Mr. Johnson Mendonca
Personally, I wasn’t a strong believer in choosing a tour operator to plan a trip as nowadays with tailor made tours online and other cheaper options we can easily manage a cost effective trip. So basically I was just cruising through the Cox and Kings Website to get an idea of how to go about is when I realised that this package was worth giving a try.
So that’s how I managed to convince our entire group of 13 members to book the trip well in advance and from initiation to execution every step made us confident that we made the right choice. Yes there were mixed reviews online which were a worry but after experiencing it ourselves I was forced to write this review to clear all misconceptions.
The tour started with Qatar Airways which flew us to London via Qatar and that was exactly what we wanted to kick start our tour. The convenience of the AIRBUS 380 and the excellent service was what we needed on a 8hr flight. At London Heathrow Airport we were greeted by the one and only Mr Jehangir Bhanja (Tour Manager) who was all set to lay down his rules for the tour with his famous 6,7,8 rule (6am wake up / 7am breakfast / 8am in the bus). But he's not to blame since the Cox & Kings itinerary is the most exhaustive & inclusive among its peers. In order not to miss out on any spot & also to cater to our drivers 11 hour rule(in Europe drivers need to be given at least 12 hrs. break between days) For this reason we all had decided to strictly follow this rule and so the nervousness started sinking in. Before we could grasp all the important information we were already at the hotel to take the rest of the evening to our disposal after an early dinner.
Then onwards for the next 15 days we just went with the flow experiencing all the famous cities with great history and heritage. Every day was a surprise when we were travelling to all the famous destinations and wonders of the world. The Indian meals throughout the trip kept us grounded to our roots with the occasional experiments with the local cuisine which we opted at our own cost to get the local feel. Packed Indian lunches were provided on two days which could be replaced by fast food from those very stops to avoid eating cold food.
Mr. Bhanja is a gem of a person & excellent professional who ended up becoming our good friend. He's a real asset for Cox & Kings & I hope all other tour managers are as professional as him. He would guide us with all local options for sightseeing and also helped in our souvenir shopping in every city.
Now coming to our group, we were 39 & by the end of the tour, we were used to all the different personalities and our members personally apologized to each family for all the noise pollution in the bus throughout the trip not knowing that everyone actually enjoyed it. The coach provided was excellent & our driver Andre, Polish by origin was an expert hand who ensured that we never missed out on any spot despite occasional traffic woes at some cities and his habit of jerking exactly when we managed to find some sleep.
We were put up at reasonably good 4* properties mostly on the outskirts (to save on costs), but the rooms were cozy, Wi-Fi good mostly. All hotels in the tour were above expectations apart from the Millennium hotel in Paris which was a total disaster. Right from the AC to the amenities, everything about the hotel gave us a negative feel. Thankfully it was towards the end of the trip so we were not much bothered.
The Stena line cruise from Harwich to Hook of Holland was a very satisfying one & we spent one night inside to experience the feel of a luxury cruise.
Finally our trip ended at Paris where we boarded our flight & reached our destination with a lot of memories which we cherish even today.
Thank you Cox and Kings for a wonderfully organized trip. Many more to come.