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.