London & Paris plus Rome » Review by Explorer1256505
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