We booked and Eastern Wonders Air tour to leave New York on the 16th of April 2014.
We booked well in advance as this was to be the highlight of our visit to the upper part of America.
Not long after booking and paying Mauiva dropped the price by over $1300 per couple - so that was the first negative. After several approaches and knock backs we eventually got back $300 refunded .
I had read the reviews, with the overall theme of lack of communication, changed itineraries, not knowing where we were staying and general disorganization, And then most of the answers from management said thank you we appreciate your comments and were trying to improve.
Well guess what , we landed in the same boat.
After booking we received no further communication by the company unless we initiated it . Even three days before we left I rang to make sure all was ok as we had heard nothing , when I mentioned it might be nice to have heard something as this was supposed to be an upmarket tour , the comment was made , I understand where your coming from.
Anyway the tour started well and the first day in Niagara was special, when we went to check into our Hotel we were told a view of the Falls would be an upgrade at our expense, even a view of the town street would cost more. A standard room got us looking into the air conditioning ducts.
At dinner in all restaurants we were given one waiter only, to cover the food and drink orders, so there was always quite a lengthy wait to get the first refreshment. This certainly made us feel like second class citizens on a low budget bus tour.
On the second day we Travelled in heavy traffic to Toronto for 2 and a hour hours each way in the most boring of scenery only to then get caught up in heavy city traffic .On our second attempt we got to spend a rushed one hour only at the CN tower after a half hour tour of Parliament house.
That was the day!!. If you call that an upmarket and relaxing first class experience you may as well stay home and do your daily commute.
The third day we went to Washington where we had a pleasant tour of the city. When we went to enter the Capitol Building security turned us away as my wife had a 100ml perfume atomizer -perfectly legal on any international flight to USA . We were not informed prior to this of the stricter than international criteria, only, you will have to go through security so leave anything you don't need on the bus.
This was very embarrassing and subsequently we missed the tour.
The next morning as well as the first morning in Niagara when we went to breakfast they had no knowledge of our group and that breakfast was included and at first wanted to charge us. we did receive a bill for gratuities put under our door for payment on the last evening . When I queried this with the guide she mentioned they don't get paid a lot so tips are necessary. If you read the blurb Gratuities etc are supposed to be covered in your hassle free holiday.
So after two days in Washington, the following morning we were suppose to have a tour of The Arlington Cemetery. I picked up something was awry the previous evening as we met to go for dinner. When I asked are we going to Arlington as scheduled tomorrow morning I was told no.
we were flying directly to Philadelphia where we were to meet another group who would join us with there guide. This is after a second group had joined our group in Washington with there separate guide. So we ended up on this tour with three groups and three guides.
Anyway when I questioned that not going to Arlington was unacceptable the guide agreed and rang the office with the comment we had paid for a six day tour and were only getting five (exact words).
We were to be told later that we in fact were flying out first thing in the morning and we had driven past Arlington and given commentary so that was sufficient.
So off to Philadelphia with three groups two of which were still waiting to go to Niagara , hence the hurry up to get us back to New York early the following morning instead of the final day being a Tour of the Hershey factory.
So this Hershey Tour was squeezed in the fifth day (an unnecessary three hours padding anyway) before we went off to visit the Amish Country which we could have spent a lot more time there ,than in the gift shops at Hershey.
On the sixth day of touring there was none. We were up early and straight back to New York. As mentioned before this was to facilitate the other two groups getting to Niagara on the same plane in a reasonable time. We obviously were expendable.
There was a lot of protest in our group over this rough shod treatment and to some extent it was the straw that broke the camels back as we didn't know where we were staying each night until that morning, just in case family or friends needed to contact us. We were never given an itinerary other than by mouth .
So instead of getting back to New York in the afternoon we arrived before 10am and on the bus back to the hotel were offered a belated two hour tour of New York. We had just spent the previous 9 days there so it was an insult.
I did wait till we got home to raise all these issues with the company and a claim that if we had known we would arrive in NYC we could have easily made our connecting flight out that evening instead of spending $400 on another night at the Sheraton Tribeca (Mauiva meeting place).
After a week I got the same platitudes I had read many times, We thank you for your feedback, improving our tours is important, Bla Bla Bla. They couldn't even spell our name right .We felt totally fobbed off and hence our need to warn others of our bad experience.
Totally unbelievable and I told myself I should have heeded the warnings from too many people's reviews prior.
To put this review in context, we spent 42 days in the States and this was the only negative review of all the hotels, tours and restaurants we had visited in our total time and they were many, as we did a 3500 mile road trip of the South West and every hotel, restaurant and activity received a glowing review with still a dozen or more to go.
So forewarned is forearmed. There are a lot of alternatives to See Niagara and Washington without paying so much money for a "PADDED" badly communicated ,poorly organized and certainly you didn't feel like a special customer Air Tour.
My advice is research carefully before making your decision.
Whatever the answer I get from this review from management my wife and I strongly feel we have been let down and bought a product that was overvalued and misrepresented.
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