Cairns, Palm Cove and Northern Beaches, Australia
I just rated this 5 stars, but I wanna throw in a bonus star because it was that good. Kinda expensive, but definitely worth every single cent.
I called a day ahead to get the time and location of my pickup. The entire day was extremely organized, something I greatly appreciate, but also when you have a full day of activities, it's vital. The railway journey was 2 hrs and very beautiful, but the skyrail was more beautiful. Listening to the exotic bird sounds as I floated over the lush green jungle below and the clear waters off to the side was just so peaceful and relaxing!
The helicopter ride was phenomenal! I was a bit nervous, but they allayed any fears I had and before long, I was soaring over the Great Barrier Reef. It was great fun.
You then are transported to the cruise and either get a lesson snorkeling or are given reminders of safety, you get fitted for fins and can wear a body suit if you want (Large is the largest size that I saw, X small was the smallest). It's required only when there are jellyfish, which there weren't when I was there.
If you do this trip, you can have lunch waiting on you, but if you don't join right away, you get in line for the buffet. It was steak (not so good), fish, potato salad, green salad, fresh fruit and cole slaw. I had my lunch after snorkeling.
I can't say enough about the snorkeling. Of course, you can't snorkel anywhere better than the GBR!! You also can do a submarine or glass bottom boat with a guide explaining some of the things you'll see, or you can keep snorkeling. On the return (1 hr, I think), there's wine and cheese and cheesy entertainment. (Sorry, Elvis!) G
This is definitely the best part of my entire trip.
Ayers Rock, Australia
Very full afternoon (5 hrs, I think?) and put together quite nicely. I was sick with a cold, so probably didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. First, be prepared for 2 things that I did not know about ahead of time. There's an additional $25 charged, payable in cash, before you get on, which is a fee for the use of the park. It's a government-required fee. Also, you are required to have a bottle of water before getting on the bus. As your bottle empties, you can have it refilled with water from the big containers stored under the bus.
Extremely well organized. There are a couple of guides, one of whom drives and talks, and another talks as you walk thru various parts of the park. There's no push for rushing, and several people were moving pretty slowly and resting along the way. The heat was intense.
Since I was feeling weak from my cold, I did not get off at the 2nd stop; instead, just sat on the bus. The driver was kind enough to turn on the AC for about half an hour.
There is one bathroom break. At the end of the tour, close to sunset, you go to Ayers Rock and enjoy some snacks, and beverages of either Coke, red/white wine, champagne and water. Each of the AAT Kings' buses have tables set up, and you're supposed to eat only from your bus' table. This was a problem for some of the guides, trying to explain this to people who didn't understand English. (Or trying to explain to people who just didn't understand this wasn't a buffet.) I think this could have been slightly better managed, but I'm not sure how.
The BBQ consisted of sausage, kangaroo and steak, along with a salad bar, plenty of wine, water, juice. A terrific sandstorm came along just as we were ending, so we had our dessert on the bus. Then it rained, highly unusual for this area, but a welcome respite from the heat.
Fantastic tour! Well organized and informative.
New York City, New York
Great, weather perfect...we were a few mins late, but the driver was really nice about that. He was informative, showed us various interesting sights within the park.
Horse (Julia) appeared to be well taken care of and content.
Very nice way to wind down the day.
Seeing tulips in bloom in the Netherlands has been a dream of mine for a long, long time, and finally it came true. Not much better way to see them than at the Keukenhof Gardens. This was absolutely wonderful! The talent they have of getting the tulips in such beautiful fashion is like artwork. That night when I fell asleep, I could see nothing but tulips when I closed my eyes.
You can book online, then take your ticket to Lindbergh Tours on Damrak, and they will give you a ticket. The bus is about a 7 min fast walk from the tour place. Be sure you remember where the bus parks and which one is yours, so you don't get lost on the way back. There are about 50 buses!
Also, try to take the morning tour because it's more crowded in the afternoon.
I have used this bus operator's tours many times and have always been impressed, but not this time. Amsterdam is a vibrant, exciting city with a lot of history, but the amount of information given was pathetically minimal. We passed by several buildings that looked unique in some way, but no information was shared. As a matter of fact, I gave this strong consideration the second day and paid very close attention to the information provided, thinking perhaps the first day I was just tired. Not so. It was disappointing to say the least.
Also, the guides seemed more intent on selling tickets to the various places we were to go (no on Anne Frank Haus, but yes to the others, many museums, the Diamond Factory, etc). Often, they would announce that we were coming up to stop # ___ for such and such and they had tickets to sell on the bus. While they were making the announcement, though, something was being said in the headset that you could not hear.
I was very disappointed and will think twice about booking a tour with this bus operator again.
London, United Kingdom
I highly recommend purchasing the ticket online before you get there. I was able to zip right in ahead of a line that was very, very long.
The experience itself is enjoyable. The minute you walk in, everyone ahead of you will grab a seat, but before long, people are getting up and walking around the capsule.
I went on a day when it was clear, so I imagine if the weather is dreary, it may not be the best (if you can't see).
One thing I really enjoyed was the interactive viewfinder, which allows you to touch an area on the screen and see what it is you're looking at in real life. (Not that I remember now!)
The Cliffs themselves were great! I did not care for the gnats/mosquitoes and there were plenty of them, which surprised me since it was so cool outside.
Our driver/guide (Conrad) did a good job driving and when he was talking with the bus about what we were passing through or seeing, he was funny and likable.
I took the Hop-on Hop-off tours in 3 places: Singapore, London and Cardiff. This one was the last one of the 3 and surprisingly, the staff were rude and not accommodating at all.
Redeeming my prepaid voucher was a nightmare. Instead of being able to do so on the bus, I was told (when I boarded) that I had to make my own way to the Mall. Once there, I tried again to get on a bus and was told I had to redeem my voucher inside the mall.
There are plenty of buses and 3 different routes which cover the entire city. Buses run every 20 minutes or less, so you don't have to wait long.
The commentary is pre-recordered but set to a low volume and if you're on the upper deck, you cannot hear what's being said.
The shocker was when the tour circles around to Mall and we all had to get off whether we wanted to continue or not. When I asked if we had to get off, the driver said, "yes, you have to get off. That's why it's called a hop on/hop off bus." What??
If I had it to do again, I'd choose this same company because it seems to be the only one for sightseeing that covers as much of the city, but I would not expect it to be as nice as the ones in Cardiff and London run by the same company
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Maybe because it was the season, but the buses run every hour on the hour, so if you miss one, you have to wait an hour.
That's all the bad I have to say about this tour. It's easy to redeem your prepaid voucher. You just give it to the driver and she pops out a receipt.
The commentary is done by a live person who speaks clearly and loudly. You need to let the guide or the driver know where you want to get off; otherwise, they don't stop. But it's very personable, as they will remember that it was YOU who wanted off at a certain place, not just that some random passenger did.
I felt like I could have asked them to make an unscheduled stop and they would have (although I didn't.) They just made me feel like they were there for me only.
The woman who did the commentary was really funny and interesting. This was an enjoyable tour.
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