Last Time to Tell of Bad Experience

Sep 25th, 2002, 07:10 AM
  #21  
xx
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let's see, 16 left the tour - but 8 of them were your family. I see it now - you were "evicted" because you were so disruptive, and the others are probably the ones you stirred up to revolt.

I HATE tours, but when you take a cheap one (paid for by your 80 year old mother no less!) you must expect some corner cutting.

talk your poor mother into footing the bill for Tauck again -
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 07:13 AM
  #22  
K
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Linda

I checked out the website. Are those buses or torture chambers? I've never seen bus designed like that. I may have toyed with the idea of a tour package of Europe to help me out in taking my mother around, but no more. I can eat peas and turkey and be ride in an uncomfortable bus right here at home!
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 08:26 AM
  #23  
j
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We took one of their tours and the bus wasn't like Linda's. My husband and son are 5'9 and didn't have a problem, but I think tour companies use a variety of buses; it's a good question to ask ahead of time. We specifically chose this company because they didn't structure the days so much (you paid for optionals if you wanted to). We wanted to plan our activities on our own. Since we were spending 3 - 4 nights in each city, I checked a map to see where the hotels were. For this tour, they were all near public transportion and the one in Rome (Visconti Palace) was a 10 minute walk from the Spanish steps and a 15 minute walk to Piazza Navonna(sp?). Bus time was limited since we took the Eurostar from London to Paris and flew from Paris to Rome. Only one dinner of the three provided was in our hotel and we would have skipped it, but went ahead aftr an exhausting day (on our own). Ambience was typical hotel, but the food was very good (breads, soup, entre/vegetable, dessert, wine). The other two meals were on a cruise (Seine) and in a restaurant with opera singers (Rome). Our tour director was excellent (spoke 6 languages fluently). Anyway, Linda's warnings are a good reminder to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of research before traveling by tour or independently. It's part of the fun of planning and you don't end up with unpleasant surprises.
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 08:50 AM
  #24  
curious
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What were the other passengers calling you or saying about you and your family? The bus looks like a pain, but were they objecting to your special treatment?
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 09:35 AM
  #25  
orgy7
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trust me I would of been ripping into you as well... trus. Those busses look heavenly compared too some of the busses I been on in Asia..

If mother is so hell bent on tours. why not take shorter once where you get too actually check out some sites...

anyone who believes brouchurs are dumnasses, "ocean front hotel" just meant that somewhere in front of you you'll see the ocean.. and many times their willl be a huge shipping dock in the way..
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 10:15 AM
  #26  
Thyra
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Thanks Linda,,, that was really, truly a good laugh for the day. I mean, you actually took photos of your food... wow, this is why I am very glad I have never taken a packaged tour in Europe. ( I did do an African safari though). I just have to reiterate what the others have said.. maybe more research could have avoided some of the problems. All you need is the name of the hotel and the town it is in, a Google search should be able to find the hotels website, and you could easily see where any given hotel was in relation to transpo and sights. I agree with the above, since it sounds as though you have been overseas many many times, why couldn't you book your hotels and transfers? There are many local companies that do "day excursion trips". We did one of those in Rome that was also not terribly good (no leg room etc) but it was 6 hours out of our 2 week trip and 30 bucks down the drain (live and learn, we still laugh about it) we weren't trapped in for days upon days. Anyone who could spend what appears to be hours constructing your complaint website.. and posting on Fodor's should be able to book hotels, airfare, daytours and transfers.. you would probibly save a bundle too.
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #27  
Santa Chiara
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Really good points, Thyra. I, too, was impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness of the web site. That's why I think this is a spoof. For instance, how could you convince the tour guide, a representative of the company, to "pose" for a shot of the legroom.

And why bring it up so much later? This is too "canned" to be true.
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 10:49 AM
  #28  
Santa Chiara
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I'm sorry; I mispoke myself. This whole thing is a spoof. Just check out their web site. Linda's message is only a small part of the hoax.

The Far and Wide web site is the cheesiest, smarmiest thing I have seen in a long time. But wait. There's more. Go to their "management team" page. You will never see such a gallery of creepy, white guys in anywhere else.

Brilliant, Linda and Far and Wide.
 
Sep 25th, 2002, 06:17 PM
  #29  
ttt
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ttt
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 01:10 AM
  #30  
xxx
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Huh?? I went to their website and it looks real to me. The management team does look goofy, but what do you expect a bunch of CEO types to look like? And why in the world would someone connected to Far and Wide post such negative comments and pictures?

My interpretation is that she failed to properly research the trip, was extremely disappointed with it and felt enough anger and hostility to put up a website thinking that she'd help others avoid the same thing.

The tour looked like it really sucked and I'd really like to know how much it cost. Others have asked, so why not tell us, Linda? Was it really inexpensive and are you afraid that if you say, everyone will tell you that you got what you paid for?

 
Sep 26th, 2002, 03:25 AM
  #31  
Linda
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First of all, there were only 4 in my family on this trip; thus, 12 others got off the bus with us outside of Florence. Those 12 also complained bitterly and constantly about the cramped conditions on the bus and the overly long days. And EVERYONE was furious about the turkey dinner in Mestre (Venice), especially since it was a 12-hour day on the bus and we were all tired and hungry. The cost of the trip was $2,800 per person (with air) plus we spent about $400 each for some of the optional tours. 5 dinners were included on this 16-day tour. And you're right - we didn't research the trip at all. Our mistake! We used our past motorcoach experience, but we certainly learned our lesson. Our fault that we didn't research the trip; Far&Wide's fault for the conditions on the bus that exacerbated other problems that we would have normally laughed off to normal kinks in travel. That 4'9" kid in the photo was not my child and some of the other people who said I should take their pictures were not in my family. The tour guide gave me her permission to take hers when she tried out the seat we had that day because she was very empathetic about everyone's discomfort. Enough said.
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 09:43 AM
  #32  
Barb
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Linda,

You have to be one of the most well adjusted people that I've ever come into contact with! I would have gone off on a couple of these rude, insolent jerks who are taking pleasure in making you feel even more terrible than you already did! More power to you....you are an example to us all. Good luck on your next journey!
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 01:13 PM
  #33  
Jan
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Hi Linda. Wow, that's quite the web site! I too am sorry you didn't enjoy your experience.

The problem, I think, is that companies are allowed to use rather meaningless, subjective terms like 'comfortable' in describing seating, rather than being required to disclose seat pitch. Even at that, unless the average consumer has a standard of comparison (i.e. they know what the seat pitch on an typical economy airline seat is) then knowing seat pitch still wouldn't be very useful. How would you like to have the company describe the seats in the brochure so that you would have understood the size?

With respect to the recipes used for the meals, these are also not standard things - I agree that's an odd looking tiramisu, but if the chef claims it's his recipe for it, then what can you or even the company do, except not use that hotel again? As for "Italian meal" - same problem. I agree, that turkey and peas looked sad, but I don't think there's a universal definition of "Italian food" so again, the company is obeying the letter of their contract if maybe not the spirit. What improvements do you think the company could make to how meals are described, so that you would know what to expect? (you'd have to not be too specific, so as to allow the caterers some flexibility.)

Given that you're traveling in a large group, and need a hotel of a certain standard, and given that many cities have restricted building zones, I'm not sure that the company was necessarily at fault for where your hotels were located. I appreciate your disappointment, but given these facts, how do you want the hotel to describe hotel locations in their brochure, so that you would understand?
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 03:50 PM
  #34  
Linda
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Thanks, Jan, for your thoughts. As you can see from some of my earlier posts, we've traveled quite a bit. Just last night I was laughing with our travel agent about a trip we took in 1996 to Ireland where we ended up in a beat-up van because of a mistake on the part of the car rental agency --6 women traveling together for 2 weeks in a rent-a-wreck. We had a great time with lots of laughs!! Our rent-a-wreck became one of our fondest memories. Even on the best of trips, there are a few snags--from lost luggage to missed airline connections because of flight delays...those are to be expected. But we've always ended trips with new friends and many fond memories. This one was quite unfortunate. Possibly we've just been lucky in the past to have experienced so many good times on trips with few problems--whether independent, a motorcoach tour or cruises--with companies that provided what we expected. As I've said many times, "live and learn."
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 03:59 PM
  #35  
winner
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I just received a Far and Wide brochure today. The hotel in Paris is Sofitel Porte de Sevres: Porte means gate or gateway, one of the entrances to ancient Paris, therefore on the outskirts of the city, NOT near popular tourist sites. The hotel for Venice is the Plaza-Mestre, indicating it is in Mestre, NOT central Venice. As others suggested, and as an experienced tour participant, you should have at least checked out these hotels and should have known the locations just from the names. Homework, Linda!
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 04:08 PM
  #36  
Jan
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Hi Linda, thanks for your reply. I did think that you have traveled quite a bit, and your web site is so clear, so I thought maybe you would have some ideas for how we consumers could get companies to make communication more clear. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe your idea of a picture of the seat is one of the best ways to describe it. I'm still trying to solve the problem about how tour companies could describe the food better though. I talked to someone else this eve - seems food is a big problem. Don't tour companies contract that thing out?

Would a map of the hotel locations in the brochure have helped?
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 04:09 PM
  #37  
sue
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Hi,

This trip sounds terrible. I loved reading all about it and seeing the pictures, espcially of the food. It was very funny. You did a favor to anyone thinking of going of this tour. Better luck next time.
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 05:03 PM
  #38  
Joe
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Linda, you're every group travelers worst nightmare - - the obsessive complainer who can't get over it, can't make the best of a bad situation, and can't shut up about it. You documented all the problems with photos, then created an elbaorate web sight to publicize it. Some people - - clearly including most of your tour companions - - get a little tetchy around non-stop kvetching. How much time did you devote to the good stuff? You were in Paris, Venice - -not such bad places. Did you take pictures of things besides the bus seats? All I can say is Jeez!
 
Sep 26th, 2002, 07:00 PM
  #39  
Linda
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Yes, Joe, we took hundreds of wonderful pictures -- from Paris to Rome on the tour and on to Bellagio for 3 days on our own. Beautiful cities and we enjoyed every moment we were in them -- away from the tour and off the unexcusably cramped bus. By the way, Joe, Nice to Venice should NOT take 12 hours, even with a 1 hr. stop in Verona. Is there any wonder EVERYONE was complaining when we reached Mestre (Venice) to a miserable meal, a horrible view from our rooms and then told not to go out at night by the tour director because it wasn't safe. We've always had a great time on tours in the past and made new friends. This tour

 
Sep 27th, 2002, 12:58 AM
  #40  
xxx
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Ok, you got screwed. What a pathetic tour!

She admits she should've researched more so I think everyone should lay off of her about that.

 

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