Tauck is 6 stars -- perfection -- but never again

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#21
california
1,044 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
While we did this same cruise with Viking rather than Tauck, I can completely understand the OP. We were well prepared by extensive reading as well as discussions with friends who had done this and other river cruises. Both DW and I throughly enjoyed the trip, the crew, the other passengers, even the ship swap which Viking handled well. However after the cruise we both agreed that to do future river cruises they would need to be very itinerary driven. Ocean cruises we sometimes take for the itinerary but other times we just do them as a simple way to vacation. We have over 20. Just as often we take land based "trips on the ground" as the only way to see some places in detail.
River cruising was fun, something to experience but not #1 on my way to travel, in spite of my now daily Viking brochures.
#22
Washington
6,071 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by bitob
You make laugh while you insult me and you don't know me

Of course I did my homework. I knew what to expect. I wanted to see if the experience of cruising down a river with (not so) lovely scenery would compensate for the organized tours and the rest of the experience. I have friends who rave about river cruises. It is not for us

Insulting people or making assumptions about whether they did homework is bad manners. Shame on you

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Some people on this board get absolutely rabid if you don't like something about river cruising. Some man wrote the longest and ugliest post about me because I wrote that the American food and a $4.98 bottle of wine from Argentina reportedly served on a Viking Rhine & Danube cruise is inappropriate in Europe (he fumed that I would have no way of knowing if the wine were good or not without tasting it. LOL!)

At any rate, it is good to know that Tauck does a very first class river cruise. For us, we used our Uniworld Rhine cruise to identify areas we want to return to and spend more time exploring on a land vacation so I considered the touring to be more of a full-immersion way of getting to know the area fast. But I agree with you about organized tours and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. I can put up with it for 7 days, but after that, I prefer to go on my own and do what I choose to do so we combined our Rhine river cruise with some time on our own in Amsterdam. The good news is we fell in love with the wineries along the Rhine in Germany and France and we'll be making our way back to those for a land based vacation that won't include any Cathedrals but will include Michelin starred restaurants and lots and lots of wineries!
#23
308 Posts
Joined Jan 2016
We are taking our first river cruise next year. I appreciate bitob's report because it was well balanced and stated clearly what they liked and disliked. We love Cathedral's and castles, but it will be the first time we have done any touring on a schedule set by someone else. I know I will be on the easy walking tours, as I tend to take lots of pics, so hopefully that will help with not being rushed.

I've done my homework, and hope I will enjoy our cruise, but I won't know until we actually try it.


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#24
1,878 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Originally posted by SuiteTraveler
Some people on this board get absolutely rabid if you don't like something about river cruising. Some man wrote the longest and ugliest post about me because I wrote that the American food and a $4.98 bottle of wine from Argentina reportedly served on a Viking Rhine & Danube cruise is inappropriate in Europe (he fumed that I would have no way of knowing if the wine were good or not without tasting it. LOL!)



At any rate, it is good to know that Tauck does a very first class river cruise. For us, we used our Uniworld Rhine cruise to identify areas we want to return to and spend more time exploring on a land vacation so I considered the touring to be more of a full-immersion way of getting to know the area fast. But I agree with you about organized tours and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. I can put up with it for 7 days, but after that, I prefer to go on my own and do what I choose to do so we combined our Rhine river cruise with some time on our own in Amsterdam. The good news is we fell in love with the wineries along the Rhine in Germany and France and we'll be making our way back to those for a land based vacation that won't include any Cathedrals but will include Michelin starred restaurants and lots and lots of wineries!


That sounds divine

We have a bunch of ocean cruises planned with lots of sea days on oceania, crystal and seabourn (Antarctica )

I have always believed you have to try a particular way to travel for yourself to see if you like it




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#25
Washington
6,071 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by bitob
That sounds divine

We have a bunch of ocean cruises planned with lots of sea days on oceania, crystal and seabourn (Antarctica )

I have always believed you have to try a particular way to travel for yourself to see if you like it




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Your forthcoming ocean cruises sound fantastic! I'm kind of living through other's vacations for right now. I have not been on those 3 lines yet, but I'm very interested in them. I have heard the waters can be very rough going around Cape Horn and other times smooth - I hope you write about that cruise! Certainly it should be an amazing experience!

We had to forego travel this summer due to my 92 year old father becoming ill, but it looks like he has, again, beat the odds and will be going home soon. Still I don't feel I can be more than a few hours by plane away from him as I don't want to risk him having an emergency and me being in another country.
#26
233 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Thanks to the OP for this very balanced review. I've always wanted to try a river cruise, but as nice as it sounds, I don't think this is for us either. Maybe later on when we are older, but not now.


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#27
Here and There
557 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by bitob
Most. Some were very short rides. Or you got a bus tour of sites before arriving at the destination for the tour


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That's a little disappointing. I was looking forward to walking tours right from the ship. I guess the Danube is not known for that?

Anyway, it is a long cruise and we will definitely plan at least several days on our own. Being herded around does become a little tiring and sometimes redundant.
#28
1,878 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Originally posted by Gourmet Gal
That's a little disappointing. I was looking forward to walking tours right from the ship. I guess the Danube is not known for that?



Anyway, it is a long cruise and we will definitely plan at least several days on our own. Being herded around does become a little tiring and sometimes redundant.


There were a few bus ports where you could opt for a power walk into the town. Only for the fittest of travelers


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#29
North Carolina
62 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
We did the Paris to Prague City of Lights cruise with another couple on Viking a few years ago. It was their trip and we just went along with their plans. None of us had ever been to Europe before. Had a great time, loved the food, the scenery, the ship, and the company. We saw castles, museums, vineyards, cobblestone streets, and cathedrals. Won't do another one in Europe but would consider China. Prefer ocean cruising for the value and flexibility and entertainment. Glad we did it though. Be forewarned, if you do Viking, you will br inundated with brochures for the rest of your life. I resent their pricing "two for one" as that is their regular price. Just a marketing ploy.

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#30
Nanaimo BC
123 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
What is it that makes people think they can second guess the thread starter ? Scolding and rude. Is that how you wish to be treated ? Re: cm1 post 6 !!

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#31
Raleigh, NC
425 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
This year is my second Viking cruise, both in Europe. I wonder if I would enjoy an ocean cruise with all the crowds, crowds, crowds. I'm trying to convince my husband to do the Viking Ocean cruise to Australia and New Zealand in 2018 or 2019.
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Viking Tor 9/2017, Romantic Danube
Viking Heimdal 9/2016, Lyon to Provence
#32
United States
214 Posts
Joined May 2014
Originally posted by zitsky
This year is my second Viking cruise, both in Europe. I wonder if I would enjoy an ocean cruise with all the crowds, crowds, crowds. I'm trying to convince my husband to do the Viking Ocean cruise to Australia and New Zealand in 2018 or 2019.
I share the same thoughts; 2 cruises, one with Vantage, one Viking, both river.
The Viking Ocean boats look great, and 900+ people is still a lot better than 4000+. Plus I get motion sick.

But if I do go on an Ocean cruise, I think it would be Viking's that goes through the Adriatic, along Croatia and to Greece.

Thanks to the OP for a great review and viewpoint.
#33
395 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by HokiePoq
Reminds me of what the guide said to us on the Discover Scuba excursion: What some people discover is that they don't like scuba!
Loved this! So very true! River cruising is definitely not for everyone.

Although we've found we love it, we also do it our own way: We always book one of the largest suites, take only the group tours we want to (and never feel guilty about skipping an afternoon once in awhile), and we always spend several days on land on each end of our cruise in locations we're interested in visiting in a more in-depth way. Even as much as we have enjoyed our river cruises, I'm not sure I could do it for more than a week. (And my BIL/SIL who came with us on the first cruise will probably never choose to do another again. Just not the way they want to spend their vacations.)

P.S. I'm one of probably the few here who have never been on an ocean cruise, and I find nothing attractive about the entire concept. Different strokes for different folks! At least the OP now knows it's not for them, although it was probably a pricey lesson.
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Upcoming:
2018 - Uniworld SS Maria Theresa - Danube Holiday Markets, Budapest - Passau
Past:
2016 - Uniworld SS Maria Theresa - European Holiday Markets - Vienna to Nuremberg
2015 - Uniworld SS Antoinette - Castles Along the Rhine - Amsterdam to Basel


#34
Raleigh, NC
425 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by ural guy
I share the same thoughts; 2 cruises, one with Vantage, one Viking, both river.
The Viking Ocean boats look great, and 900+ people is still a lot better than 4000+. Plus I get motion sick.

But if I do go on an Ocean cruise, I think it would be Viking's that goes through the Adriatic, along Croatia and to Greece.

Thanks to the OP for a great review and viewpoint.
What's better, Vantage or Viking?
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Viking Tor 9/2017, Romantic Danube
Viking Heimdal 9/2016, Lyon to Provence
#35
1,878 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Originally posted by pincak
We did the Paris to Prague City of Lights cruise with another couple on Viking a few years ago. It was their trip and we just went along with their plans. None of us had ever been to Europe before. Had a great time, loved the food, the scenery, the ship, and the company. We saw castles, museums, vineyards, cobblestone streets, and cathedrals. Won't do another one in Europe but would consider China. Prefer ocean cruising for the value and flexibility and entertainment. Glad we did it though. Be forewarned, if you do Viking, you will br inundated with brochures for the rest of your life. I resent their pricing "two for one" as that is their regular price. Just a marketing ploy.

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I think for first timers to Europe a river cruise might be a good introduction to travel abroad. Saves you the learning curve of planning in far away places.




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#36
Albany, NY
4,397 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by bitob
I think for first timers to Europe a river cruise might be a good introduction to travel abroad. Saves you the learning curve of planning in far away places.
Very true. You can have a trip to Europe with absolutely zero planning and you can be taken care of from start to finish. Very comforting if that is what you want, and a great way to get your feet wet.

We are very comfortable with DIY, but we also love river cruises. We actually book a river cruise when we want to relax and let someone else do the work, as our DIY Europe trips are certifiably insane! It has taken me about two months to recover from our last "vacation" in Europe... For us, river cruises are relaxing and slow paced. To each his own.

Bitob, sounds like the cruise was great in many aspects but sorry it wasn't as great as you might have hoped. Thanks for posting. I have to admit when I saw the title, I wondered where you'd go with the thread...but I thought your review and rationale were very balanced. You did give Tauck credit for everything that you liked and you pointed out why it wasn't the kind of trip that you personally liked. You didn't say anything bad about Tauck, or about those who like river cruising, just that it isn't for you. Totally fair.

What's the next trip that you have planned? Some cool DIY trip I hope?
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JP and Chris

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#37
New Jersey, the Philly end
7,163 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by bitob
There were a few bus ports where you could opt for a power walk into the town. Only for the fittest of travelers


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I have a different perspective. We stopped at each of the cities on this itinerary on various cruises and found most of the docking locations to be accessible to the city center on foot or in combination with public transit. We found most cities on the other major river itineraries to be similarly accessible.

To be accurate, buses were used in Amsterdam, Vienna, and Budapest for portions of the city tours. However it was no problem to get to/from the ship city center on our own in these and most other cities.

The notable exception was Nuremberg, where our cruise line had scheduled shuttles back to the port from the city center. We did bus to the Rezidence in Wurzberg, but walked from the ship to other places. I can't remember with certainty, but Bamburg may have required a shuttle from the ship to the city center.
#38
Here and There
557 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by CPT Trips
I have a different perspective. We stopped at each of the cities on this itinerary on various cruises and found most of the docking locations to be accessible to the city center on foot or in combination with public transit. We found most cities on the other major river itineraries to be similarly accessible.

To be accurate, buses were used in Amsterdam, Vienna, and Budapest for portions of the city tours. However it was no problem to get to/from the ship city center on our own in these and most other cities.

The notable exception was Nuremberg, where our cruise line had scheduled shuttles back to the port from the city center. We did bus to the Rezidence in Wurzberg, but walked from the ship to other places. I can't remember with certainty, but Bamburg may have required a shuttle from the ship to the city center.
Thank you for the clarification! That sounds much better.
#39
1,878 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Originally posted by jpalbny
Very true. You can have a trip to Europe with absolutely zero planning and you can be taken care of from start to finish. Very comforting if that is what you want, and a great way to get your feet wet.

We are very comfortable with DIY, but we also love river cruises. We actually book a river cruise when we want to relax and let someone else do the work, as our DIY Europe trips are certifiably insane! It has taken me about two months to recover from our last "vacation" in Europe... For us, river cruises are relaxing and slow paced. To each his own.

Bitob, sounds like the cruise was great in many aspects but sorry it wasn't as great as you might have hoped. Thanks for posting. I have to admit when I saw the title, I wondered where you'd go with the thread...but I thought your review and rationale were very balanced. You did give Tauck credit for everything that you liked and you pointed out why it wasn't the kind of trip that you personally liked. You didn't say anything bad about Tauck, or about those who like river cruising, just that it isn't for you. Totally fair.

What's the next trip that you have planned? Some cool DIY trip I hope?


We and 3 other couples are taking cruise from Tokyo to Shanghai. We have private guides pre cruise for 4 days and all during the cruise. When we get to Shanghai we have private tour of china for 12 days with one of the couples.


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#40
Sacramento, CA
1,343 Posts
Joined May 2003
Sounds nice. Hope you're including Xian for the Terra Cotta Warriors. Spectacular!


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