My Review of French Escapde - 25 August Southbound

We recently returned home from our 40th Anniversary adventure that included Tauck’s French Escapade from Paris to Monte Carlo. Everyone knows I’m a big Tauck fan and I found this cruise package to be up to their usual high standard but I have to say the trip really fizzled at the end in Monte Carlo. More on that later. This was our first “Package Cruise” and I have to admit that I wouldn’t do anything similar in the future. If we can afford to venture out again it would be on a river cruise only deal.

This adventure starts in Paris and Tauck put you up in the very opulent InterContinental Hotel le Grand where we were treated like royalty. The accommodation and meals were first class. Tauck’s three TD’s seemed to be everywhere and were always available to answer questions and point you to the right bus. Our time in Paris with all its included sightseeing was highlighted by our welcome dinner at Fouquet’s brasserie. Then it was off to Lyon via the very fast, high speed train. We travelled first class in airline type seats and Tauck even supplied us with chocolates on the journey.

Then came the part we really wanted to do and that’s river cruise. Our boat the Scylla crewed Swiss Emerald has just undergone a re-fit and looked and felt brand new. The partnership between Tauck and Scylla is perfect with these vessels specifically built for Tauck. This cruise was fully booked yet with only 118 passengers aboard you’d never know. There is always room to sit and talk and this lack of crowding is one of the main reasons I prefer Tauck over other all-inclusive companies that pack 169 people into a similar area. This cruise covered both the Saone and Rhone rivers with history and grandeur at every stop. Whilst some itineraries, Tauck included, are specifically designed for either wine tasting, food tasting or history cruises this one gave us something of everything.

On the Saone our first stop was at Chalon-sur-Saone and we had the first of our Tauck surprises. On our local walk through town in groups of around 20 Tauck included stops at a bakery where we were all given bags of the bakers various products to sample and at the end of the tour a stop at a local chocolate shop where we had a brief history of chocolate and then more samples than the average person could eat. By the time we got back on board the baker had joined us to show us how to make Croissant – more eating and best of all I now know how to tell the difference between a machine made one and one made by hand. That afternoon we went and sampled the wines at Chateau Chamirey and Chateau Rully. There would be an abundance of food and wine tasting still to come.

There was the history of the Chateau de Cormatin, the medieval houses of Macon, the Cluny Abbey and the Haras Equestrian Centre, an outstanding lunch in the gardens of Chateau de la Barge all that before we reached Lyon on a mad Sunday. Why mad I hear you ask well there will probably be others here that can comment as well but on Sunday 31st August 2014 it seemed that every boat on the Rhone stopped at Lyon on that day. The parking area around the Basillca Notre Dame de Fourviere was packed. It seems that Viking, Avalon,AMA, Uniworld, GCT, CrosiEurope and Tauck picked this morning to hit Lyon. Travelling is fun and you never know who you’ll run into and sure enough we came across a couple from our home town of Mackay. We spent a coffee checking out each others choice of cruise line and I’m happy to say Tauck came out in front. Even though it was Sunday with all those boats docked in town you’d never know with most of the shops open for your business.

The cruise down the Rhone gives you the opportunity to see Roman history almost everywhere but particularly in Vienne and Arles where the examples are magnificent. There’s the history of Avignon and the French Popes own vineyard the Chateauneuf du Pape where I tasted some of the best reds I’d drunk in all of France and even a Roman influence here as the cellars are part of the Roman system. AND then there’s Viviers the little village that time seems to have forgotten with its narrow streets and well preserved medieval houses. I’m very glad I got to see and explore Viviers even if I found I’m a lousy Petanque player.

The highlight of this trip came almost at the end where you get to see a working bull and horse ranch in the Camargue. A Tauck exclusive. We were treated to an outstanding lunch and then a demonstration, a training exhibition really, of the art of bull fighting where the bull is never hurt and wins many of the competitions and thus the prize money. After the final dinner on board we left for Nice and our last stop Monte Carlo and this IMO was where the trip fizzled out.

WE said farewell to our crew and were bussed to Nice where we had quite a few hours to explore this great city then it was off to Monte Carlo and the 5 star Fairmont Hotel. I quickly found that Monte Carlo is not for me. Not only is it full of very rich pretentious people of all ages it is very, very hilly and getting around on foot is very difficult. Our hotel the Fairmont was of similar ilk. It had a 400,000 Euro Ferrari on display in the lobby but it treats tour group people as if they all have leprosy. We didn’t eat with the regular clientele instead we were herded into our own room for eating. The breakfasts were deplorable with the only egg choice powdered scrambled eggs and the pastries on offer looked and tasted like leftovers. Even the Tauck farewell dinner which is usually of high class was very poor. I’m sure I’m not the only one who informed Tauck of these problems. I’m sure it would have been better to stay in Nice with a day trip to Monte Carlo.

You are on a high, or at least I am, when I’m cruising on the rivers and leaving the boat is always a let down but to me leaving the boat to continue a tour was an anti-climax. I’m most likely in the minority here and my feelings should not deter anyone from considering this otherwise outstanding cruise. Tauck are truly all-inclusive from the Moet anytime you want it to having snacks delivered to your cabin.

Alas this was most likely our last Tauck adventure because as we get that little bit older we're finding it harder and harder to save the amount needed for these wonderful experiences. Perhaps the "Lotto Fairy" will pay us a visit. That said we'll always have the memories of touring and cruising with this great company to fall back on.

As always I’m ready to answer any and all questions you may have.

Rod
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Comments

  • edited October 2014
    Thanks for you detailed review, Rod. It's very helpful since that route is on my list.

    I'm particularly interested in you comments about the portion of the trip … after the boat, so to speak. I get a real sense of your let down as regards the Monte Carlo portion of the trip. In your opinion, was this due specifically to the off-river accommodations and the … how else can I put this? … attitude of the Fairmont staff? I don't doubt your experience for a minute, but you left so much unsaid that I just have to wonder and ask why? I have stayed at Fairmonts on a number of occasions, but always in North America. Could your report of their lack of standards be down to it being Monte Carlo? Was there something else going on, possibly? A major conference, perhaps? It is so foreign to everything I know about Tauck's chosen hotels for you to be corralled like a Contiki, 20 something tourist with a "set" menu. (This is one of the reason I first chose Tauck all those years ago. They weren't like a Contiki tour, with set, group meal times and cheap and nasty set menus.)

    I have to be honest when I say your review fills me with dismay. I don't want to be treated the way you seem to have been. Do you think it would help if I plastered a kangaroo to my day pack? Or would it be better to book my own accommodation in Monte Carlo? Of course, this is complicated by the point that Tauck only provides airport transfers from "their" hotel, but if it is as sub-standard as you say, I'd rather make my own reservations, either at the Fairmont or elsewhere.

    I would also be interested to read Tauck's thoughts on your comments about the Fairmont, Monte Carlo.

    Good luck with arranging your own canapés, post Emerald, and here's cheers to that money tree! It might be a better bet than lotto! ;)

    Cheers,

    Jan

  • I really enjoyed your review Rod. Like you,we celebrated our 40th anniversary this year and chose two major trips with Tauck to celebrate. But then we were very young when we got married so not of retirement age, my husband still has two or three years of work before we too wonder if we will be able to afford these tours that give us such great memories, that's one of the reasons we have chosen some of the more exotic trips recently, more expensive but also requiring good health while we have it. The meager vacation time we get here in America compared to the rest of the world also makes it hard to vacation with our hard earned money, but that's another whole discussion.
    I could totally feel myself right there with you when you described your feeling about the Fairmont Monte Carlo. Europeans can certainly be a lot more snobby than virtually any Americans I have ever had the privilege to hang out with, a few who have been very wealthy. That's one of the reasons I love Americans.( and, of course I'm American now too) Especially as there is so much talk on the forums about 'Are jacket and ties necessary?' I can just imagine the hotel staff faces when a Tauck group walks in compared to the clientele they feel should be walking through the doors, it made me laugh, but I too would feel the same as you. I can see being put in a separate room might actually make me feel more comfortable but sub-standard food, definitely not. When I worked I was renowned for being able to cope with the most challenging of clients---ah, British, you can look after this one! Thanks, this is going to be a long shift! The hotel staff and attitude should be exactly the same for anyone who walks through those doors, as long as they can afford to stay there, that's the standard for any great hotel.
    Hope you win the lottery!
  • Hello Rod,

    I am glad to hear that you had a nice time and thank you for your honest and candid feedback. I am sorry that the trip fizzled at the end in Monte Carlo. I have sent your feedback to the Tour Managers regarding the breakfast and farewell dinner in Monte Carlo.

    Thank you again for choosing Tauck to celebrate your 40th Anniversary with us.


    Hoping the "Lotto Fairy" visits you soon,
    Emily

  • Jan - The Fairmont, Monte Carlo is a hotel that is very hard to describe. It is big, opulent in style, with boutique shops selling without price tags and a Ferrari for sale in the lobby. It appeared to me to be just right for the younger rich set that were everywhere in the hotel and casino. The staff are geared to satisfying this clientele and apparently they do it very well. There is a car rental agency at the hotel and a quick look outside at the cars it offered sees every make and model of expensive cars including a Roller.

    Now the Fairmont also caters to tour groups and whilst we we there an Insight tour group was in residence. As I said in my review I quickly came to the opinion that the Fairmont staff did the minimum to help and advise tour group people. Did they think we were second class citizens? I really don't know but I do know that I got better service in every other hotel Tauck booked us into throughout Great Britain and France than I received at the Fairmont Monte Carlo.

    As to our meals as I said they were woeful. Our group of just over 100 were allocated a big conference type room on the eastern side of the hotel for our meals. Now we all know what direction the sun rises and yes you guessed it it took quite a while for staff to lower the blinds. After being dined like Royalty all tour suddenly we were reduced to less than Motel type breakfasts except in a motel you at least get a choice of how you'd like your eggs. Here we got powdered scrambled eggs and bacon. Nothing else hot. Many of us had served in our respective military's over time and we certainly remembered the taste of powdered eggs. As for the farewell dinner it was a fixed menu with no choices and as one at our table remarked "bad luck if you don't like fish". The wines were the worst we drank on tour but thankfully there wasn't many bottles to consume. I just hope Tauck got enough negative reviews on the Fairmont to consider reorganizing that pat of the tour.

    It would be remiss of me not to mention the surprise we got on our second night aboard the Swiss Emerald. Our very own Tauck Angel Emily had organised for a fine bottle of Champagne and a beautiful leather photo album to be left in our cabin for our 40th Wedding anniversary. Emily and Tauck really went out of their way to make this holiday our very best and we thank them publicly for their outstanding customer service.

    Rod
  • Hi Rod,

    I can pretty much see your hackles rise at the behaviour of the Fairmont staff. It rubs our egalitarian spirits the wrong way, doesn't it? That alone is enough to make us snappy.

    I really am surprised that a)Fairmont can get away with treating people that way and b) that Tauck lets them. I can only suppose that the Fairmont "behaviour" goes over the heads of some Tauck travellers …. and that makes me even more angry, while at the same time just disgusted. I do not want to have any part in an American Lampoon's European Vacation re-write. (While it is a funny movie, it's funny on many levels that I don't want to be associated with.)

    I was just about to add some extra nights at the Fairmont myself. I will be changing my plans forthwith. If I have to suck up 2 nights there as part of the entire trip, I certainly wouldn't choose to inflict more misery and insult on myself voluntarily. I can only hope that Tauck make some changes, because as you say the last impression is almost as important as the first, and that's not in any way to Tauck's advantage.

    On a happier note, how sweet of Tauck to have something special organised for you both for your anniversary. They do do some really lovely things for their guests.

    Perhaps a hybrid lotto/money tree might be an idea? ;))

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • We did the French Waterways package this past summer and at the time I was bummed to leave the ship but after reading your review, I'm glad we ended on an up note. Loved the Swiss Emerald. The crew and the TD's were great.

    We also liked the stay at the Intercontinental. Although I can't say that all the staff were exactly warm they were courteous/helpful and some were quite friendly. As I remember we dined in a separate room there as well, but it was beautiful with a view of the Opera house and the food was excellent except the hot plate scrambled eggs. Much better to has the nice girl make you an omelet fresh.
  • I fully agree with Rod's comments on the food at Fairmont in Monte Carlo but it was the same at the Intercontinental in Paris. We went 2 days ahead and the breakfast was first rate. Once the group arrived we were moved to separate room and the food was second rate compared to the 2 pre-tour days. I hope you get a better response from what we got which was glad you had a good trip, hope we see you again. Heading to Myanmar in 2 weeks on a Viking River cruise so it will be interesting to see how they compare.
    Gary
  • While not on this trip, we recently did the "Cruising the Seine" Tauck River Cruise and noted some similar issues with the hotel at the start - the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace in Versailles. We stayed one night pre-trip and had an excellent a la carte breakfast (with omelet station, etc.). Once the tour started, it was breakfast in a ball room with a buffet which was only OK (no powdered eggs though!). The welcome reception and dinner was pretty good (not excellent as our dinner the night before had been), but like the experience at the Monte Carlo Fairmont, was a set menu albeit with enough variety that you could probably find something to enjoy.

    I think the underlying issue is that, unlike Tauck's non-river-cruise trips with 40 or fewer travelers, these river cruises have upwards of 120. Since there is frequently a morning activity which sets a departure time, the impact of 120 people all seeking breakfast at nearly the same time would probably swamp the kitchen if done a la carte. Also in line with the MC Fairmont, these high end hotels are probably anxious not to look like they are hosting large travel groups.

    A notable exception to this theory was the end of the Seine cruise at the Savoy in London. Breakfast was a la carte and excellent, perhaps aided by a 9:00 AM London bus tour departure and the fact the Savoy is much larger so the impact of 120 (actually, 108, as I recall) was manageable. The farewell dinner was at the adjacent restaurant run by the Savoy which clearly frequently hosted large dinners in private rooms.

    We having been eying the French Escapade trip and will take the experiences described her into account. I'm thinking either one of the other southern France river cruises (the all seem to start at the IC in Paris, but then the others just end at disembarkation. Or, I'd lean toward the Escapade northbound on the theory of starting with the less pleasant hotel experience so that wouldn't be the final memory.
  • I really enjoyed the breakfasts at the InterContinental le Grand. Whilst it's true we ate as a group our breakfasts were served in their Cafe Prix and it was full Ala-carte. The egg choice seemed endless and there were pancakes and waffles as well plus the service was first class. I just think that the Fairmont Monte Carlo does not like to handle tour groups and that's reflected in the poor food and service.
  • Great review Rod! I wish we all could do as well - very helpful when given such detail. I am surprised with your comment about the Fairmont - I've always had a good experience with them, but perhaps the staff at this site need training and a kick. Be good if you can post that portion of your review on TripAdvisor.
    Only thing I disagree with is your wanting a blessing from the Lotto Fairy. As long as she visits me first, she can visit you later. :)
  • I feel compelled to defend Monte-Carlo as it was one of our favorite spots when we stayed there at the start of our Treasures of the Mediterranean sailboat cruise several years before. It had the right mix of climate, natural beauty and that level of "jet set" that's fun to observe. We stayed at least two extra nights at the Fairmont and we enjoyed the sea view and the sound of the water lapping against the pilings under our balcony. The hotel is very large and cavernous but I did not consider it opulent in style. The stores may cater to the rich but that was typical of the city. With a casino next door there is money to be spent. We found the trick to tackling the steep location was to take the elevators to the top of the Fairmont and depart there for our city treks because you exit at the lovely gardens behind the beautiful casino.

    I was also surprised by the negative comments about the food. Perhaps it was in the difference between the tours we took. We enjoyed our morning breakfasts on the rooftop deck overlooking the Mediterranean and I recall no horrible dining experiences at the hotel although I don't recall eating there as a group except for the Welcome reception. On our own we ate one night at a great little restaurant near the marina packed with luxury yachts that our Tauck tour director recommended for the mussels. I ate one of the best pizzas ever; it's hard to describe as it was the pizza crust, fresh greens and cheese shavings but oh so memorable.

    The Fairmont is not intimate given its size and it does host other large groups. The staff was helpful to us in recommending how to do a day trip to the city of Eze, France. We hopped a city bus for the trip over and enjoyed walking around the hilltop town with such beautiful views. Plus if you're a motorsports fan the hotel is on one of the tightest turns in the Monaco Grand Prix.

    We were also fortunate to be in Monte-Carlo during the annual TV festival, and I had more US celebrity sightings there than at home so if you're planning a trip that includes Monaco in the summer check out the schedule in advance. I found out about it after we got there and wondered why the crowds were gathered outside the Hotel de Paris. It was interesting that the French nationals in the crowd knew the casts of the US TV shows better than I did.

    In summation, Monte-Carlo was one of our trip highlights; loved it.
  • Susan, I agree with you, I also liked Monte Carlo as well as the hotel. When we ate on our own the food was good, however, once we ate as a group the food was second rate to the point during the farewell dinner most people left without dessert as it took too long to arrive. Not the best Tauck experience I have ever had. It seems if you go early using the gift of time or take an extra day you are treated different especially at breakfast then when the group arrives and the selection of items and quality goes down.
    Gary
  • Susan, I have no doubt you enjoyed your stay at the Fairmont but unless you were with us on this trip you simply don't know how we were treated. I feel so strongly about this that I let them know my concerns via trip advisor. Your experience and ours appear to be poles apart. You may wish to hurry back but not us.
  • I just thought I'd add in here that I did a review on Trip Advisor of the Fairmont Monte Carlo and the strange thing I've since noticed is the Manager of the Fairmont is very quick to add his thanks after each good review but to date he's not brought himself to comment on my not so favourable review. Ah! That's life.

    Rod
  • edited October 2014
    I noticed that, too, Rod. I think that tells me all I need to know. Unless there's credible evidence from Tauck to indicate Fairmont has changed their attitude and their ways, I won't be taking part in their hospitality farce. Hit them where it really hurts, I say. In Fairmont's corporate wallet. I won't be spending one extra Euro in their hotel. Or eating their deplorable food. I'll find my own elsewhere.

    I really can't believe that Fairmont is prepared to allow this level of displeasure to run. I have stayed at Faimonts as part of a Tauck group on multiple occasions. I've stayed on other occasions around the world, too, after that Tauck introduction. They were all excellent. I don't doubt your experience for a moment, Rod ... or yours either, Susan. I'm just really surprised that no one else has commented on the "group" treatment here on the Forums before now. Some have been very quick to condemn one Paris hotel because of renovations. Naturally, if you were affected, that's very annoying. But renovations don't go on for ever and don't "broadcast" the hotel's corporate style or mindset. Another person on the forums has criticised an Edinburgh hotel because they couldn't get a seat in the bar. Equally deplorable (each to their own!), but that is not a reflection of that hotel's guest service levels.

    The situation with the Fairmont, Monte Carlo is different. It's not as if we are staying there on the cheap! They are not meeting Tauck clients' standards. I just don't understand how Tauck could overlook such a deplorable corporate culture, and the consequent affects, in one of their very large suppliers. And keep using that supplier … because Tauck aren't like that. They fix things they can fix, or change them. If this was an aberration, I'd really like to know what normal is like. I might not have to carry my own Fortnum's food hamper with me, then.

    I guess we just need to give Tauck a bit of time to fix this. I would really like to hear when they do.

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • Old age must be slowing down my thought process because it just dawned on me and the advertised itinerary confirms that the final dinner is supposed to be at the roof top restaurant in the Fairmont but ours was in a ground floor conference room. Perhaps things are quiet on this thread from Tauck staff because the arrangements and food supplied were with Tauck consent.

    Any Tauck staff member care to comment?
  • OzJohnno, I too was on this same tour last year; I enjoyed it all until the stay at that same hotel in Monte Carlo. I have traveled with Tauck many times (I'm on my 21st one soon) and stayed at Fairmont hotels all over and enjoyed them. However, the one in Monte Carlo was terrible. I (and others) dined at their ritzy hotel restaurant, where they tried to overcharge us. The assistant manager there claimed that they had "forgotten" to change the restaurant's computer to reflect the reduced costs for food items which had been higher due to the grand prix race car race which had been run a week before. I advised my Tour Director(s) and they then advised Tauck. A mere "oversight" on the hotel's part or an outright attempt to rip off tourists staying there? You be the judge.
  • We've been to Monte Carlo and Nice. Much prefer Nice...more interesting things to do (Roman ruins, hilltop fortress, markets, pizza!, etc.). Also French consistent with the tour title. Maybe Tauck ought to change this trip to end there. If they really wanted to make it special, they'd do the farewell dinner in Eze! Would also be more convenient for the early air departures necessary for connections back to the US.
  • Someone here suggested that this tour stay at a hotel in Nice and, if folks still want to see Monte Carlo, make Monte Carlo a "day trip" to and from Nice only. I found Monte Carlo seemed to be more interested in how much money they could charge tourists than anything else. Sigh. It is what it is.
  • Hi All,

    Thank you for bringing your issues while staying at the Fairmont Monte Carlo to our attention! We have been working with the Fairmont Monte Carlo for seven years, and this is the first time we have ever heard of issues of the type you've experienced occurring. We are reaching out to the hotel to discuss the issues with them. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention.

    Sincerely,
    Tim
  • edited October 2014
    As much as I want to believe you Tim your statement did little to alleviate my concerns. I'm sure the answer you get from the Fairmont will deny any problems and I'm also pretty sure that on the end of tour cards we were not the only ones to complain about powdered eggs for breakfast and the way we, as a tour group, we treated. Either way I stand by my review both with Tauck and Trip Advisor.

    By the way just to clarify a point why wasn't the farewell dinner held at the roof top restaurant? Instead we got the conference room shuffle.

    Rod
  • Tim, obviously no one is reading the customer reviews as this was on our review as well. We were put in the same room in June with same second class food as Rod had. Breakfast was not up to Tauck standards in the Fairmont or the International in Paris. This was also mentioned to the TD who said she knew what we were saying and said put it on the review card as she could do nothing. As I said before if you were on your own (pre or post nights) the food quality was far different, once the group all came in the food quality went down. I never got a reply from Tauck.
    Gary
  • For Tauck Tim. I would like to expand a bit more on my experience on this tour. Our group arrived at the Faimont Monte Carlo on the night of 19 August 2013 (our first night). The hotel staff greeted our group and highly recommended that we dine at the more expensive of the 2 restaurants at the hotel on our dinner-on-our-own night there. I, as well as others on in our tour group, decided to do so (I dined by myself, while at least 10 of our group had a table by themselves). I always check the price of my meals on my own and keep a "ball park figure" of the total cost in my mind and then always check it against the final bill at the end of a meal. This time the final bill cost was way higher than the menu prices (see my above emails). I questioned it with my server/restaurant mgr and they did change it and went about their business without any discussion of it. I went over to the Tauck table of 10 folks, told them about my experience, and urged them to check their final bill too (they were still eating dinner). The next day they thanked me and said that the same thing had happened to them as well. I told them to tell our TDs as I had planned to do.

    Veronica, Simon, and Elizabeth were our TDs. Simon and Elizabeth sat down with me the next day and I told them (mostly Simon, who was writing this all down on his iPad computer, I believe, for forwarding back to you folks at Tauck (tour managers, et. al.). Simon and Elizabeth later spoke with the Fairmont Monte Carlo manager or assistant mgr and they were told that it was an "oversight" on the part of Fairmont Monte Carlo for not changing the restaurant's prices in the computer which had been higher during the Monte Carlo Grand Prix race held AT LEAST ONE WEEK EARLIER before our tour group had arrived at the hotel. I can understand a day or two being an "oversight" but not for more than a week (how many other customers had been overcharged at that restaurant during this time?). I assumed that all of this information had been passed back to Tauck electronically, and that this Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel/restaurants there would at least be "monitored" for any irregularities by Tauck (TDs, Tauck Managers, etc.) for the benefit of future Tauck tours that stop there, so I did not mention it in my final review of the trip nor go to Trip Advisors to comment about it. It was only reading Rod (OzJohnno) 's experience and the apparent problems still ongoing at that Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel that led me to write here. All my Tauck TDs were excellent and I can only hope that the "misstep/failure" to receive the TDs information happened at your Hqs.
  • Tomh, we were there in June and the Grand Prix was the week before we arrived so there is no excuse for the Fairmont not to have corrected their pricing by August. Tauck has to get on this. I agree stay in Nice and do Monte Carlo as a day trip.
    Gary
  • I suppose my biggest concern is for as much as I admire Tauck as a company they seem to be keeping very quiet on this particular subject. I ask again Tim or Emily why does the advertised itinerary state a farewell dinner at the roof top restaurant if it now being shifted to a conference room. Surely that can't be too hard to answer?
  • edited October 2014
    OzJohnno wrote:
    I suppose my biggest concern is for as much as I admire Tauck as a company they seem to be keeping very quiet on this particular subject. I ask again Tim or Emily why does the advertised itinerary state a farewell dinner at the roof top restaurant if it now being shifted to a conference room. Surely that can't be too hard to answer?

    I doubt there is anything nefarious here. As you know, like most (all?) travel companies, Tauck "reserves the right" to make changes. In this case the change may have been made by the Fairmont without Tauck's knowledge or concurrence, and for any number of reasons, valid or not in our opinion.

    It seems like Tauck is now fully aware and actively working this issue. Until they hear the other side of the story of what happened and know for sure that the "roof-top" farewell dinner is iffy or definitely gone for good for all subsequent tours and have evaluated possible alternative venues, I can understand why they would not want to change what it says in the website or travel documents itineraries.

    I also suspect this issue may take awhile to resolve, especially if Tauck ultimately decides not to use the Fairmont. It would not be the first time that Tauck has changed lodging in the middle of a season. But to do so, they will first fully evaluate all factors such as cost, comfort, location, and possibly a promise of better service vs powdered eggs for breakfast, separate meals in the conference room for the unwashed Tauck Yanks, Aussies, Brits etc., possibly sanctioned(?) attempts at over-billing, the infamous French rude attitude, etc., etc.
  • Well it been over a week since Tim advised that Tauck were reaching out to the Fairmont in Monte Carlo for an answer to my and others concerns with the meals provided. Can anyone on the Tauck staff give us an update or has this issue, as I suspect, been put on the back burner?
  • Hi Rod,

    I've been forwarding all your posts on to both the product manager for this trip and the Guest Relations team, and I know that both have been in discussion with the hotel and with the tour director. You've outlined a lot of serious issues, and we're trying to take care to make sure this doesn't become a he-said-she-said situation, and to do that properly takes time. Thank you for being so patient with us while we work on this.

    Also, please remember, rather than waiting for me to post a response here, you're always welcome to email our Guest Relations team directly at [email protected] as that allows for both freer and faster discussion than a public forum like this.

    Again, Rod, thank you for being so patient.

    Sincerely,
    Tim
  • edited October 2014
    Well Tim you appear to have summed up the situation in a good corporate manner. It was always going to be a he said/she said situation with the Fairmont vehemently disagreeing with what I wrote. I'm glad that Tauck considers this a serious issue but if it has to be discussed via email and not on your public forum then you're denying future clients on this trip the opportunity to know in advance what to expect, as a tour group, at the Fairmont Monte Carlo.

    If you ever get an answer from the Fairmont and I suspect you already have it might be a nice gesture to let future clients know the true situation.

    Rod
  • Well, I've already changed my flights & accommodation plans to avoid spending any extra time (and/or money) in the Fairmont Monte Carlo. I couldn't wait for a reply from Tauck here on the forum. I realised it could take a long time and that was time I couldn't waste. Plus, I am working on an escape plan for any nights at all in that establishment. Any hotel that engages in such sharp practises … fiddling restaurant bills (and we have multiple he said/she saids with this claim) … plus treating guests with such appalling arrogance is not somewhere I want to be. I am surprised Tauck does, either.

    I am intrigued to see your review on TripAdvisor, Rod, stands out like a sore thumb as the one with no hand-wringing, Uriah Heep, drippingly obsequious reply from the "general manger". Very telling.
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