Let me first say that I have booked previous tours with Global Journeys and they are brilliant! ‘Hannah’ cannot be more helpful and attentive. Even when I had issues with holiday documentation not arriving (Kirra Tours) had given delivery company wrong number, Hannah was quick to make enquiries on our behalf. Kirra Tours provided a really good itinerary which covered all the key places in New Zealand and the hotel accommodation and meals were fine.
What let them down was a lack of tour director! The coach driver ‘Andrew’ did a good job of driving, however he was no Tour Director! Yes, that’s right, all there was was a coach driver, no Tour Director on board. We received no pre-tour documentation listing optional extras. There was merely an iPad passed around on the day and we were told to write down what we wanted. There were a few elderly ladies on the tour who didn’t even know what an iPad was! There was no Tour Director on board to explain. Each day there was a simple piece of paper placed on the bus door telling checkout times etc, these were not explained very well and often times were changed without notice.
Our driver was knowledgeable about NZ however often drifted into conversation about truck/bus (mechanics!) Some of the elderly ladies had not been on a tour before and had no idea what was going on, as nothing was explained clearly! They had to rely on us (not our job). I did ask about dinner time one night and the driver asked me “what’s the point of putting the information on the door if no one reads it”.
Even the small issues of having no one on hand, (usually a job of the driver) helping people off the bus! The driver would just sit and watch them struggle down the steps. In a competitive tourism business Kirra Tours need to pick up their ball game. I will continue to book through Global Journeys but never again with Kirra Tours.
Reply from Kirra:
Thank you for your feedback following your recent tour of the North Island with Kirra. We were very disappointed to read your comments regarding the attitude of the Coach Captain who guided your tour. Although it is common practice in New Zealand for tours to be escorted by a Coach Captain only, we are introducing on-board Tour Concierges on our Classic Plus tour series in the 18/19 tour season who will work alongside the Coach Captain to ensure the smooth operation of our larger tour groups.
We have looked into the tour you mentioned in your feedback and it would appear that this Coach Captain was assigned to this trip at the last minute following a sudden illness to the original driver guide. Due to this tour departing at a busy time of year, our coach company had no option but to engage the services of a Coach Captain who was not fully familiar with Kirra’s procedures. It would appear that the service he provided fell short of both your as well as our expectations and for this we must apologise.
We recognise the importance of the driver guide to the overall enjoyment of our coach holidays and this is generally an area in which we excel. Please accept our apologies for the problems encountered as a result of the above. We hope that we may have the opportunity to prove ourselves to you again, should you choose to travel to New Zealand again in the future. Regards. The Kirra Management Team