Intrav, Inc.

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MISSOURI -- I am the court appointed conservator of an elderly man whose estate (through me) paid nearly $10,000 for a Journey with the Czars this past summer. My client suffers from dementia and through a lot of hard work, I was able to book a companion after his reserations had been made that would permit him to travel with a friend so that he could continue his trip without disrupting other passengers. The $10,000 quoted included the extra $3800 added to pay for the companion. After 3 short days, my client and his companion were put off the ship at 3AM in St. Petersberg, Russia. A minor arrangement was made to pay for their return to JFK, but absolutely NO effort was made to get them home to Oregon. The companion was accused of being under the influence of narcotics or alcohol by the cruise directors, but his drug test results taken immediately upon landing back in the USA showed a negative test. A copy of those results were forwarded to David Drier, President of InTrav when I requested some sort of reimbursement. His reply???? He told me that I should "applaud (there) actions as proactive and in my client's best interest in getting him off the ship and back to the USA". When I asked why InTrav could not bring them back to Oregon, I was told that only airline seats costing $4,000 each were available. The tip money I sent for the cruise crew was also retained by InTrav. InTrav knew of my client's dementia from the beginning, to the point of my making the decision to add a companion to my client's cabin.

This was supposed to be an old man's "last hurrah" and my intentions were always open for discussion. I believe that InTrav basically defrauded his estate out of $10,000 and then asked to be "applauded".

I would be very interested to talk to anyone who has had a similar experience. Thank you!
Company Response 2/22/2007:
INTRAV endeavors to provide our guests with memorable journeys to interesting places and a high level of service that are both expected and deserved. The last thing that we ever want to do is to send a guest home prematurely. Unfortunately, due to this guest’s perceived level of acute dementia and his guardian’s inability to properly look after him, we were left with no alternative but to disembark the two gentlemen from the ship. Through events occurring through the first four days of the trip, it became apparent to our staff onboard the ship that, for our guest’s own safety, he and his guardian should not stay onboard as the ship prepared to leave Moscow and cruise to more remote locals in Russia.

Our guest was seemingly incapable of functioning safely without constant supervision and his guardian apparently either did not realize the amount of supervision needed or was unable to provide it. Our staff gave the benefit of the doubt to the guardian for 4 days. It became clear the guardian was not able to adequately carry out his responsibilities.

Our operator in Moscow made the hotel arrangements for the two gentlemen, escorted them to the hotel and transferred them to the airport. We arranged air from Moscow to JFK at the low cost of $250 a ticket, since we were able to exchange the original return tickets. As same day air cost for JFK-PDX was prohibitive at $4,000 a ticket, our Passenger Services Coordinator suggested going through a reputable online provider which, in the end, was the best solution.

Monies paid to INTRAV are paid to our various suppliers prior to our trip departures. As is standard practice in the travel industry, INTRAV cannot cancel travel arrangements midway and receive a refund.

This was a very unfortunate situation. However, the safety of our passengers is of the utmost importance. With the understandable concern for our guest’s safety, we were left with no other option.

Gabrielle Miller
Client Relations Manager
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User Replies:
Skye on 10/24/2006:
Well that is terrible. But why was this traveling companion the only one flagged on this trip?? Or were there others. Why would they do that, to a man, who already had prepaid his trip?? Maybe all the facts are not being told to you. And as for the drug test, did they do a hair and follicle test, which will tell you if they have done drugs in the past year?? As for the alcohol, that would have been out of the system by the time he came back to the USA. TIVO'ing Judge Judy everyday, taught me about the hair follicle test. Maybe there was an incident with this person, that the elderly man did not see, that is why he was escorted off the ship. It really makes me sad, that this older gentleman's trip was ruined like this. I think you need to find out what this companion may be hiding. I am not accusing this person of anything, but there seems to be more to this story.
Slimjim on 10/24/2006:
It is sad that it turned out that way, but obviously there was an incident resulting in them being taken off the boat. People suffering from dementia are prone to emotional outbreaks and a cruise, hotel, airline flight etc., must do what is necessary if a guest's actions threaten the comfort and safety, even if just perceived, of other customers. I think this was a risk taking a cruise and placing him in a situation that he can't easily be removed from if problems occur.
Skye on 10/24/2006:
It was the traveling companion, that had the incident. That is why they were removed. The older gentleman did nothing wrong, except have the wrong person accompany them on this cruise. The companion was the one accused of being under the influence.
Slimjim on 10/24/2006:
It did say that in the post, but you do not get kicked off a cruise for being drunk. There is a big part of this story missing. If you notice, poster never said the older gentleman did nothing, simply the companion was accused of being high or drunk. I have a feeling things got real ugly on that third day and both had something to do with it.
Skye on 10/24/2006:
Oh I am sure things got very heated. It sure seems like certain facts were left out. I think we only got a partial story. I would love to hear the rest.
capekid on 12/01/2006:
Journey of the Czar cruise with Intrav was very disappointing also. They allowed one hour between planes from domestic to International; as a result the international flight had departed, making it necessary to personally pay for a nite in Miami and fly out the next day. Supposed to be on the boat in St Petersburg Tuesday evening but due to the missed connections arrive was 9-7-06 at 1:30AM Thursday but no luggage. Luggage did arrive on Sept 15 in Moscow. Intrav did not offer as assistance in shopping for clothes or toiletries. Was not able to take one tour as it was raining and we only had our clothes we wore. When luggage did arrive we were informed by Intrav it would cost us $100.00 to take a taxi to airport in Moscow to retrieve the luggage. Intrav did respond to my 3rd letter and told me they were sorry for the inconvience but could not take any responsibility. This had been our 4th travel with Intrav and I must say the first 3 were excellent.
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