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  1. #21
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    I have used Silver Blades twice and Colonial once. All three were early 2000's. Claudyne of Silver Blades is wonderful and gives personal attention to those on her tour. Although I had no problems with the Colonial tour, their representatives made no effort to even introduce themselves to newcomers like me. When I saw Claudyne a year after I had traveled with her, she spoke and called me by name.

  2. #22

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    Uniworld based in Toronto is excellent. Fantastic personal service. High end hotels. Transportation too and from the rink. Excellent seats. Interesting fun people. Highly recommended.

  3. #23

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    The penalties the courts give out in fraud cases are generally laughable and obviously no deterent to the fraudsters. A couple in my town have repeatedly scammed customers through fraudlent car sales and have been indicted in three states. It took nearly 25 years to finally get the husband into jail in FL, for a total of 18 months. The excuse is that the jails are "too full" of "serious-crime offenders" to lock up the ones who merely rip off consumers.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurvylurker View Post
    I met a couple of people in Torino last year who were with Dash and they were literally on their own -- the company had not sent a representative to Italy! Their customers had to find their own way from the airport to the various hotels (they all arrived on different flights and were staying in different hotels around the city). Dash had sent them etickets for the arena. They had to figure out how to get to and from the arena on their own, and then this couple had a problem with their seats -- they were already occupied ! It took them 2 days to get it straightened out with the arena staff (which was very frustrating since the couple did not speak Italian) and during that time one of them had to be at their seats at all times so as to be able to fight off the other couple who also "owned" the seats. In the end they were moved to a worse pair of seats in another section. Also, the Dash people were scattered in clumps throughout the arena (they didn't all sit together) so unless they were seat-neighbors or talked in the hotels, they didn't know who each other were.

    Then to top it off, one night this couple got back to their hotel after a day at the arena and found the hotel maintenance staff had entered their room during the day, piled all their stuff in the center of the room, and PAINTED ALL THE WALLS. And of course the hotel was full, so they could not move to another room to get away from the odor. GAH!

    To their credit, they took it all in the best of spirits and with the attitude that they would have lots of great stories to tell when it was all over...but still, I (and many others) took it as an indicator to never go with Dash -- you might as well go on your own for all the help they give you. All Dash did was get them hotel reservations and event tickets.

    FWIW, from what I've gathered a lot of people here in Canada go through Dash for 2 reasons: 1) they advertise a LOT during televised skating events and most people don't know who else offers skating tours and 2) they buy up as many event tickets as they can and only cut off sales when they run out of event tickets...which means they take on a lot of customers (they have 100+ people in their groups).

    Not really my cup of tea at all...
    In 2003 for the Worlds, my sister and I had never gone to a large competition and decided to go with DASH. Since it was our first, we reserved the highest level they had. We were supposed to be guaranteed seats in the first 4-8 rows in the lower level.

    Well, they ended up over selling that level, so they dropped us down one level. Then, when we got our seats, we were in the last row of the lower level in the corner and to top it off, the people two rows ahead of us had purchased a lower level package than we had. We were on our own for transportation, and were NOT in walking distance. Ended up taking a cab every day (and that was expensive). The hotel was ok, but room service was very expensive ($4.00 for a half a grapefruit, $8.00 for a pitcher of ice tea, $16.00 for a hamburter...etc.) and our "view" was a scary looking school playground. We would have stopped at a grocery store but there were none close (nor were there any restaurants close unless we wanted to eat at the hotel restaurant $$$$$$).

    When we tried to find someone from DASH to complain, we couldn't. Even when we went to their private box in the arena, we always "just missed" the representative.

    So needless to say...I would not recommend them.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperBoy View Post
    I have used DASH many times, including the 2008 Worlds in Gothenberg. I am travelling with them again this year. I have never had a problem with seats, hotel, travel.

    We are usually in a high end suite hotel, often within walking distance of the arena, and with other members of the tour group. If the hotel is over a mile from the arena, there is a bus.

    I buy my own plane tickets, that's something DASH does not attempt. And I agree, since I sometimes arrive a day early or stay later, or even travel on to another city. It is true then, that I have to find my own way from the airport to the hotel. The only time this was a problem as London, ON, which has horrible transport links into the city.

    I have never bought an upgrade, always the Bronze tickets. Our seats are always terrific, central and low. There is always a group meal provided once during the event.

    I have bought arena tickets on my own for events in Victoria but never get seats as good as the ones DASH sells.

    Short story. No problems. Satisfied customer since 2001.
    I am glad to hear someone has had a good experience with them.

    We did talk to some folks who have used them for years, but they admitted to us that DASH favors their regular customers, giving them preferred seating. (even when that means giving new customers worse seats than those that paid less)
    Peace & Love, Gypsy
    Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.


  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    The hotel was ok, but room service was very expensive ($4.00 for a half a grapefruit, $8.00 for a pitcher of ice tea, $16.00 for a hamburter...etc.) and our "view" was a scary looking school playground.
    Sounds like you have a lot of legitimate beefs with them, but I don't see how they can be held responsible for the price of room service in your hotel. Room service is ALWAYS overpriced. And considering that you were in DC, I find it hard to believe that there weren't other food options within walking distance as the district is littered with restaurants and convenience stores. Having said that, I well understand your issue with receiving lousy tickets and little to no support.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BittyBug View Post
    And considering that you were in DC, I find it hard to believe that there weren't other food options within walking distance as the district is littered with restaurants and convenience stores.
    It depends on where in DC she was. There were, especially in 20003, quite a few neighborhoods in DC that didn't have easy access to restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores. Some neighborhoods are still that way.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sap5 View Post
    It depends on where in DC she was. There were, especially in 20003, quite a few neighborhoods in DC that didn't have easy access to restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores. Some neighborhoods are still that way.
    True, but how many of those neighborhoods have hotels with room service?
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

  8. #28
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    Dash tours always seemed overpriced. In 2001, I had a friend who went with Dash tours and I booked on my own. We did share a hotel room that had been booked by Dash through her package - I split the costs of the room. I was not impressed with any of their services for her. She was responsible for her transportation to and from the arena. Many other things that were unacceptable.
    I usually book everything myself, but in 2003 my work situation was one that did not allow me to pre-plan enough to do that. I got my package through SilverBlades. IIRC SilverBlades and Colonial had been together in perhaps a different name years before (many, many years before) and the loyal customers split between the two. From what I gathered with some discussions between several people, SilverBlades was the better option.
    I hope that the people who were wronged get some compensation. But nothing will ever replace any of the memories one would have had with an Olympic experience.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Hmm, after looking at their website
    http://www.colonial-travelskating.com/
    I can't believe anyone would book with this company. Unless they give a lot more professional presentation of themselves somewhere else.
    It's like a time warp back to the 90s.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BittyBug View Post
    True, but how many of those neighborhoods have hotels with room service?
    We actually didn't blame them for the hotel being expensive, and the personel at the hotel were very nice. Our problem is my sister and I are not travelers. We drive up north here in Minnesota to stay in very small towns and Washington DC was overwhelming to us. Our hotel seemed to be very much off the beaten path and in an area that was under development. There were a lot of emply lots and buildings around and in a pretty scary neighborhood.

    I think what bothered us the most is that no matter how many times we tried to talk to someone from DASH, we couldn't find them. That included after we got home. We tried many times to call them.

    As for the experience of the Worlds themself, it was amazing and we met some really wonderful other skating fans.

    I will say we learned a lot from this trip!
    Peace & Love, Gypsy
    Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.


  11. #31

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    I used Silver Blades for my trip to the 2006 US Nationals. I had been to Nationals before (and after) on my own and I am an experienced traveler. Since I had never used a tour before, I called Claudyne and talked to her about it. She was very nice and chatty. I decided to use the tour but I got my plane tickets on my own; there may have been an option to buy through her but I don't remember. The hotel was nice and within walking distance of the arena. She had a reception set up the day I arrived in the hotel that had some appetizers and a visit from Inoue and Baldwin. They autographed pictures for us. Claudyne was at the reception and sat with us for the events; she was ever-present. She also set up a morning sight-seeing tour of St. Louis that I was going to pass up but I'm glad I didn't. I enjoyed the people I met on the tour. Some of us were new but there were a few "regulars" who seem to know each other. All in all, I thought it was an excellent experience.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    IIRC SilverBlades and Colonial had been together in perhaps a different name years before (many, many years before) and the loyal customers split between the two.
    I don't believe Silver Blades has ever been connected with Colonial. Silver Blades has been a family business since it's inception.

    There was another Colonial Travel (actually, there are a lot of travel agencies named Colonial in the New England area) that ran skating tours out of MA a couple decades ago but it was not the same as or connected with the CT one in the above article.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    It's like a time warp back to the 90s.
    Many of the people who travel with the tours seem to be older. Web is probably very low as a referral source for the tours. I suspect their business is primarily from repeat customers whose business predates the web, plus some word of mouth, print, and maybe some targeted TV advertising.

    If anything, web may be more of a threat.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Many of the people who travel with the tours seem to be older. Web is probably very low as a referral source for the tours. I suspect their business is primarily from repeat customers whose business predates the web, plus some word of mouth, print, and maybe some targeted TV advertising.
    Colonial had a core of older clients who used them for many years. Many were interested in the night-time events and either rested or did tourist things during the day. In Dortmund, the original transport schedule to the arena was one bus a day: in the evening.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I don't believe Silver Blades has ever been connected with Colonial. Silver Blades has been a family business since it's inception.
    I don't either. I know Claudyne has shared a few things with Colonial - if neither has had enough customers on any one particular trip to afford the shuttles they've shared the buses, for example. Claudyne lives in and works out of my little bitty Florida town and she can be trusted.
    3539 and counting.

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    I still maintain that, with Colonial out of the picture now, there is a void that needs to be filled, and someone from FSU with good business sense should step up to the plate.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    Colonial had a core of older clients who used them for many years. Many were interested in the night-time events and either rested or did tourist things during the day. In Dortmund, the original transport schedule to the arena was one bus a day: in the evening.
    This was not my experience with Colonial in the mid-90's to early 2000s. I had several very nice trips with them and I had no problem with the arrangements, Maria, or anything else. Thanks were very well done and well though out. She seemed to be quite friendly with Claudyne. All I can think is that something went wrong sometime after I stopped using them. And I stopped because I found I could make arrangements myself much cheaper. I have no experience with Silver Blades, but have only heard good things.

  18. #38
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    As soon as a group of us told her the night before the first event that we wanted to see everything, Maria arranged a bus for us immediately. I'd always had great experiences with her, and was impressed several times when I saw her make on-the-spot decisions and re-arrangements, and for the final trip I took with Colonial, she was down one guide due to a last minute family thing, and you wouldn't have known it. I would have used Colonial indefinitely, had the troubles not started.

    I posted this because her core audience, at least on several trips I took, was the older group that mostly attended the nighttime events, and that for the first trip I took with her (2004), the default arrangements were for them.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael O'C View Post
    I can recommend Uniworld. I have been to five worlds with them and have always been very pleased.
    I've been travelling with Uniworld sine 1990 and would not even consider going with someone else. If there is ever a problem there is always one or more reps available to sort it out and all arrangements are always done in advance. A+ organization.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    I don't either. I know Claudyne has shared a few things with Colonial - if neither has had enough customers on any one particular trip to afford the shuttles they've shared the buses, for example. Claudyne lives in and works out of my little bitty Florida town and she can be trusted.
    Oops = I was just going on what some people in the group that I was with - that there was something about the two, sharing things in the past but not now. I agree that Claudyne is extremely professional and can be trusted.

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