I booked a VJV based on the promises made in the brochure. Besides the towns and cities visited, and the total count of meals provided, nothing else on this holiday resembled what I paid for.
The included meals were so bad I ended up skipping them after day 3 and paid for my own. This was a good move as most of the group ended up with stomach problems, some to the extent that they went to their rooms and had to stay there to rest. Apparently I am informed by VJV that the quality of the meals is in fact "very good" - so clearly very good meals use cheap ingredients, are designed for mass tourism (e.g. 8 coachloads of tourists eating at a buffet, queuing at most restaurants for a table, etc) and give you sickness and diarrhoea.
The tour itself was organised by a local company that runs tours for all major companies. There is nothing "exclusive" or particular special about the product VJV offers. You can get the same tour, in the same hotels and with the same tour company from most European travel operators. The only difference is that VJV will send you a plastic leather-imitation baggage label with their logo on it.
I have travelled with jules Verne before and always felt it to be a good company. However, that is when things go smoothly. When they do not, it is a nightmare. We were double booked for three nights and alternative accommodation was provided. It was appallingly substandard. Bearing in mind the promise that such accommodation would always be of an equal or better standard this is unsatisfactory in the extreme. Correspondence with a rude customer service person (aka as someone whose job it is to fob people off) was unhelpful...added to which I was called a liar....and confrontational.
A very disappointing trip. I had travelled to iceland with jules verne and had a very good experience, therefore I had great expectations of this trip. The hotel we stayed at was poor, with street noise all night, so that sleep was impossible. The tour guide (in krakow) was only interested inshowing us churches. The optional excusions were massively overpriced, so that we organised our own, for example aushwitz, at a fraction of the jules verne tour price. On arriving in warsaw we upgraded our room, at our own cost, so that we could be comfortable. Again pressure was on to pay for overpriced tours. We were not told of interesting local. Events, e.g. a free outdoor chopin concert. All in all a disaster. I shall never go with vjv again.
Just got back from a 2 week holiday organised by Voyage Jules Verne. This included a 3 day stay in Cape Town and a 3 day stay in Victoria Falls with a 6 day train journey from the Cape to the Falls.
VJV were up to their usual very high standard, I was met and accompanied at each end by local, enthusiastic and professional guides who took care of every detail. The hotels were excellent although the Elephant Hills in Vic Falls is, (as I already knew) a little tired and due for some re-decorating.
The train journey, with Rovos Rail was truly the best experience I have ever had. I cannot imagine any way in which it could be made better. Fabulous accomodation, impecable service, painstaking attention to detail and the renovated or replica carriages are beautiful works of art in themselves. Couple this with an owner who takes the trouble to greet each traveller at the start of the journey and is there to thank them at the end and you have an experience that should be on everyone's bucket list.
We have just returned from a 21 day tour of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with Voyage Jules Verne. They used Asian Trails as there agent in all 3 countries. We found the staff to be very efficient, informative and helpful at all times. The tours during the trip and airport transfers were very well organised. Hotels used were all 4 or 5 star hotels that were centrally situated and of very good quality. The pre trip information was accurate and although it was a very hectic trip as so many excursions were included it all went smoothly.
We have just returned from a 10 day Nile cruise plus Cairo extension. This holiday is probably the best we have ever undertaken, everything worked like clockwork and on time. We stayed on the MS Hermees, a 5* boat & with a crew of over 60 & only approximately 45 passengers the service was outstanding. The food was generally very good, with a wide choice. I did have one 'off'day, but this might have been due to too much sun rather than the food! The success of the whole cruise was in the main due to the 2 tour guides, who efficiency, & knowledge of the places we visited never ceased to surprise us. They made a great double act & possessed a wicked sense of humour!
My only negative points about the boat are that the price of drinks is much higher than that found ashore, (£3+ for a 50cl bottle of beer & £17 for a bottle of Egyptian wine.) Also the supplement for a cabin on an upper deck is probably not worth payng, unless you intend spending tme in your cabin during the day. At night you are very likely to find yourself looking out at the boat moored alongside & into another cabin. Of the 7 nights we spent on board, on only one did we have a view.
The Cairo extension was well worth the expense & time. The hotel ws very close to the Pyramids, and although on a very busy main road, there was no sense of this once inside. Once again we we fortunate in having an excellent tour guide who really knew her job. We were able to visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where she took us around & showed us what she considered to be the highlights. We were then left to 'do our own thing.;
Egypt is having a tough time at present as the tourist industry has shrunk considerably. This means that the same original number of local traders & street sellers are targetting far fewer tourists, & trying to rid oneself from these people can be very difficult. Having an armed guard with us all the time was comforting!
The service received from VJV was in the main efficient, although sending emails via their web site was a waste of time,- they don't read them!
I returned last week from 7 days travelling around Jordan in standard accommodation. I am a single traveller and was appalled and humiliated to find that I was the only VJV traveller in all 3 hotels. VJV did not tell me of this fact. In the Aqaba Gulf hotel I was made by restaurant staff to wait for my breakfast and dinner until one of the never-smaller-than-8 tables had a space that I could be squeezed into. My room at the Petra Palace Hotel was smelly, run-down, and lacking even a kettle. Their breakfast food is minimal to say the least. See other reviews on the web about this hotel. The Dead Sea Holiday Inn is brilliant but over a mile away from the other hotels.
We set off too late for most of the trips and had to rush around the various sites, being given just under an hour to see Jerash. We managed to persuade our guide, excellent by the way, to increase this to 1 1/2 hours but it was a bitter disappointment to have travelled so far to see so little.
I would NOT recommend travelling alone with VJV and everyone should consider upgrading their accommodation in order to avoid some of the problems I experienced. To be honest the whole week was so appalling for me that I shan't travel VJV again.
Voyages Jules Verne - Taste of ChinaJust returned from a 12 day tour. Tour Itinerary furiously busy but amazing and completely fullfilled. 90% of local guides used were great, pleasant and helpful on all planned itinerary but unfortunately not great at offering you the alternatives to the very expensive 'optional activities and excursions'. Reception in all hotels provide city maps and taxis are cheap so don't always think you have to take those offered by VJV. Also word of warning VJV will have you believe that tipping everyone you come into contact with is a must. NOT TRUE. A tipping pool is offered to save you the hassle, around £40 per person for 12 days. Adds up when around 40 people on tour but can't truly say I saw very much of it being handed out tho! Having said all that a brilliant trip and no regrets.
We have just returned from Egypt from a week cruise on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan on M/S Sunray, all organised by Voyage Jules Verne. We had a fantastic time and would recommend this trip to anybody. We were lucky as we originally booked a 4 star ship but were upgraded to the 5 star Sunray, which was worth another £200 for the two of us. The ship was very nice but what made the holiday was the professionalism of the staff. Service was outstanding everywhere, from room service to waiting staff and reception. The food was fantastic and hygiene impeccable. When we suggested that we would have liked more Egyptian dishes on offer, this was acted upon the same day. The only criticism I would have would be the level of noise in the cabin, which made it difficult for us to have a full night sleep. Combined with early morning wake-up calls for excursions (4 O'clock on a couple of occasions!), it meant a bad case of sleep deprivation for both of us...we are still recovering from it two days later! I think that our cabin (223) was badly located, very near the engine and next to a staff area - we heard shouting very early in the morning a few times. I would recommend requesting a room one floor up (room numbers beginning with 3) and also specifying a double bed if that is what you want, as we did not request it and got twin beds.
As for the excursions and the tour leader, we thought that everything was very well organised with a good balance of free time, relaxation and busy activities. Our guide Walid was extremely efficient, friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He would tell us information about the site on the coach on our way there, would then guide us through it giving us detailed comments on it and would give us plenty of free time to walk around on our own (usually an hour). The only thing we disliked was a trip to a perfume shop when we were actually locked in the shop (!) for 45 minutes with no alternative choice offered to us.
We did several optional excursions, which were all good, but the two I would recommend not to miss would be the one to Abu Simbel (well worth getting up at 4.30 and driving 7 hours through the desert) and the hot air balloon flight at sun rise over the Valley of the Kings (an incredible experience).
All in all, the trip of a lifetime ... and yes, I did get a dodgy tummy on the last day, but I think it was due to a heat stroke rather than to food (I had the classic symptoms).
My crtiticism of Jules Verne as a travel company is as much about Egypt as it is about them. We went on their Nile cruise in November 2009 and out of a table of ten, seven had food poisoning. Various travel companies orgainising Nile cruises at all prices have similar complaints but the reponse from Jules Verne was appalling. They asserted that those suffering were in "single figures" out of the entire passenger list. Since we had seven sufferers out of 45 on board that seesm unlikely, to say the least. They asserted it was probably not a bacterial infection but viral despite the fact that a local doctor injected anti-biotics and others took strong anti-biotics whcih they had brought with them and in all cases the infections responded. They also told us that they had had a full inquiry with their local boat operators who had doen a thoroufggh investigation and confirmed thatheir hygene standards were as high as ever and therefore could not be blamed for these events. It is very difficult to enjoy teh sights of Egypt if you are suffering from the various unpleasant symptoms of food poisoning and both jules Verne and their local suppliers are in denial about what is a frequent and unpleasant expereince because their business is entirely dependent upon maintaining the fictions that it is either not happening or is nothing to do with the operators employed by them. If you go to Egypt find out from your tour operator what the ususal level of food poisoning is experienced by their customers and avaid Jules Verne at all costs.
Voyages Jules Verne's.
Voyages Jules Verne's is a holiday company offering excellent tours to every continent and all corners of the earth. They are now part of the Kuoni group and are based in the UK. They organise group tours to unusual places which give a combination of terrific sight seeing and periods of rest and relaxation. They also organise resort based locations with the options of joining excursions if you so wish although I found their organised excursions are much more expensive than if booked independently in the resort.
I have been on a couple of their holiday tours which were handled in an absolutely fantastic way. All you have to do is turn up at the airport check in and off you go with nothing to think about or worry about at all just sit back, relax and enjoy yourself as everything is organised for you from transport, transfers, hotels, meals, sight seeing fees.
The booking process.
It is one of the easiest things to do they have a fantastic on line web site that shows you all of the various destinations and tours available. They also produce some very interesting brochures detailing all the holidays. There is an interactive map on the web site. Click on the continent you want to visit for example Asia then this opens up showing you all the countries within that region. Click on the country you wish to visit and a list of available tours opens up. There are lots of exciting tours available mainly visiting places of historical and cultural interest for example in China the Great Wall of China, Ming Tombs, The terracotta warriors, the Yangtze river, temples and palaces or in India the Royal palaces of the Maharajahs, old forts, Temples, the Taj Mahal, the Palace of the winds to name a few. They also list the hotels you are staying in which is quite handy because you can check out the details of reviews on the hotel either on Dooyoo or Trip advisor.
Once you have decided which tour you wish to book you can either complete the booking on line or telephone the company directly. Usually what I do is look at the various different tours on offer and the once that ticks all the boxes for the sights I want to see I go ahead and ring them to book it up. Normally you need to give a deposit there and then of £175 payable by debit or credit card. I usually pay by credit card to give you the added security that if any firm goes bust and you are unable to take your holiday at least you will get your money back from the credit card company. Usually the holiday companies charge an extra 2% to the cost of the holiday but at least you have got peace of mind should they go to the wall.
The reservation staff you speak to are usually very knowledgeable about the holidays and are happy to answer any questions or special requests you have. They give you a reference number and tell you there and then that it is booked. An invoice detailing the holiday you have chosen and any extra requests you have made the price and when it has to be paid in full which is usually 60 days before departure which is pretty much standard practice with holiday companies. If you book your holiday within the sixty day period you usually have to pay the whole amount there and then.
In the information they send you there are details of any visa applications you have to make and any photographs you have to provide for it. They are able to offer to get the visas for your holiday which is quite handy or you can get them yourself. Some of the tours have a group visa so you are just put on a list.
About two weeks before your departure they mail you an information pack with useful tips and hints in it. There are luggage labels for your cases and a copy of the itinerary and the hotels you are staying in any last minute changes and contact numbers.
The holiday itself.
The actual holiday is usually of a very high standard and the companies they use in the country you are visiting are usually very good indeed. They may have local guides who accompany you on the tour or a tour leader who accompanies you on the tour from the UK to the return. On some of the tours they have exclusive arrangements in places of interest to see exclusive shows or performances in historical sites after they are closed to the general public or due to their knowledge about places you are visiting they may visit at slightly different times to the norm so that you have the whole place to yourselves which is ideal as some places become absolutely saturated with tourists which can impede the pleasure you are after.
On the tours all things are arranged for you so all you really have to do is get up eat and off you go which is quite nice because you can just concentrate on enjoying yourselves. You can meet some very interesting people on the tours and of course they are like minded people so there are usually some people you get on with. Naturally there will also be some people you don't see eye to eye with and all you do is just avoid them. The hotels are of pretty good standard ranging from 3,4,and 5 star hotels.
Some people may dread the thought of an organised tour being herded around but we have found that they take us to the things that we want to see and there are ample opportunities and enough free time to spend on your own and do your own thing. We have also made arrangements to do our own thing while we are on the tour and as long as you let them know in advance what you want to do they are happy to oblige and even arrange for special deals if it involves hotel stays.
A massive negative about Jules Vernes.
The only negative thing I have found about Jules Verne's is an outrageous rip off and I have told them about this both verbally and in writing and that is the price they charge for an upgrade of flights. They are making a massive profit on this.
You are able to make your own flight arrangements which they knock a sizeable amount off the actual holiday for example I have booked a tour to India. By making your own flight arrangements they knock £400 off the price of the holiday. Great.
By booking the same flights directly with British Airways their return business class fare to Delhi is £1670 which is reasonable.
The price Jules Verne's quote for an upgrade to business class is £1915 on top of the holiday so if you add the £400 to this they are actually charging you £2315 making a profit of £645 for just booking the upgrade which I think is totally unacceptable but their attitude is take it or leave it. So I left it and have booked my own flights independently in fact on a different airline for £1138 saving a total of £1177 each.
My thoughts about this company.
I would give five stars to Jules Verne's for the outstanding quality of their holidays, the arrangements, the standard of the hotels, their local representatives and their outstanding ability of looking after their guests. Although sometimes the reps do need a little bit of persuasive advice to get the desired result but generally they are very good and accommodating. There is absolutely no point in being overly demanding but a bit of reasoned argument with a bit of respect usually results in action if necessary. I have observed the way some people talk to the reps and I think it is extremely rude, so out of order and not necessary because it just antagonises the rep. I have found they actually bend over backwards to help depending on your approach. After doing a lot of comparative research with different companies I am drawn to Jules Verne's because of their exclusive arrangements they make on their tours which usually include visits to all the places that I wish to see on a tour plus others.
I give them minus five stars for the blatant rip off of their customers regarding the option of booking flight upgrades with them.
Do check them out if you are looking for a foreign holiday in far away shores as they are quite a reputable company and have generally a good reputation.
Their website can be found at :-
We went on a Nile cruise with VJV in October 2008. Sadly for flights to Luxor VJV charter Monarch Airlines who only have 28in seat pitch on their planes (the bear legal minimum for a 5 hour flight) and don't distribute water on long flights. Both real health issues. I wish I had been aware of this when I booked as I would most definitely have booked a flight upgrade, as it was I organised one for the way home. Anyone over 5ft 9ins basically travels in extreme discomfort.VJV response to my complaint on these issues was less than adequate. Traveline, VJV's partner in Egypt however was great. The stars in my rating go to them!
VJV are by far the most professional, value for money operator we have used. In the last 4 years we have been on tour with them to Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Gallapagos & the Rainforest, Northern India and China. The organisation is excellent. The tour managers and local guides knowledgeable and very good at getting the right balance of information. How they find such quality in hotels situated in these remote areas never fails to amaze us. One priviso, don't choose them if you like laying in bed in a morning, sitting daydreaming half the day or can't be bothered to be on time - their tours are for people who want to experience the country as much as possible. They are not holidays but true experiences! Keep up the good work VJV but do get yourself a more useful person at Heathrow please!
If it all works - VJV are fine. China, Russia, Portugal and the Galapagos have all been OK. But if it doesn't work customer service can be an oxymoron. Its all about volume not individual customers. So no apologies for a crumbling Tupelov 154 on a return trip from St Petersburg which they refused to accept was unsafe: weeks of delay in processing visas for which they want to blame somebody else. And the "screw you" tone of the responses really let's you know how much they care.And no individual is accessible to take responsibility - unless you want to reach Reto Wilhelm (the Director responsible for VJV) at his narcissistic YouTube entry.
We have just returned from the Pyramids and the Nile tour with VJV. Overall we had a wonderful time and we packed in a tremendous amount to see and do. This is both a positive and a negative point as by the end of the week we were worn out by the daily 04.00am starts (with little opportunity to rest during the day). We had two excellent local tour managers who worked for Traveline but the tour manager who stayed with us for the longest, Caroline, had a very bad attitude and made it very clear she didn't want to be there as she normally did the Cairo tour but had been sent to Luxor for that week. She was quite rude and aggressive to most of the group, complained about the group's attitude and timekeeping constantly and even left us behind at the start of one tour.
The excursions were wonderful and we saw many amazing things. However there was a lack of overall information provided so you never knew if there was time for comfort stops, coffee and shopping trips at each place and the tour manager was quite unhelpful. The cruise ship was MS Hamees, quite a nice boat with nice features, and the staff were excellent. The food was not that good and the entire group came down with stomach problems (picture the 6-hour flight home, it wasn't nice).
VJV could do with a bit more of a customer care focus, I get the impression that once they have your money they lose a bit of interest but overall it was a wonderful holiday.