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Cosmos Tour - European Masterpiece

Old May 25th, 2003, 12:04 AM
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Cosmos Tour - European Masterpiece

Hey Guys,
Just wondering if anyone had been on a Cosmos tour called "European Masterpiece"? Or perhaps a long tour similar to it? I'd love to hear some inside information. What are Cosmos's optionals like? You know how you get a long list at the start - How many are actually eventually offered?
By the way, I understand the hotels will be out of the way and all that. Thanks!!!
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Old May 26th, 2003, 04:39 PM
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I have not been on the European Masterpiece, but have been on several other Cosmos tours, as well as a few on Globus and Trafalgar. As you pointed out, many of the hotels on the European tours are out in the boonies, (although hotels outside of Europe tend to be more centrally located).

My experience with Cosmos is that most of the optionals are in fact offered, but some of them are not very good deals, ie., are overpriced, extremely touristy, or just not very interesting. Sometimes, tour directors will candidly tell you that they don't think a particular option is a good value.

Many of the tours offered as optionals on Cosmos are already included in many of the higher-priced tour companies, so keep that in mind when comparing prices. In any event, I strongly recommend that you pay for the optionals as you go along--don't pay for them all up front. As the trip progresses, you may find your interest waning, your energy flagging, the weather may not be good, or you may simply want to explore on your own or have some time to yourself. This is particularly true on longer tours. If you pay for all of the tours up front, the tour director will be very reluctant to refund your money should you later decide to opt out of a tour. On the other hand, I have never had a problem adding optional tours as I went along.

For me, the biggest drawback of most coach tours, particularly long ones, is the amount of time you spend on the bus. If you are covering a lot of cities and countries, you will usually spend hours and hours just getting from place to place. Once there, you often only spend one night in each city. If you are on a 3- or 4-week tour, this can get very tiresome and after a while, the cities and sites tend to just run together.

On the plus side, many of the Cosmos tours have a diverse group of travelers from several different countries. The trips are well-organized and the guides knowledgeable and helpful.

I don't know your age, but be advised that the majority of the group will probably be older, many of them retirees. However, there are more twenty-somethings on Cosmos than on higher-priced tours like Globus or Trafalgar. This wasn't an issue for me--just something to be aware of.

For more input, please type "Escorted
tours" or "Cosmos" in the text search box above. You can also find discussions on Cosmos and its higher-priced division, Globus, by going to frommers.com. Click on Community, then Packages and Tour Operators.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 09:03 PM
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Dear Walkabout,
Thanks very much for your great reply. Most of the cons you listed I was expecting and I think I am prepared to deal with them. I will definitely be much younger than everyone else on board (19yrs old) but once again I was expecting that and doubt whether that'll be a problem for me - the "youth" tours generally seem like a waste of time to me.
Thanks for the excellent advice on optionals. I think I will pay as I go along now, although I am so interested in everything I'll probably end up doing them all! I understand they're really overpriced but being my first time to Europe and the fact I am a young female makes me think I'd prefer to be guided by a knowledgable (hopefully!) and experienced tour director.
I hadn't thought of frommers, that's a great idea. Thanks again.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 12:30 AM
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Hi Bogly
I did two Cosmos tours in 1995 which gave me a good overview of the countries visited and I would certainly do another if I did not go solo which I usually do now.
I discovered during and then after the tour when looking back at maps etc that nearly all the hotels we stayed at were in fact walking distance to a local railway station and if we so chose we could have easily got back into a city at night for instance to explore on our own.
I did all the optionals that included dinner and entertainment and found them to be well worth going to.
The advantage of being in a tour group is walking straight into the Vatican and other very busy tourist spots without having to queue up.
We had a real mixture of nationalities, in fact 15 and age groups ranging from about 25 to 75.
Whichever you decide Cosmos still offer the best value for money.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 12:38 AM
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We stayed in Hostellerie du Chateau des Fines Roches. Here's the website www.chateaufinesroches.com. We paid around $160/night. Its located in Chateauneuf de Pape and surrounded by vineyards. The hotel looked like a small castle and had a great restaurant in it. Restaurant is on the expensive side but the food was excellent. The hotel only had 6 rooms but each room was decorated beautifully and very spacious. The smell of grape was in the air. If your a wine lover and a foodie this is a must. Room prices are excellent for the room and view.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 04:25 AM
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You can also buy tours on your own in most places; e.g., Gray Lines in many major cities, smaller tour companies in other places.
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Just recently returned from the European Masterpiece that Cosmos offers, in general I would not recommend traveling on this tour. Most of the hotels and meals that are included are substandard. Specifically hotels are way out of the city center which made us rely heavily on public transportation or taxis which can add up. The tour pushes optional excursions and will actually cut short included tours to ensure that the minority of people who are going on an optional will be able to make their tour on time. I found the tour directory to be pretty much worthless, only telling us of the local history and insights on a few occasions even though this information is provided by Cosmos. Also the directory berated several customers when she made a mistake in counting the number of people for an optional excursion. She also checked out of the tour for the last three days when people refused to fill out the review of the tour and didnít tip her. Overall the trip itself is good to see so much of Europe though the stops in the cities are quite short and the travel times on the bus are long. For example, if youíve dreamed of seeing the Louver museum in Paris, donít take this tour because you only have one day in Paris (Monday) and it is closed on this day. Iíve traveled independently in Europe up to this point and will do so again after this experience. Would recommend looking at some other tour companies.
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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I took a Globus tour in 1999. Cosmos is a less expensive branch of Globus. Over all I was quite satisfied with the tour. It was called Thames to Tiber and was for 16 days. My sister-in-law picked this tour and I just decided to go on the spur of the moment. Had never been to Europe. Anyway, this tour was pretty relaxed compared to some of them. We were three nights in London, three nights in Paris, two nights in Lucerne, two nights in Venice, three nights in Rome and Florence was our only "one nighter". They also offered extra tours..we took some and not others. This tour actually allowed you to have quite a bit of time on your own or time to arrange your own sight seeing should you want to. It worked for me, especially for a first trip. I have since traveled on my own. I will have to say that a lot of "one nighters" just would not be MY style..the one nighter in Florence was enough to convince me of that. However, you are young and I'm sure have a lot more stamina than I do..LOL. You don't say how may days you are going for. Regarding our hotels..I know different trip but...we were always close to transportation so getting into the city center was not a problem if we wanted time on our own. We had a couple of young people on this tour..two young girls in their early 20's and one young man who we seldom saw. He was always off on his own. I think he took the tour for the price..this was in 1999 but at that time the basic cost for everything, including air from the west coast was 2800.00. Not a bad deal at that time. So I would say that in the end, if this trip is affordable for you, and will give you a good overview of the countries and sites, then just go for it. At your age I would certainly HOPE this will NOT be your last trip, and this tour may just give you what you need to plan future adventures.
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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This thread is 2+ years old. Seriously doubt Bogly is still looking for answers.

(I find it curious that someone would register and their first/only post is to dredge up a really old thread - but never mind)
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Old Aug 14th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Yikes...you're right..I usually look closer to the dates but didn't read the whole thing...there's been a lot of "old post" resurecting these days. Hmmmmm
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