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This tour deserves a separate topic. It still has me boiling, and it's been five years now.
Cosmos Tours/ Liberty Travel Agency- My sister and I wanted a leisurely European vacation where everything would be taken care of (transfers, luggage, hotel, some meals, sightseeing, etc) to relax after a very stressful year. I let her choose the tour, while I chose the closest travel agency (Liberty). The agent was the worst...no advice...hard sell...if I hadn't been so stressed, I would have dropped her and gone to another agency. My sister chose a tour that had too many places for the 16 days that were too far apart. So, because of our impaired stressed out states of mind and an unhelpful Liberty Travel agent we chose the Cosmos tour from hell!
It began and ended in London...I really do like London and hope to return someday...in spite of two negative experiences. Instead of the high speed train out of London we were put on something that looked like an old-fashioned ferry and took all the livelong day just to cross the Channel out of Dover. The fun was just beginning! Our "group" had nothing in common. There was one family from western Canada, four other Americans (Filipino-Americans from California who did not know another: a married couple and two college friends, a couple from Dubai, two brothers from Australia, a brother from England and his sister from Australia, an aunt and niece from China...the rest of the group was a tour group out of Trinidad with their own separate travel agent who accompanied them. The group from Trinidad was large enough to have their own tour. Cosmos was so cheap that what they did was to merge a few English-speaking travellers with the large group from Trinidad for more money.
Our group leader was young, and if he had experience it did not show. His job required him to be multi-lingual: (French, German, Italian and English). Aside from his native language (Dutch), the only language he spoke well was English. The bus driver was Italian and the only language he spoke was Italian. So he and the bus driver had a heck of a time trying to communicate. That is at least partly why every scheduled city we were supposed visit, we arrived at night, usually around 7 PM...sometimes even later...so I get to say I was in Brussels, Liechtenstein, Lyon, etc....but what did I see?...the moon and the stars. We were always on the road by 8 AM the next morning...with the exception of Italy. Another reason we would always arrive late, the tour guide would insist upon stopping at "rest stops" every 2 hours. It was obviously some king of cut-back or other benefit he or the company was getting. And as for the "extras": he never stopped hounding us to buy the extras: entertainment, meals, a group picture, on and on and on. When the majority did not want to pay for the group picture, he actually threatened us with possibly missing something else on the tour as a consequence. I could go on endlessly about the nightmare that was this trip and about him, but what did I learn:
1. Never accept bad service from a travel agent before the trip. No matter how much you "need" to get away, you will regret having paid your hard-earned money and being disrespected in that way.
2. Never be too busy or stressed to ferret out unmentioned details in the travel brochure. Check out distances between the stops, to see if it is feasible to actually spend time at the place mentioned in the scheduled stops. You may pay for visits to places you never really see.
3. Never ever use Cosmos for a tour. I wrote them a letter after this experience, and they made absolutely no apology of any kind and implied that I had "race issues" because I said they simply added a few people on to an already existing tour group.
These are my experiences and what I have learned. Maybe there are those who have had positive experiences with Cosmos and Liberty, but I am not one of them.