River Boat Scenic Cruises BQ –  First, what pleasure to read material that is fact based,  presented without a sales pitch and does not talk down to the reader!

River Boat Tauck Swiss Emerald CWe are debating between Scenic & Tauck for a 2017  Prague-Budapest itinerary. With Scenic’s promotions, there is about a $2,000 price difference(for 2) in the cruise itself and then they are offering free air (which Tauck does not)  Although your comparison rates Scenic slightly higher overall, your description of their land tours was not as detailed as the one you gave for Tauck.  Can you provide some greater insight on the quality of Scenic’s  guides and itineraries?  In their literature, Tauck boasts of may “unique” behind the Scenes, experiences, I’m not sure if they just have better marketers than Scenic, or whether, Tauck indeed will give us the far and away better land experience.  The price differential is significant, but I don’t want to spend my days wishing that I had chosen Tauck!

FYI We took Uniworld last year from Paris to Normandy and found it very decent, (but very Republican & Country Club, which we are definitely NOT) The one couple we became friendly with were from South Africa, so the fact that Scenic draws from a different part of the world is not a draw back for us!  Thanking you in advance for your unbiased advise!  Hope to hear from you ASAP before we get closed out of both!!

A – There are several questions here so let us try to respond with a few bullet point observations:

  • Uniworld is inclusive and quite good, Do not expect a “world of difference” between your Uniworld experience and either Tauck or Scenic. All are highly-rated and among the very top brands in the industry so you need to modify your expectations.
  • Tauck has better sightseeing in general aided by the fact that they have four Tauck employees on-board every sailing overseeing shore excursions and accompanying guests to maintain quality control. Scenic does include special enrichment events like a concert in Vienna. Both of these lines are unique in that they simple do not sell upgraded tour options. Everything they do is inclusive with the exception of dry cleaning and spa services.
  • Scenic sounds like the right choice to us since you have already stated that having folks from different cultures board is a net plus. With the  free air offer your cost difference is too significant to ignore.
  • Let’s be kind to our “Republican Country Club” friends. There is a reality about travel that is sometimes hard for our younger, left-leaning friends to comprehend. For the rest of your life, any time you seek out travel of top-tier quality, you are going to find that the vast majority of your fellow passengers are going to be rich, often retired, white-pants wearing Republicans who belong to at least one country club. You see, they have the money to afford the finest things in life and that includes travel products. If you really feel more comfortable with a blue collar group of hard-working fellow passengers, many of them non-Republicans, as you describe, consider a three-night Carnival cruise out of Miami. Now there is one exception to this rule. Experiential  adventure-oriented cruise lines and river boats in exotic locales tend to attract a more eclectic and younger crowd. But only on their voyages of seven days or less. There is a rule that applies equally to river boats and cruise ships – for every day in excess of seven add five years to the average age of your fellow guests. You will see, using our formula, that the average age of a world cruiser is 191. (That is because our formula stops working after 14 days of cruising.)

We certainly have no intention of insulting any group of travelers. But we believe that the consumer is entitled to have direct answers to the  toughest travel question of all – “What will my fellow passengers be like?”