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Thinking of going to Lapland with Canterbury Travel. Are they worth the money?

(34 Posts)
archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 16:37:48

Thinking of booking a trip to Lapland this December. Probably the week before Christmas. But for DH, me and 3DCs it comes to 6k for the 4days! shock

I've looked at Cosmos, Transun and First Choice too. They work out about 1.5k cheaper which is obviously quite a lot. But I'd rather spend 5800 for an amazing time which is a trip of a lifetime than 4600 for an ok but very expensive trip IYKWIM. It's a huge amout of money which we've been saving for since last year so I want to get it right. DS is almost 7yrs and I just think it's this year or never as I think next year at almost 8yrs, the magic will have passed.

So has anyone done it? Who did you go with? Anyone know whether CT are worth it?

TIA

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 16:40:56

BTW, DCs will be:
DS 6 (nearly 7), DD1 4.5, DD2 3.5

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 16:57:54

bump

LynetteScavo Tue 03-Aug-10 16:59:58

Have you looked at the travel reviews...Canterbury aren't rated that well!

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 17:03:09

Really. Lynette? shock

I first considered them because I read some archive stuff on here and they were recommended.

Which review website should I look at? Thanks.

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 17:09:55

Oh!!! I've just read the 3 reviews on here and all are critical. sad

Which other firm come recommended? I really want it to be amazing.

Lynette, thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of the MN reviews.

deaddei Tue 03-Aug-10 17:11:31

Bloody hell. That's a lot of money.
Just hope no bigmouth at school blurts out that there is no FC (as happened to dd) sad

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 17:28:14

It is a lot of money but we've looked at it as our 'main' holiday this year and started saving last November.

I just want to get it right. <sigh>

The First Choice one looks very professional but not sure if it would be a let down compared to Canterbury.

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 18:56:44

Bumping for any other views. Thanks

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 20:21:09

Nobody?

HinnyPet Tue 03-Aug-10 20:27:38

As an ex-travel agent, I'd be a bit wary of Canterbury Travel.

Not so much the bad reviews but I think that there may be a few more, smaller, travel companies such as this one that may go under in the future.

Just a hunch I have.

archstanton Tue 03-Aug-10 20:40:56

Thanks, Hinny!
Hadn't really thought of that. They are covered by the regulator though so at least we'd get our money back.

I really want to hear good reviews or good reviews from those who have gone with another company whom they recommend.

HinnyPet Tue 03-Aug-10 21:36:15

I'd book with First Choice or Thomas Cook or Cosmos to be honest, purely as they are much bigger.

Thomas Cook stores might match their internet price if you take your print-out into their shop. (better for their figures!)

Which airport do you want to fly from?

archstanton Wed 04-Aug-10 15:43:07

Thanks, Hinny.
We're having a look at Emagine, Transun and First Choice now.
I guess there may be the same problem with Emagine but a few good write ups here and elsewhere.

archstanton Wed 04-Aug-10 17:41:43

Bump (hopeful)

There must be lots of MNs who have been.

Sushiqueen Thu 05-Aug-10 14:10:27

We went with Esprit to Saariselka last Christmas.

The reps we had were great and talk about some of them being dedicated. We ran late seeing Father Christmas as one group had been held up. Despite it being their breaktime, our 2 reps refused to go on their break until we had all seen Father Christmas and it was - 20 odd. They were so cold their eyelashes were freezing up.

We went for Christmas. It was great and dd loved it even though she had been before with my parents.

It is an experience and we are so glad we did it although we wouldn't do it again. Probably too cold as it was -28 on christmas eve which was too cold for the children being towed behind the skidoos, despite all the proper clothes and 3 pairs of gloves etc. It only went down to -16 when dd went the first time and that was more bearable for her.

One tip -if you want to drink alcohol when you are away buy some in duty free. Our hotel charged 26 for 2 glasses of wine and a bottle was 50 euro (for white). We got a special price on Christmas Day! And get some soft drinks from the local supermarket. Ours was open every day including christmas day although the off licence shut at lunchtime on Xmas Eve.

archstanton Thu 05-Aug-10 15:12:57

That's really helpful, thank you Sushiqueen!

Can I ask, did you look at other tour operators? What made you go with Esprit?

The extreme cold does worry me as DD2 will only be 3yrs. The problem with Esprit is that their destinations are the most northern therefore it follows (I suppose) that their trips are the coldest.

Miggsie Thu 05-Aug-10 15:15:43

I looked into Igloo and thought they looked good as well, but it is a big decision as it will be the trip of a lifetime for DD aged 7!

Still not booked due to the same worries as you!

archstanton Thu 05-Aug-10 16:06:16

It's hard, isn't it Miggsie?

It is such an expensive, once in a lifetime trip and I just don't want to get it wrong.

What I really want is some sort of Which? report where they've been on them all and can give me the lowdown! grin

Sushiqueen Fri 06-Aug-10 08:19:26

To be honest I only had a quick look at some of the other operators.

My parents had looked it in all so thoroughly when they went 2 years beforehand, that I used their holiday as a basis. We had relatives that also went with Canterbury and weren't impressed.

Esprit included all the proper clothes gloves etc in the holiday which not all of them do.

Saariselka is cold but they do also go to Rovenimi (not sure of spelling). Our friends went there with Esprit and loved it. It is more commercialised than Saariselka and I think more touristy.

The cold is an issue but we had really young children on our trip. If it is too cold it will mean things like the skidoo trip is not suitable for them as they go in a trailer behind so the wind chill factor is horrendous for them. We had children crying with cold and some of the mums sat with them in the trailer and couldn't believe how much it affected you. Whereas on the skidoos you were fine as you had heated handlebars etc and a full visor helmut (although it did mist up). That is an optional extra though so you can choose not to do it.

When we did the activity day there was a hut you could go into for warm berry juice and cookies and there was also a restaurant where you could stay in the warm. So it is possible to be in and out of the cold.

If you do go, take loads of layers as well as the clothes they give you. We all had thin wool gloves on underneath the ones they gave us, as well as thermals, tops, extra socks etc. They give you the gloves and boots larger than normal to allow for the extra clothes. Bit of a pain layering up in the morning but worth it. We also took our own hats although they did give us some and your all in ones had hoods on.

I must admit it was freezing when we were there but we didn't really feel it most of the time. Your fingers and faces are the worst so balaclavas for the children are great. I had a scarf pulled up over my face and it still froze up occasionally during the day thanks to me breathing. lol.

It is worth it though when you do things like the husky ride and play ice hockey.

We were lucky as well in that the hotel we stayed in had a swimming pool, so we used to come back and relax in that before dinner.

One thing- they are very fond of small frankfurter sausages over there as a lot of the food has to be imported. We had them for every meal (buffet style) including Christmas dinner.

mumoverseas Fri 06-Aug-10 14:56:57

I went on a one day trip to Lapland with CT around 7 years ago and it was a fantastic if expensive trip. I did however have a lot of trouble with them regarding the booking, they'd initially booked me on the wrong trip and it took a while to get it sorted and wasn't that impressed with their customer service but the actual day was brilliant. DC1and 2 still talk about it and I'm currently saving to take DC3 and 4 in a few years

QS Fri 06-Aug-10 15:13:57

I just want to add that adding a base layer of Merino wool is vital. As is thick wool socks. Fleece and thermals are good, but not in such extreme colds.

I reckommend going to snow & rock or ellis brigham for your merinos and base layers in general.

We live in the north of norway, across the polar circle, and we had minus 21 centigrades here last winter, which is relatively warm in comparison to the cold you get in rovaniemi and north of Finland.
Children as young as 1 still play out though, in 2 hourly bursts (meaning they rarely stay out in the snow for longer than 2 hours at the time). Our 4 year old still went down hill skiing nearly every day, and the wind can be compared to the relative cold when skidooing. Balaclavas are great, you need two sets each, as they do get wet when they thaw, and it is great to have a warm dry one to change into. grin

Have a fab trip.

archstanton Fri 06-Aug-10 19:12:24

Thanks everyone, all really helpful!

DadInsteadofMum Fri 06-Aug-10 23:39:38

Canterbury are specialists in this also have a look at emagine both are very good.

HinnyPet Fri 06-Aug-10 23:55:02

You could email my pal amanda, she's a travel counsellor, she's in Pease Pottage, West Sussex. link
She can tell you the best companies to deal with and who's got the best reputation, best feedback and best value for money. As an ex TA I book with her as I trust her judgement.
( no I'm not on commision! )

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