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HAS ANYONE TAKEN A "COSMOS" TOUR?

Old Nov 15th, 1997, 04:05 PM
  #1  
Sue
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HAS ANYONE TAKEN A "COSMOS" TOUR?


Going to Italy for two weeks and thinking of going with a "Cosmos" tour to Southern Italy (Amalfi Coast, Capri) & Sicily. Has anyone used this tour company?
 
Old Nov 16th, 1997, 12:12 AM
  #2  
Jody
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Yes, and it's just fine. If you are not too awfully fussy about accomodations or meals (which are decent enough, but far from lavish) and are more interested in seeing and doing on an economical plan, this is definitely a good choice. We have also travelled with Globus (a pricer version of Cosmos, by the same folks) and Trafalgar. By far, Trafalgar is the best. Hotels nicer and better located, better meals, excellent commentary all along the way. Be advised that the vast majority of travellers on all of these tours tend to be long married and/or senior citizens. But, for an economical, no frills, tour, Cosmos is a good value for the dollar. Keep in mind, also, that you'll be on their schedule, which means boarding the bus early, eating at scheduled times, and sometimes wishing you had a lot more or a lot less time to spend at various places. But, it's also an excellent way to gain experience for doing it on your own on future trips.
 
Old Nov 16th, 1997, 05:22 AM
  #3  
Sue
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THANKS for the reply. I am definitely looking for a value (never really cared about the room because you are never in it) and food is food. BUT, I am concerned about the company you are with and not being able to see exactly what I want and stay as long or short a time. My husband and I are not "well traveled" in Europe and the convenience of not worrying about driving, money, etc. is inviting, although if I felt secure about arranging hotels, car, finding places, etc. I do enjoy the planning of trips and am noted for that but for places in the US where language, etc. is not a barrier. Have you been to Amalfi & Sicily and think that it would be more enjoyable and manageable to go it alone? Thanks again for your input.
 
Old Nov 16th, 1997, 10:17 PM
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Jody
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Well, as I mentioned, you will be on a rather inflexible schedule. So, if there's a three hour stop in a cathedral, for example, you're stuck there for three hours. And, there may be times when you're cut loose for two hours, and you're so distracted by watching the time and getting back to the meeting point on time that you can't enjoy the two hours. However, if you are uncomfortable making the arrangements yourself and being in a land where you don't speak the language, a tour is definitely a good way to go, and the disadvantages are hardly worth fretting over. The alternative would be to read several tour guides on the areas you wish to visit, select the hotels which appeal to you within your price range and book them yourself. These days, nearly every hotel in Europe has a fax and a person in the reservations office who can understand and reply to your request in English. As for getting around once there, this will also require some research. Even if you rent a car, you need to familiarize yourself with maps and it is highly recommended that you post on message boards for information regarding driving in the areas you plan to visit. Maps can be very deceiving. Another essential would be a good phrase book with phonetic pronunciations. It would definintely be worth your while to learn enough phrases to get around, order food, and so forth. You might also check out Rick Steves website and guidebooks. He's quite the expert on travelling around Europe "on your own".
 
Old Nov 17th, 1997, 02:12 AM
  #5  
Nan
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Rick Steves is kinda cute in a inoffensive nerdy way and he is better than some of the other TV travel hosts out there (my God, that Aussie twit on the Lonely Planet shows is like nails on a chalkboard).....but he's hardy an expert.
We watch his show sometimes just to hear him try and pronounce foreign words.........it's so funny! He just mangles them completely......and he just doesn't notice or care! He's sort of like a cross between John Denver and Jerry Lewis.

IMO bus tours suck because they keep you to *their* schedule. And the hotels are often far out of the city.
 
Old Nov 17th, 1997, 03:57 AM
  #6  
Sue
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Thanks Jody & Nan, I will take your advice with Rick Steves to decide if I think we can "go it alone". Cosmos tour of that area is the only one that I really like the sounds of the iternary, but my husband worries about the lack of frills with them (although we like the price) and I worry about the time schedules - SO, if we can see it independently, that is what I will try to work towards. Thanks again for your input!
 
Old Nov 18th, 1997, 02:09 AM
  #7  
George Holt
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I've taken most of the Cosmos 'fly/coach' tours except the ones in Italy, must get around to that one year. I can't disagree with any of the previous answers but if you want to cover a lot of ground very quickly with minimum input then coach tours are great. Tours vary in their 'intensity', visiting the whole of western Turkey in 15 days is quite gruelling, doing the Peloponnese in 10 days is more relaxed. I learnt very early to pack an alarm. Early starts are common, often to miss city traffic or to arrive at a site while it is still cool, the couriers usually have your comfort in mind even if its not always obvious. Yes, you have to go when they say and stop when they say (you don't always have to go exactly where they say) but that's the price you pay for packing so much in. My experience of independant travel in Turkey tells me that the ground covered in a two week coach tour would take me five or six weeks by local buses. The coaches are generally non smoking and 'comfort' stops are made regularly. The quality of hotels can be variable, my feeling is that they 'balance' over the tour so a poorer hotel in one locale may be compensated by a good hotel elswhere, I never worry too much about hotels, they're just somewhere to sleep, but some people attach more importance to them. Generally I find the time at sites balances as well. Of course one of the great things about a coach tour is that you get to meet people who are sharing your experience. Email me if you want more general ramblings or advice about Cosmos (I can't comment on your particular tour). One thing to watch for with Cosmos is the optional extras. These can be legitimate extras like 'city by night' tours but they keep the price of touring down by not including some visits you may think are essential. You need to carry some extra spending power to cover these options, sometimes substantial, and while a credit card is usually fine, in Turkey a couple of years ago they didn't accept credit cards and in Greece this summer they only accepted half the cost in credit cards so take some travel cheques.
 
Old Nov 18th, 1997, 08:20 AM
  #8  
David Connor
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A 2 week European trip by COSMOS a couple of years ago was in general A GOOD VALUE......The hotel situation was not great....Never did we get a hotel with air conditioning......Going into a room without air conditioning with outside temperatures at 90 degrees Fahrenheit was not pleasant....Food in hotels could be listed as Fair to Good......The bus stops for lunches and snacks were quite enjoyable,although the Tour Price did not include these lunch and snack stops.....The Italian driver was great...The lovely guide,Simone was delightful,helpful and a wealth of information....Enjoy your travels....David Connor
 
Old Nov 18th, 1997, 05:29 PM
  #9  
Sue
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Thanks everyone for the input. I guess I just have to consider the cost savings and easiness to go via Cosmos vs. independently. I really think that you enjoy seeing something when you have a guide describing what you are actually seeing, vs. just "looking at it". As far as hotel, you are never in your room outside of closing your eyes to sleep, and food is not the reason we are going, so unless I hear something really negative about Cosmos, I am inclined to go with them (at least for our first time to Italy!) Thanks again for your time!
 
Old Nov 18th, 1997, 09:27 PM
  #10  
Jody
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Once again, if this is your first venture. go Cosmos. You will not be disappointed so long as you understand what to expect. You will not be "on your own", but everything will be taken care of for you. This is a terrific way for an "unseasoned" traveller to become seasoned. So, my advice is to book your trip - and have a wonderful time!
 
Old Dec 29th, 1997, 06:55 PM
  #11  
B. Wolfe
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My wife and I just returned from a Cosmos tour three weeks ago to Israel. We only had a week so this is the only way for us to go since we've never been to Israel before. The tour was fine. I would highly recommend it. Some of the hotels were not really classy but they were adequate. We usually travel on our own renting a car and looking for hotels around 4PM. Traveling by coach is no stress at all. They do all the work. Our guide was terrific. It is nice having a professional showing and telling you everything you need to know about an area. No problems getting lost etc. There is also the benefit of meeting some very neat travelers from all over the world. There were folks on our Cosmos tour from Ireland, England, Australia and Scotland. I highly recommend this way of travel for your first time. Also, go Globus if you want to stay at fancier hotels.
 
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 09:54 AM
  #12  
Liz
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I went with Cosmos (discount trip) last Fall to Ireland and had an excellent time. I also did a Trafalgar tour to France a couple years back and also had a great time, I felt Trafalgar pushed the options tours a tad too strongly. It basically depends on the guide you have and the others on your tour and what you make of the trip yourself and what your expectations are for your time, etc. I like to do the tours if I haven't been to a country, then you can make plans to go back to places you would like to see more of in the future. Have fun.
 
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 10:51 AM
  #13  
Lobo
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Go for it!!! Did Cosmos twice and agree with all the posts on your question. If this is your first time in Europe you will be more at ease with a tour company. Since my two tours though I am now a Europe addict and have also done two tours on our own. Car rentals, hotels, etc can be booked on the internet.Guide books and maps from Amazon or Barnes /noble. To get the most out of this it is necessary to do lots of pre-planning and if you enjoy this as you seem to... then the next time you can do it this way.
BOTH are GOOD!!! It is a personal choice
 
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 11:09 AM
  #14  
Julie
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I love coach tours. I have gone to Europe just as many times with a tour as on my own. I feel that you see more (quantity) on a tour. On your own you are able to see more (quality) of the things you choose to see...4 hours in Prado instead of 50 minute tour of highlights.

If you research your destination, you can plan what to do in your spare time. Also, you can stay extra days on the back end of the trip for practicing Europe on your own. We stayed 2 extra nights in Madrid and did a ton of things not included on the tour. You can do this in Italy.
 

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