After Hours tour of St. Mark's- Bellissima Northern Tour

Question to Tauck or those who may have been there on a Sunday tour day- is Sunday one of the days that an after-hours tour is not available (as mentioned in the itinerary details)? Thanks for any info regarding this particular tour question

Comments

  • Yes that is correct. We did an after hours tour of the Doge's Palace instead
  • edited June 2016
    aeejnana wrote:
    Question to Tauck or those who may have been there on a Sunday tour day- is Sunday one of the days that an after-hours tour is not available (as mentioned in the itinerary details)? Thanks for any info regarding this particular tour question
    I just got back from tour and did the after hours tour on a Sunday. It was fantastic. I believe all tours start Saturday night and end Tuesday morning, so Sunday night is only night to do the tour.

    I checked, it is not till September that they do more than one tour a week, so on the after hours tour on Sunday would only not have it if St. Marks did not allow it do to a conflict. Just like on the Classic Italy for the After hours tour sometimes offered there.
  • crackers54 wrote:
    I just got back from tour and did the after hours tour on a Sunday. It was fantastic. I believe all tours start Saturday night and end Tuesday morning, so Sunday night is only night to do the tour.

    I checked, it is not till September that they do more than one tour a week, so on the after hours tour on Sunday would only not have it if St. Marks did not allow it do to a conflict. Just like on the Classic Italy for the After hours tour sometimes offered there.


    Hello,

    This will be our first Tauck tour to Italy. We will going on the Classic Italy trip in July and have some questions. Did you arrive early and go on any day trips. We would like to go to the Island of Capri and receive advice on how to spend our extra time (we booked 2 extra days in Sorrento before the trip) before the tour starts. Would you have the concierge plan the day trips or are there other companies you can recommend for the excursions?


    Also, did you schedule any other tours in Rome, Florence or Venice? I don't want to overbook but also would like to see as much as we can while in Italy. Is it best to schedule tours/day trips when we arrive and do it now. Any advice from you or others on the Travel Forum would be appreciated.

    Thank you so much
  • If you have time to go through all the past topics in the Italy forums, there is a lot of good information out there. As far as booking extra Tours once the tour has begun, I would be cautious, because occasionly even when you have received the final documents and itinerary from Tauck, when you get to the actual start of the tour and met your tour director, they have had to switch the itinerary around, so days where you thought you had a free afternoon to maybe do something on your own, you may find it switched because of something local that has happened, like a local holiday, or in our case on one of our Italy tours, it was a strike, roads were blocked by bonfires set in the middle of the roads by those on strike and our itinerary had to be switched around, we still saw everything we were supposed to see but on different days. We were even on a Tauck tour once where when we arrived our director said, forget the itinerary you were given, we are doing it this way because the original fairly new itinerary was not working out. Australia was another one where instead of having two free half days, we got one full free day but did not know until the tour began, that one was annoying because we had booked to stay an extra day to see relatives when we could have gone home with everyone else and seen our relatives on the free day. In India, on our last day, we were supposed to have a whole morning to 'enjoy' the hotel. Instead, we all had to take a very early morning flight back to Delhi so were up for 24 hours before we got our flight home. We love Tauck vacations and most itinerary changes are to our advantage, but as you see, not always.
  • If you are asking questions about the Rome Florence and Venice trip you are in the wrong forum.
  • British wrote:
    If you have time to go through all the past topics in the Italy forums, there is a lot of good information out there. As far as booking extra Tours once the tour has begun, I would be cautious, because occasionly even when you have received the final documents and itinerary from Tauck, when you get to the actual start of the tour and met your tour director, they have had to switch the itinerary around, so days where you thought you had a free afternoon to maybe do something on your own, you may find it switched because of something local that has happened, like a local holiday, or in our case on one of our Italy tours, it was a strike, roads were blocked by bonfires set in the middle of the roads by those on strike and our itinerary had to be switched around, we still saw everything we were supposed to see but on different days. We were even on a Tauck tour once where when we arrived our director said, forget the itinerary you were given, we are doing it this way because the original fairly new itinerary was not working out. Australia was another one where instead of having two free half days, we got one full free day but did not know until the tour began, that one was annoying because we had booked to stay an extra day to see relatives when we could have gone home with everyone else and seen our relatives on the free day. In India, on our last day, we were supposed to have a whole morning to 'enjoy' the hotel. Instead, we all had to take a very early morning flight back to Delhi so were up for 24 hours before we got our flight home. We love Tauck vacations and most itinerary changes are to our advantage, but as you see, not always.

    Thank you for your advice. My name is Tina. It is good to know the schedule can change. Do you suggest going with the flow. I get a little ocd about over researching and having everything planned. I just don't want to get to a city such as Rome and miss some sites. We would really like to see some other churches and Holy places in addition to the Vatican and St. Peters Basilica. We definitely want to see St. John Paul IIs burial site. Do you recommend talking to the Tauck trip director when we arrive? I emailed the hotel concierge who sent the name of a tour company (Green Tours). I looked up the company on Tripadvisor and they did not get good reviews. It sounds like you've been on a number of Tauck tours. How do you plan your free time ? I have read many of the posts and have picked up some great information. Any other tips are welcome.

    Thanks so much,
    Tina
  • edited June 2016
    Hi Tina, yes, I have taken three different Tauck Tours to Italy. I think our first Tauck tour was to Italy but I can't remember for sure because we have been travelling with Tauck for some time now.
    When we are going to a new area of the world, I do several routine things
    research every bit of information Tauck provides on their web page for the tour I am interested in, by checking every tab, opening it and looking at everything from weather to visa necessity. We aren't of retirement age, so we have time constraints, we consult when we might be able to go and balance the decision with whether we can cope with the weather for that time of year. We try to arrive at least two days early, both to help adjust to the jet lag and also to give us more time to see things at the start city as Tauck rarely take you to everything the city has to offer in the way of site seeing, I think partly to encourage people to arrive early so that everyone is there for the start of the tour and not delayed in some way. And partly because everyone has different interests. If we had time to arrive even earlier, we would in some cases.
    Then I research where we are going and decide any key places we would like to try to see. We certainly do not routinely go crazy wanting to see everything, because in our situation, my hard working husband does need some relaxing time, plus, especially for instance in Italy, we are likely to go again and Tauck goes via or to Rome on several of their tours, I have visited Rome twice that way, just personally for me, Rome is certainly not my favorite place in Italy by any means, so I would never care if I ever went there again. Perhaps it is because of the extreme vigilance one has to maintain in watching out for pick pockets, I have seen it in progress, been nearly knocked off my feet as they run off with police in hot pursuit and i know several people who have been robbed. My daughter in law had her credit card number stolen there at an ATM and her bank account was cleared a few years ago too. Getting back to sites-- as we go through the airport on arrival, I visit the stands that have brochures for local attractions, this is very worth it, for example, on our New Zealand tour and our South Africa tour, we visited some of what turned out to be some of our favorite places we found from those brochures, neither were on the Tauck tour or anywhere I found on line.
    Whenever Free time is scheduled, the tour director will provide you with a list of sites you may be interested in, but as you have a particular interest, I think you should ask in advance when you arrive. The tour director will also give you a suggested list of restaurants when you have to find a meal yourself, this list is based on past tour member feedback. Again, personally, we find that there is so much food on a Tauck tour, that we may just want a quick snack from somewhere that is very near the hotel. Towards the end of the tour, most people get tired and some even miss one or two day tours, we never do that, but don't always run around seeing everything, sometimes choosing to maybe have a massage or something like that, again, because my husband has less time to chill at home as he still works, others might feel they can do that any time. Again, it is not a deal breaker if we do not see anything, and if we really like a place, time and money willing, we will return. For instance, we are going back on the Galapagos tour next year, we took that almost ten years ago, so ready to go again.
    That's all for now Tina, I have a busy day
  • Dotes wrote:
    Thank you for your advice. My name is Tina. It is good to know the schedule can change. Do you suggest going with the flow. I get a little ocd about over researching and having everything planned. I just don't want to get to a city such as Rome and miss some sites. We would really like to see some other churches and Holy places in addition to the Vatican and St. Peters Basilica. We definitely want to see St. John Paul IIs burial site. Do you recommend talking to the Tauck trip director when we arrive? I emailed the hotel concierge who sent the name of a tour company (Green Tours). I looked up the company on Tripadvisor and they did not get good reviews. It sounds like you've been on a number of Tauck tours. How do you plan your free time ? I have read many of the posts and have picked up some great information. Any other tips are welcome.

    Thanks so much,
    Tina

    I arrived early in and went spent day of welcome dinner in Capri. Got back early enough to take a dip in the pool at hotel.

    Rome no need to set anything up for free time depending on what you want to do. After Colosseum we got dropped off within walking distance of the Forum and used the combo ticket to get in for free. We took a taxi back to hotel. After we did the early morning Vatican (you will probably have after hours tour and have to work out schedule) we got dropped off near the pantheon and had great lunch then did Rick Steves walking tour to pantheon, trevi fountain, and Spanish steps to hotel which is not far from the top of the steps.

    I suggest getting Rick Steves latest Italy book and look for what you want to do. I download it to my nook so then have with me at all times on my ipod.
  • edited June 2016
    I just got back from Classic Italy, Small Groups two weeks ago- it has the same itinerary as Classic Italy. See my post here for my discussion of self-scheduled extra excursions before and during the tour:


    https://www.tauck.com/yaf/default.aspx?g=posts&m=32356#post32356


    By the way, you won't be lacking in religious sites- the Classic Italy Tour is sometimes referred to as the "ABC (Another Beautiful Church) tour." Every single town, with maybe one exception, you visit will have one or more beautiful churches or cathedrals with histories and you'll get guided tours of many of them.

    As far as planning- Rome can be a problem- the Vatican may change the times of your visit to the Museums/Sistine chapel, which can affect your Rome itinerary drastically- ours did. Luckily I didn't schedule any outside excursions there.

    When you do your research, have city maps close by or use Google maps. If you plot the location of your hotels, you will see that they are all centrally located, so you can walk or take a short taxi ride to just about any attraction of significance. I also suggest you consider buying tickets online well in advance (weeks or months prior) to avoid lines. Many attractions, like the Opera Del Duomo complex in Florence, now have skip-the-line/head-of-the-line, or designated entry time tickets, often for no additional fee. Remember, you are traveling in the high season so expect crowds and long lines in many places. You are running out of time if you are traveling in July, you should have done much of your planning months ago. I follow a planning process similar to British. So far it has worked well.

    If you decide to hire a guide or car/driver/and guide, make sure the guide is licensed (they will have and must display an Italian tour guide license medallion)- licensed guides cost a bit more, because the licensing and qualification requirements are strict, and because of that you will rarely find a bad one. An unlicensed guide may be denied access to a site or even arrested for guiding without a license- in Rome our Tauck TD was careful to avoid hand gestures, even on the bus, to point out sites along the way (hard to believe? Check this out http://www.romefile.com/living/working-as-a-tour-guide-in-rome.php ). You shouldn't have to purchase entry tickets for the guide- licensed guides, while working, have free access to most sites. Most licensed guides speak several languages, have undergraduate, and often one or more post graduate degrees in either history or art history.
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