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Viator Tour in Rome--Bad Experience


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We ended our Celebrity Reflection cruise in Rome on April 27th and booked a tour with Viator to pick us up at the ship, see the highlights of Rome, and drop us at our hotel. The driver was 45 min. late picking us up at the ship. I called the phone number several times we were given and there was no answer and no voice mail. When the driver finally arrived, he drove us to another van a few miles away and transferred us and our luggage to that van. Our driver/guide was a Russian native who was very difficult to understand. The other 5 passengers on the van spoke no English, only Russian. The driver did the best she could, but it was difficult to understand what she was saying. We lost an hour of our tour due to their lateness picking us up and the transfer, so we were very rushed to see everything. The sliding door to the van was broken and no water was provided, as advertised. Very disappointing. When I contacted Viator after the trip about our dissatisfaction, they were very unsympathetic and not helpful at all. I won't book with Viator again.

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It's been posted many times on these boards that Viator is just a tour broker or middle man. Yes, it is easy to arrange things through them, but most of the time you are buying a pig in a poke -- you have no idea of the quality of the local provider.

 

I have used Viator a few times in various cities, including Rome. I have never had more than an "okay" tour from their booked providers. A few have been quite bad, including one in Portugal that completely skipped one of the three towns on the tour itinerary, with no explanation given. (I suspect the tour description of the tour I booked was provided by a different company than the one who provided my actual tour....:rolleyes:).

 

Two in Rome were also very unsatisfactory. One was cancelled last minute due to lack of participation and the company did not even try to reach me in advance. Instead, I made my way across the city to the meeting point of the tour only to find out it was cancelled. I was heavily pressured to book a different tour with this particular agency rather than requesting a refund. But there was not another tour I wanted. They were not happy but eventually did comply and I got my refund. The other tour was average but was made frustrating by the fact that one guide had to manage three different nationalities -- French, Italian and English. So it took three times as long to listen to her repeat verbatim everything three times....

 

I would not book through Viator again unless there was absolutely no other choice. In Rome, that's not the case -- there are many tour providers that are local and are quite well recommended.

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Agree with cruisemom42. We are one of the people who consistently advises against Viator, for reasons like this. When we had problems contacting a local vendor, even the concierge at our hotel had problems contacting the vendor. Thus our common recommendation to deal direct with vendors.

 

Viator hooks you in by offering pretty low prices...but do you get what you pay for?

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All across these boards are comments about the use of middlemen and the lack of responses at times. Generally you can find here the names and information about actual tour providers. If a tour company shows up repeatedly as offering a quality product and service then that is a route to follow. It seems clear that you do not even know who Viator contracted with and that you were just a fill in to a van they found some space in. Sorry your trip was ruined but hopefully a lesson for you and anyone else who may read here.

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I totally agree that it is best to use a local tour operator rather then Viator. It is easier to get better information.

 

For example in 2016 I had a tour booked in Barcelona to see Monteserrat and do a Cava tour. I booked direct and my instructions for meeting the guide were quite clear and I verified this with them directly via email. On the day we were waiting for the guide for a family group to show up as they were late. When they arrived 15 minutes late they were annoyed as they had had trouble working out the meeting place.

 

It turns out they had booked through Viator and when they couldn't find us they attempted to contact Viator. It took time for them to get someone at Viator to find it clear instructions how to meet us. This was early in the morning and hardly anyone else was around so it wasn't hard to spot ourselves and the guide.

 

The tour itself was excellent so that wasn't the problem, it was the getting correct information through a third party that would put me off using Viator.

 

Julie

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The only thing I use Viator for is to see the options in each city I have not visited.....Then you can pick and choose, and put together your own tour and then my TA finds people for us!! Sorry this happened...

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