If anyone here has been on both RS and Odyssey and/or Smithsonian tours, I'd love to get your impressions of how they compare. I've been on 2 RS tours, and enjoyed them a lot. My biggest complaint is that I always wish there were more time to explore the places we visit. I noticed that the Odyssey and Smithsonian tours spend 3 or 4 nights in the same location. That's appealing to me. However, in looking at their itineraries, it seems like they have guided day trips from their base, spend about a half day on the trips, and then return to their hotel. I'm wondering if that's an accurate assessment....and if so, whether that might be just as frustrating--especially if the hotels aren't centrally located.
I'm also interested in learning about your experience with Odyssey/Smithsonian guides and tour mates. in what ways are they similar to those on RS tours, and how are they different? I'm suspecting those on Smithsonian tours might be either older, more wealthy, or more academic than the people on the other tours, just because the primary difference between Odyssey and Smithsonian tours seem to be the addition of the academic subject matter expert, and an additional $1500. What differences have you seen in the makeup of the groups?
I am a long way from actually scheduling my next tour, but I'm looking at the Odyssey Northern Italy and Southern Italy tours, as well as the RS Southern Italy and Village Italy tours. Thanks!