09 Jun 2012 - 18 Jun 2012
This tour was great! As first-time travellers we didn't know what to expect, but there was an excellent amount of free time. The tour guide Ben was very friendly and knowledgeable and made sure that everyone in the group felt included.
London is a whirlwind of excitement, we got there a few days earlier to explore the Portobello Road market, London Dungeon and the Sherlock Holmes museum. The day trip to Bath & Stonehenge is a bit slow but worth it if you are interested in Roman history or are interested in Paganism.
A strange man was in the paddock near Stonehenge and kept shouting at the tour group. Don't look at him and he won't say anything.
I recommend you do the bike tour in Paris, it's scary but worth it! I felt that too much time spent in Paris was focussed on the Eiffel Tower, and once you've seen it there isn't much else to do. On the first day you'll drive around it, then the second day you'll go up it, then the third day you'll have it as the backdrop for the boat cruise. Oh, and take the underground entry to the Louvre - no line at all (we went in June).
Our tour friends took the Amsterdam extension, and my partner and I were the only ones going to Rome. Unfortunately, once you get to Rome the tour seems to end - you are left on your own with a met card to see the sights. I would have liked a tour guide to help us find the monuments - even a short bus tour would have helped orient us.
Overall this tour was a fantastic experience. I made some great friends and had a lot of laughs, made a lot of memories and I don't regret a thing.
(well, maybe drinking a little too much and causing friends to miss their train....)
Review written May 2014event 0.3
24 May 2013 - 03 Jun 2013
I took this tour at the end of May. I wish someone had warned me not to and told me how disorganized Contiki tours were or how rude the people working for them are!
When I arrived in London the morning my travel documents stated that I would be staying at the Imperial Hotel in Russell square. However after paying a taxi to get me there when I went to check in I was told that I was moved to the Royal National Hotel. No explanation provided was just told to go there. After waiting in another long like to check in, the Royal National tells me I should be checking into the Contiki Basement. At the C.B I tried to inquire and possibly check in early (I had made this request when booking and was told they would try to accommodate it) the girl at the desk told me that she would not speak to me until 2pm. No explanation to the hotel change, no courtesy whatsoever. Finally at 2pm (4 hours after I got there), they acknowledge my presence and check my in. They gave me a drink voucher for the inconvenience and and a free breakfast for my extra day.
However when I tried to redeem the drink voucher that night I was told by hotel staff that they had never seen it before and didn’t know where I could redeem it. After traveling over 7 hours to get to London and getting the run around for at least 3 hours by Contiki staff I was in no mood to find this free drink.
I tried to use the breakfast voucher the next morning and was told that I had to pay $5 if I wanted the English breakfast, so I settled for the continental breakfast. When I joined the group the next day I was told my card needed a stamp which said ‘English Breakfast’ that others on my tour had but I did not.
The bathroom ceiling in my room was full of mold. This above all else is a sanitary health concern. When I told my tour manager her response was that this is London standards. I have friends in London who visited me in my room and assured me that this was not London standards.
The first night of the tour we went on a ‘walking tour’ off London. Which may not have been the smartest idea after a long day especially since this was the night that London was hosting the soccer final of two German teams. The streets were packed to say the very least. Halfway through the tour the group was split up when a large group exited a pub splitting the group up. We didn’t have a chance or hope to find the group. A few of us stuck together with the hopes of at least finding our hotel, which we did hours after walking around looking for the way back. Our tour manager was not clear about what our next stop was so it was impossible for us to try to find the group. When I let her know the next day she claimed she waited. When I reconnected with the group the next day the few that were able to stick with her informed me that she did not wait for us and she had just made a comment about how we must have decided to split off and kept walking.
The other big blunder we felt was when we arrived in the airport in Rome. I understand that the Rome portion of the trip is unguided. However in all travel documents and what we were told when we left Paros was that a Contiki representative would meet us at the airport and would be holding a Contiki sign. After a half hour of waiting patiently reading all the signs that didn’t say Contiki we decided to split up and figure out where the representative was. After what was at least another half hour we reconvened to learn that a few people from our tour called the hotel (paying for long distance charges) and were told that the tour guide was not meeting us at the hotel and instead we should look for a Contiki bus that was picking us up. Another group of people found the driver who was driving an unmarked van and said he was our driver and also informed them that the Contiki representative was meeting us at the hotel not the airport. I can assure you if I wasn’t with a group of people I would not have gotten into an unmarked car in a foreign country! We finally get to our hotel and meet the representative who gives us our metro/bus/subway passes. When any of us asked him a question like where is a good place to eat his answers were vague or often “I don’t know”. He said he could only talk/answer questions for a few minutes as we were late (like this was our fault) and he had somewhere else to be by this time.
My stay in Rome was the best part of my trip. I no longer had ties to Contiki and could rest assured that nothing else would go terribly wrong. By this time I had made friends and spent time with them in Rome seeing the sites without the stress of Contiki.
I emailed my concerns to Contiki and received a letter about a month later. They ‘regret’ the things that happened and offered a less than satisfactory 5% off my next tour. I hope I have made it clear that I will NEVER be travelling with Contiki again and hope that I can save someone from making the mistake that I did. The only way I would even consider another Contiki tour is if they were offering me one for free. And even then I’d have to think if it was worth my time. The least they could have done was offer me a percentage off the tour I already paid for as I did not get my money’s worth!!!
Review written Aug 2013event 0.3
16 Mar 2013 - 25 Mar 2013
This was the best holiday ever! Met so many lovely people on this trip and had great tour manager and driver who helped out with au problems.
There was lots of free time for things we wanted to do by ourselves. Do the extras on this trip they are definitely worth it and get the group photo!!! We had so much fun on this trip with lots of things to do! The hotels were all beautiful.
Travelling to rome without a tour manager was I little daunting but our group all stuck together and we got there fine! Our local guide in Rome did barlely anything and couldn't even recommend a good restaurant but the reception at our hotel was very helpful with anything that we needed.
Overall amazing tour and would definitely recommend to anyone!!!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
17 Aug 2012 - 27 Aug 2012
I went on this tour in August 2012. It was the best time ever, made tons of friends and I am still sorting through pictures.
You have to know that if you can, book more time before and after in the cities you are visiting. There is not enough time to see everything. But this is a great tour to get to see and experience the basics and then you can plan where and when to come back.
I booked the London Explorer before, so I ended up with 5 days in London, which was great and gave me plenty of time to do a lot. Paris was the only disapointment, as if you do the optionals (which are so worth it, Moulin Rouge and the Bike Tour which was THE favoritest moment on the tour) you are running a bit short on time, especially with the included Palace de Versailles visit.
I picked the + Rome option, so I feel like I did not have enough time in Paris, but for a first time, I did get to see a lot. I also booked an extra night in Rome, which allowed me to get off the touristy path and take a morning off to a beach outside the city. Totally worth it!!!
Contikis are fast paced but well organized and you do experience travelling in a completely different way, but its so worth it. Yes, the hotels aren't always the best and the included food sometimes is just ordinary, but those are just minor details in exchange for all the breathtaking moments Contiki will give you a chance to experience!!!
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
23 Jun 2012 - 02 Jul 2012
I just got back from my contiki holiday about a month ago, and I have to say, if you're thinking of doing a contiki tour, especially this one, DO IT! It's the most fun you will ever have. You'll meet heaps of new people from different places, and do as many of the optionals as you can, you'll see so much and do so much that you normally wouldn't get to do. The tour manager gave us tips on where to get tickets for sites and how to avoid the long lines, and the bus driver on my tour had the best bus driving skills I've ever seen! It's so true what they say, you'll have so much fun and the memories will stick with you forever!
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
14 Jul 2012 - 23 Jul 2012
I have recently returned to Australia from the 10 day London, Paris plus Rome tour and I have nothing but positive feedback! The tour was fantastic - we got to see so many sights in a short period of time. We also had 3 nights in each of the cities so we didn't feel too rushed and we had plenty of free time in each city to explore by ourselves. It was really great to have the last 3 days in Rome unescorted - it meant that we could relax and explore the city at our own pace.
We had a fantastic tour manager (Thanks, Alex!) and it really made a big difference. I would definitely recommend getting involved in all of the optional activities - the day-trip to Stonehenge and Bath and the night at the Moulin Rouge in particular! I would also recommend arriving in London a few days early if you are able to - I did and was able to see a lot of extra sights and recover from the jet lag before the tour started.
Overall I was super impressed by this tour. It was my first time in Europe and my first Contiki tour and I have to say that it was even better than I expected it would be. Being a part of the tour meant that we skipped the lines at places such as Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower and we had an incredible guide who filled us in on the history of all the places we saw and visited. Ideally, it would have been great to have more time in each of the cities (because there is just so much to see!) but we were able to fit a lot into the time we had. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone travelling to these cities for the first time - I can't wait to start planning my next trip!
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
11 May 2012 - 21 May 2012
I honestly had the time of my life on this tour. I got to see the most beautiful sights and met some great friends along the way. Even though I was nervous about it at first, going solo was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Our tour manager (Hugh) and bus driver (Flash) made the trip even better than I had expected - Hugh was always full of random facts about the places we visited, so I learned a lot, plus he was so much fun! My favorite part of the tour was going to Moulin Rogue in Paris; it was awesome and totally worth the money. There's a great bar next to it called O'Sullivan's which was pretty much the best bar I've ever been to. The hotels we stayed in had everything I needed and were all in good locations. I loved how we did plenty of things as a group, but we also had time to ourselves to do our own activities. There are just so many things to do in each city, it didn't feel like nearly enough time - I'm already planning my next Contiki! The only regret I have is not opening up to my tour mates sooner. The trip was so short and I waited way too long to start making friends, so before I knew it, I was saying bye to them! I can't wait to do my next tour... the experience was priceless. I'd absolutely recommend Contiki to everyone.
Review written May 2012event 0.3
04 May 2012 - 14 May 2012
I had an amazing time on this trip! Our tour manager Chris and coach driver Raf were an awesome pair and SO much fun! They definitely made the trip so entertaining and fun. I loved how we were able to spend at least 3 days in each city which gave us ample time to see all of the sites with free time to spare! The hotels in each city were great, nothing extravagant but all were central and easy to find. I met amazing people and I was so sad to see them go, but we all added each other on Facebook and are keeping in touch.
Overall this trip was AMAZING. I had such a great time, with great food, great people and awesome memories. Thanks Contiki!
Review written May 2012event 0.3
25 Feb 2012 - 05 Mar 2012
Great Trip! Tour guide Petula was awesome and always so upbeat.
Got back from this trip a week and a half ago.
I'm not one for musicals but I loved the West End show we went to see, Chicago, at Garrick Theatre!
Good trip but felt extremely rushed in Paris. Better time management was needed in Paris or we'd be left in the lurch to find our own way back from the city to the hotel as the bus driver (seriously grumpy man) wouldn't even wait 1 min to see if anyone else was on their way.
Love the Group Photo @ the Eiffel Tower, well worth the extra Euros.
Moulin Rouge was great, once in a life time experience.
My documents from Contiki all said we'd be taking an overnight train from Paris-through Switzerland-to Rome but we ended up flying to Rome.
Had a great time in Rome and was more relaxed as we didn't have a tour guide rushing us but the woman that was supposed to meet us at the hotel didn't want anything to do with us and couldn't wait to leave!
Other than that, the weather was great, the buildings were beautifully painted, gelato was yum, Trevi Fountain was beautiful, making our way to the Colosseum was so much fun!
Review written Mar 2012event 0.3
17 Jun 2011 - 27 Jun 2011
My husband and I went on this trip for our Honeymoon and it was amazing. We got the chance to experience all the greatest spots London, Stonehenge, Bath, Paris, and Rome had to offer. We made lasting friends we still talk to monthly. It was the best way to tour overseas! I can't wait for our next big adventure!
Review written Nov 2011event 0.3
15 Jul 2011 - 25 Jul 2011
I recently completed the London, Paris + Rome tour, during July 15-25, 2011. Sorry to say, I was extremely unhappy and unsatisfied with my experience. I feel it was a complete waste of money. Let me begin by saying that the number one issue was the Tour Manager, [name removed]. He single-handedly ruined the Contiki experience for my husband and I for many reasons and should be terminated. At every city, he provided the least amount of information regarding the tour itinerary, meeting times, places etc., which was extremely confusing; we never knew the schedule. ALSO, he never gave us a history of the places we visited. The tour bus was silent most of the trip, and we were screaming questions about the places we were visiting and he ignored us (I have this on video). The sightseeing tour of London lasted 10 minutes, with little information, same for Bath, Dover, and Paris. Anything I learned, I received from other tour guides (i.e. Palace of Versailles, which was the highlight of the trip since I actually received information from someone). Likewise, he did not "guide " us at all. [name removed] would hand us the map (on day 3, no less) and say use the metro to get back. NO help, no information, no tips, nothing. We navigated the cities alone. WHAT DID I PAY FOR? This is completely unacceptable and ridiculous.
He is way too old and bored with Europe, which showed in his unenthusiastic nature and lack of knowledge for the nightlife and bar/restaurant scene. [name removed] was always rude when we asked questions, which was often because he always gave the least amount of information. He was unorganized, and did not have metro passes or maps ahead of time. We even had to wait 20 minutes at the metro station while he bought 51 metro passes on the night in Paris. We had no "Day Song"; he did not want to do it. There was no bonding. Our tour bus driver, Scott, even mentioned how poorly [name removed] communicates and how sorry he was for our horrible experience. I have two examples.
1) Paris, Day 2, [name removed] said, "meet at the bus at 8:30 am." We were there with Scott, the bus driver, waiting, and [name removed] was nowhere to be found. He did not arrive until 8:50 (he was always late!), and we were then stuck in traffic and did not arrive at the Louvre until 10:30 am. Seeing as we were to leave again for Versailles at 1:30, this cut our time short in Paris. Huge letdown.
2) Last night of tour (Paris), [name removed] says he will drop us off at restaurant spots, meet in lobby at 7pm. He did not meet us until 7:22, then proceeded to pass out train tickets, collect money, and pass out souvenir photos etc. He was still not done by 8 pm, and I was so hungry and getting ill, that we had to go out to eat by ourselves on the last night. I missed the farewell dinner with everyone. Later, I found out the group did not leave until 9:00pm and did not begin eating until 10:00 pm. We missed saying goodbye to everyone because he was so badly organized. We did not get the Contiki experience!!!
The next disaster occurred the last day in Paris when the tour had ended and [name removed] left for Amsterdam. He gave us 200 Euro and said to be ready for the shuttle transfer to the train station, Bercy, at 3:45 pm. The shuttles never arrived. By 4:45 pm we were finally able to arrange our own taxis for 16 people, split the money and find the destination. AGAIN, WHAT DID I PAY FOR???? NOTHING!!! We ended up finding our own transfer! Now, we were split up in 4 groups, where 2 cabs (mine included) got dropped off at the wrong station. We had to race to buy metro tickets (4 euroes extra per person), and run in the rain to finally arrive at the station and almost miss the overnight train to Rome! DISASTER!!!
Lastly, [name removed] had a huge conflict of interest, when at the end of the tour, it came out that he had his "partner" on the tour the entire time. We wondered why an Asian boy was sitting on the bus steps; he did not have a seat. He always was monopolizing [name removed]'s time everywhere we went. [name removed] was hanging out with this boy the entire time, and not providing us with what we paid for. OUTRAGE!!!!
Similarly, no one had a good experience; as far as I know the majority of the group was miserable and thoroughly disliked [name removed] and his attitude. I have everyone's names and contact information if needed.
Some other issues also made this trip disappointing:
The itinerary was horribly misleading and not updated! That is unacceptable. We were expecting certain things, as stated on the website, and itinerary and sadly we found out, it was not correct. HOW ARE WE TO KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT, if the itinerary and website is misleading or wrong!??? For example, there was no experience at an English pub, the London walking tour of Soho lasted 15 minutes ending with him saying, "Walk back." We were given no maps. In Paris, there was no Tour of Illuminations, no stopping or exploration of the White cliffs of Dover (what a misleading let down), no sightseeing tour of Paris (we luckily drove pass the Arc de Triomphe on our way to Palace of Versailles). We were so saddened by these injustices.
Also, the website and itinerary are not informative of what is included and what is not. It is so vague (i.e "See Eiffel Tower," you do not state that the entrance and tour is included) ( i.e. "See Tower of London" In this case, there is no entrance ticket included). SO CONFUSING!
This trip is not worth any amount of money. We would never recommend Contiki or go on another Contiki trip! I want a refund. I will be taking drastic steps to get my voice heard. I am so thoroughly disappointed and outraged at the way we were treated.
Review written Sep 2011event 0.3