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Thread: Great Private Tour!

  1. #1
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    Cool Great Private Tour!

    Having arrived on a Monday for a few days' relaxation before a small business conference I was attending, we searched around the internet for an activity/tour we could do to learn about Aruba. We don't like being on 15-person tours where you have to elbow your way to the front of the crowd just to hear. We've done the line-of-ATVs-running-round-town in other places and learned little. Fun activities for others, but just not our kinda thing.

    We knew we hit the right balance when when came across Private Island Tours by Cyrillo "Cerry" Croes. (pitaruba.com). Booking was as easy as an inquiring email about availability, a confirming email about details back to us and our custom tour was on for the next morning. The tour was "custom" along several dimensions: a custom number of people (up to 4 for a flat hourly rate); a custom number of hours (minimum 3); and a long list of recommended sitesto visit, which are customizable based on your preferences. You can even add additional sites you want to see as long as they do not involve off-road driving to get to.

    Cerry's experience and professionalism showed in a number of ways. He arrived right on time at our hotel to get started. He had a plan on how to sequence the sites we wanted to visit to spend driving time efficiently. He knew when to politely defer answers to our questions to later points in the tour that would illustrate the question/answer more completely.

    He knew his history. Over lunch the next day, my wife and I wanted a reminder about the sequencing and timing of Spanish-Dutch-British-Dutch rule and looked up Aruba history on-line. Not that we were fact-checking him ... but we didn't come across any history point where Cerry had gotten it wrong. It was obvious he'd done his homework.

    He didn't rush us at the sites we were most interested in, and didn't push us to stay longer at a particular site because of his own thoughts about importance. He was very good at reading which venues interested us and adjusted accordingly.

    In spite of all that flexibility, he got us back to our hotel exactly on time. The trip felt relaxed and on "island time" while still respecting our personal plans as far as start and return times.

    Because of my own poor reading of the confirmation email, i mistakenly thought the hourly rate was per-person. Because there were two of us, I paid him twice as much as was called for (including 2x the tip I added) as he dropped us off at the end.

    When I got to our room, my wife pointed out my mistake. (They do that, you know.) Within minutes, my room phone was ringing: Cerry was calling from the lobby to tell me I had made a mistake and he was sending my excess overpayment up to me via the bellman.

    That is the mark of a man of integrity. Cerry is a knowledgeable, flexible guide, and a true ambassador of what makes Aruba, Aruba.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    Welcome to the aruba.com community forum.
    Glad to read that your tour was great.

    Aruba certainly is blessed with fantastic tours and tour guides.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    We actually did a tour with Cerry quite a few year ago. While we did enjoy the tour it was not quite what we expected. He begins the tour with his speech about the history of the island and tells you to hold your questions until the end. I felt as though we we were being talked at rather than having a conversation. We had booked 4 hours, allowing us time for a quick stop at Charlie’s Bar which I had mentioned early on. He did drive by it early in the tour and I thought he would loop back but didn’t. I mentioned having a stop but guess I was too subtle. As we had booked 4 hours it ended up being too long. To fill the time he drove by the house he grew up in, where he went to school etc. We would have preferred to have the one stop. He did cover the island nicely and we stopped at places to take photos. Not sure I would recommend him.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Jacki's Avatar
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    Awesome review! Thanks for the information and welcome to the Aruba.com Community Forum!
    Jacki ~ loving Aruba from NJ

  5. #5
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. Maybe consider summarizing your whole trip in the My Aruba Story section to tell us what else you did. We all love reading about where you stayed and dined too.

  6. #6
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    Hi and I hope all is well with you.

    I wish you had just reminded me about making a stop at Charlies about 3 yrs ago when touring with me. It would have been so easy and there would be no need to even post about this. I apologize for not remembering your request. I'm a human being too and sometimes I do make mistakes. I usually inform my guests in the beginning of the tour that I will be answering all of their questions and that I know exactly what I'm going to be asked about for I've been doing this since 1991 but also I inform them that it is best not answer all of their questions right away for if I do then later on when it's actually the right time to address these questions I would have nothing more to talk about and it be a dull tour. Let me give one example: We're passing by something I have to explain e.g. a landmark and all of a sudden there is a question. I'm going to have to decide what to do , answer the question and skip the landmark or let the guest know that I will handle their question later on and that as a matter of fact I usually do address the issue asked about but that is done e.g. when we're cruising through the suburbs. It was a bit uncomfortable in the beginning when I decided that this is the way to handle this but I guess that is the way professionals work. Anybody can sit behind the wheel and answer everybody's questions right away. A professional guide need to have a certain degree of control otherwise you are not a guide at all. With time I've learned how to make guests aware of this without making them feeling a bit uncomfortable and making it clear to them that it's in the best interest of the tour itself. I'm not a fluent English speaker and maybe in the beginning I couldn't come across as I had wished I would. With time and asking people about how to explain this properly I've gotten the right way to do it and how to express this accordingly. Nowadays I don't have this problem anymore and there is a very good understanding and communication interaction with my guests and they understand why this course of action. I live very close to the main road and if part of the sites requested are at the other end of the island I would have to pass by where I live in Savaneta anyway and sometimes I do comment to my guests about where I live and show them my house etc,etc. which I also did when touring you around, so i did not go out of the way to show you my house and where I live. . I do this also because on many occasions guests ask me this. I do not rush people during my tours and sometimes it may take a little longer than they have requested but I never charge more money even though most of the time I try to make the time but it is not possible. In your case it's the same because I did not want to rush you. I'm willing to take you to Charlies next time around without any charge. My apologies again and wish you well

    Cerry
    Cyrilo Croes aka "Serry",Taxi service and private Island Tours

  7. #7
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Cerry, thank you for your kind response. Unfortunately, your tour was not the right fit for us.

  8. #8
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    Cerry, You have explained yourself very clearly, so don't worry. After Peg's honest review we still had interest in your tour. This is a great forum, we love the locals and don't try to hurt anyone here.We appreciate it when someone explains their tour like you did.
    Sean and Susan

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Jacki's Avatar
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    And are thankful that there are so many different options to fit everyone's preferences!
    Jacki ~ loving Aruba from NJ

  10. #10
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    absolutely right jacki!
    tours, restaurants, resorts, beaches activities............all very subjective............different strokes/different folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacki View Post
    And are thankful that there are so many different options to fit everyone's preferences!

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