Topdeck vs CIE Tours - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.3
Guide — 4.3
Activities — 4.3
Lodging — 4.2
Transportation — 4.2
Meals — 4.2
Overall — 3
Value — 2.8
Guide — 3.4
Activities — 3.2
Lodging — 2.8
Transportation — 3.4
Meals — 3.2
Recent Reviews

FUNNEST GAP TOUR EVER!

5.0 July 2018
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This Topdeck was so much fun, with it being the leaders last trip the chefs first trip and everyone else on the bus being 18 on a GAP year it was one to remember!
Unfortunately we missed out on Nice as we were in Paris heading to Nice on Bastille day, the day of the drive through attack. Topdeck took a good step forward and moved us to Switzerland earlier and we had an extra day there and in Florence instead! They had the best facts and took us to the best places. Our leader Amanda would tell us the most important facts of the trip show us where to party and where to stay safe and let us do our own thing at night!
Would highly recommend!
Check out my Topdeck here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB_uiN6dOOc&lc=z221j1nhwkfwfjgeaacdp4302urkdwx33xmfi0u45j1w03c010c
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Amazing Europe Trip

5.0 February 2017
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
There are so many great things to say about my European trip of a lifetime. The people that made it was my fellow topdeckers and of course the Fab Tour guide Matt Stewart. This is a trip that I will never forget, so many lovely memories I will cherish forever. We was very lucky with Matt because he really took time to talk to us and make us all feel relaxed with each other and asked us what we wanted to do. He was so knowledgable about all the places we went to, I remember thinking to myself this guy is pretty cool the fact he knows so well about the history and culture of each place especially the amount of cities we travelled to. Matt made the trip fun, interesting, exciting and I hope that if I was to ever do a top deck again one day he would be the tour guide or I think I would be disappointed. Have recommended top deck to so many people, memories I will have for a lifetime.

Georgina staines
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TopDeck Tours was awesome

5.0 January 2017
IAS
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Topdeck Tours was awesome, at the time back in 2005 I was traveling for 12 months, and wanted to see a huge chunk of Europe on a budget, so I found this company and it was exactly what I was looking for, the guides were very friendly, our cook was making really great meals on the side of the road, and the driver was very funny, and the accommodation was all good and I and all the other people had such and awesome time, and lots of us still keep in touch and will always remember our Topdeck experience.
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Tour Topdeck Company Reviews

Go To Ireland... Just Don't Use CIE

3.0 September 2018
J
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 2.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 2.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
My wife and I travel often and while we enjoyed our tour itself, we would not use CIE again and would caution anyone else before doing so as well.
By the time our tour guide casually mentioned that their numbers on our particular tour were “way down” (our group had 28 the first week and only 18 the second week on a 50 person bus), I had already figured out why. CIE, as a company, is just not very good. Our group of three in Colorado, booked with some other family, a party of two, in Florida, to make sure we were on the same tour. The problem is, in spite of detailed explanation that we would be traveling separately and paying separately, CIE consistently attempted to treat us as a single party of five, both in payment and logistics. They charged our family in Florida an extra $50 to send their ‘travel bags’ to them directly. They messed up the travel vouchers for our group and even had them scheduled to be picked up at the wrong airport in England. This was clearly communicated on multiple occasions, but was still messed up by CIE.

Then there is their transport company. Before getting to the Denver airport, we received notice our flight into London would be delayed 2.5 hours. I called immediately, giving CIE a ten hour notice, and was told it would cost extra money for them to pick us up later. Apparently, they don’t do pickups afternoon. This would have been good information to have beforehand. Upon arrival, when I called the travel company at 2:00 pm local time, there was no answer so we ended up just taking a taxi and paying an extra $70 just to get to our hotel. Despite multiple requests, CIE has repeatedly refused to refund our $45 that we prepaid for our transfer, claiming a non-refundable policy. Think about this… 5 people on our trip, bringing in nearly $20,000 of revenue to this company, and rather than make it right, when the delay was no fault of our own, they choose to hold firm to their “non-refundable” policy and refuse to refund a measly $45.

I gave 3 stars rather than less because the tour itself was great. Our tour guide and itinerary were top notch. We did the 14 day Irish/British Grandeur and it was a whirlwind fourteen days. We saw a tremendous amount of sites and points of interest, but in doing so, we were exhausted by the end, despite being much younger than most of our tour companions. While there were a couple free afternoons and evenings, there wasn’t a single free morning. The mornings that we were leaving the hotel, we were to have bags out of our hotel room by 6:00 am or 7:00 am and we would be leaving between 45 mins and an hour later. Even when we stayed an additional night, our latest morning departure was 8:15 am. This is most definitely not a leisurely tour so be prepared to get good at sleeping on a bus.
The most disappointing part of it all though was the ‘bait and switch’ of the hotels. This tour was promoted as 4 and 5 star hotels, which was a complete fabrication. We stayed one night at a 5 star, two nights at a 4 star, and every single other hotel was maybe a 3 star. Maybe. Terribly uncomfortable beds, pillows, and poor service from hotel staff. For the price we paid for this trip, the hotels were a total rip-off and we expected better. The moral of the story is this; your numbers are down, CIE, because you’re not a very good company and word is spreading about your poor customer service. Go see Ireland! Just do it with a different company.
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USE ANOTHER COMPANY

1.0 December 2017
b
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 2.0
Had issues with trip and contacted customer service and they said they would review it guess what no response and called again same response spend your money with a company who cares would not use again
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Tour CIE Tours Company Reviews

Very Difficult to Work With

1.0 May 2017
N
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
We haven't yet taken our trip, but we are finding CIE to be very difficult to work with. They change flights indiscriminately, are totally inflexible with making any adjustments to remedy problems they caused, never return phone calls, and of course, a supervisor is never available. If we have had this much trouble before the trip, what will the trip be like? We will never book with them again.
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Tour CIE Tours Company Reviews

Tours 351 Trips 21 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 149 $ 200
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Regional Expert
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Group Tours
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • Solo & Singles Travel
Headquarters Chiswick, London, UK Dublin, Ireland
Year Established 1973 1932
Solo Friendly Good for singles, No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English English
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About Topdeck

Founded in 1973, Topdeck has been providing fun, adventurous trips around the world for 18-39 for over 40 years.

What Makes Topdeck Travel Stand Out?

Topdeck tour focuses on providing friendly and authentic guided group tours where like-minded 18-39 year old travelers can have amazing group experiences. There are several trip types to choose from, from camping, to immersive, to multi destination, to sailing.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Topdeck?

Sociable, adventurous, budget conscious 18-39 year olds are the kinds of traveler who will gravitate to Topdeck. Though they offer a few different distinct travel styles, there is definitely a sense of an ongoing party, with travel as the conduit and underlying shared interest.

If the idea of being around a group of similarly aged people - many of whom may be exploring internationally for the first or second time - being spontaneous, and meeting locals (often in the environment of bars or clubs) is unappealing, then Topdeck may not be your cup of tea.

Introverted travelers, or those for whom an extensively planned itinerary including many museums and historical sites is ideal, may want to hunt around before choosing a Topdeck tour.

That is not to dissuade the more observational traveler - who may very well find a group they gel with perfectly on a Topdeck tour. Only to caution that you will be surrounded by several extroverted personalities.

The bottom line is if you are game for anything, are traveling on a budget, and don’t mind fairly basic but comfortable accommodations and inexpensive meals - sometimes on the go - then you will enjoy the Topdeck tour experience.

Top Destinations

Topdeck has tours throughout the world, in Europe, Australia & New Zealand, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Topdeck Travel Style

The Topdeck travel style is tied quite specifically to their audience. These tours are great for youthful and energetic 18-39 year olds looking for a good time and to make new friends.

In the interest of keeping their tours affordable, travelers with Topdeck will need to make a few allowances. For example, hostels and hotels may be situated quite far away from the city centers. You can also expect some long travel days. The more of a good sense of humor and adventure you have, the more you’ll enjoy the experience.

Why Choose a Tour With Topdeck

Feeling the urge to connect with travelers in your age group, have fun, and make lasting friendships? Topdeck has over 40 years of experience in adventure travel, which has helped them create epic low cost trips for 18-30 somethings.

These tours are certainly not for those who prefer to take things slow. You will be running around, moving between a lot of places - which in some cases means very long bus rides - going out a lot, meeting new people, and staying active throughout your tour.

If your ideal travel experience is more methodical and planned out in nature, Topdeck may not be for you.

But if you are an adventurous and social travelers eager to absorb a new culture and make new friends, then hop on board!

About CIE Tours

New Jersey-based CIE Tours, in business since 1932, is one of the largest operators of escorted coach tours through the British Isles, Eastern Europe, Italy, and Ireland.

Quick facts

Founded in 1932

Travel Style: Large Coaches, not handicap accessible

Single supplement required for those traveling solo

Group Size: Average 35, maximum 48

Typical Age Range: Older travelers 50+. Children are welcome, minimum of 8 years old, so families are common as well.

Average Tour Price: $2,233

Accommodation Style: 3, 4, and 5 star hotels, depending on the itinerary. 4 stars are the most popular, combining a decent price with comfortability.  

What Makes CIE Tours Stand Out?

CIE is a long-established company with extensive regional knoweledge in Ireland. They offers especially good value, with all-inclusive pricing. Also look for early-booking discounts as well as seasonal discounts for solo travelers.

As part of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), CIE ensures that their company goes above and beyond when it comes to their client’s safety. They also offer a wide-range of itineraries depending on the client’s budget, interest, and schedule.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with CIE Tours?

Travelers seeking all-inclusive group tours of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as a few destinations in Continental Europe. Customers tend to be aged 50-plus and have an interest in history and wish to stay in nice hotels (ranging from three to five stars) with a choice of budgets.

Irish coastline walk CIE Coach Tours

The kind of traveler who enjoys a completely hassle free experience, with all activities, meals, and sightseeing planned out. Coach tours are generally enjoyed by travelers who like driving - daydream and gaze out large windows at the world passing by in comfort on your way to the next wonderful stop.

If you love learning about history, culture, with your days full of ancient cities, churches, and historical information their guide style would be a good fit. And with the occasional spa day at your hotel thrown in these all-encompassing journeys take care of the mind and the body.

Top Destinations

Beautiful England castle on lake

CIE Tours are especially known for tours in and around Ireland, and this is their primarily focus. They also travel to Scotland and Britain, with a small number of coach tours offered in Italy, Eastern Europe, and the Balkan Peninsula. Occasionally, river cruises on the Rhine and Danube are also available.

CIE Tours Travel Style

Most of their tours are on large, roomy, comfortable coaches, in the premium - luxury range. Amenities on board are basic, and coaches make frequent stops to avoid the need for using the restroom on the bus.

Traditional pub in Ireland CIE Tours

Group size is a max of 48, though 35 people is the average on the CIE Tours. Virtually all aspects of the trip – with no optional extras -- are included in the initial rate, which will not go up after booking, and departures are guaranteed. Itineraries range from 5 to 24 days, though the majority sit in the 8-10 day range.

CIE will also set up self-drive trips and homestay and B&B vacations for you if you want to travel on your own, or arrange customized tours for groups of 10 or more people.

Why Choose a Tour With CIE?

With more than eight decades of experience, CIE Tours offers dependable service and regional know-how. The company estimates that the average traveler will save $550 per week by not having to pay for optional extras during the trip. Their all-inclusive tours alleviate the stress of planning a vacation by providing daily guided tours, hotels, meals, and airport transfers.

Castle on banks of Ireland

CIE Tour guides are experts in Ireland and the other regions they travel through, so if you’re looking for comfort, inclusivity of price, plus a high caliber of knowledge and experience, this is a good place to start.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the CIE Travel Protection Plan?

Travel insurance is required on all CIE Tours. The Travel Protection Plan is an easy, convenient way to purchase insurance at the time of your booking, covering cancellation. See other travel insurance options  

2. Are there restrooms on the coaches?

Yes, most CIE coaches have restrooms for emergencies. Safety protocol means they are not to be used while the coach is in motion. CIE Tours make regular stops for travelers to stretch their legs and use the facilities.

3. Are CIE Tours handicap accessible?

No. Unfortunately the coaches are not equip to handle large wheelchairs or scooters. Walkers or foldable wheelchairs can be accommodated. Sightseeing tours require some walking over short distances, and some difficult stairs, such as when exploring castles. Uneven surfaces are common especially when exploring old sites and ruins.

4. What should I pack?

One large piece of luggage is permitted, which will fit under the coach. Layers are advisable for the weather in Ireland, which can be chilly. You may also bring a small backpack or purse. On “Supreme” tours, men will require a dinner jacket, but on all other tours this is not necessary. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.

5. Are tips included?

No, tips for your driver, porter, guides, and tour director are not included in the price. They are not required, but are a customary show of gratitude, especially if you enjoyed the trip!

6. What about airport transfer?

If you choose to purchase airfare through CIE, complimentary airport transfer is provided for flights arriving before noon. You can choose to purchase airport transfer if you elect to buy your airfare separately.


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