10.01.2013 - 10.01.2013
The travel agent for our trip was Karen Fedorko Sefer, owner and President of Sea Song. In the past, I have done extensive research in advance of our trips and have made all of the travel arrangements and reservations myself. I started out intending to handle this trip in the same manner, and starting almost a year in advance did a lot of on-line research to decide where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to see. Then life got in the way. Suddenly, we were 60 days away from departure, I had made no reservations other than for our international flights, and I was panic-striken.
At that point in time I took the advice of a wise friend of mine, checked the Conde Nast list of "destination experts" and found Karen Fedorko Sefer and Sea Song. I sent her an email explaining my predicament, describing in bare bones what we wanted to see/do, the dates were were traveling, and the type of accommodations we desired. She replied via email immediately and sent a draft itinerary within a day or two. One phone call and one more draft itinerary later, we had our final itinerary and the exact cost of everything. Amazing. Even more amazing, it turned out to be the trip of our dreams.
With one exception absolutely everything went flawlessly throughout the trip. The hotel the first night in Istanbul was not quite what we desired, so we contacted Karen, described the problem, and she immediately flew into action. She sent her personal driver to collect us, revised our hotel reservations, and met us personally at the hotel that we changed to. There are invariably problems that occur in any trip, and it's important how people deal with them when they arise. In that respect, Karen proved herself to be a consummate professional.
The local guides hired by Sea Song were superb (see below), and we received telephone calls periodically throughout the trip from both Karen and representatives from her company to check on us and make sure everything was going well. Similarly, we were provided work and cell phone numbers in case we needed to contact Karen or one of her employees while in Istanbul, Cappadocia, or Izmir.
In summary, we give Sea Song our highest recommendation.
All of the licensed guides and drivers that accompanied us during our trip were arranged by Sea Song and were absolutely superb. Each of the guides was a highly educated (usually with advanced degrees), intelligent, and personable individual with whom we truly enjoyed spending time. Their command of dates, facts and figures was so incredible that they should be on a Turkish game show: Stump the Guide - because we rarely, if ever, asked a question that they couldn't answer - correctly, as best we could tell! Sadly, we cannot put any future travelers directly in touch with these individuals, so please do not ask; they can only be contracted through a travel agent, such as Sea Song.
Our drivers were all courteous, safe and excellent drivers, and maintained clean, comfortable vehicles. None of them spoke English, other than a few words, but we communicated with them easily through our guides.
Guys, thanks for a great time!
L to R: Akif (Sea Song Istanbul office employee), Metin (our Istanbul guide) and Josef (our driver in Istanbul)
L to R: Ramazan (our Cappadocia guide), Tuncay (our driver in Cappadocia) and us
L to R: Frank, "Muzo" (our driver in Izmir region), and Evren (our guide in Izmir region)