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Thread: Edelweiss vs. Ayres

  1. #1
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    Edelweiss vs. Ayres

    Been thinking about taking a tour in Germany and the Alps, and have been researching tours operators. Does anyone who has taken one of these have thoughts, good and bad, about the tour company they used and some suggestions that might help me make a decision.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    X-Troller hexst's Avatar
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    Edelweiss isn't inexpensive but their service is very good did a motogp tour through the Alps, Dolomites, Bavaria, Czech Republic a few years ago top notch tour. Heard good things about Ayres too I think it's like top rated cruise ships you have to pick about where you want to go not necessarily the line.
    Knick
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  3. #3
    Club President gsjay's Avatar
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    I've done 4 trips with edelweiss.
    Nothing but GOOD things to say about them. Would recommend them highly!

    Just took a tour with Adriatic Tours, of the Balkans............They did things Edelweiss doesn't do. Like organized tours on rest days and they included drinks with some meals. The Tour guide held and ran a kitty that we all put money into that he used to pay for all the lunches we did together. We also let him order all the food so that we could experience what the local would eat. Worked out real nice, quick check out and we eat some awesome food!

    The most important advice I'd have for you is to just DO IT!
    Go, you'll love it.
    jason
    Jason Kaplitz
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  4. #4
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Agree with GSJAY, just doo it!!

    BUT give Beach's a look, 42 years , family owned and operated, US company. I have meet at least a dozen people on Beach tours, that did previous tours with Edelweiss, and ALL said that the Beach tour was far superior, to what they experienced with others.

    One guy said he was adverse to any organized tour because a friend on an Edelweiss tour had a horrible experience, they were assigned to a group and had NO freedom, and one morning they were held up by a couple in their group that for some reason did not show up to leave until 10:30 in the morning!! He chose Beach's because of their philosophy of freedom to do, go , stop, and see what YOU want to see, within a highly structured frame and had a wonderful time. My guess is at least 60% of the riders on Beach tours are return customers, I have meet a couple that have done 12+ and one that did 20+ tours!!!

    More freedom if you want it, If you want to follow a guide you have the OWNER, not a hired guide. Better roads, better lodging, more personal attention and a comradery that others lack.

    Also long time MOA supporters, in fact the first magazine was rumored to have been composed on the kitchen table of Bob Beach, the founder, at his Grand Island NY home.

    Give them a call, Rob Beach, or his lovely wife will answer the phones, not some operator.

    Here is an article from the BMWMOA. http://www.bmca.com/articles/150_and_counting.pdf
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  5. #5
    X-Troller hexst's Avatar
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    Edelweiss let us do what we wanted as long as you met up at the end of the day at the place you were staying three of us from our group routinely broke off from the rest and on our rest days went riding at our leisure though it wasn't leisurely riding if you know what I mean I cooked a set of tires in the Dolomites on the R1200S I was riding.
    Knick
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  6. #6
    Club President gsjay's Avatar
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    I've never been assigned to a group or had any restrictions placed upon me when on a Edelweiss Tour.

    We rode both with the group and by our own.
    The ONLY rule I can remember is if you weren't going to be at dinner, please call and let the tour guide know so he didn't come looking for you.
    jason
    Jason Kaplitz
    Johnstown, Pa
    Laurel Highlands BMW Riders #294

  7. #7
    Certifiable Old Fart beemerdons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsjay View Post
    I've never been assigned to a group or had any restrictions placed upon me when on a Edelweiss Tour.

    We rode both with the group and by our own.
    The ONLY rule I can remember is if you weren't going to be at dinner, please call and let the tour guide know so he didn't come looking for you.
    jason
    Like gsjay, I also have done four tours with Edelweiss; plus, I've also never been assigned to a group or had any restrictions placed upon me when on an Edelweiss Tour. Same situation for me as gsjay describes, if you aren't going to be at the dinner you must as a courtesy let your Tour Guide know so he doesn't waste time and resources looking for you!

    Another feature to consider with Edelweiss is their Custom Tours, I am Past President of AZ Beemers MOA Club #89 (Club Officer for 20 years!) and Southwest Representative of www.fjrforum.com We used Edelweiss to create a Custom Tour of the Alps and Dolomites in August of 2012, plus both the BMW and FJR Clubs are now working with Karin Gritsch of Edelweiss to put together a custom Tour of Tuscany in October of 2014.
    Don Stanley; aka Chuy Medina "El Burrito Ballerina"
    BMWMOA #24810; www.azbeemers.org/forum #89

  8. #8
    Certifiable Old Fart beemerdons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hexst View Post
    Edelweiss let us do what we wanted as long as you met up at the end of the day at the place you were staying three of us from our group routinely broke off from the rest and on our rest days went riding at our leisure though it wasn't leisurely riding if you know what I mean I cooked a set of tires in the Dolomites on the R1200S I was riding.
    http://www.fjrforum.com/forum//index...t-gelato-tour/ I hear you loud and clear hexst about the "rest day", our Edelweiss Tour Guide Manuel Taschner took us out of Levico, Italy on a "rest day" ride around the Lago Garda region that removed any and all "Chicken Strips" and totally cooked our tires! We all rode back to Munich the next day on cords, what a wild and wonderful "rest day" that was! I will never forget it, really!

    That is EBT Tour Guide Manuel Taschner on the far left in the photo, just before we took off on the "racetrack"; if you are wondering about the FJR in the pic, we coordinated this ride with our Friends in the Italian FJR Forum who came up from Milan, Florence and Rome to ride with us. http://fjrforum.it-wire.com/portal.php

    Don Stanley; aka Chuy Medina "El Burrito Ballerina"
    BMWMOA #24810; www.azbeemers.org/forum #89

  9. #9
    DJimmy
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    These are all great responses, but nothing on Ayres. How about some Ayres feedback? I went on an Edelweiss Tour in Andalusia and loved it. I am planning more tours and would be interested in hearing Ayres experiences.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all of the replies! I've heard nothing but positives, but agree, nothing about Ayres...how come??

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tahoemark View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies! I've heard nothing but positives, but agree, nothing about Ayres...how come??
    Edelweiss is bigger. More of us have ridden with Edelweiss. I've been on 5 rides with them. All the rides were good.
    2012 BMW R1200RT
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  12. #12
    IBA# 5819 61996's Avatar
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    I have been contemplating an Alpine trek of some sort. Very hard to make a decision based on forum feedback because of the amount of investment involved.
    FWIW there will be a half dozen tour operators at this years national rally so I'll spend some time interviewing all or most of them and make my decision from there. Looks like a 2015 trip. I doubt I could sling it together this year.
    If life throws you a curve; lean into it.

  13. #13
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    Mark, I've heard a lot of people give their experience with Edelweiss and it's always positive. And here's a guy who went with them 5 times, so even if you don't get any feedback re: Ayers, you at least know people are happy with Edelweiss and you probably won't go wrong with them. I've done some research on my own about doing an Alps ride, and I've decided to use Edelweiss when I go.

  14. #14
    Chuck Berry cberry's Avatar
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    Ayres Tours

    A few years ago my wife and I did a three week Ayres tour of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. We had booked first class reservations (using FF miles) nearly a year in advance, so we had no chance to make last minute changes. Shortly before scheduled departure we were informed by Ayres that the regular NZ guide would not be leading the tour and that an experienced Ayres guide from South Africa would be leading the tour. Given that information earlier on and we would have canceled the trip. But too many other dependent reservations and work schedule changes had been made. We reluctantly made the trip. Big mistake!

    I give Ayers credit for not canceling or slipping the scheduled tour. The SA guide was an experienced tour leader and performed well under the circumstances. However, he had never been to NZ before and this created continual problems with route guidance. He actually could not find the overnight facilities on more than one occasion without an extensive area search. The second leader was also new to NZ, and of little help to the primary leader. Both of these gents were great in all respects except for their lack of knowledge of the country and its people.

    For a very brief period on one of the days of the tour we were visited by the regular NZ leader. In that short 2 hour timeframe we learned more about the people, the culture, and the country than we did over the rest of the 3 week period. It was like getting a stick in the eye.

    Returning home I approached Ayres and voiced my disappointment and requested an adjustment to our tour price of something like 15-18K US dollars because we felt really cheated. No adjustment was offered.
    Chuck Berry
    2005 R1200RT, 2009 G650GS,
    MOA #94523, IBA #27506 National Parks GOLD (still OLDEST at 69 in 2007)
    Indian Harbour Beach, FL

  15. #15
    Traveler1
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    I've used both Ayers and Edelweiss. Make your selection based on price and route and either company will deliver a memorable experience.
    Thor Anderson
    Marin County
    K1200GT
    R100GS

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