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The Waiting Game.....

Are there others like me who are just waiting for their Rick Steves Tour to be cancelled so that they can begin the process of cancelling other arrangements? I completely understand why the Rick Steves Tour office has to work through the tours by date and I have heard only very positive reports of the customer service being given to customers.

I just feel in a sort of funny "limbo." I know that I am not going to be able to take my June tour, but I still need to wait for it to be cancelled. I am used to anticipating leaving for a trip. This is the first time I am anticipating getting a trip cancelled.

Posted by
2397 posts

We just had our cancelled. RS is operating under a state law that mandates refunds within two weeks of a cancellation. Can you imagine what they would have faced if they just cancelled the entire spring/summer season? No way could they have been compliant with the law. This way they are doin it incrementally. I began cancelling other arrangements before I heard from RS I was that certain we would not be going. Waited on airlines and still waiting thinking flights will be cancelled.

Posted by
4453 posts

I waited until I heard from RS that our tour was officially cancelled. Ditto for the airline. Since British Airways cancelled part of our itinerary, we were eligible to receive a refund instead of a voucher. Same for RS: since they cancelled, we get a full refund, including getting our deposit back.

I haven't yet cancelled other things I had booked - hotels, food tour, wine tour, train tickets. There is a (very slim) chance we'll still get to travel later this year, in which case we can reschedule the train tickets; otherwise we lose 20%. Everything else is cancellable, I think. And I should get on that this week.

Posted by
96 posts

We have an RS tour scheduled for October (Basque Spain) and we really don’t want it to be cancelled. We want to go. Yes, I realize that Spain doesn’t look like a tourist destination now and possibly in the near future. But I’ll stay hopeful, and positive.

Final payment is due in Aug so hopefully by then, RS will have made a go/no-go decision. The international legs of our flights leaving from JFK have been booked and they’re refundable. We have pre- and post-tour lodging booked with penalty-free cancellation until 24 hrs before arrival. I’m waiting til summer to book our flight to JFK.

Posted by
7112 posts

My casual observation and personal experience is the RS cancellations are for tours which start about 6-7 weeks out.

Once I got the official RS notice I started cancelling the other hotel reservations ( all the refundable type) , got my FF miles redeposited and now am waiting for a response from eurostar to see if I get to 'save' ( re-use?) any the the money they got.

Know very well what you mean by being in that 'funny limbo'.

Posted by
20 posts

I was on the May 24 departure for Best of Eastern France. I got email notice that my tour was cancelled on April 6 and my credit card account was credited on April 7. Kudos to RS Tours on how they handled this difficult situation.

Now I'm playing a waiting game with United Airlines to see if they will cancel my May 18 flight to Paris. I would prefer
a cash refund so I'm waiting to see when they will cancel. But I'm a pretty loyal United flyer so I don't have a problem with an Electronic Travel Certificate either.

The real waiting game is for the release of Rick Steves' 2021 tours. I'm eager to re-book!

Linda

Posted by
3151 posts

The waiting game is what it is. RS Tours is not alone in waiting to cancel. Delta did the same thing and I waited until they canceled my round-trip flights between JFK & Zürich. They did 9 days before my departure flight. I knew they would so I never felt “in limbo“.

Posted by
82 posts

I know what you mean about feeling like your in limbo. I don't have a RS tour but do have a 30th anniversary trip to England booked for Sept 16th. We had bought tickets and setup for our wedding vows to be renewed at a 12th century church in the town my mother grew up in. I've got my fingers crossed that things will be open and back to "normal" again by then. The waiting is driving me slightly bonkers.

Posted by
318 posts

I have the Basque tour scheduled to start July 8. I had plans to go to Paris for a few days before, and Zaragoza and Madrid after the tour. I noticed yesterday tours through June 14 are cancelled. So I am dreading the day I will get the call about my tour cancellation. I won't cancel anything else until RS cancels my tour. This is so depressing....

Posted by
706 posts

We have a RS Spain tour in October and I’m hoping that by August things have straightened out enough that the fall trips are able to take place. (Please, please ,please!!)

Posted by
812 posts

I am in the same “sinking “ boat. Lol. We were to be on May 25 departure for so England villages tour. Got RS notice of cancellation. I started to cancel all hotels (no monies paid) , cottage, tour, baseball london games. We were notified before tour was cancelled about the baseball games in London. I new we were going to be on the chopping block soon, so decided to start to start cancelling things. I waited on RS before talking to airlines. We got or getting some of our money back. I am still working on United. Uggghhh. Hubs got his but I have not yet.

Kim

Posted by
52 posts

It has been AGONIZING, adding just another layer of stress.

Posted by
1003 posts

We are on the Best of England tour that starts on 9/6/20. I would not be surprised if RS cancelled the entire 2020 tour schedule. Our flight over the pond is on a new seasonal Delta flight from Boston to Manchester England. I’m thinking that Delta will cancel that flight.

I would rather just know what is happening so I can move on. However, I understand why RS is cancelling tours in phases.

Posted by
9 posts

We're in the same boat. I check online every few days to see where they're at in terms of canceling. Up to June 14th as of today which means our tour is only one week out (we were scheduled for a June 23rd tour to France). So incredibly disappointed but I resigned myself to this happening back in March when they closed the schools here. I'm thinking we're just going to wait and see about the airlines, although I will contact our trip insurance people once the RS tour is officially canceled to make sure I'm not screwing things up by waiting. I'm guessing the airlines will cancel and then the only thing left will be our hotel for the extra nights we booked. I think those are non-refundable, but maybe the trip insurance will kick in. We got one of those "cancel for any reason" policies, so maybe we're okay. Either way, it wasn't that much money for the hotel and I never did purchase all the extras for the trip (museum passes, extra tours, etc.) because I was waiting until we were 3 months out and this hit before we got to that point. We were doing a My Way tour so lots of free time to plan excursions.

Hopeful we can do this in 2021, although we already have a Bat Mitzvah, a graduation, and a wedding on the calendar for that summer, so not sure we can make it work. :(

Posted by
4 posts

Our trip is at the end of July and one of the My Way trips. We were hoping to go but even if Europe opens we have decided we sure dont want to go there with everyone wearing a mask! What kind of trip is that! So yes we have resigned to not going this year and are waiting for a cancellation notification so we can get our refund and plan to retry next year

Posted by
42 posts

Scandinavia tour, starting Aug. 2. At this time, my guess is the tour probability is 75/25 (in favour of being cancelled). Even if tour is not cancelled, given what I’m seeing/hearing/reading right now, I may still be wary of going. Unfortunately, booked flights in February (about 1 week before the world descended into chaos) for 2 persons via Expedia which are technically non-refundable. Not sure if airlines will still be generously offering credit for non-refundable tickets as they are now. Also booked a non-refundable 1 night hotel room at the tour hotel in Bergen, Norway where the tour finishes. Sigh…hindsight is so 20/20…

Posted by
3105 posts

Surprisingly, some "non-refundable" fares or reservations do get refunded. You can't expect it or demand it, but you can certainly ask and sometimes the answer is yes.

Posted by
1 posts

Waiting on the cancellation of a tour that begins June 30. I can’t imagine that it will go forward at this point.

Posted by
3444 posts

From Rick's April news:

"The time will come to promote European travel again. But right now, it's time to be home. ... Our Rick Steves tour buses will be rolling again soon enough. ... [W]e'll resume our tour program as soon as this crisis lifts, when we can do so with no risk to our travelers or the Europeans we'll be visiting, and the infrastructure for travel and sightseeing is reliably back on track. Exactly when this will happen…no one knows."

So, it sounds like the next wave of cancellations will be coming soon. As far as how many more months of tours get cancelled? As Rick states "no one knows".

Posted by
62 posts

My RS Sicily tour that was scheduled to start June 14 was canceled by RS on April 13. They are issuing a full refund. I waited for them to cancel as you only have to watch the news to know it would happen, that way a full refund was issued. Just canceled flights, hotels, upgraded seats etc. United instantly put all my miles back into my account and are refunding the taxes fees, yea! I am getting 'preferred seat' charges refunded from Air Canada and the cost of a food voucher I purchased with them, they were super fast, only a few days. I haven't heard a word from Swiss for the 2 flights I had with them, I just need my seat reservation fees refunded. Considering the losses all these companies are experiencing I have been impressed with all their customer service.

I have done 3 RS tours and I just love them, however I do not want to travel on another until the risk of getting the virus is much lower. On my RS tour in Italy last October, one tour member got a nasty cough/cold and by the end of the trip 75% of tour members had come down with it. It was a nasty virus, most had to miss a day of sightseeing to stay in bed. I saw then how fast a virus can spread when in close proximity to everyone and I can only imagine what that would mean if it were the Coronavirus! Wearing a mask all trip and not being able to enjoy the wonderful things these trips provide to the fullest extent means, for me, I would rather wait for next year or whenever it seems safer to travel and not be a burden to another country. The tour members on all of my tours have mostly consisted of people who are in the riskiest age group so I'm sure RS will not put anyone at risk unnecessarily and continue to cancel as they think fit or guided by government requirements.

Posted by
468 posts

We're scheduled on a tour in September. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was still hopeful. But now it doesn't seem there's any way travelers will be freely traveling around the world, packing ourselves on planes, entering/exiting foreign countries, etc. by then. I've gone from hoping the tour would happen to wishing RS would cancel asap, so I would have one less thing in limbo (because basically everything is in limbo, and as a control freak, that's really hard!) and I could attempt to recoup some of the money I've already invested.

As to the money, I have no idea if I'll get anything back, other than the RS deposit (thank you, RS!). We purchased trip insurance long before COVID was on the horizon (beginning of December) but I've heard mixed things and am not counting on them. Our flights are on Air Canada, and I've heard that even if they cancel the flights, they may only issue a voucher and not give us our money back (which would be lousy, because we aren't Canadian and may not have any opportunity to fly Air Canada in the immediate future). I booked a non-refundable hotel in Rome for 4 days prior to our tour -- which I have never done before, but did because I was confident having the travel insurance. I will see whether I can get a refund or a voucher for a future stay, but -- honestly -- the hotel may be out of business by now. That will be a big financial hit. A couple of other small things, like a 50 euro deposit at small B&B which I might just let them keep....they probably need it more than I do at this point.

I'm also just really sad about our future as travelers. We're nearing retirement, and were looking forward to traveling more than ever. But now we've lost a lot of our retirement savings. I may also lose my job....and my college junior may not be able to find a job post-graduation, which will most likely mean international travel is something we'll no longer be able to afford.

Posted by
3105 posts

Ruth, I am sorry for all the loss and uncertainty you are experiencing. Even though we all know that life can change in a split second, none of us really actually expect it do so. I hope that things turn out well for you on the many issues you are facing.

I had originally thought that I would be retiring at the end of the next school year (I'm a teacher). Now, I am taking a "wait and see" approach to see if that will still be a good time for me or not. So many people are facing difficulties and difficult decisions. It truly is a waiting game.

Posted by
34 posts

To Ruth,
My Air Canada flight to Venice that was to occur on September 2nd (booked a long time ago before Covid-19) was cancelled two weeks ago. I was able to get a refund. I hope that this information can lessen some of your stress.

Posted by
3105 posts

Waiting game is over. All tours cancelled through Aug 15

Posted by
318 posts

Carol, where did you see that all tours through August 15 were cancelled? Did you get the call from RS? The FAQ section of the RS website still says June 14.

Posted by
3105 posts

I received an email from Rick Steves Tours today. I copied it onto the thread entitled "All Rick Steves Tours cancelled through August 15th" that is posted.

Posted by
12131 posts

The website is still selling the Best of Eastern Europe leaving June 24

Posted by
468 posts

I'm not scheduled until mid-September, so I'm still going to be waiting. :(
So sorry for everyone!

Posted by
700 posts

All tours with available spots for June 16th and later are still listed. They notify cancelled tour members first. The web page will be updated in time; individual notifications first. Only so many employees, can’t do everything instantly.

Posted by
12131 posts

There are many Wester Europe tours canceled into August. I just checked Eastern Europe.

Posted by
1894 posts

Ruth, if your insurance is with Travel Guard, on their website is a place where you can request a refund or voucher for future travel insurance. I received my voucher today. Good luck-I know just how you and Carol are feeling; I think most of us do.

Posted by
336 posts

I am using time to drum up interest in one of RS's family tours. I want to go with my daughter and grandchild. Neither would care for a fully guided tour, but the family tours sound interesting. Maybe 2022? We can hope.