May 9, 2011

Globus / Cosmos Tour Package 'Europe Highlights' (Code: 51xx - 5100,5101,5102,5103) Review - Part 1

Note : I am going to write this review in English since I believe there is not much reviews yet you can find about on Globus/Cosmos tours, on the internet.

Hola! Incase if you are looking for some reviews on Globus / Cosmos tour review, you have come to the right place since I have one to give out! I know it is hard to look for reviews, because I myself tried to look for one as well before I decided to purchase the tour package.

In short (if you do not have the time to read everything) :

- If you really want to have a Europe trip without spending much, it is a good offer with something to bear in mind. Read along..

- Tour meeting point during the 1st day was a mess, especially with Globus/Cosmos understaff resources, not so efficient participants sorting and a lot of activities happening at the same time!

- We got a Tour Director, in which she was not really a well-planned person. Some of the plans were on ad-hoc basis or on-request. But luckily, there are things which were consistent, for example, the release of publicity at hotel lifts/elevators.

- Hotel / Accomodation quality is average (In average the hotels are 1-3 star international rating) except when it is a Novotel. We have people travelling with us complaining their room was a mess, dirty and not ready for occupancy?? Gosh. And, if it really matter, internet is not included and you have to pay extra for that.

- One of the things we want to highlight is the accommodations were totally in somewhat remote areas with limited/hard to find convenient shops nearby. For example, we have to walk roughly 2 kilometres from our hotel, just to reach the nearest Metro station in Rome just to go to the city centre (not to mention they changed our accommodation at Rome, for worst, in the last minute). and, it takes another 8-10 stops in the Metro rail to reach the city center. In Paris, in average, the time you spent just to go to city center/place of interest from hotel was like a 1-hour. In average, you have to change like 2-3 lines on the subway and crossover 1-2 subway/Metro zone/lines. Wow, that's just..mind boggling. Plus, being located outside of the city centre means, you really have to look hard for foods and other necessities in case dinner is not included. What more if you have special diets like some of the participants which travelled with us. Not to mention the fares that you have to pay when you have to travel more than 1 zone/lines using the subways/Metro.

to be continued..

Some Background :
I have personally been to Europe several times on a different mode of travelling, specifically backpacking, with friends, family and relatives, where we arrange all necessary transportations, accomodation and what not, on our own. It was fun and a great experience by itself. So, based on this multiple trips to Europe, I do have a rough idea on how to 'suvive' in Europe before joining this Globus / Cosmos tour.

In my last trip, we decided take the Cosmos tour because of several limitation we have in the group. There were several senior members in the group who cannot afford to exercise backpacking style because of their age and capability. To cut the story short, we took the "Europe Highlights" (code number 51XX, e.g 5101, 5105, 5100), which takes roughly 13 days to complete. Boy, I (infact, all of us) was happy!

Since we are not located in the Europe or UK, we have to travel/fly to the meeting point, which is located in London (specifically, West of London, in the district of Hammersmith). Ok, that is fine.

The meeting point is at Novotel London West.
This is where all of the tour participants will gather and will be sorted out to indvidual groups. And this is where things are going to start to be confusing. From what we noticed, the arrangement was not systematic and it is really a haywire especially the process of boarding the tour coach!

Imagine :

- There are more than 1 tour which will be taking off from there. Each tour will have at least 3 groups. And each group consists of roughly 40 people. And all these people were gathered in a space limited lobby.

- Some of them just reached London from some other countries, some of them stayed in the same hotel on the day before, some of them were from previous tours! Imagine the confusion they have and Globus/Cosmos only allocate 2-3 visible staff to handle the gathering crowd?

- Plus, at the same time, you need to label your non-hand carry luggages with Cosmos/Globus provided tag, which can be confusing as well, as it is hard to differentiate which tag belongs to which group.

In short, baggage sorting was a mess and it could be better, even though we did not face any lost luggage.
Group sorting was a mess and it could be better.
Method of identifying which coach you should board was also a mess, but it was fine once you are already on the coach.

Once everybody is on board, the coach headed to Dover (UK port) where all participants will board a ferry. If I recall correctly, this trip to Dover took about 1-2 hours. Just make sure you have your Passport with you as the French customs will be asking for it once you enter the port, just before the ferry boarding.

Something to note about the ferry :

- You have to walk to the ferry. The distance are not very near actually, especially when you have to climb up to the Ferry entrance. Might not be good for the elderly, since we saw some of these elderly people end up being carried by a buggy/carrier (and that is upon inquiry) into the ferry.

- Since there will be hundreds of people (and vehicles such as personal cars, tour buses , etc!) boarding on the ferry through multiple entries, you really have to take note of the exit point on the ferry, since everybody will have a different exit point once the ferry reaches Calais (France) port. Or you will end-up joining the wrong group, going to the wrong exit points and re-assembly points.

- Once you are out from the ferry (using a special attached stairs, bear in mind for the elderly), there will be multiple coaches waiting for you at your assembly point. This is also confusing, since they are going to sort you (all the groups and all the luggages) out, again. This is where you meet your Tour director and the Tour Driver which will stay with you until the end of the tour.

To be continued..

1 comment:

  1. please post part 2, we ll be taking this tour in july. this information was great and i've never come cross it anywhere. thanks.