Laurus Travel - China Odyssey Tour

Feb 25th, 2003, 12:51 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4
Laurus Travel - China Odyssey Tour

Hello from Canada. I am looking for some feedback regarding the 18 day China Odyssey tour that is run by Laurus Travel from Vancouver. From all the tour companies that I have looked in to this itinerary appeals the most. Anyone out there taken this tour ? We are thinking of going Sept 10th. Any info on the tour or traveling with Laurus would be greatly appreciated. cheers Mark
MarkMcM is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 02:15 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 147
I also am interested in traveling to China in September with Laurus. If I recall properly I heard some good things about them. Perhaps if you scroll way back you can find the people who actually went with them.
Judy
JudySue is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 06:56 PM
  #3  
Amy
 
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Just type "laurus" in the text search box and a ton of (positive) reviews will come up.

I know 'cause I'm looking at Laurus for China for 2004, both because of the good reviews I've read and....I really just want an excuse to get back to Vancouver!
Amy is offline  
Mar 13th, 2003, 09:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We just had our first group reunion in Chicago last week. At our request, Laurus Travel sent a representative to address the crowd (we brought many friends) and answer questions on our next trip with the company. Next year we'll go to Mongolia, with the same tour leader we had last time.

Selina
htur is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 09:23 AM
  #5  
 
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We are also considering a Laurus tour after seeing the company's ad in the Toronto Star recently. Any comments based on firsthand experience would be appreciated. The other company on our list is GAP Adventures of Toronto. Any comment on this company?
Steve_J is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 12:00 PM
  #6  
 
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MarkMcM

My husband and I went on the 15-Day China Experience with Laurus October 2004. It was slightly off the beaten track tour and did not include the Yangtze Cruise, but covered all the major sites (Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an).

Read the written testimonials on the Laurus Travel website http://www.laurustravel.com/fdbk.htm and I will confirm that everything said is true. It is excellent value and the services, hotels, meals and entertainment live up to expectations.

You would do well explore every bit of information Laurus puts on its website. It covers just about everything you could want to know about cost, what it includes, what it does not include, itinerary and all pertinent details. And if you have questions call Julius who will give you all the answers. There are no hidden costs.

Laurus has an excellent reputation and you will get excellent value and excellent service for your money.

michi is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 12:08 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 392
Forgot to add that I'm from Toronto. Should you need additional info I will be glad to help ( kobyguest at rogers dot com, but will be leaving on a trip on March 30.
michi is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 06:48 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4
I just had a very bad experience with Laurus. I registered for the 19 Days Classic China, and Julius replied with a request that I sign up for a 17 day tour that cost $1050 more. When I pressed for info on the original tour, he told me to find another tour company. This sounds like a bait and switch. BEWARE.
AvidTraveller56 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 08:30 AM
  #9  
 
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Dear Editor,

We were alerted yesterday to Mr. Jones's comments. To set the record straight, we decided to make public the most recent e-mail communications between him and our staff member Julius. Mr. Jones's e-mail address has been left out to protect his privacy.

Throughout our communication, Mr. Jones had been treated with honesty, respect and consideration. His attack on our company came as a complete surprise. We found Mr. Jones?s remarks to be untruthful and slanderous but we will leave it to your intelligent readers to conclude whether his portrayal that Laurus Travel "sounds like a bait and switch operation" is justified.

Sincerely,

Laurus Travel Inc.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Laurus Travel Inc.
#45 - 3195 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3K2
Phone: 604-438-7718
Fax: 604-438-7715
Toll Free: 1-877-507-1177
E-mail: [email protected]
http://www.laurustravel.com
B.C. Travel Reg. 25254
Member of ACTA, ASTA & BBB
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


-----Original Message-----
From: Laurus Travel Inc. [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 10:54 AM
To: Charles Jones
Subject: RE: Tour Reservation


Hi David,

We don't have a guaranteed departure for this 19-day tour this fall. I hope you'll find another company that could meet your needs. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Julius



-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Jones
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 6:06 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Tour Reservation


Dear Julius,

I was very disappointed to receive this email Have you cancelled the 19 Days Classic China tour? Actually, the deadline is not until August 11. Maybe you will get enough passengers. From what I have read, Oct. 11 is an ideal time to go to China. I thought it was more likely this would fill than the later trips. Are any of the later trips going?

The problems I see with this customized tour are as follows: it is two days shorter (the main difference seems to be that it skips Nanjing); it would cost me US$1050 more; it leaves Oct 7, but my approved vacation begins Oct. 11.

I do have some questions. Who is running the group tour? Who would provide the customized part? I thought I was dealing with you.

I will think about this. Please answer my questions, though.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Charles David Jones

----- Original Message -----
From: Laurus Travel Inc.
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 6:53 PM
To: Charles Jones
Subject: FW: Tour Reservation

Sorry, David. Here is the attachment. Text in red colour shows customized
arrangements, away from the group tour.

Julius

-----Original Message-----
From: Laurus Travel Inc. [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 3:34 PM
To: Charles Jones
Subject: RE: Tour Reservation


Hi David,

Thank you for your trust. Unfortunately we don't have enough participants to
guarantee this trip.

I have come up with a proposal based on the 17-day China Highlights tour.
Changes have been made to meet your needs. Please take a look at the
attachment and let me know how you like it. This customized itinerary is
based on a guaranteed departure. Due to limited space availability, I'd
appreciate it if you could let me know ASAP if you would like us to put
aside a space for you.

Regards,

Julius
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Laurus Travel Inc.
#45 - 3195 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3K2
Phone: 604-438-7718
Fax: 604-438-7715
Toll Free: 1-877-507-1177
E-mail: [email protected]
http://www.laurustravel.com
B.C. Travel Reg. 25254
Member of ACTA, ASTA & BBB
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Jones
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 4:55 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Tour Reservation
laurus_travel is offline  
Aug 11th, 2004, 06:16 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4
My comments about Laurus are truthful. Note that Laurus did not -and still has not --answered my question whether the tour on the website was cancelled. Do any of the alleged tours on the website go? When I pressed for info (including a7/29 email Laurus left out), Laurus just told me to get lost. BEWARE.
AvidTraveller56 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 07:29 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
I don't know Laurus, but here's just a few thoughts about joining tours to Asia in general that I think may be relevant in this argument. [My family and I have joined dozens of tours to China in the past 20+ years, and have also travelled independently. I have a cousin who arranges tours from the US to China as well.]

"Bait and Switch" is a pretty strong accusation. This is what tour companies do to qualify for that label.

- Advertise a good deal that's cheaper than other tours;

- Promise the customers that the tour will go regardless, or tell them they will go with just a few people in the group. They may also lie about how many people have actually joined. For example, perhaps only 2 have joined, but they say there are already 25, so the tour is definitely a "go";

- They do not cancel the tour, or notify the customers that's it's a no-go until very late. By that time, the customers don't have enough time to switch to a different company, so they have to "upgrade" to a more expensive tour by this 1st company;

- They are unwilling to return the deposit, or are making it very difficult with all kinds of excuses or hard-sell for their other tours.

Trust me, we've seen it all. One time my dad had to threaten to call the police and the press at a pretty large tour company in HK; eventually, a employee has to go down to an ATM to get cash to refund my dad as they don't even have a few thousand HK$ at their office (a few hundred US$ ) to make the refund.

Couple other times, we were still in China when the companies went bankrupt and closed their doors. Fortunately, both times, our tour leaders have just enough cash with them to get us back to Hong Kong.

Anyways, from reading the posts here, I feel that Laurus is acting responsively, at least for these reasons:

- They are alerting the customer more than 2 months before the travel date that the tour has been cancelled. In fact, from Avidtraveller's emails, it seems like that he was alerted BEFORE to the 2-month deadline;

- They are not holding his money, or refusing his refund. In fact, they are telling him that they don't have a tour that satisfy his needs, and advise him to take his money elsewhere.

Now, I don't see how this can be a "bait-and-switch". However, I don't know what Laurus promised Avidtraveller when he first put his name/money down; whether they tell him the chance of the tour going, or whether they tell him how many have signed on already. So, maybe they did do something kind of fishy to mislead, but I haven't seen any evidence so far.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 03:20 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4
To rkkwan: The advertised tour was ideal, and Laurus claimed it would go with only 10. I had trouble getting vacation time.I badly wanted to go, as Laurus knew from my early emails to them. After I registered (and Laurus thought I sent the deposit) they tried to switch me. Laurus has refused to say what happened to the advertised tour, only saying they could not guarantee it. I have not been able to substitute a tour I want during my approved vacation days and will have to wait until next year. This may not be as bad as your horror stories, but to me it is pretty bad.
AvidTraveller56 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Avidtraveller - I can understand your disappointment. And I think your posts are an important reminder for other people thinking about joining a tour to China, regardless of the company.

For me and my family, the very first consideration of joining a tour to China isn't the cost, but how likely will the actual tour commence. It's not a big deal with some people who live in Hong Kong and are retired, or can go anytime. There are companies who charge very little who caters to those customers, who want the lowest cost, but are okay to not go.

Tour companies may get very low airfares and hotel room rates, on condition that the airlines/hotels can't sell them out. And if the airlines don't have cheap seats left, then no tour, etc...

Again, I'm not defending Laurus or any tour company. Just trying to explain how they operate. And the customer must carefully ask about the chance of a tour actually going before anything else.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 08:10 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4
To rkkwan: Thank you for your thoughts. I am interested in seeing the six historical capitals:including, especially, Luoyang, with the cave temples. I see the Smithsonian runs tours there. They use subs, including Collette. I would appreciate any thoughts you have on this. You obviously have a lot of experience.
AvidTraveller56 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 09:41 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
AvidTraveller - Since all my experience (and my family's) are with lower-end Chinese-run companies, I really cannot recommend for/against anything specific in your price range. Just pointing out what you have to look out for. Good luck in your find.
rkkwan is offline  

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