Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
behooves

Tauck/Ponant

Recommended Posts

I have been looking into booking a Tauck Small Ship cruise, but Tauck does not have a forum on Cruise Critic.  It seems that Tauck uses Ponant ships.  Does Tauck commission Ponant ships for it's cruises, or is a Tauck cruise simply a group of Tauck passengers within a Ponant cruise?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it may depend.  The particular sailings I am aware of had Tauck groups mixed in [actually staying separate from...] the rest of the passengers.  But I believe that sometimes Tauck reserves the entire ship.  In either case Tauck puts its own staff on board who organize and lead their own shore excursions.  I expect that they eat dinner in the main dining room but have reserved tables, and that they take over one of the lounges from time to time for Tauck briefings and receptions.  [That is what we did as part of a Backroads group on a Ponant ship].  So there is little mixing of the Tauck guests with the rest of the passengers.  [I'll be on the other end of this stick in a few weeks, as a non-Tauck guest on a Ponant cruise with a Tauck group.  I will post my reaction on this forum.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So where should one direct questions/comments about Tauck cruises?  "Other Cruise Lines" forums, I imagine.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For ocean cruises, 'Other Cruise Lines.'  For river cruises, 'River Cruising.'  Companies that don't have [or at least have long-term leases on] their own ships won't have their own forums on Cruise Critic.

 

My guess is that most Tauck customers think of them as a land tour company, or a travel provider – not a cruise line.  So the percentage that will even know about Cruise Critic is probably very low.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

55 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

My guess is that most Tauck customers think of them as a land tour company, or a travel provider – not a cruise line.  So the percentage that will even know about Cruise Critic is probably very low.

I'm kind of surprised about that.  Tauck has a rather extensive Small Ship cruise itineraries.  Judging from their reputation, I would think that CC members would be attracted to them and want to comment and exchange ideas.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, as my signature says I'm not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for them.  This is just me trying to figure out why the forums are structured the way they are.  Tauck doesn't own any ships, and except for European river cruises they don't even have long-term leases on any ships [AFAIK].  So they don't really count as a 'cruise line' in Cruise Critic terms.  

 

I don't have a good answer for this.  DW and I are beginning to think about hiking/walking tours to get into the interiors of countries [e.g. Backroads, Country Walkers, Classic Journeys] – and there is nothing like Cruise Critic for that type of trip.  Maybe Tauck could sponsor a chat function on their website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Well, as my signature says I'm not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for them.  This is just me trying to figure out why the forums are structured the way they are.  Tauck doesn't own any ships, and except for European river cruises they don't even have long-term leases on any ships [AFAIK].  So they don't really count as a 'cruise line' in Cruise Critic terms.  

I understand, and please don't think that I am arguing the point, but given the fact that Tauck does offer cruises, and that CC is IMO the quintessential site for cruise discussion, it is a shame that there is not an obvious area for such discussion to take place.  And if you are correct that few CC members are even aware that they offer cruises, it is unfortunate that there is not an obvious way to make it more widely known.  If their small ship experience is comparable to their river cruises, which I am assuming it is, cruise lovers would want to know about it.

 

8 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

DW and I are beginning to think about hiking/walking tours to get into the interiors of countries [e.g. Backroads, Country Walkers, Classic Journeys] – and there is nothing like Cruise Critic for that type of trip.  Maybe Tauck could sponsor a chat function on their website.

I seem to remember that Tauck used to have a chat function there, but do not see it now.  Have you tried Tripadvisor's "Outdoors / Adventure Travel Forum"?  https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i10701-Outdoors_Adventure_Travel.html

 

Oops, am I allowed to post links to other sites on CC?😶

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, boblerm said:

Oops, am I allowed to post links to other sites on CC?😶

 

It depends.  Anything that smells like a travel agency is not allowed.  But since TripAdvisor owns Cruise Critic, it's ok! :classic_wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the Antarctica Tauck cruise, the Tauck passengers were in a separate group to the other ship passengers.  There was 108 Tauck passengers and the other 92 were in other groups.  The difference was that Tauck had a guest speaker who was fabulous that the other passengers were not allowed to attend.  No there was not separate table for the Tauck passengers.  We found that the other passengers in particular the French speaking passengers got the choice times for the landings and had their full allotted time.  The last group of Tauck landings appeared to be short changed at times.  Tauck also got the back of the plane on the chartered flight from Buenos Aires whereas the other passengers got the better seating both ways.

The food on Le Boreal was so so.  The vegetables were awful.  They had been cooked so long they were pure mush and absolutely tasteless. Scrambled eggs at breakfast were not much better.  Mushy and very wet.  The omelettes were good though.  Desserts had nuts in them, so if you have a nut allergy you will have a hard time finding a dessert you can eat safely.  The dining room staff did not seem to know if the desserts contained nuts or not.  If you ate in the dining room, on some nights you would be lucky if you were finished by 9:30 pm.  One night we left at 10:30 pm.  We noted that the tables where the officers sat with passengers were served much faster and they would be onto their next course before other tables were served the previous course..  We also noticed that the French speaking passengers did receive better service at times.  None of the French speaking passengers were part of the Tauck group.  The Tauck group consisted of 3 Canadians, 4 Aussies, 2 from somewhere in Europe and 2 from Central America.  All the other passengers were American and the Tauck guides did mention to us that Tauck definitely caters to Americans travelling.  The Tauck guides were excellent and the few extra surprises were nice supplied by Tauck.  I have a feeling that Tauck having the guest speaker was a sore point with several of the non-Tauck passengers.

 

Edited by no fuss travel
Added more info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at Tauck pricing compared to Ponant's, and also having compared the prices for my Backroads Iceland cruise with booking Ponant direct: you pay for those speakers and amenities!  This is not a complaint, as we enjoyed the Iceland cruise with Backroads much more than we would have with Ponant or DIY excursions, but it will temper my outrage if it happens in New Zealand where I am a Ponant customer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These comments point out all the more makes me wish that there was a better way to discuss the Tauck small ship product on CC.  No fuss travel's comments were the first I have read in terms of anything remotely resembling a review of that experience.

 

Jazzbeau, if I wish to post a trip report on my Tauck cruise, (not until October), I imagine that would go in the Other Cruise Line forum.  If I wish to do a review, if I look at the drop down list of cruise lines, I only see 2 for Tauck small ship, le Boreal and le Lyrial.  They use several others, mine is on Le Champlain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see what you mean about the cruise ship review menu.  I have no idea why those two Tauck listings were created.  I have raised the small-ship and third-party issues with CC management, but had to admit that I don't see any obvious solution.  There is a forum for Eco/Expedition Cruising in the Special Interest section (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/55-eco-amp-expedition-cruising/) but it gets very little action.  Perhaps they could create a Small-Ship Cruising section there [but would people know that Tauck would fit there?  and would it dilute the already low-volume Ponant forum?]  Do you have any suggestions on this? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the idea of a Small Ship Cruising section, since Other Cruise Lines is such a broad category.  True, there would be some overlap with existing categories, but that is already the case as the is a Luxury Cruise section in Special Interest, in addition to all of the individual luxury cruise lines.  It seems to me, if I was looking for information or wanted to share information about a small ship cruise, that is where I would look first. Maybe "small ships/yachts"?

 

On second thought, this might cause a lot of extra work for the forum hosts in having to move posts from one forum to a more appropriate forum.  Maybe leaving things as they are would be best.  But I would like to be able to post a review if possible, so if the other Tauck ships could be added to the review menu, that would be great.

Edited by boblerm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, boblerm said:

I like the idea of a Small Ship Cruising section, since Other Cruise Lines is such a broad category.  True, there would be some overlap with existing categories, but that is already the case as the is a Luxury Cruise section in Special Interest, in addition to all of the individual luxury cruise lines.  It seems to me, if I was looking for information or wanted to share information about a small ship cruise, that is where I would look first. Maybe "small ships/yachts"?

 

On second thought, this might cause a lot of extra work for the forum hosts in having to move posts from one forum to a more appropriate forum.  Maybe leaving things as they are would be best.  But I would like to be able to post a review if possible, so if the other Tauck ships could be added to the review menu, that would be great.

 

It would often be confusing trying to figure out which is the 'appropriate forum.'  A post about any Ponant ship would be appropriate in both the Ponant and the new forums – unless you mean to call it "Other small ships/yachts," which would limit it to a very small universe [of ships and posters].  I think a "Small Ship/Yacht Cruising" forum would be a good addition, but as a way to discuss the concept of sailing on small vessels generally rather than about any particular lines – but I wonder if it would get much action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I cruised with Tauck on a Ponant ship a couple of years ago, and when I wrote the review I posted it under Ponant.  It was the Land of the Rising Sun cruise (Japan) and if you are interested I wrote a fairly lengthy review that separated out the parts of the cruise that were all Ponant, and the parts that were Tauck.

 

I agree that Tauck has a product that would appeal to a certain segment of CC members, and that it would be nice if it were easier to find and exchange information about those itineraries.  We liked the Ponant ship we were on, but we also know that a good part of our enjoyment of the cruise came from the way Tauck took care of us, and the quality of the tour guides.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did Antarctica with Ponant on Le boreal, the same day we left Le Soleil (I think) also left, that was half tauck, where’s as ours was purely Ponant, I’m not sure if it was because 30% of the travellers were Aussie, 20% other English speaking and 50% French, but we had no issues, everything was fairly done, our landing group changed daily, so everyone got to go first, regardless of nationality.

interestingly the cruise that left the same day was over $1000USD pp more expensive, maybe because people thought they would benefit from the Tauck brand??

Regardless we couldn’t fault it it, the French speaking had there lectures, we had ours. Maybe on a Tauck charter it wouldn’t have been so equitable?

I had never heard of Tauck previously, obviously catering to the US market? Maybe that’s why our cruise was more Aussies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were very recently on a Ponant Cruise which was a mix of Tauck, BackRoads and Independent passengers. From our experience everyone we spoke to, regardless of whether they were booked via Tauck, BackRoads or Ponant direct all felt they were cruising with Ponant but with their tour leaders from Tauck or Backroads looking after their excursions and group specific talks/activities. At dinners we all mixed together - we being individual Ponant direct customers did not experience any 'differentiation' at all - we just all seemed to be on a Ponant cruise and felt if anyone was to review their trip they would think of reviewing the cruise component as a Ponant review....just our feelings based on the cruise and conversations from just few weeks ago on Le Laperouse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Damaris1900 said:

My husband and I cruised with Tauck on a Ponant ship a couple of years ago, and when I wrote the review I posted it under Ponant.  It was the Land of the Rising Sun cruise (Japan) and if you are interested I wrote a fairly lengthy review that separated out the parts of the cruise that were all Ponant, and the parts that were Tauck.

Damaris1900. could you post a link here to that review, or if not, give me the approximate dates, so that I could find it, I would like to read it.  But this points out the problem, if someone was looking for info about Tauck they would not know to look for it in the Ponant forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/21/2020 at 12:49 PM, Damaris1900 said:

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=579879

 

At the time I posted this review, I believe it was the only Tauck related review on CC.  If not, I certainly couldn't find them, and I looked.

 

Let me know if you need any further information, I'd be happy to answer questions.

Excellent report, I found that very interesting.  I am taking the Great Lakes cruise on Tauck in the Fall and it was nice to get a glimpse of what to expect, thank you.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats on Le Champlain, isn't it?  If you have traveled with Tauck before, you know that you will be well taken care of, and if you haven't, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts when you get back.  My husband and I are dedicated Tauck enthusiasts, and really enjoyed our Ponant experience.  We are definitely planning to cruise with them again, and hope you have a fantastic time.  Post a review when you get back!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Damaris1900 said:

Thats on Le Champlain, isn't it?  If you have traveled with Tauck before, you know that you will be well taken care of, and if you haven't, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts when you get back.  My husband and I are dedicated Tauck enthusiasts, and really enjoyed our Ponant experience.  We are definitely planning to cruise with them again, and hope you have a fantastic time.  Post a review when you get back!

Yes, it is Le Champlain. We have done 2 river cruises with Tauck, and thought that they were absolutely fabulous.  Our experience with them is what drew us to looking into their small ship itineraries.

I looked at the Ponant site, and do not see our cruise listed there, I wonder if I can assume that this cruise will be Tauck passengers only?

I will post a review when I return, provided that the powers that be put a Le Champlain (Tauck) option in the Review section (hint, hint).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We finished our Ponant cruise the begining of February on Le Durmont Durville to Costa Rica & Panama. There were approx. 165 passengers. Half American-half many other nationalities. I'd say of the Americans that 2/3 were Tauck passengers. The Tauck passengers had 2, sometimes 3 people on board making sure that their trip was going well-these people were knowledgeable about the local travel, gave speeches and talks and knew all "their" passengers by name!  It was very impressive! We were not part of the Tauck group, but became friendly with many who were! I would consider looking into travelling with Tauck in the future-it was nice to see that any questions, problems, issues, etc were all handled by competent staff who traveled with us. 

 

By the way the ship was beautiful, food pretty good, wines wonderful and most of all, amazing, friendly, staff! I've been on many cruises-I can't wait to travel with Ponant again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are currently booked on an Iceland cruise with Ponant for early August; unlikely that will occur. Despite traveling with Tauck on a land tour to Scotland last year, we opted to go directly through Ponant rather than Tauck. We really like Tauck - it's just that the price difference was huge. Granted, it covered tours, guides, etc. But I just couldn't justify the cost. They offer a very high level of personal service. Which I didn't feel we needed for a cruise.

 

Now I see that Tauck has cancelled all travel through 2020; I'm still waiting for my TA to get back to me regarding my deposit from Ponant for my trip. The same Tauck cruise was a week earlier.  I bet if I booked this trip through Tauck, there would be no discussion. Live and learn!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, ex-hippie said:

We are currently booked on an Iceland cruise with Ponant for early August; unlikely that will occur. Despite traveling with Tauck on a land tour to Scotland last year, we opted to go directly through Ponant rather than Tauck. We really like Tauck - it's just that the price difference was huge. Granted, it covered tours, guides, etc. But I just couldn't justify the cost. They offer a very high level of personal service. Which I didn't feel we needed for a cruise.

 

Now I see that Tauck has cancelled all travel through 2020; I'm still waiting for my TA to get back to me regarding my deposit from Ponant for my trip. The same Tauck cruise was a week earlier.  I bet if I booked this trip through Tauck, there would be no discussion. Live and learn!


Since Iceland is open for tourism there is a high chance the cruise will go on. 
 

A colleague of mine is starting a group tour around Iceland next week, negative Cocid19 Test on arrival. Ponant has updated the information for the Iceland cruises to include the negative mandatorily Iceland Covid19 test aswell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...