Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I was actually pretty disappointed with this NYE Amsterdam tour for a few reasons. Several of these reasons are due to the lack of information Contiki provided before the tour.
First off, on the day that we traveled from London to Amsterdam, Contiki did not explain the travel time would be 12 hours. We took a bus, a ferry, then a bus again. I really wish this would have been explained better on the itinerary online, as I likely would have not booked knowing an entire day was travel time. The itinerary also highlights that during that, we would see the "White Cliffs of Dover." We definitely did not get out of the bus to see these closer or even had the chance to take a quick photo before the ferry ride.
When we finally arrived in Amsterdam, our "hotel," which was supposed to be "Superior Level," we found it to be musty, moldy, and about a 15 - 20 minute drive from the downtown area. Again, had this been highlighted on the site itinerary, I would not have booked. We actually did not even receive the hotel name until about 2 weeks prior to the trip, and we could not cancel at that point. I looked up prices to very nice, 3 or 4 star hotels downtown, and they were similar in price that what Contiki was charging us for hotel +transportation. This required travelers to take a cab or public transportation back to the hotel (which wasn't in the safest area). It was definitely not walking distance.
I also traveled with a friend, my sister and her husband. My friend and I were on the same bus, but my sister and her husband were on a separate bus. While we should have clarified when we booked we wanted to be together, there were NO activities with other bus groups. We could not do the Optionals or even jump on each other's buses to head downtown. They were very strict about not allowing us to be with the other buses. Again, this was very unclear on the site.
The Optionals, too, were very expensive. The "canal cruise with pizza and drinks" was around 35 euro, and we purchased our tickets directly with a company (again, because my friend, sister, and brother-in-law could not be on the same canal cruise due to separate buses) at half this price.
Finally, I'm a little upset that Contiki only represents strong, positive reviews on the site. After my trip, I found several message boards with other unsatisfied Contiki travelers. Contiki does not fully represent how ALL travelers review their trips; they only choose the "good reviews." It's a bad representation of the true experience.
Overall, Contiki is charging a lot for a little. The travel time was a waste of a whole day (when could have flown for cheaper and faster), the "hotel" was far from the city centre and not "superior," the Optionals were over-priced. Contiki should accurately represent ALL consumer reviews, and not skew the reviews to all be positive. I would not recommend a Contiki tour to someone who wants to spend a little more money (or actually even about the same) to get there faster and see more of the cities. Please do a better job of showing all reviews and providing more detailed itineraries, so travelers know ahead of time what they can expect in terms of travel time, hotel locations, and lack of other bus integration.
Trip of a life time
I cannot recommend this trip more highly. This was my third contiki and my most favorite. My only regret is getting off in New Orleans and not doing the whole Grand Southern. I never expected leaving a trip half way would reduce me to so many tears. This trip takes you to places you wouldn't normally go like Savannah, Charleston, St Augustine and Cocoa beach gems of the south. These places are beautiful! As well as the main highlights like Washington DC, Miami and New Orleans. Aside from having the best group I've ever had on a Contiki the reason this trip was so amazing was because of the amazing contiki team. They are both amazing assets to the company. They went above and beyond to make our tip what it was. After 75days on the road together before us with limited break you could have forgiven these two for lying low but it was quite the opposite! On our 'free' nights they organised and went shopping for pool parties, BBQ's and ordered in take away for 50 people to the hotel so we could all have dinner together! They also made the effort to get to know each and every person by sitting with different people at each road stop or dinner. While this trip is fast paced you see a lot. A stop in Philly for a photo with the rocky steps and philly cheese steak, a night tour of Washington DC, 2 full days to explore DC, a stop at Arlington national cemetery to visit JFK, walking tours of NOLA and Savannah and the best night out! In places like cocoa beach and St Augustine there are no organised activities so make sure you go for a walk and explore these beautiful places a lot of people just stayed at the hotel and missed out on seeing them. The optional activities are limited as so much is included but the Miami speed boats was one of the best experiences I have ever had as was the party cruise. Look after your things in Miami as our tour manager had things stolen as did a couple of people who thought a 3am dip in the beach was a good idea. Next minute passports, phones and wallets stolen. This resulted in one of the girls needing to leave the trip early. The accommodation at most of the places was basic but good. The exception in Miami where the group is split into two hotels. I was luckily in the much nicer hotel. The other half were not so lucky. The included breakfasts are very basic and the included dinners were not great. The one in Panama city beach was at a German beer house and was an absolute blast! The final dinner in NOLA was a complete let down. They took our orders the week before and were sooo unorganised when we arrived, It took 2 hours to get an entree and another hour to get the mains . The were all just slapped on a plate and food was cold. By then we had all utilised the bar a little too much and were ready to go out. I hope they change this for future tours as it was an optional and I'd have rathered spent the $24 finding a better meal. Overall I cannot reccomend this tour anymore but do the whole thing! I was so glad extended my trip and met them in LA when they finished and spent thanksgiving at disneyland and a crazy night out in Santa monica with 12 of them. No one will ever understand our obsession wih a traffic cone and treating it like a member of the group. He came on the Party cruise and swamp tour and featured in our group photos and also made it from DC back to Melbourne. One of those had to be there moments. We renamed contiki to CONETIKI. I'd personally reccomend travelling solo on contiki and belive you willl have a better experience. You should not hesitae booking this tour or any with contiki you will not be dissapointed!!
This tour pack can be done in 3 days or more. I managed it in 3. The pack is so worth the money and is great for a taster of London. I tacked this on at the end of a 33-day Contiki around Europe, and it's all self-paced which made everything simple and easy. London is SO easy to get around, especially on the tube. Did this tour pack on my own and so greatful i did. Definitely worth it, I highly recommend this to anyone who has a few days in London on the way back.
This tour is absolutely fantastic if you want to squeeze in everything in a short amount of time! You get to experience a decent amount of the culture with every country you visit, see all the main sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe as well as little backstage passes like the Murano glass blowing demonstration in Venice. Each and every day is jam packed full of amazing things to experience.
This tour has A LOT of travelling, but Europe is a veeery big place. I went in September and got to experience Oktoberfest in Munich and it was one of the highlights of my trip. I made life-long friends on this journey, got to know everyone really well and our tour manager was absolutely exceptional with his knowledge of the countries we visited, tips and tricks on where to visit on our free days, and made the whole experience worth every single penny.
Be prepared for a jam-packed experience with little sleep, a whole lot of walking and experiencing new cultures.
It's what you go to Europe for!
Incredible first Contiki tour for me, I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to see most of Europe in a short amount of time.
I had the best experience on my Vietnam Experience. First off, I definitely recommend this tour over the shorter one in Vietnam. Those extra few days in the Mekong Delta are truly amazing and got a bit ... wild. This was my first contiki but I'm extremely impressed and convinced this is the best way for young-ish people to initially travel a foreign area. Having an excellent tour guide, a group of friends and itinerary made sure I felt like I was getting the best bang for my buck.
The thing that makes contiki special though are the tour managers (thanks Danny!) and the other travellers your with. Its amazing how quickly you might develop friendships (maybe travel to their home country!)
On top of all this, Vietnam was amazing! Everyone needs to go visit Vietnam soon before its completely changed. Its quickly becoming a westernized city and its in this great spot right now where you can see the old historic culture clash with new technologies.
Did I mention the Pho ? :)
This was without doubt the best trip of my life. I wasn't sure what to expect, it being my first contiki, and spending Christmas and New Years in a different country with people I didn't know. All i can say is that the sights that we saw were breathtaking, the experiences and memories I made will last me forever and the friends I met are friends for a lifetime.
Our tour guide Danny was so helpful, and went above and beyond to make sure that everyone's needs were met and that we were all taken care of. He gave us heaps of options for activities in our spare time, and had great local knowledge of each place. Our guides spoke excellent english and were really fun!
From the quiet street of Hoi An, getting tailor made clothes fitted, to the huge beach parties in Nah Trang, it was a once in a lifetime gig. Theres something for everyone.
Vietnam is a must do. The country is beautiful. And i couldn't imagine doing it through any one other than Contiki!
Booked this trip last minute with my best friend and I'm so glad we did! We had a great time and met some really awesome people, it's a shame it was only a 4 day trip! Would have loved to continue travelling afterwards.
We booked the trip through another company, so we didn't know anything about Contiki until we departed. We had no idea there were going to be so many people! We definitely were not expecting to be in the minority of British people on the trip so that was really cool, making lots of new Australian/ American friends!
Contiki booked out a bar in a busy part of the city for New Years Eve which was free entry and 10 free drinks tokens (which was more than enough!). The bar itself wasn't anything special and was fairly small, but it was made fun by the people we were with.
There was plenty of time to go off exploring Amsterdam with your friends as well meeting up with the group during the evenings. The canal cruise on the last night was great, the perfect way to end the trip. Also the 'surprise trip' on the first night... definitely something not to miss!
I'm glad we decided to go with a group and not by ourselves as it meant we had solid plans for New Years Eve and weren't trying to find something to do, plus we were with a group of people we knew and liked which was really the best part.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who's looking for something a little different to bring in the New Year!
This was without doubt the best thing I've ever done! I would recommend this trip to anyone! It's action packed and full of wonderful little surprises. Our Contiki tour manager was an absolute Gem, he was so knowledgeable, always willing to help and hilarious! Thanks Soki. Hint: Do all the optionals, it's well worth the small amount of dollars for the unforgettable experiences!
This trip could not have been better. It has been almost six months since I got back from this trip and I still reminisce on the memories that I got to make with all the wonderful people I met! Our tour guide was amazing and had so much that we all learned from. The whole contiki team that we met up with in Corfu was awesome and so friendly. The most amazing part of the trip i think was George's Boat in Corfu! Greece was absolutely everything I imagined and more. The islands were absolutely beautiful and the water was so blue and clear I still can't get over it. This trip is seriously one to remember and I definitely recommend this trip to anyone!
Having never travelled overseas before or by myself, I was nervous about taking this trip.
But then I arrived at the start of the tour and everything just fell into place. My tour manager Craig and driver Richard always made sure we knew exactly what we were doing that day and where we needed to be at what time. They also gave us helpful tips for places to go or things to see in every place and what really wasn't worth it.
The accommodation was great in every place. Comfortable, roomy and fitting for the lifestyle of this trip. The food was also great and the included meals (which there are a lot of!) are all decent sized and a variation of different and local cuisines.
I did all of the optionals except for the jeep tour because I was sick and they were all definitely worth the money you pay for them. But if you are on a budget, the included parts of the tour are also very amazing. The extras were a great addition, but you can still enjoy the tour without them.
The time given in each place was great too. There was only one place that I could have stayed for longer at, but I could also live there so I really didn't mind leaving. If you want free time to explore, this tour is also really great for that too.
If you want to see the Western part of the USA and only have a small budget, this is a great tour for you. Whether you are by yourself, part of a group or a couple, you will enjoy this tour and there will always be at least one person on the tour that you will click with.
I had the time of my life on this trip. Spain, specifically Barcelona, ended up being the highlight of my trip. Our tour guide, Guissepe, was awesome as well as our driver Tonino, I believe. The hotels were awesome, but the wi-fi wasn't the best, so I'd get some kind of international service on your cell phone. In every city visited we were given ample time and opportunity to sight see. As a word advice, I would sign up for ALL optionals because it is a great opportunity to band with trip members. I don't know if I got lucky, but I met people on our tour that I can call family. BEST VACATION EVER. If you're having any doubts, trust me and sign up. This was my first vacation out of my home country.
Reflecting back on 2014, one of our greatest memories was our trip to Europe in September. We had the trip of a lifetime! We made new friends, saw great places and literally got a taste of Europe. We visited 10 of the most amazing countries in 18 days and experienced some incredible cities such as Brussels, Munich, Florence, Barcelona and Paris (to name but a few) - these were only surpassed in amazement by the breathtaking scenery of Switzerland! What an experience ... our next trip is calling! #NOREGRETS
So this trip was my first trip overseas so I was a tad bit nervous at first. We started up north working our way down from New York to New Orleans in 14 days. Going from one New to another I learnt so much about myself and about America. We started our trip in Philly starting at the Steps that Rocky ran up which symbolises where I wanted to be at the end of my trip. At the top of those stairs. From New York to New Orleans we saw some amazing/ meaningful sites from the Monuments in Washington to the historic buildings down south, learning along the way richness of history America has from our hop on tour guides as well as our fabulous tour guide James who made the trip what it was along with Markus the Bus Driver who did a phenomenal job of driving and with both of them becoming like family for my 14 days. By the end of this trip I had eaten enough buffalo wings to recommend everyone trying them, I went to a lot of breweries which had amazing beers that we don't experience too much of in Australia, I made so many friends that I hope to catch up with them when they get home and overall I made memories that will last a lifetime. I recommend this trip to everyone, I suggest to do the Grand Southern, one of my regrets is not continuing on as all my friends looked like they were having so much fun. I will be doing contiki again as it is definitely worth it.
I originally decided to do a Contiki tour because it was an inexpensive way to travel through a country I was unfamiliar with. I had little expectations and large preconceptions before leaving. Despite this, I can honestly say that my preconceived doubts were blown out of the water. My Contiki experience was cultural, adventurous, scenic and exciting. Every day was something new and unforgettable. My guide, Kristen Schuster, was informative, caring and easily approachable. Kristen and her flawless organizational skills were impressive to say the least. All in all, I can’t wait to book my next holiday with Contiki.
If you are looking at this trip thinking if you want to do it or not... let me tell you do it you will not be disappointed!!!!! it was seriously one of the most memorable experience of my life also the same for everyone we met on our tour! this was my first Contiki and so glad i did it! i have made friends for life! all the places you see is amazing! Laos would be my favourite country and goes for pretty much everyone in our group we had the best local tour guide mr Khammy or call him mr me! best time of my life!! i never wanted to leave if i could keep rewinding it i would!
Somewhere along the lines between Riding Elephants, going to Temples, Scuba Diving, Dancing on the Beach, and Kayaking in the middle of the ocean my life truly changed for the better on this trip. This trip is amazingly designed, let's you see some of the best scenery ever, and it was worth 10 times the price. Thank you Cassie and Contiki.
I came on this trip wanting to do as much adrenaline packed activities as possible and i was not let down at all. As long as you can pay for it you can make this tour quite relaxing to next level crazy ! I higly recommend this tour for anyone, good times are to be had guranteed :D
Such an amazing experience! There was enough time to get to know a city that you were in and enjoy every bit of it even if it was all done in one day! The Contiki Team are amazing people and help your experience of seeing Europe and meeting new peope all the more easy. Take it all in while you can because you'll miss it once it's over. Would definitely recommend this tour! It may be lengthy but every part of it i will remember forever. #noregrets
The 12 day tour of Vietnam Experience is a fantastic way to see the country. We were told it is a more in-depth Contiki tour, because we spend so long on one country. It is definitely time well spent, because while it is not a big country, it is incredibly diverse, and there are big differences between the north and south, in culture, buildings and food. It is definitely worth booking the experience ahead of the Vietnam Highlights, as we thought the Mekong Delta homestay experience was great fun, and the Cu Chi tunnels very valuable in our understanding of the Vietnam War. The optionals, I think, are worth doing, and all of them. You will find the weather varies across the country, because it is so long, so you can never pick a time of year where the entire country has perfect weather.
Things you will see: Ho Chi Minh City - the cathedral, post office, Ben Thanh Markets (though I suggest do more of this in your own time, because we actually didn't really get a lot of time actually in the market if you want to do some shopping), War Remnants Museum (if you like history, and want to read it all in-depth, you may need to see it again, or in your own time, as we had enough time to read about two levels of stuff, but I had to skip the end)
Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels
Nha Trang - we were supposed to go on a snorkelling trip, but didn't due to a typhoon warning. We went to Yang Bay Tourist Park - it's a really weird place, and some may find it a bit uncomfortable there. It seems to be built by the Vietnamese, specifically for the large Russian population that visit Nha Trang and surrounding areas
Hoi An - this place is beautiful! The tailoring shop that is recommended to us by Contiki is very reliable, and better quality than most places here. Linh Shoe Shop for shoes and bags was also quite good, though if you are looking to emulate a particular design, the lady didn't really pick up on specific details. You will see My Son Temples, but I didn't go because I was hungover and tired from a big night before, so I can't say how it was.
Hue - you only spend one day here, and the day is jam-packed and well spent. Our bus broke down between Hoi An and Hue because the driver didn't fill up, but that was the only issue we had. It was also the wet season in Hoi An and Hue.
Hanoi and Halong bay - Halong Bay is definitely one of the big highlights of the trip. In Hanoi's old quarter, there is so much shopping to be done, so if you don't get to go to the Ben Thanh markets in Ho Chi Minh City, don't worry. Apparently The North Face stuff is cheaper in Hoi An and Hue than Hanoi though. Egg coffee at Cafe 39/Friz Coffee at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan St is really good. Pho 10 and the Banh Mi lady just up the street there are both really good. Hang Dieu St. had Bun Bo Nam Bo, which was an amazing dish! So much good food to eat!
All accommodation was good, the Vien Dong hotel was the most basic, and probably what we were actually expecting, but the other hotels exceeded expectations.
Everything was organised by our tour leader perfectly and everything ran smoothly. I would definitely recommend this tour!