Tour Operator:Collette Vacations
Date of Your Tour (Month/Year):7/2010
Itinerary:Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
My mother (a lively senior) and I had a miserable experience on this tour.
Although Collete might have been a decent company at one time, they have truly lost their way. When I contacted Dan Sullivan (President) and Phillip Hobbs (Customer Relations) I received a response that basically denigrated every point that I raised about our experience, including the lack of concern by the tour guide for our dissatisfaction even while on the trip.
In our view, almost all of the problems we encountered can be attributed to the extremely poor structure of the product and the decision made by Collette to allow 50 people to participate on a tour that was not structured to support that many participants. With the exception of the visit to Bouchard Gardens, the entire first part of the trip (Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna) could be eliminated. The activities that were offered were uninteresting, and there was not enough free time (or guidance offered) to allow for any real enjoyment of the locations (only 45 minutes in Stanley Park… what’s the point of that?). And Kelowna should be avoided completely. There was nothing of any interest to do (at least that was recommended by the tour escort) and the Delta Grand where we stayed was uprepared for the size of our group at mealtimes. I can only assume we stopped there as a way-station on the overly long trek to Jasper.
The tour was SERIOUSLY overbooked (they apparently combined two groups together at the last minute to avoid losing revenue from canceling a tour that did not have sufficient participants). This caused many many issues for the entire trip, including having the bus almost stall 4 times on a long stretch of uphill road between Kaloowna and Jasper, BC. There was no back up plan, and the very experienced bus driver admitted to me after we thankfully made it up the hill that he had never had so many people with so much luggage on the bus before, and that (combined with it being a warm day) caused the bus to overheat. To which I responded...."and who's fault is that? The tour company's!"
Based on our experience and the lack of concern demonstrated by the response from their company leadership, I strongly urge you to avoid any tour presented by this company.
How did you find out about this tour operator?
recommended by our travel agent.
Pros and cons?
Best - visit to Bouchard Gardens. We visited first thing in the morning and avoided the hordes of additional tourists that arrived mid-morning.
Worst - over crowded tour bus, terrible arrangements for dinners at the resorts, overly long bus rides, lack of concern by tour escort.
Would you recommend this to a friend?No
Nancy Parode, About.com Senior Travel, says:
Collette Vacations' representative contacted me with this response to Ms. Caplow's review:
“When a destination is in high demand, we do all possible to accommodate customers. However as a result of feedback, we have made some changes to limit the capacity on certain tours to enhance the overall experience. We appreciate all constructive comments as it helps us improve service quality.”