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15 Tauck Cruise Reviews

We wanted a “get away from it all” break so chose a quiet river cruise. The ship cabin and staff were all excellent. The organisation by Tauck is first rate. Yes it is expensive but you are taken care of from the moment you land to the ... Read More
We wanted a “get away from it all” break so chose a quiet river cruise. The ship cabin and staff were all excellent. The organisation by Tauck is first rate. Yes it is expensive but you are taken care of from the moment you land to the moment you depart. We chose the ship because it had a second dining venue. That’s available all the time except the one really formal evening. Basic choices but nice to have a choice of venue. The alcohol is all in. So if you want to drink champagne for the whole week you can. The beer liquor and wine choices were all good but not exceptional. Glenlivet 12 yo was the best scotch. The clientele was 99% older well travelled Americans. We did some of the daily tours but some days just did our own thing. The tours were all well organised. I would highly recommend but just warn that if you are under 50 and not American you will stand out. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this Christmas Markets tour because it included cities we know and love: Aachen, Cologne, Rudisheim, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strassburg and Colmar. Although cruising the Rhine became problematic after a year of historic heat and ... Read More
We chose this Christmas Markets tour because it included cities we know and love: Aachen, Cologne, Rudisheim, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strassburg and Colmar. Although cruising the Rhine became problematic after a year of historic heat and low river levels, Tauck found a way to make it all work seamlessly, instituting a "ship swap" half way through. Yes, it is inconvenient to have to pack up and unpack again, but Tauck saw to it that it was a minor inconvenience. Our bags were left packed in our room, and when we got to our new ship and almost identical room, there were our bags. We give them a lot of credit for insuring we got to the places we wanted to see and minimized the inconvenience. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas; the crew was festive and jovial. The smaller ship made it easy to meet people and share information. Our tour directors were very knowledgeable and our city guides were very good, one, Markus, in Cologne, not only good but very funny. Tauck really has these trips down to a fine art. Transfers are on time, without making you feel rushed. The MS Grace had lovely spaces, a great dining room, a nice alternative casual dining spot, a huge lounge, and a great large walking deck up top with the hottest hot tub I have ever experienced. We felt like cherished guests our entire time on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 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 decided to try a river cruise and bring no expectations with us allowing us the chance to be very open minded about our experience. We had been asked to try this type of travel by long time friends. Both of us have traveled extensively ... Read More
We decided to try a river cruise and bring no expectations with us allowing us the chance to be very open minded about our experience. We had been asked to try this type of travel by long time friends. Both of us have traveled extensively both abroad and stateside. The concept of starting the trip with two nights at a hotel was appealing as it greatly reduced the chance of missing the beginning of the cruise should there be any travel delays. The hotel was top notch and the transportation from the airport to the hotel very comfortable as they used small transit vans and not big buses. As for the cruise personal we had mixed feelings. Carel (sp) was very welcoming and very well informed. Monica (sp) was also knowledgable but her demeanor was at times harsh. Anita, fairly new to Tauck, was making a very good effort to welcome all. Her initial commentary on the first leg of the trip was somewhat choppy and when she referenced Neuschwanstein Castle as the Disney castle we couldn’t believe what we heard. All in all these were minor issues and the guides did a great job of taking care of all the guests. As for the ship the rooms were very well appointed and very comfortable. The meals provided were excellent as were the staff members. On several occasions there was musical entertainment brought on board. They were also excellent. Things that were not to our liking but totally out of control by Tauck. The river is so busy now with over 600 river cruises (according to our cruise directors) that the journey feels more like being on a highway. The fact that you can’t open your drapes because there may be a ship parked next to you created a feeling of being very closed in. Because the ship only has one main lounge and one very small lounge there isn’t a lot to do when you’re sailing. Since we didn’t have great weather for being outdoors we weren’t able to use the top deck very often. The entertainment is definitely geared to a much older crowd. The pace is very slow and that may not appeal to certain groups. The day touring often consisted of riding on a tour bus to a destination and then being in groups with “vox boxes” where there was a local guide describing the area we were seeing. The local guides were good in general. Often the groups were 20 people in size which was larger than we would have liked. We understood this to be a historical tour and although the guides were informative the tours at times were somewhat long winded and we preferred to leave the tour and just experience the area. Our final thoughts about the river cruise. Tauck excels at this type of cruise but it’s not the type of cruise that we would choose to do again. The ship is very small, there are now too many ships on the river, the typical guest is quite elderly, the onboard activities weren't very interesting for guests younger than 70. We're definitely not group tour individuals. We prefer to explore on our own. If you want a very planned experience with a lot of group tours than this would probably be to your liking. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
The wi fi signal was the worst I have ever experienced of my 18 times on cruise ship. Although this is the 1st time I travel on river cruise. I don't believe the wi fi signal can be this bad on river cruise as compare to ocean ... Read More
The wi fi signal was the worst I have ever experienced of my 18 times on cruise ship. Although this is the 1st time I travel on river cruise. I don't believe the wi fi signal can be this bad on river cruise as compare to ocean cruise. I can understand the ship may pass through an area that has bad signal which the signal could be bad and speed might be slow for a few hours. But for 7 days & nights continuously to be bad and super slow signal? I don't believe it. I am disappointed with this so call Luxury cruise line. Their other services, shore excursion arrangement, food, on board service, are all great. Luggage arrangement to and from hotel for Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent. Worry free. Entertainment is fine. Piano singing and dancing every night, some nights had performance. Overall, the Ship was comfortable, clean and fresh. I wish the menu can be more creative and more selection. But the cooking was good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Tauck is a wonderful operator It is an all inclusive cruise...all of the gratuities..shore excursions..alcohol and beverages The MS Inspire is a gorgeous ship..I have been on 28 ocean cruises so I am not new to the cruise experience ... Read More
Tauck is a wonderful operator It is an all inclusive cruise...all of the gratuities..shore excursions..alcohol and beverages The MS Inspire is a gorgeous ship..I have been on 28 ocean cruises so I am not new to the cruise experience From the second you board the ship until the second you disembark you are always greeted by name and an big smile very eager to cater to your every need Embarkation was a breeze as well as disembarkation..my luggage was waiting in my room upon arrival...what a nice surprise The cabin was very comfortable with memory mattress..a huge bathroom which was very well appointed..I actually had room to shower!! The food was just adequate with very little menu selection The shore excursions were great with all local guides Like I said the service is 5 star!! If you are lucky to meet thomas or Nicoli please say hi I would go with Tauck agaiin!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was Tauck's small ship cruise starting in Stockholm, then going to Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen. Very well organized, experienced English-speaking guides, flexible in the case of less able-bodied passengers ... Read More
This was Tauck's small ship cruise starting in Stockholm, then going to Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen. Very well organized, experienced English-speaking guides, flexible in the case of less able-bodied passengers and smart about things like getting us into the Hermitage early to avoid the crowds. Only negative was that a different company (Ponant) owns & operates the boat, and only half the 250+ passengers were with the Tauck group. The boat has a small auditorium for lectures by vacationing professors on history & culture, in both French and English. Overall minimal complaints (like the door keys to our rooms being inactivated at midnight before we left and having to call somebody to get into them after breakfast) and the destinations were great. Just enough free time, with good advice on shopping (Tallinn! Tallinn!) and well-guided shore tours. The off-boat activities were all included in the overall price, so no dithering about whether the "singing revolution" part of the tour would be worth it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have been to Russia and Africa with Tauck, and this was or first river cruise ever, although we have been on ocean cruises. The other reviews are comprehensive, so I will mention other points. I recommend room 323 which is next door ... Read More
We have been to Russia and Africa with Tauck, and this was or first river cruise ever, although we have been on ocean cruises. The other reviews are comprehensive, so I will mention other points. I recommend room 323 which is next door to Authur's where I could pop in any time for cappuccino, tea, cookie/snack to take back to my room, or to sit to see both sides of the river since this was the aft end. Just quick and easy. Interestingly, the motor coaches we used had a bathroom, and we could actually use them. We have been on tours where we were not allowed to use the bathroom on the coach. What? Not enough time in Vienna. There should have been 3 full days and a guided tour of the Kunst Historical Museum one of the most important museums in the world; and Vienna one of the most beautiful cities. What architecture! This was our second visit to Vienna. I hesitate to mention since it is a personal preference. The rooms need an adequate dressing table for My Lady with a mirror and lamp. Obviously a man designed the rooms, not a woman. LOL They were generous in providing me with a laptop for the entire trip, although Wi-Fi was as slow as molasses. I did note there is no Doctor on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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
My wife and I took the South Bound Christmas Markets on the Rhine tour. The cruise cost roughly $1000 per day with a 100% cabin upgrade rate. Cost affects my review to a great extent, particularly regarding value received. It rained ... Read More
My wife and I took the South Bound Christmas Markets on the Rhine tour. The cruise cost roughly $1000 per day with a 100% cabin upgrade rate. Cost affects my review to a great extent, particularly regarding value received. It rained everyday, and temperature varied from very cold to warm. The boat was new and the cabin was outstanding, but for the price it should have been. It was very quiet and the bed comfortable. I have no complaints regarding the cabin at all save the lack of a tub as found on their other boats in this class of cabin. The crew were mostly Romanian, with a Filipino kitchen staff, all with varying English proficiency. That said I have no complaints about them, in fact I got along with them better than most of my fellow passengers. They all tried very hard, and seemed to be earning their salary. The cabin attendant did an outstanding job, and was waiting by the door every morning when we left for breakfast to clean the cabin. The wait staff varied from competent to outstanding. The Tauck staff varied from very accommodating and kind to condescending and overbearing. I did not care for the cruise director at all. The tour guides were basically competent but the tours themselves were fairly superficial. There was only one night of local entertainment, some Alsacian dancers. The other nights were left to the bar crawlers amongst the passengers. My fellow travelers were basically retired and well to do, and mostly Tauck fanboys. Many showed an unnatural affection for the brand bragging constantly how many Tauck trips they had taken and how many they had planned for the future. Nobody seemed to talk about the present, just a constant babbling about their past Tauck experiences. It really got boring. It seemed as if everyone was trying to convince themselves that Tauck really was the best and they were the smartest kids in the class because they always travelled Tauck. I didn't go away feeling so enthusiastic I'm afraid. Everyone is interested in the food. I was told that Tauck had outstanding food, well maybe, but not really my experience. My honest evaluation is that the food was of high quality, basically pretty good, but rather boring. Every night a new main was offered, but the soups and desserts were repetitive. Some were excellent, like the lamb chops, others not so much so. The "duck" offered one night was unidentifiable, and tasted nothing like any duck I have ever eaten. My menu said duck, another tables menus said veal, I have no clue which it really was. Very odd that two menus would describe the same entree but one as duck and the other as veal with the same sauce etc. I would say that the food was designed to be "safe" for the mostly elderly Americans onboard. Nothing too spicy or seasoned, nothing odd or unusual, just basic US diner house fare. Medium upscale is the best classification I can come up with. NO regional foods were offered, but it seems I may have been the only one bothered by that. I noticed one man ordering the same New York steak every night of the trip. Lunch and breakfast were almost identical every day. Don't get me wrong, I didn't go hungry and most of the food was good, but for the price paid I could have eaten much better ashore. There was one off ship lunch which was average at best, typical sausage and kraut type affair that I guess tourists think is German food, and one day we were given money to buy our own lunch. That might have been fine had there been any tourist friendly restaurants available. At least one group from our boat was not seated as the French staff didn't want to deal with English speakers. Not the tour's fault, but expecting a bunch of tourists to fend for themselves in a very overcrowded French village during the Christmas market where NOBODY seemed to speak any English or even German was a cop out. We ended up with stall food and a medicine cup sized glass of overpriced wine. A sack lunch would have been better. The itinerary was not particularly interesting. Köln was a dirty "multicultural" city with more sushi bars than German restaurants and roaming gangs of North Africans and Algerians who appeared to enjoy tormenting the tourists, as well as an inordinate number of drunken young people making fools of themselves. This may be attractive to some, but not to me. The Christmas market was incredibly busy to the point of making it impossible to move about. Aachen had little to offer except the unique cathedral. BUT it is the only Catholic Church I have ever been in that expects you to pay for to take photos. Heidelburg might have been a nice layover but our excursion was delayed until 1030 because the "other" Tauck ship was in port and they had the 1200 lunch reservation and we had to waste time at the castle until 1400 so we could have lunch after they cleaned out the earlier sitting. This left little time for seeing the markets. It was the same at the other destinations. A one hour bus ride, 45 min. superficial tour, and an hour or so free time before jumping back on the bus. The French city of Colmar was a confusing over crowded mess and was easy to get lost in. Making the meeting time, and finding the meeting place proved very difficult. Strasbourg was rife with con men and pick pockets. I literally had to chase away two guys wanting me to buy junk fake gold to help them get home...yada yada. All in all my feelings are pretty mixed about my experience. I liked the boat, but it did not seem superior to the AMA boat we tied up next to on one occasion. Cabins and facilities seemed pretty equal. Yes Tauck is all inclusive, but the wines served were "ok", and yes a blended red from Chile of all places was served while docked in the wine region of Germany with France but a stone throw away across the river. Why? No premium liquors were served to my knowledge. The Rhine river itself is mostly not beautiful, it is basically a commercial canal that in many places you could probably throw a rock across. Almost all of the cruising was over night. The only river views were from commercial landings. Consequently I can not report any particularly satisfying cruise experiences except for the half day around the Lorelei. Docking was NEVER in the town we were visiting except in Rudesheim, and then it was a 15-20 minute walk to town. There was always a bus or shuttle ride involved. Although I appreciate the convenience of a traveling hotel, I'm not sure the experience was worth the premium price paid. And finally, the pre-cruise hotel Mondial in Köln, booked through Tauck, was a disaster. I found out that Tauck charged me over twice the list price for the room I had. I know they have to pay for transfers and such, but twice, really? The hotel failed to transfer my luggage, and caused me a lot of unnecessary stress at the beginning of my trip when I arrived onboard and found my luggage missing. They told the ship I was a "no show", hadn't stayed there, even though I had checked in and out with their desk clerk, and said that they had no idea where my luggage was. It was found by the Tauck rep who had to take a taxi back to the hotel where he searched and found it still in the room where I was told to leave it, but it took 4 hours to find it,during which time I was trying to figure out how to get by with one change of clothes! I doubt that I would book with Tauck again. For 1k a day I can almost hire a limo and stay at the best hotels in town. I have always travelled by rental car in the past, but I'm getting old and I thought the convenience of the cruise would justify the cost. I am not convinced this is the case anymore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have been on one previous Tauck Tour (Machu Picchu & Galapagos) and loved it. That was with a very small and physically active group. We decided to book a 12 day river cruise on the Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel) together with another ... Read More
We have been on one previous Tauck Tour (Machu Picchu & Galapagos) and loved it. That was with a very small and physically active group. We decided to book a 12 day river cruise on the Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel) together with another couple with whom we often travel. Overall, the trip was good but different from what we expected. First the many positives - The ship (MS Inspire) is brand new and very nicely appointed. The hot showers work great. Bed very comfy. The engines are very quiet and the ride is so smooth it was usually difficult to feel the ship was moving. Definitely no sea-sickness issues. As expected the Tauck staff was fantastic! All the guides (Bettina, Cindy and Mark) were very friendly, well informed and always helpful. Bettina is German and her narratives and background stories were very interesting and insightful. The wait staff and rest of the crew (Scylla not Tauck) were also always helpful and very pleasant. The other passengers (total 120) were mostly from the USA, very interesting and fun to get to know. The dominant age range was 65-75. Amsterdam is a great city to visit. Tauck choose the Grand Hotel Sofitel for our pre cruise night and it was very nice. Day 1 Board MS Inspire about 3:30 Day 2 Canal tour of Amsterdam (on small canal boat) was very nice. Visit the Rijksmuseum - excellent. Day 3 Nijmegen, Holland - 1 hr bus trip to De Hoge Veluwe National Park and Kroller-Muller Museum. Second largest Van Gogh collection in world. Beautiful grounds with many sculptures. Reboard in Dusseldorf - not much to see. Day 4 Bonn walking tour of Bonn not so good. Lunch at Grand Hotel Steigenberger was very good with excellent views of Rhine/City. Day 5 Cochem on the Mosel River is a beautiful little town. Visit Reichsburg Castle - excellent. Bus to Schlagkamp Winery in Senheimis for wine-tasting with cheese and cold cuts - Fun - but winemaker's talk was a bit too long! The views on both sides of the Mosel are beautiful with many vineyards. Day 6 Bernkastel a small very pretty town. Then a long bus ride to Luxembourg City. Most of the old walls/ruins have been destroyed/removed so it is a nice modern city. But we did not think there was all that much to see. Shopping good. Then went to the American Memorial Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg which is very moving & powerful. George Patton is buried here and most of the dead are from the Battle of Bulge. Day 7 Still in Bernkastel. Took bus to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. This was the best little city we visited so far! Has an enormous Roman Gate - Porta Nigra - and a great market square and cathedral. Day 8 Boppard is a very pretty little town with large Roman ruins. Fun to ride bikes through the town. Many half-timbered houses. Take the lift (Sisselbahn) to top of hill for good views of the "big bend" of Rhine. Boat then sailed to Oberwesel via the Middle Rhine Valley with many impressive castles and past Lorelei's narrows. Great views! Took bus to Castle Reichenstein which although dating to 11th century was all rebuilt about 100 years ago and is now much too commercial. Beautiful views from roof but the "medieval dinner" with lute music, etc. very "corny", very loud and too long. Day 9 Worms. Took bus to Heidelberg (about 1 hr). Heidelberg Castle was very impressive. Then lunch at Hotel Zum Ritter was very good. Brief walk in old town then bus to meet ship in Mannheim. Day 10 Plittersdorf. Bus to Baden-Baden (30 min) which is a lovely Spa town that dates from Roman times. Beautiful Casino and many upscale shops/baths/apothecaries but not too many historical sites. Day 11 Dock in Kehl, Germany across Rhine from France. 30 min bus to Strasbourg. Bus tour of more modern city which was excellent. Drove past Parc de l'Orangerie with many tree top storks. Then walking tour of old city was excellent. Notre Dame is amazing with its wonderful stained glass, and amazing astronomical clock and overall construction. Wonderful lunch at La Corde a Linge along the Ill in Petite, France. If you get back to the ship and the weather is nice grab a bike and ride toward the right. After the pavement ends a very nice gravel nature path goes for several miles with interesting fish, birds, etc. Day 12 Basel. Arrived on Sunday and most shops closed. The old town, Cathedral and town hall were interesting but really only takes about 1.5-2 hrs. Several good museums. But if you have an option take the bus ride to Lucerne. The ship passes through many(30+) locks which are quite interesting. Our personal favorite stops in order of preference: Strasbourg Amsterdam Trier Mosel River Vistas Middle Rhine River/Lorelei Vistas Heidelberg old town and Castle Cochem/Reichsburg Castle Baden-Baden Boppard De Hoge Veluwe National Park and Kroller-Muller Museum Bernkastel American Memorial Cemetery Hamm, Luxembourg Luxembourg City Basel Bonn Dusseldorf Negatives - The ship was very new - great - except the staff was also new with many trainees still in the learning phase. We expected great meals and they all did look beautiful - presentation was excellent - however, the taste was generally mediocre. Most people we spoke with were also disappointed with the quality of the food. Some meals had to be returned, which I have only done once before in my life. The soups were very good. The desserts were fair at best we mostly stuck to ice cream. But the food quality definitely improved as the trip progressed and perhaps the staff is rapidly getting better. The optional dinners in Arthur's were usually much better - eat there at least a few times. The staff was very attentive to everyone's special food needs. Internet access is free but very spotty and very slow. Our biggest disappointment was the relatively long bus rides to visit most of the interesting cities/towns. We mistakenly assumed that the ship would dock within beautiful cities along the Rhine and Mosel but this was not the case. Most days we took 45 min - 1 hour bus rides to the places we visited. Our tour also skipped Cologne and its cathedral which we would have loved to see. Not sure why since we stopped at several ports with little interest. Would rather have spent more time at the better stops. Also the first 3 days traveling in this direction are through industrial Rhine and not picturesque. Glad we went in the direction from Amsterdam to Basel or our trip would have gone from good to great to poor vis a vis the scenery and ended on a down note (although Amsterdam itself was excellent). Overall a good but not great trip. I think that with tweaking by Tauck and Scylla, it can become a much better trip. PS I wrote this review before “seeing the posting by “tonir1025” and it is amazing how similar our reviews are. And we both have gluten dietary issues!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We booked a river cruise with Tauck based on reviews from friends and the new longship. Pluses: The MS Inspire is a beautiful ship. The lobby and common areas are beautiful and spotless. We booked a little late and the only room available ... Read More
We booked a river cruise with Tauck based on reviews from friends and the new longship. Pluses: The MS Inspire is a beautiful ship. The lobby and common areas are beautiful and spotless. We booked a little late and the only room available was a Cat. 3 on the bottom deck with the steps up to the large windows. We loved the room, but we heard very loud noises all night, as if toilets were being flushed right outside our door. Although this is a minus, I spoke to Steve, our tour director, and he immediately offered us another room on the middle deck. From them on we didn't hear anything and slept like babies. The Scylla crew was wonderful, very helpful and friendly. Steve was a terrific tour director. Carrie, Mark and Lacey were on top of their game, Minuses: This is not a cheap cruise, but we felt the food was maybe a B. We were expecting real gourmet fare, but it fell a little short. For example, we started out with local German wines, but by the last night we had Chilean and South African wines. We were not that far from France - really? The portions were on the small side which was fine for me but my husband could have gone for seconds, never offered. I will say that the soups were outstanding! And the staff was very accomodating to my gluten allergy, going out of their way to ensure I had GF bread and dessert. Now for the not so good news: except for the cathedral in Cologne, we should have skipped Dusseldorf and Cologne altogether. The cities are dirty and have no charm, the local guides were awful (Reiner) and we did not enjoy it at all. We had 2 off the boat excursions, and the meals were terrible at both places. Lunch took way too long and our pork was inedible, dinner at the castle was not much better. We joked that we were at Medeival Times with corney entertainment and bad tourist food. We made the most of it and actually had a good time with our new friends from the boat, but we should have toured the castle, had a drink and snack, and eaten on the boat - OR had a better caterer! Fortunately the stops improved after that - from Koblenz on the cities were charming. Strasbourg and Baden-Baden were wonderful, I wished we skipped the earlier stops and expanded those stops to a day each. The cruise during the middle Rhine was awesome, looking at all the castles. And Luzerne was the best of all - a great city, good shopping, and the trip up to Mt. Pilatus was the best day of the trip - up the mountain in cable cars, down on the cog wheel train - the most beautiful views. I think that people who take the cruise from Basel to Amsterdam will be very disappointed since the trip gets worse from south to north. Overall - given the premium price, I am not so sure we will book another river cruise with Tauck. Although we ldid love the benefits of river cruising - unpack once, see many cities, and enjoy the relaxing feeling of floating down a calm river. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Normally we are independent travelers. Even on cruises we do the ports on our own or hire a private guide. This was our first experience where the tours were inclusive. We chose this method as it was the most efficient way to see many ... Read More
Normally we are independent travelers. Even on cruises we do the ports on our own or hire a private guide. This was our first experience where the tours were inclusive. We chose this method as it was the most efficient way to see many countries that would have been less accessible on our own, plus doing the river cruise down the Danube covered Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, all of the Eastern European countries we had the strongest interests in. Overall we were glad for the mode of travel we chose for this particular trip, however I don't think we would do it again. Although the tours and guides were very well done and informative (with some lovely surprises in between), being forced to travel enmasse with a large group of folks was not appealing in the long run. In particular the demographics on this particular cruise were much older than we expected and we did not anticipate the slow pace of travel. Also, a lot of the tours included events we would never have chosen on our own (particularly shopping excursions) so some time was wasted in our opinion. On the positive side, the MS Treasures was a beautiful cruiser, the staff was friendly, efficient and accommodating and the food was exceptional. Although at the end of the cruise we missed a day on the river due to the Danube being too shallow to continue on, Tauck made an impressive turn about to keep everything on schedule by shuffling buses and hotels without a hitch. Tauck is a very impressive company and does an excellent job for what their intended purpose is. They gave us an opportunity to see a difficult part of the world in comfort and ease. If you are still very agile and motivated, however, this type of tours may be a bit too stodgy. We enjoyed everyone we met as they were all well traveled and interesting, we just needed to move faster! May try Tauck again down the road when we are looking for a more leisurely experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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