OAT Greek Isles Trip

Sep 14th, 2009, 11:36 AM
  #1  
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OAT Greek Isles Trip

Has anyone taken the Overseas Adventure Travel Greek Isles trip? Would be interested in hearing your comments.
adman1937 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 01:25 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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We'd also like to hear comments about that trip, since it's on our wish list. We love traveling with OAT.
sandys is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 03:04 PM
  #3  
 
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OAT seems to have changed their itinerary since our trip to Greece a year and a half ago as it now includes Turkey. We also did their Turkey trip about 3 years ago.
The pre-trip with Greece was on the mainland which we enjoyed very much. The post-trip was Crete - our favorite day there was going on our own to the south coast - our guide helped us book a day trip. The ship was adorable - a mini-cruise ship vs. the gulet on the Turkey trip which was more like a large sailboat.
All of the guides were great.
The group was large for OAT - 22 people, and 2 groups shared the ship. (Turkey's group was 14 - max. capacity for the gulet.) Turkey was so amazing that I'd say to see as much of it as you can on this trip unless you plan to go there another time.
NGail is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 09:38 AM
  #4  
 
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I recognize OAT has its fans, mainly because of the small size of its groups, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. A good portion of its excursions cost extra, you are asked to tip someone every time you turn around, and it is virtually impossible to get any service from the front office. Sorry to be negative, but that's my opinion, and I'm sure you can find a better tour operator.
therenaissanceman is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 03:30 PM
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So far OAT has worked well for us. We've done 3 trips and one did suggest lots of tipping (in Central America). I do agree that sometimes the Boston offices are not as knowledgeable as they could be. But I disagree about the number of excursions costing extra - maybe 2 or 3 per trip. Not everybody wants to go zip-lining or hot-air ballooning or flying over Mount Everest, etc. so why add those extras into the base price?
NGail is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 05:08 PM
  #6  
 
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The Greek Islands are so easy to do on your own. Ferries run and very easy to use. You can pick the islands you want and ferry hop. Getting off the ferry you can just get a room from the people standing there with signs or you can book on the net. It was so much fun. You stay as long as you want and then move on. Nothing to it. We did OAT Thailand/Cambodia and it was excellent. We did the Red Sea and it was truely awful.
southeastern is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 07:35 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Every tour company that we have ever traveled with has suggested tips for tour directors and city guides. OAT is no different. That's an expected part of any tour (cruises too).

We also skip many, if not most, of the optionals and are glad that the cost is not included in the basic tour cost. For instance - hot air ballooning (done that), zip lines (no way), and bungee jumping (forget that) may be options. Also, "special" meals are often options, but we normally prefer to go off on our own since we like to be as independent as possible while on a tour.

We have had fairly good experiences with the office staff at OAT, although sometimes you need to be persistent. The most important thing to us is the quality of the tour - which has always been super.
sandys is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 07:47 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Two tour groups where there is no tipping are Rick Steves' tours and Elderhostel (now Exploritas) tours. Both provide excellent tour experiences. I am sure there are others.
therenaissanceman is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 06:50 AM
  #9  
 
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I've never done a Rick Stevens tour but have done 3 "active" Elderhostel trips in the States. The first was great, the others so-so. The groups in trips 2 and 3 were too large and the lectures- even for "active" trips - were often tedious.
Their out-of-the-country trips seem very pricey and have pretty large maximum numbers in their groups. I guess it depends on whether you want the lectures and an all-inclusive program.
NGail is offline  
Nov 21st, 2009, 07:23 AM
  #10  
 
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<>

I agree with the above. I've taken Elderhostel, OAT and Grand Circle trips and find OAT and GCT better values. No, you don't tip on Elderhostel because it's built into the price, as is the insurance and I don't always take the insurance, depends upon the location. I took the GCT trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, a great trip and much less than a comparable trip with Elderhostel/Exploritas.

I prefer having the option of taking an excursion -- or not if it doesn't interest me.

All excursions are included with Exploritas but I don't want to do all the excursions and the two trips that I took, many people skipped at least one.

I don't know if the Exploritas policy has changed, but on the trips I took no beverages were included with meals, other than coffee or tea at breakfast. On the OAT/GCT trips that I've taken, bottled water, coffee, tea and sometimes wine are included.

I don't know anything about Rick Steves trips so cannot comment.
Luisah is offline  
Nov 21st, 2009, 07:27 AM
  #11  
 
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That's your opinion but what is your experience with OAT or GCT?
Luisah is offline  
Nov 21st, 2009, 07:37 AM
  #12  
 
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That was my experience in my second EH trip. The first trip was fine, but the second was poorly planned. There were 100 participants, three buses and it was "wait, wait, wait" every time we went anywhere. The hotels were poorly located and the lectures were scheduled so that there were only a couple of two-hour breaks in a day, not enough time to get into the city (Rome), which required either a half hour bus ride or a taxi, unless you skipped lectures.

Many, many people were unhappy and some first-timers said it would be their last. Even some die-hard elderhostelers said it would be a long before they booked another trip with EH.
Luisah is offline  

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