10 Tauck ms Sapphire Cruise Reviews

We eagerly awaited our Tauck family trip as we had an extremely positive experience in the past. This was anything but positive- the boat was not able too maintain comfortable temperatures in the heat we experienced, the food was bland and ... Read More
We eagerly awaited our Tauck family trip as we had an extremely positive experience in the past. This was anything but positive- the boat was not able too maintain comfortable temperatures in the heat we experienced, the food was bland and even inedible at times- we ended up eating plain pasta and cucumbers off the kids salad bar, the nightly entertainment was nonexistent and disappointing. The service on the boat was fine, we just wished we had spent a week in a comfortable hotel room and missed an actual authentic and fun experience eating real French food and immersing in French culture. This was in No way a good value- we have deep regret trusting this company and we won't do it again. CAVEAT EMPTOR- this trip was the budget express. We are now looking to travel with reputable companies that stand by their name and product- it's not the cost, it's the quality of what is delivered. This was truly disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This is my first Tauck trip and it did not disappoint in terms of service and the overall quality of what was offered. I did the 14 day Seine river cruise trip from Paris to London in July 2017. In practice this is only 9 days on ... Read More
This is my first Tauck trip and it did not disappoint in terms of service and the overall quality of what was offered. I did the 14 day Seine river cruise trip from Paris to London in July 2017. In practice this is only 9 days on the river boat and 5 days in hotels in Paris and London. The Tauck tour directors were helpful and friendly and I could not fault them. The whole trip was well organised and any glitches quickly dealt with. There were a number of 'small surprises' along the way which were appreciated and made you feel like you were valued and getting a high quality product - arguably you have already paid for these additional extras as part of the fare, however if you are looking for a trip experience which is above the essentials Tauck delivers. Scylla who own and operate the river boats offered an equally great product. Staff were professional and friendly - as good as I have experienced anywhere. Food quality and variety was much better than I expected and the wines were of a good standard. My main complaint about dinner service is that it is very rushed - given there is very limited entertainment on the river cruise, dinner should be made in to more of an event. What is the rush? The ship has recently been refitted and therefore it was fresh and modern. As mentioned this is a 14 day 'cruise' but only 9 nights on board the ship. The other nights are spent in hotels in Versailles and London. Accommodation in London was at the Savoy and I am pleased to have experienced this lovely hotel. The Waldorf in Versailles was ok but nothing to rave about. I would have much preferred to spend the full 14 days on ship. The packing up and moving involved in shifting really broke up the holiday (I was not the only person who felt this). The Seine is a short river, however there is much to see and I would have preferred a less frenetic pace of the land tours (see comments below). It is not that I am infirm - I just like to balance on board relaxing with touring. 14 days with the same land experiences spread out would have been much better. I am experienced ocean cruiser and this was my first river cruise. To compare the two products: - I travel on five star all inclusive ocean cruises and the service and staff were equivalent. I took a basic suite (ie: port hole only) and this room size was fine for me as a single person. I would not recommend it for two people (although a number of people did share on my trip). The room is very small and closet space is limited. - Entertainment on the river cruise was, as expected, very basic and 'touristy'. I really missed entertainment at night which is a big part of the enjoyment for me on an ocean cruise. This will impact on my personal decision as to whether to take another river cruise. If however you are happy to go to bed early and don't value night time entertainment then this would not be an issue for you. There was a pianist who was very good. I would have liked a more contemporary suite of music - just because I am in my 50s doesn't mean I only want to hear stuff written over 20 years ago. - The absence of rough seas is a real advantage on a river cruise especially if you get sea sick. There is always something to look at as you pass along the banks and this is pleasant - There is a lot more emphasis on 'off ship' activities on the river cruise. While you are able to stay on board with no issues, I found the level of activity which kept you off ship a bit excessive. I like to spend half a day on shore and half a day relaxing on ship which is very achievable on ocean cruises. Given the on shore program (which I wanted to do) there was only limited opportunity for on ship relaxation and I would have liked a greater balance. Overall - I was not disappointed in the Tauck product. They lived up to their reputation. The extra you pay is worth it. The newly refurbished ship is lovely and it is very relaxing and easy to get around. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Just returned from an 8 day cruise on the Swiss Saphire, she is owned by Tauck, but on this occasion had been chartered by Riviera Travel. She is a lovely boat (?ship?), fairly newly built and carries 120 passengers. We were in a cabin ... Read More
Just returned from an 8 day cruise on the Swiss Saphire, she is owned by Tauck, but on this occasion had been chartered by Riviera Travel. She is a lovely boat (?ship?), fairly newly built and carries 120 passengers. We were in a cabin on the 3rd deck in one of the stern cabins, these cabins are larger than normal, the other cabins on the 3rd deck are double size. She is very well maintained and kept very clean. Our cabin was spotless. The beds are comfortable, but only 3feet which feels very narrow. The duvets are pretty heavy and the pillows are too soft, but overall we slept well. The shower room is a reasonable size although the shower itself is not very big, decent Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries. We had complimentary slippers and dressing gowns, but I later learned that not all the cabins had them, the passengers on the lower decks didn't have them which I thought pretty mean as this was not a cheap cruise. The dining room is open seating with tables for four or six, so you can eat with different people each evening if you want, the food was fine and the service was excellent. There was no drinks package available but we found the drinks prices pretty reasonable, high street prices. There is a coffee machine in the bistro at the stern on the 3 rd deck, with good coffee plus tea and cookies. Breakfast was the usuall juices, cereals, continental cheeses and meats plus cooked sausages bacon etc. The bacon is very crispy which is an American specialty, i like my bacon crispy, but maybe not to everyone's taste. There is a chef making fresh omellettes but these have to be ordered from the wait staff. Lunch was either in the dining room for a buffet lunch, or in the bistro for a light lunch. We usually ate in the bistro, it was enough for us, but the light lunch consisted of soup one cooked mains and some salad, the menu could have been better. A nice touch was the bistro had a set Italian menu in the evening and you could book a table if you wanted a change from the restaurant. The staff were universally excellent, especially Corinn the hotel manager and Christian the restaurant manager, they were everywhere, especially Corinn, she would be serving in the dining room or serving afternoon tea or at the reception desk, she was really excellent. Our couriers Tony and Alex were also excellent, we had Tony on our bus and he was very knowledgeable and interesting. We enjoyed all the excursions especially Monet's garden in Giverny that is really special. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I chose this cruise because of the before and after days along with the visit to the Normandy beaches. Two days in London before the cruise, then the TGV under the channel to Paris for the cruise, then a stay in Versailles after the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the before and after days along with the visit to the Normandy beaches. Two days in London before the cruise, then the TGV under the channel to Paris for the cruise, then a stay in Versailles after the cruise. As usual with Tauck, we were pampered from start to finish. Everything was taken care of for us and the price was all inclusive. Although the ship is not new it didn't show the normal wear and tear you would expect. The crew was very attentive and embarkation was a breeze. When we finally sailed from Paris the Captain lowered the wheelhouse and backed the ship up near the Eiffel Tower for a photo op before heading for the coast. Traveling solo, I took advantage of their single supplement waiver and berthed in a lower deck cabin 102. I was all as advertised and more than enough for me. Had my wife been with me it would have taken a little coordination to bathe and dress. The dining was excellent with a nice variety and use of local products and wine selections which were included as well. Service was impeccable no matter where you were on the ship. The entertainment and activities were about what you would expect for a small ship but were highlighted by guest lecturers. The Ports of call were varied and the Shore excursions excellent. We even had private tour times in Monet's garden and the Van Gogh house. I only wish we had more time at the Normandy Beaches. I would definitely recommend this trip and may even take it again myself. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Tauck is truly a premier company. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation went smoothly and trouble free. The ship was lovely, a little dated, but well kept and scrupulously clean. The staff was wonderful. We had a suite which was ... Read More
Tauck is truly a premier company. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation went smoothly and trouble free. The ship was lovely, a little dated, but well kept and scrupulously clean. The staff was wonderful. We had a suite which was spacious with a walkin closet, a fairly generous bathroom with a tub and shower, a very nice Nespresso maker (I got one for myself once I got home) and a seating area. Food was outstanding. All of this is the good part. So, why did I give Tauck only four, not five stars? It all comes down to personal preferences and individual needs. While all inclusive is nice, it would have been better to have more choices in excursions rather than everyone doing the same thing. My husband has mobility issues and we were unable to do some excursions and had no second choice of activity. We traveled down the Seine and had hoped to see towns where we could walk off the boat and explore on our own. This did not happen. Nothing was close enough to our dock that we could get to on our own. Another issue was the docking procedure itself. Often we were docked up against one or two other boats. This entailed climbing to the top deck of our boat, crossing to the next boat, climbing down their stairs, then back up again to cross to the next boat, then finally onto the dock. Exhausting for my mobility challenged husband. This was especially "fun" in the rain. This particular cruise had excursions that kept us on buses for huge amounts of time, again, not what I expected. Would I take Tauck again? Probably not. Not because they don't do a good job, but our circumstances don't make this company a good match for us. Others on our cruise had taken many trips with them and loved them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We stayed at their top level suite on the third level. The room was nice and decent amount of room. The tours and guides provided very good information and were overall very good. The staff took good care of us and our only real issue was ... Read More
We stayed at their top level suite on the third level. The room was nice and decent amount of room. The tours and guides provided very good information and were overall very good. The staff took good care of us and our only real issue was the food was just subpar and not what we expected at all. Tauk is promoted as a quality luxury river cruise but the food was very poor quality. We have cruised on Silver Seas, Crystal and we dine out at least two days a week with a wide palate. The quality of the ingredients was not fresh and it seemed to an attempt to cook more American dishes rather than using fresh local ingredients and cook more local fare. We had consistently poor lunch and dinner meals with one evening so bad that our entire table sent the main veal dish back as it was just plain bad with the meat looking grey in color. Salads listing grilled fresh artichoke hearts were straight out of the can uncooked and bland. We met many other guests complaining about the food. Many of those other guest ended up dining on the same boring chicken or cheap 1/2 inch steak as the other options were so bad. We plan on trying Tauk one more time as they offer a trip to the Holly land but if the food is this poor again then we will have to look for another option. Their food really was a shock as they promote themselves more like the Silver Seas for river cruises but so far they are barely above a Uniworld or Viking river cruise which compared to an ocean cruise line are more like cheap Celebrity cruise ships. One other complaint is that quality hotels and restaurants generally tell sick employees to go home and not work but at Tauk they had a tour person very sick with a cold whom got me and many other guests sick with a terrible cold during our precious vacation. That might be expected on a low end cruise line but I thought Tauk was higher quality? We plan on trying them out possibly one more time due to they offer a tour to the Holly land but if the food is this poor that will be our last Tauk cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Writing this in our hotel overlooking the Danube before we leave for dinner at the the Academe Club (courtesy of Tauck) on the last night of our trip. By way of background, my wife and I have cruised usually twice a year since 2001. We ... Read More
Writing this in our hotel overlooking the Danube before we leave for dinner at the the Academe Club (courtesy of Tauck) on the last night of our trip. By way of background, my wife and I have cruised usually twice a year since 2001. We have sailed with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Windstar before this trip. We are from Texas and so naturally have hit the Caribbean a lot, but we have also been to Tahiti (Windstar) and the Galapagos (Celebrity). We also done a driving tour through Iceland (Nordic Vistor) last year. This was our first River Cruise and my first time to Europe (my wife had been here 40 years ago with her family). We chose Tauck based on a recommendation from a former travel agent as well as recommendations from passengers on a Windstar cruise on our most recent cruise to the BVI. Little did we know that we are probably hooked for life. For those that are not familar with river cruising on the Danube, there are numerous crusie lines that operate here, including Viking, Uniworld, AMA, etc. The boats are very similar overall style, being very long with a maximum of four decks to allow the boat to clear some of the lower bridges in the upper part of the Danube (literally going into the Wachau valley, you could lay on a lounge chair on the top deck and touch the bottom of a bridge.) In several ports, the boats tie up next to each other, so you have the opportunity to walk through the lobbies of the other boats on the way to and from shore. So from a cursory glance, they look the same. So, the simple question - if they all have basically the same boats and go to the same ports (in our case, Passau, Dirstein, Bratislava, and Budapest), why spend the extra money for Tauck. The answers are as follows: 1) All inclusive - the only add on was your bar bill at happy hour and our understanding is that Tauck is moving to 100% inclusive next year. All our on shore tours, dinners (see below), etc. were included. 2) Organization - each city offered a tour with a local guide in the morning and then free time to shop and tour on your. All of our guides were excellent and include many of their personal experiences living the city. Our guide this morning told us of her father's participation in the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, for which he was imprisoned for over six years. 3) Extras - in our first night in Prague, they sponsored a tour and dinner at the Lefcowicz palace overlooking Prage. In Vienna, we had a reception at the Palla Palavicci next to the Hapsburg Palace, serenade by 16 members of the Viennese orchestra and a young lady from the opera. Seranaded today at the end our tour of the Budapest opera house. IT IS THESE EXCLUSIVES THAT REALLY SET TAUCK APART. 4) Directors - we had three tour directors for 120 people, plus a cruise director while on board. All very experieced, which made they whole experience seamless I could go on, but I have to get ready for dinner. In short, try them - you will not go back to any other cruise line!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We were not going to travel this spring! we had taken a driving adventure this winter and drove 9,000 miles and decided to stay home. But our friends were doing another Tauck river cruise and at the last minute one couple was unable to go ... Read More
We were not going to travel this spring! we had taken a driving adventure this winter and drove 9,000 miles and decided to stay home. But our friends were doing another Tauck river cruise and at the last minute one couple was unable to go due to illness and we decided, with twenty four hours notice to take their place. I couldn't believe the travel agent was able to get everything booked and ready to go in that short of time, much less that we managed to pull it together on our end! The joy of being retired. When we arrived at the airport the ticket agent said the Brussels baggage handlers were on strike so we best not try to check any luggage. I ran to the gift shop and bought a small bag and we threw open our suitcase and took the bare necessities only. We called our daughter to come pick up our bag and flew off to Chicago and on to Brussels. we arrived in Prague late the next night. We joined our group one day late at the Marriott in Prague. right from the start the trip was just as wonderful as our previous Tauck river cruise through Belgium and Holland. The accommodations on the boat were fabulous, thanks to the fact that our friends who couldn't go had booked a suite! The food was very good and even excellent at times. But most of all, we so appreciated the knowledgeable Tauck guides who informed us of the history of everything before we even saw it. now you must understand, we didn't even know where we were going! We knew we were flying into to Prague and out of Budapest but that was it! we trusted our friends and mostly we trusted Tauck! We had learned the basic history of the Danube countries in school but we really knew so little! it was almost embarrassing to be so naive on the Hapsburg Empire and the rich and deep history of the Jewish people in Europe. The entire trip was beautiful and educational. There wasn't a day that seemed repetitive or boring in any way! the local guides that were hired to give us walking tours of each town were also excellent and very knowledgeable. The only problem we had with any guides was an occasional issue with understanding their English. Vienna was probably my favorite city, mostly because of the fabulous music we were treated to. Prague and Budapest were both wonderful surprises as we had such little expectations. But we really loved sailing on the Danube and stopping at small towns along the way. it was a beautiful and memorable trip that I am very glad we were able to do! Tauck took very good care of us the whole way and made the trip seem easy. The hotels they put us in we're top notch and every detail was taken care of. the old adage, "You get what you pay for," was really true. We only hope we are able to do many trips with Tauck! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We had a great time on this Tauck River Cruise. The whole intent of this trip was to go to Holland to see the flowers in the spring. We decided to add a river cruise to our trip. We planned our trip to arrive 3 days prior to the cruise ... Read More
We had a great time on this Tauck River Cruise. The whole intent of this trip was to go to Holland to see the flowers in the spring. We decided to add a river cruise to our trip. We planned our trip to arrive 3 days prior to the cruise and booked our own hotel and flight. Much to our surprise, Tauck arranged for our transfer from the airport to our hotel. This was just the first instance of exceptional service that we received. After our 3 days pre-cruise, we arranged for a taxi to take us to the cruise port. The Swiss Sapphire is a beautiful ship. The decor was very classy without a lot of glitz. Upon check in we were told to wait in the lounge where a light lunch was being served. After a short wait our room was ready and we were shown to it. The room was small but certainly livable. We had a small balcony that you could put one foot on and lean out the sliding glass door but not any bigger than that. There was plenty of storage and our suitcases fit under the bed. The group areas of the ship consisted of the lounge, lido, dining room and the outside decks. The lounge had a piano player every night who was fantastic. Most of our time was spent there. Every night there would be a briefing on the next days events. The dining room had a mix of tables for 4 or 6 and was open seating for all meals. Lunches were buffet with dinners being 4 course meals with choices of meat, fish or vegetarian every night. You could also choose steak or chicken instead during dinners. Breakfasts were buffet also but you could order eggs any style or pancakes or waffles too. The lido was in the rear of the ship and had a delicious cappucino machine and cookies available all the time. During the morning there was continental breakfast available. At lunch one of the chefs made stir fry but there was also a panini machine and salad and soup in the lido. Dinner was italian but it had to be reserved and we didn't experience it. The staff was truly wonderful. The food was consistently very good to excellent. Every stop we had private local guides take us to the city and tell us about it. The guides communicated through a box everyone wore with an earpiece. They worked very well. The bus drivers were amazing and drove us through areas that a bus shouldn't have fit but did. The Tauck guides kept everyone organized and really did an exceptional job. Most nights there was some kind of outside entertainment in the lounge like a German band or string quartet. There were also several nights spent on excursions. We had booked the same hotel Tauck uses for after the cruise by ourselves. We were driven there in a bus with everyone who had booked through Tauck. After our 3 days post cruise we were again taken to the airport by a Tauck driver. There were so many extras that were included and unexpected it is impossible to list them. Examples include cookies on the bus when leaving a city, water bottles in the lounge for everyone to take with them on excursions and special meals in local restaurants. I could not recommend Tauck more. This was our first organized tour although we have taken many ocean cruises. We would not hesitate to take a trip with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was my second trip with Tauck and my wife's third. Choosing an extra day in Brussels pre-trip and one in Amsterdam at the end gave us just the right amount of time to get ready for the trip and ready to renter the real world. ... Read More
This was my second trip with Tauck and my wife's third. Choosing an extra day in Brussels pre-trip and one in Amsterdam at the end gave us just the right amount of time to get ready for the trip and ready to renter the real world. Dealing with the airlines misdirection of her suitcase, the Tauck people managed to get it to the boat on sailing day. Many thanks to them for the assistance. We thought the boat was excellent - service, food, accommodations were all just what was expected. The tour organized excursions were well done with the exception of getting lost on the way to the Kinderdijk. There also was some confusion on the location of drop off and time of pick up in Haalem. There was a good balance in time on tour and free time. I chose the Ghent option to view the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. My wife went to Brugges. She was a bit disconcerted in the slow pace of the tour and that not enough time was spent along the canals and old town. Maastricht was a highlight in that we visited the American War Cemetery on July 4th. Lunch at Chateau Neercanne was delightful. We found the framed memorial of he signers of the EU treaty which took place there. We actually sailed past Venlo to dock in Cuijk - a delightful little town with an interesting art exhibition mixed in and around the cemetery behind the church. The Floriade was exceptional to see. We had the whole day there and then took a back road through rose fields on the way back to the ship. The Easter Island statue along the way had everyone stumped, but later research showed it to be in memory of Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch explorer who discovered and named it. The asparagus statue was interesting. In Arnhem we docked directly in front of the bridge discussed in the Cornelius Ryan book. We chose the visit to De Hoge Velue National Park and the excellent Kroller-Muller museum and its collection of Van Gogh paintings. The cheese farm and Kinderdijk were excellent visits, with the exception of getting lost. The sand dunes of the North Seas were totally unexpected and the visit to the Delft factory very interesting. We then sailed into Amsterdam overnight and arrived in port under a rainbow. Great view approaching the city. We chose Haarlem and the Franz Hall Museum which we enjoyed, but the confusion on bus locations cut time off our visit. The afternoon was spend wondering Amsterdam and the Anne Frank with presale tickets. If you plan to visit the Anne Frank house, make reservations over the Internet way before you go. Tickets are hard to come by an the line never shrinks. The early morning trip to Aalsmeer flower market was amazing. It is worth the effort to get up early. The Rijksmuseum and canal cruise are great. We chose to stay in that area to visit the Van Gogh museum which is just down the street and that area is a far from the ship as you need to go in Amsterdam. The walk back to the ship would be about 20 minutes without stopping. The extra day at the Sofitel went well for us, but some of our companions had issues getting there from the ship - the coordination of the shuttles left something to be desired. Airport transfers to the hotel the next day went perfectly. Overall the scope, pace and excursions of the trip was excellent and we realize this was a special itinerary for the Floriade this year. However, the normally excellent coordination between guests and staff was a bit lacking. Some guides had never been to some of the stops, times and places were not precise between the three coaches, and getting lost, while an adventure, should have not taken place. Highlights: Finding the Willow Man inside he Floriade was a real treat. Maastricht is a hidden gem which we absolutely fell in love with. The American war cemetary on July 4th was very moving. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
ms Sapphire Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.7
Dining 3.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.0
Service 4.0 5.0
Value For Money 4.0 4.6
Rates 4.0 4.8

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