Q – Based, in large part,on the ratings you offer here, which are incredibly helpful, we booked a Tauck River Cruise in June of next year. As I just read what you have to say about flooding and draught and all sorts of things I never want to have to worry about on a vacation, I wonder if Tauck will still operate and if there is any chance they will give us a bus tour. My travel agent says they will do the right thing. Will they if the Danube floods?

River Boat Flooding PassauA – This is a real issue for any river boat company in Europe. The answer to your question is that yes, even Tauck, will have to bow down to what their marketing department refers to as “The River Gods>” They even have a cute cartoon about the possibility of a change in plans on their web site.

When you book directly with Tauck there will likely be no discussion of negatives. If you book with a travel agent, your agent will receive the following message:

“It is almost time for _______________ to join us on the Blue Danube Westbound – we hope they are as excited to cruise with us as we are to welcome them aboard,

As travel professionals for almost 90 years, we have learned to prepare for the unexpected. And while any number of potential challenges may necessitate a change in travel plans, they won;t take the fun out of their Tauck River Cruise experience. In the event we have to re-choreograph their trip, please be assured that their satisfaction is always our first priority.

Occasionally, we experience challenges that may impact our river cruises. These include adverse water levels caused by too little or too much rain or trouble navigating the locks due to mechanical difficulties, or even worker strikes. While these circumstances are out of our control, we have plans in place and suppliers who are ready to assist in the event of a necessary change in itinerary.”

So, yes, Tauck will do what every other operator tends to do. They will do the best they can to salvage your vacation. But here is where the lines differ. Who are those suppliers that Tauck’s e-mail references? They are some of the best available. Tauck will generally use a higher grade of hotel if your cruise is going to turn into a land tour. They seem willing to take a financial hit when this happens. This is what the brochures and the amateur “critics” know nothing about. When things go south, there are major differences in the ways in which each of these lines reacts.

But the bottom line answer toy our question is that, yes, you can get a bus tour with Tauck if the River Gods act up. But do note that Tauck is already known as one of the world’s premier escorted bus tour operators. Their competitors lack a 90-year history of operating such tours. And when you need to do it on the fly, based on the latest weather conditions, it is best that your river boat company have some experience in this area,