Lots of time on the coach. San Sebastian tapas bar hopping was the best. Briefly saw the outside of Gaudi's houses as the coach flashed by. Florence was extra crowded. Hotels were not as great as Insight has arranged in the past. Guide at the Vatican made fun of the Australian accent. It's hard to imitate even if you are an expert. In general local guides were "just doing their job" and showed no real enthusiasm or ability to impart interesting material.
This was our 4th tour with Insight and it did not meet the high standard of our previous trips. The tour started well in Boston but was marred on day 2 and 3 by the tour guide becoming ill, she should have been replaced but wasn't. Day 4 was poorly planned with an early visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which is great, but then we had to look around the town for a few hours. There is nothing in New Bedford! The off to the Heritage Museum and Gardens where we spent about twice as long as we should have.The Glass Museum was ok but in all,about half the day was wasted.
The remainder of the tour was affected by Hurricane Jose which meant that we couldn't go to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket due to the ferries being cancelled which should have been tour highlights.Insight tried to arrange other activities but these were not a success on the whole. The weather wasn't in Insights control, of course, and they did give us a small payment as compensation after the tour. The stop on the last day to the cranberry farm on the way back to Boston was much too long as well, just seemed to be to fill in time on the way to the airport!
This tour company needs to closely examine the passengers surveys that were completed at the end of the tour. They will probably find quite a few passengers on the tour were very disappointed with the tour. So much so that two people left the tour before the tour actually ended.
The tour guide was on of the main reasons why the trip was not enjoyable. The meals on the trip were only average. Some of the hotels were situated some distance from the main tourist attractions. The optional experiences were not clearly explained by the tour director. Far to much information was provided by the tour guide and then repeated by the local guide. Many people on the tour have toured with Insight Vacations before and felt that this tour was well below what they had experienced on previous tours.