What Would Arthur Say (WWAS)?

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  • I am a regular reader of this forum, but have only posted several times. Sometimes it was to answer questions about a tour that I have been on, and other times to ask questions of my own. I also made an ill-fated guess of a location for one of the entries in the "Been There" Virtual Travel Quiz. I was way off!

    I have taken 6 Tauck tours, with 2 more currently booked. One is toward the end of this year (Essence of Japan), and the other is next spring (South Africa Elegant Adventure). I still hold a modicum of hope that the Japan trip will go, but realize that, as of today, the odds are not in my favor. It is a shame, because I was looking forward to that trip slightly more than SA, but have heard that both are excellent.

    I would echo the cautions raised by others about relying too much on others for tour advice. Not only can the comments be outdated, but since everyone has their own preferences, one person's delight can be another person's misery. The itinerary listed on the website usually provides a good overview of the tour, so if it checks most of your boxes then it would probably be a good choice.

    Travel is a gift. It is by far my favorite hobby, and I hope we can all safely get back to it sooner rather than later.

  • edited July 3

    WPH. you must have read many of my posts. I’m so dumb, it took me a while to figure out what SM meant. I only post on Tauck, I don’t do Facebook or any of the other SM 🤪 For a couple of years I read the Overseas Adventure Travel forum, OAT and took one tour with them on recommendation from a friend who went to Africa with them and another friend who had taken tours with them, it was a dreadful experience, everything from people to organization to things we were supposed to see and do not happening. Hotel accommodation is often nowhere near the sites etc. Much cheaper, but trip insurance way more expensive than Tauck, Double the cost. the forum comments were really useful. Their website for films etc is good. Their forum has been suspended because once the pandemic hit, the company promised refunds, but then changed their minds and people discovered they had been booked on tours the following year without knowledge or permission and sometimes not even on the same tour. Some people discovered their insurance had been canceled too. The BBB has many terrible complaints and the regulars on the forum were confirming the truth of the complaints. Many people pay total cost of their tour upfront to get discount. One poor guy had paid for a group, $85 thousand dollars he could not get back when they cancelled his tour.. So we are lucky with how Tauck has been coping with the Pandemic crisis.
    We have been traveling with Tauck since at least 2003 and have taken more than 30 tours with them, Tauck’s count is different than ours and when we pointed that out the agent said that does happen Especially as we have been with them so long. Quite a few of the tours we have taken are no longer available, such as Florence Tuscany and Umbria which was fantastic and a tour all around Colorado in the summer, can’t remember the name, but we loved it.
    We have taken two tours twice, K and T and Galápagos. The Second Galápagos Tour only repeated one day from when we did it the first time and was a day shorter, so we have seen many places there, would go again. K and T the second time had different ‘up scale’ hotels like. four Seasons, the tour felt very different then the first time because of that and we much preferred the camps we stayed in the first time around, you felt much more connected to the landscape and the the whole experience more intimate.
    We have been to Africa six times and obviously prefer more wildlife and adventure type locations. We like Europe, but it’s just Europe and we hoped to see more of that when we are older, but maybe travel is going to be impossible for a long time now.
    I wanted to ask why you wanted to go to Antarctica? We did not want to go just because it would be our seventh continent. Four days to get there and back with the possibility of rough seas just to step on to a small peninsula on the edge of Antarctica to see smelly penguins, that we have seen in many places, New Zealand, South Africa and Galápagos to name three, and seals. And it is so expensive. I would recommend instead, Patagonia, where you will see two major exciting cities, icebergs, glaciers, hike along lakes and up to receding glaciers in high winds, climb mountainside to view Condors, see Guanacos and Rhea birds the South American ostrich equivalent of an ostrich, and even drink In an ice bar Is one of our favorite tours and one I would repeat. Oh and also has the most amazing hotel we have ever stayed in.
    Many places we still hope to be able to see if Covid is conquered.
    Please keep posting, it’s good to read different opinions and experiences. I have picked up no end of tips and ideas here.

  • Well, I posted a bit on the older forums, but it was so dead, I barely got feedback, so I switched to the Rick Steves forums as they are much more active and participative - many more answers. We have done ONE Rick Steves tour, Venice-Florence-Rome for 10 days and it was very good. The guides and info were spot on with Tauck. The hotels were 3 star, but we knew that going in. We did have to carry our luggage, but we went with a Carry-On and shoulder bag, so it wasn't terrible - although, one hotel, we were on the FIFTH floor with NO elevator. We were in our 40s at the time, we hated it, but it was manageable. The restaurants were good, but my only complaint is that 9 times out of 10 it was a pre-set meal, no ordering from a menu, and I HATED it. The meals on our own were fantastic, as it was Italy.

    We have done 4 Tauck Tours -- MAJESTIC COLORADO (which is no longer offered, which is a shame, as it was amazing) -- CANYONLANDS, which we loved -- DANUBE CHRISTMAS MARKETS -- RHINE CHRISTMAS MARKETS. We had 3 trips canceled this year with Tauck -- ITALY, SWISS ALPS & BAVARIAN HIGHLANDS WITH THE PASSION PLAY, & LEGENDS OF THE AMERICAN WEST. We are also booked on the NEW YULETIDE CRUISE in Dec, but we know it will also cancel.

    We have been on one UNIWORLD River Cruise, also a Christmas Market one, it was 5 star, all inclusive like Tauck, but we LOVED Tauck more and don't plan to do Uniworld again unless the price is much better.

    We rebooked our Passion Play trip for 2022, but hope to be able to change it to the Dolomite one.

    We are also redoing the Danube Christmas Market River Cruise Dec 2021 with friends who've never been to Europe. We love the Christmas Market Cruises because they are fantastic AND more affordable for us. Tauck is out of our price range and we should stick with Rick Steves, but we love the service with Tauck. We will travel with RS again.

    I am active on Facebook, the Rick Steves Travel Forum, and maybe I'll check in here more often now.

  • Ah, Terri Lynn, that is the Colorado tour I could not remember the name of. Just can’t understand why they dropped it

  • There is a current Colorado tour, but living here, I think it misses some must-sees (eg., Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes NP) and I can't imagine why they stop in Leadville. Yes, it's the highest elevation city in the country, but it's a nothing place.

  • Interesting. Mesa Verde and Sand dunes were on the tour we took, don’t think we went to Leadsville

  • Maximgr- I really enjoyed your post about varied peoples interest. You are so correct. Since 2014, I have been on 8 Tauck river cruises, and like Claudia, I was hooked after my first one. One of my favorites was the Monte Carlo to Paris trip. I suggested that to 2 friends and they took it and hated it! LOL. It was a very social cruise, and they were looking for something more historical. So, I agree that it is sometimes best to read the full itinerary when considering a trip. It does a pretty good job of letting you know what to expect. Happy 4th to everyone!

  • edited July 3

    Hi Jan_page - sent you a email with photos (top right of Forum) about Kenya/Tanzania and Israel/Jordan since we have been on both tours recently and you will be going on them.

  • I used to just read the Rick Steves forum posts and lots of other useful info on his website. A big fan of his guidebooks - especially the pocket guides. The Travel Tips section of the website is great and he has a ton of videos on different topics. Didn't start participating in the forum until last year when we had several months with the Tauck forum down waiting for the new improved one. The RS forum is very different atmosphere. Since the vast majority of his tours are Europe, that's the focus of most of the travel talk, but you also see alot of other travel related topics like packing, travel tech, best walking shoes, etc that we don't see quite as much of here. There is also a very large contingent of people there who organize their own tours. Downside is many RS travelers take "carry-on only" packing to almost fanatical lengths. Since you have to carry your own bag on his tours there is some value to it but I literally avoid mentioning that I check a bag.

    If you have time watch the attached video, " Rick Steves Presents an Irreverent History of His Tour Program" where he relates how he got started in the travel business.

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