Don't book a tour with Trafalgar. They canceled our 16 day trip just 2 months before our departure. We're left paying $1200 for nonrefundable travel insurance and substantial expense to change flights, reservations, etc. Find another tour company.
April 25 - May 2, 2015 Historic Highlights trip exceeded my expectations! All services were excellent from lodging, meals, points of interest and accomodations of special requests. Tasha Thiede is an outstanding Travel Director. She really went out of her way for me at the View Nam Memorial, contacting a Ranger and researching specific soldier names from my home town of Baker, OR. I highly recommend this specific trip to everyone one. Frank was a skilled and accomodating driver - very pleasant and engaged with the passengers their comfort and safety. OUTSTANDING! Kaye Hanni, Wilsonville, OR
Russia and Baltic Tour
I just took this tour. You do not get value for the money. The price paid to Trafalgar does not include the important places to visit. You have to pay extra for the things that should be included in the tour. If you do not take the extras, you will be sitting in your hotel room. Also, the tour bus was very uncomfortable; I was glad to stretch my legs in the plane once this tour was over. In my opinion Trafalgar Tours is a ripoff. Traveler beware.
Berrien Springs, MI
Trafalgar Tours-travel in style and with less stress
When I was single and childless.....I really wanted to travel the world and kept trying to organize trips with friends and family that kept canceling on me or we couldn't get our schedules to co-inside for the same times. Fed up, I decided to take off to Europe on my own but felt better going with a tour company. I really shopped around and asked for a lot of advice because I heard so many horror stories.
I have to say....I am in love with Trafalgar! I can't boast enough about this company! I have been on 3 tours with them and have also recommended them to my friends. One just came back from Egypt and loved it!
I have to say that if your traveling to five countries throughout Europe in 2 weeks time, they are by far your best. Not only are the hotels 3 and 4 stars, you pretty much get into exhibits before the masses and always have a knowledgeable local showing you about and teaching you historical facts or telling you a funny local story. Vacation is just that-for you to relax. This is truly their motto. Plus, to book all these hotels on your own in different cities, than coordinates transportation to each city in addiiton to more transportation for sight seeing....you would need to plan months in advance and would not receive as good as a discount. For instance, I would have waited 4 hours in line to get into the Palace or Versais or the Vatican-but with a touring company you essentially get to cut in line-they've already negotiated. And if anything happened-they would be there for me, whether illness or some mishap. Some travelers did not have currency and the tour guides took care of them (reimbursed later). If your not in the mood for the group outing that day, they even help you navigate and set up arrangements for you to do something on your own if you like. They also help book other accommodation's if you wish to stay on before or after your tour.
You become a traveling family instantly. Yes, there are a lot of seniors, but even in my 30's I still made friends on each trip and your traveling with others from all over the world. I love this company....and recommend them to anyone that might consider traveling on there own!
review of Scandinavia & its Fjords from Trafalgar
Returned from the Scenic Scandinavia and Its Fjords tour, July 2010. Pleased with the beautiful scenery and sites we visited, as well as having breakfast planned each day. Scandinavia, especially, the fjords is a definitely a beautiful place to revisit
The bus driver was polite, helpful and punctual and he kept the coach clean. The coach had large windows for viewing, although the seating for my tall husband was cramped - at least one or two seats should be set up for taller people or those using canes. The tour guide did not want us to use, and reminded us frequently not to use the onboard toilet, but made stops to use remote restaurant facilities instead. She reminded us daily of the enormous planning she was doing i.e. the tolls, tips, admission, costs, and phone calls she was paying for were not "free" - the tour included such things in advance so the constant reminders were annoying as were the constant criticisms of cruise people and other nationalities.
Accommodations: The first Marriott and last Bergejall Hotel (tiny room) on the trip were modern and conveniently located. The other hotel's quality of accommodations were not first class. Most rooms were not modern, they were cramped, they had stained carpets and stained upholstered chairs, stained blankets covered with duvets and stained pillows, scratched and worn outdated furnishings. The First Hotel did not have a shower door - just one room with a shower curtain on a rod on the ceiling - the bathroom floor had mold stains and the mirrors had water damage along the edges; there were no air conditioners so the windows had to be left open to the city noise and there were no screens in this or other hotels that followed, the upholstery was stained, the furniture was scratched and worn. In another hotel the shower curtain was covered in mold. Since there was no air conditioning the tour guide recommended removing the blanket from the duvet and using the duvet as a top sheet. We were using the blanket under the sheets to soften the hard mattress pad - Europeans don't have a mattress, just a box spring with pad. The blankets at most of the hotels were soiled, stained, and smelly. The blankets at the hotel in Geiranger were heavily soiled and smelled - in fact the pillows and mattress topper smelled of sweat, and the carpets were stained and not vacuumed. When we requested a different room at Geiranger because of the cleanliness they offered a much smaller one in the same unclean condition. They told us our room was a "standard back room" and they were filled to capacity. We had to wait for 1 1/2 hours until housekeeping found the time to change our mattress pad, comforter and pillows and vacuumed the carpets which made us late for dinner. The stains on the floor and couch were permanent. I was not expecting "standard back rooms" especially at this location (apparently there are standard rooms offered for tours and nicer first quality rooms are for non-tour guests). Trafalgar's response to this was that the covers were clean.
Planning Accommodations: Instead of booking selected rooms, a lottery was set up to choose keys in Geiranger. Some guests had front room views of the fjords, while others had back room with no views except that of a wall and parking lot filled with cars, just behind the main street. Since Trafalgar returns to these hotels regularly, the scenic rooms should be booked and priority should be given to Trafalgar. Rooms of equal views and quality should be reserved for all guests alike. When we compared our rooms to others in our group, clearly others had nicer and larger accommodations in many of the hotels. We took photographs of the conditions at several of the hotels which we have attached. We expressed our concerns about the cleanliness and room size to our tour guide who said that things are different in these countries. She told us we had to overlook things like drippy faucets, small rooms, and to expect our rooms to be "hot, hot, hot- you'll be hot - there's no air conditioning." This is "simply the way it is here." Had we known we'd have no recourse except to accept the accommodations, or that we'd be uncomfortable or use unclean bed linens and pillows, we would have made other choices about our accommodations and tour. Although this didn't affect us, a family of 3 traveling with a very elderly woman who had difficulty walking was checked in an upper floor, and when he asked about a ground floor the tour guide told him they could simply walk up the stairs or walk to the lift across the way and then walk to the room down the corridor - no excuse for this, the hotel was not crowded. It was apparent, that as a group we had to accept the accommodations and requests were simply not an option. Trafalgar's response to this was that they provide a list of the hotels - what they don't tell you is when you check out the hotels, you don't know what size rooms you get....the rooms differ in size and quality and you cannot get room assignments in advance to check it out.
Included Tours: The included tour descriptions in the brochures were misleading - stating that we'd possibly see something on the tour really meant that it was an optional tour, thought it is written in the what's included section. The tour guide kept telling us that at other seasons, the optional trips could not be offered due to the weather and tourists would be disappointed if they couldn't take the optional tour but certainly, this could be addressed by changing the tour's description and offering other activities instead. The included tours were disappointing. The 2 hour guided tours of the city were usually taken in the morning, the very first tour left 10 minutes late and returned 10 minutes early - these were simply guided **drive-by attractions **via bus with no stops to photograph and then we were "free for the day". We arrived to First Hotel late in the day- everything was closed, no museums, no shopping, and we were scheduled to leave early the next morning so nothing could be planned. The tour guide took us for a 15 minute impromptu walk around the free spots in town before dinner. We understand that the Little Mermaid was moved in advance, but instead of having a 25 minute stopover there with nothing to do and no toilets, another point of interest could have been planned, especially since this was our first time here. I'm not aware of seeing any "hidden treasures" as described in the brochure.
Optional Tours: The optional tours, especially the fjords, should have been included in the trip -that was primary focus of the trip The tour guide told us about upcoming optional tours and did not give us time to discuss - we felt pressured into making an immediate decision because she told us she had to book using her personal telephone phone and she couldn't guarantee a spot if we didn't decide immediately. When we asked about doing something different on our own, she was not helpful and told us the optional tours were the best option.Just before we arrived for the ferry, she ran through optional tours. She held onto our ferry boat tickets until we handed in our optional tours form, though we told her we wanted to browse our travel book for options and hand it in after the ferry ride, she claimed she was booking the tours during the ride and had to know on the spot - we felt unnecessarily pressured into deciding. At Lillehammer, we wanted to visit the museum ourselves so we could spend more time and then go elsewhere, but since we didn't book that tour with her, she told us she didn't know when or how we'd get back to the hotel if we went on our own - the hotel, as we found out, was only 4-5 blocks away from the museum, a very easy 15 minute walk, and right next to the city yet she didn't disclose this close proximity. On the optional City Hall tour in Stockholm we booked on Friday our last day, we did not get transport back to the hotel (which been included on previous optional tours) and the bus simply dropped us off in the middle of the city instead of bringing us back to the hotel. We had to arrange our own transport back - additional unexpected expense - had we known this, we could have booked the tour ourselves locally for less than half the price than what we were paying as we found out at the tourist centers. The optional tours were nice, but overpriced.
Food: The food at the Marriott breakfast buffet was fresh and alternatives were provided. However, except for the City Hall dinner and one other, everything was buffet - same choices, same types of food. It would have been nice to be served more formally and to have all dinners included. Often, we were in remote, out of the way areas where the place the bus stopped was the only choice of restaurant, which did not suit our dietary needs. Restaurant prices were double or triple what we pay in the US . If we went to a different restaurant, our tour guide couldn't guarantee we'd have enough time to eat or we'd risk losing our ride. Although **we requested in advance to have low salt, low cholesterol meals **to accommodate our health needs, no special accommodations were made at the hotels - we were told it was not possible, "a buffet after all has ots of choices." We had to selectively guess and choose; staff were not able to communicate about ingredients, so our safe choices were often limited to dry salads, fresh fruit, boiled potatoes when available, and plain breads as the other foods offered were either luncheon meats, heavily seasoned fatty meat, elk burgers, or fish smothered in salt and creams; requests for white omelette or fish without butter or salt, for example, were out of the question, and decaffeinated coffee was usually unavailable. We had to **supplement our daily meals at our own expense in order to maintain our diet **which we found very difficult to do. British Airways, however, did provide a low cholesterol/low salt alternative. Trafalgar's response - it was the travel agent's responsibility to set this up in advance....Get it in writing!
We requested $1000 refund for out of pocket expenses - got less than $190 back after numerous lengthy contacts, almost 2 months after we returned.
We'll use a different tour next time.