European Highlights 2008
26 Sep 2008
I went on the Contiki European Highlights tour in May 2008. We stayed at a campsite in Paris, and after the first day I returned to the campsite to find that my roommates had not returned. They had the keys and I was told by the campsite representative that the second set had been lost and the staff had failed to replace them. The representative let me into the cabin using the master key and told me that if my roommates did not return later that evening to come and find a company representative to open the door.<BR><BR>When I returned that night my roommates had not returned. When I went to find a representative I searched the campsite, even for a bus driver, and could not find a Contiki staff member anywhere. I went to the campsite bar and found a security guard and barman who told me that all of the staff were in Paris drinking and they ridiculed me and told me I should sleep on the floor of a friend’s cabin.<BR><BR>I approached the French security guard at the front gate, who I spoke to in French, and told of my situation. This man was very rude, and he informed me that he had no keys or contact numbers for any of the staff, that there were no staff present on-site and then told me to mind my step on the way out. <BR><BR>As a result I was left alone outside in the pouring rain and cold while I waited from someone from Contiki to show up. Eventually I found a bus driver, who made numerous phone calls to try and contact Contiki staff, and eventually, because he could not find a master key, he had no choice but to jimmy the lock to let me in. Nobody from the Contiki staff ever came to see if I was alright or apologise for my treatment. <BR><BR>I find the attitude of the staff inadequate, and was disgusted that my first night in a foreign country ended up with me waiting alone outside unaccompanied in the rain and cold. I believe that there should be a Contiki representative on-site at all times when there are people who have paid good money on the campsites. Also, better procedures should be in place for contacting the appropriate representatives.<BR><BR>As it was I was so angry and upset that I nearly left the tour. I would never have believed that a company would act so irresponsibly towards its clients. While numerous excuses were made for the quality of the tour and facilities based on it being a “budget” tour, I find it inexcusable to think that visitors’ safety, particularly women, should be put at risk in such a fashion.<BR><BR>I think that Contiki should realise the importance of treating clients with respect and accepting responsibility for the unprofessional attitudes and practices of Contiki staff and their affiliates. I believe this is unacceptable practice for an internationally-known company.