They were ok but not up to the par I have come to expect from Zicasso agents, or what I would hope from a Greece specialist. (Note: I have used Zicasso for trips to Croatia, Prague & Budapest, and the Galapagos & Ecuador).
Even as we were finalizing booking, we were surprised by how few options were given on activities in Greece. On other trips I have received so many ideas for outings. This one was very basic with no originality. Hotel options were also very limited.
We had requested two arrival airport transfers since I was on a different flight than my friends. We confirmed this multiple times. Upon my arrival, i had no pickup and was told to take a taxi. The agent offered to pay for the taxi initially but I told him to credit the transfer since that was more expensive and hadn’t happened. Annoying they tried to get away with paying the lesser amount when I had paid for a private transfer. Considering this is supposed to be top class service i think they should have paid for both given the inconvenience and lack of organization, but when I sent the taxi receipt they said they would only cover the original transfer. Would be less of a deal if they were generally great and attentive but I found them to be pretty average.
The rest of the trip went smoothly but was uninspired. The best experience we had was a private catamaran which we booked directly since the agency could not provide any private options for us and repeatedly pushed a “semi-private” cruise with several other passengers.
Despite this, Greece was beautiful and our experience there was lovely!
We enjoyed Santorini the most, but were disappointed that the agent did not discuss options on where to stay and advise us based on our interests. Without knowing the area, we were placed in Fira (no alternatives given). After visiting we much preferred Oia and were very surprised we had not been given any options in this area, nor was the difference of the two towns brought up to us ever.
The Parthenon/Acropolis in Athens was also amazing.
1. Would have had less travel time between locations. We were in airports for way too long, and one day waited for a ferry for over 5 hours.
2. Would have stayed in Oia rather than Fira when on Santorini
3. Would have made time for one more day in athens to take a day trip to ruins
4. Would have received more interesting and unique options from agent on activities in all locations. Would have liked more historical and artistic highlights; more foodie activities; some exclusive things to do that aren’t typical tourist activities
Travel Company Comments
Thank you for the review and I am sorry you feel that we did not meet your expectations. I understand that you travel frequently and are an experienced traveler. With a few things that I would like to point out and explain I hope you understand our position and how things that you mention were beyond our control.
We received your request on April 30th and by May 3rd (after discussing your travel plans) you had an itinerary quote. Your requested dates of travel were for May 26. This is just 23 days prior to departure time! Please note that Greece is a destination with high demand and that the majority of people make their reservations to 1 - 1 ½ years in advance! This means that 23 days prior to your departure the availability of hotel choices is extremely limited.
As locals of Santorini – Our specialist lives in Santorini all summer, we are very well educated and know Santorini inside an out. As far as being disappointed of not discussing options of where to stay the reason is that based on your travel budget and 23 days prior to departure our hotel choices were limited. We could only offer what was “descent” with our standards, at your travel budget and available during your travel dates. You advise that you would much have preferred to stay in Oia. Of course Oia is a village with 5*s hotels and very limited budget hotels that are of quality. Because of such a late request Oia hotels had only room options at extremely high prices (leftover expensive rooms) or for budget hotels they would have no views or would not be to your standards. Oia in his case was not the right fit based on the last minute criteria and budget.
Your overall trip was for a total of 7 nights. 1N Athens, 2N Mykonos and 3N Santorini. Your itinerary was set with a flight from Athens to Mykonos and a flight from Santorini back to Athens. This was the fastest way to get you to the islands (there are no other options other than a ferry that takes longer). Between Mykonos and Santorini you had to take the ferry because there are no non-stop flights unless you would have liked to connect via Athens which would have added to the travel time. The ferries between Mykonos and Santorini are typically on schedule but many times they are not, due to weather related issues or peak season delays. Again it’s out of our control (the on-time performances of the ferries). You were placed on the HIGHSPEED 7 which out of all ferries it has the best on-time schedule performances. I am sorry of your delay however!
Regarding your comments about having spent more time in Athens to visit the Ruins this means that your trip should have been either 8 nights (instead of 7 nights) or Mykonos should have been taken out altogether. We are very proud to say that we are one of the few companies that offer a flavors of Athens food walking tour with a visit to the Acropolis which is a highlight on various trips (you can see other reviews). However because of the limitation of your time we couldn’t have added this tour to your itinerary.
As far as trip activities please note that in Athens during your 1 night stay you were given through our travel documents a list of 9 things to do with descriptions of each one to include maps in each location! (Acropolis, Roman Agora, Mt. Lycabettus, Acropolis Musem, Temple of Hephaestus, Panathenaic Stadeum, Filopapos Hill, Monastiraki, Plaka area). Not sure how many more activities you were looking to do however this list is all there is to do in 1 night in Athens. Did you maybe not have time to read your travel documents?
In Mykonos you were given a list of 5 things to do during your 2 night stay. (Little Venice, the Windmills, Delos archaeological site, Matoyanni Street, the Various famous Beaches of Crete). Each activity with a description and a map. Mykonos doesn’t offer that many more activities because the theme of this island is beaches, shopping and nightlife.
In Santorini – you were given a list of 8 activities during your 3 nights stay (Oia Village, Fira town, Acrotiri excavations, Museum of Prehestoric Thera, Amoudi bay, Therasia, Beach-bars, Welness Thermal Spa). There are also wineries and cooking classes offered to you. During your stay and during your correspondence you didn’t elect to purchase any tours/activities offered to you but we still listed all these activities in your travel documents.
You asked about a cruise and we offered you a semi private catamaran boat cruise (up to 10 people onboard) because a private cruise would have exceeded your travel budget. We do have many options of both semi private and private cruises as we know all of the cruise companies on the island of Santorini (since again we are locals and we know).
Last but not least Indeed your arrival transfer was different than your friends and we did confirm it multiple times with our local supplier. I believe you may have just missed each other somewhere because the Athens airport is indeed very busy. Our driver waited for you well over 1 hour after your flight arrival. He made 2 announcements on his end. After receiving your phone call instead of wasting time we did inform you to just hop on a taxi cab and that we would re-emburse you the transfer. We did refund the full amount and not the amount that you paid for a local taxi. I believe it’s a little unfair to say that we tried to get away by paying a lesser amount because we paid you and refunded you the full amount of your transfer.
We can’t however pay for your taxi transfer back to Athens because we already paid for a missed transfer that was already performed and charged to us and we already refunded you the missed transfer.
Despite the above I am glad that your overall experience was lovely and you enjoyed your trip to Greece.
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