We went on this tour 5/8/14. Ignoring the cold and windy day, our senior travel group decided to go on the carriage ride anyway.
1. The driver made us stand and wait 15 min before getting on (though he was the next one scheduled to leave). Some of our seniors are slightly handicapped (which was evident), but that didn't seem to matter to him.
2. We asked if the microphone was working...he said "yes, it's brand new". Well, it didn't work at all! He had to keep turning around to talk to us and most of the people in the back rows couldn't hear anything.
3. Yes, they had blankets to cover you from the cold wind, but our row's was a small one. The guys on the end were freezing.
4. The driver was visiting so much with the front rows' ladies, that he kept forgetting to point out the sights or stop at them. (I specifically asked about Arch Rock, but he wouldn't stop.)
5. The Carriage Island Tour Website mentions you'll see the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum, then transfer later to a bigger carriage. We didn't do this. The sights you were SUPPOSED TO SEE were the Butterfly Conservatory (we found out it was closed till mid-May), Arch Rock and the Governor's Mansion. We didn't see these either. The driver would point one way or another and say "it's over that way".
6. Getting on and off the carriage itself presented a safety hazard. There are no handles to grab on to (the vinyl seat-backs are too slippery) and the side steps are way too narrow. We were not the only ones to have a problem with this. One man "fell off" the carriage as he was trying to step down when we got to the Grand Hotel. (The driver never even asked if he was ok!)
As I said, you can't do anything about the weather. But the tour itself was terrible. Most of the sights we did not see because they were still closed or the driver failed to point them out or stop so we could see them. Even though he said he had been doing to tours for years, he apparently knew very little about the island. I think he just wanted to finish the tour asap because it was so cold!
To be fair, some of our friends said they had been there 2-3 yrs before and it was a wonderful tour. On this day, it was NOT. It was a total waste of time and money.
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