Overseas Adventure Travel vs St Hilda Sea Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.4
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.4
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Recent Reviews

80% great, 20% a waste of valuable time

4.0 April 2018
A
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 2.0
Our guide and group were wonderful. Most of the sites visited fascinating and worth it. I especially loved the visit with the monk and the Hakone Outdoor Art Museum.

It broke my heart that the one day in Tokyo was such a waste of time. Please, taking us to a mediocre mall and a car exhibit, what were you thinking? There should of been two days allotted to that fabulous city to see the real sites. Also, I am an adult and making sushi for four year old was a huge insult and should be skipped at all costs. Also I believe that the trip to Nari should be included as part of the trip and not an optional tour.

Except for breakfasts, the food was cafeteria grade at best and repetitive. You could do better. The best food was that which we picked ourselves.

I would never recommend going in cherry blossom time. There were 80 buses lined up to get into the outdoor sites. Buy a postcard and put it on your wall, or better yet, visit Washington DC. I would recommend this trip if modifications were made.
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Veteran travelers value their OAT experiences.

5.0 February 2015
DC
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
As a travel photographer and organizer of a number of photography tour groups over the years, I have a good sense of what discerning travelers demand of tour companies. And there aren’t many travelers more demanding than photographers in my experience.

I had heard many good things about Overseas Adventure Travel on several occasions from some very well traveled members of my groups who encouraged me to give one a try. While OAT tours are not tailored specifically for photographers or any other particular interest group, they do offer “flexibility with structure” as one couple from Louisville that has traveled with them on Patagonia and Japan tours put it. They felt this is due to OAT employing “superior guides” who are “especially enthusiastic, knew the areas very well and made every effort to engage all participants depending on their needs and desires.”

When my wife and I went on OAT’s Route of the Maya tour not long ago, we felt that our high expectations were met and frequently exceeded, especially in the way the guide made efforts to engage our group with the local people in a way that immersed us personally in the culture. This included visiting homes, farms, and as a special treat, a couple of schools where the group was able to contribute some school supplies at OAT’s suggestion.

OAT groups are kept small -- maximum size is 16 – which makes it possible to explore local transportation options, such as a Buenos Aires wooden subway and Japanese bullet trains for the Louisville couple and horseback and a “chicken bus” for our Maya tour. It also permits independent exploring, such as the full day my wife and I spent in Antigua, Guatemala, during the Easter Holy Week, Semana Santa, which was certainly a highlight for this photographer.

I believe the best testimonial for OAT comes from another of my photo tour friends, a couple from Denver. Veterans of 75 international journeys to all continents, this couple has experience with several small group travel specialists. But OAT has become their preferred tour operator with 14 OAT tours to multiple destinations on four continents to their credit.

In addition to praising the guides, they cited the pricing and excellence of the inclusive itineraries and felt that OAT provides “personal care, attention, and safety.”

“In our experiences, OAT leads all companies… We think they are a winning combination and our loyalty to them will continue.”

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Tour Overseas Adventure Travel Company Reviews

Best experience and value in the business

5.0 January 2015
F
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
As a travel writer, I have traveled with a fair multitude of tour companies and for the tour experience as well as for value, OAT wins every time. Not only are the itineraries exciting and well thought out with just the right amount of free time provided, but what really sets OAT apart is their philosophy of Learning and Discovery, which they take very seriously. Which means there are a number of surprises and unexpected stops not mentioned in the itinerary that add a whole new dimension to the trips. Ironically, in the post-trip evaluation form from other tour companies, I often make suggestions of things I've experienced on OAT trips.
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Tour Overseas Adventure Travel 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 23 Trips 8 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 305 $ 166
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line
Size Global Operator Local Specialist
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
Headquarters Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States Oban, Scotland
Year Established 1978 N/A
Solo Friendly No single supplement Good for singles
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
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    About Overseas Adventure Travel

    First established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) is now part of the Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation, which also includes Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line. Generally speaking, OAT serves the more adventurous travelers in the Grand Circle realm.

    Quick Facts

    Founded in 1978

    Very welcome to solo travelers - Free or low single supplement

    Average Tour Price: $4,538

    Small Groups - between 10 and 16 travelers, max of 24 on small ship cruises

    Travel Style - Culturally immersive and local experiences. Walking between 3-6 miles a day

    Age Range - Primarily 50+

    What Makes Overseas Adventure Travel Stand Out?

    Cultural immersion is a big selling point at OAT: visits to local schools, churches, and homes (where you might be treated to a home-cooked meal) are central to their philosophy. Experienced guides -- all fluent in English -- lead groups off the beaten path when possible. Accommodations are comfortable, not deluxe. And a portion of all proceeds goes to the Grand Circle Foundation, which supports cultural and educational programs in the countries visited.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Overseas Adventure Travel?

    OAT specializes in small group tours around the world serving Americans aged 50 and older. They appeal to the old fashioned - the fact that they still offer a physical catalogue is testament - and their travel style reflects an appreciation of the classics coupled with an adventurous spirit to explore each destination deeper and from a local perspective.

    Overall, prices fall into the moderate range, and are especially a bargain for solo travelers, who can save substantially by not having to pay for single supplements. Accommodations are designed to be both comfortable as well as unique and in keeping with the local spirit of the destination. If your hostelling days are over but you feel too adventurous for a standard hotel, OAT will be a great company to travel with.

    Overseas Adventure Travel might be a good fit with experienced travelers who maybe are trying out guided tours for the first time. Because their focus is very much on highlighting the benefits of what small group, pre-planned travel can provide, both in convenience and in the immersive local and cultural discoveries that become available.

    If you’re feeling like your time for experiential adventurous travel is up because you’re getting older, look no further than OAT. And for those for whom a long, stimulating hike is attractive, this is a common activity on their tours.

    Top Destinations

    OAT operates tours all over the world, specializing in remote, off the beaten track areas. African safaris are an especially popular offering, though you can also travel to Japan, India, Peru, Iceland, Vietnam, Albania, or Morocco, to name just a few of its far-flung destinations. OAT also runs small-ship cruises through the Galapagos, on the Amazon, and along the Turkish coast.

    OAT Travel Style

    With Overseas Adventure Travel you’ll find a combination of transportation and accommodation styles, but all with an element of comfort. Groups are small, with a max of 16 (24 on small ship cruises).

    Accommodations vary, but generally favor being local and non-traditional over a basic centrally located hotel. Their exact words are “emphasis on authenticity, rather than amenities”.

    Their style is all about unique and meaningful cultural interaction. While you’ll learn the history and see the famous sights, their true focus is about people and connections. This means you’ll enjoy meals with local families, like you’re just a friend over for dinner; visit schools and see the amazing work being done in small communities. The visceral understanding and perspective that comes from learning to cook traditional meals and make traditional crafts is what you’ll find on an OAT tour.

    Why Choose a Tour with OAT?

    OAT offers a unique up close and personal experience, guaranteeing that its groups will never exceed more than 10-16 travelers. A spirit of spontaneity is part of what makes traveling with OAT special, as they strive to take advantage of every interesting opportunity during a trip.

    Small ship cruises and land tours are available, and they are very friendly to solo travelers.

    Traveling with Overseas Adventure Travel allows for an in depth cultural travel experience in comfort. Many opportunities exist for travelers to find deals, and it’s a great way to meet new friends in a similar age range.

    If you traveled extensively in your youth and are not ready to slow down, but perhaps are looking for a few more logistical ducks to be taken care of for you, OAT could be the perfect fit. They offer a variety of options for more independent minded travelers, as well as ample free time to explore and plan your own adventure during cruise port stops and on their group tours.

    Alternatively, if this is your first travel experience, OAT will be a great starting point. You’ll gain cultural insights, meet locals, as well as hit on all the best tourist sites that provide cultural and historical context to your destination.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Can my grandchildren join me on the tour?

    Yes! However OAT cautions that transfers are frequently long and young travelers may not enjoy this. Additionally there may not be other children on the tour, as the primary age group is 50+. The minimum age requirement is 13.

    2. Are the tours handicap accessible?

    Most Overseas Adventure tours are not wheelchair friendly, because accessibility in each destination cannot be guaranteed. On those tours where this is not the case, you must provide your own portable and collapsible wheelchair.

    OAT advises that travelers should be relatively physically fit, and able to walk between 3-6 miles a day. Days are usually filled with activities and sightseeing, and you’ll be moving and active for 6-8 hours.

    3. How much luggage should I bring?

    This will vary trip by trip, but in general the appropriate amount is 1 larger suitcase and a smaller bag or backpack.

    4. What about travel insurance?

    There are many options for travel insurance, and most tour companies require that you have it prior to traveling. OAT offers their own protection plan, which you can purchase conveniently through them, and covers cancellation. Even if you choose to purchase your airfare separately and not through OAT, you can still purchase their protection plan.

    About St Hilda Sea Adventures

    St. Hilda Sea Adventures provide the unique experience to see Scotland from the sea. They offer many activities and private excursions - a perfect travel experience for families, older travellers, and small multi-gen groups.

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Taking only up to 11 guests (6 on St Hilda and 11 on Seahorse II), their tours are incredibly unique, as you cruise aboard a classic ex-tall ship (St Hilda) or a proper small ship (Seahorse II). Activities include sailing, swimming, sea kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, rock pooling, and lobster potting. Or, you can simply choose to just relax and watch the spectacular wildlife and scenery float by.

    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 sailor.

    Where Do They Operate?

    The West Coast of Scotland is where they specialize, the Outer and Inner Hebrides 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?

    Their Scottish cruises give you the opportunity to see extraordinary wildlife and to cruise aboard a small ship with skipper and chef and a small group of passengers. 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.

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