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Theford Grey or Royston?

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My experience with Royston was not favorable. His van was old, rusty, had a wood block for a brake, cracked windshield and took out the windows to get air. Further, he drove his suspect tour van "off road" into fields, barely a path to be found. I thought his knowledge of the island was excellent and we did indeed circle the island and went from top to bottom, however, his driving methods were very daredevilish. When I expressed dismay with his risk taking driving, he further exacerbated the situation by doing even more stunts thinking he was funny, i.e. driving to the unfenced ledge of a cliff. I was so embarrassed and frightened, I thought I was going to be ill. The excursion was to be 4-4-1/2 hours - It ended up being a 7 hour long, uncomfortable experience.

 

I would not recommend him, his "van" or his risk-taking driving (especially given the shape of his van)!!

 

We went on Royston's tour last year and I too took one look at his van and wondered what-on-earth I had gotten us into! However, the windowless van was great for picture taking and we were very comfortable, never too warm. Some of the places he took his van was a little disconcerting, but we really enjoyed his tour and would do it again. In fact, I'm hoping to book his tour for my upcoming Girl's Cruise.

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Do you mind explaining what happened on Spencer's tour, which one you did?

Thank you!

 

We went on Spencer's tour several years ago on a Girl's Cruise and it was the highlight of our cruise, we loved it! John was our tour guide, but we saw Spencer often at the stops. I can't wait to go back to St. Lucia and take my DIL on this tour.

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We toured with Thenford Grey last week: Friendly, professional, timely, clean modern shuttle. All in all a perfect day and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Thenford or tour with him again!!!:)

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We took Thenford's tour on St. Kitts and really enjoyed it. The van was clean, new, had windows and air conditioning. Even when we stopped for a 1/2 hour at the Fort and my parents didn't want to get out so he kept the engine running with the A/C (on for them they have mobility issues and were just as happy to see the Fort from the window of the van). Thenford was so accomdating and would love to do another tour just to go back to Caribelle Batik.

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Sorry everyone, that I did not get to post that I heard back from Thenford Grey right before our trip; his brother, Sackville Grey, met our group of six and two other couples; he was delightful, and Thenford came and introduced himself at Romney Manor and made sure everything was good on our end; we loved the tour, but the beach stop at the end was less than desirable; for the life of me I cannot remember the name, but it was more of a beach resort, with black sand, which was the hottest sand I have ever stepped foot on, and monkeys were wandering around on the side; the snorkeling was only so-so and no shells to speak of; but the tour of St. Kitts was wonderful; we had a great day with Sackville and would highly recommend this tour

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e-mailed Royston on March 31st, still no response, always a bit worrisome.

 

When I finally heard from him we had numerous quick e-mails back an forth. Now booked for an island tour. ;)

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We went on a tour with Royston last week- best tour of the cruise.

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We went on a tour with Royston last week- best tour of the cruise.

 

Thanks!! always good to have some confirmation.

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If you want more details on Royston, I posted this as part of my cruise review on the RCL board:

 

St. Kitts. I’d booked a private tour with Royston. In keeping with my “lets not rush” plan, we arranged to meet at 9:30, instead of 8 as he normally does. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law wasn’t feeling well and was running a few minutes late- just enough time to have them close the doors in front of them and close the pier for 15 minutes so the Princess ship could dock. So, we didn’t really get going until 10.

Royston was fantastic. He was friendly, and knew a tremendous amount of information. His van had no windows, which kept things pleasant as we drove around.

There have been a number of comments about his driving- here’s my take. I’m from Boston originally, but have lived in Minnesota since 1998- and the MN drivers scare me more. Boston drivers are very aggressive, but also highly alert- MN drivers can be utterly oblivious to their surroundings. Royston was much more like a Boston driver- he went quickly through small spaces and got a lot closer to cliff edges than this acrophobe would like- but he knew what he was doing all the time. The lack of scrapes and dents on his car demonstrate that.

After an informative tour of Basseterre, we headed for Romney manor. There were wonderful ocean views along the way, an also a “monkey stop”. He had us stay away from the scary aggressive monkey men in town, and took us instead to this man alongside the road. Everyone held the monkey and got a picture. Royston said that we didn’t need to pay, he’d “taken care of it”. My daughter was coming up with schemes for smuggling a monkey back to Minnesota, but finally gave up (at least I hope so- but I haven’t dared to look under her bed yet).

After pointing out many plants in the rainforest on the grounds of Romney Manor, we went to the batik factory. Lovely stuff- the women in the group did their part to contribute to the St. Kitts economy.

Next we drove to the Brimstone Hill fort. Royston paid the admission, and drove us around to the various highlights, again explaining the history. The kids had a great time climbing on the buildings and hills.

A side note- while were out of the van looking at some cannons, Royston noticed some prickly vines one the grass, and spent a couple of minutes breaking them off and putting them off the path so no one would get hurt. I was impressed- it wasn’t his job, but he thoughtfully went out of his way to make sure no one in later groups was hurt.

He took our lunch orders for food at the fort’s snack bar. I don’t think it’s where he’d normally have us eat, but due to our late start it made sense. He paid for the food as well (and he’d had a cooler full of a mix of local sodas, Coke products, water and local beer- and his associate met him at the fort to restock the cooler). As we were leaving, he asked if anyone wanted popsicles- he would have paid for that as well, but we didn’t let him. They were very good.

As we headed down (and saw a pack of monkeys by the side of the road), my mother in law wasn’t feeling great, and wanted to get back to the ship. But we were almost halfway around the island, and there were some sites that Royston really wanted us to see, so we kept going- but faster.

There were more lovely views, pretty villages, and a black sand beach where the kids played in the surf., then another stop by the black rocks- very impressive. Then, as we rounded the island, we saw a lot of the new construction- sort of sad to see so much of the natural beauty of the island being turned into resorts. He then took us up a steep hill with a spectacular view of both the Atlantic and Caribbean, and then back to the ship. Royston normally would have had more beach time, but everyone was pretty beat by that time, and we were getting close to all aboard time.

A wonderful day with a great tour guide- and only for $45 each. And on top of that, he tried to say that he wouldn’t charge for my daughter, but we refused.

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Very nice review of your experience with Royston. He has been to the Twin Cities.

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I am having difficulty receiving e-mail responses from Thenford Grey.

 

On one occasion I had to send a follow-up message after not having received a response for 16 days.

 

My last message was sent six days ago, informing Mr. Grey that I had found two additional customers from our cruise "roll call" and asking him to confirm their attendance and to advise us of the time and place where we meet him after docking. Six days - no response.

 

Is this typical of Thenford Grey and should I be concerned about touring with this gentleman?

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I booked a tour with Thenford Gray for next December 2013. I heard from him by e-mail the next day and then had another question, and within the hour he answered me question by e-mail again. Don't know what could be the problem with his slow response with you.

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We took what we are now calling the All Terrain Mini Van Tour (ATMV) with Royston. I’m still unsure how to review this tour, so lets just say it was ‘interesting’. Royston came to get us in his mini van, which has a broken windshield and no side windows. Not to worry though, if it rains he stops and pops in plexi glass panels so you won’t get wet. This was our first clue that this would be interesting. On our way out of town he was stopped by the police, so we really got a taste for island life! It was pretty funny - they don’t ask for identification on St Kitts, they just ask your name. After the ticket was written we popped the plexi glass back out as the rain had stopped and moved along.

 

This tour was advertised as going to the Fortress and the Batik factory, a plantation and other local sites, all of which we did. Everyone else walked the grounds around the fortress, we drove it, only getting out when we went up the stairs to the actual fort. I think he would have driven there as well if the van would fit. From there we drove THROUGH the plantation. I don’t believe there were actual roads where we went, just right through the fields, over the rocks and onto a posh hotel’s grounds. I think we were more impressed with the hotel than the hotel visitors were with us. As we crashed out of the fields in the scratched and dented mini van with broken or no windows and into their grounds, we must have looked like the Clampetts arriving in Beverly Hills. Not to worry, we were just cutting through on our way to the Batik factory. The batik factory was interesting, though a pretty quick stop.

 

Next we took a ride to see a beach area that pretty impressive, with a lot of volcanic rock and awesome ocean views. This stop had a lot of tour busses, one of the few ‘normal’ places we visited. We left there and drove to see where some fishing boats are moored. We thought he was pretty brave taking the mini van through the beach area, where again - no roads to be found, but then he went even farther by driving the mini van into the water and along the beach over the mooring ropes. Yes folks, we have pictures of the waves hitting the side of the van as drove along the beach, stopping occasionally to wait for the waves to roll out and lower the mooring ropes enough to drive over.

 

We left the beach area after a few minutes and headed back toward town, with Royston calling in our lunch order from a local store. We arrived in town where he parked the car in the middle of the road and ran in to get our sandwiches. Apparently he wasn’t worried about holding up the 10 or so cars behind us that he blocked…. He finally hopped back in with our lunches, and we headed out toward South Friars beach.

 

But wait! On the way we took a trip up a closed road to catch another view of the island. Yup, this road had rock slide debris on one side, and a cliff on the other, with lots of overgrown bushes whacking the sides of the van as we merrily made our way this steep road veering back and forth around the rocks. At the top he took the van across a field (no roads again) and pulled within 2 feet from the edge of the cliff so we could get a really great view. I might have enjoyed this if I wasn’t busy having that heart attack… There is a reason this road is CLOSED, and seriously - could you leave more than 2 feet between a vehicle that has WHEELS and a cliff? Maybe stay a safe distance away and we could get out and WALK over to see the view? I admit, the view was great, but it would have been just as good standing outside the van. We stayed a few minutes, then headed back down the road, dodging rocks and bushes.

 

Next we stopped at South Friars beach to eat lunch. We’d been on the road for 5 hours, so we were hungry at this point. The ‘sandwiches’ were some type of wrap with curried mystery meat and potatoes. I’m not a big curry fan, but this was pretty good. We had the option of staying on the beach for a while, with Royston coming back for us later, but we opted for going back to the ship at this point. Not to be discouraged, Royston took us through some of the neighboring streets to see some of the new tourist houses that have been built. On one street he told us he had to turn around because there were some ‘potholes’ on the other side that he didn’t want to hit. The man who drove through fields, closed roads and into the surf is afraid of potholes? They must have been the size of the Grand Canyon or he would have headed in, I’m sure.

 

Returning to the port, we walked through the shops and back to the ship to get some much needed alcoholic beverages….

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Rob&Bonnie,

 

Not sure as I was reading this if I should laugh or cry. I just booked this tour after reading so many great reviews on tripadvisor. Now I'm a bit worried as he sounds wild. By the way, what was the ticket for???

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The ticket was for not wearing his seat belt. Apparently they are really strict about that.

 

We did have a good day, and let's face it, we have great stories to tell lol. :rolleyes:

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Rob & Bonnie's description of their tour sounds almost identical to our Royston tour, but without the rain (or the ticket). We opted to stay at the beach, and Royston provided chairs, umbrellas, snorkeling equipement, and hung out with us until it was time to leave continuing to answer questions about the island. Though it was a bit disconcerting to be driven around the way he does, and to get rather near the edge of some high spots, we'd read about that going into it and knew to expect some "wild" moments. He hasn't lost anyone yet, probably, so I'd have no worries about going on Royston's tour. It was hugely memorable, and we do have great stories to tell. The local beer and sodas were great, and the Roti (curry wraps) were delicious. If you're a big eater, you might want more than one. Most in our group had chicken; mine was conch, and it tasted like big pieces of tender stewed clam.

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We just got back from our cruise last night. Our tour with Royston was one of the best excursions of our trip. He can go anywhere with his van. I think he thinks it's more like a open air Jeep than a van. He can go anywhere with it and he does. He's pretty proud of it - he said it's a Toyota. We had a half day tour. We started about 8:30 but didn't return until maybe 2:00. Well worth the money! He gave us a really fun and thorough ride all around the island. We made that same stop to see some monkeys. He knew the man and gave him some money when we took some pictures. He just does so many extra things for you that large tour vans wouldn't do. He stopped along the road at a souvenir stand and bought each of our three couples a large coconut/cookie to share. He stopped and got some sugar cane for us to feed some donkeys at the black rocks beach. We fed them right from the van and left them more to enjoy. A donkey about 20 ft. from the others started hee-hawing that he wanted some too. You can tell he loves animals and has a good heart. It was fun along the beach where fishermen had their small boats anchored and seeing the horses enjoying the surf. There is a huge beautiful Marriott that you pass as you near town.

All in all, after he paid the man for the monkeys, each passenger's admission to the fort, bought us lunch, the drinks from his cooler, the coconut candy cookie - that $45. pp just didn't seem enough compensation for a really nice day. So, we added more.

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Thanks people for the updates. Feeling a lot better now. Just not so sure about getting close to the edge of a cliff :eek:. I'll have to talk to him about that before we start. The rest sounds great!

 

We have another couple from our roll call who are joining us and are presently looking for a third.

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Thanks people for the updates. Feeling a lot better now. Just not so sure about getting close to the edge of a cliff :eek:. I'll have to talk to him about that before we start. The rest sounds great!

 

We have another couple from our roll call who are joining us and are presently looking for a third.

 

 

 

I fully agree with you about talking to him first about the higher road! You could probably tell him you have a fear of heights, which so many of us do have. I know he would fully understand. You will see the view just a little lower. You will see awesome scenery by the Marriott area. It's a huge hotel spread out in a beautiful setting. There are beautiful condos nearby or apartments with infinity pools - gorgeous!! The area where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean is beautiful too. As you might tell, I loved St. Kitts!!

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We have booked with Royston twice on trips to St.Kitts. Both times he was booked but was able to put us with his cousin Ashton, who provided us with almost identical tour. A really great young man. We enjoyed all the things that Royston provided , except we were in an air conditioned van. I would highly recommend Royston Tours....as would the folks we traveled with.

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I agree that for those not comfortable with heights, it's a good idea to take your heart medicine with you. But as I indicated in my review, Royston REALLY knows his van and his trails. This is not a bland ship tour in an air conditioned bus loaded with dozens of other Americans. It's a bit edgy (sorry!), but vivid.

 

Incidentally, Royston also got a seatbelt ticket on our tour. From the sound of it, it was pretty expensive too, and would have taken a big bite out of his profits. Oh well.

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A fine for violating the seatbelt law is $250 EC ($93 US dollars) or 14 days in jail.

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1). What beach does Thenford Grey take his guests to? Are chairs AND umbrellas provided, or do you have to rent them on your own?

 

2). Same question for Royston.

 

Thanks.

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1). What beach does Thenford Grey take his guests to? Are chairs AND umbrellas provided, or do you have to rent them on your own?

 

2). Same question for Royston.

 

Thanks.

 

Royston tour alumnus here--I thought it was South Friars Bay that he took us to. It was basically just our tour group and a couple who were nearby. They seemed surprised to see us there. Royston provided beach chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel equipment. I was amazed at how much stuff he had in the back of his van. And a seemingly endless cooler of local sodas and Carib beer. There were no facilities, just a port-a-potty. A ways up the beach was a commercial beach of some sort, but we were happy where we were. It was like we had the entire place to ourselves. Snorkeling wasn't fantastic, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and changed out of my wet clothes behind Royston's van. It wasn't like there was anyone around to see me anyway.

Edited by CntPAcruiser

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