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Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by It's always cold, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. nemofans

    nemofans DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the Costa Rica tips! I am nervous about packing and making sure we have what we need w/o overdoing it. I will be bringing a dry bag that we will carry around with us that will have our camera, binoculars, wallet/passports, rain jackets. We can then keep the other stuff in a backpack on the bus, like snacks, sunblock & bug spray.
     
  2. BluesTraveler

    BluesTraveler Mouseketeer

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    @carpenta - I am interested in your impressions of National Geographic as a family tour operator. I know other posters here have had very positive experiences, but I think your Iceland trip was a family-oriented one? Can you give some feedback on them generally?
     
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  4. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

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    I thought our Nat.Geo Family trip to Iceland was great. We had two guides who born and live in Iceland. Everywhere we went one of our guide would know someone earnestly outside from being the guide. We got so many insights about local history, folklore and general life of Iceland. We stayed in smaller local hotels and one village we filled the entire hotel (more like a bed and breakfast)and the guides had to stay up the road in another hotel. They take you away from the tourist swamped areas to small fjord towns. Smaller group (21max.) so we could travel many places a large tour bus would have trouble. A smaller size makes stops quicker and I admit that the group we traveled with was one of the most fun groups we have had yet. I know it is the luck of the draw. They offer a pen pal option for kids and the kids got to meet their pen pal for a day and dinner. You don't get the suitcase service most times but most of the meals are included as well as the tips. I 'll put it this way, It's like a behind the scenes of the life of Icelanders while still hitting the "must sees" of Iceland.
     
  5. kmc33

    kmc33 DIS Veteran

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    We returned earlier this week from our TB Italia Bella trip (Rome, Florence, Venice). Thank you to everyone on these boards who answered all of my questions and provided valuable information!! We previously did two ABD trips and I was reluctant to try TB, especially because I could not find more information on them. There is not an active forum equivalent to this one, and I was concerned that it would not be as good as ABD. Fortunately some of you well travelled ABD veterans have also traveled with TB and were very helpful!

    We had a wonderful trip! We were very fortunate to be on a departure with only 28 guests. All of the other dates before and after ours were sold out (max 40 guests) but for whatever reason, perhaps because our departure date was July 4th?, ours was not. There are a few departures offered in a smaller group (26 guests) that cost extra, but we essentially got the smaller group experience for the normal price. This added to the enjoyment because it was a really nice size group.

    There was one tour director instead of two as on ABD, but there were local guides at each town. Also, when we got to Venice, there was another Tauck guide available to help with our transfers to the water taxis from the train station, and again from the hotel to the airport. Our tour director was excellent. I don't know how the others are, but he was very organized, helpful and personable. Also, we liked that he was originally from Italy, although he has lived in the US for sometime now. But we thought it was helpful that he knew the language and Italian logistics, yet spoke impeccable English.

    Everything else seemed very similar to an ABD (minus the pins, lol). The hotels were very nice, in good locations. There was a welcome reception followed by dinner, and on the final evening a farewell reception and dinner. Both nights were lovely and well done. The included meals throughout the trip were good two, and there was a nice balance of group meals vs on your own. The tour director was helpful with recommendations for meals on our own, as well as activities for on our own time.

    I would not hesitate to do TB again. The only thing for us, is that our son is going into his senior year of high school, so I am not sure if we would pick TB after he is in college. That is one thing that may be an advantage for ABD. There are some guests who come on ABD even if they don't have kids or have grown children. Whereas, DS was almost the oldest on this TB trip. The only one older was the oldest of three children in her family. Perhaps because Tauck has other types of trips, TB is most likely to be families with children. I asked our tour director about some of the other Tauck tours. He sometimes does the Switzerland trip (Classic, not TB). He said those trips are much less active. He recommended the Tauck Culturious for DH and me if we were looking to do something without kids. They look very nice but unfortunately they only have a small number of options right now. Maybe they will expand, although the Italy culturious trip that goes to Cinque Terre, Lucca, Siena... looks fabulous.

    Sorry if this is a little disjointed. I was jotting down things as they came to mind. If anyone has any questions, please let me know!
     
  6. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    Hi ABD peeps! I was wondering if any of you have been to Antarctica. If so, which company did you go with? I'm looking at Quark and Nat Geo at the moment. Thanks in advance.
     
  7. laceltris3

    laceltris3 Mouseketeer

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    I have to wait a couple of years before my kids get older, but I have been looking at Ambercrombie & Kent.
     
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  8. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    I looked at A&K too and they are on my radar since they can do Antarctica as well as South Georgia and the Falkland Islands with the number of days, 17, DH might be able to get away with. Nat Geo does it in 24 days. My concern with A&K is that the ship can hold up to 199 passengers. From everything I've read, I should want a smaller ship which has a better chance of making more landings and getting passengers on land since they are limited to 100. Sigh ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  9. *WDW*Groupie*

    *WDW*Groupie* DIS Veteran

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    I am going to Antarctica with A&K in December. I researched the various companies and the 2 reasons I chose A&K are: i) they are the only ones who offer a cruise during the Christmas school break and ii) the cruise offered during the Christmas break is a family cruise and has several teenagers around my daughter's age.

    My decision would've been much harder if the other companies offered an itinerary during the same period.

    I am bummed that we don't have time to go to the Falkland Islands, but with the time off school my dd has we had do go with the one that worked best for us.

    From what I read you really can't go wrong with any of the companies going to Antarctica. They all sound like great itineraries.
     
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  10. Cinderella's Slipper 2015

    Cinderella's Slipper 2015 DIS Veteran

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    4 people on my Nat Geo trip did Antarctica with Nat Geo. They loved it.
     
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  11. AdamEfimoff

    AdamEfimoff DIS Veteran

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    I am really awful at remembering names but to the Mister or Miss that is going to Singita . Did you end up going?
     
  12. *WDW*Groupie*

    *WDW*Groupie* DIS Veteran

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    It was me and yes, we stayed at both Singita Sweni and Singita Ebony. They were both beyond AMAZING. I have no words for how much we LOVED everyone and everything about them. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Singita -- he and his 2 young sons were getting the private plane at Sweni that we were boarding to head to Ebony. He is a lovely gentleman and very much cares about what people think about his properties, concessions and staff. We only had one glitch in the form of a bat in our room at Sweni 2 of the 3 nights we were there. The lodge had been closed for renovations for 4 months prior to our stay and we were the first to occupy the suite. I guess the bat moved in while the cabin was empty. At first they thought he had entered the room when the housekeeping staff left the doors to the deck open during turn down service (there is a bed on the deck that you can sleep on -- we had no intention of using this in their winter but they make it up anyways). By the second night they realized that he had moved in. It was shocking and scary, but we can now count it as part of our "experience".

    We are already planning our stay next year (Sweni {NOT cabin 6}, Boulders and Pashumana -- Luke {the owner} highly recommends this lodge). For those interested they are also building a lodge in Mozambique that will have a private concession that stretches to the ocean.

    I am happy to answer any questions. Since this trip was not ABD I don't want to go into too much detail on the board. Our tour was: Singita Sweni (private charter plane from Jo'burg -- AMAZING), Sweni to Singita Ebony (another private plane for us), Ebony to Nelspruit (we shared this plane with another couple), Nelspruit to Cape Town (4 nights -- 3 days with a private guide), Cape Town to Livingstone, Zambia (via Jo'burg) where we stayed for 3 nights. Zambia is another world. Loved it, but not sure if I would go back (I would stay in Zimbabwe for a different experience and perspective of the falls though).

    For those wondering where to go next, if South Africa is on your radar, GO! It was easily my favorite trip ever (we have been to China, Australia and Europe).
     
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  13. nemofans

    nemofans DIS Veteran

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    Thanks everyone for your help! We just got back from Tauck Bridges Costa Rica trip & it was amazing! Costa Rica is so beautiful! Our Tauck director was phenomenal & we really enjoyed the surprises he had for us. We are definitely booking another Tauck Bridges trip for next summer. We just need to decide between Alaska or Galapagos.
     
  14. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your feedback. We are doing this trip over the Christmas holidays. This will be our fourth trip with Tauck and also love them. Could you let me know any 'surprises" that you got and what was the kid to adult ratio? Thanks on advance.
     
  15. nemofans

    nemofans DIS Veteran

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    We had 36 people and in that group there were 14 kids (ages 7-16). I will tell one surprise b/c it was an addition to the itinerary due to being at the hotel at the right time. We were at El Mangroove and there was a Classical music performance happening there that night, so Jonas got us all in with front center seats. Then we got to meet the musicians afterward. They were from an international orchestra from Barcelona.
    Another surprise was a guest presenter at Royal Corin Hotel one night. Both adults & kids really enjoyed it. I don't want to give away too much.
     
  16. kandt

    kandt Mouseketeer

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    What was the food like? We are considering booking this for next summer. Also, any opinion if it's better to book directly with Tauck or with a travel agent? If you have any other details or tips about this trip, I would love to hear them!
     
  17. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

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    Just to answer your question about booking. I book directly with Tauck after my first time I went through a travel agent. Very easy to book through Tauck. After your first trip if you book again Tauck usually gives you a free pre or post night's stay in the hotel Tauck uses for the specific trip.
     
  18. Bobo912

    Bobo912 DIS Veteran

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    This may vary by itinerary, but my experience with Tauck was better food. More ordering off the menu and fewer buffets.
     
  19. nemofans

    nemofans DIS Veteran

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    There was so much food on our trip! Huge portions and our guide made sure we had snacks or treats every 2 hours. We were so stuffed by the end of the trip. There were buffets for all breakfasts & the meals at Tortuguero. Otherwise, we ate lunch and dinner at restaurants. Lunches had a few choices and dinners were whatever we wanted to order off the menu. Alcohol was not included except for the farewell dinner. There was not 1 meal or activity we had to pay out of pocket for.
    We booked directly with Tauck & it was super easy. I booked our flight home through Tauck too. The Tauck rep did book it on the wrong day, but I just called right back & they immediately changed it. The kids received backpacks, we all received awesome duffle bags & ponchos from Tauck for the trip.
    Let me know if you have any other questions!
     
  20. Ava

    Ava DIS Veteran

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    Do you know if there were any vegetarians on your trip, or how Tauck handles dietary needs/restrictions? That's one thing that gives me reservations about ever taking a group tour where all/most meals are included. We're vegetarians, including our kids, and I'd worry that there won't be options we like or we'll end up being served the same few things at every meal.
     
  21. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    I love Tauck's "gift of time" free pre night. It is such a huge difference from ABD where you will end up paying more than rack rate for a pre night, just to get their airport pick up.
     

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