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-   -   Thinking about going to Russia - has anyone taken a Tauck tour? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/thinking-about-going-to-russia-has-anyone-taken-a-tauck-tour-817165/)

dac Dec 9th, 2009 03:53 PM

Thinking about going to Russia - has anyone taken a Tauck tour?
 
We are always independent travelers, however going to Russia we think it might be best to take a tour. I've looked at Viking Cruises - not too keen on cruises. There is a Tauck land tour that goes to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga, Vilinius, Tallin and Helsinki.
It is pricey but I don't want to be disappointed with accomodations , etc by going with a tour group I've not heard of or known anyone who has used them.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. When is the best time to go? We are 58 and 66 - not that matters.
Thank you.
Dac

Sue4 Dec 9th, 2009 04:08 PM

I don't think you can go wrong with Tauck. I have been on several US and Canada tours with them, (about 10 years ago) and they were great.
Haven't done Europe yet, as I go independently there. However, when the time comes for the ease of a tour, I would certainly use them again. True, a little pricy compared to some other tour companies, but you get what you pay for!
They use top, well-located hotels, and terrific dining options. I don't think you would be disappointed. Be sure to report back if you do the Russia tour!

kja Dec 9th, 2009 04:09 PM

The best time to go IMO - but also likely the most expensive - is during the White Nights, when the nights are as short as they get in that part of the world - and that's short!

I can't comment on tours - I went alone.

Hope that helps!

nytraveler Dec 9th, 2009 05:35 PM

My parents have friend who have used Tauck several times and really liked it. they typically travel independently but a couple of times wanted an itinerary that needed driving - which they don;t do. Said hotels were good and reasonably located and that food was better than on most tours (but they still ate many meals privately - since they are foodies).

I would double check details on exactly which hotels they plan on using - and find out how often they use those versus substitute hotels - since in eastern europe there are many that are substandard for anyone.

CAB226 Dec 9th, 2009 05:51 PM

I took this trip in June 2005. It was fabulous! Hotels were top-notch -- we stayed at the Kamp in Helsinki -- best in town. We stayed at the Baltschug Kempinski in Moscow -- not sure if it was top in town or #2 -- every room had a view of the Kremlin and St. Basil's. We stayed at one of the top two hotels in St. Petersburg (don't recall the name right now, though). In Tallin, Vilnius, and Riga, again I don't recall the specific hotels, but they were all very good and absolutely centrally located right in the middle of the cities.

Food was excellent -- more often than not, you get to have anything you want on the menu (definitely not the stereotypical tour-group dinner where you are in a private room with just your group and you can have rubber-chicken or something equally boring).

The service on a Tauck trip is first-rate. You don't have to handle your bags. Your needs are really taken care of by the Tour Director.

valtor Dec 10th, 2009 04:14 AM

We took Tauck only once, in Canadian Rockies. It was a beautiful experience. Small group, very nice people, luxury hotels, all meals included - and you order from the menu what you want, eat at what hour you want and stay at a table alone or with or you can decide hwo will stay with you. Enough free time. Very good guide and driver.
I am sure that you will enjoy!

iris1745 Dec 10th, 2009 04:55 AM

Hi; Our friends have used Tauck several times and have not been disapointed. Next August we will do a Tauck tour of Scandinavia for our 50th. Ask Tauck for a 5% discount. If not offered, go to www.pavlustravel.com for a 5% discount. They book many companies, including Tauck. Richard

dfr4848 Dec 10th, 2009 06:23 AM

My folks have taken several Tauck tours (Europe and elsewhere) and have thought they were very good - top hotels, really nice food options, guides, etc.

But their last trip (Baltic Cruise) was a nightmare at the beginning. They accepted Tauck's option of arranging air to Copenhagen, where cruise began. Tauck scheduled them on AA from the US. Due to bad weather, their flight arrived in Copenhagen too late and missed the ship. [I and they are well aware this wasn't anyone fault].

Turned out there were 10 people in the same predictament. When they called Tauck to see what their options were, Tauck told them it was AA's problem, not theirs. And AA, of course, said it was Tauck's problem since they had purchased the tickets through Tauck. The group finally got their hotel in Copenhagen to help and they ended up buying tickets to Riga, Latvia where they met the ship.

Once on board they thought everything was quite good. But considering what you pay and the fact that air had been arranging through Tauck, they thought their experience was totally unacceptable.

I know this is somewhat different than a total land tour, but my point is to make sure in advance what they will and won't do if your air fare is not included in the tour package, and is an option.

dac Dec 10th, 2009 07:06 AM

Thanks everyone for your quick and informative replies.
Dac

Infotrack Dec 10th, 2009 08:13 AM

If you are looking for something a little less expensive than Tauck, then take a look at Insight Vacations. http://www.insightvacations.com/us/

The above is the link for the USA website, but they also have sites for all others too.

Insight is a sister company to Trafalgar (same parent company) but is a bit more upscale, and their hotels are usually very central.

historytraveler Dec 10th, 2009 08:26 AM

I seem to be the only one who wasn't impressed by Tauck. The tours are expensive, but I don't believe you get real value for the prices charged. Our tour was fine just too many mishaps/quirks for what is supposedly a superior travel company. Needless to say, they do have many loyal customers, yet I have to wonder if they've toured with any other companies. I don't know if National Geographic does tours of Russia, but, IMO, they are considerably better and the cost is about the same. I've also heard good thing about Insight Tours.

HappyTrvlr Dec 10th, 2009 11:52 AM

A river boat cruise is a very good option for Russia as many of the historic towns and cities are on these waterways which served as the "highway" in years past. Then,you also explore Moscow and St.Petersburg at the beginning and/or end.
The Tauck tour takes you outside of Russia; I would rather spend all my time in Russia as there is so much to see and learn.

iris1745 Dec 10th, 2009 12:02 PM

Hi; If you considered Insight Tours, the Pavlus company offers 10% off. Never been on a Tauck Tour, but our friends have been on three without any glitches. They will be with us next August on our Scandivian Tour with Tauck. We usually do not spend what Tauck charges, but this IS our 50th anniversary. Our 31st trip to Europe, but only five trips with a tour company. Richard


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