Gift of Time

Any thoughts on choosing between Vilnius, Lithuania & Moscow, Russia for our extra night? We are on the June 7, 2017 Baltic Treasures & Russian Glories.

Comments

  • It comes down to whether you want the extra night to deal with jet lag on the front end or to see more of the sights at either end. If the later, look into the hotel's location, can you walk to the places you want to see or is there good public transport to them, is the area english language friendly, etc. One advantage to waiting til the end is having the benefit of talking to your tour director before the end of your tour so you are better prepared when on your own. Arriving early you only have the hotel staff to assist you. That can be fine if the hotel has a good concierge.
  • This trip was my first Tauck trip and it was fabulous! I arrived a day early in Vilnius because there were sights I wanted to see that were not included on the Tauck program. I was very interested in exploring the Jewish heritage of Vilnius and arranged for a private guide prior to my departure. I met 2 couples on the tour while waiting for the Tauck transport to the hotel and they ended up joining me on this tour. It was superb. It was a wonderful way to begin our adventure. I would suggest researching the sites of Vilnius that may not be included on the tour and perhaps use your extra day to explore independently and adapt to the time change.

    By the end of the trip, I was ready to go home. Tauck truly does a fantastic job of exploring Moscow. On our last day, we had a free afternoon to explore, pack, shop, etc. Since I knew I was not staying in in Moscow,I did not research additional sites. However, there is always something to do and see! And an extra day in Moscow would have been wonderful too!!

    Have a great trip!!
  • Hello in my opinion you should visit Baltic. Recently I had visited Baltic. Are you thinking of going on a vacation? Baltic holiday will give you a totally unique experience. But you are running out of ideas and don't really know where to go and what to do? At first I was also in confusion at that time my friend suggested me to take help from baltic-airport-transfers.com who helped me alot at the time of my trip. Really Baltic is a best place to spend the vacation.
  • We almost always add a night or two at each end so here's an additional consideration:

    You can book extra nights at either end through Tauck, and unlike cruise companies which really gouge you for this (per person rates...really?!?), the Tauck rates are pretty good. Clearly, unlike cruise lines, Tauck isn't trying to make extra night bookings a profit center.

    There is one unstated, but understandable, policy if you do this: your Gift of Time will be applied to the least expensive hotel. Not an issue if the nightly rates are very similar, but on some trips there can be a very large difference in cost. In that case, if you want to get the biggest bang for your Gift of Time, use it on the expensive end and make your own booking at the hotel Tauck is using at the other end. Our TA has been able to confirm with Tauck the room categories used and when we've booked extra nights on our own in the same category, an email to the hotel has always arranged to keep us in the same room throughout. Also, within some limit in term of days, Tauck will still offer the transfers to match your booking at the hotel regardless of whether you do it independently or not. Or, at least, that has been our experience on multiple occasions.
  • We always use the Gift of Time on the front end. If it is a long flight with a large time difference it helps with jet lag. If there is not a major time difference -- as with our March Essence of South America tour -- we use the day to settle in and in that case we hired a car and guide and went to the Chilean coast with our traveling companions. When we took Russian Glories we met three couples at the hotel who were there a day early. Two from South Caroline and one from Australia. We were the only ones whose luggage arrived. The others received theirs before the start of the actual tour. Another reason we always go at least one day early. If there is a problem with a flight -- which we have had happen -- going early offers some leeway in arriving in time for the tour. We have taken many Tauck tours and personally -- when the tour is over -- we are ready to go home. We never stay at the end and have never regretted that decision. Obviously a totally individual choice.
  • Portolan wrote:
    There is one unstated, but understandable, policy if you do this: your Gift of Time will be applied to the least expensive hotel.

    Not necessarily. When we booked our Rhine Moselle cruise we asked for our Gift of Time at the front end in Amsterdam. Some time later we decided to add time to the end of the cruise in Basel and asked for 2 nights there. The GoT was applied to the Sofitel Grand Amsterdam not the Swissotel Basel - a big difference in price.
  • Thanks for all the replies. We will take our extra night at the beginning of the tour, in Vilnius. This will help us adjust to the time change & we agree that we will see plenty of Moscow w/ Tauck.
  • Nanos wrote:
    This trip was my first Tauck trip and it was fabulous! I arrived a day early in Vilnius because there were sights I wanted to see that were not included on the Tauck program. I was very interested in exploring the Jewish heritage of Vilnius and arranged for a private guide prior to my departure. I met 2 couples on the tour while waiting for the Tauck transport to the hotel and they ended up joining me on this tour. It was superb. It was a wonderful way to begin our adventure. I would suggest researching the sites of Vilnius that may not be included on the tour and perhaps use your extra day to explore independently and adapt to the time change.

    By the end of the trip, I was ready to go home. Tauck truly does a fantastic job of exploring Moscow. On our last day, we had a free afternoon to explore, pack, shop, etc. Since I knew I was not staying in in Moscow,I did not research additional sites. However, there is always something to do and see! And an extra day in Moscow would have been wonderful too!!

    Have a great trip!!

  • I will be on 8/3/16 tour and will also arrive a day early in Vilnius. I would be interested in the Jewish Heritage private tour in Vilnius and would appreciate information as to best way to arrange it in advance. Thanks.
  • Hi Ted!!

    You are going to have a fabulous trip...so much to see and experience. I arranged my private Jewish heritage tour with Justine (she was highly recommended on Trip Advisor) and I was thrilled. The email address is:
    [email protected]

    I made the arrangements via email. I had arranged a driver and the guide because I wanted to go beyond just the center city walking tour. I wanted to go to the cemetery and the Holocaust memorial outside of a walking distance. The company was very accommodating-- initially I arranged the tour just for myself but once I arrived at the hotel, I met 4 other Tauck travelers who wanted to join me. The company easily handled this request with the help of the hotel conceirge. This tour gave me a unique Jewish perspective so that when Tauck toured some of the same sites (albeit much more limited), the local guides provided a more sanitized version. I felt as if I got the full story!!

    Safe travels and enjoy!!
    Nancy

  • Hi Nancy,

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. Sounds great. I will contact Justine. Is the email address you provided Justine's or is it an agency that books for her?

    Best regards,

    Ted
  • I just went back through my emails. Apparently I initially tried to contact Justine through the email address I provided. But either I did not hear back from her or I was unable to understand what tour was being offered to me. The emails are confusing. Ultimately I emailed the concierge at the hotel (Radisson Bleu but think you are staying elsewhere). I explained what I was looking for a Jewish Heritage tour (walking and car) with Justine (or Justina). The conceirge knew exactly what I was asking about, knew Justina (this is how the hotel referred to her) and made the arrangements on my behalf. I was offered either a 3 hour tour or 4 hour -- there was no explanation of what either tour included.I initially requested 4 hours, but in fact, extended the time once we began the tour. The cost ( in July 2013) for 4 hours was $212. This was originally booked just for me. The total cost went up a bit when 4 others joined me because a van was needed rather than a sedan; however, the per person price was significantly less than $212.

    I hope this information is helpful. Good luck!
  • Ted--more info. That email address I provided above was is vilniuscitytour.com. Their web site indicates lots of tours including a tour called"Jewish Vilnius". The web site details the tour. And the web site has an online tour request form but the form was not specifically for the Jewish tour. You can send an enquiry on their website, but I heard nothing. Ultimately I decided to try to book this tour thru the conceirge.
  • Nancy- thanks. I will book through concierge. Did you stay at Kempinski Cathedral Sq in Vilnius?

    Any recommendations for restaurants on day of early arrival?

    Ted
  • I stayed at Radisson Bleu--an elegant beautiful hotel. It seems as if you are staying near Cathedral Square which is a short walk away...also in a lovely area. There are lots of shops and stalls on the main road selling local goods: Amber, Amber, Amber! And handicrafts. I went to Bistro 16 on my first night and it was delicious!! I would ask your concierge for a recommendation and a reservation...

    As final note: the weather in Moscow was very chilly!! (I was there in late July). Check weather reports!
  • I believe the restaurant is Bistro 18. If you would like to eat there I would suggest making a reservation before you leave on your trip. When we took this trip it was rated #1 or #2 on tripadvisor and many of us had made reservations before we went. At that time -- those who had not made reservations well in advance were not able to get in.
  • My wife and I are arriving Aug 2 in the afternoon for the tour that begins on Aug 3. We are interested in meeting other Tauck guests who arrive early.
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