While our tour guides were wonderful, this tour was worth the price paid or what was presented. Describing the first hotel as average would be an overstatement.
It was an extremely small room, with NO air conditioning (it was broke and the front desk said 'sorry') with LOW temperatures of 95 degrees. The hotel had no amenities to purchase food or drinks and the front desk was rude. The first 3 restaurants were so hot that eating was impossible and being that hot, minimal water was provided with no opportunities to even purchase water, which becomes dangerous. The 3 of 4 of the buses did not have air conditioning.
It was absolutely miserable and dangerous. The second hotel was better, but still lacked laundry facilities, which prior to traveling I was told would be provided. As we were there, we were told by hotel employees that other events scheduled for the hotel were canceled due to potential gang activity around the hotel...made us feel real safe. Many of the events scheduled and we were told were a apart of the trip were canceled, time given at each were less than adequate, and so much "free time" for shopping was given (probably totally at LEAST 3 days total).
Shopping is not educational and why did I pay to shop? The catacombs tickets were not purchased prior to arrival and were booked until the end of August. EF acted shocked, but their website states they must be purchased months ahead of time.
This trip was to be focused on science, but less than 1/4 of the events were science related and little time was spent at these attractions. I was surprised it was this awful after my child's teacher pushed the event, but later found it that was because she and her family/friends traveled for free as they signed more students up to go.
Very disappointed and I will not recommend touring with the company.
Review by Tsibah5 months ago
Had a wonderful time in Greece during Spring Break! The Tour Director was incredible, very knowledgeable, and connected well with the students on the tour.
The trip was definitely geared towards teenagers, meaning we were on the go all the time - seeing as much as we possibly could! I can see how some adults would not enjoy the trip, because it was NOT a vacation.
The hotels were clean and comfortable, but not anything spectacular. Perfect for what we were using them for - just to sleep! The meals fed our hungry teenagers and were tasty.
Other reviews on this site talk about their poor experience with customer service - I didn't experience that. Everyone I spoke to was helpful and polite.
Overall, EF provided a quality trip experience geared towards the students on the tour. As an adult, I would have preferred some things be different but I had to remember that the trip wasn't about me - it was about my student!
Review by AtaGlance Handlan8 months ago
Our tour, "Paris to the Pyrenees" was a complete disappointment. We were promised to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and La Sagrada Familia. Little did we know that they meant FROM THE OUTSIDE! The closest we got the Eiffel Tower was a mile away for a ten minute photo op. Only half of my group got to go inside the Louvre (which they did in their free time and had to pay for themselves) while the other half went on the excursion to Versailles (which cost an extra $90!)
Our hotels were well outside the cities where we stayed (sometimes 1.5+ hours by bus or RER). They claim that it's for our safety and helps keep costs down for travelers. But what it really does is take hours away from our day, leaves no chance for evening exploration, and means more profits for EF. Other company's prices are comparable and use hotels that are centrally located.
The provided dinners were TERRIBLE and in no way authentic to where we were. For example, we went to a sub-par pizza joint in Paris. In Biarritz, we were served a "ham-burger" (a unseasoned beef patty with a slice of ham on top) and freezer burnt ice cream cups (the kind you eat as a kid with the little wooden "spoon").
The tour director was atrocious...lying to us about several things like how the bus driver wouldn't pick my group up when we opted out of one of their extra (money-grab) excursions (and we had to find our own way home - to the hotel that was an hour and half away!) or how we couldn't go into La Sagrada Familia because it was under construction. She very rarely gave any educational information about where we were, and when we specifically asked her to tell students about things we were seeing she clearly knew very little. She didn't know how to plan for the day to day (like not realizing that things are closed on Sundays/Mondays) or when our dinner reservations were supposed to be. In Pamplona, she disappeared for over six hours, never answering her phone or messages. We were left to explore on our own, but there was NOTHING open on a Sunday. To top it all off, she got drunk at the bar in Versailles, stumbled onto the bus and passed out.
Customer service was great with planning and recruiting travelers. On our return, though, they were non-existent. My emails and phone calls were never addressed and neither were those from my traveling parents who were promised refunds for the things we didn't get to see. Fundraising monies that were supposed to be applied to traveling students got applied to students that had already cancelled and was never returned.
Unfortunately, I've heard from several other teachers with similar experiences. We are trying to give our students a trip of a lifetime and EF is using that to rip us off.
EF Educational Tours is rated 2.0 based on
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