Portugal here I come...

I was on hold for over an hour yesterday to book a trip, then got cut off after the person said "hello, may name is". Unfortunately, I never got a call back. I called back and was on hold for another hour. Today, I want to modify the trip--something I can't not do online because I want a different trip length. I have now been on hold for almost 2 hours, opting out of lunch just in case someone answers. Their technology does not allow for me to press for a call back. I've left messages in the past week on various days, but never got a return call, so I will continue to hold for another 20 minutes at which point I have to scrub up for surgery(am a physician). I understand short staffing of call centers as there is also a dire shortage of staff here at the hospital. That said, would somebody please, please give me a call so that I can book this wonderful 1 week land journey to Portugal for 2 people for Aug 27th, 2022 before it fills up? Also, perhaps an extra night at the hotel upon arrival. I have not doubt that this call center problem is a reflection of the trip itself, but it sure does add to the stress level of one's day. Regards, Lisa A.


  • edited May 2022

    Lisa, you have my sympathy but unfortunately the company doesn't monitor the forum for this sort of issue. Have you tried calling in the evening? You might have better luck. I hope you do.

    PS - and if it does fill up, put yourself on the waiting list. There's been a lot of people changing their minds this past year even on tours that happen. I was on two last year that looked sold out or limited and yet were anything but when they actually happened.

  • Lisa, sorry to hear of your frustration. I have been asking Tauck for years to rethink their system & let us sign up, or at least express interest, online, as most companies do. I understand the "personal service," but given the number of Tauck tours, it's time for a better system. I have not used the callback, but have always heard it mentioned on the recording, I have reached Tauck late on weekends. Good luck.

  • There is almost always a call back option but you don’t always hear it at the beginnings of the message, it comes later.
    Personally, I would not recommend Portugal in August, it gets very hot, good for the beach but not touring.

  • edited May 2022

    I called Tauck yesterday and was promptly referred to the call back system. I was surprised since I usually have to wait a few minutes before I get the call back prompt. Nonetheless, I used the feature and received a call back within approximately twenty minutes.

    It is imperative to listen closely because there are some steps that one must follow in order to properly record your request for a call back, i.e....pressing the pound sign (#) after confirming and/or changing your return call number and pressing one (1) after recording your message. If you do not hear the confirmation that you have successfully completed the call back feature, your recording did not go through.

    Good luck.

  • LAcheddar Hi
    If it makes it a little less painful, it's not just Tauck. I was on hold for 1 hour for my Dr. appt- 40min.for my pharmacy- another endless wait for anyone you have to call.
    My off. clients have complained about the hour or so long on hold. Reality Check! - no one wants to WORK! responsible adults have or are retiring- younger crows are looking for easy jobs- on the internet etc... I had a girl in my off. that quit because she was making more money taking pictures of her toes for Instagram. NOW, HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT!
    It's the new normal.
    Best time to call is early in the morning and late in the afternoon or leave them a message the night before so they will call back next morning.

  • Tried reaching Tauck this past Monday. I knew a Monday would be a long wait. Turned out to be 45 minutes so I opted for a call back. Call back message said it was not working so they put my call back in que. I hung up and tried again yesterday since I had more time and was on hold for 28 minutes. The Tauck rep sounded a little "frazzled" and I can't blame him.
    Guess it is a sign of the time we are living in.

  • I agree that unless you love the heat, can't recommend summer in Portugal. I spent a few days in Lisbon after a Morocco tour in March and found both oppressive, but then I hate traveling in warm weather.

  • OurTravels said it best...Find a reputable and reliable travel agent and do it through them. We've been using one for many years for our trips with Tauck (and other carriers) and they have been exceptional. Never, ever a worry. Just a suggestion...

  • It's rather convoluted but absolutely necessary to enter the # sign and then 1 in order to get a call back. After an annoying talk with Tauck yesterday I spoke with a great rep in customer service. In order to handle customer demand Tauck has had to hire 50 employees. I imagine there will be continued slowness until everyone is up to speed.

    Lisa, please consider adding additional time in Lisbon. There is much to see. We've been on two different tours in Portugal with another company and are amazed at how much is packed into such a small country.

  • edited May 2022

    I know many of you don't like using a TA to book Tauck, but this is one of many reasons we do and have for 17years. We always book thru our AAA TA and we have 3 upcoming Tauck tours (two this year and one in 2023) - when we have an issue, or a questions, or want to add or change something - she can always do it for us within a few minutes. We've NEVER had an issue booking thru our AAA TA - we actually get even more 'perks' using her (and it's free) - she informs us of things very early. We actually knew our Xmas Market River Cruise was canceled last year (2021) way before members on this forum did - she called and told us - and when I got on here to post about it - others also on the Market Cruises were shocked and had not heard from Tauck yet. There are Tauck approved TA agents out there and we LOVE our AAA TA -- we've used her since 1996 and we've used her for Tauck since 2005. Not meaning to start a discussion about whether to use a TA or not - just saying that for us, it's been much easier and quicker communication. They have a quick access phone line to Tauck that we, as customers, don't have

  • We have also used a travel agent for decades. If there’s a issue while abroad, I only have to send an e-mail, and within a normal amount of time, it will get resolved. I know this because I count on minor problems to arise snd there are always some glitches. I don’t have to contend with travel issues while on my vacation because I have my trusted TA.

    I do have a question when using the gift of time on a river cruise. How does the Covid testing work to get back to the U.S. when the tour is technically over and we’re staying a couple of days after the tour. Will the tour director advise where to get tested or would one have to figure that out on their own. Just asking.

  • edited May 2022

    The TD will provide info or direct you to talk to whoever is doing the testing on the boat.

  • OurTravels34,

    Yes, the tour director will assist in finding a place for the COVID testing. Be prepared to pay in Euros since not all laboratories/pharmacies will accept credit card payments. In Portugal, we were charged thirty five (35) euros each and the results were e-mailed to us within one hour.

    Regarding travel agents, I think it is wonderful that so many travelers have used the same agent for years. I have traveled with Tauck for over four decades and only once did I need for them to assist me when I was stranded at an airport. One phone call and the home office jumped into gear and had my issue resolved promptly.

    Enjoy your trip.

  • A good TA costs nothing and they can provide many perks aside from their expertise, problem solving and good advice. I’ve had free breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and hotel upgrades for decades using TA’s that are part of certain consortiums. Nice little gifts are fairly standard, too.

  • I’ve reserved river cruises and small ship cruises directly with Tauck and also a few times with competing tour companies. No travel advisors. On my 2019 Tauck cruise, fellow guests were surprised I did not use a travel advisor. When I was 4 hours delayed for my departure from US to Paris, I called Tauck at 10 pm (11 pm in Connecticut/Tauck rep time) and got connected to an all-hours Tauck rep who advised me that she would notify the transfer company of my late arrival and gave me directions if no transfer met me in Paris. Indeed the transfer was there to take me to the hotel. Are travel advisors available 24/7? Same tour returning home from Lyon one guest was told at the airport checkin that she did not have reservation for her flight. Her travel advisor was on vacation and not available. She panicked. I decided to try a TA at the recommendation of fellow Tauck travelers in 2019 for my upcoming Douro cruise. So—- I speak with my TA who then calls Tauck. The TA then calls me back. If I question the information, the TA then calls Tauck again and then calls me back. It seems so much more of a hassle to communicate this way. The TA I chose is one of the highly rated by Conde Nast if that has any weight. After this experience, I’ve decided to go back to reserving directly with Tauck - no middle person delaying the communication process. I’ve not had difficulty getting through to Tauck regarding long wait times or call-backs.

  • Yes, my TA watches my flights and has actually been pro-active to avert problems. She’s a gem, but I have also tried one of the Conde Nast recommended agencies and been really disappointed because the star agent had multiple assistants who were not all that experienced. The service was nothing special. Cruises and organized tours are a very small part of my travel and I am a very experienced traveler with complex itineraries sometimes so a simple transfer from an airport is an easy fix and nothing to stress about. Anyway, good luck with contacting Tauck these days, many cruiselines have staffing issues.

  • edited May 2022

    I’ve always used Tauck directly. The last time we used a travel agent was in England over thirty years ago for the very popular all inclusive vacation types that include the flight etc. If I knew a travel agent, I might consider trying one, but I don’t. On the other hand, if you use an agent, your contract is with them and not Tauck, so when you are actually on the tour, any travel problems you have to sort yourself or try to contact your agent, which with time differences might be tricky. I’ve heard first hand more problems with incorrect info from travel agents than I have Tauck, some people seem to have no clue about the tour they have booked, often how active they need to be. I think these are the people who do not read all the info that is provided on the Tauck website.

  • Last week I received my Tauck “Your Journey Awaits” packet. It came as an email attachment from my TA. All the information was correct. However, the hotel and airline information listed on the TA’s letterhead was incorrect. Wrong departure airport and wrong hotel. I went to the airline site and entered my code and the reservation and seat assignments are there so I’m not concerned. I emailed the TA and the owner of the agency about the discrepancies but never heard back. I just hope I have no need to contact them during my Douro cruise next month.

  • YMMV. If you use a TA and the agent books air through Tauck then Tauck would still be responsible if there is a problem.

  • We have a TA and use her a lot, however, the one time we had a problem we went straight to Tauck and they were more than happy to help us.  Just because you use a TA doesn't prevent Tauck from helping and answering your questions.

  • Thank you Gourmet Gal - and Noreen - good to hear! Our air was booked through Tauck (after several phone calls over many days with the TA). Everyone has her/his preferences… mine is to fly direct to Europe and then make any needed connection. My TA wanted us to connect in Philadelphia.

  • If you have a TA the best thing is to have them change the point of contact from them to you just before you leave. We usually leave a week before the start of a tour. It has been annoying to have the TA be informed of a change such as a different dock for a ship and because of time differences/weekends you aren't made aware of the change in time. We now just book directly.

    Also, because we only have one airline fly non-stop to Europe or Japan, we book flights (and preferred seats) ourselves. It saves time and frustration not to have to be routed through several airports to get to a destination.

  • Thank you Moores! I learn so much from this forum. Many kind, supportive fellow travelers willing to share their tips/knowledge. Now I'm getting even more excited and less anxious about our Douro cruise next month.

  • Hi all, I also learned a thing or two despite being a savvy traveller or at least I think I am. I also appreciate all the different ways of looking at this subject.

  • Anyone traveling to Portugal and Spain on July 6, 2022?

  • Scheduled for May 14, 2023. Contrary to the usual back and forth about the issue, I'm bring a ton of gear. LOL.

  • Images_Quirky_Eye

    Doug, being the great photographer that you are (I've loved seeing the photos that you've posted from time-to-time) I think you need to work on your Icon that appears to the left of your Images... user name with each post.

    The Icon looks like just a grayish/black blob.

    I expect a spectacular Icon from you. Check out Gourmet Gal's icon in the thread above.

    I hope to see a new and improved Images_Quirky_Eye Icon!


  • That’s the famous beach tree at FS Hualalai. I take that picture several times a year!

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