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How close to the "go" date will RS cancel a tour?

So I see my Heart of Belgium and Holland tour is now $500 off -- it was $300 off earlier. My guess is the tour isn't selling well. Anyone here had a RS tour cancelled on them, and if so, how close to the "go" date was it?

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
7046 posts

Why not call the nice RS folks and just confirm that the tour is guaranteed to go? Otherwise, you'll end up speculating and worrying for no reason.

Posted by
2979 posts

I hope they wouldn't cancel it after folks have already bought their air tickets.

Seems like they should let you know when the trip has reached the minimum necessary for a guaranteed departure ( so you can but air tickets with confidence). That is how REI Adventures does their trips.

Posted by
2087 posts

Oh dear Mike, I was just randomly thinking about you the other day, wondering how things were filling up for your tour....seems I recall it is sometime in May (after the Amsterdam tulip, etc. season, which is why it is probably not as popular as the other earlier dates).

Yes, PLEASE to let us know what you learn from the Seattle office.

And, how I hope any trip insurance you have would cover their (potentially) canceling a tour. But, even though I weighed in on this before, I would hope to God that the Rick Steves' team would make any financial losses right for you. And, if luckily the tour is still ago, (repeating what I said before) I think you should also benefit from the now-$500 discount per person.

We will all learn A LOT by how you are treated.

And, of course, if all goes well, we will await your trip report.

Posted by
442 posts

Hey, all!

So the fine folks at the Rick Steves' Tour Office were as nice as pie (a really nice pie, too, like blueberry pie, not one of those stinkers like strawberry-rhubarb!). The well-spoken gentleman with whom I well-spoked addressed my concerns thusly:

"There's 19 people signed up for your tour, so we won't be canceling. We wouldn't cancel this close to the date, regardless"

(I personally prefer the term 'irregardless' instead because it irks the same people who're currently irked that I said 'spoked')

As per the discount: "We offer discounts to try to fill empty spaces on the tour" -- so same pricing model as airlines, except I don't think anyone's ever been dragged kicking and screaming off an over-sold Rick Steves' tour.

My mind now at ease, I can focus on other things, like how I'm going to fend off cannibalism on IcelandAir, whether I'll ever find my way out of CDG's infamous Terminal 1 and if poking Marine Le Pen with a stick is still fashionable.

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
2251 posts

Excellent! I'm happy to hear it all worked out the way you wanted and the cannibalism thing will pass....(hopefully). I'm hoping you'll post a trip report when you return-please? You make me smile with everything you post and your reports are hilarious. Have a good time, I can't imagine you wouldn't!

Posted by
9871 posts

So you are aware that it was in Terminal 1 that the man was in limbo for five years, having lost his papers after Iran changed governmental systems, and not remembering enough details about himself to help authorities He lived under a stairway for five years, ate food brought by airport employees, had a large pile of books and papers. I had read about him in the NY Times so went looking for him once. Some Clooney movie was based on his experience. So it is possible for you to enter but not exit. Now what's this about Le Pen, sticks and poking--missed it? Finally, why're you dissing strawberry-rhubarb?

Posted by
13237 posts

Very glad to read your update!

Strawberry-rhubarb is the best, but it's gotta be fresh in season berries and fresh rhubarb. Crumble topping.

To avoid the cannibalism be sure not to wear any food-scented lotions or lip products - thinking lemon or vanilla. That might be too much temptation on the long hours over the Atlantic. I have seen also strawberry lotions, an occasional huckleberry lotion out here in the West but never a rhubarb lotion.

Have a wonderful time! Looking forward to this tour next year.

Posted by
2087 posts

Excellent!! If you are happy, then we are happy :)

Have a wonderful, safe trip. We loved Belgium and Holland. Be sure to have some of those Belgium fries (dipped in mayonnaise).

Posted by
1745 posts

Glad to hear your trip is a go.

FYI! I seem to recall one post regarding a similar issue. The poster wrote that they were moved (elected to move ?) to a different tour date and the RS folks reimbursed them for airline change fess and fare difference. Can't seem to find the post.

Posted by
39 posts

Hi all,

Just wanted to give you some information on how and when tours might be cancelled. In general, we cancel very few of our tour dates throughout the year. We take great care and concern and use the experience we have gained over the years to determine what dates and how many dates will be best for each tour. We then monitor each tour as sign-ups come in, looking at the seats sold and seats still available. This process helps us determine the potential of the tour date to be a go as well as the potential need to open new dates to accommodate the demand. If the seats sold for a specific tour are low we might put that tour date on sale with the hope of increasing the demand for it. This helps decrease the need to have to cancel that tour by getting enough tour members - usually half the maximum passengers - on it where we feel financially able to commit to it. It also helps those tour members already signed up and looking forward to going on that tour not have to change their plans. But sometimes a tour date, for whatever reason, does not have the demand for it and the seats sold is so few that it makes the tour impractical to do. At this point, which is about 90 days before a tour starts, we will then cancel the tour. We will then try and accommodate all those folks who were on the tour make other travel arrangements. But if we have not cancelled a tour by then it usually indicates that there are enough seats sold and the tour will go off as planned. We may still put that tour on sale to increase the financial viability of the tour but that is just standard business practice. I hope this helps answer your questions. Please give us a call if you need any other information. And Mike you do not have to worry about your tour. It is all set to go. Have a great time on it. I know you are going to love Belgium and Holland. I was on that tour last year and had a fantastic time. Enjoy!

Posted by
6103 posts

Thanks, Keith. And Mike, it is a great tour. We went a few years ago, and loved it.

Posted by
470 posts

All good news. It's a "go". Smaller size tour. Springtime in the lowlands. Predictably admirable customer service from RS.
Bad news for me. This brought to mind Tiny Tim and his ukulele. I remember him marrying Miss Vicki on TV , strumming "tiptoe through the tulips.." . Now that is in my head. I have been "hearing " it all day. I believe a link to a YouTube of YOU paying tribute by singing/tiptoeing would be much appreciated here on the forum. If you go after some "coffee" it will be an even better performance. At least for us.
I concur. Rhubarb is just glorified celery and has no business in pie. Or cobbler. Or some sort of Mucky Moo side dish served at the myriad Midwestern potlucks of my childhood.

Posted by
1005 posts

Hi Mike -- Glad it is a go. I went last year April 27 - May 9. IT was right after the bombing in Brussels. It was full and on wait list , then it went to sign up, then went to filling fast. We were a go and had 18 travelers and 3 tour guides. It was a fantastic trip. I wanted to go in april for the Tulips at the K. gardens. IT was well worth it. Weather was iffy to start off then turned out great. After the bombing, they changed the itinerary to not go back into Brussels but meet up in Ghent for the two night stay and stay in Ghent. I loved the new schedule. Just wish we had longer than 11 days to enjoy Beautiful Brussel and Holland.

You will enjoy it!


Posted by
1186 posts

So happy you are going on the tour. Should be really fun! I am going on the tour next year and really looking forward to it!

Posted by
399 posts

The Belgium/Holland tour is an absolute winner for several reasons. First, both countries have interesting history and culture and I learned a lot about that during the tour. Second, just about everybody speaks very good English. Third, the distances are small so the bus time is minimal compared so other tours where you spend the better part of a day just going form city A to City B. Less bus time equals more time to explore. Fourth, the canals and 'canal life' are just so very interesting. Fifth, great food (something I did not expect since they aren't Italy or France). Sixth, very interesting and nice hotels. And I am sure I could think up some other reasons also.

I was on a tour of Turkey (how sad these popular tours had to be put on the back burner for now). It had only 12 people on it. As far as I could tell the only change was moving us to a smaller bus, but everybody still had their own seat. The small group also make it easier when our bus got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams and we all got out and jumped on a tram to get to our destination. Had we been 24+ people, I doubt if that would have worked. And that was fast thinking on the part of our guide, or otherwise the day would have been lost sitting on the bus.