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Review: North Cyprus with RSD Travel

Escorted Tour - Coach

Famagusta/Kyrenia, Cyprus

Do it at your own risk and don't complain after you travel!

  • By SilverTraveller Fersan

    1 review

  • March 2018
  • Adult family

123 people found this review helpful

As subscribers of “Home & Antiques” magazine we received a leaflet with an excellent offer to visit Northern Cyprus.

This one was so attractive that I even convinced my children to travel with us.

The alarms started to ring once we received all the info 10 days before we travelled and there were no details about the hotels and their location.

I specially requested single beds for my children and RSD replied that they couldn’t ensure it and they only could pass the request to the hotel.

We arrived to Ercan at 23:30 and to the hotel at 1am. Our guide told us that as a nice detail to us the hotel organised some cold buffet and soup. That was a surprise because we had the half board so is not our fault if the flight arrives late as it happens each week and the hotel should be prepared to provide a late dinner. There was no dessert, no coffee or tea and what we had were the dinner leftovers.

This hotel is a huge resort with around 10 different blocks, two swimming pools, gym, sauna and beach. But needs a lot of maintenance to be considered a 5 star hotel. There are no amenities in the rooms, just watery shampoo and conditioner. The decoration is grotesque, lots of fake statues and buildings trying to imitate Greek temples. The main lobby has the most horrible furniture I’ve ever seen, a mix of ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece fake styles. The rooms are big, clean and in proper condition.
You have to pay £2 per day to have Wi-F.
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The amount of food and the variety is incredible, but the quality is not the best. In any case I think that there’s something to suit every person. There is a variety of around 40 or more desserts and we tried many of them just to discover that only around 10% are edible.

Day 1: Visit to Nicosia. We visited the Ottoman caravanserai and the Selimiye Mosque, in both cases the leaflet says admission included, well… the admission is free. Once she explained the mosque she told us that we had two hours to visit the city and cross to the southern section. While the leaflet says plenty of time. I think that two hours isn’t plenty of time if you have to cross a busy border twice. The most interesting thing to see are all in the southern part of town. We returned to the hotel at 4 pm. We use the gym and the swimming pool but if you don’t like them bring a book as there’s nothing else to do. The venue is in the middle of nowhere.

Day 2: We left the hotel at 8:15 and we made our first stop at 8:45 without any valid reason. When I asked why we were stopping our guide rudely told me that there were no toilets where we were going and probably people needed to go. She even told me that I was asking because it was obvious that I had no experience in cultural trips. How can she say that to a customer?

The real reason was that she needed to have breakfast and she gets commission if people have drinks or buy things from the little shops around. Next stop was St. Andrew’s Monastery (where there are toilets): a little church rebuilt a few years ago with just a few Greek icons of dubious value. Then we went to Golden Beach, normal big and sandy beach like many others that you can see in England or around the world. Then our guide told us that we were going to a restaurant that was the only option to have lunch and it cost £11 for a starter and a main, no dessert, no drink. While we said no she was very upset and put a lot of pressure saying that there wasn’t another place to go and that the restaurant wasn’t going to give us anything else. We arrived, crossed the road and found a nice place to have a drink and sandwiches for less money. People that ate at the restaurant said that food was bad.

We went to a Miniature Park where there are 15 scale models of the most important buildings of Southern Cyprus (another loss of time).

Finally, we visited a little town market and returned to the hotel.

Day 3: We started at 7:30am (each day earlier without any valid reason) to visit Ancient Salamis, if you’ve been in Italy or Greece be prepared to see the most disappointing ancient ruins. We went to St. Barnabas" Monastery, very nice from outside, depressing inside.

The guide took us to a carpet’s warehouse; the leaflet says that this is a traditional carpet-weaving factory, but it isn’t. The first part was very interesting, a few details about how carpets are made, a show of the different types of carpets, a drink and then the fun begun: the sellers jumped on us as birds of prey and we had to go out of the shop to avoid the pressure.

Then we visited another forgettable old and crumbling church and finally we arrived at our second hotel (Onar Village) near to Kyrenia.

Day 4 was free as we decided not to pay for the visits. We walked around Kyrenia that has a nice harbour and not very much to do.

Day 5: Visit to Bellapais monastery ruins and church. More than 4 hours visit to jewellery and leather warehouses were all the articles are overpriced and of dubious quality. What is obvious is that she gets a commission of the sales.Finally we visited Kyrenia castle ruins

Onar village hotel looks fine, normal 3 stars hotel with nice swimming pool but even it’s warm and the pool is clean we are not allowed to use it because it’s out of season. The inner swimming pool is out of order and the sauna is off.

The food is really poor, no variety, only three hot plates. Breakfast more or less the same, no patisserie at all, two cereals. Quality is almost inexistent. Hotel runs on a very tight budget. Wi-Fi is free but doesn’t work.

Our guide has put a lot of pressure to take us to other visits and a cultural night for £59 as we said no, she insisted many times and because she didn’t succeed she started to ignore us.

About our guide: Burcu, she constantly lies, she says that for her the most important are their customers, but the reality is that she cares only for money. She makes us wake up early only to finish early and have the evening free and to leave us with nothing to do. She doesn’t give us any suggestions and if we ask questions she says that she’ll explain tomorrow but she never does.

If you ask twice she gets annoyed and defensive. Her lack of knowledge is impressive. Just an example: she said that she visited London many times and the “Albert and Valeria” museum. I can’t believe that a guide that, as she says, has studied 5 years at University doesn’t know the correct name of one of the most important museums of London and the world. Her opinions are biased. She asked so many times about the tip that we decided not to give anything. She said that the company doesn’t pay any salary and that she only get the tips. She spent half an hour talking about her future marriage in June and that she needed money for it so asked people to be generous with their tips. On Thursday afternoon she said goodbye arguing that she had to go an help with another group because a colleague was sick.

The bus that picked us to go to the airport was far modern and spacious that the one that travelled us all the week. I’m an average height (1.75 m) and I felt uncomfortable all the week. I can’t imagine about people taller and bigger than me.

The return was a nightmare; five security controls and three flights. When we jump on the plane from Manchester to Gatwick our seats were occupied by people flying to Cyprus so we have to sit anywhere, the crew had no idea.

Final comment: If you have nothing better to do and want to spend around £400 to fly to North Cyprus, be treated like cattle, ride an uncomfortable bus for hours and hours to see places of no interest at all, have a rude guide that can’t answer any questions that is out of her scope this is your trip.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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