7 Tauck ms Esprit Cruise Reviews

Our travel agent has been raving about Tauck for years, so when we said we wanted to do a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, she suggested Tauck. We had been on a fabulous Viking river cruise a few years earlier and decided to try ... Read More
Our travel agent has been raving about Tauck for years, so when we said we wanted to do a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, she suggested Tauck. We had been on a fabulous Viking river cruise a few years earlier and decided to try something different. What a mistake. Logistics: Problems with logistics began even before we boarded the ship. We were told to wait for a driver at the east pick up point at Centraal train Station Amsterdam. We waited over half an hour, finally called and found out the driver had been told to pick us up at the west pick up point. He was cross and so were we. Then we found out the ship was a 5-minute walk from the train station. In many places, we had to stand around in the cold and rain waiting for buses. The two worst so far involved Nuremberg where the guides gleefully told us that because it was Sunday NOTHING was open, but we had over an hour ‘free time’ before we could return to the ship so we had a choice of going into a bar at 11 am or standing in the cold plaza waiting. A few days later, we were told we had an early tour and needed to board coaches at 8:30. We arrived at Melk Abbey 15 minutes later where we stood around in a cold courtyard for over 30 minutes waiting for guides. When the guides showed up, they had tour tickets for 9:15. There were many other similar logistical glitches, which might have been understandable on a less costly or larger tour. Sometimes, it would take the tour directors 15 - 20 minutes to divide us into groups - which could have been done on the warm, dry ship, rather than on the cold, rainy sidewalk. Health: Although folks, including crew and staff, began falling ill with an upper respiratory virus two days into the cruise, it wasn’t until day 11 of the cruise - well over a week later – that hand sanitizing was pushed aggressively. Food service, especially once the virus started spreading, helped to fuel the problem. Napkins in the bar, which are placed on the table for drinks and for people to use when eating hors d’oeuvres, were then collected, and piled up neatly for folks to use again!! Buffet lines, where people reach in for food, often with their hands that they may have just used to cover a cough or blow their nose, also helps spread germs. We've been on larger ships that closed buffet lines at the hint of a virus to try to stop its spread. Other cruise ships also have signs reminding guests to use a paper towel to open bathroom doors (which carry huge amounts of germs) but not Tauck. In short, Tauck did nothing to prevent the spread of this virus. They did, however, call in a doctor for a very sick guest. Prevention would have been a better solution! Standing around in the cold and rain worsened this health problem. Many folks on the cruise are over 65 and standing for long periods exacerbates issues with hips, knees, and backs but most of the ‘walking’ tours have involved long periods of standing while a guide told us of the history of the city (information we could have gotten in a printed or oral form before leaving the boat). Schedule and activities: Most days, time off the ship has been limited to a few hours (although there have been some evenings when folks could stay in town for dinner at their own expense). For the most part, activities and excursions have been limited to walking tours of the old town (which all began to look much the same!). This is not much fun in cold rainy weather – which is common in this area - and no alternatives were available. One day there was NO time off the ship which wouldn’t have been a hardship had there been anything to do other than eat and drink. There was a pile of games and puzzles in the main lounge, but no place to work the puzzles. One waiter offered to put up a table for several of us who wanted to work a puzzle, but it never happened even though there is an unused part of the lounge that would have been perfect. There are 3 public areas on the ship: the main dining room which is open only for meals, a large bar/lounge which is open all day but with muzak playing constantly and passengers congregated there all day with nothing to do but drink, the noise level is so high its hard to hear anyone sitting next to you - much less try to read a book. There is also a small 'cafe' on the aft end, but it too is noisy. I went up one morning at 4 am just to get a quiet cup of coffee (self serve coffee there), but a waiter showed up, flipped on the muzak. I asked him if he could turn it down - or off - and he said "But people LIKE music." I said I don't, I'm the only one here, and I'd like quiet. His response was to walk away leaving the muzak blaring. Quality of the few local musicians is very uneven and not up to the standards set on a Viking Cruise of the area we took a few years ago. Staff: Usually polite and knowledgeable, but some do not hold up well under pressure and snap at guests who ask questions. Also, significant gaps in knowledge. One small city we visited had an amazing museum city which they knew nothing about; instead, they suggested a museum of tools. The Ship: Although recently updated, no noise abatement was added. In the public areas, with low ceilings and no noise abatement, conversation is difficult or impossible for those of us who are hard of hearing. During presentations, staff and guests continued to talk making it difficult to hear the speaker. Our cabin was the smallest one I've ever seen. We are not large people, but we could not pass each other walking around the room. There were two problems with our first cabin: a door that wouldn’t stay closed and a stopped up sink, were fixed eventually (for a couple of days, I was told the door wouldn’t stay closed because I wasn’t holding the key properly and the only way to close it was to slam it - thus annoying our neighbors, but when the maintenance man finally came, he had to re drill the door closing). The worst problem was the HVAC which kept our room very cold no matter what we did. This was even more uncomfortable after we got sick. After several days, of the maintenance guy coming and 'fixing' it, on day 11 of the cruise, we were moved into another cabin which also has problems with air, wildly vacillating water temperatures (i.e. cold to scalding in a flash), and cooking odors coming up through the HVAC system. That seems like a lot of problems for a ship that had recently been overhauled. Fitness and Recreation: One tiny room - claustrophobic, with a stationary bike and a few weights - was at the bottom of circular stairs and no way to signal anyone if there was a problem. I could have stood in there and screamed and no one would have heard me. We sent these complaints to our travel agent who forwarded them to Tauck. The Customer Service Representative apparently told our travel agent that this was all normal. The woman at Tauck finally agreed to talk with me, but it was a very unsatisfying conversation: no “sorry that happened,” all she’d say was that it is their policy to talk only with travel agents. Apparently, once they've been paid, they have no interest or concern that this was the worst two weeks of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have traveled with Tauck on four previous land vacations and figured they would be just as good on a river. We traveled from Amsterdam to Budapest. Halfway, we had to switch ships with Sprit's sister ship, the Treasures. Kept the ... Read More
We have traveled with Tauck on four previous land vacations and figured they would be just as good on a river. We traveled from Amsterdam to Budapest. Halfway, we had to switch ships with Sprit's sister ship, the Treasures. Kept the same cabin number. The Danube River was too low and we heard about other tour groups bussing to cities from a docked ship. Our ship had 78 tourists; our cabin was about 300 sq ft. This was great as we got to know almost everyone at least a little bit. The ship swap required a 3 hour drive after a city tour. Our Tour Directors made this fun with games, cookies, crackers, and wine on the bus! Highlights: A private dinner at a Palace in Vienna with 2 opera singers, 2 ballet dancers, and a chamber orchestra: a night sail on the Danube through Budapest - BEAUTIFUL: Lunch at Bruer's Rudesheimer Schloss with great music playing both German and American tunes: Sailing through the Lorelei Valley and the Wachau Valley (Rhine and Danube): Lunch on our own during free time in 3 cities (Tauck gave each person 20 Euros for spending money). The only extra costs we had on this entire trip were a couple meals as we arrived a day early and our souvenirs. You will never go wrong with Tauck. They PLAN for anything! and everything! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was a very enjoyable cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We booked through a TA, bought business class tickets through Tauck but chose our own hotels, not the Tauck hotels because the perks were better. However, Tauck still picked us ... Read More
This was a very enjoyable cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We booked through a TA, bought business class tickets through Tauck but chose our own hotels, not the Tauck hotels because the perks were better. However, Tauck still picked us up from the airport in Budapest and picked us up at our Amsterdam hotel and delivered us to the airport all in fine style. The fact that Tauck does not own their cruise ships did not seem to pose any issues at all. Everything was seamless and service was outstanding at every turn. All the ship personnel and most of the Tauck personnel were so pleasant to deal with and every detail was flawlessly executed with the unfortunate exception of the cuisine. Breakfasts were fine although the menu never varied. Lunches were also very similar with a rotation of salads and different entrees however, some were really awful such as the infamous pork neck. It was so tough and sinewy as to be too difficult to chew! Most fish and chicken seemed to be over-cooked at lunch and dinner. Dinner was disappointing on multiple nights with the entrees being odd or poorly prepared. The presentation was very basic. The farewell dinner was somewhat better but was more like I would expect EVERY night for a premium cruiseline. I actually lost weight on this cruise! On a positive note, many local, regional specialties were offered along with local wines almost daily. However, some of the wines were not very good so we asked for other options. The dining room staff was outstanding as was the bar staff, especially the charming head bartender. There was also a small cafe aft which was great for light breakfasts, lunches and coffee/tea all day. There were also themed dinners available to reserve there and the food was actually quite good. Our standard cabin was minuscule but had plenty of storage and the bathroom was ingeniously designed to feel bigger than it actually was. Housekeeping was impeccable. Public spaces were light and airy in decor and roomy enough for all passengers during cocktail hour or dinner. The entire ship was in excellent condition. The gym was tiny and claustrophobic as is typical on most river ships. Wifi was terribly slow, unfortunately. There was excellent entertainment nightly or daily depending on the schedule for the day. Plenty of lectures, guest performers, even a local glassmaker. The tours were led by the 3 tour directors and they each did a fantastic job. Jaimie, Patricia and Cindy were so professional, hospitable, efficient and detail oriented. Every tour was well planned and interesting. I loved that there were choices to just have an orientation walk, full walking tour or a fitness walk in many ports. There were a couple of bike tours offered. I couldn’t quite understand what the cruise director’s job was but dealing with the public was not his forte. Perhaps he did most of his work behind the scenes but any time he addressed the passengers was cringe-worthy. He was not very friendly at all. The itinerary was packed but fortunately we had just enough down-time to catch our breath and not feel too overwhelmed. There were a few short bus rides with the longest being about 40 minutes if you chose the Röthenburg option. Except for 1 rainy day the weather was spectacular and the river water levels were never an issue. Highly recommend Tauck if you don’t care about food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We began our journey on April 25, 2016, when we booked a long-time dream of a European River cruise. It seemed forever in the distance. The cost of the cruise was $18,170. We booked our own air on American Airlines at a cost of $3638.12. ... Read More
We began our journey on April 25, 2016, when we booked a long-time dream of a European River cruise. It seemed forever in the distance. The cost of the cruise was $18,170. We booked our own air on American Airlines at a cost of $3638.12. Steve used points to pay for the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam and the Hilton Budapest and the Conrad hotel in London. All excursions were included in the cruise at no additional cost… as was all liquor and transfers from the airports. The reality finally came true, when we boarded the first leg of our flight for Dallas at 11:30 on September 16. We left Dallas at 4 pm for the 9.5-hour flight to Amsterdam. Immigration was very crowded and it took an hour to get through. We looked for our driver where Tauck told us to find him but we could not find our driver. We did find a tauck representative who did not have our name on his list. He made a phone call and a few minutes a later our driver found us. He said we came in the wrong gate... well I can't answer that other than to say we took the exit immigration told us to take. He helped us with our bags and drove us to the Waldorf. We were greeted by the bellmen. We checked in but our room was not ready so we walked to the Van Gogh museum where we had pre-purchased tickets on line. The museum is lovely… but we were so very tired…I am not sure we were able to really appreciate the artwork we saw. While there we received a text that our room was ready. We walked back to the Waldorf and reception took us to room 204…which had a beautiful view of the garden. The room was beautiful. The bathroom was simply luxurious. The luggage was already in the room. We decided to take a nap and then afterward went to happy hour. We went to dinner at the Goldfinch Brasserie. We got the three-course dinner with the wine pairing. We had sturgeon Shrimp, Japanese ribs, and sweet waldorf salad. The meal and service were excellent. We came back to the room and took a hot bath and went to bed. September 18 2017 On Monday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel. We had eggs benedict. Then we walked to the red-light district and then to the Anne Frank House where we had pre-purchased tickets online. We walked back to the Waldorf and gathered our bags. The waldorf arranged for a taxi for 50 euros. The driver called the ship to find out where it was docked. We arrived at 3:00 p.m. in the pouring rain. No one... not one single person greeted us on the dock. Even the driver commented how unusual it was for no one to be there to assist us. So, we walked to the gangway and poor Steve struggled with two large bags, the backpack and the camera bag…while I had my purse and another bag. I got to the door and asked the young man to help my husband. He just stood there so I handed him my bag and went back down the gangway to help Steve. I went to the desk and checked in…which consisted of telling her our name. They checked no passport…no paper work…nothing. They told us which room... 211 and two men did help us bring the luggage to the room... thank God …because steve was furious. This is the smallest room we have ever had on a cruise. We booked a room with a king bed and a French balcony. There was a small desk and two chairs. You could not walk between the desk and the bed if someone was sitting in the chair. We unpacked and I went to the desk to ask for more hangers. They did give us more. We went to the bar and got a glass of wine and ate some nachos. We went to the desk to ask how to hook to the internet. They said to bring all of our devices to them. So, we did. We hooked to the internet which was excruciatingly slow…but at least we did have connections. When we arrived, there were very few passengers on board but at 4:00 they all seemed to arrive. There is nothing fancy about this ship. If this is a premier river cruise line I would hate to see a cheaper one. For dinner, we had Dutch salad and Dutch soup and perch and Dutch apple pie for dinner. We retired to our room…exhausted and disappointed. September 19 2017 On Tuesday, we had the breakfast buffet on the ship, then went to the Rijksmuseum. We then had a private luncheon cruise on a canal boat. We had Avocado salad, chicken fillet and Dutch apple pie. It was very lovely. We then had a 2-hour bus ride to catch up to our ship in Nijmengen. We had dinner and went to the lounge. September 20 2017 On Wednesday, we got to sleep in and then went to breakfast at 9. We docked about 11:30 in Cologne Germany. We toured the beautiful church and the roman museum. Almost all of the city was destroyed by bombs…but they did not destroy the church. We had a formal cocktail hour and then a beautiful formal dinner. We had lobster and I had extra foie gras. September 21 2017 On Thursday, we traveled the Rhine and saw many beautiful castles and vineyards on our way to Rudesheim Germany. We had a very lovely lunch at a place called rudesheimer Schloss. We had Riesling, salad, German potato soup, wiener Schnitzler, apple strudel and rudescheim cafe...with brandy. We toured the Siegfried’s Mechanisches Musikkaninett...and rode on a cable car to the top of the mountain to see the niederwald monument and then back down again. When we got on board, I decided to talk to Carlos the cruise director about the glitch in our arrival and transport from the airport and the fact that no one helped us with our luggage upon our arrival to the ship. He said so the driver went to the wrong gate….and did you expect people to stand in the rain to help you on board? I regretted speaking to him…because he sealed the dissatisfaction and disappointment. You simply cannot undo that kind of impression. All we wanted was an apology and a promise that it would be addressed. We felt that because we did not stay in the Tauck recommended hotel…we were punished. Had we stayed in the “right” hotel…we would have arrived on the bus with the rest of the group and everything would have been properly taken care of. Point taken…. lesson learned…Tauck lost a customer. Friday September 22 2017 We traveled from the Rhine to the Main River overnight…we went through many locks all night…and have continued to go through locks today and we went up on deck to watch how the process works. A glass blower Hans Ittig came aboard from the town of Wertheim…which we go by but do not stop at…and he gave a glass blowing demonstration and had items to sell. I bought a masterpiece horse head, a ship in a bottle, engraved shot glasses and an ornament. We took pictures of the room. Autumn is falling in Germany…and the hills are beginning to have many colors. Saturday September 23 Today we went to Würzburg and then took a bus to Rothenberg. We visited St. Jacob’s church. We had lunch at Ratsstube Restaurant bakery. I had a ham and cheese croissant and steve had quiche. Then we went to a wine tasting at Staatliche Hofkeller in the cellar of the Wurzburg Residenz. Following dinner was disco night in the lounge. Sunday Sept 24 2017 We arrived in Bamberg Germany We toured the city and the church. We did a beer tasting and sausage tasting. We came back to the ship and had a concert by the oompah oompah oompah band. September 25 2016 Monday We toured Nurnberg. We went to the documentation Center, Zeppelin Field, and the Court house. We went to the City Center. We had lunch at Bratwursthausle Tucher Weizen. September 26 2017 Tuesday We cruised into Regensburg. For the first time, we went DOWN in the locks instead of up. We have crossed the continental divide and are now on the Danube river. We toured parts of the town then went to the Thurn and Taxix palace. Then we sampled beer and brats at Hacker-Pschott Brauhaus am Schloss. We had veal at the Bistro for dinner and then were entertained by the Regensburg Spitzwegquartett. September 27 2017 We had our last stop in Germany…Passau. We went to St. Stephens church to hear a concert on the 17,986-pipe organ. We had lunch…wiener schnitzel… at am paulusbogen. We bought a beautiful cuckoo clock and a stein which will be shipped to our home. The clock was about $1000 euro. September 28 2017 Thursday We went to Melk Austria to visit the magnificent Benedictine Abby. Then we cruised the beautiful Wachau Valley. We docked in Vienna about 6 pm. We had dinner onboard then went to ride the Vienna Prater…a very large Ferris wheel. There was a large shopping facility nearby. While shopping for ornaments, one fell off and broke. The clerk…came running over…picked it up and took it to the checkout. When I took all the things I was purchasing to the checkout…she informed me I was also paying for the broken ornament. Steve took me by the arm…and walked me to the door. She stopped us and said it was ok…she would not charge us. I bought an ornament, a spoon, a shot glass and a postcard. Smart lady…. because I could have purchased those things at the next place. Unfortunately, it was not a good first impression of Vienna. September 29 2017 Friday. This was the day I had waited for! This was the event that made the difference for me which river cruise line I chose for this vacation. Tauck, was the only line that offered this special event. We began the day by touring the Schonbrunn Palace. Then we had lunch in the city at Mozart café…apple strudel and coffee.…and tonight a very special dinner in the Palais Pallavicini. We were greeted by gentlemen in tuxedos who offered us Champaign. A 3-piece orchestra played beautiful music. Then after the bell ringing to announce dinner, we were taken to the beautiful dining room. We were served a salad, soup, and veal and ice cream for dessert. While we ate, we were entertained by a 7-piece orchestra…two opera singers and two ballet dancers. It was a magical enchanting evening….one I will never forget. Tauck got this very right. September 30 2017 today we docked in Bratislava Slovakia. We did a walking tour of the city, visited the palace, and had coffee and a treat at zylinder café and restaurant. October 1 2017 Sunday Today arrived in Budapest Hungary. We took a city tour. We went to the castle district which is where the Hilton Budapest is. That afternoon, we went to the zoo. The zoo was small and old and dirty and smelly. The facilities were actually quite horrific and would never pass American standards. After dinner, we took a small boat ride to see all the lights at night. This is our last night on the ship. Carlos explained how the disembarkment process would work. October 2 2017 Monday Tauck arranged for a taxi to transport us to the hotel. It was 20 euro. We arrived at the Hilton Budapest. The bellman took our luggage. We checked in and room 382 was ready. The view from our room was amazing. The room was beautiful and the service was wonderful. We had breakfast and then walked around and did some shopping. We had dinner at pest Buda restaurant. We had goulash soup, duck liver and beef goulash with risotto. We retired for the evening but did not sleep well waiting for the 4:00 alarm to begin our journey to London. October 3 2017 As promised…the tauck driver was waiting in the lobby at 4:45 to take us to the airport. We flew to London with no glitches. Immigration was a long process but then we collected our bags and took a taxi to the Conrad. Cost for the Taxi was 72 pounds…. which is about $108. Our room was not ready, so we stored the bags and took a taxi to the London eye which I had prebooked on line. We then walked around and looked at a few things then walked back to the hotel and had lunch…fish and chips! The hotel location is very close to Buckingham palace, big ben, etc. We retired early because we got up at 4 am. Wednesday October 4 2017. Today we walked to Buckingham palace to watch the changing of the guard. I had no idea it was an hour process! We shopped in the Queens gallery. We went to the Churchill museum. We had lunch at Clarence Whitehall. Steve had Hampshire beef casserole with peas, onions and red wine jus. I had the sausage with mashed potatoes. Both were amazing! We walked to the guard museum and watched the horses. We had stood for two hours waiting for the changing of the guards and our dogs were really barking. Thursday October 5 2017 Today we took a taxi back to the airport for the long flight home. Cost was 78 pounds. Not sure why it was more than from the airport to the hotel but oh well. The flight from London to philly left 3 hours late so we also missed our connecting flight. We were able to get another flight to STL. We got home about midnight. This has truly been a trip of a lifetime. We met many wonderful people on the ship and formed friendships that will last a lifetime. In addition to Carlos…there were three ladies, Julia, Cindi and Patricia…that assisted him. These ladies were amazing. Their knowledge, their willingness to help in any way…was absolutely unbeatable. The wait staff on the ship was simply wonderful…especially kuskus…the bartender. I don’t think he could have done anything more than his very best to make everyone happy. The local guides were professional and knowledgeable…the bus drivers were simply AMAZING. I could never do what they do…driving those big buses in such small crowded places! We went through 68 locks…sometimes the ride was bumpy…but it was amazing to see how innovative the human mind can be. We saw beautiful Castles and Churches…ate in lovely restaurants…heard amazing music…and experienced places we could only dream of seeing. The beautiful fall colors along the rivers only enhanced the trip. We saw quaint little villages nestled in the hills and mountains along the way to the beautiful cities. People waved as we passed by…and never once did we feel unwelcome or afraid. The beautiful people of Europe always spoke English and treated us with respect and gratitude for our visit. We witnessed the damages of war…and the resilience of people…who pick themselves up and continue on…proving that hope never dies. There is always the promise of a new day. From Amsterdam to Budapest to London…even though we speak different languages and live in different countries…people are people…. with the same hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow. Thank you, Europe, for being a gracious host to a couple of kids from the Midwest who never ever dreamed a trip like this would be possible. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We took a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. In the most part, the passengers are retirees - particularly from the USA. However, they were active and interesting retirees who were keen to do as much as possible. We were met at the ... Read More
We took a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. In the most part, the passengers are retirees - particularly from the USA. However, they were active and interesting retirees who were keen to do as much as possible. We were met at the airport after a long haul flight by the Tauck arranged transfer van. The van was in impeccable condition and the driver was excellent. We were taken to the Intercontinental Amstel hotel for 2 nights which was also included in the price. The hotel is 5 star and outstanding. Tauck also transfer you from the hotel to the ship. The cabin is small whichever way you look at it. Fortunately, you spend little time in your cabin (apart from sleeping!) as the general areas of the ship are fantastic. In addition, during the day you are often off the ship. One thing to keep in mind is that the cabins right at the back of the boat are near the engines - try not to book those rooms as you will hear the engine noise. The food and service cannot be faulted. The whole of the ship is of the highest standard. All (top shelf) drinks are included in the price. All excursions and tours are also included in the price - these are also quality. Finally, they include a great evening in Vienna which was the highlight of an already great cruise. At first glance, the cost looked a little on the pricey side. However, once you take into account that the price includes airport transfers, pre or post cruise accommodation at a 5 star hotel, all tours, all drinks, great food and service and a highlight evening in Vienna you are, in fact, obtaining a very high quality and memorable cruise for outstanding value. I can only compliment Tauck on the whole cruise from the moment you get off the airplane. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Tauck had the best reputation and they proved it! Every aspect of the the tour from planning through the final trip to the airport was planned and executed in an excellent manner. The Tauck people on the boat and their local guides brought ... Read More
Tauck had the best reputation and they proved it! Every aspect of the the tour from planning through the final trip to the airport was planned and executed in an excellent manner. The Tauck people on the boat and their local guides brought the river and its ports to life in a wonderful and warm manner. The two days in Prague before the cruise were packed with interesting and informative tours and insights about this great city. Tauck personnel were with us every step of the way, making the experience easy and enjoyable. Local guides were provided for major attractions and areas of interest. The Remensburg embarkation was a pleasant and easy experience. Life on the Danube was soon learned and absorbed. All ship personnel were pleasant, helpful and kind; they made you feel at home. The accommodations were well-designed and executed. Food service and quality were excellent; alcoholic beverages were all included in the tour price. Onboard life was as busy yet relaxed at all times. Our small complement of passengers rapidly became a family of fellow travelers rather than just passengers; we made many friends along the way. Shore tours were well-planned and performed. Tauck busses followed the ship providing quality and custom transportation ashore. Carefully selected local guides provided live and entertaining commentary about the local scene. The farewell dinner was held in an ornate Budapest club with gourmet food and high-quality refreshments. While the itinerary and its execution were the big attractions, the Tauck people who made it happen on site, from the tour director down to the cabin attendants, made this a very special experience. We plan to take another Tauck tour soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We are a retired couple aged 65 & 73 who love to travel and especially cruise. We have cruised on both large & small ships. This was our first river cruise and our first with Tauck, but not the last. First, the Esprit is a ... Read More
We are a retired couple aged 65 & 73 who love to travel and especially cruise. We have cruised on both large & small ships. This was our first river cruise and our first with Tauck, but not the last. First, the Esprit is a lovely ship with I believe a maximum of 118 passengers. There were 99 on our cruise. We had a category 7 suite (#313) that was very comfortable and plenty large enough for the 2 of us. The bathroom was well appointed with a large shower. The bed was comfortable and the walk-in closet was large enough with shelves and a couple of small drawers. Storage in the room was ample, we actually didn't need all of it even for a 2 week cruise. The ship is owned and staffed by Scylla, and the tours, entertainment, etc. are handled by Tauck employees. They work together seamlessly, and if we hadn't been told they were 2 separate companies we probably would not have even known it. Food is such a personal choice I hesitate to comment on it. There were a couple of nights when the main choices didn't appeal to me, but the optional ones available every day were still good. Soups were always delicious! The food was always well prepared and beautifully presented. Dining and bar staff were efficient and served with a smile and friendly attitude. They all seemed to enjoy their jobs. One young lady in particular, Fani, especially won our hearts. Her ever present smile and humor were contagious. If I don't give the food a 5 star rating it is only a personal preference, not a statement on the menu or preparation. Tours, entertainment and Tauck staff: I can't say enough about how wonderful they all were. The Cruise Director, Mary, and Tour Directors Joe, Maggie and Anna couldn't do enough to go out or their way to make sure everyone had a superb experience. They didn't miss anything we could possibly have wanted, even anticipating desires we didn't ask for. If there was a 10 star rating they would definitely deserve it! Local entertainment brought on board as well as the lectures by the Tour Directors were all enjoyable and well presented. If I had to pick a favorite it would be the glass blower, he was very entertaining and funny. Shore excursions were well run, it seems that Tauck hires only quality companies and guides. They are knowledgeable about their areas and their history and give you an all around feel for the area. The highlight was the dinner at the palace in Vienna. I don't want to say too much and spoil it for anyone taking this trip, but suffice it to say we really experienced what it was like to dine like royalty, in a beautiful setting. Every detail from the time we arrived in Amsterdam to the time they dropped us off at the hotel in Budapest was handled flawlessly without a hitch and with smiles and professional attitudes. Be prepared for a wonderful experience and excellent service. Tauck also provides extra surprises that aren't advertised in their brochures. I would recommend this trip to anyone and can't wait for our next adventure with Tauck!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
ms Esprit Ratings
Category Editor Member

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