This was an excellent trip - well planned and coordinated. Portugal is a wonderful country!!! Both Drivers were excellent. Each were very professional and wonderful to talk with. They were Friendly and always prompt. Hotels were incredible and located perfectly. The hotel in Coimbra was especially lovely - such a beautiful and interesting property. Special excursions were perfect for our interests. Our Tour guide to Sintra was fantastic!!! Overall - I would recommend your services and this trip to anyone who loves Europe. A great and more affordable alternative to Spain and Italy.
Our day in Sintra was wonderful and then Sailing back into Lisbon. Our guide was absolutely wonderful!!! She was so personable and made everything so interesting. She was fun, charming and so interesting to listen to - the best! Our captain and first mate on the sail boat was also first class - very nice people and very professional. Porto and Lisbon were both wonderful - the right amount of planned activities and free time. Perfect!
Our tour Guide for The Douro Valley and Obidos unfortunately was a disappointment (especially after we compared her with our previous guide). I'm sure this was probably one of the most expensive parts of our trip but unfortunately our guide really soured it for us. I hate to be so bold, but she was not good at all - I normally give people benefit of doubt but she is someone you should definitely avoid using in the future. First of all, she almost did nothing. The Douro Valley tour of the winery was done by someone else and the tour at Via Real was done by someone else. When she was traveling in the car she spent a lot of time on her phone (texting I guess). When she did speak it wasn't very interesting or personalized - she just rattled of a bunch of dates - usually prompted by a question from us. On the way back from the Douro Valley she got car sick going through the winding roads - she said she always get car sick and had to close her eyes and not talk. I'm very sympathetic but if this is the case maybe someone else should give these tours? To end the day, we were shocked as she managed to get into a political discussion (not sure I even recall how it came up - think we asked about who Portugal's president was...). She went on quite a bit about Donald Trump and how "he was like Hitler". Now I am no Donald Trump fan (believe me)!!! But how would she know? It was way over the top and pretty unprofessional. I would chalk it up us as a very young and immature person. She took almost no interest in us at all and most of her conversations were about herself and me this, me that, me, me, me!
On the second day (trip to obidos) She wasn't any better. She spent a lot of time complaining about how other people were taking tour jobs away from her - that was the main thing I remember. She took us to a restraunt and immediately sat down with us and ordered herself a meal - we weren't sure what to do - we assumed this was customary. The driver was standing at the door watching us and we asked if he was going to eat and she said it was customary for us to buy the tour guide lunch but was up to us if the driver could join... Of course we asked him to join us - it was very awkward (the driver was great - so no malice at all towards him). Then when appetizers came out she was the first to snatch up some for herself... rude. We honestly weren't sure about all of this but when we travelled with our next guide and had lunch she found a different table with the driver and ordered her own lunch - when we inquired if she wanted to sit with us - she said that she appreciated but her and the driver would give us time to enjoy our lunch to ourselves. What a difference! It made us feel like our trip would have been completely different if we had a guide like our guide on the first half of the trip.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
We would like to add a few comments to Bill’s post here. First of all, we are delighted to read it was “an excellent trip… well planned and coordinated… [that] Drivers were excellent, very professional and wonderful to talk with… Hotels incredible and located perfectly... Special excursions were perfect for our interests… Tour guide to Sintra fantastic!!!” and that overall Bill would recommend our services and this trip to anyone who loves Europe. However, in 18 years of arranging private tours, the experience delivered by the first guide for this party is without a doubt the worst any guide has provided to our travelers. We can guarantee that this guide – brought in as a replacement for our usual guide - will never work for our company again. As Bill can verify in our subsequent correspondence along with our most sincere apologies, we have made a full refund for the costs of the guide for both these excursions. Indeed, Bill writes: “Thank you - we appreciate it. I will be happy to modify the post - don't want it to reflect badly on your work which I thought overall was very good”.
We would like to reassure travelers that our private guides really are the best in the Iberian Peninsula and urge you to read the other posts here from very, very satisfied travelers. Gracias! ”
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