Silk Road and Trains-Siberian – Customer Feedback
Feedback and review comments are taken from emails and correspondence with clients who have travelled on recent tours; we are currently updating and more will be added soon!
We are still adjusting to the time difference from Vladivostock and Seoul. Interesting to note that, in 24 days, we managed to circumnavigate the globe!
The Trans-Siberian Railway trip was fantastic. Excellent tour coordinators, top-notch service, wonderful food/good wine and interesting travelling companions. We’re glad that we did the easterly direction because the schedule was very full for the first 8 or 9 days, then three days to relax on the train before we arrived in Vladivostock. We may have not enjoyed the pace of Moscow-Kazan-Ekaterinburg-etc if we had gone the opposite direction. By the way, there was Wi-Fi at hotels and when the train was in large Siberian cities. Also on the train every afternoon at the bar, there were summaries of world news.
I personally enjoyed very much the musical entertainment which was organized for us every day. We had good musicians on the train (piano, harp, classical guitar) and it was thrilling to experience the singing (opera and otherwise) at most of the major city stops. The Old Believers village was truly a highlight. Russians are very good and very enthusiastic vocalists. We enjoyed very much the lectures by Prof. George Munro on Russian history and issues. His knowledge of Russia, his engaging lecture manner and his sociability with us were wonderful. Dr. Peter Bottomley, the doctor on the train, was caring, knowledgeable and also he and Lesley were great travelling companions.
We both appreciated the numerous opportunities to view and hike in the natural beauty of the country. Riding for a short time on the train engine catwalk near Lake Baikal was another treat. You’ll be happy to know that I dove into Lake Baikal (approx. 6 degrees C that day) three times. Apparently I can now take 25 years off of my age (but more likely off of my life). I received a shot of vodka and a certificate for my bravery. Does this make me an honorary Siberian citizen? My husband actually went in up to his knees. We have photos but I’m not sure we’re going to share.
The only thing we’d change if we could would be the club or bar car. There was often not enough seating for the many folks who congregated there for concerts or socializing and the bar staff were not well-versed in the offerings (although this may have just been a language problem). We think that the bar area of the train needs renovations and extension. He thinks that it should be the “focus” of the Golden Eagle. (Need also a bar man who speaks English and can smile a bit). However, we both feel that overall we got good value for our money. Marina worked very hard to make the train experience memorable. The other coordinators Tatiana, Anna and Sabira also worked hard and cared for the passengers. I was pleased that Sabira managed to get a dozen of us speaking basic Russian by the end of the trip – and – courtesy of her and Anna, we actually sang two Russian songs – in Russian! We were very pleased with the day attendant in our carriage – Natalia was the jewel in the crown.
With regard to our other tours, in St Petersburg and Seoul, these also met our expectations. However we should have taken your suggestion and chosen a hotel other than the Kempinski in St Petersburg. It was nice, but not a 5-star.
All in all, the train tour was a well-paced, interesting and though-provoking experience.
We would like to thank you for being patient with us and looking after all our trip arrangements in an outstanding manner. You did a fantastic job for us.
Well we are all home safe and sound after experiencing one of the most wonderful adventures we have ever had. Our party of four couples are pretty experienced travellers but all agreed that this trip was right up there as one of the best we have had. Hard work at times but well worth the effort as the memories of the people and places will last forever.
You and your company are to be congratulated on firstly having the foresight and courage to start the train trips and then recruiting your wonderful staff. I must single out the tour manager, Tatiana who was just fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She was always there for us and anticipated our every need. Kristina (China) and Anna (Russia) were also so helpful twenty four hours of every day. Angela, the train doctor was a great choice and so helpful and reassuring on the couple of sick days I had; plus wonderful company socially when we all got together in a bar or two. The speakers and workshops certainly added to the trip and an added bonus not expected.
Dear Naomi and Hazel,
Safely back after a most memorable trip. We were extremely well looked after from arrival in Moscow until departure in Beijing, 21 days later. Food and accommodation very good, as was the wine, which even accompanied us when eating in restaurants off the train! The on board doctor was very attentive, although fortunately neither my wife nor myself had call for her services. All border crossings went very smoothly, so visas all in order.
All in all a super trip, which had no bad or boring moments. Now to go through hundreds of photographs and 2 hours of movie film!