John L

Report problem

My Profile

John L

John L

USA

Working in China, exploring Asia

Oct022014

Tour/Activity

Rome to Pompeii Shuttle Bus & Independent Day Trip

Rome, Italy

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

A good visit and amazing site but a long bus ride from Rome and not much time during rest stops. We got the upgraded guided tour and are very happy with that as Pompeii is vast and the maps available are poor at best. The rest stops the bus makes offer about enough time to have a restroom break and buy some water, nothing more. Pack a lunch and snack BEFORE you go. There is a canteen in the site but it is crowded and can run out of food. There isn't enough time to purchase food or snacks during the bus stops and before the tour begins at the drop off point.

The tour itself was fantastic and very informative and reviewing the ruins and explaining what they know about life in early Pompeii and Naples. A lot of the artifacts and bodies have been removed and are in the museum in Naples for preservation, just a few items actually on-site. A few of the buildings are in a restored state and much of the site is just ruins of foundation outlines. The best portion was the free time after the tour where we found the theater, a must see, and the southeastern side of the city. One word of caution. There are 2 exits, know which one your bus will pick you up at and get confirmation of this on the way there as the 2 exits are a good 8-10 minute walk from each other and bus schedules are very tight! The guided tour was worth it but not having enough time to get food at our bus stop and supplies made it a bit frustrating as did going to the wrong exit and almost missing our bus back to Rome.

Oct012014

Tour/Activity

Papal Audience Tickets and Presentation

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

For the faithful and religious this is a must see if you are in Rome on Wednesday. Check the web to see if the Pope is in town during your visit and if the tour times match your availability. I read some reviews complaining about the price, seats, and initial part of the experience. Yes, the tickets are free, you can get them on your own but it is a process and requires a lot of pre planning and some running around the day before, Tuesday. The price was well worth the saved efforts as we were on tours the Tuesday needed to get the tickets, and dealing with the church embassies to request the tickets in the first place. Yes, if you can get tickets on your own, and get in line at 6:30am exactly you will be able to get better seats and if you know the route of the Pope Mobile through St Peter's Square you can get there too, again this requires a lot of hassle and time to do which we didn't have time for. Our guide was very informative, funny, and helpful. She got us good seats with a decent view and I was able to get a frame filling picture of the Pope Francis from his Pope Mobile and a 200mm lens. In the summer this will be a very very hot visit. In October it was still hot but not too bad. Security check was not too bad but you MUST go to the bathroom prior to getting inside as the line inside are too long and far from the seats, it took my wife 35 min to go and get back and she almost missed the beginning. I was happy with the tour as I was able to plan the rest of our Rome tours into this without worrying about getting into lines or on waiting lists at the American Catholic church site on Tuesday and avoiding the mad dash for seats when the square is opened. It is general admission and there are no seat reservations for anyone, except the area for married couples.

Sep302014

Tour/Activity

Vatican VIP Experience: Exclusive Breakfast at the Vatican with Early Access to Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was an excellent and our favorite tour while in Rome for a week. It was well worth the early morning and taxi ride to the meetup area. Our tour started at the bottom of the steps from where the taxi dropped us off. There were 2 groups at this time but it never seemed crowded or rushed during the breakfast portion. You have to go through security at the Vatican so be aware and keep metal items in your bags to speed things along. The breakfast was lite but ample and filling. The espresso was excellent and spending sunrise in the garden, watching the sun illuminate the gardens was spectacular.

The tour itself was excellent but a bit rushed. By the time we got to the tapestries other tour groups were rushing past ours. We got to see many fine art works from sculptures, tapestries, and paintings to the famous frescoes and freezes of the Vatican Museum. For most of the tour cameras are fine, just no flash, but remember NO CAMERAS in the Sistine Chapel! We witnessed a kid trying to be sly and sneak a picture and the guards quickly rush him and make him show them the pictures and delete them off the camera. They never touched him or took his property but they were forceful and diligent in enforcing the policy so please head it. There are plenty of postcards and books with professional photos of the frescoes available.

Our tour ended in St Peter's Basilica which was amazing. Our guide explained the major parts of the Chapels inside the basilica and highlighted recommended places to visit after the tour. Unfortunately it was very crowded at this time and my wife got separated near the middle of the basilica part of the tour. The tour guide did what she could short of stopping the tour and searching for her (another couple got lost as well and were with her). We found them at the entrance/exit area and their headphones all were broken so they could not hear our guide calling for them. The end of the tour is really crowded so please pay attention.

Sep302014

Tour/Activity

Ghost and Mystery Walking Tour of Rome

Rome, Italy

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

While I was expecting something different based on the title of the tour I am happy we took it. You aren't visiting any supposed haunted or supernatural sites, besides the old bridge near the middle of the tour. Our tour guide was very enthusiastic and covered the history of each site we visited (5 locations only). This is a walking tour and the pace was quite quick. The sidewalks in Rome are narrow or non existent so be careful at night is some of the areas. We learned a lot on the tour, namely the small overlooked details of early Roman life and some of its infamous citizens never mentioned in history books. I think the tour was good and worth taking but I was expecting something different given the title. Still it was very educational and fun to learn about some of the politics and lives of early residents and how their lives shaped and impacted history.

Sep292014

Tour/Activity

Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour

Rome, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a very good and informative tour for out first day in Rome. One item I found perfect for this and all following tours were the personal headphone receivers to hear the tour guide directly. Getting to the meet-up point was easy. The tour starts in the old Roman Forum area and you get a very good tour of the area including the old temples, Forum area, and Circus Maximous area so no need to go to these areas in a different tour is needed. We visited the Colosseum last and spent the end of the tour there. We added the upgrade of the lower and upper levels and this is a must, otherwise the tour will be short and you will not get the full sense of the size and scope of the building. Our guide was very informative, run by City Tours, and provided a lot of information on each sites, ruin, and area we visited. The pace was good but if you have issues with hills or steps please note there are a lot on this tour. The elevator in the Colosseum is limited and saves you just a few steps overall. This is a must do tour when going to Rome.

Aug232012

Tour/Activity

Singapore Duck Tour: Captain Explorer DUKW®

Singapore, Singapore

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

This is my scond "duck" tour in Singapore. Last time we did a walk up ticket and this time I wanted to skip the lines. As the tour day varied and no times were given I mistakenly believed you could join any tour in progress. You MUST call the day before and state the time you want to go, I suggest before lunch and afternoon showers. Besides the timing issue the tour was fun and covered the downtown square and major sites well, the bay and surrounding areas was good as well. My 2 year old had a good time but Duck Tour people did not try to rearrange the group so we could sit together, we sat across from each other but this was fine for me, if not for you you will have to speak up and demand this before the tour begins. Good photos and my daughter had fun so it was well worth it.

My Photos

  • Duck Tour meeting spot

Aug222012

Tour/Activity

Singapore Jurong Bird Park Tour

Singapore, Singapore

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

Jurong Bird Park was fun and a great experience for my 2 year old. Not much time for exploring on 1/2 day tour, just tram ride, 2 shows and 10 min to get souvenirs. A/C tram was under repairs, I wish this would have been advertised. Park is clean, friendly staff, not too crowded. Shows are entertaining and educational. Did not get time to eat at the park, drinks and snacks are available. Man made waterfall is not much more than a photo op, just a few birds to be seen. Birds of Pray and Bird Buddies shows are the best for kids. The bus ride is about 40 min so entertainment for younger kids is a must as is a bathroom break BEFORE getting on the bus.

Aug212012

Tour/Activity

Singapore Zoo Breakfast with Orangutans

Singapore, Singapore

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

This was my 2nd trip to the zoo and 2nd breakfast. My daughter enjoyed seeing the orangutans and has talked about it for a week after, a long time for a 2 year old. We skiped the tram ride at first to see the apes and other animals more which was good for us. As you get unlimited tram access we got picked up after the African big cats and got off to see the white tigers. It was a bit difficult to manage the tight time lines but it worked out fine, you do have option to take taxi back for around $30SD. Park is clean, excellent staff, construction for new Panda exhibit sounds fun when completed. For younger kids breakfast tour is great, older kids a whole day is needed, there is a kids park inside. My only issue was with pickup service, had to call as driver was 30 min late in arriving. Bus ride is around 30 min so some entertainment for younger kids is advised as is bathroom break before getting on the bus.

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message