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Tauck Connections, Edition 4 – The Taucker Travel Blog

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Tauck Connections, Edition 4 – The Taucker Travel Blog

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Welcome on a journey of discovery as we take you inside some of our favorite destinations, places and unique experiences around the world.

We wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on all of the amazing moments you shared with us from the road last year as we look forward to yet another exciting year ahead of us. The smiles, laughs, experiences and countless memories made 2023 such a special year. So, we created this short video with a few of our favorites for you to enjoy!

For a company literally built on the recommendations of happy repeat guests, we are always thrilled when guests like you share your travel stories and memories with us. It’s these stories that span across multiple generations of travelers that speak to the magic of Tauck and our commitment to creating lifelong memories.

Three generations, 34 Tauck trips, and countless memories

We had the honor of speaking with Marcy Macdonald, who has taken seven trips with us to date, and her mother, Estelle Weinstein, a 19-time guest, about the Tauck trips their family has enjoyed over the years. Their story starts with Estelle’s mother, first-generation Tauck traveler, Bertha Greenspan who joined us on eight trips from 1974 through the ‘80s as a solo traveler to the national parks, Hawaii, Nova Scotia, and Europe. Estelle remembers how much her mother enjoyed these adventures, adding that “she always marveled at how wonderful all of the guides were and what good care they took of her.”

That’s a sentiment shared by both Estelle and Marcy, who both remarked that our Tauck Directors and guides “are always nice people who go out of their way and do that little extra surprise for you.”

They also recalled several instances where Tauck’s team came through to save the day, whether it was helping with a lost passport or seamlessly handling a medical emergency. “It’s really important to have that support when you are traveling, knowing that you really don’t have to worry about anything. They really do take care of everything.”

But that’s not the only reason their families continue to travel with Tauck.

As Marcy said, “you know that everything is going to be first class with luxurious and exclusive experiences. Think about it. I return home from a Tauck trip in Paris and say I cooked at Le Cordon Bleu. We know if there’s something special to be done in a country or city, with Tauck it’s going to be bigger and better. For me, the luxury of the experience is so important. When we were in Scotland, we had amazing seats at the Military Tattoo and we visited Holyrood Palace before it opened to the public. We were there when nobody else was! We stood in rooms that the Queen actually lived in when she visited Edinburgh. Having those experiences with the like-minded, smart people that go on Tauck trips makes them even more incredible. I always learn something from the tour guides and from the people who are traveling in our group.”

Estelle, Marcy, and Marcy’s husband Bruce

“And everything is included,” added Estelle. “Tauck doesn’t nickel and dime you. I’ve been on tours where it ends up costing more than Tauck’s tour by the time you are finished with all of the extras and it’s not as good a tour. Tauck truly is all-encompassing and you feel very safe. You know that Tauck has connections all over the world and that you’re going to be very well taken care of.”

While Bertha, an avid writer, traveled alone, cherishing the camaraderie and lasting friendships she made on her “solo” trips, Estelle explored the world with her husband, before joining Marcy and her son-in-law on the trips they take today.

“I had small children when my mother was traveling, preventing me from going with her. And while Marcy and her husband plan their trips around their work schedules, I am retired so I am free to go with them anytime,” said Estelle.

To date, they have traveled together on our Savoring France and Musical Magic on the Danube river cruises, A Week In… Puglia, A Week In… Ireland and A Week In… Scotland, and are booked on Scandinavia in 2024. 

“We’re already planning our Tauck trips for 2025,” said Marcy, who has her eye on Treasures of the Mediterranean Isles, a cruise her mother and father enjoyed years ago.

Marcy and her husband Bruce on our Savoring France river cruise

“I am by nature a planner, assuming the role of concierge when organizing activities close to home or right before our trip starts. We like to get to the destination a day or two ahead so I get to plan a few things for us to do and see. That said, I have no desire to take a trip on my own and do all the planning. There are things you get to do on a Tauck trip that I could never in a million years pull together on my own. With Tauck, there’s always enough extra time built into the itineraries to do what we want to do too. When we were in Lyon for example, on our down time, we went shopping, top to bottom, because I knew there were things in France I wanted to purchase. My husband took the opportunity to relax onboard our riverboat, making fast friends with our fellow guests and the wait staff who would welcome him with his favorite beverage before being asked! During our free time in Dublin, on the suggestion of our local guide, we bought tickets to see the Book of Kells, an important don’t-miss experience in my book!”

No matter how long ago the trip, their memories remain as vivid and fresh as if they happened just yesterday. Marcy will never forget her first Tauck trip in 2013, Treasures of the Aegean , which she took because her parents had raved about it when they experienced it years before. “Seeing the Acropolis lit up at sunset from the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, the Grande Bretagne, was a dream that took my breath away.”

“Visiting the island of Delos was exceptional, as was seeing the Whirling Dervishes perform at the Kaminski Palace in Istanbul. I know that a lot of things have to come together for experiences like that to happen and we were absolutely thrilled. I think my jaw was on the floor the whole time. I have to tell you one of the wonderful parts on that trip besides the Windstar being just such a great ship. One night, the winds were right and the ship’s crew turned the motors off. And just the complete silence on the water was just amazing. I will never forget it.”

Estelle’s first trip was in 1981. “My husband and I took your Colorado trip and that was really wonderful. And then we did the Canadian Rockies, went heli-hiking in the Bugaboos, went on Canyonlands and explored Yellowstone. There’s nothing like staying right inside the national parks. If you tried to do that on your own, you’d have to make the reservation at least two years in advance. “

How do they decide where they’ll go next with Tauck?

“I’ll just put a little plug in for your reservations staff because we talk to them all the time and are impressed by their depth of knowledge of each trip. When we are debating about what trip to take, they never hesitate to jump in with their personal experience. I love that they are able to guide us and they feel really comfortable doing that. Every time we’re on the phone, they are excited about helping us with our adventures. If it wasn’t for your reservations advisor who asked if we wanted to take a special trip before it becomes crazy popular, we never would have gone to Puglia. I have recommended that trip 100 times since!” Marcy told us.

They had never even heard of Puglia and didn’t know where it was, but as Marcy said, “when it comes to travel, you have to seize the moment because either your health or your family’s health will be a concern or there will be places in the world where you can’t travel because of things like Covid and more, so you should pay attention to places where you want to go now and not put it off. My grandmother had the travel bug and wanderlust and my parents instilled it in me. There are so many places we have yet to go!”

After speaking with them about their love of traveling with Tauck and hearing how much fun they have together, we had just one more question for them.

Can we go with you next time?

Marcy and Estelle on A Week In… Scotland

Cheaper by the dozen… +5?

Sometimes, traveling with just one other person can be challenging, let alone 16 other family members, but that didn’t stop Tauck from helping make Caroline Landry and her family’s travel dreams come true. Following their time on our “Family Fun Along The Seine: Paris To Normandy” river cruise, she sent our team a note that we wanted to share.

“Traveling with 17 family members is not an easy task, but with Tauck’s incredible staff it was a breeze! Truly the trip of a lifetime!” 

“Our family’s journey with Tauck started in 1973 with my great grandparents. In 2018 my grandparents started taking trips with Tauck. Then my grandparents decided they wanted to share their wonderful experience with the entire family. Now the Tauck adventure is being passed down generation to generation. 

We cannot say enough positive remarks about our river cruise along the Seine! From the remarkably friendly staff, to the private viewings of the Louvre and Monet’s Garden, to the family fun games at night, it is a trip we will cherish forever. Nothing beats sitting on the deck of the boat at night with all 17 family members cruising down the Seine River looking at the beautiful views. 

One of my favorite memories was watching the Bastille Day fireworks on the top of the boat with my family! It was surreal! Lastly, the local guides we had in each area were top-notch! They made each location special and were so personable! 

Nothing is more priceless than traveling the world with your family and Tauck made it better than imaginable! We hope for more Tauck Bridges trips to be added to the itinerary in the future to explore the world together as a family with Tauck!”

There is so much to be excited about in the upcoming year. We’re thrilled to add even more tours – some of them visiting brand-new destinations – into our portfolio of ever-growing travel adventures.

Let’s take a peek at a few of them…

We’re heading back to Cuba this year! We were able to sit down with Tour Architects Nikki Hernandez (left) and Diane Salvo (right) to discuss Cuba’s return to the Tauck tour portfolio, a bit of history surrounding the region and, of course, a few experiences you can come to expect when you’re there.

Q: Tell us a little about Cuba and its return to the Tauck portfolio this year?

A: There were a lot of discussions between us and the greater team, but it ultimately boiled down to “is now the right time to go back?” and there was a consensus in the room that, “yes, it feels that this is the right time to bring Cuba back.”

Q: Can you give us a little bit of background to the destinations guests will be visiting in Cuba? A bit of history of the region?

A: Cuba has a rich and often, unexplored, history. Much like many countries across the world, Cuba is a melting pot of different cultures that have immigrated here over the centuries including European, Sub-Saharan African and East Asian heritages. This creates an incredibly unique blend of people and cultures unlike anywhere else. You can see it all over… in their art, their music, their food. It’s been spectacular to learn about and I’m excited for our guests to experience it.

Q: Can you give our guests a short overview of some of the experiences they can come to expect on tour?

A: Without spoiling too much of the tour, one of the fun things we do is take our guests to Viñales, a town found on the western end of the island for a visit to a tobacco farm for a true, Cuban tobacco experience. Here, guests are shown how the tobacco is grown before heading off to El Despalillo, where the tobacco leaves are graded, this determines where the leaf is used in the cigar (or if it’s thrown out).

In 2024, we’re welcoming Namibia to our list of worldwide destinations, for a safari of epic proportions. Join us on an 11–day trek across Namibia’s deserts, coastal wonderlands and past some of the continent’s most breathtaking animals on private game drives for experiences that are as in-depth, up-close and unique as the country itself.

A few highlights on your journey include:

  • A Bushman-guided walk into the Namib Desert for insights about the insects and wildlife that thrive here
  • Stargazing in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the least light-polluted and naturally darkest places on Earth
  • Exploring the red-tinted dunes of Sossusvlei with an opportunity to climb Big Daddy, towering skyward at 1,066 feet tall
  • Flightseeing over the desert and dunes of Sossusvlei and the pristine coast of Namibia aboard a flight to Swakopmund, where seaside discoveries await on a kayaking excursion or catamaran cruise

Embark on an eight-day adventure starting in Salt Lake City or Denver and highlighted by a two-day luxury train journey aboard the award-winning Rocky Mountaineer, where you’ll witness scenic splendors and geological wonders that showcase the best of America’s West.

Choo Choo! A few highlights on your journey include:

  • A two-day train journey amidst the wilderness splendors aboard Rocky Mountaineer, combining best-in-class Silver Leaf Plus rail service with unrivaled scenic vistas from Moab, Utah to Denver, Colorado and an overnight hotel stay in the historic mountain town of Glenwood Springs
  • Flightseeing over the geologic wonders of Canyonlands National Park provides a memorable bird’s-eye view
  • A choice of outdoor adventures in Moab, including a white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River or a ride aboard a 4×4 Hummer that takes you off roading into red-rock terrain
  • A guided driving excursion in Arches National Park amidst sculpted sandstone scenery in one of the Southwest’s most gorgeous national parks

Unpack once on our newest 10-day river cruise along three of Europe’s rivers for a journey across Germany and the Netherlands unlike any other.

Highlights of your European river journey include:

  • A visit to the historic race track at Nurburging, considered the greatest road racing circuit in the world, viewing the long “North loop” track, built in the 1920s, around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains
  • A sparkling dinner at Schlosshotel Kronberg, built in 1893 and home to Empress Victoria Friedrich whose antique furnishings hint at the grandeur of this elegant palace
  • A guided walking tour of Frankfurt’s historic sites, learning about the city’s role post-WWII, or a tasting tour that tempts with the sausages that gave the modern-day Frankfurter its name
  • A choice of excursions in Nurnberg that include going under the city in its historic rock-cut tunnels, where centuries-old breweries would store their beer

This journey through Italy is perfect for the culturally curious. Bask in the Tuscan sun, explore the Italian Riviera, discover the stories behind the brilliance of Renaissance painters and sculptors, learn to cook Italian-style, and go off-the-beaten-track for an Italian cultural connection unlike any other.

What to expect on your journey across Italy:

  • A private, early-opening visit to Florence’s Basilica di Santa Croce, final resting place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and others
  • Explore the fabulous Uffizi Galleries on an after-hours guided visit in Florence
  • An Italian-style cooking class with local chefs in Lucca, including a hands-on lesson in pasta making alongside a wine and olive oil tasting
  • Explore Cinque Terre National Park’s coastal paths amidst breathtaking views


Take a look at some of our destinations, exclusive experiences, and our worldwide travel partners in the news this month.

The Rose Bowl – “The granddaddy of them all”

Earlier this month, the Michigan Wolverines defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in the annual Rose Bowl. First played over 100 years ago on January 1st, 1902, the Rose Bowl has become one of the biggest college football games of the year and in recent years, has become part of the College Football Playoff. Nicknamed “The granddaddy of them all” by famous broadcaster Keith Jackson for being the first postseason football game established. 

Traditionally played on New Year’s Day, the game is just one part of “America’s New Year Celebration” alongside the historic Rose Parade and has solidified itself as one of, if not the biggest game, in college football. In 2024, we’re excited to announce our return to the Rose Bowl on our “A Celebration of Roses” event in honor of Tauck’s 100th anniversary in 2025.

Hit HBO show set to film in Thailand

The hit HBO series, “The White Lotus” returns in 2025, focusing on a new group of guests and employees at the fictional resort chain. Previously taking place in Maui and Venice, the new season is reported to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. Few other details are known at this moment, but keep your eyes peeled for teasers – you may spot some places you can visit with Tauck!

What’s your New Year’s travel resolution?

Sydney, Australia

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