MAGLEV in Shanghai

Update so that new readers don't have to wade through this entire thread: Tauck is including a ride on the MAGLEV in Shanghai on the China, the Yangtze River & Hong Kong tour in both directions. Unlike in years past, it isn't mentioned in either the on-line nor printed literature...but it's included.

Also, for those who have been following this saga, we were able to cancel our alternatively planned MAGLEV trip without penalty (and Tauck had told us that they'd cover any penalty costs). So win, win, win.

Original post follows:

OK, so I like trains. The current fastest train in the world (300 MPH...the fastest in Europe--which I've ridden many times--is the TGV at 200 MPH) is the MAGLEV line from the Shanghai airport into Shanghai. My original plan was to use the free afternoon to ride it round trip to the airport and back. And then I realized that the logical time is when we arrive in Shanghai. We're on the 15 May eastbound trip. On 25 May, the information on the Tauck web site says that we'll disembark the Yangtze Explorer after lunch on-board and then fly to Shanghai. The rest of the day is dinner (included) on our own at the hotel. So my thought is that when we arrive in Shanghai, we'll (having previously cleared this with the tour director) will rely on Tauck to get our bags to the hotel and we'll head off to the MAGLEV for the trip into town. The terminus station is still 11km from the hotel so a taxi would complete the trip. Or, as I found last night, Viator (a tour broker with which we've had good experiences) has a transfer package for $46/pp which includes being met at the airport and escorted to the MAGLEV (ticket provided) and then at the terminus station being met again by a driver who'll take us to the hotel. Eliminates the stress of figuring out the ticketing and getting a cab. It looks like the MAGLEV fare is $26/pp so this seems like a pretty good deal. So, especially from those who have taken this trip (and/or a Tauck representative), what do you think? A couple of questions which would help us assess this option:

What time did your flight arrive in Shanghai?
How was baggage handled between the airport and hotel?
How long did the bus (I assume) transfer take from airport to hotel?

If it makes any difference, we are on a small group departure. I'm guessing that the speed of the MAGLEV and the pre-arranged transfer from station to hotel might actually get us there faster than the Tauck transfer (at rush hour?).

Finally, if there is anyone else on the 15 May trip who like this idea, let me know and maybe we'll have a group. Tauck might want to think of this as an enhancement to the trip in the future.

Comments

  • We took the Maglev from the airport to the hotel as part of the tour. It was great; you will love it.
  • edited March 2014
    We took the Maglev from the airport to the hotel as part of the tour. It was great; you will love it.

    Great information! Thanks.

    Just to be clear, are you saying this was arranged by Tauck or did you do it independently? A Google search indicates that riding the MAGLEV was a feature of this tour as recently as 2012, but it is no longer mentioned so I'm guessing it was dropped as an activity.
  • It was part of our Tauck tour. I'd be surprised if they'd dropped it. You could call and ask.
  • I sent an email to Tauck about taking the MAGLEV on arrival in Shanghai. They confirmed that it is no longer part of the tour and that they wouldn't make the arrangements. This is what I expected. They did, however, say it would be no problem for us to do this on our own. We'll arrive in Shanghai with the group, and proceed to baggage claim to identify our bags which will then be transported by Tauck to our hotel (right to the room if this is like other Tauck tours). At that point we'll separate from the group to take the MAGLEV and then taxi to the hotel where we'll check-in and rejoin the group (I think there is a distinct possibility that we'll arrive first). Since we don't want to figure out way to the MAGLEV, purchase the tickets and then deal with a taxi at the downtown end, we will be using a package offered by Viator which includes being met at baggage claim and escorted to the MAGLEV with tickets provided and then met again at the downtown station for an included transfer to the WA on the Bund.

    The cost varies with the number of folks booking the option. For the two of us it'll be $169.98 total (pricey, but no hassle). However, if another couple on the 15 May Eastbound trip would like to do this, the cost goes down to $129.98/couple. With three couples, it becomes $105.98/couple. Of course, it can also be booked for individuals as well. To get the increasingly good rate it must be booked as a group. So, if any of you would like to join us, reply here and we'll figure out how to connect. We'll probably book it only a few weeks before departure since we'll need the arrival flight information. Let us know by mid-April if you are interested.
  • Oh how sad that they've dropped it. Glad you can do it on your own.
  • Barbara and I (Larry) are on the trip and would definitely do the train ride with you. I just spoke to someone who did the trip this past October and it was included. We will be in Beijing the day before the trip starts. Looking forward in meeting you both.
  • edited March 2014
    rihoto wrote:
    Barbara and I (Larry) are on the trip and would definitely do the train ride with you. I just spoke to someone who did the trip this past October and it was included. We will be in Beijing the day before the trip starts. Looking forward in meeting you both.

    Larry,

    Sounds great. I don't see any way to send a personal email via this site, and as I'd rather not expose my email to more spam, I won't post it here.

    Let's see if others are interested. If it is just the two of you, I'll go ahead and book a group of 4 (after we get the arrival air information) and we can settle up on the tour. Don't ask me why (because I don't remember!), but on this trip we aren't arriving early (though we are staying a day late in HK). I think it was my feeling that this was low risk since 1) we're on a direct flight from Dulles-Beijing (so no missing connections) and 2) the tour has several days in Beijing so it won't leave without us even if in a worst case, we arrive a day late.

    We also look forward to meeting you and the others. One of the reasons we opted for the small group departure is because it allows for more chance to get to know people.

    BTW, we're from Reston, Virginia (one of the oldest and largest planned communities in the US) just outside Washington and, for travel, very convenient to Dulles International Airport.

    Scott
  • Scott,
    I would wait until we get there and talk to tour guide about the train. If he can't arrange it then we will go other route. We might be able to talk the tour guide into it since all past trips did it.
    Larry
  • rihoto wrote:
    Scott,
    I would wait until we get there and talk to tour guide about the train. If he can't arrange it then we will go other route. We might be able to talk the tour guide into it since all past trips did it.
    Larry

    Larry,

    In checking with Tauck, and consistent with what others have posted, it used to be included in the Tauck tour...not as an accommodation by the Tauck Guide. The response to my inquiry to Tauck said they wouldn't make the arrangements...we'd be on our own. The train alone costs ~$30 and the downtown terminus is still 11 km from the WA on the Bund so there would need to be a taxi ride at some cost. The package on Viator takes care of all the details and provides guides through the process for about a 50% surcharge (for 4 people).

    Unless you can get some absolute confirmation that Tauck will do this, we're leaning toward the assured solution.
  • The Tauck guide is not usually the person who will be at the airport to collect you, Tauck sends a driver. I doubt that the train ride can be arranged from the airport by Tauck, there is usually a good reason for them to change itineraries
  • The Tauck tour director will be with you when you arrive in Shanghai, because that is not the beginning of the tour. But that doesn't mean the tour director will set up the Maglev arrangements for you. Sounds like your plan to set it up yourself is a good one.
  • Scott,
    Barbara and I would be interest in going with you on the Maglev. Let us know what to do as far as setting it up. Thanks.
  • rihoto wrote:
    Scott,
    Barbara and I would be interest in going with you on the Maglev. Let us know what to do as far as setting it up. Thanks.

    Larry,

    It seems like it will just be the four of us--a nice sized group--and I will go ahead and make the booking once I get the flight arrival information. We just received the final tour documents and there is no specific information about what flight we'll be arriving on or the time. I will query Tauck directly. The cost has gone down a bit from what I quoted earlier, and as of today it would be $117.98 total per couple. If I can do this prior to the tour start, we can just settle up when we meet. It should be about the same as we'll owe for the Jewish history tour you are setting up for the group including us.

    So, one way or the other, consider this a done deal for you, Barbara, Judy and me.

    Scott
  • Larry,

    MAGLEV transfer booked. We're scheduled to arrive in Shanghai on Shanghai Airlines at 5:05 PM. Per the booking site, we'll be met after baggage pickup (which we'll hand off to the Tauck tour director for transfer to the hotel), escorted to the MAGLEV and then transferred from the downtown MAGLEV station to the WA on the Bund.

    Price was $235.96 total or $117.98 per couple. Since the MAGLEV ticket alone is half that and you'd still need to take a taxi to the hotel, this isn't a bad deal in my opinion for a fully-arranged trip.

    See you in Beijing in a few weeks!

    Scott
  • thanks,looking forward to meeting you both.
  • Scott,
    when do you arrive in Beijing? We arrive early on the 14th? Maybe we could meet for a drink at the hotel?We could make a time and meet where you check in.
    Larry
  • Larry,

    Unfortunately, and a bit illogically since our norm is to arrive early, we get to Beijing at 2:20 PM on the 15th. So, we'll be the couple looking slightly dazed at the evening reception and dinner. Mitigated a bit by a non-stop flight from Washington in first using miles.

    See you on the 15h.

    Scott & Judy
  • Latest info - I took the April 15, 2014 (Westbound) trip. The Maglev train WAS included by Tauck as part of our trip. I'm not sure why Tauck told people it wasn't included. Perhaps it varies based on date, direction of travel, or tour director, but it was included on our trip. Before making separate arrangements, I would definitely check back with Tauck. If you have already made arrangements, I would check with your tour director at the start of the trip to see if they are including the Maglev ride. They may be able to do something to mitigate your cost.
  • edited May 2014
    Well, I'll ask again, but just a few weeks ago Tauck said the MAGLEV transfer wasn't included. The possible difference is the direction of travel (and how it affects arrival in Shanghai). You were westbound and we are eastbound. If they've changed the plan, I'll be annoyed as we've booked possibly non-refundable arrangements based on the earlier Tauck response since I wanted to have them in hand before departure from the US.
  • On reading the two tour descriptions, although it does not mention the train, I have a feeling Tauck told you correct information and it is just included in the other direction. If so, you did the right thing and will get the train ride that is so important with your love of trains. Would love to hear about the train when you go on the trip, tell me if it is worth the ride.
  • Checking with Tauck. As of now they say we are scheduled for round trip on maglev on day 12. I am waiting for confirm.
  • Hi everyone on May 15th eastbound trip.The maglev is definitely included on the 12th day. Hope you can cancel side trip.you can call company and if they give you a hard time you can call credit card company to stop payment.
  • edited May 2014
    rihoto wrote:
    Hi everyone on May 15th eastbound trip.The maglev is definitely included on the 12th day. Hope you can cancel side trip.you can call company and if they give you a hard time you can call credit card company to stop payment.

    Excellent news for the group as a whole.

    However, I'm still waiting to hear back from the company (and Tauck, for that matter...you must have an inside line) about cancelling. Can't dispute the charge or cancellation penalty if covered in the terms for booking. We'll see. If there is an out-of-pocket loss, I will request Tauck to make it good since they provided the misinformation (I have the email thread).
  • If you can't get money from tour co. Or tauck we will pay our share.
  • edited May 2014
    rihoto wrote:
    If you can't get money from tour co. Or tauck we will pay our share.

    Larry,

    I don't think it will be a problem, but thanks.

    I expect some reasonable cancellation fee, and Tauck has indicated they'll cover it since it was incurred because of misinformation provided.

    Scott

    Update and final closure: Tauck is including a ride on the MAGLEV in Shanghai on the China, the Yangtze River & Hong Kong tour in both directions. Unlike in years past, it isn't mentioned in either the on-line nor printed literature...but it's included.

    Also, for those who have been following this saga, we were able to cancel our alternatively planned MAGLEV trip without penalty (and Tauck had told us that they'd cover any penalty costs). So win, win, win.

  • Just read all your MAGLEV posts (for the first time!). Have you checked again re/Tauck including it or not? If not, is it too late to get included with you doing it through Viator?
  • edited May 2014
    realady wrote:
    Just read all your MAGLEV posts (for the first time!). Have you checked again re/Tauck including it or not? If not, is it too late to get included with you doing it through Viator?

    realady: all resolved, see the first post or #26
  • Didn't notice a second page before my question! Thanks. Glad it's been resolved and "win, win, win!"
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