We've been on 22 RS tours, so we obviously like the format and consider them worth the cost.
What we like most:
-With only two exceptions, our guides have been wonderful. Many have been beyond wonderful. Having gone on one My Way tour with no guide, I can say the guides are a huge part of the tour experience.
-RS tours draw an extraordinary group of fellow travelers who greatly enhance our travel experience.
-I love staying at family-run central hotels.
-We see and do far more on a tour than we do on our own thanks to the guide and superb organization. I love having all of the logistics taken care of for us. And, I like the free time RS tours include.
-The group meals are a great chance to enjoy good local food. Some tours have included wine with many group meals and that's a big positive for us. RS used to include more meals on his tours, but we prefer having some time to eat on our own.
-I love the craft demonstrations, cooking classes and tastings. The only exception was a high pressure rug sales room where we were complete hostages for hours (Turkey).
-I especially enjoy visits with locals and meals in homes and visits to schools (Bulgaria, Eastern Europe).
-Spacious buses where we can each have our own seat. And, we've had some marvelous bus drivers who have added greatly to our experience.
What we liked least:
-Getting up early. (We, too, have gotten lazy in our retirement). But, I do know that we can't do everything on the schedule without getting going in the morning. And, the pace can be a little grueling for us, but we're very much at the upper end of the age scale. It's never been too much for us, but we're definitely weary travelers come evening.
-I hate the name game. My preference is to be treated like an adult who can get to know people on her own.
-I think the buddy system is wonderful, but, to me, the buddy introductions are boring and a big waste of time. One guide, who didn't do buddy introductions, told me he thought they were intrusive and I completely agree.
-Until the past two years, I felt that our rooms were great. On two out of our last four tours, we've had terrible rooms. The guides used to make sure that everyone got a mix of good and not-so-good rooms and that worked well. On our recent tours, guides have left the room choice to luck (and, they fully admit that) and our luck wasn't very good.
-I've never noticed tour participants taking bread, cheese, butter, and ham from the breakfast spread at hotels to make sandwiches, but I think that's something that RS himself used to recommend in his books.