In February of 2006, my wife and I booked a "DELUXE" 16 day land & sea cruise through YMT from Italy to Port Everglades. The warning flags went up when they demanded immediate payment by Certified Check or Wire Transfer. After several phone calls and letters, they agreed to take a charge card. They also claimed that all the least expensive cabins were already taken, but at sailing, there were still plenty available.
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The trip was scheduled to start on Nov 11th, and we would be arriving in ROME on the 12th, (Our 40th Wedding Anniversary). By June, we still had not received any travel information, and the phone calls started again. They never call you back. We received our "Itinerary" and an e-ticket 5-days prior to departure. Flights had not been booked till 7-days prior to departure, and were for the absolute cheapest worst seats in the plane, with a changeover in London. Some travelers from Canada had to change planes 4-times!
YMT had no-one at the airport in Chicago or London, and in London we were forced to walk nearly a mile (with our luggage) from one terminal to another, then wait 4-hours for a connecting flight to Rome. Upon reaching ROME there was a greeter from YMT who told us that since we arrived so late (like it was our fault), that our assigned tour guide had left the airport. After standing around for two more hours, we were finally herded onto busses and driven to our Hotels.
Our Hotel in Rome was in an outlying suburbs, the restaurant was closed, and there was only a Pizza place about 1/4-mile away. We were told that we had missed the orientation talk, and that "somebody" had our tour documents, but no-one knew who or where. Our room was dingy and drab, the window looked out over a tin roof at the brick wall of an office building. We finally found the person with our travel documents (at 10:00pm) and went to bed without any dinner.
Another couple from Michigan had their luggage lost by the airline, but it was located the next day. The YMT rep in Rome refused, point-blank, to assist them in any way to retrieve their bags. They finally got their luggage 9-days later in Tenarife in the Canary Islands.
This Hotel did serve a breakfast, but no one told us that. The breakfast room was in the second sub-basement, acessable only via a steep set of winding stairs. There was no accommodation for handicapped travelers, and fellow travelers (bless them) carried wheel chair bound travelers up and down the stairs. We later found out that there was an elevator, but were told "for staff use only". YMT was no where to be found during all of this.
Motor Coaches arrived for our tour of ROME, again we weren't told that it would be a drive-through, with no opportunity to get off and see the sights. However, YMT did set up a travel desk, where they attempted to sell additional "real tour" packages at a high fee. This went on for two more days, then we departed for Florence.
Only we didn't go to Florence, we went to some resort town that was closed for the season about 20-miles from Florence. YMT told us there were no restaurants anywhere in the area (this was really remote), but would sell us an "Italian Evening" for 60. Euro per person, (all you can eat spaghetti!!!).we declined.
The next day, we motored to Sienna for a brief stop, then on to Florence, where the YMT guide refused to give us a walking tour map of Florence unless we accompanied him to a Leather Factory way the hell out of the way. We told him goodbye, found a tabac, and bought a map & guide book and spent the day seeing the beauty of Florence. That evening we had a nice dinner and then took a train back to the resort town, and a cab from the station to the hotel. We arrived only 10-minutes after the tour bus, (which had left Florence at 3:30pm). The YMT "guide" seemed genuinely surprised that we had figured out the train schedule and were able to get along just fine without him.
The next day, we drove to PISA for a brief stop on the way to Savonna where we would board our ship. In the bus parking lot, there was public transportation (trams) to take people into the city proper. My wife and I boarded one when a YMT tour guide from another bus came running at us SCREAMING "Getta Offa, Getta Off, is only fora mya busa" We started to get off, when she noticed my cane, then said "Ok, butta youa gotta paya me 2. Euro eacha" We paid her and rode into Pisa. When it was time to return to the bus, we walked back.
After an interminable bus ride through Genoa, we finally reached Savonna. There the YMT people had the gall to tell us that they expected a tip of 2. Euro's per person/per day!
Luckily, the Costa Lines personnel were as helpful and friendly as could be and we heaved a great sigh of relief as we bid farewell to our YMT bus tour.
Once aboard, it became obvious that YMT had no-one on board, no ombudsman, no tour director, nothing. Other tour groups had organized parties and activities, YMT passengers had nothing.
My advice to anyone considering a vacation trip with YMT is DON'T DO IT! You will pay top dollar for 3rd rate accommodations and no service whatsoever.
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