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Frustration with booking process

My husband and I were on the Kenya Wildlife Safari from Jan. 18-29 of this year. We were pleased with the trip but have a few suggestions for future travelers and a major complaint with the booking process. First, be sure someone in the office has taken this trip and can answers questions with authority. There was a lot of uncertainty about the approved size of the soft-sided checked luggage. Roads in the animal preserves and even on the road to the 5 star resort in Navaisha were poorly maintained and left us bouncing around like rag dolls. Electricity in the preserves is generator provided and turned off for extended periods.....a reserve battery-operated charger could be recommended. The lodges/hotels could provide more than one small bottle of water per day per guest. We were not prepared for all of the tipping. We thought we had brought ample small bills but quickly ran out with all of the porters, maids, servers, etc. encountered. Our suggestion would be to include tips in price of trip. The Mount Kenya Lodge was our least favorite destination....very few animals seen and very small accommodations. My personal experience with your reservation staff was poor.....not that they were rude but they were not knowledgeable and promised to get back with me and didn’t. This lack of response extended to supervisors also. When someone tells me they will get back to me be the end of the day, I expect that to happen! This tour was the fifth one we have taken with SmarTours and have highly recommended it to many of our friends. We have never encountered a tour where airfare was not available for the number of travelers enrolled. In this case, there were only 16 of us but only 13 seats available. We found this out after we had convinced another couple to go with us and when they called to reserve, we’re told there was only one seat available. Since we wanted to be sure we were traveling together, it meant we had to arrange our own flight to Kenya (through an independent agent) which was on the very same flight offered by SmarTours. This caused us some angst, since we had never flown Kenya Air before. When I inquired if we could be transported to and from the hotel in Nairobi since we were on the same flight, we were told “no” since we had booked independently.....not our choice. Closer to our departure, I emailed Pollman’s Safaris and received a prompt reply that since we were on the same flight, they would be happy to have us be a part of the group. This relieved our concerns about transportation without an escort in an unfamiliar city. There seems to be a lack of communication between stateside and in country offices. The initial road blocks and lack of communication caused us to seriously consider canceling this trip. However, our past experiences had been so positive that we decided to persevere. In talking with others in our safari group, we found that many of them had experienced some of the same issues and lack of definitive answers. I would like to wholeheartedly recommend SmarTours and have previously but this experience has left me wondering if we should try a different company for future travel. It would be nice to get a response to my critique but I am not holding my breath! These are some of the employees with whom I spoke: Hailey, Schyler,Jasmine, Marissa, Tyrel, and Tamika Davena (Dena) Anderton Winter Park, Florida
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ID
#1814983 Review #1814983 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Service
Kenya Airways Baggage Policy
Preferred solution
Let the company propose a solution
New Reviewer

Not so Radiant Rhine Cruise

Tour was not as advertised when we paid for it. Many cities, shore excursions, additional land tours were deleted from the itinerary last minute without explanation.Shore excursions were cut short by up to 2hrs with out explanation..The riverboat was changed to a lesser vessel with very small, cramped, accommodations. We had issues with a public bathroom flooding into our cabin.We were not told our trip was booked during a German Religious Holiday, consequently most cities visited were shut down.. We were promised a half day in Rotterdam and a full day and a half in Amsterdam..the former was completely eliminated and we arrived in Amsterdam at 3:00pm the day before departure allowing for a fast paced walking tour of a small part of the city lasting 21/2 hours..flights were scheduled so early travelers were asked to be up and on the bus by 4:30am to depart for their flights not allowing any time at night in Amsterdam. When brought to the attention of Smartours my mother and I were given a very small refund $200.00 for the inconvenience of the cabin flood and told they would not discuss the "bate and switch" trip.. All without explanation..Our weather was perfect, the river was at a perfect flow..
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ID
#1623964 Review #1623964 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Cons
  • Not receiving the advertised trip and their lack of care
Reason of review
Not as described/ advertised
Loss
$1200
Preferred solution
Price reduction

Mr Robert Slockbower

Couldn't make the trip. Sold both are places and refused to give our deposit back, travelled with them for 10 years couldn't believe it they didn't lose a dime. I was very sick, and were loyal repeat customers and did the same to our friends who always travel with us they lost 600.00 too Tried but they downright arrogant finally said if travel within a year they would refund half after we made another 600 down payment they are slick they charge extra for a credit car 100.00.We had wonderful trips> And i repeat they sold our spots and kept our. We switched to Odyssey had the sade problem sent us our deposit immediately
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ID
#390564 Review #390564 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
New York, New York
Loss
$600

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