SERVICES THAT WERE PERFORMED REASONABLY WELL:
(a) Converting Social Living Voucher into Booking, insurance coverage by Encounters Travel.
(b) Program package was of reasonable duration with appropriate time spent in each city.
(c) Transportation and driver performance
SERVICES THAT WERE PERFORMED POORLY:
(a) No program that covered summary sheet containing information for each trip day of the trip was neither provided by Encounters Travel nor by Atlas Travel (Local tour company). Other fellow travelers appeared to have that information. Not having this information made it impossible for my family to get in touch of me during emergencies. It was not practical for me to contract each day of my trip to let them know the name of hotel. Interestingly, only hotel name that I had was for the first day. However, even that hotel name was not correct (instead of Barceló Hotel in Casa Blanca, I was put in the Novatel Hotel).
(b) When I asked the Tour Guide for a summary sheet containing information on each trip day, he said he did not have any and that he will verbally cover during his commentary.
(c) There were 11 (eleven) members in the tour group -- six understood only Arabic and/or French, four understood only Italian, and only one (myself) understood English. Obviously, the information that I could understand was quite minimal that Tour Guide could provide to one person as compared to ten other persons.
(d) Before purchasing my trip, I was given the impression that my accommodation would be in 4-star and 5-star hotels. However, in six out of seven nights, even though six persons were put in 5-star hotels, my accommodation was in 4-star hotels.
(e) There were too many (about 8) "shopping/commercial" stops, where we had to listen commercial pitches on products and prices extremely high. This took a considerable time from our excursion time and those who purchased paid 3-4 times the regular market prices for those goods.
(f) Most of the lunches were organized in isolated places (without any other restaurants in the vicinity) where we were expected to pay US $15 - $US 20 for a set meal. I once had to pay US $ 8 for a soup and soft drink!