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I've read a lot of very positive comments about Tauck land tours and river cruises. We'll be taking a small group land trip with them in 2015 and we have our eye on a river cruise for 2016. I know Tauck offers the "Gift of Time" hotel benefit for returning river cruise passengers. Does anybody know if this extends to previous land trip clients?

 

Also on many ocean cruiselines, there is an opportunity to book a future cruise while onboard. The advance booking usually comes with some benefits, such as reduced deposit, OBC or x% discount. Does Tauck have anything similar on either their land tours or river cruises?

 

Bleuwater, if you're still around, kudos on your exceptional travelogue of your Tauck river cruise. It's simply outstanding. You also mention that you have previously taken Tauck land trips. Which itineraries? Do you have travelogues for any of them? Thanks!

 

Our traveling companions for the Tauck River cruise we took in Septmber had been on a previous land tour with Tauck and they were offered the "Gift of time" on the river cruise so it seems as if that is a benefit for Tauck clients no matter what type of previous tour you have taken with them.

We have a Tauck land tour booked for this August and were offered the "Gift of time" for that trip based on the river cruise we took.

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I just finished a Tauck Christmas Markets on the Rhine cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it. We sailed from Cologne to Basel. Tauck is a first class company. This was my first river cruise and Tauck did not disappoint. The itinerary was great, staff went above and beyond to please and look out for the passengers, food was good, and the many extras and all inclusive pricing were appreciated. Europe at any time is wonderful but it is beautiful at Christmastime.

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Well, like all good things they come to an end. We had a wonderful time on this cruise, Tauck is first class in everything they say and do. From their customer relations to the on board amenities to the pre cruise planning and post cruise, all went like clock work. The various markets are a treat, each has it's own identity, yes there are duplication's of products for sale, but they all have something different, you just have to look a little harder.

 

The Northern Rhine Cruise suited us perfectly as we wanted Premium time at the end on our own in Cologne, which we maximized and managed to see all of the Christmas Markets, spend extensive time at the Cathedral, took a day trip to Dusseldorf and took full advantage of the train/tram tickets. We could not believe the weather, yes cold but only one day of rain.

 

Amazing thing with Tauck, it is the little things that stick in your mind, like the 20 Euros each to have lunch in Riquewihr or the ten Euros each to buy a little ornament to decorate one of the many Christmas trees on board, the ornament you get to keep, to the small, but much appreciated gifts along the way. Food on board is first class, rooms are very comfortable and beds are the same. All in all Tauck gets big big kudos from both my wife and I.:):):):):)

 

I have a rather silly question - how late did you get to stay in the markets? Were you still out and about after dark?

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Has anyone read the recent Tauck review? Not very favorable especially in describing the people who travel with Tauck. It makes me wonder if I made the right decision. We are 57 and 62 and not super wealthy. I hope we won't feel out of place on our Rhine Cruise in October.

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Has anyone read the recent Tauck review? Not very favorable especially in describing the people who travel with Tauck. It makes me wonder if I made the right decision. We are 57 and 62 and not super wealthy. I hope we won't feel out of place on our Rhine Cruise in October.

 

Link?

 

Sent via squirrels and a rotary phone

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I read it. While I haven't traveled with Tauck, I believe the reviewer when he says that the food was adjusted to the bland tastes of elderly Americans. ;) In order to get delicious and genuine local food, you need to travel on a German/Austrian ship or eat on shore occasionally. Check restaurants online beforehand so you don't fall into the usual tourist traps.

 

Back to the Tauck review. His review of the places is as misogynic as his description of his fellow passengers. He had a lot of rain, the poor guy, which must have colored everything grey. Two choice tidbits "roaming gangs of North Africans" and "waste (of) time at the (Heidelberg) castle".

 

October is the perfect time for cruising the Rhine. I wish you sunny weather! Do some research beforehand to get an idea of the rich history of the region. Without it, you'll just see a bunch of buildings.

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mdtcoll,

I read the review as well and have not sailed with Tauck. However, the comments about the Rhine are hard to understand. I sailed from Amsterdam to Basal in July and found each stop along the way truly special. Yes I'm sure the weather can put a "damper" on your mood and perspective but I wouldn't let this one review give you concern about your upcoming cruise. By most accounts Tauck is certainly a premier line as the line I sailed with was(Uniworld). And yes they are more expensive then other lines. But the Rhine itself as you are passing the castles, the beautiful cathedrals you will visit, the quaint towns along the way, and the people you will meet, should create a wonderful trip. Have a great time.

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This is one of those reviews where the negatives keep piling up to the point that I can't put much credence in anything the author said. I can't speak about the Tauck experience, but we did this itinerary on AMA (in better weather) and none of the port descriptions sound familiar. There's no way to tell if this reviewer has taken other river cruises because this is his one and only review on Cruise Critic, and this user name doesn't show up in a search here on the forums (so we can guess that he didn't do any research here before sailing). He does have lots of reviews on TripAdvisor, and in his profile claims to "like to travel in Bavaria" -- that may explain the "nothing is authentic enough to suit me" attitude.

 

For contrast, go back to message #46 in this thread and read JP1320's extremely positive review of what seems to be the same cruise.

Edited by Host Jazzbeau
add reference to positive review
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Has anyone read the recent Tauck review? Not very favorable especially in describing the people who travel with Tauck. It makes me wonder if I made the right decision. We are 57 and 62 and not super wealthy. I hope we won't feel out of place on our Rhine Cruise in October.

 

This is a rarity - I've read nothing but exceptional reviews for Tauck. Although I understand where the reviewer is coming from since it is a lot of money. I'm glad we did it - complete luxury but would probably not do it again until we are older.

 

I went on the same (Rhine) but with AMA and had a wonderful time.

The stops along the way are fine but again what you make of them. The tours were ok but we really enjoyed our time alone exploring (which I highly recommend) .

 

We are in our 40's (LOVED being the youngest for once!) but you make friends fast and they are not all super wealthy - really I think the majority are like us and save for ages for a holiday of a lifetime.

 

Food is ok too. And there is LOTS of it all the time! Plenty of selections too. Wine was good too (I was told). I would also highly recommend eating the local fare - there is nothing like it. Bring a small cooler too - we found great foods/drinks (cakes!!!) at the farmers market. Oooo, and don't forget the ice cream - OMG!

 

I'm sure you will be treated like royalty - you will have a wonderful time.

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We did our first river cruise in August with Tauck and enjoyed it very much. While I can honestly say that this will be probably my first and last river cruise-this has no reflection on my experience with Tauck at all. Tauck was wonderful and handled all our travel expectations to the max! We are also 57 and 62 years old and never felt like we were on a trip with old folks(some did move slower than others, but some could run circles around us). We are not wealthy, but do travel a lot and did not feel that this river cruise was filled with wealthy people. The people we met were well traveled and educated people that all have a zest for travel adventures and very friendly! The food was very well presented and we enjoyed the taste very much(we are real foodies)and the selection was varied enough that we always found something that we wanted on the menus. I have found that with travel you will always have one person's review that will set your mind into wondering if you made the right choice about a trip that you have planned. Take every review with a grain of salt and know that not everyone likes everything and everyone is entitled to their own likes and dislikes!

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I may very well have been on the boat with the reviewer who did not have a good Tauck experience. While I agree with a few of his observations, I had a wonderful time and would do another Tauck trip in a heartbeat.

 

My travel companions and I arrived in Cologne a couple of days early so we could enjoy the markets there. We did not choose to stay in tauck hotel because we thought we could save some money. However, we did have to transfer luggage and take taxis to the cruise hotel to start our trip. I had done my research before the trip and knew that over the weekend Cologne would be very crowded. We enjoyed the market at the Altermarkt in front of city hall and the market down by the river at the chocolate museum. We were able to visit those earlier in the day. The Angel market and the market at the Cathedral were beautiful but too crowded at night to peruse the stalls. Face it, Cologne is a big city and a popular tourist destination for the markets. My advice is to visit markets during the week if possible. The chocolate museum is worth visiting on your own, not included in tour.

 

We had the lowest category cabins, so paid much less than the reviewer. While small, the cabins were very nice, refrigerators with water and soft drinks always provided. Room stewards kept them very neat.

 

The food was very good and a big variety available at all meals. The filet was the only entree I did not rate well but it is my personal taste. The beef was Argentinian grass fed and very tender, but I prefer US grain finished beef. Different taste for different folks.I felt the wine selection was very good. Any alcohol request was filled in the lounge. Lack of elaborate nighttime entertainment was not a problem as most were tired from the daily excursions. There was always a piano player in the lounge. The lounge was a very comfortable place to relax any time of day. The same wait staff worked both the dining room and lounge, and were superb.

 

Aachen was my least favorite stop. Long bus ride to and from with limited time there. I felt like this could have been skipped with extra time added somewhere else. We also had rain there, of course not tauck's fault. You need to be aware in December that rain is very likely. We had dressed for it. Tauck provides big umbrellas. I have been to Europe twice before and I HAVE encountered nominal charges in a couple cathedrals for taking photos.

 

I knew from my research that much of the Rhine is not scenic, it is commercial shipping. I liked that Tauck sailed the non scenic portions during the evening. We spent our days at the various stops sightseeing. For the most part, bus rides to the cities were short. The tour directors on each bus did a good job with commentary on these rides. They did spend an entire morning cruising the most scenic portion. I took many beautiful photos.

 

We very much enjoyed the group family style German meal in Heidelburg. I thought the food was very good. My only suggestion to Tauck regarding their ship food is to offer one entree each night that is some sort of regional food. The wines for the most part were regional wines.

 

I enjoyed all the stops, just be aware they are crowded, both in large cities and in small towns. As in any big city there will be hawkers and pickpockets to be cautious of. Just use common sense and you will be fine. I never felt like I was harassed, matter of fact I always felt safe. Do a little research before you go and know where the various Christmas markets are in cities with multiple markets. Some markets offer more unique types of items. The suggestion I made to Tauck is to provide maps that show locations of the markets and the themes of each, especially since this is a Christmas market cruise.

 

I felt this itinerary gave a good taste of traditional Germany and Alsace regions of France. It is beautiful and very festive at Christmastime. Lots of good food and mulled wine to try. As with any European trip, you need to be in good physical shape to fully enjoy it. Only downside of an organized tour is that many times I wished to stay longer at a place but we did get a good taste of many stops within a weeks time.

 

Tauck does an excellent job of taking care of their passengers. One evening a passenger had to go to the hospital by ambulance. The Tauck tour director accompanied the passenger to the hospital, which I was impressed with. Many little "extra" touches were provided. Everything is truly inclusive, I never paid a dime for anything once I boarded. The Christmas market cruises are the least expensive of their river cruises. At this point in my life, the only one I can afford. Fellow passengers were well educated professionals who did talk about multiple Tauck trips they had taken, but I did not feel they were being haughty or boastful. Most were older than me but were very active, friendly, and interesting to talk to. I very much enjoyed small river boat cruising because you got to know your fellow passengers well.

 

Would I do another Tauck river cruise? Absolutely! Trip of a lifetime, and I have already been to Europe twice on my own. It was so nice to be pampered .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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My only complaint on what was otherwise a superb Tauck cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam was that regional dishes served in the MDR that are meant to be spicy were extremely bland.

...QUOTE]

 

I'm betting that they use the eastern American version of "spicy", which to me is not at all!

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My only complaint on what was otherwise a superb Tauck cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam was that regional dishes served in the MDR that are meant to be spicy were extremely bland.

...QUOTE]

 

I'm betting that they use the eastern American version of "spicy", which to me is not at all!

I understand exactly what you are saying. we just got back from a 31 day ocean cruise and felt the dinners were "dumbed down" to" middle America" tastes. I do not want to sound snobbish, but living in California and being exposed to all kinds of cuisine has us spoiled

Edited by Talisker92
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I understand exactly what you are saying. we just got back from a 31 day ocean cruise and felt the dinners were "dumbed down" to" middle America" tastes. I do not want to sound snobbish, but living in California and being exposed to all kinds of cuisine has us spoiled

 

Unfortunately that is what the majority wants. Once, I ordered a very fine Thai dish with just the right spiciness, maybe a 5 or 6 on a scale of 0 - 10, which is really mild in any Thai restaurant in the USA, and my co-passengers sent it back as too spicy. By the way, they were Californian.:D

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This is one of those reviews where the negatives keep piling up to the point that I can't put much credence in anything the author said. I can't speak about the Tauck experience, but we did this itinerary on AMA (in better weather) and none of the port descriptions sound familiar. There's no way to tell if this reviewer has taken other river cruises because this is his one and only review on Cruise Critic, and this user name doesn't show up in a search here on the forums (so we can guess that he didn't do any research here before sailing). He does have lots of reviews on TripAdvisor, and in his profile claims to "like to travel in Bavaria" -- that may explain the "nothing is authentic enough to suit me" attitude.

 

For contrast, go back to message #46 in this thread and read JP1320's extremely positive review of what seems to be the same cruise.

 

I went back and reread his review, and I agree I would not put much credence to it. We sailed the Rhine from the Main to Amsterdam, and his description of it as a "commercial canal that you can throw a rock across" makes me ask what river was he on?? It certainly was not the Rhine.

Yes, there was a mixup with luggage, but it happens. I was on a cruise where one of our passengers grabbed the wrong suitcase from another on our tour at the airport, and it took an hour to sort it out. That was not the cruise lines fault.

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  • 1 month later...

I have personally witnessed extremely unprofessional behavior by a Tauck guide en route from Johannesburg to Victorial Falls and her behavior in the customs line in Zimbabwe was egregious.

She jumped out of her assigned seat to propel herself to a more satisfactory(to her) unassigned seat at the front of the plane and proceeded to pull out an emery board and file her nails! And that was among other sloppy and unprofessional things she did as well and her appearance was just gross-wrinkled clothes,unkempt and dirty hair,etc. Ewww.

On arrival at customs, she tried to barge ahead of one of my fellow tour travelers to cut in line. My friend took one look at her and told her to take a hike.

There was obvious "grease palming" as her tours luggage magically bypass the mandatory luggage screening process in that airport-yes they demand you pass your bags again through a screener. I just had to laugh as despite all of her machinations her tourists only left 10 minutes ahead of our group and we played by the rules-we did not try to cut in line or bypass security regulations.

She unfortunately was on our return flight from Victoria Falls and left ALL of her tour participants behind in the waiting arae so she could schmooze and board first. Our tour director ensured that he boarded AFTER all of our group so that no one was left behind.

After seeing that kind of sleazy behavior in a third world country where the tour guide is essential to your safety I will never look at a Tauck tour anywhere.

They overcharge anyway to put you up in extravagant hotels where who spend almost no time in your room anyway.

Our tour company was upscale in every way. We stayed at VERY nice hotels as well but had a very professional guide with us at all times.

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And we stayed at the same hotel as the Tauck group did in Victoria Falls! Had a better hotel in Cape Town. I can't imagine how much more those people paid than we did for what I know was not even close to the experience we had. I l looked at that tour compared to our tour and ours was so much better and comprehensive.

It does pay to shop around

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