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Trip Evaluation Greece October 2014

I never turned in my tour evaluation, as I am protesting the new style of evaluations that seems geared to generating business with fluffy marketing instead of providing unvarnished comments that are actually useful to folks considering a particular tour. But I am just finishing a personal scrapbook of our trip and have had time to reflect on our experience. Here's the evaluation I would have submitted using the "old" tour evaluation. AFAIK, the itinerary hasn't changed.

Oct 6-19, 2014
1) most impt factors in choosing tour - we thought we should see Greece "now" just in case it completely melted down. We're OK with single cities on our own, but for a multi-city trip, there's nothing like having a well-organized tour. This was our third RS tour and we've been very happy with the skill of the guides and drivers and with the company of "buddies" sharing our general philosophical approach to travel.
2) favorite "wow" moment - two: dinner at O Pseiras and observing the rededication of St. Petrou (unique events neither of which future guests could possibly experience)
3) hotels/meals/experiences - any especially good/bad - we've been asked not to name guides on recent evaluations, but ours was fantastic in every respect (leadership, engagement, knowledge, sense of humor and adventure) and we really appreciate his interest in exposing us to excellent local food/wine/olive oil. EDIT in response to ? below: we had great hotels with wonderful, warm staff throughout the trip so it was hard to identify a standout. So I used #3 to try to say that our meals together were fantastic, owing to our guide's stated intention to expose us to excellent local cuisine. But now that I think about it - everyone was jealous of me b/c just before getting on the bus out of town I realized that the charming artwork being displayed in one of the hotels (sorry, can't remember which one - possibly Lagadia) had been done by a single artist who turned out to be the owner's talented mother-in-law and I purchased a piece. And the brothers running the hotel in Nafplio serve delicious homemade lemonade, which you should drink tons of before they run out for the day.
4) pace? any way to make use of your time more efficient? Not exactly "pace," but persons with even mild mobility issues should bring a walking stick on this tour. I would love it if all RS tour hotels had the ability to prepare hot water (earlier than coffee/tea at breakfast). The bus leaves a little too soon after coffee for my comfort and if I have hot water, I can get my coffee early.
5) could front ofc have done anything better - no problems
7-10) rate ur guide and driver: see #3. Our RS drivers have always been great and we often admire their skills navigating difficult terrain.
11) more comments? would u recommend tour to others?
I had difficulty connecting the works in the museums to the sites they had been recovered from and putting everything into a historical timeline - this was partly my own fault for doing no research before the trip. As great as the tour and tour guides were, I recommend doing some classical/Byzantine church art and Greek history research before taking this trip - you'll get a lot more out of it. I had a great time though and would actually repeat the tour as I've now had the chance to do some research - and I would do more yet if I repeated the trip. I've encountered relatives who were concerned about Greece's stability and if that worries you, it shouldn't. The Greek people can really use our tourist dollars and the political upheaval shouldn't affect you as a tourist provided that you use common sense while you are in Athens. In fact, I felt safer on this tour than I usually feel in Paris or Rome. Bring cash - the merchants will love you, even if you are indirectly participating in he national sport of tax evasion.

Posted by
4477 posts

Ooooh, David, I like this idea! Using the old evaluation format covers much more ground, and is, IMO, more useful both to RS staffers and to those of us who read evaluations when we're planning or choosing a tour. Thanks for taking the lead.

Jane

Posted by
1909 posts

I agree with Jane and I also appreciate your posting this trip/tour review, David. I was on the Greece tour in October 2010; it was fabulous, one I'd repeat and I bet we had the same guide as ours was everything you posted in #3! Thanks for showing us how a tour evaluation with more relevance can be done! I used to use them, along with the scrapbooks, to help me choose the next tour.

Posted by
408 posts

Agree! I really miss the old format and didn't do one for our last tour either. I liked hearing the good, the bad, and sometimes ugly.

Wasn't there questions about your hotels too? I always found that interesting.

Posted by
14235 posts

I really appreciate your doing this because I am considering this tour for next year. Thank you David!

Posted by
636 posts

I never turned in my tour evaluation

I wrote a response to the 1st prompt saying I wouldn't participate in the new format, just so they knew it was deliberate they didn't get a filled-out form from me

Posted by
6606 posts

Thumbs up for your lack of conformism and for sending a message...I wholeheartedly agree with you about the evaluation format. Still, I do think that folks will be more guarded doing an evaluation on the forum (as you did) as opposed to anonymously. There is something to be said about anonymous reviews where some info won't be shared verbatim and won't invite comments from other folks, as is the case here. I hope folks that have some critical/sensitive input to share would let the RS folks know directly in a discreet way. I think that approach can affect change just as well as a public "outing", which isn't appropriate in all instances.

In any case, thanks for posting a thorough review!

Posted by
14235 posts

The new format for reviews is mickey mouse. For instance, I was asked to rate my hotel. I stayed in 6 hotels. How can you rate 6 venues in 5 countries with one check mark?