Has Anyone ever tried the Grayline Tours?

Old Jul 21st, 2004, 10:24 PM
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Has Anyone ever tried the Grayline Tours?

A friend of mine reccomended the Grayline Tours. Open bus that tours NY. You can buy a 2 day pass that gets you into quite a few sites (Statue of liberty,Empire state bldg.,museums etc...) at the same time you can use it as transportation around the city. A good way of seeing the city and at the same time getting into some of the great attractions all for the same price. Let me know what you guys think or have heard.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:51 AM
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Hi

I tried the Gray line tours recently and I was not very impressed. I only went for the one day tour of the downtown area. The guides were hard to understand, the didn't really give that much information that I hadn't already read in my guidebook and I thought it was expensive (about 35 dollars for 1 person).

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Gard
Stavanger, Norway
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:57 AM
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I, too, was disappointed. My daughter and I bought the 48-hour all-loops tour earlier this month. We hopped off the hop-on-hop-off tours a couple of times just because the guides were so bad! As Gard says, they can be hard to understand. Others spoke too little to be useful, or gave out misinformation, or were rude or just plain stupid.

SO take it for the visual part, but not the audio! Also it gets crowded in summer and if you hop off, there's not always room for you to hop on again, so for basic transportation you'd be better-off with buses and subway or even (for that money) taxis.

The tour you referred to, that includes admission to attractions, is not the same as the All-Loops tour. You might be able to get these admissions separately and cheaper. For instance, admission to the Statue of Liberty is free, but it's not even open yet; re-opens on August 3.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:27 AM
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I used to do Greyline city tours in cities that were new to me for their good overview and orientation. It has been years since New York, but the tour was great. I've also done New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco, an all-day Rocky Mountain National Park trip from Denver, and a two-week New England tour. If they are bad now, they have certainly changed. When I traveled with my young daughter, we loved them.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:33 AM
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The NYC Gray Line tours that I took this year were especially disappointing because just 2 years ago, nearly every tour guide I had was great. Many of the veterans have gone on to offering private walking tours, or to completely different careers as employment opportunities arise. Gray Line in NYC pays very badly, and many of the staff are seasonal; you're just not getting the cream of the crop. The physical condition of the buses in NYC has also deteriorated -- most of the seats on the top level needed repairs, and one bus had a sound system that nobody could understand.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:30 AM
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Ditto. I enjoyed the other companies' hop on/off buses more than Grayline. Years ago, my mom and I took a Grayline van tour at Christmas. It was called the Holiday Light tour and was a great way to see NYC all lit up for the Holidays. Did it a couple of years ago and it was horrible! I'm glad to read a reason (lower pay) for the decline, but they have indeed declined in NYC.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:54 AM
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I used them for a client last year. It was my first and LAST time. I had a client visiting NYC during New Years Eve and purchased through my agency two adult tickets and two childrens tickets for the Hop on/Hop off tour and NYC Xmas lights tour. She was to pick up her tickets at the downtown office. When she got there, they had only one adult ticket. She put me on the phone and and I spoke to a supervisor who asked me for the confirmation number, which I gave. He said I would have to deal directly with their customer service office. Imagine to my surprise that their office was closed for the holidays for TEN days. I called back to the downtown office and asked him what he was going to do for my clients and he said they could purchase the other tickets but since his confirmation from the customer service office only showed one ticket, he could not authorize more tickets without purchase. I told him there was a major problem because of the customer service office being closed. I also asked him what kind of company closes their office for ten days with NO backup for their clientele? I got a refund for my client and wrote a letter to the President of Grayline that I would never again use them for my clients because they were not a reliable company; never received a reply.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 08:07 AM
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I would only recommend doing this to first time visitors of NYC. It is extremely helpful to get your bearings and allows you to figure out what you REALLY want to see. Having said that, it can be very frustrating if you are trying to get usable information from the majority of the guides.

For those who have already been and know your way around, this may not be the thing for you.

We found that of the 3 tour guides we had, the first one we could not understand, the second one was rude and the third one was down right annoying. He talked constantly about his personal life, soap operas and nothing whatsoever about the sites. This was extremely irritating. When the bus was already a block past a major attraction, he would finally clue in and say "oh and that was such and such at the beginning ot the last block." grrrr. And he reminded us a half a dozen times to tip him, as if we didn't have a clue. We did get off this bus and spent the afternoon in Central Park rather than listening to this idiot. All the passengers on this bus were extremely irritated by about 10 minutes into the ride.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 08:35 PM
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WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
that was great advice. I will not be purchasing a ticket from Grayline tours.
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 07:29 PM
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Is it only the Hop-on Hop-off tour that is bad, or is it also the one day grayline tour of the city sights? we will be in NY for the first time and are on a very limited time frame. any advise?
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 04:44 AM
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The worst Gray Line tour guide we had was on the nighttime tour that is not hop-on-hop-off. I see no reason to expect that one type of tour would have better guides than another.
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Old Jul 28th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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Thanks to all above. Going to NYC with a bunch of girlfriends in November, we had planned to use this service. Now we will find our own way via subway etc, thanks again!
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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My family and I scheduled the two day tours with Grayline prior to reading this post for our first trip to NY and became a little leary after reading this post. Fortunately our experience with Grayline was great. We took the Uptown, Downtown and Brooklyn tours. On the uptown tour we had a hard time understanding our guide so we got off a the first stop and reboarded the next bus. After that it was fine and very informative. The Downtown tour was fabulous! Our tour guide was a third generation tour guide with a wealth of information. We road the whole tour with him just to get the info. Our Brooklyn tour guide was a native from Brooklyn so of course he too was very informative. I guess we may have lucked out but i would recommend them especially to first time visitors.
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 03:11 PM
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Happy for you, ames, Did you get the guides' names?
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 04:07 PM
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Just wanted to set everyone straight it is Gray Line Tours. Also each Gray Line Tours office is independently owned and operated. So, if you had a bad experience with one Gray Line Tour in a city, it doesn't mean that you will have a bad experience with another cities Gray Line Tour.
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 07:02 PM
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We were first time visitors to NY last summer and were planning to do the Hop-On-Hop-Off Gray Line tour to see the sights and get around as we were a little leery of the subway. A friend of my husband's, who lives in NY, advised against the tour as he said you needed to walk around Times Square and many other areas to see the sights and it was much cheaper to get a day-pass for the subway ($7.00) to get around the city. I'm glad we took his advice. We did do a lot of walking and found the subway quite easy to figure out. Even when my husband jumped on a subway car going the wrong way, people were very friendly and helpful and at the next stop a couple of people got off with us and showed us where to catch the right train. Also, it seemed to me that while we were walking around enjoying the ambiance (and even the crowds), the tour busses were stuck in traffic for quite a bit of the time.
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