Why Story Land & Sea® Small Group Tours?
We believe our True Small Group Tours are among the finest available. Story Land & Sea® offers many additional benefits which comparably-priced tours simply do not provide. Realize that Story Land & Sea®'s True Small Group Tours offer the following exciting benefits:
1) Enjoy a maximum of 16 guests on Story Land & Sea®'s True Small-Group® Tours, which guarantees everyone on a Story Tour a True Small-Group experience. Renowned travel expert Arthur Frommer recently endorsed QueensLander small group tours (now Story Land & Sea®) as the "perfect way to see Italy."
Most other tour operators offer either a LARGE-size group tour of 40 - 45 travelers, or offer a MEDIUM-size group tour of 25 - 36 travelers. Studies have proven that travelers who wish the ideal travel experience will travel with a True Small-Group of 16. We now offer slightly larger tours on select departures with a maximum of 24 travelers.
2) Our Heart of CIty Deluxe hotels are 5-star or 4-star properties located truly in the very heart of the city (where guests want to be in each city we visit) --- we do not select hotels which require our guests to spend their precious vacation time taking expensive taxis (or vaporetto in Venice!) into and back out of the heart of the cities we visit. Our classic budget hotels are 3-star on average and are located seconds away from our deluxe properties.
Most other tour operators provide hotels which are a 10-, 15-, or 20+ minute taxi ride outside the historical heart of each city. The enjoyment of your vacation is often directly proportional to how close your hotel is to this historical heart.
3) Dine Locally: Each dinner experience is at a local restaurant which has been personally selected and reflects the region's finest in both cuisine and wine.
Most other tour operators offer dinner in the hotel restaurants (that cuisine is rarely authentic, tasty cuisine), or at restaurants which cater to large tour groups from the US and Canada (no locals dine at those restaurants). In contrast, Story Land & Sea® guests will dine at some of the finest restaurants, where real locals dine, for each of our included (and optional) dinner experiences.
4) Our guests order whatever food, wine, soft drinks, or beverages they desire from the menu, including as much as they want --- with all food, wine, soft drinks, and customary gratuities included. Our dinner experiences are never a hotel dinner buffet.
With most other tour operators, any beverage (even water) is an additional charge (usually at least $5 US per person).
5) Our professional Tour Captains accompany you from arrival to departure, and all of them come from the U.S. & North America --- no European Tour Directors like most tour operators provide. Story Land & Sea® selects only the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to our professional Tour Captains, and their permanent home is in either the U.S. or Canada. You will be so impressed with the exceptional, personal, caring service provided you throughout your tour by our experienced, professional Tour Captains.
6) All our Local Guides are among the finest available in each city, offering incredible insight and immersion into each venue we visit. The local tour guides are one of the most important keys in determining whether guests have a GREAT vacation on tour, or whether they have a MEDIOCRE vacation on tour.
Local guides used by other tour operators often have a very strong accent, and because of the strong foreign accent, travelers from the US and Canada often only understand about 50% of what they are saying on the tours in each city. Story Land & Sea® has personally selected each local guide in each city we visit. Our local guides are the most knowledgeable and easy-to-understand.
7) Gratuities included throughout the tour --- Story Land & Sea® provides gratuities for your Local City Tour Guides, Tour Drivers, Restaurant and Hotel Staff. Customary gratuities for your Tour Captain are not included and should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis.
It can be very confusing to travelers to know which personnel (drivers, local guides, bellmen, waiters, etc.) they should tip while on a tour. With Story Land & Sea®, it is an easy-to-understand experience. Every person who should receive a tip/gratuity from you is provided a tip by Story Land & Sea® throughout the entire tour except for the Tour Director, called a Tour Captain. The suggested tip for your Tour Captain is just $8 - $15/day/guest.
8) Any payments received by Story Land & Sea® are fully refundable up to 90 days prior to departure --- yes, you can cancel for any reason up to 90 days prior to departure. Most other tour companies begin to assess cancellation fees after only 72 hours from your time of deposit!
We offer a true quality, small group tour experience. The reviews of our previous guests consistently reflect that our tours live up to the high expectations of our esteemed guests.