets early in the morning the day before your trip. There are other catamaran boats later but it is always the best to be on the early morning one.
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