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Rick's Tours 2021

I was on the list to be notified for a couple of different tours this year. I just noticed that most of them have only one or two dates available now. Has he decided not to do any before late September/early October?

Posted by
7479 posts

Did not look at every tour, but of the 6 or so that I did, it looks like anything before Oct has been eliminated.

Probably reflects that the current situation and the lead time needed to set things up, makes those dates what can be expected to be in the realm of possible

Posted by
28 posts

I did a search by date and the only tour left in August was Scandinavia on August 29th. That looks to be an exception. The German trip I had my eye on in mid-September is gone. Not a surprise. A month ago I assume it would not go and canceled my miles booked airline tickets.

Posted by
13 posts

I emailed them and received a reply that they have cancelled all tentative tours through September. The rest will remain tentative for now.

Posted by
267 posts

I also emailed RSE when I saw that the September tour we were on a wait list for was no longer listed. I received an email confirming that those tours were no longer available. Not unexpected, but disappointing. Hoping that the wait is coming to an end!

Posted by
7589 posts

We’re on the list for a mid-September Eastern European tour and it’s still up.

Posted by
3525 posts

In a quick and admittedly limited and imperfect look, I saw no tours still listed before October 1st. I was hopeful when saw that the 2 October Best of Ireland in 14 Days tours I'm interested in are still there.

But the most options I noticed are for Sicily. There are 9 tours from October 1st through December 17th listed. Hmmm?

Posted by
4600 posts

Lo, Sicily is a good tour. We've done it twice, because they changed the itinerary. I don't particularly want to do it again, but I'd love to go back to Palermo.

Posted by
759 posts

"We’re on the list for a mid-September Eastern European tour and it’s still up."

Sadly no longer. The only Eastern Europe tour still listed is for October 1st.

Posted by
7589 posts

Thanks Bob. It was removed some time today

Posted by
1954 posts

I just received an email from RSE notifying me my Scandinavia tour 8/29-9/11 was not going to run. All tours through September have been dropped. I think the Heart of Scotland leaving 9/26 is still in the September time frame. I was told they will take deposits for the 2022 tours when they are announced in May. Yay. October- December tours may run!

Posted by
362 posts

I'm on the email notification list for a couple of 2021 tours. I received an email on 4/29/21 that said "Out of an abundance of caution we've made the decision to hold off on running any of our 2021 departures scheduled through September until we’re confident our tours can operate in these destinations safely and reliably.
We know you’ve got a Rick Steves tour in your travel dreams! We’re planning on opening our 2022 tours for booking soon. And, if we determine we can run our tours in fall or winter 2021, we’ll notify you right away."

I'm not holding my breath for 2021, but sure hope some 2022 tours are running by late spring.

Posted by
1865 posts

Here's a link to an update from RS. https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/coronavirus-faq

If I had to guess right now — conservatively — I expect that we won't
do tours in 2021, but that we’ll be able to resume with gusto in early
2022.

That said, if Europe's early reopening goes very well, we hope we can
do some tours in late 2021. They would be done with the understanding
that we may need to be flexible on itinerary specifics. And we'll take
extra measures to make things easier all around. For example, while
our group sizes are already small (28 travelers on a 50-seat bus), in
post-COVID times we plan to reduce them further, likely to 24 tour
members.

Looking ahead to 2022, we feel confident that we'll be able to run
tours. We anticipate that we’ll likely start touring even earlier than
we would in normal years (for example, more departures in February and
March) — to extend the season and get our travelers back on buses as
soon as we can.

For customers eager to sign up for our 2022 tours, we'll take the next
few weeks to watch the evolving situation. We currently plan to open
up tour sales and start taking deposits in late May. (If our
confidence is waning, we may push that a bit later.)

Posted by
5979 posts

Thanks Allan. We've got our eyes on two tours, Poland and Ireland, and hope to jump on the sign-up. I'm more confident knowing that RSE came through with refunds last year.

It occurred to me that how RSE has been working on restarting tours would be a great topic for one of those Monday night talks. I'd be interested in how they reconnect with all their business connections, guides, etc., and how they work through the obstacles.

Posted by
267 posts

Great idea Stan! I also would like to see that happen.

Posted by
759 posts

"It occurred to me that how RSE has been working on restarting tours would be a great topic for one of those Monday night talks. I'd be interested in how they reconnect with all their business connections, guides, etc., and how they work through the obstacles."

Fantastic idea for wanting to see behind the Wizard's curtain (I'd love it); but sadly it will never come to pass. Pure "Trade Practices" and highly confidential to the RS organization. He wants you to buy the sausage, not see how the sausage is made.

Posted by
1003 posts

I don't think there is any big secret.
I'm sure he has kept in touch will all his guides and vendors throughout the pandemic, and he treats people well.

Posted by
5979 posts

LIZinPA, I guess my gut tells me that there will be a lot more to it than just assuming every hotel, sight, and restaurant will still be open and ready to go, so that business as usual can start up without any prep. They may have to jiggle some itineraries around, or perhaps drop or delay some tours. Perhaps have to replace some guides due to turnover, and at the very least they have to send their people on the ground (still in lockdown in some cases) around to gather the information they need to update their guidebooks as well as for how to adjust their tours. Im not interested in business secrets or contract negotiations, but I kind of don't want to sign up for a tour based on a before-times expectation. And I think there's at least a good topic for conversation here.

onefastbob, not to torture the metaphor, but I'd be more likely to buy the sausage if I knew could appreciate how hard they were working to get the recipe right.