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“Bad experience. Beware....”
Review of Gondola Adventures

Gondola Adventures
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Lake Carolyn Boat Tour
Ranked #1 of 5 Tours in Irving
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Owner description: Gondola Adventures, Inc. provides private, romantic gondola cruises on Lake Carolyn and the Mandalay Canals in Irving (Las Colinas). Conveniently located close to both Dallas and Ft. Worth, this romantic experience for couples comes with chocolates and a beverage; we also offer lunch, dinner, appetizer, and dessert cruises. We can accommodate couples or small groups for all types of special events.
Reviewed August 13, 2017

This was an absolutely terrible experience from beginning to end. My husband and I were all ready to have a pleasant and romantic evening. We showed up at the appointed location a few minutes early. The gondolier was no where to be found, but we figured he would show up exactly on time. He did not. We waited for another 5 minutes until finally someone asked us if we wanted to go for a ride on a gondola. My husband informed him we have a reservation and are waiting for our gondolier to show up. He asked us to wait one moment and he very conveniently showed up with the paperwork. In other words, apparently, he wasn't even aware that he had a reservation with us until we showed up. He set us up in a gondola and then came with "gourmet" chocolates and apple cider; the gourmet chocolates were Lindor chocolates that you can get for $4 from Walmart; that was a nice touch. We did not end up leaving the dock until 10 minutes after our reservation started. We asked him if we would still be getting the full hour, but he informed us that he had another appointment after us. Additionally, we were in a supposedly silent motorized gondola that was, in fact, extremely loud. There were many other rowing gondolas available, which is what a representative informed my husband we would be getting, but the gondolier refused to take us in one of those. He suggested we call the corporate offices to straighten things out, but we were already 10 minutes late at no fault of our own, and we were not about to jeopardize any more of our time. The motorized boat overwhelmingly ruined the experience. For a full hour, we were stuck in a boat with a motor that apparently doubled as a garbage disposal; a meat grinder may also have been involved, but I can't be certain. My husband and I could hardly hear each other over the sound of the motor, let alone hear the gondolier sing. The gondolier seemed to know many songs in many languages, though, and he had a nice voice, so that was the only pleasant part of our experience. My husband called customer service after the fact to straighten things out. Apparently, they act super nice when you are making the reservation, but once it's over, they don't care about you. The lady my husband spoke to did not even know how to contact the corporate office; she refused to look it up. Would definitely not recommend.

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank longhorn15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EMM6767, Manager at Gondola Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2017

We're sorry you didn't enjoy your gondola cruise. Sometimes when the person submitting the online review is not the person who booked the cruise, they are not familiar with specific details about the booking.

To clarify a few things:

1. Your gondolier was there in advance of your cruise time ready and waiting for you. Our software timestamp shows he checked you in at 8:27pm for an 8:30pm cruise, so while it may have seemed like you were checked in late, you were actually checked in right on time.

2. Sometimes the person who arranged the cruise likes to pretend the whole thing is spontaneous, and our gondoliers will play along with the ruse. In your case, he didn't know that you, the guest, were aware of the cruise, so while it may have sounded to you like he was unaware of your reservation or wasn't expecting you, he was fully aware that he had a cruise at that time and was simply making sure he didn't spoil any special surprise plans your husband had. Our apologies that you took his role-playing as lack of knowledge of his schedule.

3. When your husband booked the cruise online, he should have known he was booking it on one of our electric gondolas; it is clearly stated on our website, and it is on the first page of our online reservation form. If he somehow missed this information the first time around, on the form he filled out to customize his cruise after booking, there are photos of each type of gondola, showing clearly what he had booked and offering different upgrade options. He opted not to upgrade when he submitted the form, and then he called in and asked about the upgrade options and if we were offering any discounts. The sales representative told him we do not have discount options, and he declined to upgrade again.

4. Rowing upgrades require a special gondolier trained to row, and the gondolier staffed for your cruise was not a rowing gondolier. When you arrived and your husband claimed to have upgraded to the rowing gondola, your assigned (non-rowing) gondolier called the manager to ask him what to do. The gondolier put your husband on the phone with the manager, and your husband asked again for an upgrade to a rowing boat. The manager told him it was too late to change, as not only had the upgrade had not been paid for, but a rowing gondolier had not been staffed.

We find it difficult to understand how your husband thought he had upgraded to a rowing boat, since he submitted a form declining an upgrade and there are specific timestamped notes in your record shortly after his online booking that he had a discussion with our staff about an upgrade and chose not to proceed with it. Furthermore, he was not charged for the upgrade, and it doesn't show anywhere on his receipt. Perhaps, on the day of the cruise, he was trying to get a complimentary upgrade and was upset when he didn't receive it, but didn't want to make you aware of his decision to decline it?

I don't know if your husband subsequently made you aware of his decision not to pay for or arrange for this upgrade, but the call and discussion with the manager about changing boats is what delayed your departure by a few minutes.

5. About 75% of our cruises are on the electric boats, and this is the first time we've ever had a complaint about noise. We are checking with the maintenance staff to see if something was wrong with the motor, but the gondolier reported that there was nothing out of the ordinary on your cruise other than your desire to have a complimentary upgrade. We have not had any noise complaints on that gondola since your cruise, and it has had at least ten cruises since your event.

6. Your husband called and spoke with a sales representative in regard to his complaints, and the representative told him he could email the corporate office (and gave him an email address to do so - she did not decline to offer the contact information). We have checked with the corporate office in California and they have not yet heard from him. However, they would be happy to address his concerns directly with him, as he is the one who booked the cruise and is aware of the full circumstances surrounding the boat selection.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify the details of your cruise.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed July 7, 2017

My husband & I were in Dallas for a get-a-way without kids. We did the 1 1/2 hour Dessert Cruise. It was very relaxing & romantic. We enjoyed our gondolier, Conner, who was very knowledgeable about Venetian gondola rides. He sang a few songs & did a wonderful job! I did the message in a bottle for my husband & I loved the way Conner pulled it off for my husband to find the bottle floating in the river!! It was perfect! The views are beautiful!! Highly recommend this attraction for a romantic outing!!

Date of experience: July 2017
Thank TammiC318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 13, 2017

There were 5 women and we were celebrating a birthday. It was a wonderful and relaxing way to end the day. Our gondolier took us all around the lake and canals and played a song on his guitar for us. He answered all of our questions and told us about the area. They served us bubbly apple cider and chocolates. When I made the reservation they said he would sing happy birthday to the birthday girl and he didn't do that (must not be a singer), but he brought her a beautiful yellow rose so she didn't mind at all.

Date of experience: May 2017
Thank phyllis4281
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 9, 2016 via mobile

We had such a great time with Jon as our gondolier. He was a gentleman, very professional and respectful, with a fabulous singing voice to boot! He even filled us in on the places to go and one of his recommendations was our hangout for the weekend, in fact. Jon was the perfect guide for our intro to Dallas, very well spoken, knowledgeable about the history, as well as the excitement that Dallas has to offer. Thank you Jon and GA!

Date of experience: November 2016
Thank Jean O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed November 5, 2016

My husband and I celebrated our silver anniversary with an open gondola ride. We had never ridden a gondola before, and we had a great time. Our gondolier was John, and he was very knowledgeable about the area and Italian tradition. He even spoke some Italian and sang to us during the ride. He also didn't mind stopping and taking pics for us during the ride. It was a very good experience, and a memorable anniversary. We highly recommend it. Also, we chose 6:00 pm because we wanted to watch the sun set. The area is beautiful as it goes dark. The local buildings cast light on the water, etc. Gorgeous.

Date of experience: October 2016
Thank lisamoore1992
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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