Timing of tours

I am planning my free time for my upcoming trip starting on August 26th and I would like some information from others who have taken this tour.
Lugano: What time is the wine tasting cruise over? Has anyone taken a boat to Grandria or Morcote? If so, which town would you recommend? I know that Morcote is further, which is why I would like to see how much time I have in the afternoon.
St Moritz: What time do we arrive? Is there enough time to go into town before dinner?
Interlaken: What time are you back in Interlaken after visiting the Jungfrau? I'm deciding between Harder Klum or a boat tour. Recommendation? I watched a YouTube video of the paragliding which looks awesome, but too chicken for that one.
I pretty much know what I want to do in Montreux, Zermatt and Luzerne, but would welcome any additional tips for my free time there and in other places on the tour.
Thank you.

Comments

  • We took this tour about 6 years ago so not positive the timetables are exactly the same. We took the boat out to Morcote. We had plenty of time to eat, take a walk up to the church (lots of steep steps) and explore the few shops there are. Often when one travels the small towns blend together but I remember Morcote very well. On the street that runs along the water they had speed signs that flashed a smiley face if under the speed limit and a frowny face if over the speed limit. I've never seen it elsewhere, and it was cute. Going as far as Morcote also enables you to see the other islands from the water as the boat does quick stops along the way. We did not go to Grandria.

    Regarding St. Moritz, I don't remember exactly when we arrived but we did walk into the town before dinner. It was a Sunday for us so not much was open but it was interesting to see, and good exercise after sitting on the bus.

    The Switzerland trip was one of my favorites.
  • I just returned from the Scandinavia trip and had similar timing concerns for scheduling free time activities. I called Tauck HQ prior to the trip and they gave me exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, it wasn't correct. In one case, we were due to arrive back at the hotel an hour later than Tauck specified, and in the other, an hour earlier.

    For the hour later day, the TD made an effort to get me where I needed to be and the bus dropped me off as close as possible, en route back to the hotel. Got there just in the nick of time. Arriving back earlier on the other day wasn't a problem.

    Moral of the story - The only one with accurate info is the TD, after you arrive for your trip. Unfortunately, that can hinder scheduling activities where you need to reserve/pay in advance.
  • And even once you're on the tour things can change. Departures can move up or down depending on the group size, how good they are at being on time, how much luggage to load, etc etc. The TD might add something to the tour at the last minute - in Ireland she booked us for a sheep dog demo and also paid for us to go into a church in Kilkenny that wasn't planned. Plus the normal things like traffic that can't be predicted.

    On the Seine last year at the end of a long day touring the Dday sites the ship was suppose to meet and pick us up in a small town. They should have been there long before our buses arrived but the ship got held up for hours at a lock. It was kinda funny as we stood on the dock with our thumbs out trying to hitch a ride with the ship.

    Moral, research ideas for free time but don't assume you'll have as much as you hope for or even that you'll have the energy at the end of a long day to go do them.
  • Good information from Claudia and the others.

    We planned extra activities on a number of tours, but mostly for pre- and post-tour days and days where both afternoon and evening were free. We did that quite successfully on Classic Italy. You can always "plan" extra activities and do or do not do them depending on the amount of time and energy you ultimately end up with- many Tauck tours can be very tiring!! I would not lock yourself into any extra activity by pre-booking and paying except for the cases I mentioned.
  • edited August 2018
    We always arrive extra early at any start of tour locations to see non included sites. We have found that in most cases the itinerary is very fluid, you will see and do everything they say you will do, but not necessarily at the times you thought. Most tours begin in very interesting locations and Tauck does encourage you to arrive early both for jet lag and not being delayed purposes. If they were to take you to everything a city or location has to offer, the tours would have to be much longer. I highly recommend arriving at least two days early for most tours, three if you can.
  • Thank you very much for your replies. Seems like we'll have to go with the flow. I wasn't planning on pre purchasing any tickets when I can easily buy them where I'm at. Some places are also contingent on the weather. At least now I have ideas of what I might be interested in doing and as Alan mentioned, the tour could be tiring and I might want a more relaxing day, which brings me to my next question... I notice that all the hotels have nice spas. As a guest of the hotels, do you have free access to the pools and gym or do you need to book a treatment to get in?
  • Thank you very much for your replies. Seems like we'll have to go with the flow. I wasn't planning on pre purchasing any tickets when I can easily buy them where I'm at. Some places are also contingent on the weather. At least now I have ideas of what I might be interested in doing and as Alan mentioned, the tour could be tiring and I might want a more relaxing day, which brings me to my next question... I notice that all the hotels have nice spas. As a guest of the hotels, do you have free access to the pools and gym or do you need to book a treatment to get in?

    In most hotels on our Tauck European trips, pool access was free. Gym, saunas, etc.? didn't do that.

    If it turns out you do have time for a short tour or excursion, check with the conceirge. It is amazing what they can do for you, on short notice. Pre-purchasing tickets is getting more and more necessary and in some cases mandatory, however, in many places like Italy, especially during peak season.
  • Thank you very much for your replies. Seems like we'll have to go with the flow. I wasn't planning on pre purchasing any tickets when I can easily buy them where I'm at. Some places are also contingent on the weather. At least now I have ideas of what I might be interested in doing and as Alan mentioned, the tour could be tiring and I might want a more relaxing day, which brings me to my next question... I notice that all the hotels have nice spas. As a guest of the hotels, do you have free access to the pools and gym or do you need to book a treatment to get in?

    We love to swim but find it difficult to find time on a Tauck tour. The pool often doesn’t open before we are expected to be on the bus for the tour. Again, it’s one of those options we look forward to for exercise and relaxation when we arrive early before the tour begins. The easiest tours to catch a swim are the African safaris were the middle of the day is usually free.
  • Thank you very much for your replies. Seems like we'll have to go with the flow. I wasn't planning on pre purchasing any tickets when I can easily buy them where I'm at. Some places are also contingent on the weather. At least now I have ideas of what I might be interested in doing and as Alan mentioned, the tour could be tiring and I might want a more relaxing day, which brings me to my next question... I notice that all the hotels have nice spas. As a guest of the hotels, do you have free access to the pools and gym or do you need to book a treatment to get in?

    Every hotel we've stayed at that had a pool or gym we were able to use for free. Spa treatments were extra except for our last day in Ireland where everyone got a choice of one activity at the hotel (golf, fishing, falconry, spa, etc). I like to swim the first day of arrival to relax and stretch and have used the pools at the end of a day of touring before dinner.
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