My son and I took the Gate 1 tour of Italy in December 2010. Leaning Venice our group was warned that our luggage would be transported from the hotel to the bus via boat and we should take our valuables out of our luggage in case our bags fell into the canals (which we were told had happened previously). My carry on bag had been virtually empty (to carry home souveniers); I filled it with all of my valuables from my suitcase. My son had been at a semester aboard so his carry on was filled with four months of memories and souveniers and school work (research on his laptop). En route from Venice to Florence our tour stopped at a vineyard in Tuscany - a farmhouse in the middle of the countryside. The tour director told us that the bus driver would stay with the bus and that our belongings were "perfectly safe" so we left all of our valuables in our carryons on the bus while we toured the vineyard.
While we were gone our bus was ransacked. The bus driver did NOT park the bus in the vineyard courtyard - he parked in down the hill, out of sight, on the main public road (we were NOT told he would do this). The bus did NOT have an alarm to alert of tampering (we were NOT informed that there was no safety system on the bus) and our driver left the bus unattended even though it was out of sight and he had no alarm system to alert him of danger!
Everyone on the bus lost valuables from jewelry to laptops to iphones and ipods and ipads to passports and money. A couple on their honeymoon lost almost everything and my son lost four months worth of work and memories.
Gate 1 did not ask the police to come to the crime scene and we learned two days later that they had not reported the theft at all. Gate 1 gave us no emergency funds or even calling cards - I alone spent several hundred dollars calling credit card companies at international rates to cancel my cards.
We have spent the last few weeks trying to get Gate 1 to assume responsibility for their negligence and to reimburse us for the losses that will not be covered by each of our personal insurance coverages (like high deductibles, lost cash, etc.). Gate 1 actually sent me an email saying they gave me replacement toiletries when all they did was ask the hotel front desk for a free toothbrush for me!
DO NOT USE GATE 1! They do NOT secure your belongings on their busses, nor do they assume any responsibility for their negligence. I alone will be out several thousand dollars for my losses, losses that should easily be covered by Gate 1's liability insurance yet they have not offered to compensate me one dime.
Product or Service Mentioned: Gate1travel Tour.
Location: Yonkers, New York