✉ My holiday with Crystal Ski, which I had booked over 18 months ago, was changed 11 days before my scheduled departure date. When I received an email with the final details of the trip, I was surprised to find that the resort had changed and the accommodation had been downgraded from a four star hotel to a three star hotel. I called Crystal and after waiting an hour I was told that the original hotel had reduced the number of rooms available. Through an online forum, I found this had happened to many customers, sometimes on as little as three days notice. I have now received an email with a price reduction of 138pp which is a very poor reward for a ruined holiday. We might cancel, but with such little notice there are no alternative holidays available.
The ski season has not been easy for the tour operators, but Crystal should have warned you of the problem with the hotel and avoided this unpleasant surprise. He apologized for changing the booking at such short notice, saying it was caused by overbooking his room allocation. This was a ‘significant change’ to your package, and you were initially given the option of either canceling the holiday with a full refund or accepting the change with a refund of the price difference plus compensation of 50 £ per person. You have now received an additional offer of £50 per person, plus a £500 discount on future holidays. “We understand how disappointing this has been and have offered Mr. Smith an additional gesture of goodwill as a further apology for the upset caused, which we hope he will accept,” Crystal said.
Cap Juluca Resort on Anguilla
✉ My wife and I are about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and want to visit Anguilla. Could you suggest the best route from Manchester and the time of year to go?
Anguilla’s beautiful white sand beaches would make a fabulous backdrop for your birthday trip. From Manchester you will need to fly with Air France via Paris to St Maarten and then take a 25 minute boat trip from there to Anguilla. Alternatively, fly from London to Antigua, from where it takes 40 minutes by light plane to Anguilla.
Travel between Christmas and Easter and you’ll get the best weather, but also high season prices; go April to June or November to early December and prices are lower, it’s easier to get reservations at the best restaurants, and you can always expect good weather.
However, for the best deals, you’ll need to travel between June and August when you get more rain, but you should avoid the worst of hurricane season. If that option appeals to you and you’re happy to have a blast, Cap Juluca — one of the island’s swankiest hotels — offers a celebration package that includes seven nights B&B in a Deluxe Beachfront King room with a bottle of champagne on arrival, dinner for two on the beach and a couple’s massage. With flights via Paris and transfers, it costs £4,260 per person (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk).
If you prefer a winter break, the popular Carimar Beach Club offers condo-style suites, great service and a fabulous location on Meads Bay. A week’s room-only, including flights via Paris and ferry transfers, starts at £1,920 pp between November 15 and December 15 (tropicbreeze.co.uk).
The Oslofjord in Norway
✉ We are hoping to spend a few days in Oslo this summer and then rent a cabin by the water somewhere nearby. It should be accessible by public transport because we will not be renting a car, and suitable for young teenagers. No suggestions?
Tonsberg is Norway’s oldest town and sits on the sunny side of the Oslofjord, the capital’s summer playground. Oslo is just over an hour away by train and there’s plenty to keep teenagers entertained, including great hiking and biking trails, fishing and boat trips to Verdens Ende (“World’s End”) ), where they can ride horses. Stay at the Furustrand waterfront, a collection of cottages and cabins, some built in the style of a Viking fortress. These sleep up to five and a week at the end of August costs from £1,045 (furustrand.no).
✉ We hope to travel to Italy in June and pay for our accommodation by credit card when we leave. The UK government advises that at Italian border control we may be required to show proof of sufficient funds to pay for our stay, but we are unsure what this would entail. We will take some money, but not enough to cover hotel costs. Would a credit card statement be acceptable?
This is a post-Brexit requirement for traveling to Europe, but you are unlikely to be asked to provide proof of funds at the border. To be on the safe side, however, a credit card or other bank statement would do. Visitors from the UK must also have adequate insurance, so even if you have the Global Health Insurance Card – which, like its predecessor, the European Health Insurance Card, is free and covers medical services – you will have also need a policy for the things it doesn’t cover, like emergency repatriation.
✉ I booked Jet2 flights to Krakow, priced at £490.20, via eDreams, and on top of that I was charged a ‘mediation fee’ of over £100. The flights were canceled last month and Jet2 refunded the £490.20 a few days later. However, since then it has proven impossible to contact eDreams to find out if I am entitled to reimbursement of mediation costs (the purpose of which was never explained to me and I do not see it covered in the terms and conditions ) . Can you help ?
The travel company says its customers receive a full price breakdown before buying and that its fees cover the services it provides, including its technology platform and “search, comparison and support during booking procedure”, and are therefore non-refundable in the event of cancellations. Although he won’t reimburse you for the Flexible Dates service (£32.94) or a Premium service option (£21.96), he admitted that the £74.46 you paid for the six-seat selection should have been refunded, and it has now been returned to you, together with a ‘compensation for the delay’ voucher. Given these unavoidable additional costs, the next time you are tempted to book flights through an online travel agency, it would be worth checking the cost of booking directly with the airline.
If you have a complaint, suggestion or question regarding your holiday, please email [email protected]