We also used South Excursions for 4 tours on our very recent cruise on Infinity from Santiago to FLL.
Overall, the tours we OK, but we had some glitches along the way, which I communicated to Al, the manager by email as we went along... that did not help... Here is the letter I sent him upon my return:
We have returned from our cruise and I wanted to give you some feedback on the various tours we have taken with your company. Since I write on several cruise and travel forum, it's only fair that I give you my feedback first before sharing it with other future travelers. I have written to you during the trip, but I think you did not read the email properly and confirmed our booking rather than reading the comments and confirming the request.
March 16 - Santiago pick-up and tour with Pablo
Pablo speaks great French and he is professional, knowledgeable and very friendly. We had a great day.
Only comment was that neither him nor the driver could propose a restaurant for a quick bite to eat before getting to the hotel. After a 12 hour flight and a 4 hour tour, it was to be expected that we would need food!! We lost over 30 minutes just looking around for a place to eat, which I ended up finding in my Lonely Planet!
March 17 - Santiago transfer to Valparaiso with stop at vineyard with Pablo
Once again, driver Barnabe and guide Pablo were at the hotel in time for the pick-up.
I had made arrangement with you for a tour at a vineyard, asking if we could visit Emiliana. You confirmed it to me, even stating that the wine tasting was included in the price of the tour. When we got there, there was no reservation in our names, and we could not participate in the tasting nor the visit as it was sold out. This was a huge disappointment for me as I was looking forward to this visit for months. Pablo was nice enough to arrange for us to taste some of the wine, but it was not the same, we did not have anyone explaining things for us, and did not do the visit.
Arrived in Valparaiso, again there was no suggestion for a restaurant where we could eat. I had to ask to stop at a bakery to buy empenadas. A tour that ends a 3pm must include food at some point even if we pay for it!!
March 18 - La Serena with Christopher and Rene
Christopher was kind, and very courteous, and it was nice surprise that he spoke French. We had a few problems that day.
First, the itinerary was not what we had agreed upon not what is on your website. We went through the Elqui Valley, had lunch at the Solar restaurant then visited the Copal Pisco distillery and not Pisquera Aba which was on our note, and we totally skipped the Gabriel Mistral Museum.
Second, Rene the driver and operator was odd - he kept taking pictures of us. We had to ask him to stop.
Third, Rene did not have the credit card machine as we had asked for. He offered to take us to bank machine but we had no time to do that.
Finally I had told Christopher that the ship was departing at 4:30 pm. The tour was supposed to take us back at 3 pm but I specified we had to be back at the latest at 4:00 pm to leave enough time to walk back to ship. Rene was taking his time, taking photos etc. When we left the Pisco vineyard it was 3 pm. We were afraid that we would be late, and Rene had to drive like a crazy to get us to port for 4 pm… that was not fun. Everyone in the car was scared. We did not like the drive back and we were very nervous to miss the ship. We were the last one to board the ship.
So not such a great day...
March 22 - Lima with Braxso and Milton
This was our best tour!! Our guide was excellent, spoke very good English. He was knowledgeable, friendly, considerate and kind to my elderly mother. He picked us up on time, gave us an excellent tour of the Monastery and the Museum. It was great. He also had water available for us which was a nice touch considering the heat.
But again, I had asked YOU to confirm we could pay with a credit card which you confirmed to me by email the day before, and again, we could not pay with credit card. We had to scramble to find enough cash to pay for the tour.
This is unfortunate as it is something that all travelers are keen on. No one wants to leave on a trip with loads of cash to carry around.
I hope you will take these comments and put them to good use.
Hope these comments will help future cruisers and South Excursions improve on their services!