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Tauck River Cruises: Is Tauck the Best River Cruise Line For You?

Executive Editor, U.S.
Chris Gray Faust
Marissa Wright

Last updated
Feb 10, 2023

Read time
4 min read

Tauck is located at the upper end of the river cruise spectrum, providing cruisers with an all-inclusive luxury experience on Europe's waterways. Tauck river cruises were born out of Tauck Travel, which also provides land tours around the world.

Tauck's approach to river cruising is similarly comprehensive to its land trips. There's a cruise director and three Tauck guides, special events held onshore in the evening and "lagniappe" (i.e. surprise) moments throughout the tours.

Tauck River Cruises: A Unique Nine-Ship Fleet

Tauck has nine riverboats, owned and operated by Scylla, a Swiss-owned company; while the only Tauck employees are the cruise director and guides, Tauck dictates the experience.

Most new river cruise ships in Europe are a standard 443 feet, and carry closer to 190 passengers. However, Tauck's four newer Inspiration-class vessels carry 130 passengers -- the lowest number of passengers for a ship of its size.

Starting in 2017, the line has been revamping its five older Jewel-class ships, which are smaller than the Inspiration vessels, reducing the capacity from 118 to 98. Once complete, Tauck will no longer distinguish ships by "class."

Tauck river cruises sail on the major European rivers: Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone, Seine and Moselle.

Tauck River Cruises: Why You'll Love Being Aboard Tauck Cruises

All-Inclusive Pricing Onboard

Unless you buy something in the shop or get a (reasonably priced, by spa standards) salon treatment or massage, your balance will be zero. Tauck's fares cover all beverages, including wine, beer and spirits, all day long and at meals; at least one shore excursion per day; alternative dining options; bikes to use in port; free Wi-Fi; airport transfers and gratuities.

Choice in Dining-- and Free Lunches During Long Port Excursions

Tauck offers diners an open seating in the main dining room and an excellent alternative restaurant called Arthur's where you can get a wide variety of made-to-order items. With such options, Tauck makes it really easy to eat what you want, when you want.

In addition, the line gives you money to buy lunch at a local cafe during long port excursions, which no one else in the river cruise industry does.

Sophisticated and Pleasant Decor

Some cruise lines interpret luxury as over-the-top materials that conjure images of an English country house, while others confuse it with formality. At Tauck, the vibe is neither of the two.

Instead, the ships are quietly upscale and elegant, with tasteful chandeliers and ironwork in the lobby, neutral colors in the cabins and ceiling molding in the lounge (along with the best bar napkins we've ever seen at sea).

Tauck river cruises keep the decor tasteful and classy for all cruisers' enjoyment.

A More Intimate Atmosphere than Other Cruise Lines

Tauck's ships are the same size as those run by other cruise lines. In Europe, the length of vessels is mostly dictated by the lock system. Yet Tauck carries far fewer passengers than its competitors, with 130 compared to 150 or 190.

The lower numbers make a noticeable difference. Lounges and restaurants feel less crowded, the cruise director is more available and shore excursions have smaller groups. A Tauck tour is a comprehensive package that allows travelers to experience new places.

Assistance When Needed

On Tauck shore excursions, the tour directors are right there with you: changing batteries for QuietVoxes (a personal hearing device that makes listening to the tour guide much easier), making lunch or dinner recommendations in town or pointing out the best shops.

If you're the type of person who worries a bit about travel yet still wants some independence, Tauck offers the ideal mix. Tauck river cruises provide assistance while still allowing cruisers some independence during their travels.

Each Tauck river cruise gives travelers unique experiences with their Tauck tour package. Excursions are included in the package for each cruiser's enjoyment.

Tauck River Cruises: Why Tauck Cruises May Not Be the Best For You

High-End Pricing

There's a price for all those inclusions -- and Tauck's cost is definitely at the high end of river cruising.


All alcoholic drinks are available all the time on Tauck, plus the line often has wine tastings and excursions that focus on local beer and spirits. You might resent paying for other people's bar bills if you don't drink.

Tauck Dress Code

Tauck is less dressy than ocean cruises, but there are a handful of events, such as the Welcome Dinner, a Gala Dinner and special events offshore, where a jacket for men and a nice dress for women is appropriate.

If the idea of making an effort to dress doesn't appeal to you on such a port-intensive vacation, consider looking at a line that doesn't have these types of events.

Publish date February 10, 2023
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