cosmo tours

Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:17 AM
  #1  
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cosmo tours

hi, I was wondering if anyone has experienced the London to Rome 10 day cosmo tour. My sister and I are from Australia and this will be our first overseas trip (and maybe our last). I am up and leaving my three beatiful children for 14 days (for the first time) and want to know if this trip is enjoyable and worth it. It has to be something really wonderful. help we are finalizing our bookings in 3 days.
lorrena is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:15 AM
  #2  
 
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I have taken several Cosmos Tours and have been quite happy with them. I did hear some people complaining about the quality of hotels and meals. I think you have to know up front that Cosmos is not first class...you pay approximately 30-40 percent more for Globus which is the First Class version.

The hotels used by Cosmos are fairly standard in quality and tend to be outside of the city center. This can make it difficult to spend time on your own. You may need to take the optional tours in order to complete your itinerary. I would say that you can expect to spend at least an additional 300.00/400.00 on the optional tours offered by Cosmos.

The meals are just ok in my opinion and in order to get a real feel for the areas where you're going....I recommend that you plan some nice lunches and a dinner or two in local restaurants.

I feel that the tours are good value for money but you have to know what to expect so you're not disappointed. When you say "It has to be something really wonderful"....I think that the places you'll visit will be. Just don't put too much expectations in the hotels where you'll be staying. They are really just a place to lay your head for the night.

It's a long way to go for a 10 day tour. I would recommend trying to extend you stay on either end by a couple of days.

CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 07:14 AM
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..Do your homework. If you and your sister wish to take a bus tour, get the broshures and a magnifying glass. Find out what is actually included and what is extra. If you wish a more middle of the road tour (Cosmos is budget), look at Insight, Globus or Trafalger. Also plot your hotels on a map. Central is impt IMO on a quick tour which includes large cities.
travelbunny is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 09:57 AM
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I think you'll find that most people on this board reco against tours for a variety of reasons - a couple mentioned above (often poor quality and badly located hotels as well as mediocre and non-authentic food).

To get an idea of the diffrences compare budget tours ike Cosmos, medium level (Globus) and upscale (Tauck). Have a look at the hotels that they suggest by checking them out on tripadvisor.com. And recognize that all group tours retain the right to exchange hotels as they see fit - with no notice to you.

Also - learn to read the brochure - visit means you go inside, stop means a 5 minute photo op - and many things listed you will just see out of the window as you drive by.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 02:15 AM
  #5  
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thanks for your responses. I am more interested in seeing what the country has to offer, more than where I sleep for a night or whats going to fill my belly. Do you think this is the best way to see the monuments and countryside considering I only have 10 days.
lorrena is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:33 AM
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There are pros and cons...

I've been on a couple of cosmos tours and they deliver exactly what the brochure says, nothing more nothing less. Also these tours attract a great many Australians if that might make you feel better to be travelling with your fellow Aussies although there will be several other nationalities most likely Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders.

Early morning wake ups part of the deal...be prepared for a 6 AM wake up call, 0630 breakfast and 0730 departure for a long day on the road and yes you will see scenery whiz by and yes there will be comfort stops every 2 hours or so and yes there will usually be a lunch stop sometimes in some small interesting town other times at an Autogrill on the Italian Motorways.

Ten days from London to Paris most likely means two days in the vicinity of Paris a stop in the Lucerne area, probably Venice, Florence and Rome.

You will see the highlights of these cities on included tours....in the large cities meals will not be provided (especially Paris and Rome) but optionals will be available most likely a cabaret in Paris (expensive but probably worth it on a once in a lifetime trip) pretty bland meals while on the road in places such as Lucerne...

Is it worth it...well no hassles with hotels, luggage, finding your way to a strange hotel in the middle of wherever.

Most people do enjoy the tours and you will get your money's worth.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:19 AM
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..another comment. It sounds as though you wan to "sample" a bit of everything in a very short period of time..in this case, a tour is probably a good option. I would get a pile of books from cosmos, Insights economy offering (both budget); Trafalger, Globus, Cosmos (middle of the road; and Tauk (? sp) higher end. Make a list of what is actually included, where you are located (central vs the burbs), and the rating of the hotel on tripadvisor. When you are trying to deteermine what is included you must learn "tour speak"...to see may mean the bus will pass by, you may choose to visit likely means an add on ect...Once that is done you can really compare the various offerings and see which best meets your needs.
travelbunny is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:27 AM
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Check, double-check and check again what the tour is actually offering. I hate to think you will travel so far to sit in a bus for hours on end. If that is ok with you, then fine tho. You will "see" alot, but most of it from bus windows. If you want to experience a place then a tour is not the way to go. Personal time will be limited and you will find that you "visit" places that want to sell you something (crafts). Famous sites may be "drivebys".

If you have no other way to do this trip then I guess the tour will work, but I would not choose to travel that way. Be aware you will probably need to be up early every a.m. too - if that is a concern rethink
Lori is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:30 AM
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Forgot to mention, while it may seem like not a big deal to not worry about where you sleep it is a big deal if you want to go sightseeing after arriving at the hotel. If you are out in the suburbs it can make for a long (expensive in some cases) trip into the city to see the monuments/sites. If you do not plan on leaving the hotel then I guess it is ok.
Lori is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:48 AM
  #10  
 
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I have traveled with Cosmos, Globus, Trafalger. I did not see any differnce in the quality of Hotel or food with them. The hotels for any of these tour companies are rarely city center. The difference between Globus and Cosmos is "Cosmos will be a stop at the same place that Globus will visit." Trafalger had the most included visits.
The food is good but not 5*, the hotels are all comfortable and clean but not 4*.
With this amount of time, you will definitely see more on a tour than doing it independently. But just remember, the more distance you travel London to Rome the less you will see than if you stayed in one or two countries. Would you rather glimpse alot or indulge in a few?
parisnow is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 12:13 PM
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..whoops must have been half asleep when I wrote prev note- Cosmos and Insight's budget tours; middle of the road Globus, Insight and Trafalger(with Insight advertizing central locations) and Tauk for a bit higher end..
travelbunny is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Actually I'm not too familiar with Tauk.

Cosmos is considered budget class.Trafalgar has as part of its operation a subdivision called costsavers which is about on the same level as cosmos as to hotels, itinerary etc.

Next step up are Globus (same company as Cosmos) and Trafalgar (same company as Costsaver)...hotels are of somewhat higher quality, food is a little better however, specially in the big cities and during the summer, hotels are still marginally located as far as the big cities are concerned. Buses are a little better..A/C is guaranteed and on board toilet is guaranteed although most Cosmos coaches have both...Cosmos and Cost Saver buses can carry as many as 53...Globus and Trafalger no more usually than 49.

Insight is operated by Trafalgar and is considered the next class up...hotels are somewhat better than the others and more centrally located...buses are much larger and carry fewer passengers.

They're all clearly adequate...sightseeing itineraries are pretty standard and all include, say a 10 day tour from London to Rome via Paris, Lucerne, Florence, and Venice...you can check out the difference in prices based on the quality of the hotels and their locations and the amenities on the buses.

Also as you go up in class what is optional on one becomes standard on the next (although the price of course is built into the tour price there are no free lunches)...

Personally I have always been most happy with Trafalgar but as I said I did a couple of cosmos tours because of dates, availability and itinerary and I certainly had nothing to complain about....they all deliver what they promise to deliver.

Are they worth it? Well as I and others have noted, it's always a trade off...convenience, no hassle about getting into the hotel, stops planned good sightseeing absolutely. But as noted you churn along a motorway and suddenly there is this castle and the TD (tour director) says there is such and such a Castle as the itinerary says see such and such Castle and presto you've seen it....on your own you might want to stop and visit it...I absolutely grant you that's an advantage of individual travel...whether the month's of preparing itineraries, making hotel reservations, finding and diring through strange cities looking for hotels you've booked, being told they lost your reservation may sour you on individual travel..missing out on sights you wanted to see may sour you on bus tours.

But you will find warm compantionship and totally hassle free travel on a bus tour albeit with very early departures and some days with just a long day on the bus but there will always be comfort stops every 2 hours.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 03:53 AM
  #13  
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could someone give me an idea of the age groups that usually join cosmos tours and if they are usually couples or singles.
lorrena is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 04:07 AM
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lorerena..

Average age is probably late 40's but remember an average is just that and does not mean your tour will have that specific average...besides which, if you have one person who is 20 and another who is 70 that is an average of 45 just like if you have 3 people all around 43.....mixes vary as to all perameters...you will find many Aussies and Kiwis on Cosmos tours as well as Yanks and Canucks...the exact mix can vary greatly also.

Will you have a good time? Almost certainly yes....the groups almost always bond very easily...you're all in it together. Don't be too concerned by the nay sayers here, many of whom who have never been on a tour, who tell you the tours are always for elderly lazy people. It just isn't so.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:10 AM
  #15  
 
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I have taken six Cosmos tours. What I liked:

Various ages from 15 to 85
Not all meals included
New, comfortable bus
Organized
I knew my hotel room before I got off the bus
Optional activities
Bathroom always in hotel room
Guaranteed single shares

Dislikes:
One dinner was a frankfurter and fries
No air-conditioning in some hotels
Hotels located away from the city
Overpriced optional activities

The London to Rome tour is one of the better tours. Avoid the ones where you backtrack to London. You will find that you are spending all of your time on the bus.
wally34949 is offline  

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