Odysseys-Unlimited tour

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Oct 8th, 2005, 04:05 PM
  #1
epi
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Odysseys-Unlimited tour



We just returned from a tour with Odysseys Unlimited. Before signing up for the tour, I posted a question about the tour company and found no report from anyone who had traveled with them and questions about them from several others. Therefore I am posting the following report.
I want to preface this report with the fact that when we go on tours, as opposed to traveling by ourselves, we usually go with high-end tour groups. You should factor that into my comments. I’ll post a short report on Croatia itself separately.
I found the Odysseys Unlimited tour “Pearls of Dalmatia” excellent value for the money. We stayed in either the best hotel in town or at least 4 star if it existed. Because the hotels were not typical chain hotels, there was a sometimes a disparity in rooms among tour participants, but it was random and when needed and possible, rooms were changed. All breakfasts, and some lunches and dinners were included. My only complaint about meals is that we had absolutely no choices offered at the lunches and dinners. Sometimes the food was to my taste, other times it wasn’t. I checked with the company and was told that on some tours there are choices of meals, on others no choice.
The pace of the tour was excellent. We stayed in each hotel at least 2 nights, which was wonderful. It is so nice to not have to pack every day. We saw beautiful sights and also had time to walk around some the the nicest ones on our own. Whoever planned the location and pacing of this tour is to be congratulated.
This is a small group tour with a limit of 24 people. We had a full-sized bus for the group which means everyone can have a window and space. Our drivers were excellent.
We had one tour guide who stayed with us through the trip. His knowledge of Croatian history was extensive, and he presented it well. Unlike other trips we have been on, when we had a local guide on this tour, the overall guide did not stay with us. Our local guides were excellent, and had more verve than the overall guide. He did his job, but was definitely a guide, not an escort, meaning that he led us, but didn’t seem involved with us.
One proviso – we had an extension through the company, and would most likely not do that again. On all other tours we have taken, if we paid for an extension through the company, the transfer to the airport at the end was included. It is not included by this group, and in Venice it was a hassle.
When we returned home from the trip, I sent my comments to the company. I received a comprehensive and thoughtful reply and was quite impressed by this.
My overall comment is that we may well go with this group again. We were not ecstatic, but pleased enough to add this group to our list of possible tour companies.
epi is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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thank you for the report! Just today I was perusing information about tours to India, with them. My alumni association is getting a group together in February and it looked tempting.

did you find the bus rides between cities to be long? in other words, did they try to pack too much in?
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Oct 10th, 2005, 12:35 PM
  #3
epi
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I did not find the bus rides too long, but some people did. My theory is that sometimes the only way to see a lot is to have some long bus rides, and I have been on tours with much longer bus rides, notably on the Silk road in China. I prefer a few long bus rides, combined with stays of at least two nights at each stop. I really thought the pacing on this trip was perfect. FYI at 61 I was the youngest person on this particular tour. I know that is not the case on all their tours, but that will help you put the few who complained about long bus rides in context.
I just looked at their India's Golden Triangle tour in the brochure and have to say it looks good. I suspect you could contact them and find out how long the bus trips are. Thy are quite responsive.
A suggestion if you take the trip and do the extension - if you have time, stay a day or two in Bombay at the end. it is a wonderful city.
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Oct 10th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Finally - I've found a review on an Odysseys Unlimited tour. Thank you!

I agree that you rarely see responses to posted questions regarding this particular tour company. I've been keeping an eye out for this kind of information because I've had an eye on their Egypt tour for a while. Actually, they have a number of tours to more "exotic" locales that look very interesting.

FWIW, apparently they were selected as one of the best tour companies recently by Travel & Leisure magazine. Not sure if it was by their editors or their readers.

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Nov 8th, 2005, 01:14 PM
  #5
epi
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I feel obligated to add that I just talked to a friend who took the Odysseys-Unlimited tour to Spain, and she was less than thrilled. She too was annoyed by having absolutely no choice on the included meals and felt their guide was just adequate.
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Nov 18th, 2011, 05:02 PM
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Thank you. We appreciate your review. We are thinking of the Discovering Eastern Europe tour. It looks great but we didn't know anyone that used Odyssey. Some of the hotels are unrated and the 17 day trip includes 6 dinners and 4 lunches so we'll mostly be on our own.
Susan
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Nov 18th, 2011, 05:39 PM
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Susan, you do realize this review is six years old, and things may have changed a lot since then?
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Dec 20th, 2011, 07:57 AM
  #8
hnw
 
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My husband and I went on Oddyssey's Spain trip a year ago and we had excellent choices almost at every meal -- for both appetizer and main course. This was our first ever tour -- we normally travel on our own and I have to say that the food was fabulous and my concern with not being able to determine what I ate or to have ability to savor local cuisine was unfounded. I came to realize that one of the benefits of group travel is the people that you travel with. The folks on our tour were one of the warmest, most interesting groups I could imagine. Everyone really cared about each other and enjoyed each others company in addition to being well read and interesting. Those who used Oddysseys previously had the same praise for other trips they had taken. Like one of the contributors above, I was the youngest in the group at 58, but it really didn't make too much of a difference.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:20 AM
  #9
 
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I know the original post is old but regarding the recent post -- being the youngest at 58 --

hnw if you read this or anyone else who has done an OU tour -- does the older average age affect the pace of the tour a lot would you say?
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:52 AM
  #10
 
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I haven't done any Oddyssey tours but have taken other tours where I was the youngest and most of the group was in their 70s and some older. I've found that folks today who are traveling on tours are fit and active. They expect to be able to walk or stand a good deal and to walk on uneven ground. None of these seniors held up the group on the three tours I took.

You should choose a tour that goes where you want to go, has an appropriate number of overnights (i.e., do you want 1 or 2 night stays or longer), is within your budget. I would not worry about the other people being older unless you're in your 30s. You would then want an age-appropriate tour.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:54 AM
  #11
 
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Last Spring we went on the Odysseys Unlimited Southern Italy and Sicily tour. We travel a lot independently but this one we added on another two weeks on our own before and after the tour started and it was perfect for us. This was our first tour with Odysseys Unlimited and we were really pleased. As far as the age group is concerned it was an "older" group maybe the average age being early sixties, some younger, but all very active. The pace of the tour we felt was just right and the food selection was excellent. We had been on a couple of Overseas Adventure Travel tours in the past and Odysseys Unlimited surpassed them, particularly in the fact the accomodations were more upscale. We were so happy with them that we signed up for their Scandinavian Odyssey tour this summer.
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Feb 4th, 2012, 11:44 AM
  #12
 
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Thanks for the info on average age & activity level on OU tours in general.
60s is the new 40s, right?

I'm considering their Iceland and Burma trips and I'm trying to get a sense of how much walking around you get to do or if it's mostly time spent in a bus. The company reps mainly tell you what they think you want to hear.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 04:46 PM
  #13
 
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We took Odysseys Portugal and Spain trip in Oct. of '08. A wonderful group of 16 folks who had a great time together.--- Average ages were about early 60's, late 50's and not a complainer in the bunch. Yes, 60 is the new 40!! Our leader was Gaston and he was the best we ever had---so much fun and did many extras with us. We had an excellent trip to New Zealand and Australia with OAT but the hotels on Odysseys are definitely higher quality. Finally we are able to take another Odysseys trip and are booked for the St. Petersburg and the Baltic Capitals starting July 10.
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Feb 24th, 2012, 01:24 AM
  #14
 
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Well, I usually don't comment on old threads, but information on this company seems to be scarce.

We had a great trip with them to Croatia with a fantastic tour director, a Croatian history graduate, kind, generous, knowledgeable (I read a lot before we went). He was also drop dead handsome. As noted, we stayed in great hotels and did not spend excessive amounts of time in the bus. The food, with the exception of two lunches, was good, one lunch under the trees in Cavtat was one of those things you will remember forever, and the breakfast buffets in Opatija were amazing -- whole prsut to slice as you want, champagne, caviar, cheeses, sausages, and on and on.

We then went to Portugal and Spain with them, and we did not have Gaston. Our tour director (Tim?) was awful, though the local guides were fantastic. I spoke better Spanish than he did, he would not stand up for us when there were problems at the paradores, and he went off to party with local friends at night. Spain is huge, so there were long days on the bus, but that is inevitable. It was the paradores trip, and we were generally disappointed with the location or conditions of the paradores and hotels themselves. Our hotel in Madrid was full of smoke and in one of the paradores, I think the one in an otherwise charming town in Portugal, had a strong smell of sewer gas. Food was good, though they are very proud of jamon iberico and offered it to us at every meal, a lot more than I was interested in eating. Most of our fellow tourists did not like sherry, so I got to drink theirs every night when it invariably preceded dinner.

We took extensions in Barcelona and Venice, which were great but they book you on very early flights ot, so getting to the airport was a pain in both cases.

My only real problem with the company is that they did not respond when I complained after the Spain trip. On the other hand, Tim is no longer with them.

Other friends have had great trips with them to France, the UK, and Costa Rica. They are very good about trying to arrange a local experience -- lunch at someone's house, a visit to a school so students can practice their English, and so forth. So there you are. More than I planned to write.
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Feb 25th, 2012, 05:37 AM
  #15
 
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Thanks a lot Ackislander and 121043. I have since booked a trip to Burma with them for this fall so I'm glad to read the (mostly) favorable comments. This itinerary is a new one for them so I suppose we'll be guinea pigs. We're not on the very first outing, I think 3rd, so hopefully they'll work out whatever kinks there are quickly!

Other comments I've been able to find about OU online also said they'd had great trips with them but then took one where the tour director was awful. I think I read that about Spain before possibly. In any event I'm glad the one you had problems with, Tim, is no longer with them but it's surprisingly bad customer service that they never responded to your complaint.

I wonder if enough people complain to a company when they get home if they've had bad guides or hotels. Probably most just move on and chalk it up as an "I won't use that company again" experience. I would hope a company that does hear more than one or two random complaints would make changes quickly to avoid harming their reputation.

Thanks again for the comments and I'll post a few after our trip in November. There's not a whole lot on fodors about group tours - I understand most here are putting together independent trips -- but it's helpful if you are looking for info on a group tour and I trust fodors a lot more than other forums.
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Mar 23rd, 2012, 04:48 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: May 2011
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I have only heard good things about OU. When we did an OAT tour of Egypt,Jordan and the Red Sea a couple of yrs ago, several people on that tour raved about OU. I get their yearly catalog.

We are mostly FIT's and that's the beauty of traveling independently....you can choose it all. But the hundreds of hours I spend planning, is something many friends would NOT do.

What I can say is: on each "OAT package" we have taken, we HAVE met "friends for life".
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Jul 31st, 2012, 04:14 AM
  #17
 
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I have taken 4 Odysseys trips, 3 of them I consider "major."
I love the pace, the hotels and lodges, the guides. Food almost always excellent--although it got a little boring in
China. Tour companions are very compatible.
I have also traveled with OAT several times. Actual trip costs between the 2 companies are almost identical. Odysseys may seem like more, but they include many things that OAT charges extra for. I am almost ready to bookmy 5th Odysseys
trip.
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Jul 31st, 2012, 10:34 AM
  #18
 
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Thanks kittyfun! good to hear. we don't leave until November - can't wait!
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Jan 24th, 2013, 10:44 AM
  #19
 
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An update: we loved our OU Myanmar tour this past November/December.

Our guide was fabulous -- very knowledgeable, kind, and helpful. And very enthusiastic about showing us his country. The hotels OU used were top-notch. The food was all very good. Most meals were served family style and we had many dishes to choose from. The people were super friendly -- no tourist fatigue has set in yet and they all smile, wave, etc. The country itself is amazing. Being able to see it as it starts to open up to the outside -- but before McDonald's and Starbucks arrive -- was like going back in time in some ways.

Our group of 24 got along very well - there were no whiners or PIAs! Beforehand I was wondering if the average age would impact the pace of the tour (average late 60s I guess) but I don't think it did in comparison to a few other tours we've done with a younger avg age.

I would recommend OU and will travel with them again in the future.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 08:24 AM
  #20
 
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Thanks, Leslie, for your update. We had been eyeing their Myanmar tour. We took an OU tour last August of Scandinavia and found it to be an excellent tour as well as a great value. Especially when we traveled into Norway, it was very expensive. But OU put us up in 4 star, and also a 5 star hotel, which we would not have done on our own, considering the hotel price. We travel a lot independently but when we want to do a tour, we go with Odysseys Unlimited.
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