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Emerald Isle Explorer June 2017

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by railrover, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. railrover

    railrover New Member

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    Whilst browsing various tour operators sites looking for a steam-based holiday later this year when I stumbled on the "Emerald Isle Explorer" which at first glance looks ideal being 9 days in Ireland, mainly south of the border. Excluding days 1 and 9 (which are purely arrival & departure ferries) the seven other days all have a steam train element, though the website does not make clear the additional costs.

    In fact of the eight steam legs of the journey only three are included in the advertised price, five of them are designated as "options" and attract various additional fares. The package does include travel by ferry and connecting rail from London/South East. but from elsewhere rail fare is extra. Air from London is a supplement as might be expected, but if customers fly from other parts of the UK then no allowance is made.

    The headline price is £1795 standard, but add in the various supplements, plus five "optional" rail journey fares (from only eight in total), plus rail to Holyhead (other than from London) & this theoretical price retreats rapidly into the distance.

    Whilst even £1795 isn't exactly cheap for a steam trip it is misleading for any steam enthusiast, and it is such people that the tour is clearly aimed at. I don't consider myself a cheapskate and price in itself doesn't necessarily put me off, but can a true cost approaching £2500 really be considered value for money?
     
  2. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Start with 8 nights hotel accommodation and straight away you have taken nearly half the cost, maybe more, if you think you could do it cheaper ask the organisers if they will quote you just for the trips you want to go on. The from this starting point work out how much it would cost you to arrange all the rest yourself....
     
  3. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    The problem with 'value for money' is that you will only really know when you've done it!

    The commercial reality is that the price has to look reasonable for people to book and find out whether they consider it to be value for money! That is quite ignoring the cases where what is initially advertised would have been, but what happens might not!

    I shall have to watch it - this discussion forum seems increasingly to be a place where trying to discuss certain things critically gets jumped on and told 'well, do it yourself then'! If potential customers are met with that attitude and rise to the challenge, don't they become actual competitors instead? o_O;)

    Steven
     
  4. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    Let's see...

    8x£50 on booking.com (may include breakfast) = £400; food 8x£25 = £200 so £600. 8 trips at ca. £99 each = £792.

    Total £1,392. How you get to Ireland is anyone's guess! But the difference would be a couple of hundred saved from not paying a single supplement, for example, which is one of the reasons I don't go in for this multi-day trip lark using suggested hotels. I've only done two of these anyway: Cath-Ex to Scotland in 2013 and the Scottish half of GBIX, and on both occasions got a decent bargain by booking my own hotels.
     
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  5. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    You can stop there. I may be doing this year's RPSI weekend, making my own hotel bookings in Dublin and Limerick to be sure of single occupancy. A few days ago I looked at prices on booking.com. Most were well over £100 per night.
     
  6. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    Well, that answers the question. Dublin is rather popular, but there are deals to be had.
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    You can always find something cheaper. The question then becomes, do you want to find something cheaper?
     
  8. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    It's a luxury set up and very popular. If you have to worry about the cost, it's not for you. It's for rich tourists not Enthusiasts (but it's free to chase it.)

    Expect those prices to rise if you are paying in Sterling.
     
  9. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Beat me to it. I agree that the Explorer is aimed at the well heeled tourist who fancies a bit of nostalgia along with the luxury. RPSI day trips and the International Tour are the ones for enthusiasts.
     
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  10. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    I'd probably settle for a hostel if I wanted to do the trip.
     
  11. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    do the RPSI weekend and be amongst enthusiasts, you probably wont enjoy the posh trip and would be very out of place.
     
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  12. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    Starting to think we're crossing trips here. I'm on about SD's multi-day jaunt.
     
  13. railrover

    railrover New Member

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    The trips are available only as part of the package, which I quite understand and consider to be fair enough as Steam Dreams are selling an overall product.

    What I do consider as unfair is that, given it is promoted and packaged as a week-long steam railtour, that only three of the eight steam journeys are included in the advertised fare. Five of them are included in the tour blurb, but not in the "package" price.

    I have travelled in Ireland both independently and on RPSI tours & thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but short of chartering a private train I'm not sure how the suggestion made in your final sentence could be achieved.


    The prices quoted in my original post are for Standard Class accommodation, not "luxury" (though there are such options available). Your comment prompted me to look at the Pullman Style Dining prices for the same trip. For the "package" (but including only three of the steam journeys) the advertised price is £2995. Add another £199 for each of he other steam trips, add another £1000 for single supplement (or £1000 twice over for a table for two) and then add an another unspecified supplement if flying instead of taking the ferry.

    I make no criticism whatever of anyone happy & willing to pay these prices and of course it is a question of personal choice, but a) Can it be considered as value for money? and b) Is not including the majority of steam trips on a specialist steam tour fair advertising?
     
  14. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    It's the accommodation that is Luxury, and you can't do the train without it as far as I know
     
  15. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Trips like this use large hotels because of the number of people involved. These are generally 3/4 star and with it comes the eye watering price tag for the accommodation that is passed on to the traveller. The irony is that sometimes you arrive late at your hotel and leave early. In some cases you may have breakfast on the train and not at the hotel. So basically you may end up paying a fortune for just somewhere to sleep in a place with masses of other facilities, none of which you see or can take advantage of. That's why the trips are expensive.

    I have long believed that hotel prices in the UK are a rip-off compared with elsewhere in the world for comparable quality. Sadly, the tour operators are stuck with the problem that is passed on to the traveller.
     
  16. railrover

    railrover New Member

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    Hotels mentioned for "standard" passengers include Jury's Inn, Merrion, Premier Inn. All perfectly good hotels, but not what might usually be considered as "luxury" establishments. For steam followers only three of the eight nights are spent in Dublin (where it's fair to say costs are probably more) but I am sure Steam Dreams will have negotiated favourable bulk rates.

    Again I have no complaint whatever about hotels being included, just a shame much of the steam isn't.
     
  17. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    I havn't studied the 2017 programme, it seems to have been dumbed down a bit over the original, possibly because of competition from the Grand Hibernian
     
  18. railrover

    railrover New Member

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    Does anyone have any information/updates on this railtour, especially given the problem Merlin suffered on the recent RPSI outing?

    Steam Dreams still shows the trip as open for bookings, but the advertised itinerary has disappeared from their website. Telephone enquiry confirmed it as running but the lady I spoke to didn't know about any changes relating to No 85.
     
  19. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    There was initially thought that No 85 might be back in action for the Monday of the Shannon & Suir tour. Although in the event that was not possible, I would expect sorting out the middle big end to have needed only a few more days, so plenty of time before the SD tour.
     
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  20. 85Merlin

    85Merlin New Member

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    I was told at the end of the Shannon -Suir that it was intended to repair the bearing at Whitehead, refit it in Dublin, and then use 85 on the Howth 170 shuttles on May 28. This would involve three short trips to Howth at a relatively slow speed, and would allow for the bearing to be gently run in. I have not heard since if this is still the plan. I believe that it is intended to use No 4 on the June 4 Steam Enterprise from Belfast.

    Ian
     

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