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We had really high hopes after reading about the excursion itinerary about this infamous attraction however, was left really disappointed with our experience as we found it to be unprofessional and not worth the money at all!
Initially, the lady who was supposed to meet our group was late and there was no 'name' sign so we had no idea who was the representative from Gray Line. Finally, I spotted her after seeing the logo on her uniform. We boarded a small van as the lead guide wasn't aware that apparently it was a much bigger group joining the tour which we then had to stop at another hotel for. The driver didn't know the hotel where the other group was supposed to meet at and was circling the route many many times. Finally, we found the Copacabana Palace and we had to all move to a large coach bus. This was a shock as when we boarded the small van, we had no idea we were going to be part of a 30 person tour group.
After this delay, it only got worse as the driver and guide kept picking up guests from various locations without any announcement or communication to the rest of us on the bus already. We even ended up waiting over an hour in the train/bus station because the driver tried to wait for another couple who hadn't shown up yet.
We found the guide to be really unprofessional - he didn't provide any explanation at all - he was only chatting on his cellphone. The only information he gave us was the time we were supposed to return to the meeting point.
The worst part was that I introduced 4 of my friends to join this excursion with me yet we all were unsatisfied and unhappy with the experience.
For the price we paid for this excursion, I should've just taken a taxi myself directly and bought 2 senior tickets. I would've saved a LOT of unnecessary wait time.
We booked this trip as a shore excursion and paid extra as compared to a similar tour with various hotel pick ups.
We were picked up at 1pm as scheduled and did not arrive to the start of our tour until 3 hours later. We spent 2 hours and 20 min picking up at various hotels with earphones promoting other tours offered in Rio, There was no guiding. 3:20pm was the last drop off for those on another tour Not only did the bus pick up passengers but also picked up and transferred people connecting to or from other tours, then continued to drive to board the train arriving at the station after 4pm
We asked the driver to return us to our cruise without taking the excursion we were looking forward to. Proceeding with the tour made us uncomfortable to return to our cruise in a timely fashion.
Connie G, Ontario Canada
Viator sent us the wrong pickup information. We were to meet our guide at gate 2 at the port. We waited for a long time but no one showed up. It turned out that the guide was waiting at gate 4 which is now the official pickup spot. As a result we missed the tour. We phoned and were put on the tour scheduled for the same time the next day. But we soon realized that it would not get us back to the boat on time. Kudos to Gray Line, they agreed to include us on an earlier tour which was not scheduled for port pickup. They picked us up at the port and then proceeded to hotel pickups. Despite all the anxiety the tour was excellent, the weather cooperated and the earlier time meant that Christ the Redeemer was not as crowded. Good guide and some stops made in the town to see the painted steps. So all went well in the end.
This tour is through Gray Line Company and it is HORRIBLE. DO NOT ever do a Gray Line tour. When we got off the ship our guide was no where to be found. We basically walked around till we saw the Gray Line bus and the driver was sitting in there all by himself. He didn't speak any English but I saw our names on the list so I knew we had the right bus. Finally the guide arrived and didn't even apologise or introduce himself. We then waited for 30mins for other passengers to find the bus. In the end the guide decided to leave even though there were 2 people who had yet to come so we don't know what happened to them. Then of course in typical horrible Gray Line style, we spent over an hour driving around in circles picking up people from the hotel. We couldn't even understand anything the guide was saying because his English was really bad. This was true for all our Gray Line tours in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Although they say they cater to English speaking people, they don't actually. There is a mixture of spanish and english people on the bus and the guides always spend way more time and explain better in spanish than they do in English. It is worth going to Christ the Redeemer. Just don't do it with Gray Line