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Perillo Tours versus Globus

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Apr 6th, 2009, 08:46 AM
  #1
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Perillo Tours versus Globus

My brother and wife are heading to italy for the first time. They are in their early 50's and insist on doing an organized tour. Does anyone have any recent experience with either of these tours? Is one better than the other? They want to visit the main three cities (rome, venice and florence) and maybe capri. Pro's and con's of these companies?
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Apr 6th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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My experience isn't recent, but my first trip to Europe was on a Globus tour. Our tour director was fabulous, and I think that can make a difference. The quality of the hotels varied but all were four star except London. Depending on what tour they take, the hotels may or may not be close to the city centers. Again, ours varied but there WAS always transportation close by.

The food was good....not bad, not great, but very good. Again, depending on what tour, they may or may not have quite a bit of free time. We had a lot of free time on ours, should we want it. We did take some extra tours, and other days we had the afternoons to be on our own.

Tell them to read all the information CAREFULLY. Usually with Globus, site in BOLD print are places your actually visit, if just mentioned, you do a drive by. There should also be a list of what meals are provided, what hotels they will stay in (subject to change), and what optional tours are offered and their cost.

I have not taken another tour. I friend of mine took a Perillo tour of Italy a couple of years ago and liked it very much. Perillo is a higher end company than Globus, I believe, although Globus offers different tiers of touring. Cosmos is their budget arm, Globus is higher end that Cosmos, and I THINK they also offer a higher end tour, but like I say, I haven't taken another tour since my first trip.

I would check out both websites, and perhaps in this case, they might want to check with a good travel agent. They could go to a site like Trip Advisor to check out the listed hotels should they be interested. I was quite happy with the tour we took, but then admitedly, I have nothing to compare it to since it was my first and only.
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Apr 6th, 2009, 10:05 AM
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I have no personal experience with either. Friends of my parents took a Perillo tour (forced to by relatives they were traveling with).

They hated it. Said hotels were mediocre quality and located at the end of hell and gone (the "Venice" hotel was in Mestre). Food was poor (americanized fake italian)- and after the first dinner they always went to eat on their own (at price of additional dinner and taxis to and fro restauants). Too many very early starts, too much time "shopping" for junk nobody wants. too much time sitting on a bus and not enough time actually seein/dong things.

These are seniors who sometimes travel on tours and sometimes independently. But when they do tours they do Tauck or similar. Their take: you get what you pay for - if you're lucky.

If they do a tour they need to read the brochure carefully - as in each comma. Typically "visit" means you go inside - but sometimes not for long, "stop" means a 5 minute photo op in front of someting and "view" means you see it out the bus window.
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Apr 6th, 2009, 10:22 AM
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I have taken a few Insight tours. I like that I leave the driving to the tour company. I have never been to Italy with Insight but I believe a lot of their tours stay in Venice instead of Mestre. In France the food was very good and also in Turkey and Spain. I have read some complaints about the food in Italy. There is a Bulletin Board for either Insight or Trafalgar tours both owned by the same company. Insight is slightly upscale compared to Trafalgar. I have heard some people prefer Insight to Globus, I like Insight because I am tall and they have fewer seats in their busses, hence more legroom.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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Perillo tours are the higher end tour staying in 5 plus star hotels, wine at every dinner etc. They do Italy and Israel. They have a great rate for Israel this year. Never took a Globus tour but if necessary I would do Perillo again.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 02:25 PM
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I have never used these tour companies, but if they want an organized tour, I recommend Tauck. I have taken 5 tours to various parts of Europe with them since 1999 and am going to Greece with them in September. (As a solo female traveller who doesn't travel light and likes 5-star hotels, a tour is a good option for me. Nevertheless, I thoroughly research my trips, and once I am in a city/town/site I frequently go off and explore on my own).

I have taken 2 tours to Italy with Tauck: 1) a 10-day tour that visits Milan, Lake Como, Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, etc.; and 2) a 14-day tour that visits Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Orvieto, Assisi, San Gimignano, the Cinque Terre, Florence & Venice. It's unlikely you will find a tour that visits the "big 3" plus Capri. Tauck does have a 7-day tour that goes only to Rome and the Amalfi Coast that includes a 2-night stay on Capri. That tour, presumably, could be combined with another one.

The groups are fairly small and every tour director I've had has been wonderful. Tauck stays at 5-star hotels in central locations (e.g. Grande Bretagne in Athens, Bristol in Vienna, Excelsior in Florence, Excelsior in Rome, Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Westin Grand in Berlin, Europa & Regina in Venice, Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg). Lavish buffet breakfast are included every day -- a plus when you want to spend free time sightseeing and not waiting for food. Many lunches and most dinners are also included; these meals are usually a la carte.

Tell your brother and his wife to check them out before booking with anyone else.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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A couple in their 60s I know personally took a Globus tour that focused on Venice, Florence and Rome and hated every minute of it -- most of all the "day trip" to Venice from Firenze by bus, but they also hated every hotel and every pre-planned meal they ate.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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OOOOOPS! Sorry.

I meant to type above that they took a PERILLO tour and hated it. It wasn't a Globus tour. My apologies to Globus, which I know nothing about.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 06:55 PM
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Perillo is definitely NOT an upscale tour company. They are distinctly in the moderate range - and at times their definition of "moderate" can be unsatisfactory to some people.

If the OPS relatives really want to do a tour they need to see what hotels are listed (realizing the tour company can change this at will) and check them out on tripadvisor.com for opinions - and a city map for location. I think you will find most hotels are modern chains out by the highway - rather than center city - and moderate at best.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 07:13 PM
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Gia, if expense is no object, I would choose Tauck. Otherwise, I would look into Insight over Globus. I have not traveled with Perillo.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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I have not personally taken a tour myself, but I do have a friend that took a Trafalgar tour to Italy. While she liked the actual tour because she got to see a lot if Italy in a relatively short period of time (~10 days), and didn't have to do any driving, she had two complaints.

There was a very wide range of ages in their group. For some this may not be an issue, but for others, being on a tour with people 60 years older or younger than you may not be your cup of tea. Your brother and his wife may end up on a tour with a group of 80 year olds or 20 something college students with very different personalities.

The biggest complaint she had was that she had to be up and out the door every single day by 5:30 or 6 AM, which isn't always everyone's idea of a vacation.

Either way, I hope they enjoy their trip. We will be heading to Italy in 4 weeks. We had originally considered taking one of those tours because we were worried about the language barrier and how to get around, but in our planning we have found everything to be very easy. The Italian people seem to be very kind and very willing to help. And although I can't speak to this personally because I haven't been there yet, the train system is SUPPOSED to be very easy to use.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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I took my adult niece on a Globus tour called, I think, Treasures of Italy. It included Rome, Florence, Venice, some Tuscan hill towns, and Assissi. We really enjoyed it, and the only hotel not centrally located was in Florence. Some people who were tired and elected not to go along with the group in the evening were disappointed with that hotel, but we were well satisfied with the trip. The hotel in Venice was quite close to St. Mark's Square, and in Rome we were within walking distance of St. Peter's Square.
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Apr 8th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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The location of Globus hotels will depend on the tour. We were never out the door at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. We took off around 8 or 9 the days we were traveling. We had only 1, one nighter on our trip. Everywhere else was two or three nights per city. Again, it depends on the tour. Our tour director called the "each night a different hotel or city" a "pajama tour" and she loved doing them. I told her she was nuts. LOL
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Apr 14th, 2009, 08:36 AM
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gia611,

What did your brother and his wife decide?
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Apr 14th, 2009, 09:14 AM
  #15
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I haven't gone myself, but a friend was telling me just last weekend that she went on a Perillo tour and absolutely loved it. She said the hotels were in the middle of everything and when she researched it against another tour company (I forget which one now), she heard Perillo's hotels were always in the best location.
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Apr 18th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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Hi Gia, I'm Steve Perillo, the owner of Perillo Tours. I must say that some of the comments on this board are accurate and others are not. For instance, NYTRAVELER is mistaken about Perillo Tours staying in Mestre instead of Venice proper. This is exactly what differentiates us from Globus and other less expensive tour companies. We ONLY stay in Venice proper, usually within a 5 minute walk of St. Marks Square. And believe me, Venice is NOT cheap!

Listen, there's no magic or mystery about tours. About 20% of the hotels in any given Italian city can even accommodate tour groups and all the American tour operators work with them. We all get about the same rates from these hotels and we all mark our tours up about 25%. 10% for travel agents and 15% for for the tour operator. So now you know exactly what's going on! You know more than 99% of all travelers.

If you can afford Tauck - great! They stay strictly in 5 Star Deluxe hotels. And that difference is usually about $2000 more per person than Perillo for a 10 -14 day tour.

Meanwhile, Globus can be cheaper by staying a bit out of town, but not always. Again, Mestre is a way of saving a lot of money. Also, they do not include dinner every night, nor do they include wine with dinners.

Also, Italians normally eat a small pasta dish with VERY light sauce, followed by a thin slice of veal with baked potatoes on the side for dinner. This is modern Italian cuisine. But it's not necessarily what Americans think of as Italian food. The American version is so much heavier. I'm sure the famed veal or chicken parmesan exists somewhere in Italy - but I've never encountered it!. Nor those huge, sloppy bowls of spaghetti and meatballs that we love so much. It's like the difference between Chinese food in China vs. America.

My point is that Globus is a good choice, however you must understand, you'll end up paying about the same amount in the end for so called 'optional activities' that you pay for during the tour - dinners out and extra sightseeing that is not included in the base price.

Also, on any given Globus bus you'll have folks from England, Australia, Phillipines and Canada. There's nothing wrong with that, but you should know.

The bottom line is your budget. Most people can't afford Tauck. Then Perillo is a good choice. If you can't afford us, Globus is a good choice. Or you can put together a trip on your own at our www.ItalyVacations.com. (We can help you along the way!)

Really though, the 'magic' on a tour is the tour guide, the group dynamics, the dining experiences and the weather. But above all the tour guide. We put a lot of energy into finding the best guides. They are fun and informative in their own right, but they also meld the group into a family - and that perfectly describes what we try to do on each tour. We don't always succeed - but that's what we strive for. It's the exact opposite of an assembly- line experience.

I'm available to you anytime, anywhere, to help with your trip. I'd like you to travel with us, but honestly, the most important thing is that you have a great time and that you get fair value or your money.

Thanks for listening and buon viaggio! - Steve Perillo - 800-431-1515
[email protected]
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Apr 18th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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sperillo -

I'm not suggesting that hotels and food in Italy aren't different form those in the US - they are. In my experience - 70+ trips to europe between business and vacations - I have found the most european hotels are a star lower than they would be in the US. the 5*Deluxe palace style hotels are as good as any on the world. But many that are rated 4* in europe would be 3* in the US.

And it's certainly true that you get what you pay for - you really can;t expect Four Seasons of Mandarin Oriental style hotels for moderate prices.

And sorry - but my parents friends were very specific about being stuck in a hotel in Mestre versus Venice. It wasn;t the hotel listed in the brochure and I'm not sure why the change was necessary - but they didn;t find out until the day before they got to Venice.

And granted they are used to Tauck tours - with 5* hotels and restaurant meals versus hotel ones. (Even on Tauck they often organized their own meals since they are real foodies, and only stated taking some tours when they hit their 70's for convenience.) But for people who don;t want to spend that much - other tours are obviously an acceptable choice.)

And I must admit I'm prejudiced against tours - I like to make my own hours, have no patience with people who dither, don;t want to get up at 7 am on vacation, or have limited menu choices - or not be able to do exactly what I want when. I've taken tours only twice, once when I had no choice to Russia, and once a "package" to London, Amsterdam and Paris - which was free - and drove me to distraction. The second day we told the hostess just to assume we wouldn't do anything with the group except catch the group bus to the airport. (She had tried to tell us we could go to Stratford only the one day she was selling - and we were going to see the Derby run that day. She was not happy when we explained to other tour members that there were many tours companies and you could use them - or trains - to go wherever you wanted on any of the 6 days we had in London.)
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Apr 18th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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Sperillo (Steve),

I was glad to see you weigh on this topic and correct some misconceptions about tours. Since I am kind of a meandering traveler (sometimes going someplace intending to stay a day or two and end up staying a week or more), my DH & I usually go on our own. However, I've taken tours to Italy, France & Spain and also traveled independently to those countries. Some of the complaints/comments I read over & over about tours are from people who have not traveled on tours, and have heard only the opinion of one or two friends who have limited experience. They lump all the tours together and assume one thing to be true of all tours.

My experience was similar to Crefloors.
Only one time did I ever have to be out the door by 5:30. That was to catch a flight. It was generally 8:00 if we were traveling to a site, or 9:00 if we were already in a city and taking a tour.

On all the tours, sometimes we stayed right in the center of things, sometimes further out. On one tour the food was consistently great. On another, no so much (a much cheaper tour and I spent what I saved on the tour to buy what I wanted, so it worked out about the same and I knew that going in).

Never did I have a tour leader get mad if I decided to part company with the group for the day. As a matter of fact, they were usually helpful with any advice I needed for what I wanted to do.

Many tours are geared to specific age groups. Just ask the company. You have a choice.

Now, the star ratings. People still confuse US star ratings with those of other countries. They are different even within groups of countries in Europe, with Italy having it's own system.

In Italy, the stars have little to do with style, charm, etc. They are based on amenities (elevator or pool, for example) and services provided (how many times a week sheets are changed, whether they speak more than one language, etc.). Recently, Italy initiated a new set of standards for their star system. Here is one web site describing it:
http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=3901
I hope I put this in correctly. If not, just Google Hotel star rating systems in Italy. For other information about the hotel you may be considering, you will have to go to other review forums.

Tours obviously have limitations, time restrictions, etc., are not for everyone, certainly not for most posters here on Fodor's. However, even within the same company, a variety of tours and options are often offered, so someone who wants longer stays in one place with more free time can choose a leisure tour. Someone who wants a whirlwind experience can have that. They just need to determine what they want, then do some research and pick the right tour - for them.

Most folks can easily plan their own trips. However, for those who don't want to, rather than making blanket negative statements about tours, perhaps we can educate them a bit in evaluating the experiences different tours might offer them.
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Apr 19th, 2009, 12:58 PM
  #19
 
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Hi NyTraveler and Sassafrass! Thanks for writing back.

Listen, it's Sunday and I just made my famous Tortellini with Pancetta and San Marzano canned tomatoes (yep, they're usually better than most fresh tomatoes!)

And best of all, the Yankees are winning! All this excitement, and 2 goblets of wine have made it impossible for me to address all your points on this glorious Spring afternoon.

But I promise to get back to you this week. It's a lot of fun talking to everyone on this board. I learn so much from all of you. A presto!
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Apr 19th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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We had dinner every night on my Globus tour AND wine. Now, that was in 1999 and things can change, so my information is not "up to date". We did stay in Maestre when in Venice and that was a disappointment but our hotel was right across from the train station. Sadly our Venice visit was short and I'm dying to get back there for a longer stay..just hasn't happened yet, but when we toured in the morning, we all had the option of either going back to the hotel for the afternoon or staying in the city and then meeting everyone for dinner. If you didn't want to do dinner and wanted to dine on your own, they told everyone where the bus would be and what time so that at the end of the evening everyone could get the bus back to the hotel.

You really have to research the type of tour you want. The tour I was on was called a "leisure tour", and as said, with one exception we were two and three nights in each city. We toured in the morning and then in the afternoon you could take an optional tour or have the time on your own and then meet for dinner with the group....or not. Your meals were paid for, so most times everyone met for dinner, but not always.

As far as liking the tour, I liked it a lot, it worked for me for a first time visit, and felt I got my money's worth for sure and our tour director was terrific. There were two couples that complained and complained AND complained about everything. There was absolutely nothing about anything that pleased them. It made for some fun conversation amongst the rest of us.
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