Our Danube Xmas Market Cruise for Nov.29 got cancelled (not due to Covid)

edited January 24 in General

We got notified by our AAA Travel Agent today that our (3 couples) Nov. 29 Danube Xmas Market Cruise Vienna to Nuremberg got cancelled as 'Germany has chartered the ship' (the Joy). We just can't believe it. Apparently it has happened to some of the Rhine cruises also!! After panic, and multiple other options (Uniworld, AMA, Viking - none are our preference - as we've done them all) - we were able to get on the same dates but in reverse on the Savor from Nuremburg to Vienna - but we are paying quite a bit more as all the cheaper rooms are taken already. We are locked into those dates as we are all nurses and have to turn in our vacation one year in advance. We had booked our initial cruise Jan. 2020 and we are still in shock. I don't even think most people have even been notified - my TA called to turn in our flights to Tauck and they told her our trip just got cancelled. The dates are still listed on the webpage. No details other than 'Germany has chartered many of the ships.' Vague & so disappointing that we wouldn't even know yet if our AAA TA hadn't called Tauck today.

Comments

  • The 29 Nov Westbound Danube departure still shows on the Tauck website as do all the Rhine departures. This needs more investigation.

  • Terrilynn, this sounds so suspicious. Another reason we always deal withTauck directly. If this is true, I’m certain Tauck would have offered you something else or generous compensation.

  • edited February 4

    our decision to book Tauck thru AAA which is actually encouraged by Tauck and we've done this for 20yrs. We’ve been traveling with Tauck since 2001 and always use AAA to book- As they save us $150 per couple for tours and $150 per person on airfare (you must ask Tauck for this discount). AAA is a Tauck suggested travel agency. Yes, the tours are still listed! The only reason we even know it’s been canceled is because my TA called with our flights. We found flights for $847, where Tauck’s were $1556 - so we booked on our own. The reason I had her look at other companies is because we initially didn’t want to spend any more money. But since we are locked into our dates due to work- we buckled and upgraded to higher rooms and the trip in reverse. We were on a three way call yesterday afternoon- so I promise you, this is real! We are now working to change our post cruise itinerary since we are staying another 2 weeks and our cities are now reversed. I was posting to give others a heads up in case others are on this trip and want to find another cruise

    We are grateful we use AAA- if it weren’t for her- we wouldn’t even know this trip was canceled and we probably wouldn’t have found another cruise since everyone would be scrambling on the same day

    And yes- there is a $250 compensation- but to be honest, it’s not enough - we love Tauck- but this is incomprehensible

  • We also get the AAA discounts. If you book business air you get a 300pp discount.

  • edited January 22

    I just called Tauck. The phone agent confirmed our 6 Dec Rhine XMAS Mkts cruise, actually all 2021 Rhine XMAS Mkts cruises (update) have been CANCELLED. The agent said she just received notification from Tauck HQ. She read it to me, but neither of us quite understood the reason or rationale. I asked her to have Customer Relations give me a call.

  • edited January 22

    Yep! Devastating! If you can switch - there were still 3 cabins left on the Nov 29 Nuremberg to Vienna one! We’ve done them all before and it’s really our favorite. We were told the boats are being “chartered”.

  • terrilynn, I sent you a msg.

  • Terrilyn and Alan, have they offered you any compensation? Terrilyn, I’m not questioning your honesty, never crossed my mind, I’m just surprised that Tauck was not offering you anything, it was actually the agent or Tauck that I was questioning. This does not bode very well. Of course Tauck doesn’t own the ships, maybe the people that do are in trouble, maybe Germany is canceling all their markets this year.
    If Germany has canceled all their markets, I’m not surprised, Angela is doing a good job. I’m just not booking any new vacations this year, it’s just too disappointing to keep hoping what I have booked will go, or will it not. I’ve booked one tour for September 2022. Otherwise, we will find something, somewhere, just a change of scenery, if safe travel opens up later this year. Right now, we feel in a privileged position to know we can afford to travel in the future as long as we can stay healthy.
    Terrilyn, nursing was my career. I know about having to book all that time ahead, how difficult it is to change when only a certain number of staff can be off at one time. How you have to help colleagues out if they need to change a shift in the hope that if you need the same favor in the future they will oblige. We were only allowed two weeks over the summer, the rest had to be spread out throughout the year.....yes, we got seven weeks vacation in England..if you included the addition of the ten public holidays... I believe it’s eight weeks now.....but wages were sure a lot less than in the US. I preferred the extra vacation, you need it in that job, especially now.
    Alan, please let the forum know what you hear. Are you going to rebook?

  • edited January 30

    It was confirmed by one of our friends and co-travelers on this trip (and others) who called Tauck this morning after I alerted her to the possible situation. Evidently, Scylla, the owner of the river boats, decided 10 months and possibly further out (316 days for us) (decisions like this aren't made spontaneously), to book German citizens who may be able to board and cruise more easily than US /Tauck customers under COVID conditions, despite the strong possibility that this situation (COVID cases, inoculations, etc.) here and worldwide could be significantly improved by then.

    I don't know if the German bookings will be through Tauck or direct with Scylla or if this decision was made with Tauck's concurrence or if Tauck had no recourse, since Tauck Guest Relations has not called me, even though I requested they do so. We will supposedly be offered comparable bookings in 2022 at the current rate or the opportunity too book another tour. As terrilynn stated they offered her openings on other Danube departures. We will be a loose group of 5 and there were not enough open cabins at the time of my call (probably none now) to accommodate us.

    I'm still so extremely upset and will need time to wrap my brain around this before I re-book. Just last week I used our Delta credits from flights we cancelled when XMAS Mkts 2020 was cancelled. If I cancel again, I don't think the clock starts over, but continues from the first booking. In that case our credits will expire before I can use them for XMAS Mkts 2022 flights!! That is one thing I want to talk to Tauck about. I'm not getting any younger, feel my life slipping away, and that I've been really let down by Tauck and our government.

    This really calls into question the claimed close ties between Scylla and Tauck, and the financial condition of each company. This situation deserves an immediate call from Tauck to everyone affected and a special announcement by Dan Mahar! So far there is no mention of it on the Tauck website, still shows all four Rhine XMAS Mkts cruises as sold out. We've only been traveling with Tauck since 2012 but I don't recall any situation similar. The Arab spring cancellations were different. It may be time to request a full refund for my next two booked tours.

    How will river cruises scheduled between now and XMAS be affected? If they will not be affected, something smells rotten!!!

  • edited January 30

    Follow-up- I spent over a half hour on the phone with Tauck Guest Relations. Take-aways- GR said Scylla and Tauck are still viable and a close partnership. I was not given (could not be given?) an explanation of events causing the cancellations of all Rhine and some Danube XMAS Mkts cruises. Everyone affected, should have received a call. Neither I nor, it seems, terrilynn, or our friends booked on this cruise received a call It may have been because Tauck hadn't made it that far through the passenger lists. In any case I wondered out loud why, if the reason the cruises were cancelled was, as I surmised above and which I have no reason to doubt, was due to passenger access during COVID, Scylla didn't just activate some of their other boats that are inactive during the winter- put the Germans on those. I also pointed out that starting with the 2021 Rhine XMAS Mkts cruises, Tauck/Scylla moved one of the 2 boats they used on the Rhine (Grace and Inspire), to the relatively new Amsterdam XMAS Mkts cruise. Now there is only one boat and only 3 - 4 Rhine departures vs two boats and 6 or more departures like in previous years. I discussed my flight issues and the possible loss of $6000 due to expiring credits. I said I will discuss that with them again after I see what Delta can do for me. I raised the issue about DreamSavers, re-booking credits and the Tauck wallet and explained there is a lot confusion and misinformation about them. I suggested, to avoid growing criticism over an apparent lack of transparency, that they write complete, detailed and easy to understand descriptions of all of them and how they are applied. (I still have a re-booking credit question which I didn't get into). I suggested GR people need to read the forums to see what their customers are concerned about. The GR person said it has always been Tauck's desire and preference to talk to people about their issues. I agreed that is important, but not at the expense of transparency and keeping people informed after information has already leaked out to a lucky (or unlucky) few. At the very least, they need to add information to the homepage Update banner, e.g. "Tauck is considering significant scheduling changes to XMAS Mkts on the Rhine and will call those affected in the next few days." I'm sure there is more and so I will update this post as I remember items.

    I didn't discuss it, but my last sentence in the post above still holds.

  • edited January 22

    We should all thank Alan for his information, thanks for your time Alan!
    Wondering if Tauck call in order of booking.
    Mr. B is making me laugh, he said he has no interested in Christmas markets, the house is already too full of our vacation c...p! Ok, time for wine! Not German wine 😂

  • Something to consider- Scylla parks a number of their river boats during the winter. You can see where they are located at https://www.cruisemapper.com/ships

    They may or may not be undergoing some level of maintenance or repair, but you would think one or more could be easily activated to meet any demand if the report of German charters is true.

  • edited January 29

    I am still trying to get a handle on what is going on with the cancellation of all 2021 Rhine and some Danube XMAS Mkts cruises. Scylla hasn't updated their COVID info since last May. At that time they were trying out COVID shipboard procedures which they declared successful. Cruisemapper shows almost all of Scylla's nearly 30 river boats are scheduled to be idle in December 2021, except for 3 boats (two on the Rhine- Emily Bronte and Oscar Wilde, one on the Danube- Thomas Hardy), so there is no shortage of boats. I suspect this info could be in error or outdated, however. I couldn't find any current info on the Scylla website. The reports of XMAS river boats being chartered by someone else, while reportedly valid, may not be the whole story.

    Guestless but restless. We can‘t wait to set sail for new adventures.

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