I have been reading the 2017 reviews of the newly abbreviated (used to be 16 days and now 14 day) Best of Eastern Europe tour, and have read several that stated, while they loved the tour, they felt it was too rushed. On at least two different tour dates, people say the stop at Auschwitz was much too rushed. It is interesting that while last year all of the reviews gave this tour 5 stars, this year there are a number of 4 star reviews, as well. Not bad....but it seems as though shortening the tour didn't make it a better tour. Does anyone know if the RS folks would consider returning to the 16 day format....or at least adding one of the days back, with perhaps an extra night at or near Krakow? I'm wavering about whether or not to sign up for this tour. And I would kick myself if I signed up for 14 days, only to discover that in a year or two the tour is back to 15 or 16 days. If you've been on either the longer or shorter tour, what do you think of the itinerary and the pace?
My RS guide this year indicated that the two week mark is an issue. Flying in the day of the tour and leaving the last day means 15 days away.
He also mentioned that they do read all the review forms that are sent to tour participants. Changes have been and continue to be made based on feedback from the tour members.
Since the EE tour overlaps some with the Adriatic tour, I would like to see them remove some of the overlap days to devote to the rest of EE.
Yes, I noticed that on drive from Prague to Krakow it used to be an overnight stop in Pustevny in beautiful Beskydy mountains in Moravia. Not any more. I (and maybe others) would prefer to have that overnight stop than to spent a lot of time on the bus between Prague and Krakow in one day. With the stop in Pustevny the drive was divided into two days.
I would still go. It is a wonderful trip and it would be a shame to not go. I agree that the shortened trip is not ideal, but it will still be great. I did this tour last year when it was still 16 days and our guide told us about them cutting out the two days. It was done to allow people who only have two weeks vacation as mentioned above. He told us that what was being cut would not impact on the quality of the tour. When we went to Auschwitz, we toured it with a guide from the camp. We were there for the tour only and no time to visit the museum shop or anything else, so I don't think that part has changed due to the shortened tour. To be honest, it was very crowded there and the museum shop was swamped with people so I'm not sure I would have even ventured in. I don't think they will expand it to 16 days again anytime soon. Please reconsider.
When I first started taking RS tours, many were longer than 14 days. In fact the first tour I took was the GAS tour and it was 16 days then. The RS Tour office and many of the guides who have been with RS for a long time have told me as the number of tours expanded and the number of months of the year the company runs the tours increased, they were not filling the longer tours outside the summer months and most of those taking the longer summer tours were school teachers that had the whole summers off. So they shortened the tours where they could by splitting several into multiple tours or by eliminating a day or two here and there, and as you can see now the majority are 14 days or less.
Are the shorter tours better? Not always. Sure, it allows more people to take the tours who have fewer vacation days, but a lot of the now shorter tours do seem to feel like we hurry through some parts. I took the best of Italy tour a couple years ago. It is still one of the longer tours offered. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it did not seem rushed. Of course I still could have spent another week beyond what the tour allocated just in Venice alone since there is so much to see and do there.
Are they going to re add days to the shortened tours? Probably not.