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Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Colorado Springs...
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Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Mark Story, executive director of Story Land and Sea created a wonderful and thorough tour of Venice, Florence, San Gimignano, Rome and Sorrento. The itinerary was well defined ahead of time, his staff was quick to answer questions before and during the trip, the wine and Prosecco flowed well in the evenings and we made some great new friends in our 12-person group. He and his staff selected superb, location-oriented hotels that offered full hot breakfasts, quaint local restaurants for the first evening's dinner, and knowledgeable local guides for the morning tours. Afternoons were left open to do as we pleased. It was a great introductory trip that has whetted our appetite for more of Italy and other Story L&S Tours. I'm sure we'll become alumni clients. Have no doubts, you'll have fun. Make time for adventure, smell the roses, drink the Prosecco and kiss your companion-or an Italian, they are so beautiful! You won't regret it. Take lots of pictures so you can relive the adventure!

Mentioned in this post
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
San Gimignano
San Gimignano
Province of Siena, Italy
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Sorrento
Sorrento
Province of Naples, Italy
Italy
Italy
Europe
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New York City, New...
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11. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

I agree with your statements only partially. I have traveled all over the world both on my own and with tour groups. Without a doubt our trip to Italy with Story Land and Sea was the poorest trip I've had. We found that they know how to promote their tours very well but most of the advertising is "fluff" and not substantiated in substance.

Other people may have had different expectations and experiences with them. I can only report on what we received. I cannot recommend them. Since I depend on trip advisor for recommendations I wanted to return to the travel community my experience and let people choose after reading everyone's opinion.

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Italy
Italy
Europe
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
37 posts
43 reviews
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12. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

3traveler333: Welcome to TripAdvisor. I encourage you to provide reviews about your travels on this site as it's a great place for real people to share their experiences and impressions. I am also sorry your experience with Story Land & Sea® was not what you expected. Can you elaborate further so others will understand why your experience was not up to your expectations? I think by doing this other travelers might be able to understand if Story is right for them (or not!). Thanks!

Ashburn, Virginia
1 post
2 reviews
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13. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Just returned from Great Cities Tour. Though we had a wonderful trip, I do feel I should note some of the not so positive experiences for future travelers. After flying all night and spending two and half hours in Frankfurt airport we arrived at hotel in Venice at 9:30 am to be told we could not get in our room until 2:30. We were exhausted, needed a shower and some time to relax as we were 22 hours with no sleep. Our tour guide arrived and pleaded with hotel to get us in our room which happened at 1:30. (Note, we used Story Land's air group for flights). Perhaps my husband falling asleep in hotel lobby helped though making us the ugly American's. This was our least favorite hotel of tour. Front desk not attentive or friendly at all. if you take this tour recommend you go a day early so you can start the tour fresh and rested. Keep in mind your tour officially starts that afternoon. Hotel in Florence was wonderful as was hotel in Cortona! Hotel in Rome was not 4 star in our opinion. As far as meals our concerned, we agree with other reviewers. Not worth the money. We never had an opportunity to order off the menu. Food was average at best. One example, second night (optional night) we found ourselves in same restaurant as previous night and ordered off the menu. What a difference in quality of food! Our last meal at private residence with chef was excellent. Another item of disappointment was our reserved group tour of Uffizi Galllary in Florence. The guide was a half hour late and spoke very poor English. Had little interaction with our group and appeared bored with the whole thing. If you want to visit the museum save your money and buy general admission tickets like another couple in our group did. We ended up leaving the tour after a half our it was that disappointing. If you do not like to be rushed do not take a tour. You visit so many places in so little time that many times we felt there was not enough time to explore or shop. Example, the 10 minutes we had to shop after the Vatican City tour. Positives were the prearranged pick ups at airport etc. transfers were stress free and worth every penny. We had a great group of people who were lots of fun and our tour guide was excellent. Would we spend that much money on a tour again? Was hopping to do Ireland next but the verdict is still out.

Mentioned in this post
Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Hesse, Germany
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Florence
Florence
Province of Florence, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Vatican City
Vatican City
5,869 Reviews
Vatican City, Italy
Ireland
Ireland
Europe
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14. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Our experience with Story Land & Sea in many cases was similar to yours. We were never offered to order off of the regular menu but had, more or less, the tourist menu offered. There was plenty of food to be sure but the quality definitely was so-so.

The Uffizi Galery tour was definite a rip-off. You're far better off simply going on your own since Story offers nothing in the way of value-added for the extra money they charge for this tour.

We found that the hotels were not up to the quality we expected. They were centrally located as promised but other than that, they were just OK.

We also had a great group of people and enjoyed our traveling companions. We will almost certainly go on other tours in Europe but it will never be with Story Land & Sea. We were quite disappointed.

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Europe
Europe
World
Denver, Colorado
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37 posts
43 reviews
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15. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Dear travelworld676767,

Thank you for posting a TripAdvisor review firstly. It's a great resource for people to explore and learn about travel and how to travel. And, secondly, I'm so sorry your experience with Story was not where you expected it to be. Please be sure and complete the post-tour survey which should come to your inbox within a few days to weeks after your trip. This way, the company will be notified of shortcomings and will try to respond.

Again, thank you for trusting in Story and I wish you great adventures ahead no matter where you go or with whom you travel!

Denver, Colorado
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37 posts
43 reviews
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16. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Dear 383lovetotravel,

Thanks for posting your review. It does help travelers to read about your positive and not-so-great experiences! I am sorry you had some disappointments. Please be sure to complete your post-tour survey from Story as they will want to respond to you! Again, thanks for posting to TripAdvisor.

Enfield, Connecticut
1 post
1 review
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17. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

After reading all the reviews, I'd like to start by saying that I believe TJS171 was very "spot-on" with their excellent summary of the tour. I also agree that everyone has their own individual response and experience. Like most of you, we have done extensive traveling and for nearly all these trips we planned the itineraries ourselves. But this time we decided to go with an organized tour, and decided to consider only small group tours. After a extensive research we settled on Story, and we just returned earlier this week from the Great Cities Tour and Amalfi extension. If I was a centipede I would have given the trip 100 thumbs up! Story covered everything, from the moment we arrived in Venice airport until we flew out of Naples nearly two weeks later. No worries, ever.

Yes, you will pay more for the Story experience, but from a value perspective they cannot be beat. All the typical details that you have to focus on during a trip that distract from your focus on the destination and what you are seeing are no longer an issue. Our Tour Captain, Ryane Moates, took care of every single detail. She was incredibly knowledgeable, energetic, fully aware of all of our needs, and most of all, passionate about her responsibilities. I know that passion comes from the Story organization in their choice of Tour Captains. I had a similar experience resolving a travel issue for our return trip. My only regret with the planning is that I had taken care of the air connections myself. Ron Gholston at Story went above and beyond with his assistance getting my travel plans adjusted on the return trip which was a godsend.

Regarding the tour itself, the fact that you are given about a half day of organized touring and left with the afternoon to explore on your own, shop or just relax at the hotel was the perfect way to approach each city. I never felt like we were being herded like cattle in order to cram in a certain number of sites with a busload of people. The other major advantage of the small group was that we were able to get into restaurants, the winery, hotels, even the private boat ride over to the Isle of Capri that a large group simply cannot get to. The hotels were unique, excellent accommodations and central to the areas we wanted to visit by a short walk. I mean, in Rome we were across the street from the Pantheon! And at our last hotel in Sorrento we could sit on our balcony and look at Mt. Vesuvius directly across the bay. It was like living in a postcard.

Because Story has been doing this tour for many years, and refined the itinerary, they are able to really personalize the experience. That means eating at Sofia Loren's favorite restaurant in Sorrento, or dinner prepared by a chef in a private home in Rome. The relationship between Story and the personnel at the hotels and restaurants, with the privates guides and drivers ensures that their guests are given special attention.

We had a group of 14, and enjoyed sharing time, and getting to know them for the past two weeks. If you are someone that would rather just go solo with a guide book, then this is not the tour for you. You will certainly save money, but there is no way you can do the research to help you choose the hotels, guides, and itinerary that Story has done after years of experience and feedback from their Tour Captains and previous guests.

If someone asks if I would choose Story again, the answer is that we've already booked a tour of Greece and Croatia next year. Good luck with your travels, and I hope you all have the type of experience we had.

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Amalfi
Amalfi
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Venice
Venice
City of Venice, Italy
Naples
Naples
Province of Naples, Italy
Island of Capri
Island of Capri
Province of Naples, Italy
Rome
Rome
Lazio, Italy
Pantheon
Pantheon
64,899 Reviews
Rome, Italy
Sorrento
Sorrento
Province of Naples, Italy
Sofia
Sofia
1,050 Reviews
Rome, Italy
Greece
Greece
Europe
Croatia
Croatia
Europe
Tulsa, OK
Level Contributor
15 posts
23 reviews
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18. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Just saw your post! As a travel agent - I have sent close to 50 clients with Story Land & Sea - and have myself taken 2 of their trips. (another one coming up April 2017) You will not find a more conscientious - value for the money driven company. It's all in the details! My clients love the preparation work that Story Land & Sea provides prior to departure; making sure all goes smoothly, with no questions left on the table. Their tour guides are knowledgeable and anticipate the needs of the tour. Love the small group model... Keeps the tours humming and is much more intimate than the 52 passenger bus tours.

The location of their hotels is one of the big draws......ALWAYS city center - close to the action.

I could go on and on. Just let me say - I love putting my clients with Story Land & Sea as I know that from start to finish - they will be well taken care of - and come home with glowing reports of their experience!

Pomona, New York
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17 posts
5 reviews
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19. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

My husband and I are researching different tours for Italy. I found out about Story by accident. My husband has his mind set on Perillo. Does anyone know what the differences are between these two tours from experience. We want a tour that includes Positano that's why Story interested me with the Amalfi Coast extension. Any input you could give me would be appreciated.

Mentioned in this post
Italy
Italy
Europe
Positano
Positano
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast
Campania, Italy
Denver, Colorado
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37 posts
43 reviews
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20. Re: Story Land & Sea, Great Cities Tour

Hayanee1,

The biggest difference will be group size: Story will have maximum 16 guests. No big buses. Perillo, which is a fine company, will feature larger more traditional group size on a Perillo motorcoach. Dinner packages and styles are different as well. Just a couple quick observations.

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