Rick Steves vs Signature Collection by Gate 1 - Tour Companies Compared
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Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
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Our Rick Steve's "Best of Italy Tour," starting in Varenna, October 18, through Rome, November 3, 2015.5.0 January 2017
We flew into Milan and toured the town on our own a few days. Then we took the train to Varenna on Lake Como to formally start our Rick Steves tour with our guide, Lisa Anderson. She was excellent; very organized, helpful to a fault, and took us to a lot of out-of-way places not on the itinerary. What I liked most was the mixture of planned activities and time our own own; a nice balance which I believe gave us a good feel for the people, culture, and historical places we toured throughout Italy. You can read any itinerary for this trip and learn about what you're going to see, but getting to know your traveling companions (there were 28 of us) well, share food (and a cold- achoo!) made it all the better. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who would really like to get a taste of Italy from Rome north. I had no interest in visiting Italy before, but would go back in a heartbeat. I especially enjoyed our time high up in a ski village in the Dolomite Mountains. Seeing the "big three" of Venice, Florence, and Rome was great, but I also enjoyed seeing Pisa and Assisi, and spending time in places I had never heard of before - Cinque Terre , Siena, and Orvieto. While I know you can't pick your tour hosts, I would give the highest marks to our guide Lisa, her assistant, Alex, and our bus driver extraordinaire, Adrian. They helped put an excellent adventure over the top. Kudos to you Rick Steve's! We'll book another one of your tours in the next few years.Read more
Great Tour of Paris5.0 July 2016
My family and I took the seven day Paris tour run by Rick Steves and had a great time. Excellent guide and perfect mix of scheduled events and free time. The specialist guides in the museums provided essentially a college level class on art history and appreciation which made it all the more special. The accommodations were well located and nicely sized. The mix of free time was excellent for my photography so I never felt rushed nor did we hold up the group. We look forward to booking another Rick Steves tour sometime in the future.Read more
Absolutely fantastic tour!5.0 October 2015
Just got back from the Best of Scandinavia Tour. It was absolutely fantastic in every respect: Great venues and sights, great food and lodging, great local tour guides, a wonderful group to travel with, but the best part was having two fantastic professional guides with us every day to make everything come to life and help us connect in a very meaningful way with the cultures and lands we were there to experience. This is my second RS tour and I would say both have exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend RS tours to anyone looking to travel in this part of the world!!Read more
Tour Rick Steves Company Reviews
|Tours||35 Trips||1 Trip|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 263||$ 0|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Regional Expert||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Edmonds, Washington, United States||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania|
What Makes Rick Steves Stand Out?
Rick Steves is the new Arthur Frommer, the current-day guru of European travel. Steves has parlayed a successful series of well-produced public TV and radio shows and guidebooks into a European tour business that thrives on his personal brand.
His folksy, easy-going manner and easily digested practical advice breed trust, and the public has responded. (Don’t expect Steves himself to be leading the tours, however.)
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Rick Steves?
The general customer tends to skew older, but not in an exclusionary sense. Families, solo travelers, and multi-gen groups are all welcome and will all enjoy a trip with Rick Steves.
The tours generally involve walking however; hotels are centrally located and are often the kind of “quirky, family-run” places that Steves himself prefers.
He advises that many do not have elevators, and you may have to climb several flights of stairs -- so those who pack light and “stay in shape,” as Steves puts it, will be the happiest campers.
Steves’ tours are concentrated mostly in Western Europe, though he does offer some Eastern European trips as well. You can also book special family trips. And along with single country and regional tours, you can choose to stay an entire week in Rome, Paris, London, or Istanbul, for a more intensive single city experience.
Rick Steves Travel Style
In keeping with the perspective of his famous and well read guide books, the Rick Steves travel style is about having fun, steeping yourself in rich history, and relishing in good food and wine.
Rick Steves made a name for himself bringing accessible European travel to America’s living room. Traveling on a Rick Steves tour brings the well known brand and personality to life as you experience Europe how Steves does.
You’ll probably do a lot of walking, so make sure your feet are up to the task!
Why Choose a Tour with Rick Steves?
For the peace of mind that you’re traveling with an experienced guide who knows Europe inside and out. This provides a fun, informative, enjoyable experience with little to no worry about logistical headaches - you’re free to just have a splendid vacation.
Steves offers two types of tours to Europe: fully guided, which include hotels, sightseeing and admissions, bus transport, and some meals (breakfasts and half of the dinners), and unguided “My Way” tours that appeal to more independent travelers.
The latter are less expensive and include hotels and bus transport between destinations but don’t include lunch, dinner, or sightseeing -- though escorts are available to offer advice. In both cases, groups are limited to 24-28 travelers.
A unique collection of luxury trips designed by Gate 1 travel.
What Makes Gate 1 Signature Collection Stand Out?
These are luxury minded trips with a local focus. Guides are all local experts, from and living in the destination you’re visiting. Each itinerary features exclusive experiences. Groups are small and each day is full of activity but well balanced.
They focus on offering only a select group of trips in this special collection - allowing them the freedom to create truly spectacular itineraries - which include more inclusions in the price than their other collections.
The tagline is “More Luxury for Less”. These tours may not be in same luxury travel class if you’re used to Abercrombie & Kent, however where comfort and extravagance meets fun and busy travel days of sightseeing and tours, you’ll find Gate 1 Signature Collection.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
Those travelers who are willing to spend a little bit more for a 4-5 star experience, will probably find a sweet spot with Gate 1 Signature tours. These trips tend to be attended by older travelers, in the 50+ range.
Don’t expect too much strenuous activity. You can expect easy paced walks, guided tours and lectures, and stops to explore interesting cultural sites and historical attractions.
While some of these cultural experiences, included in their “Signature Experiences”, are truly unique, be wary that many of these inclusions are fairly standard offerings - such as a hot air balloon ride over the African savannah. So the luxury experience of exclusivity you may be expecting is to be taken with a grain of salt. These tours offer wonderful experiences - but the destinations or activities are not always particularly uncommon or rare.
They currently don’t offer an overly extensive list of countries, but tours do go all over the world. This includes Central Europe, Spain, and the UK, Israel, Jordan and Morocco, Peru, Southeast Asia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Gate 1 Signature Collection Travel Style
Signature Collection tours with Gate 1 aim for comfort, ease, and unique cultural experiences. Like their other brands, Gate 1’s Signature Collection is about making sure your sightseeing is maximized, and the price is right for the experience.
Most sightseeing, meals, wifi, tips, and their “Signature Experiences” are included in the itinerary price - unlike Gate 1’s main brand which offers less inclusions. This type of itinerary more helpful to budget travelers wishing to pick and choose which activities they would like to pay for. Gate 1 Signature Tours, however, are best suited to those who want more inclusions and less hassle to have to decide on how to spend their travel time.
Why Choose a Tour with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
If you’re an older traveler looking for a boutique, comfortable, and well paced tour, the Signature tours may suit you very well. Travelers love the customer service, attention to detail, and depth of knowledge the guides bring to each day on the tour. There is also a good balance of free time and optional additional sightseeing opportunities.
All tours feature included “Signature Experiences” which are the main highlights that make the Signature Collection tours stand out from the other Gate 1 brands. These are unique excursions, usually with a strong cultural focus - such as an evening of Irish music in Galway, or a traditional dinner in the deserts of Morocco. They also often include lectures that explore a destinations history or a specific facet of the culture.