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I have traveled independently all over the world and never considered a tour until I saw one for Christmas markets and decided to tag onto it in conjunction with a trip I wanted to take to northern Italy. What a mistake.

The hotels were substandard in their class. All were located far away from the Christmas markets, making it difficult to do anything apart from the drop-off, pick up time allotted. The pick-ups were dicey, though. Twice, the so-called tour director had the wrong place and hadn't arranged any way to communicate with the driver.

We were stuck with hanging around in the cold on a street corner for a half hour until the driver finally found us. The other time, some of us never found the location, which was not the right one. The ones who did find it had to wait around once again, then take a long dalk to the bus when the driver finally found them. Thanks goodness for the driver.

We wound up taking an expensive taxi ride back to the hotel. The tour director then gave us a hard time about wanting our belongings off the bus, even though it was right outside. In the mornings, he ate alone, hardly nodding to anyone. When it was time to board the bus to travel, he was often not around; so we had to go looking for the bus ourselves.

I prepare ahead of time for travel, which was good, because the tour provided no information to orient us at each quick stop. We were dropped off and left on our own. The one time I asked about a direction to go for a restaurant for lunch, I was sent in a direction with nothing but a McDonald's. Provided meals were nothing to add value.

Breakfasts were the standard buffet available in almost any hotel in Europe. I thought the two dinners provided would be in local restaurants so that we could taste something special. Nope. They were in the hotels we stayed in -- two American chains.

The food was awful. It was apparent the only reason Gate 1 included them was that the hotels had no services nearby. They did the minimum they had to. There were rules galore: where to sit on the bus, not to use the toilet on the bus, when to check into the hotel.

After the overnight flight to Munich, eager to get into a room and rest, we had to wait until check-in time because we came with gate 1, even though the hotel was checking others in as rooms became available. Overall. this trip was very poor value.

I could have done it myself far better and for less money. Never again, Gate 1.

Product or Service Mentioned: Gate1travel Tour Guide.

Reason of review: Poor customer service.

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We do regret to hear of any disappointment on your recent trip. We will certainly share your concerns with the appropriate departments as we are always looking for ways to improve.

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