Romantic Germany Trip
In the early stages of planning and thinking of early Sept as a month to go to Germany, what was the weather like when you visited this part of the world. Also if you have had experience using the U-Bahn in Frankfurt could you let me know. Thanks so much.
The Tour Director assigned to your Tour and the Itinerary execution will make or break your experience. We have been on 2 Tauck tours over the last 2 years. Both were small group Tours (24 guest max). Classic Italy in 2018 and Romantic Germany completed in June 2019. We got two very different experiences. We would rate our Italy experience a 10 out of 10, fabulous experience. The Germany experience maybe a 5 out of 10. The German cities were wonderful so that was not the problem. The main issue was our Tour Director's execution of the itinerary as well as the Itinerary itself. The Hotels are fantastic on the Tauck tours and they should be these tours are expensive. In Italy we had fantastic dining experiences every day (14 Day tour). In Germany we had poor Dining experiences. It was NOT because of the difference between Italian and German food but instead of how the meals were planned and where we had them. Too many early in the day, HEAVY lunches in Germany. We also ate all meals almost exclusively in Hotel restaurants. Not what we were after to experience German cuisine. Service was absolutely terrible on several occasions particularly for dinner at the Hotels and our Tour Director insisted on breaking our group up into individual reservation times so our group never ate together expect for a couple times on the entire 14 day tour. The itinerary for the German tour has too many longer (over 2 hours) Motor Coach rides and several 1 night Hotel stays which do not make for a pleasant travel experience. Our “Spa” Hotel stay was scheduled on day 3 of the tour which was too early in the tour to really give us a break as we had just got started. The German itinerary also missed several opportunities in cities we visited to offer a better experience than what Tauck had scheduled (Lake side dining, Boat rides, Castle Tours, Tram rides …etc). On several days Tauck offered free time (in our opinion too much free time) to "explore" but the time allowed was not enough to allow you do what you wanted to do and the only reason you did not have enough time was that we had to leave the area to get to the Hotel with nothing else planned for the day so what was the rush? We also were disappointed with our final day in Berlin as Tauck gives you a "Museum Island" pass and drops you off to explore "Natural History Museums" for a large portion of the day before they pick you up to go back to the Hotel to prepare for the Farewell Dinner that night. We didn't come to Germany to look at History museums with artifacts from other parts of the world. Bad plan for our final Berlin day.
There are many positive reviews for Tauck but we wonder if people that have a bad experience simply do not share their thoughts on the review sites. One of the couples we traveled to Germany with had been on 10 Tauck tours and experienced several bad tours. We asked why they keep coming back and whether they share their views with Tauck on forums like this one. Their reply was they did not think any other tour company would do any better and they did not want to spend the time arranging their own travel itinerary. They as a rule do not want to viewed as "negative people” so they do not share their views on-line. Makes you wonder how many others like them are out there.
Wow, things must have changed. We had a totally different experience during RG in 2017. You must remember, German food IS HEAVY, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. Quite the opposite, we had no lunches in the hotels and few dinners there- I think the only hotel dinners were the welcome dinner in Frankfurt and at TraubTonnbach where we were a bit far from any town. On many Tauck tours the hotels, especially small ones where small group tours typically stay, are not equipped to handle large groups all at once, so reservations are required by the hotel. But that will often be for couples and small groups up to 6 or 8 if they want to dine together. The TD doesn't have a lot of flexibility at those places. During Classic Italy (small groups) there was one or possibly two instances when our group was divided in half- in Florence, one half ate at a small restaurant, a few blocks from the Brunelleschi Hotel, one night while the other half ate there the next night! Rather than too long, the bus trips on RG were an opportunity to take in the fantastic Bavarian countryside. One exception was the trip from Dresden to Berlin. Instead of the train, our year, Tauck switched to traveling this leg by bus on the Autobahn. Reportedly the train connections at both ends were eating up too much touring time. Was the tour as good as Classic Italy (Small Groups) which was an 11 out of 10, no, but it was still a top notch tour (9 out of 10) (we had already done Classic Italy (small groups) and the Ultimate Alps (small groups.) We didn't feel there was too much free time because we planned for it. We used our free time before the tour to take a walking tour of Frankfurt. Instead of touring the Passion Play theater in Oberammergau which we had seen on Ultimate Alps, we walked to the nearby mountainside and rode the chairlift. We had a thrilling run on the Kolbensattl (rail-mounted) bobsled ride. We took advantage of the free time in Berlin to visit the zoo and famous KaDaWe department store. In Munich we took the optional excursion to Dachau with fantastic Tauck local guide Michele. In Dresden we toured more of the Zwinger, one free afternoon and took a Segway tour of the city and the areas along and on the opposite side of the Elbe River. We had an excellent local guides during our visit to Museum Island in Berlin. My only regret is that we didn't have enough energy and time there to see more. While the Ishtar Gate was awesome, the famous Pergamon Altar was closed due to building renovations and we also missed the famous bust of Nefertiti. Frankly, the Berlin Museums have some of the best antiquities in the world. I'm studying for our upcoming trip to Jordan & Egypt and have been amazed how much really significant Egyptian antiquities are held by the Berlin (and British) museums- almost as much as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. So, if you don't see it in Berlin you'll likely never see it! With five museums (Pergamon, Bode, Neues, Alte Nationalgalerie, and Altes Museum) there was something for everyone. We felt the briefings and tours covering the history of Berlin, especially WWII, holocaust, and the communist era were well covered. Frankly there was more to see than there is time on a two week tour!
It sounds like you didn't study the itinerary closely and did not adequately plan for your free time. I think if you had done so, you would have enjoyed this tour much more.
Hello Lee, have you written to Tauck telling them of your opinions? If you are not the only one, they are sure to make changes. I haven’t taken this tour so cannot comment on the tour itself, but I have just briefly read the itinerary which I guess you did before you booked the tour, so you would know for instance that there were some one night hotel stays. You would also see where you might want or do.so,e research about extras you might want to see where it is implied there is free time.
I’ve been traveling with Tauck since about 2003 and I think our first tour was an Italy one. Back then, it was more usual to stay in hotels for three nights and visit places around, hub and spoke method. It was also more usual to have more meals included on the tour
We heard a lot of grumbling that people wanted more time to chose what to see and do and more time to chose where and what to eat, hence the changes to what is normal today. I do not believe that Tauck does this to keep the price of the tour down, people just want different things. The latest trend is to more cultural experiences. .
I do not believe a tour director is able to manipulate the tour itinerary more than a little bit, the timing is too critical. In fact, they have to follow the schedule for many reasons. We have taken a couple of tours where our TD has been a last minute replacement, they have had to rely on the bus driver and notes to get through and have done a fantastic job. I notice that most new TDs appear to learn the ropes on the River Cruises and have to sit in on a new tour a couple of times before they head the tour themselves.
On land tours and in a country as largish as Germany is, you will find yourself on a bus for more than two hours, or you would complain you had not seen enough of the country. We have just seen some of Germany on a Tauck River Cruise including two of the places this tour visits. Looking out at the scenery from a bus is very relaxing for me. Some people sleep right thru and miss it all.
Meals, if you find the food heavy, it’s just easy not to eat as much, quite simple. I usually find most people pile their plates high, I don’t know how some people remain so slim. I love to eat the food and do put on the pounds on the tours. I eat a small breakfast to try to compensate my over eating for the rest of the day, most get huge portions.
As far as group meals, it’s usual for the tour director to elicit timed reservations so everyone doesn’t have to eat together. And thank goodness for that! There are times when we want to eat on our own, or eat early, or eat a small meal. We don’t want to be stuck with a big group, or even feel like making conversation after a busy day of touring.
Most people who travel with Tauck are older and like or have regular meal times, Tauck does it’s best to do that taking into account where they have to go to. Believe me, I took a tour with another company and we went 7 hours without access to any food. I missed Tauck food on that tour.
When you said service was terrible, what did you mean, slow by Americans standards or what is normal for Europe?
I’m not trying to defend the Tour Director or Tauck, but I have not been on one single tour where the Tour Director has not provided a whole page or two or three of suggestions of sites to see, or restaurants to go to at any location where there is any free time. If your TD did not do this, then you must call Or write to Tauck because that is not usual. That’s all I am able to help you with.
British - we have also been pleased with the trend toward fewer group meals and a choice of dining times. We seem to enjoy eating a little bit later than others do. Also, it is usually quicker to dine with 2, 4 or 6, rather than the whole group. I have been looking at this itinerary and like the way Tauck is dealing with the museum options in Berlin (we enjoy museums).
Our Travel Agent told us today that Tauck has cancelled our July 17th Romantic Germany trip. We aren't really surprised. So we are now 0 for 4. Twice cancelled Germany and twice cancelled Egypt! Tauck will be cancelling our Business Class Tauck Air ticket reservations which we haven't yet paid for and Tauck will be moving the deposit and insurance monies to the "wallet".
Another one bites the dust!
Heard 0 for 6 is the magic number !
We are 0 for 5- I don't want any more in the cancelled column!
The world has another 307 days to get its act together before I start taking names.
I think it is 5 for us, I’ve lost count because I wiped my 2021 tours to the back of my mind back in mid 2020 knowing they were unlikely to happen, except Japan, I really thought that might happen. I didn’t book any fresh tours for 2021 once the pandemic began, but I already had several 2021 tours booked. My next Tauck tour is March 2022 Israel and Jordan. What is happening in Israel right now is just terrible, I’m thinking our tour is already in doubt.
Alan S, I may have to sign up for Egypt to get to see Petra!
0 for 5 1/2 for me so far.
With a record like that you could pitch for the Seattle Mariners!
I don't think you'll get any more cancellations due to Covid. Now if the Israeli/Hamas thing flares up into a regional conflict of some sort you might be back on that cancellation train.
There still appear to be openings in most of both small group and regular J&E departures around your I&J trip dates. Watch the dates, you don't want to go too late in the Spring. Check out today's current tour stop temps in the trip section of the desktop I designed for my laptop and from the web, the forecasted hourly temps for today and high temps for the next 8 days in Aswan. There have already been numerous days when highs have topped 100° F!
Of course, as they say, it is a dry heat!
Bad!!!! I expect better.