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Kensington Tours vs St Hilda Sea Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 0
Value — 0.0
Guide — 0.0
Activities — 0.0
Lodging — 0.0
Transportation — 0.0
Meals — 0.0
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Recent Reviews

A First Class African Safari with every logistical detail taken care of

5.0 June 2016
HB
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
My wife and I have gone on a number of previous African safari trips, but this is the first time I used Kensington Tours because we wanted to go to countries and into the depth of the bush we had not traveled before. Plus friends of ours had never been to Africa and I wanted to be sure they enjoyed the experience. Working with American Express who facilitated our selection of Joline at Kensington far exceeded our expectations. We traveled to Sabi Sands in South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zambia, and to Botswana to experience a true bush safari.

What was so special about Kensington was their logistic planning. We were met at airports to escort us through customs and baggage, and we never had to worry about transportation connections. A perfect example was leaving Zambia to go to Botswana. We were picked up at the Zambia lodge and driven to the border where we were escorted through customs. Then another driver took over and drove us to the port at the river we had to cross. Then a boat met us and took us across the river where we were met by another driver who took us to the airport where we caught a small plane to our lodge in the Okavango Delta. When we landed we were picked up and taken to the lodge. It moved like clockwork. We never had to wait at any transfer point. Imagine trying to arrange that on your own.

Jolene at Kensington selected lodges that blew us away. Each was small with a limited number of rooms/cabins usually averaging around 7-8 cabins per lodge for couples, and each having a high ratio of staff to guests. Each place was superb, starting with Lion Sands River Lodge in Sabi Sands where we saw the big 5 in the first 24 hours. Great Guide/Naturalist and Tracker assigned to us for the morning and evening safari's. Next we went to Zambia and stayed at the Islands of Siankaba Lodge in Livingstone, which was on an island, with the beautiful cabins on stilts facing the river. Our bed looked over the river with screens around us and with a deck out over the river. An exceptional experience and then finally we flew to Botswana and stayed at &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge. You can only get there flying in on small planes, and your individual cabin/house was right in the bush, with its own individual swimming pool and viewing deck on the top of the house. Elephants traveled through the lodge grounds as did other wildlife. An exhilarating experience. You knew you were in Africa. I will definitely consider using Kensington Tours on future trips. And the best part is that it was a custom trip with a lot of value because the trip cost was comparable to A&K and National Geographic which were more fixed tours and usually had a minimum in the group of around 16 versus our 4 people going where we wanted in the order we wanted.
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Tour Kensington Tours Company Reviews

South African Tour Fantastic

5.0 June 2016
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Gareth was our tour representative and made this a wonderful trip. We had not used Kensington before and could not find reviews of the company online. However, we were extremely satisfied with our tour experience. Although he was not with us on the tour, it seemed that the company had everything set up and was with us every step of the way from our itinerary to each transfer and lodge.

The Victoria and Alfred Hotel was OK, but was in a great location. We did not know that the hotel was going to be under construction when we were there. It was only a minor inconvenience. Staying at the Waterfront was the best. We were near everything and took advantage of the wonderful restaurants and shopping. A must is Chocolates by Tomes.

Our tour to Table Mountain was magnificent. There was a fog that hung over the mountain which created the most spectacular scenes.

Our tour to Cape Point was great. We had a magnificent guide who was a bushman and shared with us so much of his knowledge. I could have stayed in the van all day just to listen to him. Sorry, but I cannot recall his name.

Our tour to the wine country was OK. We visited three wineries--we could have just done two. We did a wine and cheese are Fairview which was beautiful. We did a wine and chocolate. Both the wine and chocolate here was excellent. The last winery hosted a wine and olives which was really a wine and olive oil tasting. This one could be have been omitted for more time in some of the towns or local gardens.

Next, we flew off to Pondoro Game Lodge. The flight went off without a problem. Pondoro is in the northern area of the country. The staff was very accommodating to my dietary needs. The Chef was a gourmet chef with every dish prepared with taste and presentation at heart. The hotel was in a hilly area and all aspects of the hotel were connected by wooden walkways. These were quite challenging to navigate and I would not recommend this lodge in the rainy season. The game drives were fantastic and we were glad to have gone to South Africa in their winter.

Our last stop was Sabi Sabi Selati Camp. This was a 3 hour drive from Pondoro. It was a long drive, but we were very happy with this lodge. The food was not a good as at Pondoro, but the staff treated us like kings and queens. The terrain went from rocky at Pondoro to sandy at Sabi Sabi. Our Ranger, Kyle, was fantastic. Ask for him. He is so knowledgeable about the animals, the birds, and plants. He has a great sense of humor and we felt honored to spend time with him. He walked us to our cabin at night, arranged a special dinner for our anniversary, and ate dinner one evening with us.

This was truly a life experience and I want to thank Gareth for all his hard work in putting this tour together for us.
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Tour Kensington Tours Company Reviews

Feedback barely acknowledged

2.0 June 2016
A
Recommends
  • Value 2.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 2.0
  • Lodging 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 2.0
I booked a tour of Poland in Oct 2014 (just reviewing now because I was trying to give the company the opportunity to reach back out to me). I talked to the sales consultant about my concerns about being a person of color in Poland because I had been warned by several friends. I mentioned to my sales consultant that I can go to another place in the region if she thinks it will be a be problem. My sales consultant said none of her guests have ever had a problem and I will be just fine in Poland. Upon my return, this is the email message I sent to Kensington Tours...

"I hope you are well. I want to give you some feedback now that I am back in the U.S.

My guide was very knowledgeable. However, she did make several biased statements about Roma people (also known as gypsies) and Jewish people that were a cause for concern. She stated that the Roma people did not work or go to school and only relied on state welfare (she did try to clean up her statement after I said if this is indicative of ALL Roma people). Clearly this is not the case for an entire group of people, and her views were biased and stereotypical. She also stated that Jewish people had big noses and gestured and looked differently than Polish people. She also stated that Jewish people don't live in Krakow because there isn't much finance work there and that is what Jewish people like. These were clearly biased statements and made me uncomfortable, especially given the history of Krakow.

We talked initially about my concern coming to Poland because of racism. You said that no other clients have had issues. Despite your assurances, I have to let you know that throughout my stay I was stared at, received funny looks and/or was ignored or dismissed, all of which made me very uncomfortable. I am sure it is because I am not White. I felt overall that the Polish culture may not be as outwardly friendly or welcoming as other places that I've traveled. I definitely felt I was targeted and treated negatively because I am not White. I asked my tour guide about racial groups and she said that there aren't really other racial groups in Poland. I think the lack of diversity in Poland definitely makes it a more hostile/uncomfortable place for people of color to travel.

It is very unlikely I will go back to Poland given the biased statements made by my tour guide (even though she was extremely knowledgeable) and how I was treated by Polish people. If you have other racial/ethnic minority clients I hope you share this information with them.

I hope this feedback is helpful."

My sales consultant said that she or someone from customer service would get in touch with me. Well, more than a year has passed with no follow-up. People looking at me funny because I am not White is not something Kensington Tours can control. However, it is a major problem when their tour guides make biased statements. I will never spend another dime on Kensington tours given their lack of follow-up on this feedback. I am glad I was traveling alone and not with family. I would hate for children to hear the statements made and taint their truly unbiased view of all people.
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Tour Kensington Tours Company Reviews

Life-changing and enjoyable!

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This is a holiday gave me a chance to slow down, and take the time to feel part of the natural world: the sun, to notice the hook-beaked oyster catchers and families of rare seals, to enjoy the wonderful food, the sunshine, scudding clouds, waves lapping and the feeling of being held safely by the St Hilda whilst being at the mercy of winds, tides and waves. It was fun to share tasks with fellow passengers and to laugh. I haven't laughed so much for years. And I loved seeing beautiful coastal parts of Scotland for the first time from the sea, gaining the chance to wonder at the histories and cultures that have flourished, been lost and yet live on in the remote, unusual places where we moored. I discovered my sea-legs, but I found much more - the pleasure of a little bit of distance from land, the new perspectives it gives and sheer joy of experiencing the sea, and its role in revealing new dreams and uncovering old ones. All this was in the company of knowledgeable crew - sea-farers who made the whole cruise delightful from start to finish and easy-peasy for a land-lubber like myself.
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A Delight

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This was a fantastic holiday - there is something magical about being in a ship, relying on wind and waves, seeing beautiful scenery, eating lovely food, helping sail the ship and enjoying the experience with a group of witty, friendly, knowledgeable people.
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It's fascinating to be on a slow journey

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This holiday was like no other: it was stepping into another world where the wind, sun and sea mattered because our lives were held by the ship and these big elemental forces. It was a realm of sea faring lore, laughter and fun, where the elements - water, wind and tides - mattered and shaped and influenced our journey. It's easy to laugh on a ship because you are sharing the camaraderie of crew and ocean and somehow the sea is lighter than the land. Instead you have the myths and stories of sea and mysteries of the deep - Moby Dick, Jonah, Noah's Ark and Ring of Bright Water! It's fascinating to be on a slow journey with time to reflect and to be looking at the strange, populated and then depopulated, fought over Scottish coastal landscape from a new perspectives. It's fun to work with the charming, witty, friendly skippers and fellow crew hauling anchors and sails. But, most of all, it's a joy to be on, and in, and feeling the elemental ocean. I felt safe and found my sea-legs, but I also stumbled into a new world, one that enriches and ignites dreams.
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Tour St Hilda Sea Adventures Company Reviews

Tours 4 Trips 8 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 439 $ 166
Operator Type Custom/Private Tour Operator Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line
Size Global Operator Local Specialist
Trip Types
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Luxury Standard
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • Luxury
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
Headquarters Wilmington, Delaware, USA Oban, Scotland
Year Established 1999 N/A
Solo Friendly N/A Good for singles
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
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    About Kensington Tours

    Kensington Tours is an award winning travel company offering in depth tours with experienced guides, unique activities and premium to luxury accommodations.

    What Makes Kensington Tours Stand Out?

    Kensington Tours is, in their own words “not in the business of booking tours.” Rather they highlight the individuality aspect of each traveler - and their dedication to designing personalized experiences.

    Specialized travel experiences created by knowledgeable experts in destinations and experiences. Their local guides add a personal touch as they provide true insider knowledge and make the trip that much more memorable. You can take multiple types of tours from safari to river cruise, active adventure to honeymoon. They also have a unique Explorer in Residence program where you can take a tour guided by explorers such as travel photographers and storm chasers.

    They have highly trained, experienced, and knowledgeable destination experts who contribute to the experience by providing local insight, spontaneity, and breadth - so you don’t feel that you miss anything while exploring your destinations.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Kensington Tours?

    Private dining in the Maldives with Kensington Tours

    Kensington is a luxury operator; their travelers are well-to-do and value dedicated high class customer service, premier accommodations, and excellent cuisine.

    Travelers on a tour with Kensington seek to explore the world in comfort, are adventurous with an appreciation for the finer things. If you’re the kind of person who makes room for hiking boots alongside a few dressy items in your suitcase, Kensington Tours could be a good fit for you.

    Young woman traveling with Kensington Tours

    As opposed to Abercrombie & Kent, which whom they are often compared, Kensington has a more youthful focus, less obviously geared toward older travelers. That said they are a recognizable name among the 55+ crowd and their primary traveler, simply by default of the budget range does tend to be older.

    Top Destinations

    Kensington operates tours around the world, utilizing local accommodation, and diving into the local culture. Knowledgeable and passionate destination experts are on hand to help bring the destination to life.  

    Lion cubs yawning Kensington tours African safari

    They are well known for their Africa tours and safaris, which travel throughout the most popular safari destinations, as well as farther afield. In addition, Kensington tours also operate trips in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America. They also have cruise departures to Antarctica!

    Kensington Tours Travel Style

    Kensington certainly ascribes to the notion that “luxury” does not mean “stiff” or require that you stick to 5 star resorts. Rather it’s a style of travel that allows you to see the world on a deeper, extremely personal level - in safety, comfort, with a guide who becomes like a friend helping reveal small nuances that bring each destination to life in a new way.

    Mountain lodge luxury accommodation Kensington Tours

    Think luxury eco lodges in the heart of Central America, a yacht down the Amazon, 5 star safari lodges where you can sip champagne looking out over the savannah. Transportation is in luxury coaches, comfortable safari jeeps, hot air balloons, river cruises etc.

    The Kensington travel perspective is not to book a tour - but to craft an unforgettable experience.

    They have many travel styles including Safaris, which they are especially known for, river cruises, and family trips.

    Safaris with Kensington Tours - Enjoy the “fabled” African safari experience when you travel with Kensington Tours in Africa. Unforgettable wildlife encounters, luxury lodges, and exclusive private game drives, where expert guides reveal the best viewing opportunities and give excellent tips for spotting and photographing the animals.

    And it’s not just about the wildlife. Your safari may include a visit to Mt. Kilimanjaro, an afternoon visiting with local tribes, enjoying their hospitality, food, and learning about their culture.

    Meeting people in local African villages cultural tours with Kensington tours

    Active Adventures - True to their outlook on travel, Kensington combines the best of luxury with active adventure. This means whitewater rafting, hiking in Wales, or waterfall rappelling. A day full of activity followed by a well deserved cocktail in the sunset. Kensington adventure tours are offered in a variety of physical levels and are intended for beginners all the way up to hard core experienced adventure travelers.

    Family tours with Kensington - Sometimes it can be hard traveling with young ones because not all activities are open to them, and age restrictions cause an unbalanced experience. So Kensington has several family tours designed for a variety of ages. Most feature a stay at one hotel or on a cruise, allowing you to unpack only once and relax into the travel experience.

    Tribesmen playing traditional instruments on island tour with Kensington tours

    Food & Wine - All Kensington tours feature spectacular food and wine, but sometimes you want to focus on this specifically - diving deeper into the culture surrounding a places culinary delights. These tours often feature private kitchen visits, winery tours with the winemaker themself, and classes where you can learn to make traditional dishes.

    Couple on honeymoon enjoying private Kensington customized tour

    Honeymoon - Let Kensington Tours help you plan the perfect Honeymoon getaway. Work with an expert who will listen to what kind of travel experience you’re looking for and craft an itinerary that is uniquely you.

    Festivals & Events - Year round there are spectacular festivals and events held around the world - with countless niches and meanings. You could take in the fun of Oktoberfest, or the brightly colored Carnival in Rio, or the Tulip Festival in Holland. These events are often crowded, very busy, and can be difficult to navigate. Visiting with a Private Guide, and having all the logistics planned out in advance is the best way to relax and be able to truly appreciate the meaning behind the festival and have more fun!  

    Easter island chile tour with Kensington tours

    Other styles include “We to Me”, in which you participate in volunteering and conservation initiatives, giving back to local communities and helping keep wildlife areas protected. They also have an “Explorers Club” - tours that follow in the paths of scientists, and explorers both modern day and ancient. And for one of the best holiday traditions, you can book a special Christmas departure, which visits the lovely Christmas markets of Europe.

    Why Choose a Tour With Kensington Tours?

    If you’re looking for a luxury travel experience with a small, intimate group and private expert guides with you every step of the way, who promise to “transform a vacation into an experience of a lifetime,” then look no further.

    Young hiker on active luxury tour with Kensington

    The price is hefty (though some more mid budget options are available), but well worth it for a fully immersive, luxurious, comfortable, unforgettable travel experience. Don’t expect to only stick to the tourist sites; Kensington is about incorporating many off the beaten path unique experiences, as well as highlighting fascinating historical and cultural facts.

    About St Hilda Sea Adventures

    St. Hilda provides the unique experience to see Scotland by sail. They offer many activities and private excursions - a perfect travel experience for families, older travelers, and small multi-gen groups.

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Taking only up to 6 guests, their tours are incredibly unique, as you sail aboard a classic ex-tall ship that looks straight out of the past. Activities include sailing, swimming, fishing, rock pooling, and lobster potting. Or you can choose to just relax and watch the spectacular wildlife and scenery float by. If you bring your equipment you can canoe, kitesurf, and windsurf as well.

    Who Travels With Them?

    All ages and all types enjoy traveling with St. Hilda Sea Adventures. Families, couples, and solo passengers are all welcome. Passengers can choose to do as much or as little as they like. This is a great trip for young kids to enjoy as well, for the thrill of hoisting the sails like a true sailer.

    Where Do They Operate?

    The West Coast of Scotland is where they specialize, the Outer and Inner Hebrides and Argyll specifically. Such a niche focus is a huge positive for those interested in getting a unique view of this part of the world.

    Why Travel With Them?

    These cruises give you the opportunity to see extraordinary wildlife, sail aboard an ex-tall ship with skipper and chef, with a small group. All food is included, and there are many opportunities for interesting excursions. Some excursions are included in the price, however you can also arrange excursions based on your interests. These are not included but allow for a wonderful amount of personalization to your travel experience with St. Hilda Sea Adventures.

    Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by:

    • National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure
    • Outside, The New York Times