Welcome to Tauck’s Cruising Down Under - Eastbound Forum


Welcome to Tauck’s Cruising Down Under - Eastbound Forum - Find the answers to your trip questions, answer questions posted by fellow travelers, plus share your Tauck experiences and stories. Stop by often and join in on the discussions.
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  • Thanx . . . we're interested in the Australia cruise . . . but don't know dates of the cruises . . .

    We're interested in April, 2015 because we're trying to line up with another trip . . .

    Really enjoyed Tauck's African Safari last year . . . and would like to use Tauck again for this trip.

    Appreciate your help !

    Lloyd
  • Hi Loyd,

    The dates are listed here on the web page for this trip. You'd better hurry because one departure is already listed as sold out! January 4th, eastbound, is still available. Vite! Vite!

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • With January trips already planned for '15 and '16, it looks like 2017 for us!
  • From Cruise Critic - January 2015
    http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=271367
    We are thinking of taking this trip in Jan. 2016
  • Ah, yes. Cruise Critic is the place to complain. I've done it myself ... not about Tauck, I might add. I chose to warn Australian explorers not to expect a similar experience under Lindblad after they took over the much loved Orion. Americans can be (as always, we shouldn't generalise but we all do it) very demanding. It's odd when they don't extend that perceived standard to other passengers. But that's enough about me mourning the loss of future Orion travel experiences.

    I was intrigued by the Cruise Critic person's complaint about the ... dare I even use the word? ... toilet in the cabin. I can only assume that this person has never, in his or her life, felt the need to use a ...??? I know! ...a public convenience. How extraordinary. I think I might have travelled with that very same person on a Tauck California Coast trip. (Almost all my fellow travellers were Americans.) Once we got over the shock of the general behaviour and in particular the regular, at-every-comfort-stop, bathroom cleaning exercise it was all quite entertaining. If disconcerting. If quite sad, really. As for the complaints about food ... well, as someone used to eating many varieties of international cuisine, there's not much I care to say about this person's view of American cuisine.

    I'd be inclined to seek further information, Bob, before basing your travel plans solely on this particular critique. Grain of salt comes to mind.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • edited February 2015
    Hi Jan,
    You will see in a review of this trip on the Tauck site a similar complaint about food and the service on the L'Austral. The Tauck reviewer was not as critical and gave the trip 4 out of 5 stars. I appreciate your info. Have you taken a cruise on the Ponant Co ships?
  • Husker Bob,
    I am the reviewer on the Tauck Cruising Down Under Eastbound that rated the trip 4 stars out of 5. Why? Because when you consider the 4 hotels, all the excursions and the variety of venues presented it was a very good trip. I saw a great deal of Australia and New Zealand. Would I have liked much better food on the ship? Of course, but the food could not be all I rated the tour on. I will never sail on L'Austral again. Other travelers on my tour had been on L'Austral before and said this trip was a totally different experience with a different wait staff in the dining room. When you travel you have to be flexible and take the good with the bad. Hopefully Tauck will change ships for future tours.

    CE
  • Hi Carol,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on this trip. Good to have your views.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • Hi Bob,

    I haven't taken this trip and am unlikely to do so. Let me explain. I am not a particularly good sailor and I know that all the waters surrounding my continent (I live in Melbourne) can be rougher than I am comfortable with. You must understand that my inner ear can revolt with a sea that is as flat as a tac. Not to say it always does. So the journey, for me, has to be extraordinary. And considering that I am familiar with this itinerary I would need to be "encouraged" to indulge! :))))) I think I could find many winning arguments against me taking this trip!!!!!

    However, Ponant Cruises ... the shipping line Tauck has partnered with for most of their small ship cruises ... have a wonderful reputation. As Carol says, if I may paraphrase, you can't please all the people all of the time. I have certainly considered some other Tauck small ship cruises for the future. I haven't decided on one, yet. What interests me, is an expedition type journey. That would likely induce me to find a legal source of the sea sick patches (not allowed in Australia) which, when I gave up and went to Orion's Doctor and got the jab, and allowed me to survive, nay, love, the rest of the voyage to & from Macquarie Island. (It is a tiny Australian speck, with World Heritage Status, in the middle of the Southern Ocean, half-way between Tasmania & Antarctica).

    I am definitely considering more expedition type voyages, in the type of comfort and style that makes me happy. (That's not counting up the names of cruise ships and number of departures I've taken. I do not enjoy the cruising experience. I couldn't think of anything worse! Urgh.) It's the journey that interests me. I have to be convinced that my sacrifices in the name of exploring the world would be at least comfortable. Thus, exit Lindblad and enter Ponant, quite frankly. As a solo traveller I do not appreciate being offered (since the takeover) the worst cabin on the wonderful (then) Orion. Travelling at the bottom of the ship under the anchor won't do much for my attitude, let alone my survival!

    So the Ponant line is on my list for the future and quite possibly a Tauck/Ponant partnership.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • Jan, sounds like you are no Jessica Watson!!!
  • Urgh .........

    I did the Tauck Galapagos trip on the Isabella a few years ago and it was fabulous. I was fabulous. And we were out in the open ocean quite a bit on that little boat. Lots of rocking and rolling. I slept like a baby. I didn't even make it out of Otago Harbour before the movement got to me. And when it really got nasty between the South and Stewart Islands ....... Let's just say the photo I took of the first meal consumed ... the almost polished empty plate, that is, on day three ... was a very fulfilling moment. So if you know where I can get those patches ........

    Just look at the horizon ......... pfft. Yeah, right.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • Hi Carol. Thanks for your input.
    I figured your review rating covered the whole trip and not just the ship. We were looking at the cruisetour, but, not so much anymore. The Tasman Sea's reputation is a concern as brought out by Jan's post. May just sign up for a land tour.
  • edited February 2015
    You definitely get To see more on the land journey, though I know Jan would say 9 days in Australia is not enough to see a country and she is right, but it is better than not seeing anything at all. We did the Australia tour a couple of years ago, adding two days at the beginning and two days at the end. We just returned from the New Zealand tour, adding two days before and one at the end. We could not do the entire tour at once, my husband is not of retirement age, I'm just his 'Kept Woman' Some people would say why pay two lots of air fair to do the tours separately. But now we are so glad we did. We got to see a lot more of Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington and Auckland and had time to digest each country separately. It sure would have been tiring to do it all at once. As it turns out, the New Zealand tour had lots of ill people on it. Even we got ill towards the end, unusual for us, I got a cold and my husband got a bad dose of the flu as more of the men did (yes we did get our flu shots but not the Australian one!) my husband even ended up in the hospital for four days when we got home with complications. We heard today that another man was very ill with pneumonia when he got home. We do hope to return to these countries in the future and take more leisurely tours of our favorites on the tour and some new places, after all most tours just give you a taster for more don't they.
    Whatever you chose, I am sure you will enjoy these countries. You have to weigh up the pros and cons and decide before your ideal dates sell out for another year.
  • edited February 2015
    Glad to hear Mr B is on the mend! That's a thing you don't think about with flu shot ... necessary regional variations in the vaccine! I do hope my pneumonia shot works. I know you have to have a follow-up in 12 months, but the first one left me with a sore, limp arm for about a week. Better work!

    Please don't hold the flu against us. I'm really surprised a Haka didn't scare the flu germs away, anyway!

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • The reason the Flu shot didn't work is because it must not have had the correct down under antibodies or it was not administered while he was inverted. He probably got the Northern Hemisphere, right-side-up inoculation. ;)
  • No, we were definitely not asked to stand on our heads! And the cute young men who demonstrated the Haka, I'll have to reconsider including their photo in the photo book I am preparing, though looking out of the window, I think i'll be shoveling snow as priority today. Mr B is supposed to be going back to work today. At least we don't live in Boston, those poor people there deserve a snow break.jan, how are temperatures in Melbourne?
  • Friend's from our Alps trip last spring, live just outside Worcester, Mass, not too far from Boston - the snow drifts are up to the roof line of their house! It has been really cold and windy here in NC for the past few days and that has impacted my walking program (attempting to lose some weight and get in shape before Africa). We awoke this morning to see everything- houses, trees, the road, etc. coated with a layer of ice! It was a treacherous walk to get the paper! I'm tempted to book a short getaway somewhere where it is warm!
  • British: Do you attribute the illnesses on your trip to the time of year? What months did you do the Australia and New Zealand trips? I am planning this for 2017 and want to go when the weather is most pleasant (not too hot or cold, little rain, etc.). Thanks for your input.
  • Hello Smacks, another reason why it was good for us to do the trips separately was because we did not want to go to Australia during it's summertime, it is too hot for us, so I think we went in August. The only place that was slightly cool but still just about able to walk around without a jacket was Melbourne. Everywhere else had perfect temperatures. Uluru was cool at the start of the walk and then perfect, no insects to bother you at that time of year. So my recommendation for Australia if you don't like heat is to go in their winter. But for NewZealand, because it is so much further south, I would go in their summer, we returned from there on the 28th January and had gorgeous weather in the main, apart from Wellington where they had exceptional winds for the three days we were there, we spoke to locals who never remember it being so windy in their lifetime, we went Two days early. Only rained one day all of the tour. As this country has some of the most beautiful scenery you will see anywhere, it seems a shame or go in their winter when you are likely to encounter snow and cold. Snow can be nice to look at but then you miss all the different shades of green which I love to see. The three times you sail on open water would also be less pleasing in the winter. Last month it was perfect.
    Illness on the tour. I have never known so many people ill with colds, coughs and flu on any other Tauck tour I have been on. As I have mentioned, they did seem to come from the people who had been to Australia first. Some were really ill, we had five who could not do a trip one day for example. my husband and I rarely get even a cold, but having said that, when we returned home I am noticing that there is illness around here too. A good friend was ill and she never gets colds normally either, but had the cough. My husband still has a cough after three weeks. So no, I do not think illness was because of the time of the year we went, as the Drug companies published late last year, they got the flu strains for their vaccines a little wrong this season because the viruses mutated. Mr B and his colleagues better get it right next year.
  • British wrote:
    At least we don't live in Boston, those poor people there deserve a snow break.jan, how are temperatures in Melbourne?
    I saw Boston's weather on the news! Goodness. It was hard picking out the landmarks. I felt really sorry for Washington without a beanie. Poor chap!

    For 29, 32, 32, 34, 29. ... next 5 day forecast:
  • smarks50 wrote:
    British: Do you attribute the illnesses on your trip to the time of year? What months did you do the Australia and New Zealand trips? I am planning this for 2017 and want to go when the weather is most pleasant (not too hot or cold, little rain, etc.). Thanks for your input.

    Smacks, check out Jan's post on weather in Australia and. New Zealand in the Austraia and New Forum under 'Just returned from. A and NZ' It reminds me of my High school Geography, but I love it. So few people even consider about weather when they pick dates. So it is great that you are thinking about it. And of course Ausralia is such a huge continent.
  • British: I just found the information you suggested. Thanks much for the help.
  • Hi Jan

    I am the "nasty" American that posted on Cruise Critic about the L'Austral and dare I say "toilet." Yes we Americans are quite demanding and choosey about our food. We experience it all and when we travel we know what we are talking about.

    Yes we do use the "toilets" when we go on a tour - my goodness - how unusual.

    I don't expect a public-type toilet on the L'Austral. I also expect good food.
  • edited February 2015
    I usually don't respond to negative comments made on these forums, but I take exception and offense to the "elitist" attitude taken by Mr. Balderi. I am an American. I have traveled to about 40 countries around the world, and consider myself well travelled. I have not experienced it all, and expect that I never will.

    I have not been on this tour, and I have not been on L'Austral. I have been on Le Soleal, one of its identical sister ships. Had Mr. Balderi taken the time or effort to check out the cabin plans of L'Austral, he would have known in advance that the sink and "toilet" are separated, and he could have decided not to go on this tour based on that configuration.

    Readers of this forum from outside the United States . . . PLEASE do not think that the attitude taken by Mr. Balderi is the attitude of others.
  • Ah, well. As I said, that American trip turned out to be quite entertaining once we overcame our collective horror. And to think that we, Americans all but for one lone Aussie, still remember the extra level of ... je ne sais quoi ... all these years on. I met one couple quite a few years later on a Canadian trip. Our first point of common memory was ..."Do you remember that weird couple?" I can only imagine that there is a new cohort of Tauck travellers, drawn together in solidarity, tittering through adversity. Long may they laugh.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • edited February 2015
    Poor Mr Baldari! We are all entitled to our different opinions. I certainly like to read all opinions, and I often have another different one myself. As Americans we enjoy the privilege of free and uncensored speech and on this forum we are supposed to be able to agree to disagree.
    Food, I wonder if there was a problem on that particular tour? Perhaps the regular chefs were ill too.
    The toilets, maybe Rabo is right, maybe Mr Baldari should have noticed that the bathroom consisted of two rooms. Interestingly, in England, many older homes have the facilities configured that way, a separate toilet and then another room with sink and bath. My in-laws four bedroomed home was configured like that, one toilet, one room with sink and bath with shower over. I can't tell you how many times I went to wash my hands after going into the unmentionable room to find that someone had gone for a leisurely bath! It is a French ship, maybe homes in France are like that, though I have been to France many times, I have never been in a private home.
    Price of the vacation, yes very expensive, I am not sure I would like to be on a boat when I was supposed to be visiting Australia and New Zealand, there is so much scenery to miss by not doing the land tour. I just got back from the New Zealand land tour, the food was excellent and I could wash my hands in the same room as the toilet. However, a lot of people were ill on that trip too.
    What I am interested in is the response you got from Tauck about your complaints, after all, this is a new tour for them. And, were there lots of complaints or are you in the very minority?
  • I did hear that they are using a different ship the Le Soleal. It appears that the Tauck reviews on the Tauck site are not all 5 stars. Several 3 stars which, is unusual.
  • Husker Bob wrote:
    I did hear that they are using a different ship the Le Soleal. It appears that the Tauck reviews on the Tauck site are not all 5 stars. Several 3 stars which, is unusual.
    Isn't it noted above that these ships are identical?
  • Yes, it appears that way, once you find a stateroom layout on some other site.
    Sounds to me like the ship was the main problem..more than toilets, like the food, lack of things to do, too much sail time, costly, etc. I figure that some of the 5 star reviewers were from the non-Americans on the trip.

    I like your idea of separate land tours.
  • Husker Bob, why would you assume that it's people from other countries that might post better reviews? You are chatting to an Anglo American here. It's a fact that only a small number of Americans hold passports. For example, British people are a very well travelled bunch, and at all points of income level. They know far more what to expect in a foreign country and even what time of year to visit. I could quote many examples from this very website about how unprepared many Tauck travellers are. The facts about this vacation, the detailed itinerary, like the number of days at sea, the room plans, the weather to expect, are all here on the Tauck website but people fail to read them before rushing and booking the vacation. To assume that Americans have a better lifestyle, better food, better anything than in other countries is downright wrong. There are other countries I have visited that I would be happy to have the superior quality of life than I can sometimes enjoy here. The attitude that we show to the rest of the world is one of the very reasons that people hate us so much. We are not superior to anyone else.
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