While some of this boils down to circumstance, this was a very disappointing trip all 'round.
Firstly, you're joining on the 7th or 8th day of another trip, so everyone else is already good friends. Secondly, you join on the day after they've farewelled other travellers who have just departed the group and everyone is recommended to have a "quiet night in" because Auschwitz is the next destination.
The group I was with was too tired to do anything that night, though a few did come out but most of us left early. While getting to know people is mostly on my shoulders, it's very discouraging when any conversation you try and strike up gets cut short with other people butting in with their inside jokes.
I barely remember anyone's name on the trip and legitimately have no idea who was from where or what they do for work. We never got the chance to get to know anyone because the coach's microphone was constantly broken and then no one wanted to rotate around the coach and "get to know" anyone because "we already did that".
Speaking of things not going to plan, a lot of things didn't go to plan on this trip. We had to sit in the coach for half an hour after a long day in Auschwitz and wait for the coach driver to get a toll box. Kinda ***** when you've been up since 6am and by this point it was 8:30pm and we still hadn't checked into our next hotel. I got charged for something I didn't pay for (wasn't even aware of that), but thankfully I got refunded. Contiki maps for certain destinations weren't printed, there were issues with train tickets in Rome, we weren't advised in advance that you have to pay to swim at Lake Bled. I don't think anyone had lunch that day because we weren't stopping off anywhere for very long and we weren't recommended when we should grab lunch.
Venice was a lovely day, until it was time to meet at the meeting point and the trip leader was drunk and decided to change plans. That's at least what I thought was happening, but through Chinese Whispers I learned that we in fact had some ferry issues and had to catch a later ferry (1 hour later) with another Contiki group.
The day sheet said to have "a quiet one" but then about half the group was drunk and shouting (trip leader included), so of course the ferry ride back to the coach was grating. The classic funny guy gets up on the ferry mic and plays a repetitive pump up song that we've heard 30 times already during our coach rides and then when we get back onto the coach (Keep in mind, long day. Would've left the previous hotel 13 hours before) the coach driver (or trip leader) decides to blare the said repetitive song at max volume for our drive back to the hotel.
That's all well and good if you were one of the people who wanted that or were drinking, but over half of us weren't and just wanted to relax. Absolutely no consideration.
The coach rides. Far out, what torture they were. The music was blaring at full volume almost every trip. That might be fine for ol' "Party Marty" (coach driver) and the 4 or 5 other people who would shout out song requests, but again, no consideration for the rest of us. I didn't sleep once on any of the coach rides and not even my noise cancellation headphones could block out how loud the music was.
I'd also like to mention that I'm no stranger to Contiki or *Competitor comment removed by Feefo* as I've done 5 trips before. This easily ranks down the bottom and I genuinely can't remember anything I enjoyed about this trip. The one enjoyable day (Venice) quickly became one of the least enjoyable.
I get that some of this was out of Contiki's control, and of course the people on each trip vary. For me though, I did not enjoy this trip one bit and I strongly discourage anyone from doing any trips where you link up with another group as it just isn't the same as starting off fresh when no one knows eachother.
PS. All the food add ons were not worth it. Don't waste your time. You're much better off finding a nice restaurant elsewhere and buying food there. This should be expected though as it's not a very pricey trip