Italy/Trans-Atlantic Cruise 11/11/06-12/02/06
This correspondence is to list the dissatisfactions I had with your companies' handling of the above referenced tour/cruise.
It was a disaster from the beginning to end. When we arrived in Rome, buses #1-#6 were taken to the Hotel Regent; unfortunately we were on bus #5.
The Hotel Regent was a total dump, as the room was dark (insufficient lighting) dirty with shabby furnishings; to top that off the staff of the Regent was
very rude and the food at the hotel was over-priced and awful. The Hotel Regent is on the outskirts of Rome and was not anywhere near shopping, tourist
sites or decent restaurants.
There were three cafes around the hotel area that were only open during the day, and one tiny restaurant for the evening, there was not a good meal to be had. Because we were a 'captive audience' YMT sold (optional dinners) for 50 euros a person, which translates into a $60 meal.
The meals served on these dinner excursions was reported as substandard and not worth even half the price. In fact, my mother contracted food poisoning
from the Villa dinner that was in Montecatini.
The tour contractors for YMT in Rome and Northern Italy were rude and only interested in obtaining extra monies from the sale of 'optional' tours, daily tips and rushing through the meager excursions. The regular tours consisted mainly of driving by the sites and taking pictures from a bus seat through a dingy window.
Some customers on the tour were turned away at the buses by the tour guides because they would be unable to keep up with the group due to age or disabilities. YMT is geared toward the 'mature' traveller, which is basically senior citizens 65 and up, but this tour certainly did not cater to their needs.
The groups from buses 1-6 were informed by Alice, who was YMT's main representative in Rome, stated at the orientation meeting that this would not be a "toilet tour" and that everyone better go before leaving the hotel and to plan on not going again until returning to the hotel.
The tours promised in the advertising brochure were either cancelled or completely ignored. Memories of Italy consist of crowded, stuffy buses and
doing drivebys of the sites.
At the Vatican we were promised a tour of the museums, which did not happen as we were talked to out in the courtyard then pushed through the Sistene Chapel for 10 minutes. We were rushed so we could be back at the dumpy hotel by 12:30 pm so 'optional' tours could be bought and taken in the afternoon. Then to get back to the bus from the Vatican we were made to walk uphill for 3 very long, steep blocks because the tour operators did not want to pay extra to park closer or to come pick up the group at a closer site.
At Sienna, YMT tours did not hire smaller buses (as other groups did from other companies) that could have driven up the steep hills into the city.
We were still in large buses and had to walk up a very steep, long hill to reach Sienna. As a result several persons, including my mother, were unable to see the town but had to sit and rest at a cafe. The tour as a whole was handled by rude, intolerant guides.
The transatlantic cruise was on Costa Mediterranea (now owned by Carnival) and it was second rate at best. The room stewards and the waiters in the dining areas were the only outstnding asset of the ship. The Animation (Entertainment) staff which handled the passengers were very snotty, untrained,and too young to handle the diversity of the passengers.
The Mediteranna staff mishandled the disembarcation of the passengers at the conclusion of the cruise, and it was a complete disaster. The whole operation was an incompetent, unplanned mess, orchestrated by a staff, most of whom were on their first cruise job, and under 30 years old.
Thank goodness there was no disaster at sea because it would have been a worse catastrophe than the Titanic!
In closing I want to reiiterate that we feel YOUR MAN TOURS is an expert at the art of "Bait & Switch" in the travel industry who targets and preys upon senior citizens. YMT Tours will definitely not get my business again because I was thoroughly disappointed and angered with the treatment and the level of customer service that I and others received.