China Spree or Ritz Tours

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Oct 6th, 2009, 11:16 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 268
Ritz tours has a nick name in China, "International joint army", meaning their their tour group has multi nationals.
A tour bus sitting with Americans, Indians, Malaysian, Pakistani, Philippino.........
Bear in mind this is not a one day trip, there are a lot to put up with......

Their tour groups are not provided a foreign tour manager/leader.

Make no secret that one third of the travelling time are spent in the scamming shopping stops.
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Mar 30th, 2011, 06:49 PM
  #22
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 84
Peter, I esp. appreciate your comments regarding tips. I noticed on one tour co.'s site the tipping appears mandatory & on the other, it recommends tipping but gives the impression that complying is up to us. I only just read today on another website not to tip cab drivers, bellhops, etc. as it isn't done in China. (Reminds me of when we went to French Polynesia. I had read that tipping there has always been pretty much considered an insult as the locals take pride in automatically giving good service. I asked the guy who drove us to our resort about it. He said he was orig. from France but moved to Moorea after WWII. He told us he never tips. However, he also said many people in the tourist industry there were starting to accept tips because tourists seemed to want them to& they realized the $ was nice! We saw evidence of this in a few restaurants that had signs saying, "Tips accepted." )

Now, before anyone feels the need to persuade us to do the trip on our own: PLEASE don't! We have traveled a lot - ALWAYS on our own. However, THIS time we are going to take our first EVER pkg. tour. (Please, don't waste your breath. I KNOW, I KNOW, but it's either a pkg. or not at all per my husband! So please, I don't need more arguments for going on our own.) Therefore I am just going to focus on the excitement of our trip and go w/the flow - however fast or gouging that flow might be. The way I look at it, if I feel we are paying a price that we can live with, enjoy our trip - even if we have to squeeze in a lot - it's better than not going at all!

Anyway, I may print out your comments on tipping and take the page w/me to show if we decide we don't want to tip "the recommended amount!" I sure wouldn't want to get a very good guide in trouble w/his or her boss - or the govt., though, so guess we'll see how things go once we are there.
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Mar 30th, 2011, 06:56 PM
  #23
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 84
One more thing, Peter. While I see your point, I just did a search and noticed a post you made 2 yrs. ago that is almost verbatim of what you have written about China Spree. Competition is fierce between the various companies out there, I guess. But I can say that someone we know used one of the companies that you do not like just this past Nov. They raved about it and they are a couple who sometimes go on their own but sometimes do pkg. tours. They said shopping stops were kept to a minimum and personal attention was great. We have found we cannot possibly purchase the flights from SFO to Beijing AND the 3 additional ones in a tour we are considering for the same price as the tour companies. So we'd start out w/about the same price - just for air alone! So any savings we'd get doing it on our own would pretty much be out the window.
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