Anyone Troubled by Tauck/Ponant not canceling trips this Spring?

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  • As I said before I speak daily to a very lovely agent in their guest services division. She calls me to follow up. I get the sense that she and her fellow agents are frustrated, which I appreciate. I am more than kind to her and she is very responsive. We actually are from the same town. But it is very clear that the “policy is the policy is the policy”. And Tauck will decide when and if they are going to do anything. I get a real sense that Ponant is holding Tauck hostage. Meanwhile we are in limbo. I for sure don’t want to lose the equivalent of the cost of a 2 week vacation by the penalty. But traveling with concerns of being unable to visit the places we paid to go to (on the light end) to being sick,or quarantined or unable to return (on the more severe end). I keep thinking it would just be so simple... if the are OK with freezing the penalty, they know something is not right, why not go all of the way and offer full refunds. It’s for them minimal and for us a real big deal.

  • edited February 28

    Psr11 I can understand you're frustrated and want to have things locked down but we're talking 2 months away (26 Apr departure). A lot can change by then. Maybe things get much better, maybe so much worse that Ponant cancels the cruise entirely. What is your liability in the later case?

    When are these three other trips? Do you really want to skip them? We've taken 4 cruises and 2 tours with Tauck. Based on how they handled all those - including last summer's fiasco caused by Viking hitting a lock and screwing up all Main river traffic for weeks - I'll stick with Tauck. Not perfect but is any other tour company doing better with something like this?

  • edited February 28

    Psr11- I guess, I'm like British. The weakness of your argument is that first, you are blaming Tauck for a situation that is generally beyond their control and are convinced that they are not nor will not come up with a solution that is best for the company and you. Oh, ye of little faith.

    Rather than continue to rail about "your" view of the situation, why don't you step back and attempt to look at it from Tauck's standpoint or for that matter from the position of someone who still wants to travel on this trip. Tauck is not just sitting on its thumbs, they are closely monitoring the situation, and evaluating all options and outcomes- for the benefit of both company and travelers. The situation is exceedingly more complex for them than it is for you. Don't you suppose there are many people at Tauck, including the senior staff like the president, CEO, etc. who are closely involved in this situation and how it affects the company AND its customers. It is likely these people, individually, have many more years of experience running a travel company than you have traveling. This is not their first rodeo, but you are incorrect it is not so simple. In the nearly 100 years since Tauck started in the travel industry they have developed and refined policies which have helped establish them as one of the best travel providers in the country and the world and generated a considerable loyal customer base. That wouldn't be true if they did not treat their customers as well as possible. Can you imagine the chaos and acrimony that would result if there were no established policies for situations like this, decisions were made on a whim, or if a different set of policies was applied to different departures or customers? Check the archives to see how Tauck has handled other natural and political disasters- high and low water on the Danube and Rhine, terrorist attacks, the Arab Spring, etc. etc. You will find few people who fault them for their course of action and, in fact, it has mostly resulted in praise.

    It may sound ridiculous, but frankly, if it helped keep me safe, I wouldn't mind spending some extra time in the luxury of a Ponant ship, knowing that most likely someone else would be picking up the tab. :)

  • We have a trip to Portugal and Spain April 8. At this point I am going! I've been looking forward to this for over a year. The stock market is crashing, so I am buying!!! Staying positive.

  • Well, AlanS, I guess you told me. My mistake was that I had hoped to find some folks who were in the same boat (pun intended). No further posts on here from me.

  • I haven’t contacted Tauck directly yet but their responses on this travel forum haven’t been particularly forthcoming. Our trip to Italy leaves on April 18th (John F we’re scheduled to take the Amalfi Coast & Rome tour). Today the CDC revised its position on travel to Italy to don’t go unless it’s essential travel. The WHO has yet to issue a similar warning. My husband and I can wait it out for a bit but we have no idea how long it will take for things to improve in Italy.

  • Mack, the forum is really more for us travelers to share information ( and sometimes unwanted opinion) but not really for Tauck to communicate. In fact I've seen more from them recently than normal. Sometimes the web home page will have some sort of alert but I guess this is all to complicated a situation for that. I'm afraid you have to communicate direct with them on this one. Hopefully this will peak and drop soon. Best.

  • However, it would be nice if Tauck had some current info on the top of their main page (other than their phone number and link for brochure request), similar to what most airlines and cruise lines currently have done. Even "we are currently monitoring the situation" would be reassuring, rather than nothing. I'm sure it would also ease up the burden on their telephone agents.

  • I am a little disappointed at this time with Tauck and the seemingly lack of communication. Other large companies have published their guidelines and options that customers have. I’m new to Tauck, but not other companies. We decided to take Tauck due to their excellent reputation, but I must honestly say I am wondering why no communications. Sure they say call...right and be on hold forever or get the “need to talk to someone else” etc. I want to see a published response, actions to take, what are our options, a clear set of guidelines. Other travel companies as large as Tauck, maybe larger, have done this.

    We are/were going to Italy next month but now the CDC has raised the threat level to 3, avoid non essential travel. This is bad news for travelers and worse news for Italy’s tourist business. I want to hear something from Tauck other than call this number.....we have a booking with Tauck next year and I’d be very satisfied if the answer was use your credit for that one, but we need information in order to deal with pets, schedules, airline reservations, etc. etc. etc.

  • “Indecision is the key to flexibility.” “Never make a decision until it is time.” In any case I’m pretty sure that Tauck does not want to cancel trips that it is not necessary to cancel. And I’m sure they will not operate trips that are clearly not safe. I’ve talked with both Tauck and Ponant in the past week and did not encounter unusually long ‘wait’ times. I am sure the Tauck team that monitors the conditions for each of their trips is very busy. They do keep their finger on the pulse. On our first K&T they almost pulled us out because of a terrorist attack in Arusha, where we were returning ‘through’ on the following day. After a long talk between the company and our TD it was determined safe to continue. Our next trip has two ‘up in the air issues’. First we start our trip on the MAX 8, and we have a couple port visits in Italy. Decisions will be made at the appropriate time.

  • In another email someone referred to the Rick Steves discussion forum. If you go there you will see that he has canceled departures of his Italy tours with departure dates of March 1 through March 15. He has not yet made a determination for later trips and will do that as conditions change and as the departure time nears. These are all land tours.

    I don't think Tauck has any Italy tours departing in this early March time frame.

  • I have to agree that it would be nice if Tauck showed awareness of the situation on its web site. However, calling their number does seem to work so far. If you are frustrated by the lack of information on the web site I suggest you call and share what you learn in the forums. I may do this soon.

    Also, this is a very fluid situation. If the pandemic gets worse in this country it'll probably happen very soon. I live in the central valley of California and wouldn't be surprise if we get some cases near where I live.

  • When we booked Cruising the Land of the Rising Sun, a stop in South Korea was not on the itinerary. Now it is. The cruise line is still selling staterooms for our departure of May 7, yet its own website says that people who have traveled through South Korea withIn 21 days of departure won’t be allowed on board. Wouldn’t that be the entire crew and passengers!? How can the cruise be operating with a stop in South Korea?

  • I have a tour booked in early May that ends with the last day in Venice. My employer forbids me from entering Italy now because of the current State Department restrictions and Tauck will not offer any guidance about what to do regarding this situation. I am disappointed in Tauck's response and I feel it is irresponsible to not address the situation. I have had this trip booked for over a year and must plan around my employment. I have a cruise with Viking booked in 2021 and Viking has already notified me that it will postpone that trip without any penalties. This will be my last trip with Tauck! The lack of communication is unacceptable.

  • I would be most annoyed with your employer. Panic is a terrible thing, but why does your employer even know where you are going on a vacation. I spent ‘many’ years in the military, and they never knew where I was going on vacation ... my destinations often changed after my ‘leave’ commenced because of snow conditions. I took one ski vacation while on active duty in the military intending to go to Squaw Valley and I ended up in Calgary. I also worked for a number of airlines. They never had a clue where I was when I was not working. Just my opinion of course, but I don’t think it should be anyone’s business where you go on vacation.

  • Sealord...while I don't agree with Swilmer423 employers actions to forbid travel, I do understand. My job requires a security clearance. I must submit my travel itinerary for all travel (work or pleasure) and depending on where I travel, I've often had to speak to 3 letter agency folks upon my return....

  • edited March 3

    Swilmer, you trip is in May, that’s too far ahead to not think the panic will be over by then. Unless you are like Pure luxury, I agree with Sealord, it’s none of your company’s business where you travel on vacation.
    I think it is so strange that Viking is being so generous, maybe they think if this all calms down you will book a trip with them at the non- discount price they have in their brochures instead of the pay now get your trip for half off that they ply and is a complete rip off. I take a lot of tours but am also restricted about when I can travel, I’m busy at certain times of the year and with some trips needing visas, I have to space them out for that reason too. I’m still hoping I can take all my trips 6 I have booked until the end of 2021, I’m certainly not canceling. Let Tauck make the decision for me and hopefully I will not lose any money that way. If I have to do without a specific vacation or two, I’m still a lucky person and able to afford Tauck tours. I’ll have to enjoy all the parts of beautiful America instead, woe is me, not!

  • A Viking 2021 trip??? Why would they even mention that? This is the same company who had a ship take out a lock on the Main for weeks last summer and wasn't even telling there own customers why the canal couldn't be transited. Caused lots of headaches for them and every other ship that needed to take that route. Color me unimpressed with their customer service.

  • PureLuxury. Interesting. I held several compartmented clearances that did not allow me to travel to ‘certain’ countries, but they never required an itinerary. I would not be surprised if I was being tracked via passport or credit cards, but no one put a stamp of approval on my vacation plans. Of course, during my time in the military the cold war was alive and well. During that time, I did work ‘tasked’ by an alphabet soup of 3 letter agencies, but none of them controlled where I vacationed. I also think security issues are a bit different than the present virus situation.

  • edited March 4

    Like Sealord, same here.

  • Sealord, AlanS - Clearances and associated procedures can vary based on the project / customer. I, like PureLuxury, had to go through very restrictive procedures during my career. There were tiered lists of countries, some of which you weren't allowed to visit without the risk of losing your clearance. Losing your clearance, then meant you could lose your job since having a clearance was a job requirement. I had to submit plans for any foreign travel and would be briefed as to the dos and don'ts before each trip. In addition, I would be debriefed upon my return.

  • Sealord unfortunately we're living in a different world with a much different threat...I don't mind sharing my itinerary. If something goes wrong, my whereabouts can be traced that much easier. IMO it's another layer of security for me.

  • I am furious at Tauck! I called last weekend and was told we would receive more information about the ongoing coronavirus situation on Monday - NOTHING! Tuesday and Wednesday - NOTHING! I called again and told them my employer is restricting my return to work after returning from from Japan and South Korea (Land of the Rising Sun goes to both countries). I am a healthcare worker and they feel it necessary to protect patients - rightfully so! A representative (Elise) called and wanted to discuss details, and left a message - I called back after returning from work but she is only in the office 9 - 5. I left another message for her not to call me on my cell as I can not reply while at work. so what does she do - call back on my cell. I called during her limited hours - called at 9:05 AM, then again at 10:05 AM - NO ANSWER! We have to call and talk to them at THEIR CONVENIENCE, not vice versa! THIS IS DISGUSTING.

    I can tell everyone now - this is a 6th vacation with Tauck I have booked - and if this attitude continues, this will be my last! I will accept nothing less than a refund, or there will be a lawsuit. I would encourage a class action suit to get their attention.

  • Did you take trip insurance and what is the date of your tour? Clearly if things stand the same, your tour will not proceed, but Tauck will not cancel it until they have to. I would not want my tour canceled until it was really necessary.
    Surely unless there is something in your work contract about not visiting certain places during outbreaks of whatever, they will have to give you paid leave. Don’t they pay you if you get sick and can’t work under normal circumstances?
    I’ve worked in healthcare but not in the US, if I was sick, I got paid as long as I had a doctor note after three days of missing work.

  • Hello ffmdfacr,

    I heard that you were able to connect with someone at Tauck and they were able to address your concerns, please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.

    Thank you,
    Emily

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