why tauck over princess?

We've been on 3 Tauck tours - so you don't need to sell us on Tauck - we LOVE them. But, this time, we can't understand why go with Tauck for Grand Alaska? The price seems WAY TOO HIGH. I've been pouring over catalogs from AAA for weeks now - and no matter how I figure the funds, i can't justify Tauck for this.

I've been looking at Holland America, Celebrity, & Princess. Princess is who Tauck uses for GrandAlaska - they use their lodges for the land part. The price for Tauck is double what it is for the same tour by Princess. And Holland America and Celebrity offer VERY similar things for $1000s cheaper. I know Tauck offers a flight and some excursions on the land part, but even adding that in, it is still $1000s more.

If it were $100s more expensive, I wouldn't be questioning this, but double the price, I have to. I feel like maybe I am missing something.

On the land part, even though you are staying at Princess Lodges, are you traveling separately? Or are you with the other Princess people who have also booked a land tour? The agenda is identical for some the the Princess land tours and they offer all meals paid, etc. Are you traveling the Princess agenda separately with just Tauck people, or are Tauck people and Princess people together?

Just wondering why you all are paying double $6500/each & up for the same tour that Princess offers for several thousand dollars less? I have asked AAA this and they don't get it either and we always book our Tauck tours through AAA.

We have been on the Grand Colorado Tour (which they no longer offer), Canyonlands, and a Xmas Market River Cruise on the Danube thru Austria & Germany just this past December and they were all AMAZING. Alaska is even 3 times what we paid on our European cruise. I'm definitely not doubting that it's not an AMAZING tour . . . for this one trip though, I just don't understand why the price is SOOOO high compared to all other land/cruise tours - even the Princess one.

Thoughts please ..... and please don't think I'm bashing Tauck, I'm not . . . I just want to know what makes the price so high.... I'm sure I'm just missing things.....

Comments

  • edited May 2014
    So I just saw the below quote by one of the moderators . . . it's great and I appreciate that a lot. Does that add up to the $3000 difference? And, on the cruise portion, do we book our own excursions, or does Tauck have things planned?

    "Here just some of the differences booking with Tauck vs Princess.

    Tauck includes...
    1. Private welcome “open bar” reception and dinner at the Captain Cook Hotel – overlooking the Chugach Mountains and the Cook inlet.
    2. Docent-led visit to the newly refreshed Anchorage Museum.
    3. Lunch in Wasilla at a nice Italian Restaurant.
    4. Flight seeing excursion viewing the glaciers and peak of Mt. McKinley (Denali) and the surrounding glaciers. *weather dependent.
    5. Journey onboard the Alaska Train from Trapper Creek to Denali.
    6. A “private” visit to the homestead of Joanne Poterfield.
    7. Naturalist trip on Mahay’s Jet Boats on the Chulitna, Susitna and Talkeetna Rivers, inclusive of lunch. Fantastic sightings of Balk Eagles!!
    8. Full A la Carte dinners at McKinley, Denali, & Copper River Lodges.
    9. A fascinating lecture on Mountaineering and climbing Mt. McKinley (Denali).
    10. Visit to an Iditarod Winner – Jeff King’s Husky Homestead.
    11. The Music of Denali Dinner Theater.
    12. Lunch at the McLaren River Lodge – stop en route to Copper RiverLodge.
    13. Guided tour to Wrangell, St. Elias Visitors Center. A center dedicated to the largest national park of our nation.
    14. Private charter boat transfer across the Prince William Sound. *weather permitting. This is a time to potentially view whales and other marine wildlife.
    15. Two (2) cocktail parties on board the ship.
    16. $140.00 per person of onboard ship credit. This is used for alcoholic beverages, such as wine with dinner or for any other extras. All soft drinks,
    coffee, & tea are already included with the meals.
    17. Shore excursions in Skagway (Chilkat Rafting, White Pass Railroad), Juneau (private native presentation & Mendenhall Glacier tours) & Ketchikan.
    18.Private galley tour on board the ship.
    19. Tauck-trained professional tour director throughout the tour.
    20. All gratuities throughout the tour from the land portion to the onboard ship gratuities.
    21.Transfers to/from the airports in addition to offering transfers for anyone purchasing pre/post stays.


    Princess has various programs and these items would be optional. Many of theseattractions would not be possible to purchase through Princess.

    Hope this helps and please let us know if you have any additional questions.
    Emily"
    ===========================================================
  • I was wondering why they use Princess, too. Many reviews for this tour say the land part was great, but the Princess part was not up to Tauck standards. Why wouldn't they contract with Holland America, which specializes in Alaska. Princess is considered to specialize in the Caribbean. Princess is not considered very special, and our past trips with Tauck really did focus on providing top value, since that's what you're paying.
  • If you're not "wedded" to the Grand Alaskan, why not consider the Inland Passage trip? Tauck have partnered with Ponant for this itinerary. I did this trip a few years ago when Cruise West (now defunct) was the partner. The benefit of a smaller ship, to an engaged traveller, over a floating barn really is a no-brainer. You can get much further up Tracy Arm, for one thing. The main reason I haven't taken the Grand Alaskan is because Tauck use Princess. No way in this universe would I choose to step aboard a Princess ship. (You can do your own research into their corporate and sailing history. I know they have tried hard to re-cast their story. Anyway, it's for you to decide.)

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • EMILY COULD YOU PLEASE LIST THE DIFFERENCE FOR THE GRAND ALASKA 2016 TRIPS. VS JUST BOOKING WITH PRINCESS
    I SAW IN PREVIOUS EMAILS FROM 2014, BUT DON'T KNOW IF ALL THOSE ACTIVITIES ARE STILL IN THE DAILY ITINERARY FOR JUNE 2016 TRIP.

  • THIS IS WHAT YOU HAD LISTED IN PREVIOUS REPLY FROM PRINCESS VS TAUCK BOOKING.

    Included:
    • Welcome glass of champagne
    • Chef's Welcome Goodies at embarkation (A bowl of warm sugar almonds, A glass of Champagne, An invitation to Crown Grill, Sabatini's or Sterling Steakhouse (depending on ship))
    • Extended room service menu (full breakfast, lunch, dinner offering) - Suite passengers only
    • In-suite afternoon tea service - Suite passengers only
    • Passenger's choice of deluxe canapes, delivered daily
    • Breakfast in Sabatini's w/complimentary "Good Morning Mimosa" each morning
    • Complimentary cover charge(s)* for one of the alternative restaurants on embarkation evening
    • Room service items are available for the suites with no cost.

    Not Included
    • The upgraded meal at Sabatini’s is not available with room service.
    • Any offerings in restaurants from the restaurant menu is not available in room service

    These are the same offerings you'd get as if you booked directly with Princess, the only difference is getting room service to have Tauck guests receive at the restaurant Sabatini's.

    Hope this helps,
    Emily
  • EMILY

    ALSO CAN YOU PLEASE UPDATE THIS LIST FOR WHAT THE 2016 GRAND ALASKA WILL HAVE????

    1. Private welcome “open bar” reception and dinner at the Captain Cook Hotel – overlooking the Chugach Mountains and the Cook inlet.
    2. Docent-led visit to the newly refreshed Anchorage Museum.
    3. Lunch in Wasilla at a nice Italian Restaurant.
    4. Flight seeing excursion viewing the glaciers and peak of Mt. McKinley (Denali) and the surrounding glaciers. *weather dependent.
    5. Journey onboard the Alaska Train from Trapper Creek to Denali.
    6. A “private” visit to the homestead of Joanne Poterfield.
    7. Naturalist trip on Mahay’s Jet Boats on the Chulitna, Susitna and Talkeetna Rivers, inclusive of lunch. Fantastic sightings of Balk Eagles!!
    8. Full A la Carte dinners at McKinley, Denali, & Copper River Lodges.
    9. A fascinating lecture on Mountaineering and climbing Mt. McKinley (Denali).
    10. Visit to an Iditarod Winner – Jeff King’s Husky Homestead.
    11. The Music of Denali Dinner Theater.
    12. Lunch at the McLaren River Lodge – stop en route to Copper RiverLodge.
    13. Guided tour to Wrangell, St. Elias Visitors Center. A center dedicated to the largest national park of our nation.
    14. Private charter boat transfer across the Prince William Sound. *weather permitting. This is a time to potentially view whales and other marine wildlife.
    15. Two (2) cocktail parties on board the ship.
    16. $140.00 per person of onboard ship credit. This is used for alcoholic beverages, such as wine with dinner or for any other extras. All soft drinks,
    coffee, & tea are already included with the meals.
    17. Shore excursions in Skagway (Chilkat Rafting, White Pass Railroad), Juneau (private native presentation & Mendenhall Glacier tours) & Ketchikan.
    18.Private galley tour on board the ship.
    19. Tauck-trained professional tour director throughout the tour.
    20. All gratuities throughout the tour from the land portion to the onboard ship gratuities.
    21.Transfers to/from the airports in addition to offering transfers for anyone purchasing pre/post stays.
  • Tauck Emily

    Can you update us with Tauck Grand Alaska 2016 compare with Princess Booking?
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