Milan and Coronavirus

We are booked on the April-May 2020 Rhine Enchantment river cruise. Just saw an article about towns in Northern Italy cancelling events due to Coronavirus. I hope that this will not impact our cruise as we are flying into Milan early. Anyone else booked for this Tauck trip? We have taken Tauck on the Danube, Seine, and Rhone as well as National Parks. We love travelling with Tauck and hope that this trip will not be impacted.

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  • I hear you, we are scheduled for a 15 day land tour in Italy, (April). I am really hoping and optimistic that March will see a major improvement. I’m a news junkie, sometimes unfortunately according to my wife, but read today the carnival in Venice was cancelled. Let’s hope March brings good news. :)

  • We are also heading to Milan in early June and are very concerned. This has unfolded quite quickly in Italy!

  • My husband and I are scheduled to take the Amsterdam to Milan riverboat cruise and we’re both concerned about the news in Italy. We know Tauck is responsible and we’re assuming they will cancel the tour if they feel people are at too great a risk. I feel overly optimistic in thinking this will be contained by the time we start our journey on March 31.

  • We are scheduled for early May. I would be so disappointed if the trip is disrupted. I don’t think they would cancel the whole trip but maybe change the itinerary ? Milan , Lake Como and the Last Supper was a huge reason we booked this trip.
    Hoping the best for the sick and for us travelers 😘

  • I am traveling with my wife on the Rhine Enchantment tour in May. I spoke to a Tauck representative this morning. She told me that the trip is still on. However, I am very concerned and I am glad to have found this discussion group. Let's keep this conversation going!

    I am particularly interested in understanding my options: Should I cancel and take the financial hit or should I stand pat and hope for the best? I would also like to understand the cancellation policy better. I tried looking up this information on the Tauck site but couldn't find anything.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  • edited February 27

    BobD2800
    8:12PM

    I am traveling with my wife on the Rhine Enchantment tour in May. . . . I would also like to understand the cancellation policy better. I tried looking up this information on the Tauck site but couldn't find anything.

    Check out General Information at the link below or at the bottom of the home page

    https://d3ertfc829vzop.cloudfront.net/-/media/Tauck/Editorial/Images/General-Information-PDFs/US/Tauck_River2020_General_Information.pdf?la=en&rev=05e319549f264f0f8c724614e47ca665

  • I would hang in there and see what Tauck does. Worst case they cancel, second worst they change part of the tour to accommodate the restrictions. Last year when the Main lock got damaged by Viking and our cruise was disrupted (we actually saw all the itinerary plus some extras but did have to do a boat swap) Tauck gave is a $1,000 credit for the inconvenience to be applied to our next tour.

  • Thanks AlanS. Looks like things are happening very fast. If you go to the news Milan is becoming a "ghost town" because of the local fears and planes are arriving almost empty.
    I agree with Claudia Sails that we should hold fast for a while and trust that the company will do the right thing.

  • I think Tauck will do the right thing as they always seem to have done over the years with these difficult situations. They have gone over and above when you read postings here over the years. Unfortunately Tauck has lots of new customers that don’t know their reputation. My husband and I were talking about this. I am beginning to think Tauck should have something written on the main web page, as so few people read the forums. That’s not what my husband thinks, he knows Tauck will inform individuals as it becomes necessary.Our next Tauck tour is in June, Land Croatia ending in Venice. I would hate for Tauck to cancel that right now, I’d rather play the waiting game, there are still almost twenty US states I haven’t visited, so a late cancellation may force us to visit those, we were going to leave them for when we are older.
    We leave for a tour with another company In ten days to Malaysia/Indonesia. We have heard nothing from the company and there is nothing on the website. If we hear nothing, we will call them a couple of days before then just to check everything is still a go. We will probably have to pack our bags before then because we are pretty busy next week. We plan on taking two weeks worth of extra daily meds in case we are quarantined, we usually just take one extra week in case of delays.
    Something that has changed recently appears to be that the forum is being monitored more closely and Tauck people like Kristen are answering questions and giving some information.
    So we are still confident to travel at this point. If something happens to us, I’ll be sure o let you all know and you can be amused by our ignorance and stupidity or not. The world is a wonderful place and should be seen before we die. Just hope the stock market recovers so we can make more money to travel.

  • Thank you, British, for those kind words.

    For those of you expressing concern, please know that the health and well-being of our guests are Tauck’s very highest priorities and we understand your concerns. We are monitoring developments closely in the regions where we operate, and we are also monitoring media reports and all relevant announcements from the World Health Organization, the Centers For Disease Control and the U.S. State Department. In addition, our seasoned Global Response Team is meeting regularly on this topic, our small ship cruising partners are following screening guidelines instituted by the Cruise Lines International Association, and we are taking prudent, proactive steps in areas where circumstances warrant.

    To allow us to best address your specific concerns, we ask that you please contact us directly at 800-788-7885.

    Thank you,
    Tauck Kristen

  • Thanks Kristen, I appreciate your getting on top of this!

  • Thought I'd share this from Rick Steves facebook post. Some common sense perspective.

    _Health on the Road in the Age of Coronavirus

    Coronavirus has reached Europe--and it's spreading. There’s no way to predict how the virus will impact travel in Europe in the coming weeks. The crisis may be old news in a month, or it may cause economic activity (including tourism) to grind to a halt through 2020. By any honest assessment, nobody knows for sure.

    In the meantime, should you cancel your trip to Europe? I see two considerations: the danger of actually getting the virus, and simply not wanting to risk the possibility of flights being cancelled, sights being closed, and streets being empty. And then, the big question: when to make your decision?

    Complicating matters is the reality that our commercial news media, by its nature, sensationalizes the danger of this or any crisis. Before making any decisions, it’s important to take a breath and keep things in perspective. So far this winter, the run-of-the-mill flu has killed about 16,000 Americans...and yet, more than half of us don’t even bother to get a flu shot.

    Because Coronavirus is especially high-risk for the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, people in those categories should minimize their exposure. But for the hale and hearty, it's a more complicated decision. Keep a close eye on updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who have been carefully tracking the spread of the virus across Europe.

    As for me, I'm booked on a flight to Istanbul on April 12. At this point, I haven’t even thought about cancelling. I’m thinking positive and hoping to make my trip. If things change between now and then, I’ll do the responsible thing. But for now, Easter Sunday is, for me, wheels-up.

    One thing we do know is that, regardless of Coronavirus news, basic health and hygiene while traveling have become a bigger priority. If you choose to keep on traveling, you'll want to keep yourself healthy--and be a responsible traveler by taking steps to avoid spreading the virus.

    How? We've come up with new standards that our guides will use to encourage healthy conditions on our Rick Steves bus tours in 2020. These same strategies are just as applicable for independent travelers:

    • Wash hands frequently, with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds.
    • If you can't wash your hands, use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or higher).
    • Stock up on packets of tissues (widely available throughout Europe) and alcohol-based sanitizing wipes (less common in Europe, so bring these from home).
    • Cover your mouth when coughing (with the inside of your elbow).
    • Avoid touching your face--the eyes, nose, and mouth are areas where illness can easily spread.
    • Stay hydrated--drink lots of water (tap water is safe to drink anywhere in Europe).
    • Get your sleep.
    • Opt out of activities if you’re feeling tired or unwell.
    • If not feeling well, go to pharmacy or see a doctor. (Your guide or hotel staff can help.)

    It remains to be seen exactly how, and for how long, European travel will be affected by Coronavirus. We're staying on top of the situation and posting important updates on our website. Stay informed, stay healthy, and--if you deem it safe and responsible--keep on traveling._

  • Claudia, it was very nice of you to post this as I enjoyed reading what Rick had to say on the topic. I then received a notification that American Airlines is stopping all flights to Milan through the end of April, seems things are tightening up in Italy for travel from the US at least — also given the new CDC warning issued yesterday. I’m all for adventure, but not a medical one.

  • Trex, I agree with your comment. When the president of the US declares a travel advisory to certain countries things have gotten serious and have gone beyond facile comparisons to the common cold and the flu.

  • American has canceled Milan until late April. The crew operating out of New York last night refused to go, so the company canceled all the flights until some time in April. They said they would accommodate their passengers on other airlines. I don’t know what part of the crew refused to go, or maybe they took a vote. (;-). Personally, I don’t think taking people to Milan would cause me concern, but bringing people back from Milan might be a problem. I think they would need to be screened before boarding at a minimum.

  • United is allowing cancellation and waiving fees for flights to Italy. This is the current CDC travel advisory as of February 29, 2020. A river cruise would be considered nonessential travel.

    Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel—Widespread Community Transmission
    Key Points

    CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy.
    There is a widespread, ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person.
    Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease.
    What is the current situation?
    CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.

    A novel coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in Italy. Illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Sore throat also has been reported in some patients. Some patients also have reported diarrhea without other symptoms. This new coronavirus has caused severe disease and death in patients who developed pneumonia. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness.

    What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?
    CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel.

    Do not travel to Lombardy and Veneto due to the high level of community transmission of virus and the presence of local quarantine procedures. Large numbers of cases continue to be reported from these regions in northern Italy, which are the source of most cases in the country. Cases elsewhere in the world have also been linked to these regions.

  • Here's some real craziness:
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/coronavirus-just-caused-american-physical-society-cancel-its-biggest-meeting-year

    Big meeting cancelled with less than 24 hours notice (and no coronavirus cases in the state). And these are scientists! I hope Tauck does better than this with upcoming trip info.

  • Hi BKMD,
    Not really that crazy. This is an international meeting with participants coming from all around the world including areas affected by the virus. Even the president of the US is restricting travel from some of these regions. These scientists are using common sense like the president!

  • BKMD they aren’t crazy at all, I’d say they are being very prudent.

  • I am very disappointed that Tauck has been completely silent regarding any policy on northern Italy since the latest US State Department advisory. I am scheduled for the Croatia tour ending with a night in Italy and my work has indicated that I cannot go to Venice, in accordance with the State Department advisory. No word from Tauck.

  • Swilmer423 , I’m right with you. Other tour companies have posted their policies and I honestly expected Tauck to lead the way. We will see where this ends, but I must say so far I’m disappointed.

  • Yes, I am scheduled for a cruise with Viking in 2021 and they have already notified me that they will let me postpone my trip at no cost or penalty due to the coronavirus. That really makes me feel good about Viking and not so good about Tauck. My trip with Tauck is in two months!

  • Wow, I always thought that Viking was an inferior company! I with everyone else is waiting Tauck :(:/

  • edited March 3

    Viking IS an inferior company. Just not in this case.

  • Tauck is very busy right now. They are already refunding one trip that I know of. Talked to an agent today and she said many people really really want to go on their trips, and others are afraid and want to cancel or reschedule. They will work it out.

  • Sorry to answer my own post, but I just saw that the release of “No Time to Die”, the new James Bond film has been delayed until November due to the corona virus. I think the British were less inhibited by the blitz, than we apparently are by this ‘virus’. Perhaps the advertising is a bit over blown. (;-). We are not exactly dropping like flies.

  • Tauck cancelled our classic Italy tour and refunded the fare. I have nothing but compliments to them for doing that and they have earned my business for as long as we can travel. Re: Viking and 2021, why would they do that for next year? Very weird, I would never go on Viking for obvious reasons, but it’s weird they are worried about 2021, I think?

  • My guess is that it is not worry about the virus in 2021, but is concern about 2021 bookings. The temporary policy would presumably offer the peace of mind that clients can now book for 2021 with the knowledge that if travel issues persist they can reschedule.

  • We're scheduled on the Amsterdam to Milan river cruise the first week of May. I, too, am a little unnerved that we haven't had any communication from Tauck. We've travelled with Tauck for 20 years and appreciate the quality of their service. I'd be disappointed but happy if they cancelled this trip and gave us credit for another one. And then there's the problem with Delta airlines. What do I do if Delta cancels but Tauck doesn't? Tauck booked my tickets. There seems to be some confusion over their travel insurance. I've read numerous conflicting opinions but don't have any idea exactly what the policy would cover. Any comforting thoughts?

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