Tuscany & Umbria tour ending?

We just had our AAA TA ask about this tour as 4 of us are interested in going Fall 2022. Can't go sooner as we have Sicily Spring 2021, Xmas Market River Cruise Dec 2021, Passion Play Spring 2022. Tauck told our AAA TA that this tour may not be continuing. She recommends the Tuscany and Cinque Terre instead, which to us, doesn't seem as good. Can anyone compare? We looked at a week in Venice Florence Rome, but a week is SO short for all 3 of those places. We did V,F,R many many years ago with Rick Steves and it was 10days and that was very short too. Wonder what other tours won't be moving forward post Covid?

Comments

  • We took the equivalent Tauck tour many years ago, Tuscany Florence and Umbria, it was eventually canceled and yet it was our favorite tour of Italy with Tauck so far. We haven’t been to Cinque Terre. My favorites city in Italy is Florence followed by Sienna. I do not care for Rome, been there twice, dislike all the pick pockets And gypsies. You really have to be careful. My favorite there is the Vatican, I would love to see that again. I’ve been to more complete Coliseums elsewhere in Europe.
    How about adding somewhere like the week long Puglia tour to add on to the VFR tour, it’s different and I’m sure they have ironed out the few problems the tour had when we first took it and it was branded new.
    Let’s be real, the chances of you going to Sicily next Spring are very low.

  • edited August 2020

    British - we've done V,F,R and LOVE Venice and Florence. We've seen Sienna and spent time in Sorrento and Amalfi. Our limit is $10K for this trip since we have so many other trips going on. Sicily is actually with Rick Steves and we know it will most likely be a NO GO. We hope we can make it to the Xmas Market Cruise Dec 2021 as our 2020 one canceled. My parents are getting older and we may not be traveling for a while anyway. But it's still fun to hope and plan. We may just go with Spain, since we've never been, if they do cancel the Tuscany and Umbria tour.

  • We've considered Spain/Portugal as well. The price per day is considerably less than Italy. Would love to see the architecture. My one concern is late evening dinners assuming the same start times as most tours. I can't do a heavy meal then immediately go to bed. Heartburn city.

  • I could do a heavier midday meal and snacks in the evening. On other Tauck land tours there seemed to be such a push for big evening meals. Frequently had to insist to the TD that we didn't want to eat late. Thanx.

  • Does anyone know whether Tauck has the clout to ask for earlier dinners on their Spain tours? I would like to take the Spain and Portugal tour, it was in our sights for soon. I’ve seen a lot of Madrid fairly recently already and even bumped into a Tauck tour in the Prado, vacationed on the Costa del Sol, Ibiza, Mallorca and the Canary Islands but many years ago. The first three places used to be full of drunken young Brits.

  • British, I just read the detailed itinerary for the Spain/Portugal land tour and there definitely seems to be fewer included meals and some flexibility on which ones you chose at the hotel. I wonder if Tauck is building in more flexibility on that. Someone else talking about the Switzerland tour we hope to take mentioned that at one of the two night stays you could chose which night you wanted to eat at the hotel i.e. the second day you have breakfast at Lausanne, lunch included in the stop in Gruyere and dinner at the hotel can be that night or the next day when Tauck doesn't include lunch. If I've had two big meals I'd rather spend the evening strolling around and just buying something light on our own.

  • A few years ago, I took the Spain & Portugal tour with Tauck and loved it. So much so, that I took the Northern Paradors tour the following year. I would definitely suggest you plan to go.

  • Thanx GM. What was your experience on the meal situation discussed above?

  • edited August 2020

    When we went to Madrid a few years ago, it was for a Conference my hubby was attending and the hotel was way out of the center. It was a 30 plus Euro taxi ride into the city. So reluctantly every night, we ate in the hotel and there was no problem eating fairly early, it was geared to international visitors. It just meant the restaurant was quiet when we were eating and filled up as we were leaving. Of course we missed out on local Spanish people watching and atmosphere But my husband was after all working and needed to be up bright and early the next day.

  • Claudia, the meals provided by Tauck, especially at the hotels, usually didn't start until about 8:30pm. I recall walking back in my room some nights and declaring that it was 11pm and I had just finished dessert! When I was on my own for dinner, I did eat earlier but was the only one in the restaurant.

  • Took the Spain and Portugal tour in 2014 and only once did I have any issue with time, selection, etc. of meals. Perhaps things have changed since then. The only issue we had was on our arrival day in Lisbon. After some long hours to get to Lisbon, our meals schedule was all askew so when we arrived at the hotel we wanted to get an early dinner. Unfortunately it was the dead zone between lunch and dinner being available. It was hard to even find a place to get a snack. I think we stopped at a local grocery store to get a snack. Once the tour had begun the itineraries are set such that getting meals/food never seemed to be an issue. Overall the tour and food on this tour was great.

  • We have taken both of the Spain land tours and they were wonderful. Apart from the welcome and goodbye dinners, I think all or most of the included dinners were the choose your time and dinner companions meals, and they had choices for earlier slots (perhaps not as early as some would like). We generally chose a later time and noticed that the early slots usually had the larger tables. So, a later table of 4 or 2 could easily finish at the same time or sooner than an earlier table of 8. Loved the food and wine.

  • We have been on several Italy tours. My favorite was the Northern Italy tour but it is longer and more expensive than some others. We don't go for the food. I often will nibble especially in the evening (You wouldn't know it if you saw me! :-) )

    We took the Cinque Terre trip when it was called a culturious tour. It was great. In Florence we had a lot of free time but also some unique experiences such as the talk and mini concert in a pallazzo and visits to workshops of local artisans. The trip to the carrara mines was a hoot! and the Cinque Terra locale and scenery sublime. We found a lovely restaurant hidden along the coast within the cliffs that had fabulous food in Monterosso. (You need to make reservations in Monterosso as restaurant hours are limited and there are limited seatings everywhere there.) Sienna is magical, with a lovely historic hotel in the middle of the medieval city and a great tour and tasting. I liked the tour because of the free time.

    Another short trip was the week in Capri. The trip has changed since we took it; it looks for the better. The hotel on Capri is fabulous with beautiful views overlooking one of Tiberious' 12 villas on Capri. Loved the trip to Anacapri even in the rain. There is time to do the funicular, Blue Grotto or just hang out on your own (The seas in early October were too rough for us to experience the Blue Grotto).

    Our Sicily trip this year was cancelled. Been on the Ponant Treasures of the Mediterranean, Venice and Dalmatian Coast, Week in Italy all were very good although our trip on the Ponant was marred by the weather. Would suggest spring for that rather than the fall when we went. Most of the time, we enjoy revisiting places we have gone before and extend our trip in a favorite city.

    I have not been in Rome in years. I am hearing it is dirty? Any more than 10 years ago?

  • Terrilyn, you mentioned your 2020 Christmas market tour had cancelled. I’m assuming it was not with Tauck. We have one booked with Tauck and right now it has not been cancelled. Final payment due in mid September. I’m thinking it is a no go. Hoping we will hear something soon...

  • BlueEyes49

    Final payment due in mid September. I’m thinking it is a no go. Hoping we will hear something soon...

    I have an early October tour, with final payment due later this month. We're still waiting to hear. We're thinking we will hear within the next two weeks. Likely you are still a little over a month away from hearing if the Tauck pattern holds.

  • Back to the original question:

    We did the the Tuscany & Cinque Terra tour in 2015. It is a really excellent tour, but very different from other Tauck tours. It used to be branded under the "Culturious" brand which was aimed at younger travelers and offers a more active, more culturally immersive experience - less bucket list sights and more intimate cultural experiences. Very small groups on this tour, it averages 18. When we went it included a Tauck lagniappe (surprise addition) that was among the best experiences we've ever had on a tour. I won't spoil the surprise, especially since I'm not sure they still do it and it may not be available on some tour dates, even if they still include it. It's a good tour for those who have seen the major sights in Italy and want to go back for more. We added a few days on our own in Florence at the end. Tauck was happy to drive us back to the Florence train station from Sienna instead of the airport.

    By the way, the active part wasn't all that active. The three active parts I remember were a leisurely bike ride on the city wall in Lucca, walking about half a mile with our luggage in the Cinque Terra (no vehicle access to the hotel), and a short optional hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. We also walked around Florence and Sienna quite a bit since their city centers are closed to traffic. All of these are easily done by anyone without mobility issues.

  • edited August 2020

    Ken from Vegas
    11:58AM
    . . . walking about half a mile with our luggage ub Cinque Terra . . .

    Did you carry/roll your luggage yourself or walk with TD, porter, and luggage cart? That is what they did for us in Florence to get to the Brunelleschi Hotel. What a great location by the way!

  • Rolled it ourselves. Only to the hotel. The porters took care of it when we left.

  • I wonder if they make luggage with larger wheels designed for cobblestone. I experienced that in Amsterdam on an independent trip, rolling about 3 blocks from Central Station to my canalside hotel.

  • Bkmd, that's the main discussion point on the pros and cons of 2 wheel inline bags vs spinners. Spinners are best on smooth surfaces - airports, hotel lobbys, airplane aisles,.etc. The 2 wheel bags are best on uneven surfaces - cobblestone, stairs, public transportation, etc. It's hard to find 2 wheel bags. And all too often the wheels on spinners are pretty fragile/cheap plastic.

  • Claudia - I much prefer 2 wheel bags.

  • Like I said, pros and cons to each. I'm not super strong so will go for which one is easiest for me to deal with in specific situations. I do like that spinners can be turned side on and rolled easily even with my carryon perched on top. More maneuverable. But if I did a carryon only trip - like a Rick Steve's tour - I'd bring a 2 wheeled bag for sure.

  • I truly hope that you reconsider keeping this tour. My husband and I were going to do this tour and The Authentic Tour of Italy back to back in September/October of 2020. Sadly Covid-19 changed our plans. When I called Tauck on August 14 to schedule both tours for 2021 I was told that neither tour was going to be available. I am humbly asking you to reconsider keeping both of these tours. We have spent a lot of quality time in Venice, Florence and Rome and have had such a marvelous time. What the Tuscany & Umbria and Authentic Italy would have given us is new and most intriguing adventures in three of the Italian cities that we most enjoy! Thank you! Myra S Ashor

  • edited August 2020

    We were scheduled on the June 2020 Tuscany & Umbria tour and rescheduled for June of 2021 back in April. We were looking forward to this tour as well and hope Tauck is able to reschedule it for 2022. We just rescheduled to take the Sicily tour, as it has also been on our wish list. With all that is going on with Covid, I’m happy if we’re able to travel anywhere next year. Staying positive about traveling is a challenge, but I’m thinking positive and trying to be hopeful. Happy travels, whenever that may be.

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