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Very diverse experience!Our tour of Amsterdam and Paris was great! Overall the trip was amazing and very busy. The only down side I have overall is the pace of the trip. We moved so fast my students and I felt like we missed some things, and didn't have time to appreciate some of the cities. Additionally, our outbound and return flights were ridiculously convoluted. Our partner group had two direct flights out and back.
The things we got to see were amazing, and EF did really well at getting us into locations and events without much line standing or waiting. The bus drivers were very safe, and our leader was very knowledgeable about the first city but not as much the second. The choice to use public transportation instead of a bus was a bit complicated, but my smaller group survived. The larger group we were partnered with lost two people on the subway, and were nearly late to the museum.
In all honesty, my biggest complaint was the speed of the trip (not the distances or the walking, which was a lot of but expected), but the speed at which we were expected to keep up. The other secondary complaint was the 3 transfers on the way home, when I know from personal experiences that there are direct flights available. One of my students got very ill on the 3rd plane and nearly caused an emergency landing. The paramedics suspected dehydration and to much up and down.
My groups favorite experiences were the free time to explore, but also the excursion to Versailles, and the Anne Frank house.
Extraordinary and Fun!The trip was amazing! The tour director and local guides gave us engaging and highly informative introductions to each city, and the spaces we visited as a group and on our own were phenomenal. Our travelers received a wonderful education about each city and Netherlandish and French culture. We were well taken care of at our hotels and local dinners. Five stars is not enough to rate this experience properly, and I plan to offer another EF College Study trip next year.
Great ExperienceOverall, this tour was a great experience. Great educational information and great local/traditional meals were provided.
There was a good balance of free time as well.
My suggestions are:
1. To be sure to provide transportation to/from hotel during holiday's.
2. Find centrally located hotels that are modernized/remodeled.
3. Ensure all room assignments are finalized before arrival of the guest.
Amsterdam/Paris/Lomdon extensionOur tour and tour guide was excellent and very accommodating to your group. During the Brussels situation we were kept informed and out of harms way with appropriate schedules and adjustments made.
London extension was well organized except for the accommodations being out of London proper which made getting around the city a little more complicated.
Netherlands, Paris & LondonWhile I have taken students on trips all over the US, this was my first student trip experience outside the US and my first experience with a travel company. I am pleased to say that it was a very good experience. Our EF Tour Director was exceptional. She was fun, knowledgeable and knew how to guide\teach our large group the public transportation systems and how to find our way back to the hotels if we wanted to venture out on our own. The students said it was the right mix of scheduled vs free time. The only opportunity for improvement would be to have lodging closer to the main tourist areas. I recommend EF College Study Tours and hope to travel with them again.
Very unorganziedThe tour director was unorganized, we paid for excursions and she took us to the wrong ones. I was disappointed because that's not what I paid for, she just laughed and brushed it off. I thought we were traveling to Paris from Amsterdam by train, but we traveled by BUS that led us to WASTE a WHOLE DAY!! Other sight seeing things we wanted to do, she failed to tell us they were closed, she could have mentioned that to us. We gave her specific details about things we wanted to do weeks in advance, so she had the opportunity to suggest other things, and let us know what we wanted to do was closed. I tried to make the best of it, but I was very disappointed to have missed out on so much I wanted to see.
BEST Ever Vacation!My European Excursion was the BEST EVER vacation I've yet been on! We stayed 4 nights in Amsterdam, 3 nights in Paris, France and 2 nights in London, UK. Our tour guide inserted a sweet treat for us all by stopping for a few hours in Brussels, Belgium, while on our way to Paris. We had the best time ever! We had plenty on the go stuff to learn, but we also had a reasonable amount of free time. It was like information over load, but we loved it! We were always in anticipation of what was next! The history we learned was soooo amazing, that I felt I needed to do more reading!! We got to see the most sought out highlights and best part of being on a "tour" like this, was that we didn't have to stand in lines to get in literally anywhere! Our tour guide was so awesome too! Very knowledgeable, reasonable, gave us options all the time, and never looked stressed! He always clearly explained all the rules and what was expected. He was always prepared and ready. All three countries were truly amazing. They are all unique in their own way. We even got to see a hit musical at the Apollo Theatre in London! That also was an unexpected sweet treat! I guess the only thing I didn't like was our first hotel we stayed at in Amsterdam. The breakfast was great there, but the rooms were slum. Other than that, the entire trip was great!!! Would do it all over again! But only with our same Tour Guide! :) He added to our memorable experience, because he took good care of us and made things happen!
A Little Disapointed!All EF trips have an educational value. This trip, however, was my least favorite of those that I've decided upon in the past. It was probably too much to cram in 10 days and with the exception of Amsterdam, I don't think the students could really feel Paris or London. On the student side, I know they enjoyed the trip and I didn't let them know that I was somewhat disappointed in many aspects of this trip. One of the problems was the hotels were way too far from the city center. We wasted 1 to 3 hours per day just trying to get to city center and back to the hotel. The travel took valuable time to fully see the city. The guided tour of Amsterdam was not necessary as it is an easy city to walk or just include the canal ride as we saw almost all the same things as the bus and the ride provided a more unique experience for the students. I also think that EF could pay for a few more excursions such as the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, a boat trip or another museum in Paris. I also know that the high school tours in the past included the fast train between Amsterdam and Paris. Although I love Belgium, it took too much time away from seeing more of Paris with driving across Belgium. The extension of London was not worth the cost and would have been better spent with more time in Paris due to the hotels being almost 40 to 45 minutes away from the things students wanted to see. Overall I know my students enjoyed the trip, but just disappointed in what the students received for the cost of this trip.
Great but for the hotelsThis is a nice itinerary, but the hotels we were assigned were WAY out of each of the towns (Amsterdam, Paris, London). Paris in particular involved a walk of over 20 minutes from the nearest metro stop (Esplanade de la Defence) to the hotel (Kyriad Puteaux) through concrete canyons of office buildings and very little neighborhood life.
I would also recommend inquiring whether a train could move the group from Amsterdam to Paris because we were on the bus from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM, with a 90 minute lunch stop in Brussels, which was basically a lost day.
10/10 Would RecommendThis was a beautiful experience. I had never been out of the country before, but my tour director and guides were all exceptionally helpful. Seeing priceless works of art was amazing, and the hotels we stayed at were lovely. I highly suggest this trip to anyone who wants to see two of the most beautiful cities in Europe!