We booked a package through Icelandair in conjunction with Iceland Travel. The part in Reykjavik was good but the weak link was Akureyri and we did not think much of Saga Travel, the agents of Iceland Travel. On the night of our Northern Lights tour it was snowing heavily. There may have been a chance of seing the aurora if we had gone higher but we were taken along the valley to look at a Christmas shop and the outside of a church. This is not what we had booked and the trip should have been cancelled. We were promised a second go the next evening and we were ready in the hotel foyer before we were told that the trip was cancelled. During that day we had booked a trip to Lake Myvatn by superjeep (not provided - just a normal 4WD car). We were told at the hotel that the pass was closed by snow and blocked by a lorry. After 2 hours we were told that everything was OK. Instead of going directly to our destination we were taken on a tour to some farms and the ski resort in Akureyi. We eventually set out fo Lake Myvatn but when we reached the pass we were told it was still closed. After much telephoning by the guide, we were taken on an alternative route. It was snowing hard and conditions were poor. We eventually came to a road which was deep in snow. There was then another telephone conversation and we started up the road. Conditions became increasingly dangerous and eventually the guide was persuaded to turn back, which was achieved by much sliding and getting stuck. We asked for a refund, which we got, but we were left with the impression that Saga Travel cared more about their income than the satisfaction and safety of their customers.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 29, 2012
We would like to thank you for sending us comments on your stay in Akureyri. It is useful for us to hear about how people experience our service and we will use the information in order to improve our services. For us it is priority that people are feeling comfortable and safe on our tours and we regret that you did not enjoy your tours with Saga Travel.
Report response as inappropriate
The supplier Saga Travel has been our long time successful cooperating partner in Akureyri and we have been in contact with them because of your experience. When it is snowing there is a little chance to see the Northern Lights, but sometimes it happens that a “window” in the sky opens and the lights can been seen. Going higher in the ground when it is snowing does not help. The mountain roads in Iceland are not high enough, only about 1500 feet the highest when these snow clouds are usually at least 3000 feet high. Saga Travel is a pioneer and designer of these Northern Lights tours in North Iceland and they have very rich experience. Northerly winds were blowing at the time you stayed in Akureyri and just then it is better to head south in to the valley to see the Northern Lights. This has got to do with vapor drying up and the hope was that the air would be drier in the valley than by the coast. We focus on giving our customers an alternative when weather is impossible to see the Northern Lights and the experience is that it is difficult to know ahead of time if the lights are going to be seen or not. The best chance to see the northern lights that particular night was at the valley where you came across the Christmas Garden and the church. No one can control the weather or the Northern Lights but we can try do things instead, things you would not have seen or experienced otherwise.
Usually the option of going for the Northern Lights is kept open as long as possible. The second night you were staying in Akureyri it was a hard decision if to cancel the tour or not. A representative from Saga Travel should have been sent to the hotel to brief you about the situation. On the other hand it is often difficult to find all people booked on the tours and therefore the information about the cancellation is left at the hotel reception.
Regarding the Lake Myvatn Super Jeep tour, when the weather is bad it is sometimes difficult to get details about the road conditions. The information given by the road administration turned out to be wrong that morning, but the main reason was that there was a lorry stuck in the Vikurskard pass. The telephoning was for the safety of the guests, trying to find out which road was open and exchanging the information between the two super jeeps travelling together. The passengers should probably have been kept better informed about what was going on, we think it would have made you feel better about the tour. The jeeps used for this tour are modified vehicles with extra big tires, one was on 38" tires and the jeep you were on was on 35" tires. The weather played a big rule on your holiday and sometimes we have to give in to Mother Nature.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.