Bad Experience with Optima Tours


Jul 30th, 2008, 02:14 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 4
Bad Experience with Optima Tours

For our recent trip to Russia, we thought we had done our research well, and chose Optima Tours to arrange tour guides for both Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Unfortunately, our experience with Optima was not good.

Our first day in Moscow, the tour guide went to the wrong hotel, even though we had clearly confirmed with Optima a hotel change we had made some weeks prior. Because I had the foresight before our trip to ask for a cell phone number for our guides, we were able to contact her.

After waiting another 45 minutes, I called her again, and learned that the driver was somehow stopped by the police. We still do not know why. The guide walked to our hotel, but could not explain what had happened to the driver, nor when if if another driver would be available.

At 11:30 (for a planned 10:00 excursion), when the guide could still not either explain what happened nor when our excursion might start, we necessarily cancelled the excursion.

The next day we visited the Kremlin with this guide, and she must have answered her cell phone 15 times, interrupting our tour.

Then - in St. Petersburg, our guide was 15 minutes late the first day.

The second day, she was 45 minutes late due to confusion about tickets for a destination. However, she did not bother to mention this to us. Had she done so, we would have immediately informed her that the tickets were delivered to us at the hotel the day before. Had we known that she was 'missing' them, all would have been solved.

On our final day, we were picked up at 10:00 to visit a site. After a very short drive (5 min), we were informed that our entrance time was 10:40. Thus, we waited for 35 minutes in the street outside the palace, simply waiting for our pre-established entrance time.

As you can tell, this experience was supremely frustrating. We would never recommend Optima.
swanzon is offline  
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Jul 30th, 2008, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,869
Well - it certaily soundslike acompany not to use.

But I always wonder why people bother with guides. St Pet and Moscos are perfectly simple to navigate on your own - taxis are cheap and plentiful - and a good guide book gives you more info that most "guides" do.
nytraveler is offline  
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