Bedbugs, scabies, pressure selling, #ManyRegrets.
I feel like I had a nice trip despite Contiki, rather than because of it. The cities were good, the coach driver was good, and I enjoyed meeting new people. That’s the end of the positives.
The accommodation was generally of a terrible standard. I don’t mind basic, but it must be clean. The worst was Seven Hills Camping Village near Rome. I had heard from previous reviews it was bad (infested with bedbugs etc) and I react badly to bites, so I emailed Contiki weeks before the trip to ask if I should book alternative accommodation. They told me the problems at this accommodation had been resolved. When I got there it was clear the issues had not been resolved at all. Bedbugs everywhere, and I have come home with a scabies infestation too. I feel like crying. Absolutely disgusting.
There was also a storm during our stay and some people’s roofs leaked and their rooms flooded. They were not given new rooms, so had to sleep on the floor of other people’s cabins.
We had a lot of ‘inclusions’ which were really just hard-selling opportunities, such as the leather shop in Florence. I wish I had skipped and gone to the Duomo, instead of being made to feel like a party pooper because I couldn’t afford expensive leather goods.
The trip manager was obsessed with money. Pressured me into buying FTAs I didn’t really want (I expect so she could get more commission). Pressured us into tipping more than I could really afford. Pressured us into answering the questionnaires a certain way, and told us she would read all the questionnaires and that our names were on them, so she’d know if we didn’t put nice things. So I didn’t really feel like I could answer the questionnaire honestly. Also she constantly demanded ‘respect’ but gave very little of it back out. She was rude to everyone, even the coach driver. Every place we went to the on-site Contiki staff gave us this guilt-trippy talk about how we should be nice to her because we ‘didn’t want to lose her’. I guess she’d told them we were horrible, but we really weren’t, at all.
Many people on the tour said they wouldn’t travel with Contiki again, which is a shame because I went on tours in Australia previously that were a much higher standard. But if this had been my first Contiki trip I would have such an incredibly negative view of the entire company. I felt like we were just treated like a bunch of drunken plebs who would literally be okay with sleeping in a dumpster and eating garbage, just so long as there was a bar nearby.