Vatican Tours Icon Tours

Old Feb 16th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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Vatican Tours Icon Tours

Does anybody have any experience using Icon Tours for the Vatican. I spoke to James from Icon Tours, and they seem so nice. Any feedback?
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Old Feb 16th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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I took their Vatican tour in Sept and thought it was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable and really went in-depth about the Sistine Chapel. Some people think their groups are too big (ours was around 25 people) compared to Context Rome (usually 6 people), but the guide was very good about making sure everyone was able to hear him at each stop, and they are much cheaper than Context. Depends on what you want.
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Old Feb 16th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Thanks for the information. I spoke to someone at Icon. I didn't get the impression there would be 25 people in the tour. Hopefully not. Anyone else have an Icon Tour? Context seems very popular on this website. Not looking for a stuffy tour of the Vatican, more storytelling.
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Old Feb 16th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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I just want to say that while our guide was very informative and in-depth on the Sistine Chapel, I didn't think he was at all stuffy. There were two kids on the tour, and they thoroughly enjoyed him as well. The tour did go a lot longer than specified, which I think was 2-1/2 hours, we certainly got our money's worth.
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Old Feb 16th, 2006, 08:31 PM
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We did an Icon Tour at the Vatican in June, and I was under the impression that tours were, at most, about 15 people. However, when we arrived, there were upwards of 30 people. Our guide, Douglas, was WONDERFUL. But I did feel a bit misled about the size of the group. Our Ancient Rome tour with Icon was only 6 people, which was unusually small, but I was really not happy about the number of people on the Vatican tour. I had the impression that they were caught off-guard, but it sounds like it's not exactly a rare circumstance. I really think they should set a maximum number so that you can make an educated choice about what you're paying for.
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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We used Icon for our Ancient Rome tour last April. We were added to the tour that morning and there were only about 12 people total.

The tour lasted about 4.5 hours (only supposed to last 2.5) and our guide was awesome! I could have spent the rest of the day listening to him.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 01:11 PM
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We had a tour with Icon earlier this year and they said in email they have started to put a limits on their group sizes this year because of customer requesting this.

We were told there would be no more then 15 people, and when we got there the group was only 7 people. No complaints! I think we had a guide named Stan and it was a mix of good stories and historical information.

There was another Icon guide there with a large group of 20 people, but apparently these people did not reserve in advance. They just found Icon on the street.

Overall it was much better then what I was expecting. In total we had 3 plus hours and they advertised 2 and a half.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 01:32 PM
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I should add, you might think about taking a private tour with Icon if you dont want to deal with any others. We toured the vatican with Douglas the day before we went on the group tour of the colosseum with stan.

They charged 50. per hour for the private tour, but in hindsight we would have done fine with the cheaper group tour.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 02:36 PM
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I have been looking at Icon for one of our tours of Rome. It is my understanding that while they say the tours are small groups no more than 15, anyone can jump on the tour without a reservation if they call that day or "happen" to stop by and see the guide with the blue folder.

We use private guides in many cases and larger tour guides for some. Italy's prices seem much higher for private guides than we have experienced in other countries.

Sometimes it is more fun to just do it yourself as long as you research in advance.
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Old Feb 27th, 2006, 11:25 PM
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This was not the situation for us. When everyone showed up for the tour they were asked to give their reservation name. Many people did not have a reservation and they were sent over to the guide with the larger group.

If you send an email to them they will explain how this works. I would definitely make a reservation in advance.
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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MarySMW: that's good to know as we are looking at various guides for Rome. I will check out their website again.
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Do you tip after a tour if you were pleased with it?
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Old Mar 1st, 2006, 09:52 AM
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Tipping in Italy had us utterly confused or riddled with guilt when we listened to what relatives who'd been before had told us.

It was explained like this and both of my Italy guide books confirm. Tipping is not expected in restaurants, as they usually tack on a fee for bread and table clothes. Unless you received amazing service, then 10 percent will do. We had waiters deliver the check and they'd say, "this does not include the gratuity." However there was a charge on the bill for 8. euros for the bread and "copetra" (table cloth.) We think the waiter was just trying to get a little extra, and this only happened in the high traffic tourist areas. We left a tip anyway, just to be polite.

Taxi cabs in Rome are always happy when they get a little extra. I think we gave them 10 percent which is really nothing when the ride to our hotel was only 5. euros.

One of my France guide books from 2 years ago says tipping guides 20 percent is expected throughout Europe. We give our guides tips especially if they are good, but we saw many people in Italy simply walk away and there did not seem to be any unsavory feelings with the guide.

Have fun, I am wishing I could head back to Rome this spring.
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Old Mar 6th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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Hi. I just got back from Rome and took a Vatican Icon Tour. It was awesome, and my favorite part of my trip. We had Mike, as our guide and he was very funny and very informative. The tour was only suppose to last 2 1/2 hours, but he took us around for almost 4 hours! It was fantastic. There was about 10 of us, and it cost 25 Euro a person. Most of us liked the tour company so much that we booked the Colloseum and Forum tour for the next day and was given a 5 euro discount. I think they are a great company and a good deal.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Is there a website for the Icon tours? I'm trying to book my tours for Rome. I was going to book with the company that does the Florence original walking tours....has anyone used them for rome tours?
Joyce
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:33 PM
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www.icontours.com

I just booked with them to tour the Vatican next month. They sound great. Fair prices and the length of the tour is more geared to my attention span than most other tours I've looked into. Happy travels!
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