This was our second tour with Gray Line within a week and I am beginning to think they have become too big and just don't know how to manage things. Once again, the destination was superb - a very moving memorial for USS Arizona and an interesting inspection of the USS Missouri. Our driver / guide kept us informed of the various landmarks and gave us some insight into Hawaiian culture and history. We were, however, treated like children on an excursion. We were on and off buses all day! Firstly our gude told us that we would have to line up to get our tickets but then miraculously advised us that he pulled some strings and got them all himself. Next we were told that we would have to go the USS Missouri site by shuttle, but because we were a big group he was going to see if the security would let him take us in - surprise, surprise - we were able to go in our bus; and same for about a dozen other tour buses we saw. I don't know who he was fooling. When we were on the Missouri, he kept herding us in a group while all we wanted to do was explore the ship on our own - too much information becomes boring at times. My husband kept referring to him as the "driver" (which he was, considering he was driving the bus) and he got quite annoyed at one stage and said "if you keep calling me a driver, I'll call you a tourist!" - not good PR. Anyway, I think I'll steer clear of Gray Line in future and try the smaller companies. My dissatisfaction isn't with the destinations of these tours, but rather the tour company itself.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The destination (Grand Canyon West Rim) was 5 star, however the journey itself left a lot to be desired. Firstly, we were picked up at our hotel and then taken to the tour depot and literally "herded" into a room where Jason explained what was going to happen for the day. This was all done in English by the way. We were advised that we could upgrade to include the skywalk which would be $35 and we could pay when we got our wristbands to indicate what tour we would be on. It was all very "school excursion" style. We then went out to be grouped and pay for the upgrade which turned out to be $45 because they charge $10 per person service fee!! Felt VERY ripped off! The bus was modern, air conditioned and comfortable. Our driver, Maggie was fun, however I was extremely annoyed when she repeated everything she said in Spanish! If they are going to provide tours for non English speaking guests, then PLEASE provide a separate tour. We were warned that we had to change buses to travel along the rough section of road (about 45 minutes) but we were not prepared for the ancient, tired old bus that we boarded. We felt as though we were sardines; there was barely any leg room between seats, it was hot and extremely uncomfortable. I can understand that they don't want to take the new buses on the rough road (roadworks in progress so I assume that it will be upgraded) but it was a very unpleasant 45 minutes - both ways! When we got to the Canyon rim, it was very foggy and those of us who had helicopter flights booked were cancelled. Once again, we felt ripped off but the fog lifted around midday and we were not disappointed. Lunch was included which was okay; prepared in a very primitive kitchen / canteen but the view was second to none! This tour would be 5 star except for the points that I mentioned: a) being treated like children b) being charged an extra $10 per person for the skywalk ticket c) the primitive transportation for the last 21 miles of the trip.
If you have an extra day in Venice after exploring there then I thoroughly recommend this tour. Daniel (our guide / driver) met us on time and we travelled via a very comfortable mini bus. The views were spectacular and there were ample stops for photos. It was a long day but well worth the time to visit such a unique part of Veneto. Daniel was very informative and knowledgeable on the area. Lunch was a highlight over looking the lake in Misurina.
Great day tour from Adelaide. Picked up from our hotel and John the driver did a good job with his commentary on interesting and historical facts. The choice of wineries was balanced with a mix of larger players as well as the smaller family owned concerns. The stop at Maggie Beers Farm Shop was a bonus and i could have stayed longer. Lunch was a delicious spread of Italian type platters. A very enjoyable tour and good value.
San Francisco, California
I can thoroughly recommend this 1 day trip to Yosemite - ideal if you are short on time. We were picked up from our hotel in the wharf area and after several more stops throughout the city we were on our way. Our driver, Paul was very knowledgeable about the area and kept us informed about the history of the area. We stopped at Oakdale for breakfast; there were numerous choices for food. The drive to Yosemite, although long, went incredibly fast due to the stories and information given by Paul. The photo stops in the park were spectacular and enough time to get some great shots. We were fortunate that there was still snow in the area, however the track to the giant sequoias was not safe so we didn't get to see the trees. We had about 3 hours in the valley on our own which we trekked one of the tracks recommended by Paul. The weather was sunny and clear on the day we went so we had great views from the vantage points. The trip back to SF was just as comfortable with a stop for dinner at Oakdale (can recommend the Mexican restaurant there) and then a short stop on Treasure Island for a photo opp of the lights of the city (breathtaking!). We were then dropped back to our hotel with memories of a fabulous day.
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