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Review: On the Trail of the Apostles in Cappadocia

Escorted Tour - Coach


Cappadocia - Was it worth it?

  • By SilverTraveller HelenMEvans

    5 reviews

  • Sep 2013
  • Husband

53 people found this review helpful

We spotted the holiday on a flyer that came with ' The Week' it also appeared in other magazines. We found a reluctance on the part of the office staff to answer simple questions like flight times and names of hotels – always being told ' This is being handled by our agents in Turkey'. We later realised why we were not given the info. Our flight left Manchesterat 20.50 am and arrived in Antalya at 3.30 am. By the time we reached our hotel, waited for key and bell boy to deliver luggage, it was 5.30 am! The following day we set off for our two night stay in Capppodocia – stopping at places of interest on the way, we arrived over 12 hours later, utterly exhausted. Younger members of the group fared better. Cappadocia and the cave dwellings were amazing, but always there was the thought that we had to face the 12 hour journey back! The journey from Antalya to Cappadocia was 350 miles. Re the company's reluctance to give hotel info. This seems to be because they use up space in hotels that are not fully booked, hence in Antalya we stayed in 3 different hotels! Much time was wasted on a 7 night holiday. So was the journey to Cappadocia worth it? Sadly for me ' no'. I advise readers to go to this wonderful place but with a company that gives more consideration to their clients, most of whom were in their 70s. At the welcome meeting, we discovered that there would be lunch and dinner financial packages including some entertainment, but without flexibility as it was not possible to separate the lunches from the entertainment. So in total £230 pp was added to the initial cost of the holiday. Yet again I ask myself ' was it worth it?' and sadly I have to answer ' no'. 

Financially, on the face of it it was good value, but we later found out that there were a lot of extras such as lunch time and evening meal packages. We had little choice as whether to accept or not as the guide told us that there would not be anywhere else to eat in the vicinity of the hotels they were using. There was no flexibility as the lunch package had to be taken with two evening entertainments. One could not just have the lunches. So we ended up paying £225 pp in total for extras.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 13 Comment(s)

  • dave_3
    almost 6 years ago
    Came back from this trip 6 days ago. (it's taken that long to recover).
    Overall a really worthwhile trip on which you will see some truly beautiful sights and have a great experience.
    Our guide was very knowledgeable and kept us well informed throughout....

    Be aware however that you will have to buy into the meal and individual tour packages. (There are no alternatives as the whole tour is extremely well sewn up)

    Consider the coach and passengers to be some form of 'Cash Cow' which will be trundled from farm to farm (retail outlet to retail outlet) for the purpose of being milked.
    Should you choose not to make a purchase, (particularly at the Jewellery and leather outlets) you popularity, along with the politeness of the staff, will swiftly wane to zero.

    On the last full day (described as a full day to day whatever we wanted) we had absolutely no option but to go to the Jewellers and leather oulet and we spent the best part of an hour milling about the jewellers car park with nothing to do but look at our watches...
    The full day of exploring Antalya eventually worked out to around four hours.

    Our guide tried to offer us a 'waterfall' or 'Roman fort' trip on the final half day (15 euros for the former/ 20 for the latter) with no planned option for passengers wanting to got direct to the hotel.... A rash of murmering broke out on the bus and culminated on a few of the more aggressive types actually 'tutting'. The guide then rescinded the trip options and said we would simply be driven direct to the airport for our flight home. ( I think I heard a 'whooo-ooooh' sound, but may have been mistaken)

    It transpired that passengers on the other coach were given the same tour that was offered to us... but for free (including the lunch) which we didn't receive.

    Don't expect to unpack your suitcase in any of th hotels as there simply isn't enough time (or room in a couple)

    Having made a few negative (ish) comments let me close by saying the tour was well worth doing and we would go on another tour with the same company... Just a different tour, and better armed knowledge -wise.

    As a final comment to the tour company RSD Travel, if you wish to bolster the Turkish economy, why not give us more time to visit the real shops where the chances of the majority of us actually making purchases would be much higher.... and far less regimented.
  • Jayjay
    about 6 years ago
    Tour date: May 2014 - On the trail of the Apostles
    We were on the last tour of the season and had a really good trip. No real free time as so much was packed into the tour and certain people on the coach were five to ten minutes late in getting back on board after stops which can add an hour to your journey so less free time at the hotel. Our guide was brilliant. We arrived after midnight and got to bed probably around 2.00 am but our first day was an easy one - river trip to the sea with lunch on board and visit to a beautiful new mosque.

    Day 2 was the journey to Cappadocia but we had stops on the way and lunch and the roads were of motorway quality so fairly easy going. Cappadocia is amazing and the whirling dervishes.

    We had the stops at the carpet place, jewellery and leather. We bought a rug but had it in mind anyway and it has now arrived and looks lovely and is a wonderful reminder of our trip. Leather and jewellery stops were perhaps too long.

    We purchased both meal packages and it all worked well.

    I would recommend this trip - Cappadocia is a must to be seen and the cost was very reasonable.
  • John-Myatt
    over 6 years ago
    We went on this trip in March and like some others (notably Helen and Tyke) we had a very unhappy experience regarding the 'extras'. It was only on the coach trip from airport to hotel, with us bleary eyed and exhausted, that the position was correctly explained.Up till that point we had believed we would be able to source our own evening and daytime meals and this is what appealed to us. . This is not so due to location of hotels/lunchtime restaurants so the extras aren't really optional at all and you need to be aware you are entering into an all inclusive package which may not be what you want.
    In the end we had no option but to sign for the evening meal package but resisted the lunchtime one, and during the trip found there were sveral others who did the same. The guide completely ignored us and made absolutely no effort to point us in the direction of any alternative facilities.
    We have been on similar trips but we feel that the deal was completely misrepresented. We have been pursuing a complaint with RSD - no joy yet although they do acknowledge some of their shortcomings. Looks like we will now have to approach ABTA or Small Claims Court if we wish to continue our grievance. Was it worth it? For us a resounding NO - BUYER BEWARE.
  • Karen-b
    over 6 years ago
    We got back from this trip on Wednesday. We had an amazing time! Loved it. Our guide was Zekiye and she was very informed and interesting. The negative comments previously made on this thread - yes, it's a long way but it's worth it! And the extra's. Well I admit it's not a cheap holiday! But it is good value for money. We ended up signing up for both the dinner and the lunch package. However, on our first day our guide changed the programme so we could go on a boat trip. That was brilliant and a much needed rest. That would probably have cost around £30 each (lunch on the boat) and one evening we went to a Turkish night with free alcohol? Those 2 exercusions together probably cover the £85.00? We stayed the first 2 nights in a large modern hotel. Rooms were clean and spacious. Dinner was lovely. The hotel in Cappadoccia was amazing!! Loved it! Then back to Antalya for 2 nights. Can't fault it! It's not a relaxing holiday as there is a lot of travelling but really good value for money. Loved it!!
  • HelenMEvans
    over 6 years ago
    The restaurants the coach called at were off the beaten track and only seemed to cater for pre booked tours. The 6 or 7 people in our group who hadn't booked the lunches had to find seats, sometimes inside and sometimes out. The were really disgruntled that there was no real alternative, so yes, take along some snacks. Have a good holiday. Helen E
  • Karen-b
    over 6 years ago
    So we're off on this adventure next week? Reasonably confident as myself and my husband are very independ travellers and I don't see a problem tackling the heavy sales etc! My query is - if we decline the lunch option (which we are going to do!) are there alternatives for lunch?? We're not overly anamoured with lunch so we could literally manage on crisps and fruit? Anyone?
  • TomClark
    over 6 years ago
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  • Sandro
    over 6 years ago
    I would agree with the details of all the comments so far, with a few exceptions. Information about the £110 was given right at the start. Although the extra package for lunches and entertainment did come as a surprise when we got there the information is given on the brochure, albeit way down on the page and the actual cost isn't mentioned. On reflection I came to the conclusion that this is the way business is done in Turkey. There is a cultural difference between Britain and the near East. I had been interested enough in where I was going to find out that Antalya to Cappadocia is around 320 miles - about the same distance as from the Scottish border to Dover so knew it was not going to be a short trip! It is still an underdeveloped country, but the road through the Taurus mountains was very good - no potholes. Turkey is not a country with social support systems so I guess they have to be self reliant and earn money where they can. You don't have to buy. I couldn't possibly have bought in more than one factory shop even if I'd wanted to so have to say no to somebody sometime. I was just amazed at the effort they put in to trying to impress. When I returned to UK I had to get a taxi home. The English driver didn't tell me how much it was going to cost and it was a lot more than I expected. I have had the most courteous service from RSD telephone staff, very patient and helpful. I can't speak highly enough of the guide and driver we had who had a lot to contend with with one thing and another, being the interface between English travellers and Turkish culture. Vive la difference!
  • Ursula
    over 6 years ago
    Further to my e-mail regarding cancellation I must congratulate the team at RSD travel. We had a full refund within three working days, this was beyond our expectations. I don't believe any of the big national companies would have done this. It just shows that it's far better to make your concerns know direct rather than posting bad reviews.

    Certainly can't fault them for customer service this was an excellent result.

  • Ursula
    over 6 years ago
    We have booked this tour and have been looking forward to it. However on Wednesday 5th March we received our flight details and to my horror found we would be arriving at 2.10am and then have a long day travelling the next day. As far as I am concerned this is totally unacceptable. I telephoned RSD stating that I would like to cancel as the flight time was not acceptable to me and had I known this prior to booking I would certainly not have booked.

    I am now waiting to hear from RSD but an not at all optimistic. We have however decided that whatever the outcome we are not prepared to undertake an endurance test and will forgo this tour. After all it was supposed to have been an enjoyable holiday.
  • Tyke
    over 6 years ago
    I read the above reviews on the eve of setting off with my wife - so we arrived in Antalya with some concerns. I am now home again and much of what has been expressed above is what we experienced during our trip. We had determined NOT tp purchase the Explorer Package as we had visited Aspendos previously and had seen the Whirling Dervish Ceremony on a prior visit. The Cappadocia Evening and a week's lunches we were happy to forgo. So, on arrival I informed the Tour Guide of our intention to only purchase the Cultural and Dinner Package for my wife and I. This was met with much angst and considerable pressure was placed on me for the next 24 hours to pay the extra for the Explorer Package. I didn't and my wife and I were virtually ignored by the Tour Guide for the rest of the trip. Many colleagues on the trip on hearing what we had done wished that they had also opted out. Three main issues really which spoilt what was, to be honest, a memorable visit to the Cappadocia area: 1. The itinerary was changed on arrival and en route from the airport. Aspendos would be on Day 2 and not Day 7. That in itself is no big thing except it meant for my wife and I that on Day 2 we were left to our own devices whilst the Tour Guide and Group bussed off to Aspendos. The hotel was miles from Antalya so we had nowhere to go except walking locally along busy main roads. 2. Day 6 - read the circulated Itinerary provided when booking because it is a load of rubbish. The main purpose of the entire week is to relieve you of as much money as possible - day 6 being the worst. There are two 90 minutes visits to a Major Leather producer and a major Jewellery Factory/Outlets. Following a 'charming' reception and introduction about how goods are manufactured etc. the doors are opened and a swarm of sellers descend on you like vultures seducing you into buying their expensive wares - bartering is expected but items shown are in the thousands of pounds and not a few quid for a belt or bag. Once they suss you are not interested, neither are they and the charm is switched off. 3. Still Day 6 - read the itinerary about the visit to Antalya and what it says you will see. Forget it as there is no time after 2 above - a quick burst in the coach to Ataturk's Memorial Statue for a photograph, a 30 minutes walk down to the Marina then back into the coach and off to the hotel. There is NO CULTURAL TOUR OF THE OLD TOWN.

    Cappadocia 5* Hotels 4* Food 2* Coach/driver 5*
  • Seashell
    over 6 years ago
    Very much agree with the two writers above......Was tempted by the cheap get-away.....but then had to pay £149 single sup: I had found the £110 extra cost for evening meals in the small print after I booked.....though not mentioned at the time if booking. The Rep informed us of a further charge of £80 for lunches and usual tourist traps, on the bus to the hotel in Turkey. Those of us who declined this extra cost were put under pressure by the Rep who said, we would go hungry for 14 hours etc.
    The 'Special offer' was soon becoming full price.
    We left at 5-40pm from Manchester and landed just after midnight with a one hour coach drive to our hotel. We returned the morning of the eighth day, hence, really, a six day holiday in Turkey.
    Our party were mainly in their seventies....many with walking sticks but hotels were not geared for the infirm. I fell over a step from the lift to my room and there was a dangerous small step with worn carpet from the bathroom.
    On a whole I would give this, 'We only want your money,' trip , a miss. SAD!
    As a dear friend of mine used to say...."If it looks like an elephant, smells like an elephant, it is an elephant."
  • PJM
    almost 7 years ago
    On "Cappadocia, was it worth it?" I found H Evans comments fair. I've just returned on this RSD Travel trip on 6 Nov. 2013 and It would have been useful to have had an outline of the facts behind the clever sales copy promoting this interesting holiday as RSD Travel masterfully rations key information until the last minute. The apparently attractive price was pumped up with late disclosure of a £395 per couple package of tour “options” which were in practice unavoidable as they included lunch and dinner charges and entry fees for the cultural attractions. Effectively these add-ons couldn't be dodged and caused evident anxiety to a number of travellers who probably hadn’t bargained for them . Further cultural disclosures included an almost universal fee collection for the use of WCs and the unusual feature of after-dinner coffee and drinkable water carrying an additional charge.

    Our "eight day" experience included a first day travelling UK to Antalya in Turkey, on average a 10 hour stint for most people, two 11-hour days on a coach journeying the 300-plus miles between Antalya and Goreme and back, and what was billed as “Day 8” began for our group with a 3 am departure from the hotel and arrival at the UK airport some 8 hours later. That left four days for cultural experiences including heavy-duty sales pitches to buy carpets, jewellery and leather goods interspersed with multiple comfort breaks and meal breaks at very average mercantile pit stops along the way. Hotels were of acceptable to good standard though repetitive buffet catering inevitably palled somewhat. Food was mostly lukewarm when it should have been hot. Changes of venue involved at least five occasions when we lugged our own luggage from bus to hotel or hotel to bus.

    Coach drivers and tour guides were expert, in fact the tour guide was the charming buffer between the cool calculation of the tour principals, RSD Travel, and the tour participants like myself and friends who had constantly to shake off the feeling of being heavily corralled and manipulated. That said, there were many experiences including the truly fabulous world-heritage landscape around Goreme, the hypnotic Dervish dance, the good wine of the region, that are not to be had anywhere else.