Almost everything went very well. We especially liked the Artis Hotel in Vilnius and the Hotel National in Klaipeda. Many of the other hotels were nice, but quite modern and lacked charm.
Our driver (Aurimas) was wonderful. Even though he had never made a similar extended trip, he was great. Amber Tours also rented a new comfortable 8-passenger van for the trip. Our only problem came on Day 12 in Tallinnn when he was instructed to start his return trip to Vilnius by noon. Fortunately, our local guide was able to arrange for transportation to get us back to our hotel after completing our excursion to Kadriorg Park.
Most of the local guides were outstanding. Dalia Leonaviciene in Kaunas, Daiva Baltmiskiene in Klaipeda, and Anna Bogdanova in Tallinn were particularly helpful and informative.
I was very surprised that we never heard anything directly from Amber Tours. We received some envelopes containing maps and vouchers. But we had no direct communication. Both the driver and all the local guides were contract employees. Most of the hotels followed through, thanking us for staying with them. But we still have not heard anything from Amber Tours.
There were only two major problems. Somehow our names were miss-communicated by Amber Tours to the hotels. I was listed as having a spouse named Sue Otto. (My wife is Maureen O'Neill.) Robert Zupkus's wife Jan Burda was just designated as +1. Ralph Walter and Dorothy Fleisher should have been listed as Dr. Ralph Walter and Dr. Dorothy Fleisher. When we registered at several hotels, we had to cross out the erroneous information on the registration forms. Such corrections on these government forms caused some unnecessary delays.
The only other major problem occurred on Day 13 in Tallinn when the promised airport transfer did not arrive on time by 11:55 am for Dr. Ralph Walter and Dr. Dorothy Fleisher. To get to the airport on time, they had to ask the hotel to call a taxi for them. They are asking for compensation of $12 to reimburse them for this added expense.
Thank you again for all your help in making our Baltic trip so special!