This was our first river cruise (The Blue Danube) - and most certainly will not be our last. We found almost everything to be perfect, and what was not, was due to our error. The entire staff, from the first phone call to the last handshake, was incredible - including those folks who were *invisible* unless you unexpectedly returned to your cabin, and found them cleaning, etc. We found the cuisine of high quality, and the servings were the right size to allow you to sample a variety of tempting offerings. We are not big drinkers, but found the wines to be appropriate and of good quality, and the beers and hard liquors also *top shelf*.
As we made out way thru the many stops of artistic and cultural significance, the only deterrent was the incredible HEAT WAVE we hit in Vienna and Budapest - w3e pent many a restful minute in a cool cathedral . . . The other guests were quite amiable, and we mad friends that we stay in touch with, still. The quality of entertainment at the various villas and castles was of the highest quality - we are arts professionals ourselves, and often expect tour entertainment to be mediocre - but the people who performed for us were all artists of the highest caliber. One does not expect the music at dinner to be provided by 9 singers, dancers, and instrumentalists from the Vienna State Opera - or to be serenaded on the grand staircase of the Budapest Opera, by principal singers from the opera company!
Oh - what was our one error? We chose a cabin with a small bathroom that had a triangular shower - my elbows hit the walls every day - but then, we are not small people. NEXT TIME, we will chose one of those duo-level cabins with the double-height windows! I stole a peek - LOTS of room, extra storage, great views from the elevated area. We have about 450 photos, after editing, and a lifetime of great memories.
When people say "It's a once in a lifetime experience!" we have to disagree - we will have a second, third, etc. experience with Tauck. AND - everything is included. EVERYTHING. There were even times when the program said "lunch on your own" -and tour operator handed us each Euros to pay for lunch in a place of *our choice*. Had to laugh - even the fee for using the RESTROOMS as we toured, was paid - just who your green ribbon from the AudioVox! Sadly, we now have a little trepidation about European travel, and also have some domestic travel plans - so we will not be back with Tauck until next year, at the earliest. So that leaves another cabin for YOU! Grab it before it is gone! Enjoy!
P.S. - We were told that it is NOT the Tauck Way - but sturdy name tags would have been helpful. Forgetting someone's name after the first 2 or 3 meetings (with alcohol) is forgivable - but becomes EMBARRASSING a week later, when sober.
We had 190 square feet - and the diagonal layout made for some "Excuse me - again" moments. The shower was tight - I wish we had a FLOOR PLAN ahead of time, because we would have chosen differently. I took a picture of the one in the cabin guide book - too late - and the *fish-eye* photos online and in the brochure are NO HELP at all. OTHER cruise companies take realist photos, and give you floor plans - Tauck? Could you help a traveler out with that, please?