Lapland Trips with Monarch Holidays

Lapland Trips with Monarch Holidays

Last updated: 20 Sep 10

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Review - Lapland Trips with Monarch Holidays:

Monarch holidays have been organising Lapland trips for over twenty years  so they really know their stuff. The established tour operator with it’s own airline offers a full range of options including day trips and short breaks from Birmingham, Luton, Gatwick and Manchester. The most expensive trips Monarch offer are five day holidays for New Year’s Eve and Day.

Book a holiday to Lapland with Monarch

Book online to qualify for an online discount of upto 12% and if you book early enough you can pay a low deposit.

More info / Book at http://holidays.monarch.co.uk/experiences/lapland-holidays

Lapland video

Monarch have produced a new video showcasing their Lapland trips which features testimonials from kids.

See their video here and get a better idea of what a trip to Lapland involves.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Rob

    Monarch are now offering self catering options for their Lapland holidays. First time I have seen that from them.

  2. Richard

    Cosmos/Monarch Lapland Holiday to Levi 6th December 2012 to 09th December 2012
    Day 1.
    Day one was a very pleasant experience. At the airport we were met at check-in by Hal the Husky, Rudolf and two elves handing out special goody bags and antler hats to all the children. The booking with Monarch was hassle free and everything went very smoothly.
    On the flight out there we got the extra legroom seats we had pre booked, the cabin crew were absolutely fantastic, getting the children up singing Christmas songs over the intercom. three and a half hours later we were landing in a very secluded airport, straight off the plane, in to collect our luggage and straight out the door where we were met again by Hal the husky, and lots of Cosmos reps ushering us outside to the coaches. Once bags were loaded onto the coach, we were led down a candle lit pathway to a large storage shed where they were handing out our complimentary ski suits and shoes. This was also smooth sailing, literally walking in where there were a number of people stood inside, looking you up and down then handing you an all in one ski suit, which at least for me and my family, was perfect in size once tried on later on. There is an option to swap later on back at the hotel if the suit doesn’t fit, so don’t worry about this.
    Then on to the coaches, we were on the Christmas Tree bus, which Tinsel Torre the rep up front again singing songs and teaching us the rules of spotting elves and lanterns and magic dust during our visit. We arrived at the hotel 20minutes or so later all in a great mood and very excited in deed.
    We had a couple of hours to settle in the room before going to the welcome meeting that evening. All the kids were taken away in search of Rudolf (who had not been seen since the UK airport) and the sales pitches commenced on the extras available to you whilst on your visit. That’s totally fine, i understand completely the reasons behind this and accept it as part of a package holiday. There are lots of Sledges left around the hotel for people to communally use, although obviously some people don’t do sharing and take these sledges to their room with them so we hired a sledge from Cosmos at the cost of 10Euros, 5 of which was a deposit.
    We upgraded our room for a small extra cost to a junior suit. Best money we have spent. The room was fabulous, very modern and comfortable and looked like it was only a few weeks old. Indeed the hotel itself, Levitunturi Hotel, is a very nice hotel indeed.
    Day 2
    Got up nice and early for a walk around and a bit of sledging with my wife and son before breakfast. The food is not great. (see “the Food” below).
    Meeting the coach at 11am to go to the experience day where you have a little taster of reindeer rides, husky rides and ski mobiles. The coach went to pick some people up from a different hotel first then proceeded to go straight to the venue leaving us all out in the cold waiting for an hour whilst the reps sorted it out. This wasn’t Cosmos’ fault, and to be honest, i think we did alright out of this as the experience day is quite rushed and luckily there was only one coach full of people left there for half of our time there so there was no waiting around and it didn’t feel as rushed as i imagine it would have had we turned up with the other coaches as planned.
    The experiences themselves are short. I don’t believe this was represented very well when we purchase the holiday. To say that you get a reindeer, husky and ski mobile ride isn’t technically lying, you do, but literally around a small circle lasting maybe 3 minutes a time.
    The reindeer ride consisted of 5 reindeer, each with a sledge attached, led around by a handler and all tied together. The track was a bout 100m round, and they took you round twice. The reindeer did not look happy at all.
    The Huskies were great. I found out since that there are two different sorts of huskies, ones that look like huskies, which are great stamina dogs but not very fast, and one that don’t look so much like the stereo typical husky and more like normal dogs, but are faster although not great on stamina. The Huskies used at the experience are the fast ones, so you get a real rush from it rushing past trees and over bumps in a circular track about 400m long.
    The ski mobiles tow a small sleigh behind if you wish for your kiddies to sit in, no children under the age of 12 allowed on the mobiles themselves but they sit in a sleigh behind towed by mum and/or dad. If you are a single parent, this is no point in paying extra for a safari on this as you have no interaction with the person in the sleigh at all and no real awareness of it either amongst the noise and speed of the ski mobile so you will not share the experience at all.
    Ok all said, it did what it was supposed to do i guess, give you a taste of different things available to you during your visit.
    We got back to the hotel an hour later than supposed to as we were an hour later leaving, and had to speed eat our lunch buffet as we had a snow mobile safari booked for the afternoon which cost us about £150 extra.
    This was great on the snow mobile, had a fab time speeding across a frozen lake, through the forest and out in the wintery wilderness. Once the halfway point was reached, i swapped with my wife to sit in the sleigh with our five year old whilst she drove. OMG this was horrific. On the bike you have a padded seat, some suspension, and heated seats and handlebars. In the sleigh, you sit on the metal floor, freezing cold and feel every last bump and hump. At one point we hit a bump so hard my coccyx hit my Adams apple… Ouch! Since this lead to extra enjoyment for my five year old son though, i accept this as part of the experience and we all really enjoyed it.
    That evening we had dinner then took a group walk out up a hill in the forest and sat around a fire singing Christmas carols. In all honesty, the kids got bored on this and most of the people there ended up spread around the hill sledging in the dark which was quite precarious.
    The Food
    They have some kind of restaurant at the back most evenings, and you can see some real gourmet food leaving the kitchen if you are at the bar, proper Michelin looking quality food, however this is reserved for the paying locals. The rest of the food served up is substandard at best. The food was always cold, and the selection was very small. You have a choice normally of a meat or fish, some creamed potatoes or boiled, or fish bites, chicken nuggets or meatballs with chips from the kids section. The plates are not warmed and the food havens are not warmed, so sit and wait for the guys to come out and restock before getting your food else you will be eating it cold.
    Day Three
    We had a reindeer safari planned for the morning, but we spoke to some people who did this on day two and they were very disappointed with it. At a cost of £400 paid for three of us, we opted to change this to a Husky Safari instead.
    The Husky safari was awesome. We turned up first thing in the morning the dogs all ready and excited to run. These were not the same kind of Huskies used in the experience day, these ones looked like real huskies. You drive the sleigh. There is a quick 5 minute demo then you are put on the back of a sleigh. Though this sounds like a dodgy idea, actually it is very easy and very enjoyable, don’t be put off by this honestly, it is fine and the huskies don’t go mad at all and you won’t fall off. Though they did not run hard or fast the experience was absolutely fantastic, the dogs go completely quiet whilst running and its the most peaceful and beautiful experience dashing through the forest on a husky powered sleigh.
    After the highs of the morning, it was back to hotel for some lunch and a little rest before then setting out on the search for santa…..
    This is where i think things started to go a bit wrong for us. You literally end up being driven up into a forest in a coach where you come across a magical village. Your told you will be split into groups and go on the hunt for santa through the village…. Out we get from the coach and straight away through the window of a building you can see an elf busily working away and you think ok here we go this is going to be fantastic. But, for us at least, the following then happened. About 5 other coaches turned up, and we were split into groups with different reps as was explained before we got there…. The groups were basically coaches. So your experience was going to be with literally a coach load of people. The rooms are not very big that you go in around the village, so we went to our first building, the elves bedrooms, and our child along with others could not see or hear anything as all the adults were in the way taking photos etc. It took another room or so until people finally got the hang of it and let all the children go in first and then the adults fight at the back. Whilst this is ok, of course as parents we wish to see our children’s face as s/he experiences the magic of santas village. This just was not possible. We all got in each others way, photos turned out pretty poorly because nine times out of ten someone else’s flash on their camera ruined the shot you were taking with yours… It was not good for us parents. I hope my son has the memories of it that i was aiming for him to get but i do not know. Anyway, we didn’t find santa, more did any of the other groups… so you all stand together (remember 5 couch loads of people) and sing a couple of songs… then santa appears from nowhere. At this point all the adults again run round trying to get a photo, and all the kids are left not really knowing what the hell has just happened and no sooner have they realised that somewhere in front of all those mad adults is a santa clause, he’s given a wave and shot off into his post office not to be seen again. There were dozens of children left in tears having not seen him. Not to worry, apparently he is coming to our Christmas feast tonight at the hotel.
    The Christmas feast was at our hotel, but so was everyone elses. Basically everyone who had come out there was at our hotel. The room was packed to the rafters… Absolute chaos. When santa turned up, he walked in, gave a wave to those close enough to see or those not busy still fighting for the buffet, then was ushered straight in to a curtained off area. Here they then asked a table at a time up to queue for a private audience with him. Sadly, for us, this was a quick in, snap a photo, accept a present then out again. You get more time with Santa at the local stores.
    Day 4
    Handed all clothing back at hotel at 09:30 just after breakfast, then waited in room for coach pick up at 11am. Off to airport, and it was manic. Tiny airport with 20 flights or so… No control over queues so the queue for the desk straight in front of the entrance doors was all the way outside, and it was a fight to get in the door just to get to our check-in point. We were first the second family to check in. We had paid extra for extra leg room seats with Monarch, but the agents at the airport had designated a seating plan and not given us our seats. Indeed i am pretty sure what they did is they alphabetically loaded the plane. Being a William, this put us right at the back. We were at least lucky enough to be seated together, some families were split up. Apparently there was nothing they could do to change this, the cosmos reps also could do anything so peoples with A or B as their first initial got to sit in our paid for seats for free. The departure lounge was tiny, packed to the rafters and standing room only. There were two gates showing flight info for two flights at a time. Two flights due to depart 5 minutes apart boarding on the same gate was never going to work… Flights all got backed up, people queuing all over the place, getting ratty and angry with no announcements to tell us what was happening. Flight left an hour and a half late. The crew, who were sitting waiting for us for all that time on the runway were clearly just as huffy as us, and they were not anything like as cheery as the crew on the way out. I felt like i was a burden to them.
    Summary.
    Ok let’s sum it all up. I always thought that the price for this sort of trip was expensive. I assumed that it was a premium rate for a limit availability experience. I think perhaps this used to be the case but not anymore. All the Cosmos activities were disappointing at best, and as far as santa experience goes, i felt very let down. We had a great holiday and we have taken away some fantastic experiences, but pretty much all of these were from extra paid for excursions which we could have got, cheaper, had we just booked to go there and booked the trips at the local resort. Whilst Cosmos were there to make it all a magical experience for everyone, i think they were over booked and tried to do too much for too many. It wasn’t the staffs fault, they were all fabulous, it was just the sheer numbers of people there. When we got home and family and friends ask my five year old about the holiday he’ll tell them all about husky’s reindeer, sledging, snow mobiles… but he doesn’t even mention the whole Santa bit… ? This to me suggests it was not quite what i had hoped it would be for him.
    Needed improvements from Cosmos.
    Small controlled groups on the visit to Santas village.
    At the welcome meeting, once the kids are all taken out on the search for Rudolf, why don’t you tell parents some of the things that will happen. I Feel that if we had all known the kids were put in a circle then santa would appear behind them, all us adults could have strategically placed ourselves out of the way and seen our kids faces when they turned round and saw him stood there. Tell parents on the coach that some rooms are small and please ensure that ALL children can get in and see the room before you follow….
    Improve the food at the restaurant. There are no real other options available to you in the small village so bring the food standard up to that which represents the rest of the hotel.

Been there done that?

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