Explore bergen, fjords & slow travel, oslo - 10 days , Norway - Aug 15 - Aug 24, 2018
Greetings! Everyone I interacted with during this process was kind and as helpful as possible. There are a few things I think you might find helpful for the next time.
Generally speaking, the logistics of having to figure out our own transportation was not smooth. Having someone meeting us at both airport and train stations, and generally ensuring those things go well, was missing. Case in point is arriving at the Oslo train station with limited instructions about finding our hotel on site at the mall, and not seeing a sign anywhere, nor was the hotel name on the mall directory. Finally after spending considerable time, with suitcases in hand, looking for the hotel in the dark (roughly 10:30 pm), I found the phone number to the hotel and they led us to a door which was locked and which they had to buzz us in through. This door was poorly marked, and again, in the dark this was a problem.
Another issue was the cost of the cab to get us to the airport when leaving. It was not our desire to use the tram or bus with luggage. It cost us $150 US for a 35 minute cab ride. At minimum, the overall trip cost should have included airport transfers. At certain points during the trip I began to wonder what we had really paid for.
Another issue is that we were not instructed to arrive early (as was the case with several other items in the itinerary), and we arrived 2 minutes past the time indicated on the itinerary for the boat to Rosendal. The boat had already left when we arrived. While I do believe there is some culpability on both ends of this one, the least you could do was reimburse us for the alternative trip we took which cost $138. I was told this was not an option.
When I asked for "City Tours", I did not mean "Walking Tours", and while our walking tours were both fine and enjoyable (David and Stig), they did not properly take the place of a more comprehensive day tour via bus, motor coach, etc., where you see the whole city. We saw very small parts of the cities, especially in Oslo. Luckily we found the beautiful buildings and harbor on our own or we would have missed a lot! Also, the harbor boat tour in Bergen was rather miserable. It was held in an open sailboat (sans sail), and it was pouring rain. It was very difficult to see anything, and while we enjoyed the guide, the type of boat was a poor choice for the frequency of rain there.
We did have an error on the itinerary at Balestrand which indicated we were staying at the Kvikness vs. where we ended up which was at the Midtnes. I did appreciate the view from the room, and Jon taking us via van to and from the harbor with our suticases, as well as the included dinners at the hotel, the amenities were quite lacking comparatively speaking. We had planned to use the gym at the Kvikness, and also there was no TV in the room, and the pillows were poor at the Midtnes. We also ended up spending evenings at the Kvikness since there was no restaurant/bar at the Midtnes. It just felt to me like we stayed in the cheaper hotel to keep your costs down.
In the end we accomplished the goal of experiencing the Fjords and cities of Norway, and that was really great. I think if you could implement a bit more 'service orientation' into the program, it would make it even better.
Many thanks for the opportunity to provide this feedback!