As you can see, I write a lot of Trip Advisor reviews, because I rely on them to make my travel plans. Our "See It All" tour of NYC the other day was rife with problems. Perhaps they had a bad day? You be the judge.
It began with 35 of us packed onto the bus as suggested, 30 minutes early, and the guide, Shelley, showing up literally at the second we were ready to depart. It did not leave me with the most professional impression. We were told there would be no opportunity to use a bathroom for at least 2 hours, and that turned out to be 2.5 hours, which was not an issue for me, but was for others.
Then, our lunch stop was 25 minutes at the fast food court, really poor, in the Statten Island Ferry terminal. With all the neighbourhoods we were passing and being told there was great food there, I am not at all clear why we would have been eating where we were.
The main problem began when our bus was not at the ferry terminal upon our return from the ferry ride. I overheard a cell phone conversation and learned Fred, the guy in charge, had asked his driver to run a personal errand for him, and well, the driver did not get back in time. So....we walked the tour until about 3:00. At one point, Fred appeared, and told us there was good news! We would not have to take the subway back, the bus would return!
Was he kidding? At any point we were at risk of no transportation home because he decided to use our driver for his own use?
It gets "better". Shelley then left 15 of us while he escorted the group of 20 to the bus, which had finally returned. They needed to catch a train, and so....for 25 minutes (I checked), we stood alone, just wasting time. Unfortunately we had to continue the walking tour because the bus driver was not back from his shuttle run until about 4:00. It was clear to me that we were killing time until it worked for him to return.
When he did return, we boarded the bus for home, but a few minutes in, one of the group noticed two members were missing :P, so we stopped the bus and off Shelley went to find them. I guess the concept of head counts escapes On Board.
By now, the rush hour traffic was horrific, and now we were late for our own next commitments, so, at about 5:00, we jumped bus, so to speak, and walked a very long walk back. Shelley, for the record, was a good tour guide, but we did catch more than a handful of inaccurate facts, probably thrown out for the sake of a good story.
The other issue was that we booked a bus tour because one of our party had a broken foot, and while she could walk, the bus was planned to give her breaks. When we got back to the hotel, I wrote Fred, expressing our frustration throughout the day, and asked him for a partial refund, given the day was anything but as advertised. I got back from him a ranting, angry, rude email, basically telling me no one on the bus liked me from the beginning, and he ha checked with everyone else and they were all happy. Even if they were happy, this was not the issue. We were not, and for good reason. I tried again to send a second rational email, and got back more rudeness, at which point I asked Fred to refrain from contacting me again, which he did, and my final request made it clear I considered this to be harassment. At the least, Fred should have apologized to us for the day going awry. He did not. Instead he attacked me, his customer. Not a very good experience, to say the least.