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Santana Tandems - STATUS? 2021 European Bike & Cruise

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Santana Tandems - STATUS? 2021 European Bike & Cruise

Old 05-14-21, 08:06 AM
  #51  
SeatoSun
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
My interest is piqued, but I know nothing about Santana trips. I do own a 90s Santana though. What kind of setup do they run?
Their trips are bike tours to wonderful places and is unique as they are on cruise, so can unpack and settle in.These trips are on a chartered Crosi ship. Primarily tandem riders but some singles (we ride singles). Website has details on all trips at santana adventures .com . Since not refundable or exchangeable, even if they change dates,I am trying to find someone who wants buy ours as they suggest finding own buyer. Check out site. Lovely trips we were psyched about!
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Old 05-14-21, 12:16 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
My interest is piqued, but I know nothing about Santana trips. I do own a 90s Santana though. What kind of setup do they run?
Originally Posted by SeatoSun View Post
Their trips are bike tours to wonderful places and is unique as they are on cruise, so can unpack and settle in.These trips are on a chartered Crosi ship. Primarily tandem riders but some singles (we ride singles). Website has details on all trips at santana adventures .com . Since not refundable or exchangeable, even if they change dates,I am trying to find someone who wants buy ours as they suggest finding own buyer. Check out site. Lovely trips we were psyched about!
We are in the same situation with a trip in Tahiti/French Polynesia now scheduled for November aboard a Windstar boat. If that interests anyone, let me know.
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Old 05-31-21, 02:01 PM
  #53  
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We’re also booked on Santana’s French trip. We’ve been on 2 other Santana trips and have enjoyed them. We found biking from a ship works really well,…at least for us. Arrive at the ship, set up the bike, unpack and bingo, good to go. We also found that the food was good and we could come and go as we wanted. Santana gave us a GPS chip with multiple routes so we could go long or short depending on how we felt or if there was something else to do that day.

I’ve been to France many times with my bike club buddies, but my wife hasn’t and she has had to endure my epic riding tales when I get home, so we thought this would be a perfect opportunity for her to actually experience what I think is some of the finest cycling anywhere.

Unfortunately, we can’t go. We have a conflict, ‘caused by COVID and we can’t change that. So, if any of you would be interested in trying a Santana tandem trip, I’d be happy to sell you our spots for a significant discount.

Here’s a link to the trip - https://santanaadventures.com/burgundy-provence-2021/

The trip is July 20 - 28, but there is a pre-tour July 17 with time in Paris including the final day of the Tour.

Rich
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Old 05-31-21, 03:31 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by vtrich View Post
We’re also booked on Santana’s French trip. We’ve been on 2 other Santana trips and have enjoyed them. We found biking from a ship works really well,…at least for us. Arrive at the ship, set up the bike, unpack and bingo, good to go. We also found that the food was good and we could come and go as we wanted. Santana gave us a GPS chip with multiple routes so we could go long or short depending on how we felt or if there was something else to do that day.

I’ve been to France many times with my bike club buddies, but my wife hasn’t and she has had to endure my epic riding tales when I get home, so we thought this would be a perfect opportunity for her to actually experience what I think is some of the finest cycling anywhere.

Unfortunately, we can’t go. We have a conflict, ‘caused by COVID and we can’t change that. So, if any of you would be interested in trying a Santana tandem trip, I’d be happy to sell you our spots for a significant discount.

Here’s a link to the trip - https://santanaadventures.com/burgundy-provence-2021/

The trip is July 20 - 28, but there is a pre-tour July 17 with time in Paris including the final day of the Tour.

Rich
I'll be surprised if that trip goes as scheduled. Maybe you'll be able to make the new dates?
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Old 05-31-21, 03:38 PM
  #55  
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Not really wishing for any ill will, but we were hoping the trip would be re-scheduled, but as some posted, Santana feels things are opening quickly and they’re suggesting people buy their plane tickets. If someone makes me an offer and we sell our spots then I re-coup a little and they get a nice trip. If it gets moved,…well……….
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Old 06-02-21, 09:06 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by vtrich View Post
Not really wishing for any ill will, but we were hoping the trip would be re-scheduled, but as some posted, Santana feels things are opening quickly and they’re suggesting people buy their plane tickets. If someone makes me an offer and we sell our spots then I re-coup a little and they get a nice trip. If it gets moved,…well……….
I think lots of people were hoping it would get moved, and it may still. Who wants to be the first people back on a boat that's been in dock for months? And what about being a COVID do-it-yourself-on-Zoom test guinea pig? You can't get back in the states without passing a test while in France within 72 hours of departure.
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Old 06-02-21, 07:50 PM
  #57  
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At the present time the state department is pretty clear on the topic of travel to France (and many other European countries): NO.
https://fr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

And , more importantly to return to the US requires a negative covid test - so even if your are vaccinated and you happen to get colonized overseas, then you're stuck there.

Wonder how the travel insurance company will try to wiggle out of the commitment to refund the cost of the trip.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:19 PM
  #58  
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For anyone still following this thread, as of the first week of June '21, all indications now are that Santana's July France trip is going ahead. Santana advises that French authorities and the river cruise line have reached an understanding. Participants have received several detailed updates from Santana on options/requirements for the trip.

Last edited by Paluc52; 06-17-21 at 08:18 AM. Reason: missing work
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Old 07-04-21, 06:28 PM
  #59  
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Yes, the trip is on. As it now stands, if you are vaccinated that will be sufficient to allow you into France. Also, that will do for embarkation with the cruise line. We will have to have a COVID test in order to return back to the US and we have an expectation that arrangements will be made to allow for the testing to take place on the boat for all of us returning to the US. I think the biggest downside to the entire tour is having to wear a mask most everywhere, including the plane. That sucks. I would have been quite happy to push it to next year. But off we go. Looking forward to being at the finish line for the Tour de France!
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Old 08-02-21, 04:09 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
Yes, the trip is on. As it now stands, if you are vaccinated that will be sufficient to allow you into France. Also, that will do for embarkation with the cruise line. We will have to have a COVID test in order to return back to the US and we have an expectation that arrangements will be made to allow for the testing to take place on the boat for all of us returning to the US. I think the biggest downside to the entire tour is having to wear a mask most everywhere, including the plane. That sucks. I would have been quite happy to push it to next year. But off we go. Looking forward to being at the finish line for the Tour de France!
How did your Santana Adventures trip go? As I posted earlier, we are supposed to be doing the Dubrovnik to Venice tour in late September early October. We haven’t had any updates from Santana in quite a while.
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Old 08-09-21, 03:50 PM
  #61  
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Climate issues . . .

The Burgundy/Provence trip was much affected by the flooding in western Europe. Navigation on the Soane and Rhone rivers was initially halted, then limited to cargo-carrying craft only and finally, possible, on the lower stretches of the Rhone. The Santana staff had to scramble to create new routes and touring options and, I thought, did an admirable job. Some folks were less satisfied than others. But we found it awfully easy to enjoy ourselves in the some of the most picturesque parts of the south of France in the middle of summer. Your results may vary.
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Old 09-15-21, 03:14 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Krenovian View Post
How did your Santana Adventures trip go? As I posted earlier, we are supposed to be doing the Dubrovnik to Venice tour in late September early October. We haven’t had any updates from Santana in quite a while.
How was our trip? Well, the TdF finish and party was fantastic, and should have been for nearly $1000 a person. First class setting, and no complaints. The rest of our trip after TdF, IMHO, not so fantastic. This is especially true given the price paid. And I've been on numerous bike tours.

As of this writing you are probably receiving your share of the "final offers limited to --- # of people" for side trips, dining experiences, extras, etc., along with admonitions about how if you don't do the pre-tour and you miss the boat, well, you'll miss the boat. Cha-ching. The Rhone was flooding and so the boat stayed in one place for four days, halfway down the river. We never saw Burgundy, though that's not Santana's fault. But we didn't think the rest of the tour, after we moved the boat and got back on schedule at about day five, was outstanding. If you think you're going on a tandem tour as such, you're probably not. A big surprise to me, and I only realized it as we got closer to the date, was the number of single bikes and e-bikes. On our first Santana tour of 100-120 riders there were perhaps eight, at the most, single bikes. On this trip there were 25-30 tandems. So the group dynamics were totally different.
I'll forgo a discussion of route planning, mechanical support, condescension, accidents, and insulting guests.
After our last tour I said never again, but some friends convinced me to go. This time when I say never again, I mean it.
As Paluc52 says, your results may vary, and I hope they do.
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Old 09-16-21, 06:00 PM
  #63  
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MonoB,

Did we meet? Are you in the book? I'd love to exchange a few more thoughts.

Paul Lucey
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Old 09-20-21, 07:25 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
How was our trip? Well, the TdF finish and party was fantastic, and should have been for nearly $1000 a person. First class setting, and no complaints. The rest of our trip after TdF, IMHO, not so fantastic. This is especially true given the price paid. And I've been on numerous bike tours.

As of this writing you are probably receiving your share of the "final offers limited to --- # of people" for side trips, dining experiences, extras, etc., along with admonitions about how if you don't do the pre-tour and you miss the boat, well, you'll miss the boat. Cha-ching. The Rhone was flooding and so the boat stayed in one place for four days, halfway down the river. We never saw Burgundy, though that's not Santana's fault. But we didn't think the rest of the tour, after we moved the boat and got back on schedule at about day five, was outstanding. If you think you're going on a tandem tour as such, you're probably not. A big surprise to me, and I only realized it as we got closer to the date, was the number of single bikes and e-bikes. On our first Santana tour of 100-120 riders there were perhaps eight, at the most, single bikes. On this trip there were 25-30 tandems. So the group dynamics were totally different.
I'll forgo a discussion of route planning, mechanical support, condescension, accidents, and insulting guests.
After our last tour I said never again, but some friends convinced me to go. This time when I say never again, I mean it.
As Paluc52 says, your results may vary, and I hope they do.
Thanks for feedback on your Santana Adventures trip. It sounds like your trip had some unusual surprises, but IMHO there's never any excuse for condescension or insulting guests. We recently received an update from Santana saying they competed 3 overseas tours since July, and everything was unicorns and rainbows - and no guests or crew experienced any COVID-related problems.

I hope other tour participants continue to share their 2021 tour experiences, and any helpful overseas travel "tips" for the new COVID-era we find ourselves in.

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 09-22-21, 02:36 PM
  #65  
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An interesting read on the forum. Also curious how the European tours went this summer. Understand the normal rocky Santana stuff, but the experience overseas.

We are are booked on the November Tahiti trip, but have not booked airfare yet. It is an interesting personal debate. Trying to decide if we want to go. The situation in Tahiti is up and down.

jeffs
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Old 10-14-21, 11:15 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by coloroadie View Post
Thanks for feedback on your Santana Adventures trip. It sounds like your trip had some unusual surprises, but IMHO there's never any excuse for condescension or insulting guests. We recently received an update from Santana saying they competed 3 overseas tours since July, and everything was unicorns and rainbows - and no guests or crew experienced any COVID-related problems.

I hope other tour participants continue to share their 2021 tour experiences, and any helpful overseas travel "tips" for the new COVID-era we find ourselves in.

Many thanks in advance!
Originally Posted by swiz View Post
An interesting read on the forum. Also curious how the European tours went this summer. Understand the normal rocky Santana stuff, but the experience overseas.
jeffs
We completed the Dubrovnik to Venice tour last Saturday. No positive Covid-19 cases when everyone was tested prior to berthing in Venice. Two days saw itinerary changes due to weather. Both times Bill and company successfully scrambled to arrange trucks to transport bikes and buses to transport people. The riding was great the first half of the trip. The second half was less enjoyable. Croatian drivers are not as bike friendly as Italian drivers. If you've never seen Venice it might be worth visiting. We've been there once before. We won't be going back. It was more crowded this time than 18 years ago in the middle of the summer. Lots of graffiti. Almost all the shops are catering to tourists. The normal everyday businesses are almost all gone. By comparison the old towns we visited in Croatia we're amazing. Yes, they too cater to tourists but we enjoyed them a lot. Just wish we had more time to spend exploring. We had excellent food when we ate out.

Compared to the previous Burgundy Provence trip we did with Santana this was much more time crunched. We opted to do shorter rides several days so we would be able to get back to the boat in time or meet a ferry. That time pressure made the trip less enjoyable. The food was ok, not as good as our previous trip. It took forever to get through dinner. Neither of these were Santana's fault. There was the usual Bill stuff, though I do have more of an appreciation for what Bill and company go through to put one of these on.

We met people on this trip that were on the Burgundy Provence trip of 2019 but who we didn't get to know then. It was fun hanging out and riding with them. These trips aren't my style but my wife enjoys them and meeting other folks on the trips is enjoyable.

We avoid the pre-tour post-tour packages. They seem very over priced for what you get. We spent 5 days in Dubrovnik (not an area to cycle in) on our own ahead of the cruise and have been cycling in the Grappa and Prosecco country of Italy ( the pre-alps) for the last week since we disembarked in Venice. We enjoy exploring areas a bit more in depth than you'll get on a Santana Adventure. Other than being asked for our "green pass" to eat indoors or visit a museum and wearing masks indoors no real impact on our travels from COVID-19 here in Italy. The food is amazing! As an Italian cyclist who rode with us yesterday said, you'd have to be pretty unlucky to get a bad meal.

There seemed to be fewer tandems on this trip. Just a guess, but I'd say that more than half the folks were on single bikes. Many of them stood out due to their poor bike handling skills. Lots of single e-bikes and a handful of e-tandems also.
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Old 11-02-21, 09:09 PM
  #67  
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  • Just returned from the Santana Greek Isles Adventure. We're experienced with other outfitters, first time Santana, single bike riders (1 E bike, 1 Hybrid)/human bike).
  • The good: fun and interesting participants, nice room on a Crosi ship, good food. There were a few unique and interesting destinations arranged for us. Respect and appreciation for tandems and the teams that ride them.
  • The rest: underplanned, understaffed, and falsely advertised.
  • Bill and company were already exhausted, stressed out, short tempered, and unpleasant to deal with starting with the pre trip option. Exception: mechanic Leland, who was tired and stressed yet managed to remain gracious. The tech person just up and disappeared about 3 days into the trip, leaving us with no support for Garmin and Ride with GPS.
  • Several paragraphs of the marketing materials extolled the daily "morning boost" , a special and Santana exclusive addition to get a ride to a high point on the island. This was the reason we booked this Greek Isles Trip. This was never available, no apology, no explanation. Total false advertising.
  • Staff was obviously scrambling every day to find a SOS van to rent in each port. Some days we had to get back to the boat early because the van had to be returned. Actually staff was always dealing with some chaos somewhere. The constant changes and uncertainty really impact the social vibe of the trip.
  • Bill publicly / vehemently blew off the fact that one of the days was a major Greek holiday, resulting in our start having to divert around a major parade and encountering additional parades (road closures and complex diversions that we had to figure out on our own, in Greek) on the way. Everything was closed for the holiday. Less traffic, but no drinks, snacks or restroom on the road.
  • The entire ride was on busy roads, some in marginal condition with minimal shoulders, and there were two bad accidents, one resulting in a broken hip, the other in stitches.
  • Staff made the error of replacing my last name with my husband's on the departure Covid test result form (well known fact that the Covid test has to match the name on your passport), Instead of an apology and correction of their error, I was subjected to a semi private 20 minute rant by Bill about how it does not matter, Greeks don't care, and I probably made the mistake on the pre trip forms. When I pointed out that my first and last name was correct on the name tag and bike plate, he just ranted louder. Ultimately I had to return to the US with a document that was sub optimal.
  • My take on it is that this company started out as a well intentioned opportunity for tandem riders to travel together on interesting trips and has developed into a profit maximization opportunity for Santana. (Bill's welcoming line was "thank you for supporting our travel lifestyle").
  • If after all this you are interested in purchasing 2 spots on the Santana Mississippi trip, please let me know.
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Old 11-04-21, 12:06 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by MMSteffey View Post
  • Just returned from the Santana Greek Isles Adventure. We're experienced with other outfitters, first time Santana, single bike riders (1 E bike, 1 Hybrid)/human bike).
  • The good: fun and interesting participants, nice room on a Crosi ship, good food. There were a few unique and interesting destinations arranged for us. Respect and appreciation for tandems and the teams that ride them.
  • The rest: underplanned, understaffed, and falsely advertised.
  • Bill and company were already exhausted, stressed out, short tempered, and unpleasant to deal with starting with the pre trip option. Exception: mechanic Leland, who was tired and stressed yet managed to remain gracious. The tech person just up and disappeared about 3 days into the trip, leaving us with no support for Garmin and Ride with GPS.
  • Several paragraphs of the marketing materials extolled the daily "morning boost" , a special and Santana exclusive addition to get a ride to a high point on the island. This was the reason we booked this Greek Isles Trip. This was never available, no apology, no explanation. Total false advertising.
  • Staff was obviously scrambling every day to find a SOS van to rent in each port. Some days we had to get back to the boat early because the van had to be returned. Actually staff was always dealing with some chaos somewhere. The constant changes and uncertainty really impact the social vibe of the trip.
  • Bill publicly / vehemently blew off the fact that one of the days was a major Greek holiday, resulting in our start having to divert around a major parade and encountering additional parades (road closures and complex diversions that we had to figure out on our own, in Greek) on the way. Everything was closed for the holiday. Less traffic, but no drinks, snacks or restroom on the road.
  • The entire ride was on busy roads, some in marginal condition with minimal shoulders, and there were two bad accidents, one resulting in a broken hip, the other in stitches.
  • Staff made the error of replacing my last name with my husband's on the departure Covid test result form (well known fact that the Covid test has to match the name on your passport), Instead of an apology and correction of their error, I was subjected to a semi private 20 minute rant by Bill about how it does not matter, Greeks don't care, and I probably made the mistake on the pre trip forms. When I pointed out that my first and last name was correct on the name tag and bike plate, he just ranted louder. Ultimately I had to return to the US with a document that was sub optimal.
  • My take on it is that this company started out as a well intentioned opportunity for tandem riders to travel together on interesting trips and has developed into a profit maximization opportunity for Santana. (Bill's welcoming line was "thank you for supporting our travel lifestyle").
  • If after all this you are interested in purchasing 2 spots on the Santana Mississippi trip, please let me know.
Thank you for that very well written report of your recent experience. As someone who has participated in quite a few Santana tours and events over the years, I have to admit that everything you have written rings true.

I agree that, as you wrote, "this company started out as a well intentioned opportunity for tandem riders to travel together on interesting trips". We experienced several of those trips organized around 2-3 dozen tandems based in a hotel or traveling inn-to-inn. At some point they switched to strictly ship-based excursions. This has some advantages in eliminating packing/unpacking and other issues associated with switching lodging, but it comes with other constraints. The boat determines the routes and number of participants, and adds a layer of detachment from the local culture. This is when the tours began being opened to non-tandem riders, I suppose in an effort to fill the boat. I think it’s also when the interactions with staff and customers seemed to degrade.

Fortunately there now exist other outfits that are offering the type of tandem-oriented program that used to be offered by Santana.

Since my wife and I made the decision to walk away from the tours we were registered for this fall, it’s helpful for me to get news from others on the experience. Much appreciated.
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Old 11-04-21, 12:35 PM
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one more thing

I'd also like to point out that over the past few months I have read several negative reviews of Santana on TrustPilot . All but one have disappeared.
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Old 11-04-21, 06:00 PM
  #70  
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Not to pile on, but piling on, there re other outfits that are so much better, ie Trek Travel, Backroads, Butterfields, etc.

To me , the remaining case for Santana was a tandem specific experience which seems to have evaporated. So, we won’t be funding Bill’s vacations in the future
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Old 11-08-21, 10:45 AM
  #71  
swiz
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Thanks for the feedback on the trips. We ended up not attending Tahiti trip (currently underway). Our original concern was the long trip in COVID times. We decided we were comfortable with that, but in the end our child care had some medical issues. The original schedule in the summer we would have had more options.

I do understand the craziness of the last year and a half, so I don't have feel too bad skipping the trip.

The reports of rough logistics with a big group and spotty ride routes have always concerned me. Thought we would try it once, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Jeff
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Old 01-02-22, 09:33 PM
  #72  
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We were scheduled for a cycling trip through Butterfield and Robinson for July 2020. In April 2020, when it was pretty clear Americans wouldn't be traveling to Europe over the summer, Butterfield and Robinson gave us the option of a full refund or a credit for a future ride. Santana Adventures charges similar prices to Butterfield and Robinson, but they are not giving the same Customer Satisfaction.
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Old 04-15-22, 10:01 PM
  #73  
MMSteffey
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Hey remember my post about Santana in Greece? Just returned from Memphis - New Orleans (no luck selling it). No changes at Santana, if anything it's worse.

Fun and interesting fellow travelers, nice job on board by the American Queen Cruise Line Countess staff.

Pre trip instructions stated E bikes were unnecessary, would not be supported, and are not available for rent. Because it's flat. Arrived to find @ 15 e bikes, including rentals, and had two days of 1000 foot climbs.

A "mid day feast" consisted of some kind of meat and seafood (server did not know what was in it) mixed with pasta,served in a styrofoam box with a stale roll. Vegetarians got 1/2 cup iceberg lettuce and the stale roll.

The boat Bill chartered required us to carry our bikes up and down four flights of stairs every morning and evening. No rigging or plan on the top deck to stabilize or organize bikes.

The usual sarcasm and non answers from Bill, the rest of the staff did a great job hiding, except the bike rental representative. Never knew what we were doing until we were heading out the door, and even then...

One day the "short" ride was 40 miles : 10 miles on the levee (scenic, paved, bike path) and 30 miles on the levee service road (farms, industry, trucks, and no restrooms).

The chaos takes its toll on the participants and the ship's crew. Compared to the Greek trip Santana is cutting corners to maximize profit. Tandem and single bike riders deserve better.
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Old 04-16-22, 01:57 AM
  #74  
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Santana bike trip chaos

Originally Posted by MMSteffey View Post
Hey remember my post about Santana in Greece? Just returned from Memphis - New Orleans (no luck selling it). No changes at Santana, if anything it's worse.

Fun and interesting fellow travelers, nice job on board by the American Queen Cruise Line Countess staff.

Pre trip instructions stated E bikes were unnecessary, would not be supported, and are not available for rent. Because it's flat. Arrived to find @ 15 e bikes, including rentals, and had two days of 1000 foot climbs.

A "mid day feast" consisted of some kind of meat and seafood (server did not know what was in it) mixed with pasta,served in a styrofoam box with a stale roll. Vegetarians got 1/2 cup iceberg lettuce and the stale roll.

The boat Bill chartered required us to carry our bikes up and down four flights of stairs every morning and evening. No rigging or plan on the top deck to stabilize or organize bikes.

The usual sarcasm and non answers from Bill, the rest of the staff did a great job hiding, except the bike rental representative. Never knew what we were doing until we were heading out the door, and even then...

One day the "short" ride was 40 miles : 10 miles on the levee (scenic, paved, bike path) and 30 miles on the levee service road (farms, industry, trucks, and no restrooms).

The chaos takes its toll on the participants and the ship's crew. Compared to the Greek trip Santana is cutting corners to maximize profit. Tandem and single bike riders deserve better.
The chaos you describe sounds exactly like our Santana bike trip. I don’t understand how they are still in business.
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