Avoid Collette Vacations tours
PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND -- My mother (a lively senior) and I had a miserable experience on this tour presented by Collette Vacations.
Although Collete might have been a decent company at one time, they have truly lost their way. When I contacted the President and the head of Customer Relations to make then aware of the seriousness of our displeasure and share some recommendations for how to improve their customer's experiences, I received a response that basically denigrated every point that I raised about our experience, including a complete lack of concern for the way their tour guide ignored the dissatisfaction expressed by several clients while still on the trip.
In our view, almost all of the problems we encountered can be attributed to the extremely poor structure of the product and the decision made by Collette to allow 50 people to participate on a tour that was not structured to support that many participants. With the exception of the visit to Bouchard Gardens, the entire first part of the trip (Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna) could be eliminated. The activities that were offered were uninteresting, and there was not enough free time (or guidance offered) to allow for any real enjoyment of the locations. And Kelowna should be avoided completely. There was nothing of any interest to do (at least that was recommended by the tour escort) and the hotel where we stayed (Delta Grand) offered terrible service and was apparently unprepared for the size of our group at mealtimes.
Even though the tour was marketed as "Resorts" we were not guaranteed to have our included dinners at the main dining rooms of these 4 and 5 star resorts. Because of the overly large size of our group, we had to instead sign up for meal times and locations on a first come basis...which was not managed in a way to be fair to all but rather gave preferential treatment to two large groups traveling together on the tour who had the first member sign up their entire group, ahead of the rest of us. Complaints to the tour guide fell on deaf ears.
The tour was SERIOUSLY overbooked (they apparently combined two groups together at the last minute to avoid losing revenue from canceling a tour that did not have sufficient participants). This caused many many issues for the entire trip, including having the bus almost stall 4 times on a long stretch of uphill road between Kaloowna and Jasper, BC. There was no back up plan, and the very experienced bus driver admitted to me after we thankfully made it up the hill that he had never had so many people with so much luggage on the bus before, and that (combined with it being a warm day) caused the bus to overheat. To which I responded...."and who's fault is that? The tour company's!"
Based on our experience and the lack of concern demonstrated by the response from their company leadership, I strongly urge you to avoid any tour presented by this company.