Savor was a bust!
This trip (April 25th Sailing) could have been amazing but instead it was filled with disappointment. Post Covid is tough and I agree we live in a different world for now. Tauck is our favorite tour provider and have taken 3 in less than 12 moths. So when I complain about this cruise I have other recent memories of amazing Tauck Itineraries, accommodations, food and the like. Belgium and Holland in the Spring was just plain terrible. Most meals were Buffett (very sad pickings), Bar didn't have sufficient choices even though they were on the menu. Can you imagine no Bourbon? 4 of our friends sailed on the Savor in Early April two tours prior to ours and they had the same issues with the Bar and the dinner choices. Arthurs was closed. We were told because of Covid testing. Not a reasonable answer. Covid testing was done at the end of the cruise so what about all the other days. Truth be told, I think it was staffing and the cruise line didn't want to keep two kitchens open. Entertainment was okay but not on par with Tauck's usual entertainment. Itinerary for Bruges and Ghent really lacked depth. 1/2 day for each. No canal rides in Bruges which is one of the most picturesque spots in Europe. Floriade was a total wasted day. The exhibit has been open for a few months and is still not complete. Keukenhof was truly a show stopper. The flowers were amazing as well as the park. The trip to see The Girl With the Pearl Earring was priceless which helped save the trip. Come on Tauck, you need to improve your game.
To be fair, I've sailed the Savor and her sister ship before so I have real life experiences to compare with.
bbdpeg...Sorry to hear of your recent experience, but appreciate your honesty. I would suggest maybe sticking with land tours for the next little while. I've learned cruise itineraries demand careful scrutiny, as too often even in the best of times they skim the surface. That said, I have had amazing cruises, including my first river cruise with Tauck, H&B Spring 2011; I still vividly remember the Brandenburg Gate in flowers at Keukenhof. I admit I now prefer more focused itineraries; I've been fortunate to have traveled to Europe many times, and my priorities in recent years have moved away from major sights, and beyond Europe. Wishing you better travel ahead.
GOSH -- all these terrible River Cruise Reviews on multiple posts are starting to make be nervous. We LOVE Tauck and have been on many land and river cruises. In December, we are going with 2 other couples on the Danube Xmas Market River Cruise - we have done this before and it was a 10/10 for us. The 2 couples we are going with have never been to Europe, they have heard us rave about Tauck. We were Covid-canceled in 2021 and re-booked for Nov/Dec 2022 - now I am so worried that they won't enjoy it --- it is so much money to spend not to love it. This will be their first time in Europe and their first Tauck tour. I hope things get better by the Fall.
Tauck has said a great deal about ‘expectations’ and how they can be allowed to ruin a trip. We have done three trips during the pandemic, and for those who visit here on a regular basis you have read my reviews that explained all of the venues, one Windstar and two Ponant were short handed due to the pandemic, and none had all of their dining venues operating at the same time. This should not be a surprise, and it should be on your list of expectations. If it is not, then perhaps you may need another year or two at home. All of our trips were short handed, and Ponant by the way ran out of Scotch minis for the rooms, but the employees were happy to be working and were producing at one hundred percent. The author of this thread became a forum member at 9:43 AM and posted their diatribe, and a few compliments, at 9:44 AM …. their first post ever. No hello, handshake, or whatever … just straight into complaints. I have met whiners before on Tauck trips, and it makes me wonder what it is like to live in their perfect world.
Terrilynn, I know you and your friends will enjoy your river cruise and have a splendid time. For me, the cup is half full instead of half empty. It doesn't help to moan and groan so much. I know that Tauck is doing their best to improve the river cruise experience and what we've all been through during the pandemic and how it affects each of us while on on Tauck trip whether it be a land tour, ocean or river cruise. Your friends will still be in awe with the sights in Europe especially during a Christmas market. There will always be glitches and some are just never satisfied enough. Also, the same thing can happen with any other tour company.
Sealord, plenty of people travel with Tauck without ever coming near the forum or only to read things. Nothing wrong with that. Clearly ppdped isn't new to Tauck even if they are new to the forum.
We did two land tours with Tauck last year and had a great time in the midst of covid. In fact our second one - Normandy/Brittany is now one of our favorites. But it's clear Scylla is struggling this year after 2 years of lousy business due to canceled or under populated tours plus supply chain issues everyone everywhere is facing. I want to see them and Tauck weather this. I'm also willing to put up with some disappointed expectations. But combined with the current US testing policy, you have to reasonably consider do you want to risk that while paying a lot of money for a tour that you don't enjoy. While many take an extra 10 days stuck in a foreign country in their stride, some have jobs, children, pets, etc expecting them home.
Lets hope more people having good tours and cruises post here to give us all hope.
I agree with OurTravels34 regarding the great experience your friends will have. Yes, there might be some minor disappointments for you since you are a seasoned Tauck traveler, but just think how much your group will rely on you to guide them along the waters (no pun intended).
Besides, it is because of your positivity and guidance some time ago that we decided to take our first holiday cruise next year--the Yuletide Spirit. I look forward to your review! Go have fun!
I think bbbpeg told it honestly regarding their experience on that particular trip. It allows us to manage our expectations with travel/Tauck as it exists today.
We were on the Savor Holland to Belgium 4/18 and had a different experience than bbdpeg. Some of the differences may be due to expectations and some to the luck of the draw. We had two buffet dinners and I thought the selections were good. The rest of the dinners were from the menu and quite good, in my opinion. Not five star, but quite good.
The bar always had Jack Daniel’s and Chardonnay so I was good there. I missed one of the entertainment nights but did enjoy the others. This was my first river cruise so nothing to compare to.
Ghent and Bruges was a long, full day. A canal cruise might have been nice in Bruges but would have cut down on the on your own time. I agree with the disappointment in Floriade, but it actually had only been open a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months. And I agree that Keukenhof and Mariutshuis were highlights.
Was this another Wow, Tauck hits it out of the ballpark trip, maybe not. But I still had a great time and am thrilled to be on the road again. I don’t doubt bbdpeg’s experience, but wanted to share another perspective.
It’s really helpful to get all experiences and I note these were on two different tour dates, could have been entire different crew and Tour directors on those dates. Mist have been a big Jack Daniels drinker on one tour 😀 I would hope the Chardonnay was European, I don’t care for California Chardonnay
I have to admit I can't get too worked up about a particular alcoholic drink not being available. My liver is always pretty relieved when we come home from a river cruise.
I’m with you, Claudia. And British, I’m perfectly happy with California Chardonnay, but I think most on the ship was from France. It was very nice for a change.
Interesting that bbdpeg and Dottie D were on this cruise ‘one week’ apart and had such different experiences.
I do firmly believe it is all about "the glass is half full versus half empty." At least the original poster did have several positive things to say. It is not that they complain but it is how they complain, in my opinion.
If you click on the poster’s screen name you might also see that this person has never been onboard here before, nor since their “bust” post. ?
So Sealord what are the rules for whether you can dislike something on Tauck tour? How many years after joining the forum? How many previous posts?
No rules of course. But, a person who got on the boat the day ‘this person’ got off describes a totally different experience. I have also been on the “Savor”, and the author’s description is vastly different than my own experience, or my experience on three cruises during the pandemic. The post reads like something on “Yelp”. I don’t doubt that the poster has an axe to grind, but I doubt that it has much to do with what was posted. They aren’t writing a ‘we were not totally pleased with this or that’, they are posting a ‘Don’t Go There’ sign. Other posters have said quite clearly that this post has caused them to ‘worry’ about their upcoming trips. My three trips in the past year had some rough spots due to the pandemic, but that has had no effect on my anticipation for the next four trips I have booked with Tauck.
Bbbpeg says they have taken several tours with Tauck, so I think it’s more likely that they were so very disappointed that they felt moved to document it in the forum. I read the forum for a long time until I posted when someone wrote something I could just not possibly let go, so you can blame them I’m still here.
SeaLord, how lucky you are not to have had a negative experience and I assume you haven’t had Covid either. Don’t discredit others just because your experiences have not been the same.
I've read plenty of reviews on other forums and I'm not a fan of the "never happy with anything cranks". Heck, I've been on tours with them. I also know in reading reviews like theirs to take what they say with a grain of salt and keep reading. I thought the title of bbdpeg's original post was a bit over the top but the rest was mostly a matter of opinion and his personal expectations. We're all allowed to have them. I've been disappointed by some parts of tours and pleasantly surprised by others.
If I'm wrong about this, don't bother flagging my posts. Flag the original one. If 5 of you agree you can make the whole thing go away.
The OP’s comments seem fairly balanced to me but I don’t think they need to be taken with “a grain of salt”. This person has taken multiple trips with Tauck and enjoyed all except this one so the comments could be considered constructive. I agree that dinner buffets are not the norm and can be very disappointing along with Arthur’s not being utilized. The same cuts were in place on my early April Rhône cruise due to staffing issues. Covid is having a negative impact on cruising and it’s certainly not less expensive to travel while there is this diminished experience. I appreciate the honest feedback here.
Gourmet Gal makes a very valid point. Tauck travel is expensive and worth every penny for a top notch experience. Buffets, Arthur’s closure, lack of room service, and short staffing are not top notch. These might be explained by Covid but should the price for a diminished experience be the same as a top notch experience?
Its hard to see this discussion through Taucks perspective but who knows how much money all of these high end tour operators lost during the pandemic! It’s hard to crunch the numbers whether or not they are even making a profit while trying to run a upstanding business. There isn’t one right answer.
We all want to spend our money wisely but I certainly don't want Tauck to go under because of this. Lord knows what we'd be left with for tour companies then.
Tauck accepted the stimulus, don’t remember how much, but I doubt it went far.
We are on the Grace from Amsterdam to Basel on May 25 and just got an advisory from Tauck about the cruise…buffets, Arthur closed, lack of daily maid service. I must say I feel a bit “taken.” Tauck is still a high end tour operator and, frankly, what they propose is not that high end. Am disappointed.
Agree, disappointing. At least they’re giving you a heads up but did they also offer free cancellation and a rebooking opportunity? Seems only fair. Looks like you will not be receiving what was advertised when you booked. At the very least there should be a discount.
We received that e-mail as well. We have a riverboat tour that departs in just in about two weeks. This is a portion of the e-mail:
"As you look ahead to your river cruise, and in the spirit of candor and transparency, we wanted to apprise you of certain service issues that you may experience during your time on board your Tauck riverboat. Please know that we are working tirelessly to address these challenges, but it is possible that they may not be resolved prior to your embarkation. These issues might include the closure of or reduced offerings at Arthur’s (the smaller, alternative dining venue to our primary Compass Rose restaurant), a shift in cabin housekeeping from daily to on-request services, and the more frequent incorporation of buffets into onboard meals."
While this is not their usual level of service, I understand they are facing some unique challenges. Personally, I am more concerned about the prospect of a quarantine. We will wear our masks as much as possible, but I hope Tauck would assist any guests in this situation with finding appropriate accommodations, etc. for the quarantine period.
In my opinion they should reduce the cost of the trip for reduced services.
As said, at least you got some warning. I'm holding onto the comment "we are working tirelessly to address these challenges" so hopefully the cruises later this year will be back to something like normal. Still want to go on mine. Just wish the darn insurance company would respond to my question about insurance coverage.
Here are my personal priorities for travel right now.
First, that Tauck improves Covid rules
Second, that I get to do all the touring that is promised on the itinerary…..which my upcoming tour cannot now offer, there has been a major substitute, ok, but happen to have been there already But still Ok
Third, Room service….as long as I can have clean towels when I need them, I’ll forgo room service, I might not make my bed every day, I so look forward to that just because as a young nurse I must have made thousands of beds.
Fourth….as long as there is a good choice of buffet food and it it served to us hygienically by staff behind plastic screening like we had on our Costa Rica tour, not everyone touching the same serving tools…. I’m good with that too
Fifth, the main reasons we travel are to site see, be it museums, castles, mountains, animals, unique experiences and so on. I put on so much weight after a Tauck tour, that’s the negative part.
If we want to continue having escorted travel, that’s what we personally hope for right now. It’s so nice to see new places and get away from home for a while.
We haven't heard otherwise but it may be that those on tours that have particularly had problems may get a voucher from Tauck after they return home.
Concur with most of your priorities British though my concerns with covid rules are a bit different. If you're going to have them, enforce them or don't bother. I'm more concerned how they deal with those who test positive to help navigate the process.
I'm actually not that big a fan of daily room cleaning. It kind of bugs me when I return and my things have been moved around.
An interesting itinerary and good TD(s) are high on my list.