Jun 21st, 2007, 04:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 116

I have an all day tour schedule from Munich that includes Neuschwanstein. I prepaid for the tour. The list a separate price of $15 for entry to the castle. I emailed them to see if 1)I could pay them directly for the tickets 2)if I should order the tickets in advance as suggested online and if so, what time should I arrange the tour. They emailed back stating that I did not need to buy tickets beforehand. However, I just pulled up a Rick Steve's page online that said the ticket line is 2 hours long and that sometimes the tours are sold out! I'm not sure if the person at the tour company did not understand my question or if they just didn't want to help me. Has anyone else taken the 10 1/2 hour tour from Munich to Neuschwanstein? I will be very disappointed if I can't get into the castle.
amberkat is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,172
It is possible that the answer is neither that they misunderstood your nor they didn't want to help.

If you are taking a pre-arranged tour perhaps they will pre-arrange the tour, and not simply drop you off at the ticket line.

You should check with them to see if, in fact that is what they do, or if you will have to wait in line to buy tickets upon arrival.
J62 is online now  
Jun 21st, 2007, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Keep bugging them. If really desperate, and you need to annoy them, ask about their cancellation policy. And possibly challenge their knowledge of English. That will tick them off as it should, but it might stir out an answer. I recommend the latter only as the very last resort. After all other attempts have failed.

Do you sense that they speak English well enough to respond over the telephone?

On the impolite language challenge, the retort could well be: You write in German. Hmm. Then what?
Even giving it my honest best, I can butcher German to the point I get a good answer in either German or in English.

IF you buy the ticket in advance for a tour in English, AND you find out you do not need it. I think you could sell your position to someone standing in line. Go to the back of the line and ask: Anyone want a ticket for time X, English language tour?

Quite a few visitors take the first tour available in a language they understand. When I went, perhaps 40% of the people in my group were not native English speakers.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I have visited Neuschwanstein 6 times, but I always take the train from Munich. I have never had to stand in line for a long period of time-maybe the longest 20 minutes. If the next tour is sold out, then you can look around town until time for your tour.

What month will you be going? I have been only in late May and mid September.There may be longer waiting lines during the summer months.
scatcat is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 05:04 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,549
I hope you are going to see Linderoff as well. Linderhoff is more interesting even though Neuschwanstein is more famous (probably because Disney used it as the model for Cinderella's castle).
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I can agree with the assessment of Neuschwanstein. It is one of those places that looks great from the outside but flops on the inside. Most of the interior was never finished and you only see a small percentage of the building.

Linderhof is more interesting. Of course your tour may not take you close to the entrance.

I cannot imagine a tour company that would drop you at the base of the hill and tell you to shift for yourself.

Wait, yes I can too. I took a tour of Ireland with Insight and anything like Neuschwanstein was extra money!! I loved the term "optional tour." If you did not go on the optional excursion or whatever it was, you wandered around on your own until the others got back.

Never again with Insight.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:15 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,549
Often people will sign up for budget tours. On those tours everything is not included. Next time read the small print and go for a tour where everything is included. Over the course of the trip, the more expensive tour packages can turn out to be cheaper.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,267
Hi A,

I don't understand why the ticket price wasn't included in your tour package.

When we were there a few weeks ago, we noticed that several of the guides sent their charges to the cafes and the souvenir shops while they got on line to get the group tickets.

They usually suggested to meet at the entrance to the castle in about 2hr.

I think that this might be because:

1. the guides couldn't be certain that they would arrive at a specified time

2. they didn't know how many tickets to buy

3. they couldn't pick up the tickets in advance.

ira is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 424
We went to the castles in May, I paid for the tickets on line, they sent me a confirmation and I picked them up at the window when I arrived. There was 1 person in front of me.
suze1 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:35 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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OK, I do some tour directing, but only in the US (and 95% of that is DC right now) as yet and it is just occasional for me. The explanation for why not everything included is to make the tour package look like a good buy. Then, when you get there, you end up buying special tours to places and end up paying more than some of the high end tours.

Tour directors do whatever the client wants. Don't blame them for the fact that they had to wait in line to buy tickets to something. The CLIENT did not buy the tickets in advance, perhaps because the CLIENT did not know how many people were going to end up buying tickets because it wasn't included. You tour director is at the bottom end of a long food chain. He is not at fault.

Next time you take a tour package, look for one where everything is included. You might pay more up front, but it might be cheaper in the long run. Everything is contained in the small print--print that the tour company hopes no one will read. Mostly people don't read the small print and then claim they weren't told that this and that was not included.

Tour directors often work for many tour companies. Sure they wear you company's ID tag (I have a pile of those) but only for so long as they are doing a tour for your company. Some of the larger companies (e.g., Tauck) have exclusive contracts with TD's but most don't.

Also, when it is a budget tour, and depending on company policy, the tour director often (but not always) makes a percentage of the extra tours purchased (another reason why an all inclusive tour is a better deal).

Personally I hate shilling clients for extras. I would much rather work a tour where everything is included. Generally, where you do not have the possibility for commissions from the extras, you are paid more up front. It is classier not to have to feel like a circus barker hawking extras (even if they can be lucrative).

And, surprise, surprise, when you go shopping (depending on the policy of the company for whom the TD works), the TD can get commissions from the shops or free merchandise. It is the old "one hand washes the other" stuff. I hate this stuff, but, when I am working for a company, I do what they want.

Please remember that your TD's base salary is low. The real money is really made in the tips at the end of the tour. If you have a really good TD, show him your appreciation--and the same goes for a really good motor coach driver. Let me tell you, if I have him a good driver I build him up on the coach and make sure everyone knows how hard he is working (often for peanuts). Good drivers are golden. Show them your appreciation at the end of the tour as well. If the driver knows where he is going, the TD can concentrate on commentary rather than directions.

If you know how the industry works, you can be a wiser consumer.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
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