Tauck's Travel Policy Update

edited March 2020 in Announcements

There have been many questions, comments and concerns about the Coronavirus in these forums over the past few days. Please know that Tauck’s experienced and dedicated Global Response Team, committed to the care of our guests, has been monitoring and meeting regularly to review this ever-changing situation. We appreciate your patience while we worked on the best possible solutions for those guests impacted, and those who may be impacted in the future. As always, the health and wellbeing of our guests, and the health and wellbeing of our employees around the world, are Tauck’s very highest priorities. To that end, Tauck would like to share some important policy adjustments that will allow us to serve our guests more effectively at this time. To learn more, visit www.tauck.com/travel-policy-update



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    Thank you for posting the policy, which seems to address many of the concerns being posted. I have a question regarding application of the policy. I have a tour that begins on 7/1. I will be leaving home on 6/29, and am scheduled for a day early arrival, on 6/30 (staying for a day on the back end too, with that one applied as the gift of time since the greater priced night). In applying the policy, is this a "journey through June 30th", given that travel from home begins on the 29th (not a Tauck air booking, since points used for business class), and hotel stay booked through Tauck is on the 30th? Thank you.

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    Thank you for posting the policy . . . s this a "journey through June 30th"

    Since you have a fairly unique/specific situation, you might do better by calling Tauck.

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    I didn't see a "river cruises" specific forum so I'm posting this here since my questions are coronavirus related.
    We are booked on French Escapade northbound May 8th. We are NOT considering canceling but we are planing on how to best protect ourselves and minimizes risk to the extent it can be done. I have a couple of questions specifically related to the cruise and the ship. I'm sure we've all read some of the horror stories of these mammoth cruise ships locked up in quarantine. Granted Tauck river boats are not on that scale, but we are still in a somewhat contained environment, which can be a good or bad thing. So......

    1. During this coronavirus period does tauck plan on implementing any pre boarding screening of passengers to keep everyone safe?
    2. While our cabins on tauck cruises have always been spotless and impeccably maintained, are these cabins actually "sanitized" between voyages before the new occupants arrive?


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    Thank you for posting the policy, I have absolutely no intention of canceling my upcoming Cruising the Seine plus Paris and London trip. :)

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    edited March 2020


    . . . . . I have a couple of questions specifically related to the cruise and the ship. . . . .

    Though they have been monitored more lately, these (traveler to traveler) forums are not regularly monitored by Tauck. Like I suggested to sevenseas, it is best just to give Tauck a call. The IT folks, if they answer at all, will end up calling the tour team anyway. You have a better chance of getting answers to your questions and sooner with a call. Then you can post here what you learn.

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    When I click on the link, it throws me off, can anyone cut and paste it here? Thank you!

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    edited March 2020

    It worked for me. Try again, or read below. I also received it in an email from Dan Mahar:

    Travel Policy Update

    (March 5, 2020) As you look ahead to your travels, or consider booking a trip, it is possible that your sense of anticipation may be overshadowed to a degree by concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19). First, and most importantly, please know that your health and wellbeing, and the health and wellbeing of our employees around the world, are Tauck’s very highest priorities. Tauck has been fulfilling our guests’ travel dreams for 95 years, and during that time we have weathered many storms, from 9/11, the financial crisis, SARS/Avian Flu/H1N1/Ebola, the Iraq invasion, terrorism, and numerous weather related impacts, amongst other experiences. Our accumulated learnings help shape our plan for each new challenge we face.

    We are confident that this situation will pass, and the desire for authentic and enriching experiences will be as strong as ever. In fact, in recent days we have heard clearly that the inner desire for travel continues to burn brightly for our guests.

    But we also know that each crisis is different, and with the current challenge, the environment is changing almost daily. We know that some of our guests are concerned – while many others are determined to continue traveling. With this in mind, we’d like to provide our guests with additional time to make a more informed decision. Effective immediately, we are implementing the following policy changes for any guests confirmed to travel on any Tauck journey (tour or cruise) through June 30, 2020.

    If you would like to change or cancel your journey:

    Bookings paid in full: Any guests who wish to cancel their booking will have ALL cancel fees (including Guest or Cruise Protection Product premiums) issued back to them in the form of a travel credit to be used on any 2020-2021 Tauck journey. Airline change fees will not be covered for guests who voluntarily cancel.

    Bookings not paid in full: Final payment for guests booked on these tours is now due 30 days prior to departure. Any guest who cancels after making final payment will have ALL cancel fees (including Guest or Cruise Protection Product premiums) issued back to them in the form of a travel credit to be used on any 2020-2021 Tauck journey. Airline change fees will not be covered for guests who voluntarily cancel.

    If Tauck cancels your journey:

    To date, all journeys that travel primarily to U.S. State Department Level 4 (“Do Not Travel”) destinations (China departures through June; Lombardy and Veneto, Italy, departures through April) have been canceled by Tauck.

    Guests booked on a trip where cancellation is initiated by Tauck will have all tour/cruise costs returned in the original form of payment. (Any Guest Protection Product/Cruise Protection Product premiums will be kept on account by Tauck for future use.) For guests with Tauck-booked air, Tauck will cover all airline change fees. For guests with non-Tauck air, Tauck will cover airline change fees up to $250 per person.

    As always, Tauck offers you one of the most customer-friendly protection plans in the industry, and we encourage you to take advantage of the great peace of mind these programs offer. Immediately following 9/11, Tauck created our “Dreamsaver” program which allows guests to transfer their land tour funds to any future tour or cruise (within one year of cancellation) should their plans change for any reason.

    In closing, the current situation is fluid, and as it evolves, so will our response. Please know that Tauck’s Global Response Team is monitoring all developments closely, and meeting regularly to review the latest updates and take the appropriate actions.

    We will keep in touch with you as appropriate, with new information and updates. Our experienced and dedicated team is committed to the care of our guests. We appreciate your patience in the coming days as we first contact the guests who are scheduled to travel to impacted regions, prioritizing those with the earliest departures.

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    Hey All! Thanks for your comments on this.

    A few general suggestions -- for those of you with very specific questions about the policy, or our ships and how they're sanitized, and similar, my advice is that you call the main Tauck number at 1-800-788-7885 or 1-800-468-2825 (either number works).

    Our reservations team are generally the best equipped people to answer questions like that, and also generally have access to more resources around this stuff than Emily, Kristen and I do (or at least more familiarity with those resources and exactly what they contain, which often works out to much the same thing).

    If you'd prefer to handle the discussion here in the forum, we can absolutely reach out on your behalf, but it may take a fair bit longer to get an answer than a phone call would.

    As for the link at the top, I think I fixed it. Please let me know if it still gives you trouble! :)


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    Thank you Alan! You are a life saver, I just could not get the link to work or be found when I entered it into safari or anywhere on the website. Will be sending you a personal message now

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    Good policy. Tauck is clearly exceeding their contractual responsibilities to retain their loyal customers. It is good that they are willing to take a short term hit to their bottom line in order to preserve their excellent relationship with their customers. I don't see this affecting my trips for this year, but it's nice to know that they have taken this step.

    On a related note, while I'm sure Tauck is able to weather a short term loss, i fear that this will be much harder on some Tauck tour directors, especially those who work frequently in the level 4 destinations. So if you are on a tour with less than the normal complement of travelers, or if you are on a tour to the affected areas after the restrictions are lifted, I suggest you consider putting a few extra dollars in that tip envelope for your TD (and maybe your driver, as well). Tauck tour directors are the best, and I would hate to see them struggle with a major loss of income as a result of the outbreak.

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    I see Tauck will cover all airline change fees , on a fully paid tour including a Tauck booked flight.
    Does that mean the airline ticket will be canceled , with no cost to the traveler ?

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    Yes but only if Tauck cancel the tour. If you decide to cancel just because you are concerned, you will lose the change or cancel fees. Change fees can add up to a lot more than the $250 that Tauck allows.
    We did not get the email from Dan Mahar. We have a tour that includes returning from Venice in June. Maybe Tauck has not gotten to us yet on what is surely going to be a long list of people. We do not intend to cancel but already realize we will lose money if Tauck cancels since we booked our own air for this one. The cancelation air fee is likely to be more than $250 for us.
    I’m not sure how the Dreamsaver will work for us either since we have four tours booked with Tauck through 2021. I just don’t know whether the insurance fee can only be used for a new booking or whether it can be used to pay off part of a tour cost. We have already paid the insurance on those four bookings. But I will worry about that if our tour in June does not go ahead.
    I’m not sure if we will have Internet over the next three weeks while we are traveling in remote circumstances. Mr B is glad to be getting away from all this. The only worry is being able to get back into the US or finding there is a shortage of our daily medications.
    Thinking of all the people with the virus and hoping the majority have it mildly and make a fast recovery. Just because someone has been diagnosed, it does not mean they are even showing signs of illness. That really screws up the perception of how many have the virus and subsequently the death rate could be far lower as a total percentage that is being mentioned everywhere.
    I’m thinking airplanes are going to be the cleanest they have ever been!

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    edited March 2020

    British, if the trip is canceled will you rebook? It has been a few years, but we had to cancel a flight (and trip?). We had "changeable but "non-refundable" business class tickets on Delta. As expected, they would not refund our money, but, like Tauck does with the insurance, kept it "on account" (a voucher) and we were able to use it for flights later that year. I can't recall if there was a penalty. On another occasion we had to change our tickets, but the new ones cost less so the change fee was covered. Again, things may have changed or be different with your airline, but it might be worth checking. After having to cancel a trip with Tauck (due to a covered reason) just days before our departure, I believe we applied the dream-saver to the deposit and or insurance (its just one big lump to us) for a second attempt, when we re-booked a few weeks later for a trip the following year. The biggest hassle with rebooking a Tauck tour might be finding a spot- by the time your tour date comes around departures for the remainder of the season or similar departures for the following year could be sold out.

    All this is making my head hurt. :D I'm glad we don't need to worry about this- so far! On the other hand, it's just money! :o who said that?!?!??!

    Your mention of medications, however raises a good point- let us just say if you are unfortunate enough to be quarantined upon your return home or even in a foreign country- will you have enough of your daily meds to get by for another two weeks or so? I'm thinking I might take an extra two weeks or more worth just in case. I can do without all of them, but one prevents random attacks of extreme pain in my big toe (think Ben Franklin or Harvey Weinstein) :D

    A few final, "inquiring minds want to know," questions: If you are quarantined on a cruise ship- who pays? Do you still get served multi-course cruise meals, boxed meals, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? You may be confined to your cabin! :D

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    All the airlines are making decisions to not charge change fees. Air France/Delta just put out a statement on their site today. I go on April 13th received the email from Dan, British I can forward to you.
    Thinking we will still go the Louve reopened.

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    Catsoo and Alan, for our nonTauck tour which we leave for on Monday, we have two extra weeks of medication with us, we usually just take one week’s worth. That leaves me with some meds when I return . About 80% of the compounds that are in medications are produced in China, the drug may be put together in another country, but the components or part of the components are made in China. Even when drugs are put together in India, some of the compounds come from China. I’m concerned about certain medications being in short supply and some of mine I can’t do without for long like my thyroid meds since I no longer have a thyroid.
    Quarantine, yes I’d like to know who pays for the extra stay on a ship or being quarantined in a hospital in another country. Quite frankly, those people stuck on the Diamond Princess, they were in a death trap situation. I assume the ship staff served the passengers meals in their rooms, but if they were not wearing protective gear and already had the virus themselves, they would pass it on to those passengers. I’ve worked in operating theaters over the years and have a limited experience of barrier nursing a couple of people way back. While it is pretty easy to remember how not to contaminate yourself for a few hours in the OR, to do day in day out is really difficult. I’m as bad as the next person about touching my face in everyday life, though I am a big hand washer. I favor soap and water over hand gel every time...we learned from day one ‘never underestimate the power of soap and water’. Without soap or hand gel, placing your hands under fast running water is better than nothing and will displace a certain amount of bacteria, virus whatever. One of my pet hates is watching shop assistants wearing gloves and then touching their hair, face and so on. The gloves protect them from nothing. Oh and face masks can only be used once, not reused. Those who are ill should be the ones who wear them. Wearing glasses can protect you from someone coughing, sneezing and the droplets landing in your eyes.
    Plane tickets. If our Croatia tour is canceled, it will be difficult to rebook since I think we are on the last tour of the season in June. After that it is Singapore Bali, our original date was canceled by Tauck and we were given an alternative date in October. That tour is apparently not selling well, that’s probably one they will drop when they try to recover from this Corona virus travel slump. After 2008 their tour selection went down for a few years.
    We have Israel Jordan next April We just about two weeks ago Booked Scandinavia In 2021 for the equivalent time of the Croatia one. Then in Sept 2021 we go to Japan but not with Tauck. I’m hoping that if Tauck cancel our tour, with us traveling with them at least three times a year for the past few years, they might make an exception and let us use the voucher into 2022, if we are still alive! For goodness sake, we traveled six times with them in a one year time frame a couple of years ago.
    Alan, did you see my personal message, or is it not getting to you? I’d like to send you some fun pics.

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    March 6

    Alan, did you see my personal message, or is it not getting to you? I’d like to send you some fun pics.

    I've received PMs from others lately and one from you with a pic of you in Elizabethan(?) costume last year, but none from you recently. I'll send you one so you can just reply.

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    Tauck finally added this afternoon a Travel Policy Update to the front page of their website. Check it out. It doesn't go into details, only that all impacted guests and travel advisors will be informed . Here is the first paragraph. I have also attached a link to the document on their web page.

    (3/12/2020) As you are undoubtedly aware, the President last night announced unprecedented restrictions governing travel, specifically barring foreign nationals from entering the United States. (These restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens.) We are evaluating this and other developments relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we will be reaching out to all impacted guests and their travel advisors to share updates as soon as possible. This may take some time, and I thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.


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    Well said, Mr. Mahar.

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    Yes we said!

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    Thank you for taking the difficult high road and cancelling tours. These are challenging times for sure.

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    Here's the email received from Dan Mahar today re cancellation of tours March 17 through April 14, 2020:

    Dear Tauck Guest,

    As we work through the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, I want to provide an important update on our plans for your journey.

    Please know that, as always, your health and well-being are our very highest priorities, and that we are well prepared to deal with the current situation. We continue to draw on learnings gleaned from other challenges we’ve faced during our 95-year history, from 9/11 and SARS to earthquakes, political upheaval and H1N1. Most importantly, our robust financial foundation (including zero debt) provides us with the flexibility to do what is best for our guests.

    Over the past days, a cascading series of events have prompted us to reevaluate our plans for the coming weeks. New and potential travel restrictions and closures of popular attractions, museums and restaurants threaten our ability to deliver the kinds of enriching and engaging experiences our guests expect from Tauck. Additionally, the mood of the country (and indeed, the world) has changed. Sporting events have been cancelled, schools are closing, and organizations everywhere are making changes to limit or eliminate gatherings. These are prudent steps, and we too must do our part at this critical time. Finally, we must also look beyond the present moment, and have the time and space to prioritize and plan accordingly for all of our guests. At this time, we would all benefit from the opportunity to pause and take a breath.

    We have accordingly decided to pause, and forgo operating our scheduled tours and cruises from March 17, 2020 through April 14, 2020.

    We will revisit our re-start date as mid-April approaches, and of course, we will be here and available throughout this entire time. As per our recently relaxed policy pertaining to Tauck-cancelled departures, you will be receiving a full refund of your tour or cruise cost. Any Guest Protection Product premiums will be Dreamsaved (and any Cruise Protection Product premiums will be kept on account in voucher form) for use on future Tauck journeys. Most airlines are currently waiving change fees. However, if you booked your flights through Tauck, and any change fees are incurred, they will be covered by Tauck. (For Tauck-booked flights, reimbursement will arrive separately from any tour or cruise refund.) For non-Tauck flights, we will reimburse change fees up to $250 per person with the submission of a receipt. Please allow up to two weeks for any refunds to arrive.

    We fully recognize that you want to travel with us – you’re just anxious about traveling now. With this in mind, we’re offering a $500 credit per traveler if you transfer to a new 2020 or 2021 reservation. If you are unsure of your future travel plans you can instead choose to leave the funds from your cancelled tour in a “Tauck Travel Wallet,” and receive the same $500 credit per traveler to be used toward your future reservation. For up-to-the minute availability on all of our land tours and cruises, please visit our website, www.tauck.com. (If you preemptively cancelled your journey on March 12, 2020, we will honor the above offer and reconcile your account within 30 days.)

    To summarize, we’re providing you with the flexibility offered by two options; 1.) You may cancel and receive a refund, or 2.) receive a $500 credit by transferring to a new journey or leaving your tour funds in a Tauck Travel Wallet.

    Thank you for choosing Tauck. I know that we will emerge from our current circumstances stronger than before, and be ready to provide you with the kind of life enhancing travel experiences that have been Tauck’s hallmark for the past 95 years.


    Dan Mahar
    Daniel W. Mahar, CEO

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    Just spoke to a lovely lady at Tauck think her name was Marie, my trip on April 14 to France is still pending. She was very helpful explaining all the steps and costs and availability if/when the trip is cancelled. Made me feel better and will call back after trip is cancelled. Thanks Tauck wouldn’t expect anything else.

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    France is on a 15 day lockdown starting today. High fine if caught breaking the lockdown. They could extend. I cannot believe that TAUCK has not cancelled. Sounds like they should cancel most of their tours thru July or August. Hoping for the best that in Sept things will start to Gradually get back to normal but not as we know it. Just getting the airlines up and running again will take time.

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    . . . . France is on a 15 day lockdown starting today. High fine if caught breaking the lockdown. They could extend. I cannot believe that TAUCK has not cancelled. Sounds like they should cancel most of their tours thru July or August. . . .

    Tauck has cancelled all tours through 14 April and can easily extend that. Right now, what date would you suggest? 1 July, 1 August, 25 December????? For all parts of the world or just France or maybe Italy??? From what we have seen so far, Tauck will do what is best. They have a lot of considerations, and it serves no purpose to second guess what COVID 19 will do and how Tauck will respond.

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    In my opinion, these lockdowns are to help "flatten the curve" and reduce the impact on health care workers and facilities. There is nothing that is going to make this virus miraculously go away in 15, 30, 60, or 90 days. We have an Rhine River cruise with the Oberammergau play scheduled (and booked 3 years ago) in late May. I don't think I want to be in a theatre with 5000 other people from who knows where around the world. Germany, as well as most (if not all) of Europe, has closed it's borders at the present time. The Passion Play is still in limited rehearsals and has not announced any plans for dealing with 5000 people at one time. It causes me great concern but I have not cancelled our trip as of yet.

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    kpetzelt - There is nothing that is going to make this virus miraculously go away in 15, 30, 60, or 90 days

    That is just wrong. The virus needs a host to survive and propagate. Without person to person contact, there would be no spread and the virus would die out.

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    I have faith that Tauck will do the right thing just staggering the cancellations. Felt better after speaking to them if you are concerned call them, best to call in the morning.

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    kpetzelt - In my opinion, these lockdowns are to help "flatten the curve" and reduce the impact on health care workers and facilities. There is nothing that is going to make this virus miraculously go away in 15, 30, 60, or 90 days.

    BKMD - That is just wrong. The virus needs a host to survive and propagate. Without person to person contact, there would be no spread and the virus would die out.

    Eradication of a virus is scientifically unlikely to happen. It's only happened twice that we know of: smallpox and rinderpest. COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future. And until we see a large number of recovered immune people, or population of vaccine driven immunity (clinical trials started Monday but we are long way off), this virus is going to have a stranglehold on the world. It has been shown that the virus can survive for up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Person to Person contact is not the only method of exposure. Social distancing and sanitation is imperative to minimize the spike on the health care system.

    We are in our 40's with 2 young kids at home preparing for the end of the school year now. They have not called it in Massachusetts, but it is coming (I have friends in the know if both higher and lower education). This is our new reality for the months to come. The world as we knew it 1 week ago is not what it will be when this is all over.

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    CATSOOS I'm in the same trip as you, leaving on the 14th and just patiently waiting to hear from Tauck, my travel agent is in touch regularly, last Sunday she thought it may be canceled this week but we will have to wait and see.

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    edited March 2020

    CATSOOS I did talk with a very well-informed Tauck representative a couple of weeks ago - her name was Marie - we probably talked to the same person. She did put my mind at ease at the time but as time goes on and things change day to day I am getting a little more concerned. We have traveled with Tauck since 2008 and they have always gone over and above to make things right whenever there may be even a minor hiccup in the itinerary.

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