|Subject: Tour Groups|
Many years ago I did a tour of Britain with Globus Tours. They are first class all the way and were good. Have (also many years ago) done a tour with Cosmos - several days in Athens, a cruise of the Mediterranean then back to Athens for 4 days. The guides were great but the hotels in Athens were awful, however, this seems to have changed as some friends of mine went with them and enjoyed their hotel in Athens.
More recently (Sept/1997) went through Germany and Austria with Trafalgar Cost Savers. They were great. No problem with hotels though, being a cheaper version of their deluxe tours, the hotels were on the outskirts of the city. However, they were situated close to public transport. This is important if you don't want to, or can't afford to, sign up for the extra tours, e.g. dinner/concert. At least you can get around and won't be stuck in the hotel. Even though I'd been to several of the cities visited on previous, independent trips, thoroughly enjoyed this tour.
From listening to other people, it's the luck of the draw as to how the tour goes. On the few tours I've taken everyone has basically gotten along well. On the last one I took, we had a great bunch of people (Aussies, Kiwis, Americans, Canadians and of various ages). The first evening of the tour we had a get-together dinner which was a wonderful way to chat and meet the others on the tour - especially as I was travelling alone.
I do recommend tour groups but they aren't for everyone. I'd stay clear of total one-nighters as I think it would be too rushed. On the positive side, they are a great way to meet people and see new places at a reasonable cost. On the negative side, you never know who will be on the tour and, if you like a place, you can't stay there longer (but you keep it in mind for your next trip) as the next morning you are heading off to another city.
Have you thought of a cruise? They, too, are great - people are friendly and it can be as hectic or as relaxing as you wish your holiday to be. Also, you won't be unpacking your suitcase in the evening and re-packing the next morning. Also the last cruise I took (about 5 or 6 years ago) was the western Caribbean, which I chose as there were only 3 ports of call in 7 days so it was a great way to relax. What cruise ships do now is that they video tape the cruise and you can buy the video at the end of the cruise. Home movies with you and fellow cruise members in them, plus blurbs about the places you have visited.
Anyway, whatever you decide upon, have a wonderful time.