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Bill and Nancy Gearhart  designed a very unique trip for us through Sicily, Puglia and the Amalfi Coast. In each location, we stayed at wonderful 4 or 5 star hotels including a vineyard in Sicily, a cave in Matera and a beach hotel in the Amalfi Coast. Classic Travel arranged very knowledgeable guides for us in the ancient Greek temple locations which greatly enhanced our experience. Their restaurant recommendations were terrific and and emphasized the local culinary fare. They sent us on sight seeing trips that we never would have know about or experienced on our own and they were fantastic. Thank you Bill and Nancy for setting up an absolutely wonderful and most memorable trip for us.

Jeanne and Danny

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WOW!

This billboard says it all! Bill Gearhart was highly recommended to us, but having never traveled using an agent, we were skeptical. However, we knew we made mistakes on other trips, which cost us money, but even more importantly, time! We quickly understood that Gearhart is a master of detail and experienced choice.

Every hotel from the Cellai in Florence, with its quaint rooftop bar and expansive views, to the Empire Palace in Rome, where the courtyard, managed by Momo, made us feel like family. Our guide in Rome whisked us into St Peter’s to see the new Pope, as it was a national holiday, of which we were not even aware. Truly unforgettable!

We only challenged Bill about the Villa di Piazzano in Tuscany. We thought it was removed. However, he insisted it should not be missed. The amazing light just before the Tuscan sun sets caused all the Villa guests to rise from their patio dining seats. We all watched in silence. The best.

Each guide Bill contracted was an expert storyteller and knew what should not be missed. When I requested a library in Florence, our guide was surprised, but took us to the Medici Library. With a elegant Michelangelo, it was an exploration of beauty and historic literacy.

We loved the expected stops with our guide, like Pisa. But also the unexpected niches like Montefioralle, a tiny town in Chianti, where Amerigo Vespucci, summered. His family crest is above a discreet doorway down a narrow cobbled lane.


As we could not see all of Italy, before the amazing Mediterranean repositioning cruise that Bill found for us, we know that we have lots to look forward to. Bill, thank you for memories not even anticipated, but never to be forgotten.
                                        
Jan & Don Rose

 


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BELIZE!

When I first reached out to Bill and Nancy to help me plan a vacation for my family of 6, I had no idea where to start. I have four children of different ages so it is hard to plan a trip that is suited for all of us. I knew I wanted a trip that was adventurous, but was not sure where to go. Bill immediately knew the perfect place – BELIZE!  From our trip to see the Mayan ruins in Guatemala, tubing through caves and taking an Indiana Jones-eque trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal, to enjoying nature in the rainforest at our ecological resort, Bill created the perfect balance for us all. After our 4 days in the rainforest, we took a puddle jumper to the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye. This in and of itself was a totally different vacation from our rainforest experience. We relaxed by the pristine turquoise ocean and snorkeled through the beautiful reef filled with tropical fish and coral. The highlight of our time spent at this beautiful location was the day we went swimming with the sharks.  We all conquered our fears that day.  

Our trip to Belize was so amazing that it was a no-brainer for me to call Bill to plan my 50th birthday trip to Italy.  I knew I wanted to go to Venice, but in a country with so many marvelous destinations and a limited number of days, I was not sure where else to go. Bill knew exactly what would suit my personality and my energy. After my husband and I spent 3 days in Venice touring the islands of Murano, Burano and Torsello, eating at amazing restaurants, and enjoying a 4-hour walking tour with our charismatic tour guide, we flew to Naples where we were picked up and taken to Naples Archeological Museum. Our driver, who was an exemplary example of how hospitable the Italian people are, then drove us around for a private tour of Pompeii. 

Bill knew that after being on the go for a few days, Capri would be the perfect place for us to relax and do some casual touring. We thoroughly enjoyed our private boat ride around the island, sipping on champagne and being taken to a leisurely lunch in the most picturesque spot. We were then escorted to the boat, which took us to Sorrento where our next guide drove us along the scenic route of the Amalfi Coast - our final destination.  Arriving home, which for some people would have been a stressful, exhausting trip, was for me a smooth transition back to reality.  I am already  planning my next trip with Bill and Nancy and I know it will be as fabulous as the others. 

Trip of a Lifetime

Dear Bill Gearhart and Classic Travel and Tours; 

What a wonderful 3 week trip of a lifetime that they planned for our family! Every year we take a family trip in the summer with 3 generations of the Damkoehler family. 6 adults, 5 kids ranging, with age range from 12 up to 74. Not easy to find a trip that everyone in that age range can all enjoy together. We treasure this time together as life is very busy and we all look forward to what new adventure lies ahead for us each summer. 

Well, Bill and his staff designed this wonderful African Safari, a trip that all of us dreamed of being able to do at some point in our lives. In addition we added on Cape Verde, Zanzibar, Istanbul, Turkey and Dublin, Ireland to complete our 3 week journey. 

It was quite a haul from St. Petersburg, Florida all the way over to Kenya. From the moment we arrived in Nairobi, we knew that we had an amazing trip ahead of us. The People were very friendly and visiting the elephant orphanage and giraffe farm was just so cool. We each adopted an elephant that we are able to keep track of via updates we receive from the orphanage. After 2 days in the city, we started the beginning of our safari journey by taking a bush plane from Nairobi for a short 45 minute flight out to the Masai Mara. As we were landing, to see all of these animals running around in their natural environment was amazing. The elephants, giraffes, zebra, etc. were just everywhere. Again the Masai people were so friendly and accommodating to us and our children. We did daily game drives, one at night, went to a Masai village and learned more about the people and saw so many animals such as lions, cheetahs,leopards, gazelles, hippos and wildebeest as far as your eyes could see as we were there during the great migration. 

Our journey continued onto the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. We stayed at that beautiful lodge on the rim of this huge crater. The accommodations were so unique and again the people so very friendly. We also did game drives down to the bottom of the crater and saw many more animals, some the same and some different. Lots of monkeys everywhere! We enjoyed a catered lunch on the crater floor and the weather was just so refreshing. 

From there, we took another bush plane onto the Serengeti. We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort, it’s like in the middle of nowhere. The resort had an in.nity pooloverlooking a pond where a few times a day the elephants would all come up to drink.It was so cool to watch. A few game drives were done, a awesome hot air balloon ride in the morning to view the sunrise. Absolutely Beautiful!!! We finished off our safari time with the luck of being able to view a pride of lions that just took down a kill. It was amazing to watch them eat, relax and enjoy their kill and to understand the full process of how this all happens.

Onto the Spice Island of Zanzibar from there. A beautiful island just off Tanzania and also home to the birthplace of Freddy Mercury from the band Queen. This was our time to relax from our very busy safari schedule and enjoy ourselves. The resort was gorgeous and the people so friendly and accommodating to all of our needs. Prepared a special dinner for us poolside and we all got our rest. Visited the marketplace in town and purchased some spices to take home along with other trinkets. 

Now, we were headed back to the city environment of Istanbul, Turkey. Oh my gosh!What an absolutely beautiful city and we started our first night with a cruise down the Bosphorus Strait that splits Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The scenery is just amazing and the people the same. We toured for a few days to see the Blue Mosque,the Palace, the Grand Bazaar and many other features of the city. Very busy place, but felt very safe. 

From there we finished up our world wind trip in Dublin, Ireland for one night. The city was so quaint and just loved the Irish accent. Went to the famous Johnny Foxes for mussels and a Hooley Show. 
We can’t thank Bill and his staff at Classic Travel and Tours enough for such a perfectly planned trip with amazing sites and memories to last a lifetime. 

They were also responsible for the planning in another trip of a lifetime back in 2010 that took us 6 adults back to where my in-laws and their 2 sons had actually lived in the late 60’s, the country of Nepal and to other places such as: India, Dubai, Malta, Greece,Morocco, Egypt, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. 
Classic Travel and Tours does such an amazing job. You tell them what you want to see and do, and not only do they get it done, but they do it .rst class all the way. 

We look forward to working with them again in the future. 

The Damkoehler Family
St. Petersburg, Florida

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