Contiki or Topdeck


#1

Everyone knows about Contiki, or at least most folk have heard of the name. Once a small privately owned company they got swallowed up by a massive corporation about 10 years ago, and have since been evolving from what was a truly European travel experience into a mass market product for 18-35’s. This sort of growth is a successful formula and deserves congratulations to the fat cat shareholders in common with companies like McDonalds. [br][br]But does the ultimate travel experience offered to their customers still stand up to the everchanging needs of young people? I have a few questions that i’m trying to figure out:[br][br]Do I fork out my two years savings for a mass market product and then sit back and follow the crowd and hope for the best?[br][br]Will the end product really suit my needs as a free thinking individual?[br][br]Is it true that If I choose a Contiki Tour, I will be hearded around Europe through countless local craft demonstrations in a ploy to lever my hard earned bucks from my pocket in return for some tacky souvenirs?[br][br]Will a Contiki tour really satisfy my expectation and give me a true realistic insight into Europe with plenty of time where I will be free as an individual to do my own thing and meet locals people.[br][br]For the last few years i’ve been in planning (dreaming) my big adventure overseas. Until recently all I ever heard of was Contiki.(Good and Bad stuff) Reputed as the “Booze Cruise” around Europe I guess to some this would seem like a great way to go, but personally I’m an individual, so the “sheep hearding” style of travel aint my cup 'a tea![br][br]I guess I must have a diverse range of friends given the mixed range of opinions I get on the subject. One thing I have deducted however is that my more boozy lounge chair lizard mates tend to think Contiki is “really cool” these are the classic Contiki type punters. But the more progressive and free thinking freinds of mine descibe Contiki as “tacky and cheesey” [br][br]So what are my options? Well until recently there wasn’t really much choice on touring Europe for young people aside from the obvious monopoly. That is until recently another company called Topdeck who had been lurking in the shadow of Contiki for 30 years, suddenly re-invented themselves under new owners and emerged with a completely re-vitalised line up of tours for young people. These guys have realised the changing needs of young people, and stuck their neck out to provide equivalent value for money as their big corporate competitor, but with the added value of ensuring their tours are appropriate for the young people of today -Generation X (The free thinkers!) So I’ve been looking now at the Topdeck itineraries: How refreshing! It’s all about maximum free time and authentic REALITY type experiences, authentic and unique accommodation, and the opportunity to travel with free-thinkers, looking for that extra something hidden behind the facade of the typical Tourist Trail. [br][br]Well done Topdeck…Finally someone is really listening to the needs of young travellers![br][br][br][br][br][br]TravelDude [br]Dreams can turn to reality


#2

Hi Travel Dude,[br][br]I have travelled with both Contiki and Top Deck. It is true (or at least, it was on my tour) that Contiki has a booze cruise attitude to travelling Europe. When we were in Venice, some of my fellow travellers got so drunk in the Fusina Bar at the campsite the night we arrived, that they were too hung over to come into the city the next day … all I could think was what a waste of time and money when you could achieve the same result by staying at home! And, they missed one of the most amazing places that Europe has to offer!!! I also recently saw an episode of The Great Outdoors that did a story on Contiki and came to the conclusion that Contiki lives up to its reputation.[br][br]I, like you, discovered Top Deck after having already travelled with Contiki. I felt that, amongst my fellow travellers, there seemed to be two broad groups of people.[br][br]On my Top Deck tour, there was a (very small) group of people who I nicknamed ‘Contiki wannabes’. They had come with Top Deck because the tour they wanted to do with Contiki was fully booked or they couldn’t find a date that fit into their schedule. They spent most of the time saying ‘but on Contiki, they do this …’ or ‘but on Contiki, they take you there …’. I came pretty close to telling those people to go and travel with Contiki instead of whingeing the whole time![br][br]However, the vast majority of travellers, all 18-30 something, on my Top Deck tour wanted to be there! They wanted to travel with people of similar ages, nationalities and backgrounds, but by contrast with Contiki, they were actually interested in Europe’s history and culture and wanted to get as much out of their time there as possible. And they certainly wouldn’t DREAM of opting to stay in bed instead of going out and seeing the sights![br][br]Sure, we went out and had a few drinks and even a few to many drinks on one or two occasions, but it wasn’t the be all and end all of the trip … just part of the experience, sampling french champagne, Italian limoncello and grappa, German schnapps and beer!![br][br]At the end of my Top Deck tour, I found I had made several friends who, I hope, will remain friends for life![br][br]I hope this helps you to decide which is the best company to get your hard-earned travel dollars![br][br]Cheers,[br][br]Euro Chick[br][br]xxx [br][br]


#3

Contiki or Top Deck? Unfortunately for many people the only choice that they were aware of was Contiki? Thankfully things are beginning to change and people are now able to make a choice on how they want to conduct their travel throughout Europe. [br][br]I must admit that the first time I had even heard of Top Deck was when I was travellinng around the US. A fellow traveller had just been on a 7 week tour around Europe. My first impression was to say, “Thats a bloody long time, what if you dont like your group, or your crew doesn’t mix.” He had an amazing time and said that the crew were very chilled and you didn’t feel like you were rushed to see things. [br][br]I liked the sound of that. Just think of all that travel, the different food and beverages to consume, the history, the different languages and cultures, and the fact that I saw myself as someone who loves meeting and entertaining people. Could this be the perfect job for me? Some Six seasons later I can honestly say that my experiences working with Top Deck will no doubt be some of the best times of my life.[br][br]Getting back to the question,“Contiki or Top Deck”. Obvisously I am going to be somewhat biased, however I strongy feel by travelling with Top Deck, one is able to get more close up and personal with Europe. You wont feel like you are part of one massive chain gang being led around Europe. Many people who book on an organised tour expect to be lead in this way. I am saying that this doesn’t have to be the case at all. Obviously it depends on the nature of the trip, but Top Deck try and give you as much free time as we can. You will be given a guided tour or orientation for most of the cities you visit and then it is free time to explore. [br][br]There is also the advantage of having a cook on board for our Euro camping tours and our Euro Club tours (hard top accommodation). With a cook on board you not only get many amazing meals but also value for money. (saves on buying lunches at those expensise service stops), You also have the advantage of having 3 crew memebers, which also includes the tour leader and the driver. The majority of the crew know each other well so you are guaranteed of many laughs. [br][br]Europe is an amazing and unique continent! Why not visit it with people who actually care and generally have a real passion for Europe. We still get numerous emails from our passengers saying that their trip was one of the best experiences of thier lives. It is very heartening to hear that you are actually part of those experiences. Why not let us be part of yours![br][br]Ciao[br][br]Damo


#4

Oh to be young again! I went one a Top Deck Tour back in 1986 on one of the orginal “Double Deckers” - awsome! Best trip I’ve ever done. I still travel, I wish they didn’t have a bloody age limit thou, not fair. Contiki sux! Too many chicks with hairdryers!!!


#5

[quote]Originally posted by TravelDude[br]
Everyone knows about Contiki, or at least most folk have heard of the name. Once a small privately owned company they got swallowed up by a massive corporation about 10 years ago, and have since been evolving from what was a truly European travel experience into a mass market product for 18-35’s. This sort of growth is a successful formula and deserves congratulations to the fat cat shareholders in common with companies like McDonalds. [br][br]But does the ultimate travel experience offered to their customers still stand up to the everchanging needs of young people? I have a few questions that i’m trying to figure out:[br][br]Do I fork out my two years savings for a mass market product and then sit back and follow the crowd and hope for the best?[br][br]Will the end product really suit my needs as a free thinking individual?[br][br]Is it true that If I choose a Contiki Tour, I will be hearded around Europe through countless local craft demonstrations in a ploy to lever my hard earned bucks from my pocket in return for some tacky souvenirs?[br][br]Will a Contiki tour really satisfy my expectation and give me a true realistic insight into Europe with plenty of time where I will be free as an individual to do my own thing and meet locals people.[br][br]For the last few years i’ve been in planning (dreaming) my big adventure overseas. Until recently all I ever heard of was Contiki.(Good and Bad stuff) Reputed as the “Booze Cruise” around Europe I guess to some this would seem like a great way to go, but personally I’m an individual, so the “sheep hearding” style of travel aint my cup 'a tea![br][br]I guess I must have a diverse range of friends given the mixed range of opinions I get on the subject. One thing I have deducted however is that my more boozy lounge chair lizard mates tend to think Contiki is “really cool” these are the classic Contiki type punters. But the more progressive and free thinking freinds of mine descibe Contiki as “tacky and cheesey” [br][br]So what are my options? Well until recently there wasn’t really much choice on touring Europe for young people aside from the obvious monopoly. That is until recently another company called Topdeck who had been lurking in the shadow of Contiki for 30 years, suddenly re-invented themselves under new owners and emerged with a completely re-vitalised line up of tours for young people. These guys have realised the changing needs of young people, and stuck their neck out to provide equivalent value for money as their big corporate competitor, but with the added value of ensuring their tours are appropriate for the young people of today -Generation X (The free thinkers!) So I’ve been looking now at the Topdeck itineraries: How refreshing! It’s all about maximum free time and authentic REALITY type experiences, authentic and unique accommodation, and the opportunity to travel with free-thinkers, looking for that extra something hidden behind the facade of the typical Tourist Trail. [br][br]Well done Topdeck…Finally someone is really listening to the needs of young travellers![br][br][br][br][br][br]TravelDude [br]Dreams can turn to reality[br][/quote][br][br]kitsch


#6

[I too have travelled contiki once for 35 days and topdeck twice. I have to say i think they are both as great as eachother.[br][br]my contiki tour was a camping one and so unlike the other person sadi, there were no girls with hair dryers as there were no where to plug them in. we had an absolute blast… there was alot of drinking and hungover people but no one ever missed the sights. Topdeck was just as much a party as contiki, they are both as you want them to be. with both tour groups you have different options. eg, you could go to paris and go to moulin rouge or you could go party the night away. You can choose that sort of thing yourself. the only thing they both ask is for you to be at the departure points on time…i think with either group you will get what your looking for.[br][br]Im so happy with both i have both a 50 day top deck and a 20 day contiki booked for next year, both camping of course. wouldnt do it any other way…[br][br]quote]Originally posted by TravelDude[br]
Everyone knows about Contiki, or at least most folk have heard of the name. Once a small privately owned company they got swallowed up by a massive corporation about 10 years ago, and have since been evolving from what was a truly European travel experience into a mass market product for 18-35’s. This sort of growth is a successful formula and deserves congratulations to the fat cat shareholders in common with companies like McDonalds. [br][br]But does the ultimate travel experience offered to their customers still stand up to the everchanging needs of young people? I have a few questions that i’m trying to figure out:[br][br]Do I fork out my two years savings for a mass market product and then sit back and follow the crowd and hope for the best?[br][br]Will the end product really suit my needs as a free thinking individual?[br][br]Is it true that If I choose a Contiki Tour, I will be hearded around Europe through countless local craft demonstrations in a ploy to lever my hard earned bucks from my pocket in return for some tacky souvenirs?[br][br]Will a Contiki tour really satisfy my expectation and give me a true realistic insight into Europe with plenty of time where I will be free as an individual to do my own thing and meet locals people.[br][br]For the last few years i’ve been in planning (dreaming) my big adventure overseas. Until recently all I ever heard of was Contiki.(Good and Bad stuff) Reputed as the “Booze Cruise” around Europe I guess to some this would seem like a great way to go, but personally I’m an individual, so the “sheep hearding” style of travel aint my cup 'a tea![br][br]I guess I must have a diverse range of friends given the mixed range of opinions I get on the subject. One thing I have deducted however is that my more boozy lounge chair lizard mates tend to think Contiki is “really cool” these are the classic Contiki type punters. But the more progressive and free thinking freinds of mine descibe Contiki as “tacky and cheesey” [br][br]So what are my options? Well until recently there wasn’t really much choice on touring Europe for young people aside from the obvious monopoly. That is until recently another company called Topdeck who had been lurking in the shadow of Contiki for 30 years, suddenly re-invented themselves under new owners and emerged with a completely re-vitalised line up of tours for young people. These guys have realised the changing needs of young people, and stuck their neck out to provide equivalent value for money as their big corporate competitor, but with the added value of ensuring their tours are appropriate for the young people of today -Generation X (The free thinkers!) So I’ve been looking now at the Topdeck itineraries: How refreshing! It’s all about maximum free time and authentic REALITY type experiences, authentic and unique accommodation, and the opportunity to travel with free-thinkers, looking for that extra something hidden behind the facade of the typical Tourist Trail. [br][br]Well done Topdeck…Finally someone is really listening to the needs of young travellers![br][br][br][br][br][br]TravelDude [br]Dreams can turn to reality[br][/quote][br][br]kitsch


#7

THANKS SO MUCH, I KNOW YOU WROTE THIS ALMOST A YEAR AGO, BUT THIS HAS ANSWERED ALL OF MY QUESTIONS AND MORE ;D[br][br]TOP DECK SOUNDS LIKE A BALANCE OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HAVE HEAPS OF FUN AND SOME SILLY TIMES, ALL WHILE NOT FORGETTING WHY THEY ARE REALLY THERE AND APPRECIATING EVERYTHING (AND EVERYONE) AROUND THEM.[br][br]THIS IS ALL VERY REFRESHING SEEING AS THOUGH MY TRIP IS GOING TO BE A GOOD 3 YEARS IN THE MAKING AND I WANT IT TO BE AS POSITIVE AND FUN (YET SLIGHTLY MORE MATURE FUN THAN ON CONTIKI) AS IT CAN POSSIBLY BE![br]IT SOUNDS TO ME AS THOUGH TOP DECK IS ATTRACTING THE TYPE OF PERSON I WOULD CHOOSE TO HANG OUT WITH IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION.[br][br]THANK YOU,[br]_____________________________________________[br][quote]Originally posted by Euro Chick[br]
Hi Travel Dude,[br][br]I have travelled with both Contiki and Top Deck. It is true (or at least, it was on my tour) that Contiki has a booze cruise attitude to travelling Europe. When we were in Venice, some of my fellow travellers got so drunk in the Fusina Bar at the campsite the night we arrived, that they were too hung over to come into the city the next day … all I could think was what a waste of time and money when you could achieve the same result by staying at home! And, they missed one of the most amazing places that Europe has to offer!!! I also recently saw an episode of The Great Outdoors that did a story on Contiki and came to the conclusion that Contiki lives up to its reputation.[br][br]I, like you, discovered Top Deck after having already travelled with Contiki. I felt that, amongst my fellow travellers, there seemed to be two broad groups of people.[br][br]On my Top Deck tour, there was a (very small) group of people who I nicknamed ‘Contiki wannabes’. They had come with Top Deck because the tour they wanted to do with Contiki was fully booked or they couldn’t find a date that fit into their schedule. They spent most of the time saying ‘but on Contiki, they do this …’ or ‘but on Contiki, they take you there …’. I came pretty close to telling those people to go and travel with Contiki instead of whingeing the whole time![br][br]However, the vast majority of travellers, all 18-30 something, on my Top Deck tour wanted to be there! They wanted to travel with people of similar ages, nationalities and backgrounds, but by contrast with Contiki, they were actually interested in Europe’s history and culture and wanted to get as much out of their time there as possible. And they certainly wouldn’t DREAM of opting to stay in bed instead of going out and seeing the sights![br][br]Sure, we went out and had a few drinks and even a few to many drinks on one or two occasions, but it wasn’t the be all and end all of the trip … just part of the experience, sampling french champagne, Italian limoncello and grappa, German schnapps and beer!![br][br]At the end of my Top Deck tour, I found I had made several friends who, I hope, will remain friends for life![br][br]I hope this helps you to decide which is the best company to get your hard-earned travel dollars![br][br]Cheers,[br][br]Euro Chick[br][br]xxx [br][br][br][/quote][br][br]Phoebe :slight_smile:


#8

If anyone still has any questions on this topic- visit the massive Contiki boards at http://p205.ezboard.com/bcontikieuropemessageboard[br]I’ve found this very useful when planning my trip.


#9

Sorry about bringing this back from the dead, but posts like this are extremely helpful in choosing which company to go with. I have been struggling with making a choice for a month now! But I think now I may have been convinced to go with Topdeck 8-)[br][quote][br]When we were in Venice, some of my fellow travellers got so drunk in the Fusina Bar at the campsite the night we arrived, that they were too hung over to come into the city the next day … all I could think was what a waste of time and money when you could achieve the same result by staying at home! [br][/quote][br]And that is just sad! I can’t believe anyone would do that xx(


#10

Hey there[br][br]I have only travelled with contiki in NZ last year. Im doing the Getaway tour in 5 weeks time around europe with Topdeck. I was booked into a contiki tour, but got cancelled. I didnt hesitate to do Topdeck. Ive heard great things about it. I am young (24) and LOVE to go out and part and have an awesome time… but i also want to see the sights and meet people from around the world:)[br][br]I found with NZ contiki that everynight was a HUGE party… many people didnt sleep for the whole time we were there… i was one of the people that had a HUGE night every 2nd night… I hope to do the same in europe… so hope there are some young people with th same idea!![br][br]sally:)


#11

I have done a Contiki trip, and it was definatly aimed at the 18 yo drunk people. Dont get me wrong, I am always up for a drink. But i think that Topdeck is aimed at the people who have a couple and draw the line. I know for myself, travelling everyday with a hang over, you miss out on a lot.


#12

Thanks for the comments sally and carissa, they certainly reaffirm my decision to go Topdeck and not Contiki! Alas, I am 18 years old, but trust me, I am no drunk! xx( lol. I am quite wise beyond my years :o)


#13

thats fine:):)Hope you have a great trip… I have 4 weeks till i go:):slight_smile: So excited!!!