My review of this new tour PART ONE

BKMD, No extra spaces due to size restrictions of a post.
This is a personal reflection and review of our experiences
We took an early flight from Philly to Vegas. Drama began when we failed to notice my ticket did not reflect my trusted traveler pre check, so we went to the TSA pre approval security line, Mr B goes through, I get challenged, no TSA approval, the agent tells me if I want to use the line I have to go back downstairs and get a new ticket, it wasn’t on my phone ticket either. I said I did want to go downstairs, show me where regular security was, it wasn’t obvious, it was round the corner. She mistook this for me wanting to use her line and got angry. Mr B doubles back, says I was with him. She tells me I have to pay for pre approval, I say I did. I give up and leave her, she follows me and again says to go downstairs. Mr B wants to follow me, he comes back, his ticket is checked again. I have to give up on that agent as I fear the next minute she will arrest me and speak to a more sympathetic security person and ask her to direct me to the regular security line where there is only a short wait anyway. Later, we find that my Trusted traveler number is no longer on my profile, I re-entered it.
We head for the Amex Centurion lounge, they want to see out vaccination cards to enter, that was new from just three weeks before. The lounge was not busy but really noisy with several big groups, all heading to Vegas no doubt for Super Bowl weekend and Valentines. Yikes!

We arrived at the Four Seasons hotel about 12-30pm and our room was ready. We were able to secure a couples massage for later. This hotel is on the top five floors of the Mandalay Bay hotel and they share facilities like the swimming pool complex. Their is no casino here. To get to the casino in Mandalay, you take an elevator down to floor C where this is a small lobby with a door that leads you straight into the casino. This is also a short cut to the Strip. You need your room key to re-enter through this door. We booked a dinner reservation in the nearby Mandalay Bay.
We arrived a day early but there was a Tauck envelope with an introduction to our tour director, a 35 year Tauck veteran who joined Tauck on leaving college! The Welcome Reception was to be at 5-30pm.
The next day we went to the very good but compact aquarium in the Mandalay. Several types of large fish on display that we had not come across before and large turtles and a Komodo Dragon….maybe we can cancel our Singapore Bali trip now 😀 Senior admission was $27 and it takes about an hour to stroll around.
We have been to Vegas before. Tip, do not underestimate how long the Vegas Strip is, it’s very deceiving. We spent most of the afternoon walking around, first getting the short shuttle and then walking the remainder of the strip over several hours. We stopped at Eaterley for a large gelato, yummy. There are numerous places to eat and browse.
Last time we visited Vegas was when friends had an Elvis wedding. we stayed at the Bellagio, so we went in there to admire the Dale Chihuly glass ceiling, worth a stop. Everywhere was very busy including the homeless and plenty of showgirls in skimpy costume and tall feathered headdresses asking if you wanted your picture taken with them. We saw a guy have his picture with them and refusing to give them a tip, an argument ensued, time for a quick exit!
The Welcome dinner was in a private room, nicely presented, with both a portion of chicken and beef and the trimmings. There are 21 people on the tour, several Tauck newbies, a few that this is their second tour and then us and another couple who are Tauck veterans. The dinner was thoughtfully scheduled to finish at 8pm so that if people wanted to go to a Vegas show, they would have ample time to get there since most begin at 9-30pm.



  • edited February 2022

    British - I read your post, as it wasn't overly long with no spading. I also LOLed it, just to prove that I didn't flag you. It must be the usual forum misanthrope taking care of that.
    Yes, Mandalay Bay is the bottom of the Strip. I prefer staying mid-Strip (Caesars/Bellagio), which allows you to cover half the Strip on one day, and the other half the next day, if you aren't on tour and have time for that kind of thing.

    From a gambling perspective, Vegas is the worst place in the country to gamble. The odds on their games are set to fleece the tourists quickly. For example, 6:5 blackjack and triple zero roulette. Simply disgusting.

  • My goodness, why would somebody flag a legitimate review of a new tour!
    I’ve decided it mist be someone who is registered on the forum but never posts.

  • British - just someone that has nothing better to do, I'm enjoying your reviews :D

  • Great pictures British, enjoy !!!!

  • British - Wonderful review and great pictures!

  • Superb description of the tour and great photos. We were at Palm Springs and Joshua Tree a couple of years ago and had a superb view the the park

    A minor point (and clearly not your fault), the sign at Badwater Basin should say 85.5 meters, not 855 meters.

    Please send more info as you get it, ignore the scammers.

  • The decimal is there, it is just faded. :)

  • Above are views from the entrance to the Ritz Carlton hotel. We knew it was way out of town, beautiful but a big disadvantage otherwise. It is a $20 Uber ride into town and about a half hour with the traffic.
    The tour ended last night. Today we have been to the Art Museum, modern art, we really enjoyed it. Then the thing to try is a date shake, too thick to use a straw, it’s like a huge ice cream in a large plastic cup, it was certainly lunch. We have an early dinner with relatives tonight, that’s another Uber ride, we walked along the long Main Street, lots of restaurants, but not really any galleries to browse.

    Going to post more pics, they are in reverse order of the trip, but it will give you an idea, just snaps on my iPhone

  • Gorgeous pics, British.

  • British - More than half of your pictures could have been taken within 3 miles of my house, based on the fauna and flora. :D

  • Next new tour will be the Smiling Sam's house! Hope the food is good...

  • edited February 2022

    British. Love your review and pictures. I have lived in Las Vegas for the past decade and was fortunate to get a local bus tour a few years ago from Las Vegas to Palm Springs to see Sunnylands. On that local bus tour, we were also able to get a tour of inside the home; quite beautiful with some amazing scenery and visitors who stayed there at one time or another (e.g. Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, et. al.). The Annenbergs had numerous wealthy and celebrity friends (TV guide magazine was one of the businesses he owned). I know why the inside of the house was not offering inside tours for awhile, but they will eventually get around to doing so there and well worth a second visit, if so inclined, to go back to get the inside house tour when offered.

  • Tomh, We are on our journey home, in Phoenix right now waiting for our next flight. When we were at Sunnylands, we did get to see a film about the house and family.
    This tour is the first we have ever been on when two couples failed to turn up at the time we were supposed to leave for Sunnylands. We left them behind because we would have been late for the film arrived by taxi I think, but them we had to wait longer than planned for them. It meant we were short on time for our time in the town. ot

    We had to quickly find a lunch venue and then was short on browsing time. Of course, one couple were the ones who never wore masks either, their first time with Tauck

    A note on a couple of things..We knew the Ritz Carlton was way out of town and it was in a wonderful. The drawback was the Uber rides into town, which at dinner time were $50 one way.
    Uber rides to the cable car were $36. Tip, be there when the cable car opens. We were there at Presidents’ Day weekend, there was no online ticket purchase. It opened at 8am instead of 10am. The Uber ride is about 35 minutes. We had to wait 90 mins once we got our tickets. Views up there are worth it but of course it’s very cold with snow on the ground. It was extra busy, by the time we left, the cable car wait was three hours.

  • British Nice review...thanks for sharing. Safe Travels home.

  • British, many thanks for your meticulous notes and many lovely pics. Glad all went well after the airport. I'm an Eataly fan; Eaterley is a name change worthy of serious consideration.

  • Without detracting from British's great review of her tour, Eataly would make a great new thread. They are popping up everywhere!

  • British, one interesting room inside the mansion where Frank Sinatra and his then wife Ava Gardner stayed there is a mark on the wall, I believe, where Ava and Frank got mad at each other and she threw something at him which left a mark on the wall (or that is what the guide told us had happened there. LOL. :-) )

  • Great pictures British !!!!

  • British,

    Thanks for the detailed review. Happy to hear there are a number of opportunities to go hiking. We are scheduled to go on this trip in two weeks. We have traveled to Zion on a previous Tauck tour and loved it. Have not yet been to Death Valley, Joshua Tree or Palm Springs.

  • edited February 2022

    Hope you get Charlie and John the driver. There was another TD learning the ropes for this tour who tagged along, she has worked for Tauck for a long time too, Nancy. You will be in good hands.
    As I’ve reported, my only concern was so many people were not wearing masks on the bus. I did not say anything to Tauck because the TD is such a lovely guy and he mentioned it several times but those inconsiderate people who only care about themselves ignored him, several were first time travelers with Tauck. . There were the most number of people from the Southern US than I have ever encouraged on a tour too. More Covid around in the South and less mask wearing.
    I’ve come to the conclusion thst as no one needs to be tested before a US tour, it actually puts you at more risk of contracting Covid from fellow travelers than taking a foreign tour where testing is needed before travel. . We tested ourselves after the last day as we were going immediately to see an elderly relative.

  • We had the pleasure of traveling with Charlie on Life on the Mississippi River Cruise in November. The cruise line required us all (including the crew) to be vaccinated and also tested the day before boarding the ship. Tauck (and Charlie) handled this flawlessly, from making the test appointments to walking us a couple of blocks to the testing site. This definitely gave us a level of comfort. We all tested negative and on we went with our adventure. This trip was pre-omicron. Masks were not required on board the ship. Whenever one of the sites we visited on shore required masks, the entire group put on masks without complaint. Not all of the sites required masks at that time.

    One of Charlie's little extras was an evening walking tour of Bourbon Street on Halloween. Those of us who took him up on his offer, thoroughly enjoyed it. Would love to travel with him again. We had a driver named John on the Spirit of the Desert tour several years ago. He was one of our favorites. Hope its the same person on this tour. This will be Tauck Tour #12 for us. We have thoroughly enjoyed all of the trips and have found the TD's and local guides to be some of the best we have ever encountered.

  • If it is the same Tauck "Charlie," I had him on a Tauck Mississippi River boat/New Orleans criuse a few years ago, again on a Tauck Kentucky Derby Event, and on a Christmas Markets on the Danube river boat cruise back in 2017. He was great on all of those Tauck tours. :-)

  • Thank you for the detailed review, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had actually never considered this tour until now. I had always felt confident traveling on my own in US. But thanks to your report I see now what an advantage it would be to travel US with Tauck.
    Great Pictures by the way. And your formatting doesn't bother me in the least.

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