Tauck vs Avalon Waterways - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.7
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.5
Overall — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.8
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.8
|Tours||586 Trips||649 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 652||$ 396|
|Operator Type||Mixed Land & Cruise||River Cruise Line|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Norwalk, Connecticut, United States||Littleton, Colorado, United States|
Founded in 1925 by Arthur Tauck, the company has blossomed from a New England motor coach tour agency to offering trips throughout the world -- by land (including rail), sea, and sometimes by air (private air charters, helicopters). But it remains a Tauck family-run business, now in its fourth generation.
Founded in 1925
Luxury travel with a friendly touch
Small groups, large groups, river cruises
Average tour price is around $6,000 p/p
Unique partnerships: BBC Earth, offering science themed nature tours, Ken Burns journeys in the US
What Makes Tauck Stand Out
- Long legacy
- Classic destinations
- Several types of itinerary, from cruises to family trips
- All inclusive pricing
- Themed trips
“No grouches or pessimists” was the plea in a 1920s newspaper ad for a small tour group. From that small automobile taking curious, adventurous New Yorkers along dusty roads through beautiful New England, Tauck has come a long way, now offering guided tours throughout the world.
They look upon their legacy with immense pride, as well they should. Arthur Tauck was an immigrant who pulled himself up by bootstraps and engenuity, and his name represents a supreme, classic and classy tour experience.
Tauck is a long-established high-quality tour operator with a strong reputation as one of the top companies offering upper-mid-range to luxury group travel and river cruises for the 50+ crowd. While its staple has been European and North American land tours, Tauck has been increasingly expanding into special family trips, exotic locations, and recent award-winning European river cruising.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Tauck?
- River cruisers
- History buffs
Pricing is virtually all-inclusive -- no additional options that can run up costs are offered during the trips, yet this is not a place for the true budget traveler. Though they offer several different types of tours, from family vacations to river cruising, attracting and serving a diverse customer group, the legacy of tradition and comfortability appeals largely to older and middle aged travelers.
Solo travelers are very welcome on Tauck trips, and pay a low single supplement. Numerous specifically solo friendly tours are offered. You’ll meet romantic singles, or simply independent minded travelers, of all ages.
Large family or friend groups could find a great fit at Tauck. Particularly because if your group is 11 people, the 11th travels for free! Because of Tauck’s impressively wide reaching themes and styles for families, having several different ages will be easier to entertain than they might be with other companies.
They even have dedicated “family river cruises”. So if you’re considering a multi-gen family reunion or have a large group of friends with various ages, Tauck could be a good choice.
Tauck destinations include all seven continents -- so whether you're trying to plan an Iceland vacation or looking to take a trip to Canada, consider Tauck!
Special themes may include food and wine, North American national parks, fall foliage, solo travel, African safaris, “Culturious” travel (for culturally curious baby boomers), “Bridges” (for families), and “Events,” which are considered once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.
These may feature a trip to the Kentucky Derby or journeys based around themes of Ken Burns films, with a chance to meet Burns himself.
Tauck Travel Style
Tauck’s travel style is all about seeing destinations in comfort, yet with a strong sense of adventure and desire to see different sides of the destination - from local life to culturally immersive activities.
Land tours are where they began, and they offer hundreds of different tours of various lengths around the world. Typically accommodations are in comfortable 3, 4, and occasionally 5 star hotels.
Tauck has an award winning river cruise line, covering a variety of European rivers. They strive to create an intimate setting, where customer service is not compromised. Small ship cruises use 40- to 264-passenger-size yachts and expeditionary vessels that can visit small islands and other locations that big ships cannot. The staff is known for its attentiveness and individualized service.
Among Tauck’s unique partnerships is a special connection with the BBC Earth, through which they offer what they call “Earth Journeys”. These explore the natural world with emphasis on being outdoors learning the fascinating earth science behind stunning nature and wildlife.
Tauck is a luxury minded brand, and their prices do tend to sit in the upper budget range. Think an average price between $5,000 and $7,000 per person. That said, they strive to reflect a friendliness and openness, and steer away from any kind of “stuffy” feeling. Their trips are comprehensive and full of enriching cultural activities, while also appreciating the value behind enjoying a cocktail hour before heading into dinner.
Why Choose a Tour or River Cruise With Tauck?
Tauck has an impressive array of travel styles and tours, suitable to numerous types of travelers. They are especially popular with large family groups and corporate groups, as well as very friendly to solo / single travelers.
A renowned, award winning, and well established company, they seamlessly marry innovation with legacy - sticking to their roots while continuing to create unique offerings. Some of its biggest growth has come on water, where Tauck operates a fleet of seven European river boats and a number of small ship cruises. Their customer service, attentive and knowledgeable guides are definitely a key component to their popularity.
Tauck offers something for just about everyone.
Tauck has an internal "Global Response Team" that is poised and ready for responding to the unexpected, from extreme weather events to outbreaks.
They have implemented stringent safety requirements for their trips going forward, training guides on enhanced protocols and health screening practices. Guests will be required to wear face coverings on all outings.
Part of the Globus family of travel brands since 2003, Avalon Waterways has proven to be one of the more innovative of the many river cruise companies now in operation.
Its newest “Suite” ships feature “open-air balconies” with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to serve as indoor-outdoor seating areas, which don’t cut into cabin space as do normal balconies -- meaning you have more room to move around. Bathrooms are also roomy.
What Makes Avalon Waterways Stand Out?
While global in scale, Avalon Waterways is best known for offering high-end cruises on brand new ships on European rivers. The oldest of the 15 Europe-based ships dates from just 2008, which makes it the youngest fleet of any size on European rivers.
Newer ships generally mean that staterooms are larger and amenities are enhanced.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Avalon Waterways?
While the majority of river cruise travelers are in the 50-plus range, more and more middle aged couples have been enjoying river cruises as well. Avalon is a good place to start, particularly for the more exotic destinations like the Mekong in Asia or the Amazon in South America.
Travelers seeking a luxury minded cruise experience, without an overly pomp and circumstance feel, will love cruising the world’s rivers with Avalon.
If you’re wary of river cruising as an extension of the “floating hotel”, Avalon makes sure that a focus on the region itself is felt onboard as well as through the port excursions. Local ingredients are used to make traditional dishes, and beer, wine, and spirits of the area are also showcased.
Casual and comfortable, combining a relaxed atmosphere with a fine dining calibur food and wine, Avalon presents a quiet elegance without being stuffy.
Travelers who like choice will appreciate Avalon’s numerous options when it comes to port excursion activities. Starting in 2019 and unlike many cruises, a majority of these excursions will be included in the price.
Avalon is well known for their Europe cruises, but they travel all over the world as well. They have five ships in Asia (sailing the Yangtze, Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers), and one ship each in the United States (the American Queen, which sails the Mississippi) and South America (the Aria, which plies the Amazon). Avalon runs small-ship cruises through the Galapagos Islands as well.
Avalon Waterways Travel Style
The comfort of their passengers is top of mind for Avalon. Whether this means the spacious viewing deck or numerous excursions available to satisfy different interests.
There is a sense of casual elegance that Avalon portrays. The culture on board is professional while still friendly, and the furnishings are not overly opulent.
Another thing that makes Avalon stand out is their attention to staying active and healthy. They have been a frontrunner in river cruises providing bikes and other ways to be active in each port stop.
Why Choose a Cruise with Avalon Waterways?
Avalon Cruises are comfortable, fun, and active. This is the perfect choice of cruise company for older affluent travelers seeking top notch river cruise experiences around the world.
Considering the spaciousness and innovativeness of its cabins, the fact that shore excursions and multiple dining options are included in the rates, and a chance to take advantage of some attractive early-booking discounts, Avalon can offer excellent value.