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Europe Escorted Tours?? Trafalgar's, Globus, Cosmos.

Europe Escorted Tours?? Trafalgar's, Globus, Cosmos.

Old Nov 14th, 1998, 07:00 AM
  #1  
Rahul Ramchandani
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Europe Escorted Tours?? Trafalgar's, Globus, Cosmos.

Hi,

Has anyone taken an escorted tour of Europe
with Trafalgar's or Globus or Cosmos?

What is it like ?

What is the average age of the people on these escorted tours ?

Any thoughts, complaints, advantages, disadvantages ?

I am especially interested in the following
countries: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France.

Thanks for your help.
Rahul
 
Old Nov 14th, 1998, 12:47 PM
  #2  
Norma
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Rahul,
Recently returned from a Cosmos escorted tour called Wonders of Europe.

I can tell you I was hesitant of the tour idea before my husband and I left. I had been to Europe a number of times before, always doing the travel independently. My husband had never been to Europe and didn't want to deal with trains and cars, so I said, why not try it once.

My husband and I are both in are early 30's and thought we would be the only people under 80 on this tour--but not so. The October tour ranged in age from 21 to 80.

The majority of our group was from the U.S., but there were quite a few tour members from Australia, one from the Phillipines, one from Canada, and two from Malasia.

Mix of single travelers, couples, mother-daugher duos, and the "group of golden girls". The golden girls, most who ranged in age from late 60's to 80 were doing better than the younger set. I guess that is a true seasoned traveler.

No real complaints about Cosmos. But you have to expect for EVERY day of your tour you get a 6:00 a.m. wake-up call, luggage outside of your door by 6;45 a.m. for someone to pick it up, breakfast between 6:45 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. and out of the hotel by 7:30 a.m.--and then on to touring or to the next city and ususally not in bed until midnight. This routine was constant. But once you get into the pattern, it was ok.

We asked our tour director what the diffence between Cosmos and Globus was. She said there are fewer tour memembers on Globus so the coach/bus has a little more room, hotels rooms MAY be upgraded but not necessarily any closer to center cities. And rather than all the "optional excursions" Cosmos offers, Globus may include some in the base cost.

I believe it all comes down to your driver and your tour director. We had the best of both.

Happy travels.

--Norma
 
Old Nov 15th, 1998, 07:18 PM
  #3  
Don Wiley
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We just got back from a tour of central Europe. Germany, Switzerland and Austria with an excursion to Budapest. Suggest you consider Grand European Tours of Lake Oswego, Oregon. We found them to be excellent at a price comparable to Globus. Don't miss Budapest. Avoid Trafalgar.
 
Old Nov 16th, 1998, 05:46 AM
  #4  
MCT
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Took the Globus Italy tour in late Sept. (Rome, Florence, Venice). What you need to be aware of is that these tours use large coach buses -- which can not go to the central portion of most older European cities. Therefore, hotels are NOT CENTRALLY located. Also, for Globus 99% of the included meals are at the hotel (no menu choices) -- and our local Friendly's serves a better meal than the Sheridan's in Italy did. By the way, the tour opertor doesn't eat with you or eat what you are served!!

Also, the tour operators want you to take the "optionals" -- ours especially seemed to feel that no one was competent to go on their own or should be permitted to -- the afternoon "free" time was in reality only an hour or so --think high school field trip of the mid-50's and you have the ambience.

However,our driver was great and it did provide wonderful transportation from one city to another without having to rely on public trains or buses.

Wish these land tour operators would take a lesson from the way Cruise ships handle their customers -- a much more adult attitude.
 
Old Nov 16th, 1998, 07:57 PM
  #5  
Ellen
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As another poster mentioned, be certain to check out where your hotels are located. The Globus tour of England/Scotland I took recently had the hotels located as much as 6 miles outside of the city center. The food left alot to be desired at the hotels. When hotels are in po-dunk places you never heard of, there will be NOTHING to do in the evening after dinner.

The driver and tour guide were nice enough but the accomodations for their proximity to sights of interest and meals left alot to be desired.

Ellen
 
Old Nov 17th, 1998, 05:23 AM
  #6  
Jeri Vaughn
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We returned from the Globus Alpine Countries tour in October. The quality of most hotels was good with convenient access to the city. The meals included were, however, of low quality with no choice of selection. The tour guide was disinterested and frequently expressed her exhaustion from the long tour season with little time off. The coach was comfortable and the driver excellent. Many of the tours were included in the package price, but the optional tours were rather expensive. We saw so much in so little time that by the end of the 14 day tour we forgot the names of many of the places. The scenery was breathtaking but I would have preferred a slower pace and more free time to enjoy the areas.
 
Old Nov 18th, 1998, 06:39 PM
  #7  
Lucio Guerrero
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Ditto to most of what everyone said regarding a tour with Trafalgar.

My wife and I took a tour of Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France and England with Trafalgar and found most of the above comments true. We felt the "optional excursions" were not so optional considering the hard sell the tour guide used. He obviously made a commish for every tour he sold, so he really made a point of trying to get everyone to sign up. If you didn't, well, you were obviously an idiot. (So he wanted you to think).

As for being in the sticks, we found that to be the case in most of the hotels we stayed at. Luckily, we had a Rick Steves guidebook and were able to find local public transportation from the hotel to the center of town.

If this is your first time doign Europe, I would say a guided tour is best, just be aware of what to expect.

Best regards.
 
Old Nov 29th, 1998, 04:16 PM
  #8  
sue vogel
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Rahul:

M husband and I just returned from Globus Tour of Italy The Italian Mosaic..
On the whole the trip was great...there were some drawbacks....some of the hotels were not in the center of town...and yes the meals in the hotels were not great..on the whole I believe the Italian breakfasts are poor!....

The Tour Guide was great....Lino...and the bus driver Raffaele wwas the best..The group was a mixture of honeymooners, 30 year olds....and 40 year olds....some 60's and 70's...but hey had more energy and staying power than the younger couples....The excursions were a bit corney buit they added to the flavor of the country....Yes you do speed thru places..but tours are meant as overviews than you can go back...and know we you want to go...We saw so much but it ws done so well I can remember everything.....my compliments to our tour guide...who made sure you digested much....As for the accomodations...the tours give you best value....after reducing the cost of the tour by the air fare....it barely costs you $100 per day for hotel and included meals....and guide and entrances into the various museums....which they get you into the museums without waiting on long lines and crowds....I would do GLOBUS again in a minute....We had a great time....Good Luck and Ciao!!!!
 
Old Nov 29th, 1998, 04:16 PM
  #9  
sue vogel
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Rahul:

M husband and I just returned from Globus Tour of Italy The Italian Mosaic..
On the whole the trip was great...there were some drawbacks....some of the hotels were not in the center of town...and yes the meals in the hotels were not great..on the whole I believe the Italian breakfasts are poor!....

The Tour Guide was great....Lino...and the bus driver Raffaele wwas the best..The group was a mixture of honeymooners, 30 year olds....and 40 year olds....some 60's and 70's...but hey had more energy and staying power than the younger couples....The excursions were a bit corney buit they added to the flavor of the country....Yes you do speed thru places..but tours are meant as overviews than you can go back...and know we you want to go...We saw so much but it ws done so well I can remember everything.....my compliments to our tour guide...who made sure you digested much....As for the accomodations...the tours give you best value....after reducing the cost of the tour by the air fare....it barely costs you $100 per day for hotel and included meals....and guide and entrances into the various museums....which they get you into the museums without waiting on long lines and crowds....I would do GLOBUS again in a minute....We had a great time....Good Luck and Ciao!!!!
 
Old Dec 1st, 1998, 08:06 PM
  #10  
Jerry
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Hi Rahul,
My wife and I took a Trafalgar tour of several countries last April. I cannot say enough good things about Trafalgar, however you always learn from your experience. I would do it again, however I would not spend less than 2 nights in each location. If you spend only one night at a location you generally get into the city too late to enjoy it. Get a tour with the least amount of bus time. The age group was mixed, and everyone was great. The tour director really knew her stuff and was extremely organized. The hotels were very nice and mostly in the city.
I'd do Trafalgar again in a minute.

Jerry
 
Old Dec 1st, 1998, 09:06 PM
  #11  
Karen
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If you truly want a carefree, superb tour, try Tauck Tours. We have been on four and do not have one complaint. All hotels have been the finest in terrific locations...never had to leave in the a.m. before 9 and luggage is never put out into the halls...left in rooms for pick-up. Most meals are included...you eat when and with whom you wish, or alone, and almost always order off the menu, a la carte, soup to dessert, no limitation whatsoever. The guides have been well informed, we've had a great variety of transportation included and there are no optional tours to purchase. Our tours, domestic and foreign, are definitely highlights of any trips we have taken.
 
Old Dec 2nd, 1998, 01:34 PM
  #12  
michele
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I second TAUK...excellent. For Italy alone I have heard that Perillo is terrific. Really read your tour information. Too many of these tours spend only a day in each place and you are rushed through it all.
 
Old Dec 2nd, 1998, 04:46 PM
  #13  
Harold
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Just took Trafalfar's "Best of Europe" the last week of September and first week of October. I've got to say that Trafalgar thought of just about everything. It was most enjoyable.

However, a great deal depends on the tour guide and driver. At Trafalgar, they are both highly qualified and very professional. The driver was very safety minded and quite adept with the coach. The tour guide was amazing. during the drive to the next venue, she gave a detailed historical commentary that made each stop much more interesting.

Keep in mind that a guided tour is primarily to show you what there is to see at each location. They cover a lot of ground and some areas are here and gone quickly. Therefore I suggest that you keep a journal of where you go and what you see. It will be invaluable on your return.

A guided tour will assure that you see the things you want to see, as compared with a self conducted trip where you are constantly wondering what you should see next and "have I missed something?"

As a final note, write off for several tour company brochures and read them carefully. This way you will know what to expect and go where you want to go. As for the other people on a specific tour, you will find that they are friendly and warm, not to mention very interesting.

Good luck!!

Harold
 
Old Dec 2nd, 1998, 07:55 PM
  #14  
Mary
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My husband, my two daughters and I tooka Globus European Sampler tour in October. There are many benefits to a tour but I have to agree with Jerry not to choose a tour that spends less than two nights in a city. Also, we all agreed that 14 days on a tour should be the maximum. Ifelt more relaxed when I got back to work then I did on the tour and I teach first grade! Just remember 2 nights at least and 14 days max. Globus was mostly fine.
 
Old Dec 3rd, 1998, 06:43 PM
  #15  
Jeannie
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I was reading this looking for info on Tauck. Sounds like you all love them. Have either of you traveled with them to Hawaii? Tell me more about your experience. Are there disadvantages?
 
Old Dec 7th, 1998, 02:37 PM
  #16  
Taken by Trafalgar
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I took Trafalgar's "Best of Germany and Austria" tour this fall and was very disappointed. I would not take Trafalgar Tours again.

Travelers' Beware. The hotel locations listed in the catalog are misleading and not accurate. Midtown hotel locations can be located in the suburbs outside of the city, or even in another city. This was the case for Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Vienna and Wiedbaden
 
Old Dec 8th, 1998, 09:16 AM
  #17  
Pam
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My mother and I did the Cosmos Grand Tour of France this past September. Although some of the hotels, and their meals, were disappointing, the whole trip was surprisingly inexpensive, and also an excellent way for us first time visitors to Europe to become aquainted with France. Unless you have friends or family in a foreign country, a guided tour is a great introduction, but I don't think I would take one on a repeat visit. The pace was pretty tiring!
 

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