Sally Foote review 15 Nov 2015
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
We really enjoyed Havana - what an incredible city. Perfect for exploring on foot and packed with friendly interesting people.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Try and book the trip yourself rather than using a tour operator. The company we went through booked through a local agent who outsourced everything to another local agent so it was one mess up after the next with no real way to get in touch with anyone who could help. Three lots of travel agents all taking their commission also meant out trip was really bad value for money.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Absolutely not. There was nothing on this trip that was socially or environmentally responsible. Not sure what these companies are doing on Responsible Travel and made me question how they are being selected.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Disappointing. We won't be back unfortunately despite good experiences booking with Responsible Travel previously.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you very much for taking the time to send us your comments, and we appreciate the detailed feedback you've sent us via email too as this will enable us to improve our services going forward. We do wish you'd be in touch from Cuba so that we could have rectified things during your trip, but we can only apologise that you encountered any issues.
We are really disappointed to receive this negative feedback, and we are in the process of evaluating our services in Cuba as this isn't the typical services we offer and we usually have great feedback for our trips.
The complexity with Cuba is that legally we have to book transfers, cars and guides via an approved government agency, so we don't have the same level of control in Cuba than we have when operating trips in other countries. To ensure a more effective service, we use an approved ground operator to assist with the logistics. I am very disappointed to hear that they have not fulfilled their role satisfactorily this time. It appears that in this particular instance they assigned a third party guide (without our knowledge) who frankly appears to have been inadequate so you did not receive our typical services. This is obviously completely unacceptable and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Usually we take customers on local cycle routes where you get to see an off-the-beaten track side to Cuba, and we use local casas to provide an authentic experience where you get to stay with locals, eat meals with them and learn more about the Cuban way of life while contributing directly to local families. We are very sorry that you didn't get to enjoy the best of Cuban culture on your trip, and are taking steps to monitor the local guides and casas selected to ensure we don't have similar issues in future.
Thank you again for your valued feedback. We do hope that you enjoyed visiting Cuba in spite of the issues encountered.