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Have You Ever Regretted Sharing a Private Tour or Ride With an Unknown Fellow Passeng


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We went on a group tour of the Bacardi Distillery and the Forts in San Juan and had a similar experience. Everyone was ticked off at this lady. She was always late to the bus. Every stop! The driver was also irritated. I think we should have left her behind. But I am mean.:evilsmile:

 

That is not mean..........sounds like the lady had no manners or consideration for anyone else:eek:

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I like the VTCruising suggestions for how to be a good private tour guest, and would like to add a couple of suggestions for those who organize private tours.

 

Please verify how many 'real' seats the transportation vehicle has. Several people, including me, have complained about having no choice except a jump seat, or the 'cargo area' of a Jeep. No one should have to spend hours being very uncomfortable or unsafe during a tour they're paying for. If the vehicle that shows up is not as promised, give people the option to cancel and, if they've already paid, get their money back.

 

I'd also like to see some information on the activity level required or expected for tours. It's not always possible to be precise, but try to give some idea of how far you expect to walk, extensive stairs, etc.

 

It also sounds like tour leaders need to make it very clear up front how long they will wait for stragglers, both upon initial departure and at all stops - maybe put it in writing on a handout at the start of the cruise. The 'late guest' complaint crops up over and over.

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Three years ago my wife and I did a wonderful 10-day Caribbean/Panama Canal cruise. I joined the CC Roll Call, and responded to a fellow passenger who was looking to share costs of a private tour. He was quite clear what they were looking to do (historic sites versus "beach" tours), was experienced at research on private tours, and had been on 20+ cruises. We exchanged information and agreed to share a private van (they were party of 5, we a party of 2). Of course, we called and spoke by phone and private email numerous times before the cruise. Then, they asked us to join them for a 2nd tour as well, which we agreed to. It was a fantastic experience, as his research on tour operators was 'spot on'. We not only stay in touch to this day, but also with the wonderful tour guide at our Puerto Limon, Costa Rica stop. Both stops were so much more memorable because of the private nature, and not having to share a bus.

 

I totally understand how you can run into problems, but fortunately for us....we made new friends and had a great time!! :D

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I too have organized and participated in many private tours. As most of you have stated, the majority are wonderful experiences with really decent, fun people.

 

What came to mind for me was a couple who joined one of my arranged tours in France. The woman practically ran to the van at each stop to get the best seat because "me so little and I can't see". One of the clinchers was the fact that she wore this big floppy hat and no one could see around her. So selfish.

 

I had arranged a tour of Florence and it was hot as a pistol that day. A robust woman hops in the van and clearly states she cannot tolerate air conditioning at all as it "messes up my sinuses". We did not oblige her.

 

Just one more :). On a tour in England. Since I was a solo I was offered the seat next to the driver.

After waiting for a couple on the pier for upwards of 30 minutes they come rolling in and he has the nerve to hop in the front seat. Mind you it was a bucket seat. That was crazy. I got out and sat with his wife. What a jerk.

Hope he sees this:)

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I have both participated in Roll Call arranged tours and arranged a few over the years.

I appreciate VTCruising's suggestions so much. For an extended cruise I managed to plan 5 tours. Four worked like clockwork but the fifth was a mess. The tour operator was very cooperative during the planning process but once at the pier everything fell apart. We had almost 60 people taking the tour with 10 passenger vehicles. He did not provide the agreed to number or quality of vehicles. Several were in disrepair. We never made many of the stops after numerous assurances that we had enough time to do everything that HE recommended. The guides' command of the English language were not as promised. The only good things that happened were all passengers made it back to the ship. No one was injured. Our included lunch was more than suitable.

Point 6 is why I am reluctant to plan group tours for my Roll Call friends. During that above mentioned cruise we had more than a few with "special" needs. Two used wheelchairs that had never been mentioned either on the Roll Cal or to me during the planning process. Three were morbidly obese and displaced other passengers. I had a difficult time shuffling the pre-arranged seating to accommodate these people at the pier.

These passengers and a few others were unable to accomplish a rain forest walk which was to be the highlight of the day and was paramount in the tour description. So Kartgv's suggestion is very pertinent too..

As much as I enjoy doing the research and planning I now leave it to others and hope I will always be a considerate participant.

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Maybe Cruise Critic can add a section for people to rate each other? All of the nightmare people are registered users. Would be nice to name and shame!

 

I generally only take tours that involve just the people traveling with us. However, we did take a ship tour in San Juan once to spend some OBC and for something different to do. It was a small bus tour of about 20 people that went to the forts and then around the newer parts of the city to see different neighborhoods. There was a group of 8 who knew each other (they were all related to each other in some way) and made sure we all knew they were traveling together. They insisted that there were assigned seats even though the guide said there weren't. Everyone else made a point to play musical chairs after each stop because we knew these 8 would be beside themselves when they came back onboard (they were always 5 minutes late). One lady in their group was very put out by the fact that our guide didn't mention the mango trees. "These people have never seen mango trees and he won't mention them. I've been to San Juan plenty of times and they always mention the mango trees. Why won't he talk about the mango trees? They aren't going to see mango trees where they live, why doesn't he point them out? This is the worst tour ever. He didn't mention the mango trees!" On and on for a couple of hours like this, and the bus was small enough that the guide could certainly hear her (as could everyone else). People were stifling giggles after awhile. They also tried to question/correct the guide constantly over very trivial stuff. Of course they didn't tip at the end.

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Like ships passing in the night...

 

Catherine and I once shared a rental car

on an island with a lovely couple we only met on the ship.

We had a wonderful day.

Even though we regret not exchanging personal information,

we will always remember and love them.

Michael

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YES! We shared a tour with some foreigners ( am from the USA )l. It was one of those that we took at the spur of the moment while walking off the ship and was approached by a barker. We didn't know them and we're just part of a group that filled the van. It was their group and us.

 

I presume you were out of the US so in fact you were the foreigners!!

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I have both participated in Roll Call arranged tours and arranged a few over the years.

I appreciate VTCruising's suggestions so much... We had almost 60 people taking the tour with 10 passenger vehicles.

 

We didn't have a horrible experience, but we joined a CC group once. They ended up with two vans and a bus. A few people got off the ship early, took the vans, and off they went without waiting for anyone else. We were then left to squeeze everyone else into the bus after figuring out what was going on and starting late. The tour was OK, barely made it back to the ship on time.

 

Since then, I think I will not join a ship tour that is more than 4-10 people. I can't imagine having to plan a tour with more than one vehicle for a bunch of people I don't know just to save a little money. For our recent cruise, we've pretty much decided to go it alone because we might have some mobility issues and I don't want even a small group waiting for me, and I'm more and more wanting to do what I want to do, not what a group decides it wants.

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Over the years, I have planned dozens of private tours - normally ranging from 4 people up to 14 people - depending on the vehicles available by the tour company and the tour company requirements. I do lots of research to find the highest rated tour companies at each port. Most of the tours have turned out to be good to excellent. The Cruise Critic people who have joined the tours have been great.

 

BUT, there was one very memorable disaster tour that I had arranged with the "only" private tour company (in 2012) in Svalbard, Longyearbyen on our cruise to the Arctic Circle in Norway. They did have a couple of good reviews. Per their minimum requirements, I had arranged for 14 of us with Maxi Taxi for a "minibus". We all had paid ahead on their website, and I had lots of correspondence with the tour company, providing the names of the people on our tour, and confirming that everyone had paid. When we arrived on the dock, Maxi Taxi only had a large bus there for us and had combined us with another group. Protesting did no good and since we had paid ahead, we were stuck. AND, while on the tour, the large bus that they had provided broke down, and we had to wait at one of the stops for a replacement bus. The only plus, is that they had adhered to the itinerary that I had requested, and we did see everything. I felt very bad about the disappointing tour, but everyone in our group was very understanding. Luckily the other tours that I had arranged for that cruise worked out very well.

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We either go it alone on private tours or go with friends that we are cruising with but never more than 4 in a van or max 5 on a sailboat. We move at our own pace and since I have some mobility issues, we prefer being able to return to the ship when my back gets tired.

 

 

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Yes, but in fairness the tour operator could not have known. We took a private tour, small bus size for a full day. A family from our cruise booked, 5 people. They were late and came loaded with luggage. Only as we were about an hour in did it become clear that their toddler child had a significant health problem that required speciality food and a direct catheter to her stomach. Hence the luggage, it was all the special equipment and food. They said to us it would only need to be dealt with every 2 hours. Not so.... Then the ugly tourist came out and one of the pax attempted at more than one stop to get the tour guide to leave this family behind. In addition, we had the loud insistent tourist who wanted stops not in the itinerary (as described by others in the thread). It was a miserable tour. We all felt very sad and sorry for the impacted family but all of us felt that they needed to have taken a private, not a group tour to accommodate the challenges of the poor little one. The two other passengers really made it hard. As DH said, once we knew, we needed to operate as a team. They didn't.... And we missed one major stop on the tour as we were so late because of the stops to support feeding the small one. We coped, we thanked God we had not had the challenges this family had but we wished for a different tour experience.

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The only negative experience I have had in organising private tours is when people pull out on the day, leaving a very awkward situation where they don't expect to pay, and then the rest of the tour group (or myself in this case) have to cover the cost, I will in future be sure to make it clear if you cancel you still have to pay, its not fair to expect others to pay more. Other than this learning curve, we have had many very enjoyable shared tours and I will continue to share happily.

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We went on a tour organized through our roll call. Unfortunately, the tour was in a large van, not a small bus. We were considered the least disabled and had to sit in the very back on uncomfortable seats. This was a full day tour so our discomfort was major. My husband had recently had a hip replaced and I had sciatica and a bad knee. We won't take another unless we are assured it will be in a small bus!

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We recently shared a taxi from port to the nearest City, with 2 other unrelated people from our roll call. We met for coffee while waiting for the ship to be cleared and then headed for the exit. That's when one of them realized they had forgotten their sea pass card in their stateroom. We would have been at the front of the line to get on the port shuttle to the taxi meeting place. Now we had to wait while the line grew ever longer. 20 minutes later out she came. We were lucky the taxi was still waiting for us. Then she showed up 10 minutes late to meeting place for getting back to the ship with the prearranged taxi. We were just about to leave without her. Not the worst horror story by any means, but it sure was annoying.

 

 

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It's reading about stories like this, that we only share taxi rides & nothing else. We've become very friendly with other pax on ship based excursions, but that's about it.

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Wow! I guess we've been very, very lucky! We enjoy private tours, try to stay with 6 folks (hate those jump seats!) Made some incredible friends & I'm sure we'll make many more. Most important, set a total # of folks, set a firm time & itinerary & don't hesitate to stick to it. That being said, we're on Eclipse in 26 Nov 17 & have room on a couple of island tours,come join us!

 

 

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If you want comraderie book group tours with known friends you are traveling with, if you want a controlled and predicatable experience then book solo. If you want to maximize costs then book a group/larger group format in some fashion.

 

We have done it all ways and have no complaints. Pick your passion based on the knowns, the group, the circumstances, your expectations, or your wallet.

 

Just go and have fun!!!

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Generally our experience too; will certainly continue to organize and participate in private tours with fellow CC members from our rollcalls.

 

Mine, too. Have met many wonderful people and had great excursions for the most part. Only exception was Japan where it was a combination of the roll call organizer and the company that made for a total waste of our three X stops in Japan. When people complained that we did not go to Mt. Fuji on the Mt. Fuji excursion, the organizer's husband threatened the complainer physically. When we got home, we complained to the tour company and got a refund. The guide did not speak English very well and that may have contributed to the misunderstandings and our very frustrating days.

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Yes, but in fairness the tour operator could not have known. We took a private tour, small bus size for a full day. A family from our cruise booked, 5 people. They were late and came loaded with luggage. Only as we were about an hour in did it become clear that their toddler child had a significant health problem that required speciality food and a direct catheter to her stomach. Hence the luggage, it was all the special equipment and food. They said to us it would only need to be dealt with every 2 hours. Not so.... Then the ugly tourist came out and one of the pax attempted at more than one stop to get the tour guide to leave this family behind. In addition, we had the loud insistent tourist who wanted stops not in the itinerary (as described by others in the thread). It was a miserable tour. We all felt very sad and sorry for the impacted family but all of us felt that they needed to have taken a private, not a group tour to accommodate the challenges of the poor little one. The two other passengers really made it hard. As DH said, once we knew, we needed to operate as a team. They didn't.... And we missed one major stop on the tour as we were so late because of the stops to support feeding the small one. We coped, we thanked God we had not had the challenges this family had but we wished for a different tour experience.

 

 

 

Was this a tour arranged by the tour company where others on the ship can sign up but the tour operator is responsible for putting people together instead of an organizer on cruise critic? I never do those and don't consider them "private".

 

I put together private tours and respond with people from the roll call off of cruise critic. I would (or should know) before this family asked to join that they were intending to take a sick toddler. I ask if anyone has any issues (including food allergies if part of the tour includes a group lunch). I would not have allowed the toddler for the reasons mentioned which included stops every two hours resulting in missing part of the tour itinerary.

 

 

I do agree that they should have done their own private tour and not have subjected others to these medical issues. The tour operator should have been advised. They already had a family group of 5, so certainly enough to fill their own min-van so wondering if they were just joining a larger group to save more money on the tour with no regard for others.

 

 

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Edited by Jade13
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. Only exception was Japan where it was a combination of the roll call organizer and the company that made for a total waste of our three X stops in Japan. When people complained that we did not go to Mt. Fuji on the Mt. Fuji excursion, the organizer's husband threatened the complainer physically. .

 

 

 

Sorry to hear that. I put together private tours in Japan that were some of the best including taking the bullet train back from Kyoto, private lunch, and private tea ceremony with a master. I can't imagine 3 bad tours in Japan. I would note that most of the Celebrity excursions don't go to Mt Fuji (and if cloudy you can't even see it from the ship). There needs to be a clear understanding of the itinerary.

 

I have found on a few occasions that questions come up about an itinerary during the tour and it's 100% the spouse or significant other and not the person involved with cruise critic, so totally the person on cc's fault for not reviewing the itinerary with their partner before the tour day.

 

But to have the tour organizers husband physically threaten someone.....yikes. I hope you never ran into this person the rest of your trip.

 

 

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quote:

"If you want comraderie book group tours with known friends you are traveling with"

 

 

Not everyone travels with friends......not everyone travels with even a travel partner so your suggestion doesn't

work for everyone.

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One of the best tours we've ever joined via the roll call was to Ephesus. A poster on the roll call had reserved one of the premier guides out of Kusadasi and was looking for others to join. They kindly included DH & me PLUS 4 others traveling with us. To be frank, were it me who was the organizer, I'd have been leery of being with a group who already were friends thinking we'd be the outsiders.

 

Five years on, we maintain an across the pond friendship with Bascoteboy and his wife! They joined us in Thirsk England when we spent a week there in 2015. In 2016 we met them for brunch in Sydney after we disembarked and before they embarked the Solstice. This fall we will meet them in the Cotswolds during our week's stay in England between cruises.

 

They took a risk in including us and we are very happy that they did!!

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I will always feel regret and embarrassed that I was the late one on our Amalfi coast excursion. We were to meet back at a garage at a set time. Somehow we got lost trying to return. We walked, we ran, we begged strangers for help, and we delayed our group by more than 30 minutes. Never have I cut short our return time, usually trying to be back among the earliest. I hate it when someone is inconsiderate of others. I found that the feeling is even worse when you know you were the problem!

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Was this a tour arranged by the tour company where others on the ship can sign up but the tour operator is responsible for putting people together instead of an organizer on cruise critic? I never do those and don't consider them "private".

 

I put together private tours and respond with people from the roll call off of cruise critic. I would (or should know) before this family asked to join that they were intending to take a sick toddler. I ask if anyone has any issues (including food allergies if part of the tour includes a group lunch). I would not have allowed the toddler for the reasons mentioned which included stops every two hours resulting in missing part of the tour itinerary.

 

 

I do agree that they should have done their own private tour and not have subjected others to these medical issues. The tour operator should have been advised. They already had a family group of 5, so certainly enough to fill their own min-van so wondering if they were just joining a larger group to save more money on the tour with no regard for others.

 

 

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Yes, it was not through cruise critic although some of the pax had had discussion on roll call about the tour. The tour operator's information specifically mentioned that for disability issues folks should take a private tour. The family in question ignored this or never read it. The cruise critic group I was familiar with did not have enough to fill the bus and the operator filled it. It was a full day tour with multiple buses from our ship through this operator.

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