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Cancelled Tours, but Thank You to Rick Steves and Staff

My wife and I have enjoyed two Rick Steves tours in the last few years, and were very excited to have planned out back to back tours this May, Basque Country of Spain and France followed by Best of Barcelona and Madrid.

Sadly both of these were cancelled.

However, I want to applaud Rick Steves and Co. for keeping us informed, making the right call, and processing our refunds in full with speed and precision.

These are incredibly difficult times, especially for travel businesses, and I feel it's important to say thanks to the companies that are doing things right.

Thank You.

We're sad of course, but once we're through this, I'm sure we'll be hitting the road again, and taking more tours with you all.

And if it's not too much to ask, please let our former guides, Dimi, and Anya, that we're thinking of them and wishing them the best.

Posted by
22 posts

Rick Steves' is the class of the travel industry. Businesses could learn a lot from him. Our Italy trip in May got cancelled. I knew, our money was safe. Now, the airlines are a different deal. I truely feel, like we are family. We've been on 3 tours with RS. The only company I would go with.
Craig Whitacre

Posted by
759 posts

Ditto. RS and his employee’s are clearly the living definition of “class act”.
They are facing a huge change of circumstances and dealing with this crisis in a highly professional manner.

Posted by
2788 posts

I add to the previous posts and as a 19 RS tour veteran I can only say how helpful those folks have always been. I can only imagine the number of calls they are taking.

Posted by
373 posts

We had back-to back tours for Southern Italy and Paris and the Heart of France. I am so pleased with how clear the communication was from the company and how quickly we were refunded. We are looking forward to next year, God willing, on traveling with RS. We’ve been on several tours and will continue to book tours with RS.

Posted by
19 posts

Agree and applaud! This is the first year I’ll miss a tour with Rick’s team since 2006. Looking forward to the posting of 2021 trips in June. Can’t wait until this long winter is past us and we can enjoy each other’s company again. Be well and wash your hands!

Posted by
2458 posts

I add my applause to the group’s. While my Poland tour is in September, I’m confident that RS won’t allow the tour to go if there is danger. So if he doesn’t cancel, I will go. It will be my 8th. Here’s hoping and praying the world is getting back to normal by then.
Keep on travelin’.

Posted by
32228 posts

I have never taken a tour with them but I would nevertheless like to join in the applause.

Posted by
2696 posts

Yes, and we are just seeing the customer facing end of this very fine company. Imagine what they are going through on the back end having to cancel hotel bookings, buses, local guides, etc.? A very difficult time for Rick and company. Let’s hope we see you in 2021!

Posted by
111 posts

I have been really impressed with how the Rick Steves' company has handled the pandemic and the canceling of the tours. They were on top of it right away. I am on the BOE 14 Days starting September 20 and I am hoping to go, but if it gets canceled I know I won't have to worry about the hassle of dealing with a tour company and getting a refund. If Rick Steves' runs the tour, I'm going because I trust them to do what's best for their travelers.
I am embroiled in a completely different situation with another tour company that I was booked with to Holland & Belgium starting April 18th. They sent an email out at the beginning of March stating that if the CDC raised their caution level to 3 and the State Department raised their travel advisory to a Level 4, they would refund the tour members. However, when the CDC went to a Level 3 and the State Department went to a Level 4 two weeks later, the tour company changed their tune and sent us all an email stating they were invoking the Force Majeure clause in the travel policies which basically told us no refunds. A week later they sent an email stating they were trying to reschedule the tour to sometime after September 1 and they would have more information for us April 13 or after. What a mess. I will never take a tour with anyone else but Rick Steves in the future.

Posted by
43 posts

I completely agree with the above statements and I will also add that I called twice and both times received an immediate response from someone who was pleasant, empathetic and responsive. This was the first organized group tour I signed up for and I was considering about 5 different vendors. I will most likely just look at RS in the future if I decide to go back to Europe.

Posted by
4 posts

I have followed this forum ever since booking our 1st RS tour last summer for a May 2020 BOE tour. I have been in a competitive business for 40 years and have been fortunate to retain many of my clients for most of these years. What I have learned over these years is that you grow your business relationships more during difficult times than when things are running smoothly.......the measure of a company to me is how you handle difficult situations. Step up and describe to the client what happened, what you are going to do to make it right, and what are you going to do put measures in place so it does not occur again.

I thought that I set the bar high for myself until I witnessed how RS Tours handled the coronavirus cancellations. RS Tours has handled this situation with the highest level of professionalism and highest business ethics possible.

I received my refund today, without any questions. I don't think anyone could have predicted how this pandemic has impacted world health and disrupted travel plans.

I usually travel independently, but was going to try my 1st RS tour this May until it was cancelled. I am so impressed how the RS Tours handled this situation and his business that I plan on taking my 1st RS Tour when it is safe to travel again. To me professionalism and business ethics and just doing what is right is important. THANK YOU to the RS Tours for how you handled this difficult period and count me in for a future tour.......I want to support your future business!

Posted by
9 posts

DB in NJ said it beautifully. Fellow travelers I've spoken with all agree. RS could have another career in teaching customer service, and I assume, hiring the best people!

Posted by
1 posts

Kudos to the RS staff during these difficult days. Class organization that is on top of everything. As fellow travelers, let's support them by visiting the travel shop and purchasing some goodies for ourselves that we will use for future travels. I have bought a new day bag, some guidebooks and some travel accessories.

Posted by
740 posts

I couldn't say it any better than others already have. Great job to Rick Steves and the entire company. We owe it to them to resume our travels as soon as it's safe to do so.

Posted by
564 posts

It seems like just yesterday I received the formal notice that my May 11 Best of Spain was canceled. Yesterday, I received my full RS tour refund check which is the the same way I pay RS. The deposit was done by CC so that will show on my next monthly statement for May.
Amazing service!
I'm waiting for Delta to formally cancel my flight to Spain BOS via CDG which I was taking May 8. I added 2 prenights for Barcelona. The website for 'manage' my trips still says to contact 72 hours out from travel date. A full refund I hope, if not I have an insured ticket for any reason so I'll recoup what I spent on airfare.
Thank you to the staff and Rick for their excellent customer service.

Posted by
2251 posts

I should be in Athens today, anticipating the beginning of my Athens and the Heart of Greece tour but....sigh. Like everyone else, I am only dreaming of prospective travel at this point. I also add my accolades and heartfelt thanks for the professionalism, expertise, consideration and yes, kindnesses of the entire Rick Steves team. They are awesome enough to keep me traveling with them every year through many tours. I, too, received my refunds within their promised time frame. I can't wait for the new tour schedule to be posted.

Posted by
92 posts

Yep. Same here. I felt bad for Rick and crew so elected to not seek a refund of my deposit of a trip for 4 people that I could have but choose to keep the money with RS and the election to rebook within two calendar years (a very generous term). I honestly don't know if we will be able to ever use the deposit as we are senior citizens and are reluctant to go anywhere in the future absent a vaccine but I wanted to at least do this little bit as gesture to the company. I can imagine what the company is going through as are so many others. I have had to cancel nearly 40 separate travel reservations in the last month or so from large, medium size and small vendors and no company treated me better than RS.

Posted by
1 posts

I have been on five RS tours and enjoyed them all. I agree his company is doing an excellent and very professional job of refunding quickly during covid 19. But, @sschickler there is no need for you to "help" the RS tour company. RS is worth $15 to $20 million. His company can handle the refunds and if he has laid off any local employees the state of Washington provides unemployment and other benefits to employees effected by covid 19. I do worry about the tour guides he employs in Europe because depending on the country they work in there may or may not be much unemployment benefits available. RS in an incredible guy and I am sure will help out those he works with that need it.

My own family had a two week trip planned to Scandinavia , March 17-31. We could not afford to pay for four RS Scandinavia tours, so I used the RS book to plan our tirp. Obviously the entire trip was cancelled and I am waiting on refunds from several European airlines and vacation rental owners. This is such a difficult time for the travel industry and I am thankful for the refunds I have received. I own vacation rentals and have had to refund so many guests too with more cancellations every day for the upcoming busy summer season. So, I understand the difficulty on both ends as a traveler wanting a refund and the as the person giving the refunds, wondering if I will still have a business after all this is over. RS is an inspiration and shining example of how to treat your customers in a difficult time. I hope my family can afford to go on a RS tour sometime in the future and that others do as well.

Stay healthy, happy and of course, keep on traveling. :)

Posted by
3507 posts

I have always been treated well by the RS company. Even when there was no worldwide pandemic they graciously allowed me to cary over a deposit to the next year when I had medical issues which prevented me from taking a tour I had paid for. Their rules said the deposit would be forfeited, but they let it carry over. Also, everyone I have ever interacted with in the RS organization has been like dealing with a friend even though none of them knew me previous to our interaction. A great company in every aspect. I hope they all ride out the wave and there is a travel industry going forward for them to be part of real soon.

Posted by
337 posts

Hurray for Rick Steves and all his crew. We have been on 4 tours, and our 5th tour was just canceled. Of course we're disappointed, but everyone I've ever dealt with at RS has been professional, good-humored, kind, and generous, from the guides on each tour to the office staff currently. I have nothing but good things to say about RS and his company and staff, particularly guides Bea, Matti, David W., Javier, Stephen, Jamie, and those who have answered all my recent emails. Oh ya, and Rick. ;) Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! You guys are the best! I can't wait to travel with you again.

Posted by
7048 posts

RS is indeed a good tour company. But it should also be mentioned that it happens to operate in a state that has solid customer-friendly regulations governing the timeframe for refunds, etc. RS has to abide by those Washington state rules that govern travel agents - they have no choice (unless they want to risk complaints to the state regulatory body). So that is partly why people have such different experiences with different vendors - they are operating under different sets of rules for refunds depending on where their business is based. Not all states are the same, some have more stringent regulations that are more positive to consumers.