I see that the early/winter tours for 2017 have been posted. Any hints for new tours for 2017 or changes to the existing tours? Would love to have the France tour include more days at the Normandy beaches. I know some of you have already heard so share(!!) so we can start planning/dreaming.
They are reducing the best of Eastern Europe to 14 days. I think that one was communicated through his monthly tour news. So if you want it in 16 days take it this year.
It has been rumored there will be a new all Germany tour but have not seen nor heard anything definite yet.
One RS employee did say that there may be a only Germany tour. Tours will be coming out mid August I read once. We shall see what they offer. It is hard for the tours to be extended as Americans have limited vacation time, so adding more days to a tour may not happen.
If you want to experience the current Eastern Europe itinerary, there is still space available on August and September departures. The changes for next year were in last month's Tour News, no longer linked from that page but still online at https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/tour-news/june-2016/sneak-peek-eastern-europe-tour-changes-for-2017.
Yes, the end of August is when we expect to debut a new Germany itinerary and any other 2017 changes.
Re the Eastern Europe tour:
I enjoyed the one night in Pustevny and the folk performance. But I know others on the tour didn't. Our weather there was great; if it had been raining, I could see how it wouldn't be a good tour stop.
Disappointed to see the third night in Krakow go away. Krakow has a great vibe. As far as connecting with locals is concerned, I start to get a feel for a place on the third day; shortening the stay by one day will make that harder.
But I do agree that the Schindler factory would be better done on your own rather than with a group. The spaces are a bit too confined to accommodate a group.
With regard to "...hard for the tours to be extended as Americans have limited vacation time...", a lot of the RS tour participants are retired and can go for longer trips. Perhaps a few longer itineraries can be considered as well as the shorter ones.
Sorry to see the change in the Eastern Europe tour. We would have taken that tour specifically for the Poland portion. I wanted MORE of Poland, not less. Perhaps someday there will be a Best of Poland tour.
The Eastern Europe tour is on my list, and the lower prices will certainly help. I'll be looking forward to seeing the new tours (and hopefully the exchange rate improves).
Ken, that exchange rate really stinks. I calculated what it would cost for a (give or take) $4000pp tour - for the two of us it would be about $11,000CAD just for the tour. There's no way I could justify that. Our recent 30 night trip cost about that for the whole thing. Its too bad they cut Poland down. It was our first trip to the Continent and we spent 7 days in Krakow and 9 in Warsaw.
Agree with TravelingMom, hopefully there will be a tour dedicated to Poland.
RE: new Germany tour. Expect a tour of 12 days with destinations of Berlin, Nuremberg, Munich, Erfurt, and Cologne included, there may be other destinations, I don't have any insight on the starting point or end point.
I hope they continue to expand the My Way tours. I'd actually like more time in the cities on the My Way tours, too. For example, we just returned from the My Way France and really wanted another day in Lyon. Our arrival was late afternoon on Saturday, so with some things closed on Sunday, would have liked an extra day. I know they're still tweaking the scheduling on that tour (we were only the second departure) and there are challenges trying to get us to some of the off-the-beaten-path sites.
Most participants arrive in the departure city early, so I wish they'd do the kickoff meeting the day before the departure from the first city and add that day somewhere else if they're trying to keep it under x days. It is a lot more likely that we'll go back to Paris or spend more days in Paris on our own than we are to do that in other secondary cities.
I'd like to see tours with longer stays (3 nights) in some of the cities. This is especially true for the My Way tours, where we do don't have the logistical structure to see everything quickly.
I took a 14 day family tour, in our group there was 9 Canadains, out of group of 26. I would think that between retired Americans and the Canadians( most of whom get at least two or three weeks holidays ) RS could consider our deisire for longer trips.