Rebooking and 2021 Prices

Found out a couple things today when I cancelled my Iceland tour.

First, we rebooked the tour for 2021, but we wanted to use the money first to pay the balance on our Egypt trip in October, with the balance going towards the 2021 Iceland tour (paying off the first tour calendarwise first). We were told all money from the cancelled Iceland tour had to go towards the 2021 Iceland tour. They said it was a system limitation. Kind of a non-customer friendly system glitch.

Second thing we found out was the cost of the 2021 Iceland tour, for exactly the same room on the ship, same hotel, etc. was going to be $1700+ more per person. The $500 per person Tauck provided for rebooking helped but still left over $1200 per person we still have to pay.

Are others that have cancelled and rebooked running into both of these issues: issue 1 - money from cancelled tour must be transferred to rebooked tour, and issue 2 - price increases for 2021 of the size I described above?

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Comments

  • Even though we would ‘lose’ the $500 credit each, we just wanted our money back. We still have money in what is bound to be a long limbo. We already have three deposits and insurances tied up with Tauck.
    There isn’t really anything Tauck can do about increase in tour prices since it really isn’t their fault that the Pandemic happened. I think the $500 credit is generous.

  • Smiling Sam
    9:32PM

    . . . .Are others that have cancelled and rebooked running into both of these issues: issue 1 - money from cancelled tour must be transferred to rebooked tour, and issue 2 - price increases for 2021 of the size I described above?

    I'm not buying the "system limitation" story. It sounds to me like it is something manual intervention could easily handle. I would call back and discuss with another agent. Several years ago, we had to cancel, but were allowed to split the refund between the deposit/insurance for the rebooking and a partial balance payment for another tour.

    We ran into a price increase after Tauck cancelled our 2020 J&E and we re-booked for 2021. The price difference was not nearly as much as your trip and was almost covered by the $500. When we re-booked our air (on our own) we ended up with better, but cheaper, flights making it a wash overall.

  • It probably will be moot since it is likely that Egypt in 2020 will get cancelled. I got such a good airfare for Egypt this year I doubt I’ll be able to duplicate it next year. It’s all a big craps game.

  • edited May 7

    Smiling Sam
    10:51PM

    It probably will be moot since it is likely that Egypt in 2020 will get cancelled. I got such a good airfare for Egypt this year I doubt I’ll be able to duplicate it next year. It’s all a big craps game.

    Probably the same situation for us for XMAS Mkts. I know prices will go up but they really shouldn't with oil glut and extremely low prices.

  • Tauck told my travel agent that I could apply the money I had paid (including insurance) for my cancelled trip to Germany in June toward my scheduled trip to New Zealand in November. Unfortunately, I don't think the trip to NZ will happen, either.

  • Smiling Sam May 6 Are others that have cancelled and rebooked running into both of these issues: issue 1 - money from cancelled tour must be transferred to rebooked tour, and issue 2 - price increases for 2021 of the size I described above?

    Regarding the $500 credits and rebooking, I got the same story as Sam. Also, if you rebook at the same price, I was told the $500 cannot be applied to another tour or person in your group, but will be refunded to the original payor after the tour is completed.

    British May 6 There isn’t really anything Tauck can do about increase in tour prices since it really isn’t their fault that the Pandemic happened.

    What does one have to do with the other? I think prices should be LESS for next year, not more. I just read an article stating the EU is going into its worst recession ever. Has Tauck ever readjusted prices after listing them?

  • I’m still not sure how tour groups could work for the foreseeable future with Socail distancing. They may have to consider much smaller groups like some other tour companies that have maximum of 16 per tour. Which in the experiences I have had with that on about three occasions has not been positive for us. It’s just announced that flights could cost 50% more. Hotels will have to employ way more staff to include the cleaning necessary between customers......the complications just go on and on.

  • @Smiling Sam I think some of the issues may be that you are trying to take advantage of the $250pp credit for a 2021 tour and also apply some dollars to a tour later this year. I am sure that Tauck finds itself in a cash flow bind, and the $250pp credit is a way to avoid having to either return funds to you now or in the short term having it cover costs for your late 2020 tour. They have set up their policy to maximize full rollover to 2021. That is to their benefit, and ultimately for all Tauck guests since we all want Tauck to stay viable and strong. No doubt they have a full staff of very experienced people to pay at HQ and who are working like crazy these past few months, and I am pretty sure they are protecting TA commissions as well. On top of that, I believe that Tauck is helping some of its regular local guides and providers around the world to ensure the pick of the litter remains loyal and available to Tauck. Even sans pandemic, we were told on our China trip that Tauck maintains relationships with its locals year-round, developing family-like relationships. As to prices going up next year, we cannot tell if that is all for Tauck, or if it is passed along from cruise lines, hotels, etc...... Certainly, there can be expected to be pass along costs due to post-pandemic protocols.

  • Sam, we were also somewhat disappointed on the restriction imposed on the $500 bonus. We were planning to add it to the deposit for our follow-up trip to the Arctic. But, we were told it could only be used on our Iceland rebooking. The only solution that we can see is to reserve the same balcony cabin one deck higher than what we had before (which we don't care about that much).

  • The ability to apply the $500 per person Tauck gift in the desired way sounds like it may be a function of who you speak with or perhaps if you used a travel agent or who knows what else. It sounds like MCD, who used a travel agent, was able to do what I was hoping to do, while Connorlaker was told the same thing as I was.

    With respect to the price increase I expected some, but I didn't expect a 15-20% increase. Perhaps it is driven by Ponant. There is a brand new ship being used for Iceland next year, the Le Jacques Cartier. I'd be curious if others that have had Tauck/Ponant small ship cruise tours cancelled and then rebooked, if they saw a similar 15-20% (net 10-15% increase after using the $500 Tauck gift) increase over the 2020 price.

  • edited May 7

    I did a little poking around on the Ponant website to see if I could determine if they were the major contributor to the Iceland tour price increase. I couldn't get an exact match for dates but I did find the following:

    NOTE: Tauck's 2020 trip was to be on the Le Champlain, while the 2021 trip is on the Le Jacques Cartier.

    For whatever reason for the same itinerary (ports of call) the Le Jacques Cartier is $1480 more expensive than the Le Champlain. Therefore, Ponant is responsible for $1480 of the $1765 price increase. Perhaps they only serve lobster and caviar on the Le Jacques Cartier. :D Or perhaps it's because of the indicator that there is a "bonus" (I guess cheaper price by Ponant) for the Le Champlain.

  • @Smiling Sam You will enjoy that new Ponant ship. We were on a sister ship in the same series, Le Dumont-D'Urville last year for a Baltic cruise, when it was on its 2nd sail out of the yard. Lovely small ship.

  • We have only taken two Small ship cruises ever, not counting the expedition style Galapagos ship. With a basic room on both the brand new Le Champlain and it’s sister ship, we had the mid basic rooms and found the bathroom very pokey indeed. If one of us was at the sink the other could not get out of the shower, very disappointing. Considering how much time you spend on hte ship and not site seeing....a lot of time...We would spring for a bigger room if we did a ship trip again. The ship vacations sue are expensive. Our one River Cruise, the bathroom again basic Cabin was much bigger and better designed.

  • The prices for 2021 are listed as the same as 2020 for the Iceland trip except for Deck 5 Prestige and higher. Why this is, I don't know. In any case, I don't see anything as high as a $1700 pp increase.

  • edited May 8

    Connorlaker - All I can say is for the three of us going we now owe just over $3700, which includes the $1500 that Tauck gave us ( otherwise we would have owed over $5200). That is above our fully paid off 2020 tour.

    For the identical cabin on the ship the price in 2020 (at the time that we paid) was $9166 per person. The same cabin in 2021 is $10952 per person. Difference of $1786 per person.

  • One additional bit of information. We were and will be flying Icelandair from Seattle to Reykjavik. We have submitted the form and are in the process queue just to get a travel credit voucher, not a refund. It appears that a smaller airline like Icelandair can't as easily and quickly process even vouchers as the larger US airlines. They gave us a 'case number' and said they would process it as it gets closer to our departure date.

  • When I booked a new 2021 trip I tried to move funds from one to another cuz I had a fully paid trip that had not reached the final payment date yet, and would likely be cancelled. They said they could not do that. They wanted to ‘keep the transactions clean’.

  • Smiling Sam, if Iceland air has cancelled your flight, you are entitlement to a refund under European law I believe.
    Sealord, we chose oat get our money back for our tour that is already cancelled. With three more tours still booked, all of which I think will be cancelled, I was not keeping all that money in limbo. As it was explained to us, the insurance part can only be added to another vaction funds once and then it goes away.

  • edited May 8

    Speaking of flights. After this year's J&E cancellation I re-booked for 2021 and got new flights with Delta that were actually better than the previous set. The only negative is a 4+45 layover at CDG.

    The only J&E departure we were able to get isn't ideal so we had Tauck put us on a waitlist for another date. Today, I was doing a bit of "what if" and went looking for similar Delta flights for the waitlist departure. Options were limited, but I found slightly more expensive, but nearly identical flights with what appeared to show a 1 hr. 10 min. layover in CDG- a bit short but possible.

    However, the timing didn't seem right. . . . . After a bit of squinting my old eyes, I realized the layover was actually 11 hours and 10 min. Yikes!!! :o While availability could change if things quickly get back to normal, don't be surprised by limited choices and long layovers when you go searching for flights for a 2021 tour.

  • British - Icelandair didn’t cancel the flight. We requested a voucher because Tauck cancelled the tour. We went for a voucher to cover at least some of the flight next year. I’m “confident” we will get the voucher in the next few weeks.

  • AlanS - Last fall on our way home from the Israel and Jordan tour we accepted a 9 hour layover in Istanbul because it saved almost $1000 per ticket. The Istanbul new airport business class lounge is great, which helped the time go by.

  • Jordan was tough, with just about all flights leaving 2 AM plus/minus. I had a 4.5 hour layover at FRA, but was in good company with quite a few other tour members.

    AlanS - I'd rather have a 5 hr layover than 1 hr 10 mins. That's really pushing it on an international flight transfer, especially at a large airport. Even if you your flight is on schedule and you made it, your bags might not.

  • BKMD
    6:43PM

    Jordan was tough, with just about all flights leaving 2 AM plus/minus. I had a 4.5 hour layover at FRA, but was in good company with quite a few other tour members.

    AlanS - I'd rather have a 5 hr layover than 1 hr 10 mins. That's really pushing it on an international flight transfer, especially at a large airport. Even if you your flight is on schedule and you made it, your bags might not.

    Our flight leaves Cairo at 1:45 am. In the past we've had a few short layovers, usually when a flight is changed a few weeks before departure. We had to flat out run through AMS. They shut the aircraft door right behind us. Needless to say our bags didn't travel with us to Prague.

    When talking to a Tauck agent today, she suggested, if the waitlist moves and we are lucky enough to get a spot, but can't get a shorter layover, we could always book a short tour to somewhere in or around Paris I hadn't thought about that.

  • AlanS - I would opt for the business class lounge over a short Paris tour. Too many things could go wrong with the tour option. Even if it goes per plan, going through security an additional time is stressful enough.

  • When you’ve been quarantined in a small hotel bedroom for more than 48 hours, a few extra hours in an airport seems like heaven . I’ll never forget those empty airports on our way home, especially Boston Logan

  • British -- Lucky you! When I flew into Logan on 3/15, it was an absolute madhouse!!

  • Alan S loves the challenge of cramming in as much touring and adventure as humanly possible!!!!

  • So, here are our choices-

    One stop: RDU - CDG - AMM with an 11 hr layover at CDG
    or
    Two stops: RDU- ATL (or JFK) - CDG - AMM with layovers at ATL (or JFK) plus CDG totaling 10+ hours (e.g. 2.5 hr + 7.5 hr, 5 hr + 5 hr, etc.)

    Both one and two stop flights arrive in AMM at the same time (same last leg flight.)

    Comments, thoughts?

  • We are not booking any flights for our April Israel Jordan tour as early as we would normally do. We will also Almost certainly ask Tauck to book them-for us unless anything gets back to normal. Then if people have started to travel more, there are bound to be increased options and Tauck can deal with any cancellations.

  • AlanS - If the total time is the same, I'd opt for one stop. Less chance of flight-related complications.

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