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“I felt like I was scammed” 1 of 5 stars
Review of McComb's Executive Travel and Day Tours

McComb's Executive Travel and Day Tours
22-32 Donegall Road | inside Belfast International Youth Hostel, Belfast BT12 5JN, Northern Ireland
028 9031 5333
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$14*
and up
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Owner description: McComb's Travel is Belfast's longest established Coach Day Tour Provider. We are the only tour company providing brand new luxury award winning coaches, offering passengers the upmost comfort, along with highly experienced friendly guides. We offer a day tour to Giant's Causeway, along with new Game of Thrones Tours, Cruise Ship Shore Excursions, Bespoke Private Tours and luxury travel.
Galway, Ireland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“I felt like I was scammed”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

I was recently in Belfast with a group of friends, and we decided we'd like to go on a bus trip to Giant's Causeway. McComb's has their office in the hostel where were were staying, so we decided to go with them (We had first looked at the Paddywagon trip... I wish we had gone with them).

Anyhow, we left the hostel at 9:15 and headed to our first stop, Carrickfergus Castle. The driver, Stephen, talked to the passengers over the microphone as if we were children, chastising passengers when they talked over his commentary. At one point, he "shhhh"ed the passengers! I found it rude and insulting, as everyone on the tour was an adult. Frankly, we paid for the trip, and if we want to talk to each other, we were going to. We weren't in any way loud or distracting. He was just upset that we weren't silent for his commentary.

At the first stop, the driver informed us that the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Giant's causeway were not free. He told us that they were £6.50 each, but that we could buy a ticket from him in advance for £10.00 that would cover both admissions. He explained especially that at the Giant's Causeway, without the ticket, we wouldn't be able to go into the visitors center, which had the gift shops, coffee shop, and toilets, or use the shuttle busses. It seemed like a good deal at the time, so I bought it (as did many others).

We drove up the coast road, and it really was a nice drive. However, the driver's jokes weren't funny, especially because there were a lot of non-native English speakers. At one point he said, "Does anyone know why the paint the sheep different colors? To tell the Protestant ones from the Catholic ones!" Not really that funny, because some of the non-native speakers took his statement literally, and we had to explain that he was joking.

We then got to the site where the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is. The fact of the matter is, you can walk around all of the trails for free. You only have to pay if you are crossing the bridge itself. That was the first moment where I had an inkling that the driver wasn't totally honest with us. Also, when we got there, one woman asked the driver to purchase the double pass for both, and he refused to sell it to her. He told her that it was a special offer and that if she didn't buy it when he first offered, too bad.

So we did cross the rope bridge, and it was great. But still, I wasn't happy with the driver, and it only got worse. After we left, we headed to Dunlance Castle, but it turns out that it's not even a visit. He stops the bus for about 2.5 minutes so we could get out and take a photo, but we didn't even get close to it.

Next, the driver gave us a big story about how they had tried all of the different places for lunch, but that eating at the Bushmills distillery was the best. He told us that the restaurant served Guinness and Steak Pie as a specialty, and he rattled off a few other items. He then told us that we wouldn't have enough time for the Bushmills tour, but lunch would be worth it. It wasn't. When we got there, it turns out that the "restaurant" was actually a cafeteria run by the same company (Aramark) that runs the canteen at the University I work at. Talk about disappointment. It was the same mass-produced food that I see every day and there was nothing special about it. The driver had made it sound like the Guinness and Steak Pie was a specialty, but it was just barely suitable. I would have much rather eaten at a local pub or something.

We then headed on to Giant's Causeway. When we got there, it became apparent that we had been totally snowballed. Yes, it was true that to get into the visitors center, (which had the gift shops, coffee shop, and toilets), you needed to buy a ticket. However, RIGHT NEXT to the visitors center, there was another building with a pub, restaurant, toilets, souvenir shop, and snack shop! He basically made it seem like we wouldn't be able to use the toilets or purchase a beverage unless we bought this ticket. I felt like such a fool. When I mentioned this, he said, "Well, the ticket includes an audio tour." Seriously, what did I need an audio tour for when I was going to be walking along rocks and stuff? Also you did not need the ticket to walk the road out to the cliffs. That is completely free, even though he made it seem like you needed a ticket. And, the shuttle bus he mentioned when trying to sell us the tickets was an additional £1 each way. You can guess that I didn't use them.

The causeway itself and the surrounding trails are beautiful, and I'm glad I made it out there. Next time, we'll either rent a car or find another company. I felt conned, and frankly was embarrassed that I got taken advantage of. I'm generally travel savvy and don't get sucked into tourist traps, but he was certainly misleading, and I won't travel with the company again, nor will I recommend it to any friends.

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
carolinemccomb, Owner at McComb's Executive Travel and Day Tours, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Thank-you for your feedback about our tour, I am very disappointed to hear that our service did not meet your expectations. This is not the normal feedback which we receive about this tour as you will see from our reviews which precede yours.
I have spoken in detail to the driver who you were out with and would like to offer some explanation.
During the entire tour, but especially so on the journey between Belfast and Carrickfergus, the driver gives some extremely important information about what will happen during the tour. This includes all of the information about the Combo Tickets for Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge. He explains how we offer a heavily discounted ticket which will cover entry to the Causeway Visitor Centre, and the fee to cross Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge. He also explains that this is very much optional and that passengers are more than welcome to walk to the stones at the Causeway free of charge or simply view the bridge without crossing it, which is also free of charge. This is vital information to allow everyone to have an enjoyable day and ensure that they get everything from the tour that they want. This is why it is so important that all passengers listen carefully and are able to hear what he is saying. This information is also detailed within our brochure, and on our website. As we are working with the National Trust to provide these tickets which offer a 25% discount on these optional entries, we have certain administrative rules which we have no option but to abide by. To avail of the discount we must book in our confirmed numbers with the National Trust early in the day, and after we leave Carrickfergus we are not permitted to amend these numbers. This is not a rule which we impose, it is imposed upon us. Again this is important information and it is vital that passengers on the coach listen to and can hear it.
On our brochure which is on displayed in several locations throughout the International Youth Hostel, it clearly states that the stop at Dunluce Castle is a photo stop only. A tour or visit to the actual site has never been included in our tour, and time just doesn’t allow us to include it.
As the driver pointed out, we have tried numerous restaurants for our lunch stop during the tour, and the stop at Bushmills Distillery is very much the best which we have used. There are very few restaurants in that area which can cater for as many people as we carry, however, the main reason for us stopping there is the added attraction of being able to visit this site, which has a lovely gift shop, whiskey bar, and is a lovely backdrop. Again, some of the vital information that passengers must be able to hear from the driver is that you are under no obligation to buy lunch here as there are food outlets at the Causeway within the Causeway Hotel, The Nook, and within the visitor Centre. Several passengers also avail of the opportunity to bring along a picnic and enjoy this at the Causeway.
Your feedback is certainly not the norm for our tour, and I am very sorry that you did not enjoy your day with us, however we do appreciate any feedback that is given as this allows us to keep staff training relevant and up to date. If you would like to discuss any of the issues in greater detail please feel free to contact me directly and I will be happy to help.
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Ellicott City, Maryland
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“could not recommend highly enough!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2013 via mobile

I was in Belfast for a meeting. Skipped out for a day to take the McComb's Giant's Causeway day trip and had an amazing time. Made my reservation online in advance and it was seamless, the bus met me right outside my hotel (Europa) in Belfast. The driver Patrick was truly outstanding, very professional, funny, informative and also helped the tourists with logistics. For example, he advised us about buying tickets to different locations, suggesting what to pay for and what not to pay for, directed us toward the pub at Giants Causeway rather than Visitor's Center if we finished early, etc. His knowledge of the Antrim Coast was exceptional, I really enjoyed his commentary. The day trip was about 9 hours but seemed to fly by. The stops were great, enough walking at the rope bridge and Causeway to feel energized, plenty of time to rest on the bus between stops. We had lunch at Bushmill's Distillery which was very good, although I wish we had a little more time as we were not able to take a tour of the distillery.

I would highly recommend this trip, it was a very efficient way to see that part of the country and the Causeway. Also, I have to admit, I found the price to be lower than I would have expected, I thought it was a great value for the price.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Giant's causeway & hop on hop off tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

As i can remember, McComb's was one of the cheapest tours available and we had a great time. The hop on/hop off buses are 2 stories high and have a top compared to other tour companies that have no top on...and you know it can get cold and rain in Ireland.We had also booked online a tour to giant's causeway. We had plenty of time at giant's causeway and just enough time at carrick a rede rope bridge. For the carrickfergus castle, it is just a pit stop and for the bushmills distillery, it's also a pit stop for lunch. A bit disappointing but I am pretty sure that whichever tour company you will take, it would probably be the same thing...At the Bushmills distillery try the "hot tuddy", it'll knock your socks off. Over all, this was a great package.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A memorable day”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

As a group of 6 we pre-booked a private tour with McComb's, principally to visit the Giant's Causeway. We were picked up from our central Belfast hotel at 9.30 am by our driver/guide Pat, in a luxury 16 seater Mercedes coach. Pat initially ran through the proposed itinerary but also gave us the opportunity to make changes should we wish. We stuck with Pat's proposals and were thoroughly delighted with the outcome. After a quick tour of central Belfast Pat took us to Carrickfergus and then on to the Causeway via the magnificent Antrim coast route, where we were able to see at first hand the beautiful glens and villages of Antrim. Throughout our tour Pat kept us informed in a thoroughly professional, interesting and humorous way. Pat's knowledge of the area is superb. On our way to the Causeway we visited the Carrick-a-Rede ropebridge and were able to cross the bridge. We were very fortunate that the weather on the day of our tour was generally very good for the time of the year (late October) with bright sunshine for a large part of the day and even when we did encounter a rain shower it was quite magical as we experienced a magnificent rainbow when we were visiting the ropebridge. We stopped for lunch at Bushmills distillery and after a short photo stop at Dunluce Castle went on to the absolutely wonderful Giant's Causeway (an absolute must if you are in Northern Ireland).
After spending a good time admiring this wonderful stretch of coastline and amazing rock formations, followed by a quick cup of afternoon tea, we headed back to Belfast where Pat gave a quick tour around Crumlin Road/Shankill Road/Falls Road areas where we saw both sides of the divide including the Peace Wall and the various murals in both Catholic & Protestant areas. We were dropped back at our hotel at approx 6.00 pm after a thoroughly memorable day.

Visited October 2013
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A TripAdvisor Member
“" Well worth going to see..."”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

Booked the McComb's Causeway Tour online without any problem, at short notice.

Easy pick up at Youth Hostel near Shaftesbury Square and basically after that it is " sit back and enjoy the ride...".

Driver, Pat, was the epitome of professionalism keeping us informed along the route of the many fascinating facts and history surrounding the stunning Coast Road. That this drive is one of the top ten coastal drives in the world is no exaggeration.... Truly stunning.

Got lucky with the weather and had clear blue sky from start to finish which was a pure bonus.

I have been on other tours before, around the world, which have been spoiled by bad commentators telling corny jokes etc but I must say that our driver Pat was a true natural. Informative and obviously engaged and interested in the history of the castles and landscape of this historic area.

I highly recommend this tour , it will probably be the best £20.00 you spend this year.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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