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Italian Espresso Disaster
- 16 responses so far
I am so sorry for the terrible vacation!
I am currently looking at a few of the Contiki trips. I am torn between the Trafalgar and the Contiki trips. As for Contiki I am looking at the Simply Italy tour.
I am a little hesitant because my husband doesn’t want to be ‘stuck’ with younger rowdy people…nor people like what you mentioned. He rather spend a few extra hundred dollars to avoid things like this.
What age group was your tour group?
I am 28 and my husband is 34. We have busy jobs and only can manage to take 17 days off for our vacation as well…. and this 13 day tour is perfect..in addition to us staying a few extra days and doing things by ourselves.
Were most of the hotels dismal? I really love to indulge in nice hotels with good linens… but from what I have heard from different reviews..the hotels were slightly dismal and farther from the sites than planned?
Aside from your tour guide..how do you rate the rest of your experience?
Was the bus ride a drag? Did they only stop at gas station type places then?
That sounds very disappointing. And I really need to research my deicsion very carefully!
Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if possible. I would like to know more.
I was on this tour with this couple. My then boyfriend had booked the tour for us for him to be able to propose to me in Italy. EVERYTHING that the she mentions is true word for word and our stay was mostly HORRID. We will have to spend another $5k to go back to Italy one day and get a proper experience. On top of that we had a huge flying cockroach in our hotel room, we encountered prostitutes next to our Florence hotel, and didn’t get any hot water. I wish that my trip wasn’t wasted on coach rides when the train is so much faster and not as expensive as contiki makes it out to be. In a way I blame contiki for the problems we came across because it is their responsibility to make sure that we are well taken care of in a country we have no knowledge of. Besides the proposal the trip was a waste of our money and time and an utter disappointment. I am only glad of the friends that we made on the trip and will travel to Europe again but never with Contiki.
Hi original poster,
I’m Kate from the Contki web team.
First off, I am so sorry to hear about your negative experience with Contiki and your unprofessional tour manager. The behaviors and situations you have described are unacceptable and completely uncharacteristic of what a Contiki tour and tour manager should be. I definitely understand your dissatisfaction, and I have forwarded this issue to our Europe Operations Manager to investigate on your behalf.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention so that we can address these issues and ensure that Contiki only offers the best to our clients.
Although I don’t work for Contiki, I’m really, really sorry to hear about your experience. That does sound horrendous but, fortunately, UNLIKE any tour I have done in the past.
Unfortunately, your TM has clearly ruined what should have been a most amazing holiday for you and probably put you off Contiki for life.
The things you state he was doing are definitely unacceptable and you have a right to be concerned and angry.
I will forward this email to the couple of people I know who work for Contiki and hopefully it will make it to someone who can respond directly to you and investigate your claims further.
Please rest assured though that I have never heard of another TM being so bad and disrespectful on a contiki tour and I hope you don’t hold your experience against all other TMs and tours.
EDIT: Reposted after an accidental delete! LOL!
Original Poster – You have my sincerest condolences — if that happens on my trip – on your behalf I will convince the bus to mutiny and demand a refund. Everything you have said is completely unacceptable to any professional person, and it really is the reason we take these trips, so we can be safe, informed and enjoy ourselves.
I hope Contiki does the right thing by everyone on your tour. Keep us posted – I’d very much like to know what happens next.
Hey, I am sorry to hear your experience, but I hope people realize that that should not have happened. I did the Simply Italy tour in April and had an amazing time, our tour manager although not really social definatly knew her stuff, and we were never stuck on the bus that long. Our tour manager definatly got times right and her information. We really got a chance to see the sites and she recommended sites to us as well, stuff that are not the most popular sites but definantly worth it to see. Also whenever there was a problem on the trip she generally did a really good job to try to fix it as fast as she could.
Another thing to realize is that because the tours are so much cheaper than others you do not stay in the center of the cities and that is clearly stated in a lot of the information that they give you especially these forums. Also there is a list on this website of the hotels that they use for each tour. And hotel standards are not the same as North America, however even saying that our hotels throughout the trip were really great and there were no complaints.
Again I am sorry to hear of your horrible experience, but I do think that that is rare, I would definatly recommend the Simpy Italy tour to anyone as you are spending more days and you stay longer in places and get to see more which maybe makes all the difference when comparing these two trips.
Wow, that is terrible. It’s unfortunate because the Italian Espresso tour is one of the most popular so it shocks me (as well as all other contikiers!) to hear about your experience.
OMG…this trip sounded awful! I am doing the Italian Espresso in June. It will be my second tour with Contiki. Back in October, I went on the Berlin, Prague, & Vienna tour. I had an amazing tour. I definitely think your tour manager ruined it for you…Cam was my tour manager and he was awesome…knew his history. We had to make the mandatory stops on the road, but we got 10 – 15 min max! As far as the hotels are concerned, they weren’t what I was used to, but they weren’t that bad either.
I really feel I have to stick up for Cristian here.
I was on the Italian Espresso over New Year just gone, with Cristian as our tour manager and cannot praise him enough. He made the tour even better than it already was and was a fantastic tour manager. His knowledge was fantastic, he was a real laugh, someone you could talk to and couldn’t do enough for you to make the holiday as great as it could be. All of us on the tour had exactly the same opinion as well.
Yeah the bus journeys to Venice and Florence were long and the hotels left a lot to be desired (Holiday Inn Express in Venice was as good as it got!), but in my opinion you get out of it what you put into it. I had an amazing time despite the rotten hotels and bus journeys, but the journey times were communicated to us the day before, so we were prepared what to expect, and you do see some absolutely amazing scenerey along the way too and can sleep, so it’s not all that bad!
I found Cristian’s knowledge second to none, he made time for every single person on the tour, always answered any questions we had about where we were visiting, historical sites, where to eat, etc and as for the point of him speaking broken English, he speaks better English than me and I AM English!
I was absolutely shocked to read this about Cristian as nothing written here, I feel, is a true reflection of how he was on our tour. I’d love to have him as TM on any other tour that I do!
your holiday really sucked and i’m so sorry to hear that. i was looking up some contiki trips and this very trip was one i was considering but in winter as it’s a bit cheaper. i hope that you get a satisfacory response from contiki and would be interested in any updates.
I am sorry to hear your experience. I just took this tour in April. Our Tour Manager was Emma. She was an absolute darling. She was so interetsed in what she was doing and was so forth comiong with information. We all absolutely loved her. She was the only reason I liked this trip. Apart from that the included meals were terrible and any optionals were also pathetic. Thank God, i had taken another Contiki before this one. So i knew taht COntiki optionals suck. And I opted out of most of it. I just took 2 optionals.
1) THe Roman Forum guided tour- This was extremely pathetic. The Forum in Rome takes about 2-3 hours each to cover and has so many temples and stutures in there. But our tour guide was really old and lazy. I wish Emma would have done this tour for us instead of paying this old Italian lady who could harldy walk. She did the forum, colloseum everything in almost 2 hour time. It was a disaster. I would have prefered taking my own audio tour. I would have got more information and would have njoyed it.
2) The Tuscan dinner wasnt worth the price at all. It was regular Italian meal Not worth 38EU. Ofcourse the ride to the restaurant was nice and pretty. BUt I dont think its worth the price Contiki charged.
3) Gondola ride in Venice is a must must NO to anyone who wasnt to do Gondola ride in VEnice. Please do not take the one the COntiki offers. you can bargain and get better deals by yourself. 21EU is absolutely worthless. The driver doesnt speak English, he doesnt sign or anything. He is indiffernt to you. We took another Gondola ride by ourselves and we paid like 10EU and the driver was so sweet. He sang for us. Showed us differnt historical stites and was nice.
4) THe Venice Cruise dinner I heard from people was terrible. I am glad I did not do this. It was said that the view was ok. But for the view you can take any cruise on your own for like 20EU and you dont need to pay 48EU and go for a dinner cruise where the food is crap and terrible.
We arrived in Florence around 4:30pm. We should have gotten a walking tour then since we dont have a lot of time in Florence city adn there is a lot to see. THere are 3 wonderful museums, Palace PItti and Doumo and lots of shopping oppurtunity. Instead the walking tour was organized right in the middle of the day at 11am. This was absolute diaster as we could not see the important stuff in Florence. If we had gotten teh walking tour the night we arrived, we would know where we need to go the next day and target to see maximum.
Emma was very nice in arranging the tickets for the museums. Since it was cultural week in Italy, everything was free but the line was terrible. Emma got us line-skipping tickets for the face value of 4EU. This helped most of us to atleast do the museums.
Contiki tour should be more into including several sites and doing more walking tours with more information for the price paid. For what we paid, its way too much. The hotels were not very great and the included breakfasts were terrible. Dinners were terrible. Transportation was ok.
You will have to extensively research about the places you are visiting before you go on contiki since you have to be prepared to explore on your own.
Again the only advantage is making friends. Else I dont think I would recommen contiki to anyone.
I was in the same tour as the woman above.
I agree, the optionals are a total waste of money. Although, the Tuscan dinner was a lot of fun due to the company. But – you can take off for some GOOD dinner and have fun on your own with the friends you’ve made on the tour.
DO NOT go on the Lagoon Dinner in Venice. One of the courses is boiled chicken breast in salted water. Every course was barely edible, and we were all hungry afterward.
DO NOT go through Contiki for the gondola ride. They totally rip you off.
DO NOT go on the optional Forum/ Colleseum guided tour. You can rent some headsets and get a more informative experience.
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