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Top Tauck Ships
Each journey with Tauck River Cruising is an all-inclusive affair. Included in the cost are all shore excursions (with a choice of sightseeing options in many cities, unusual for river cruising), onshore and offshore dining, crew gratuities, transfers, onboard lectures and entertainment, pre- or post-cruise hotel stays, and unlimited beer, wine and spirits.
The emphasis onboard is on relaxed elegance, just the right vibe as you meander through the European countryside past provincial villages, castles and other historic sites.
All dining is open-seating, with intimate table setups for two, four and six. Dining aboard each ship includes buffets, a choice of menus reflecting regional cuisines, and special theme dinners. Vegetarian meals are available, and a selection of international wines is always on offer. For a lighter, more casual dining option, all six ships also have a Lido Bar (called Arthur's on the two newest boats, as well as the refurbished vessels) with 180-degree glass walls.
Some meals are also offered off the ship, ranging from lunches in local restaurants to dinners in historic palaces. Meals are included in the cruise prices, although you can choose to dine independently on days the boat is docked in port longer.
Onboard entertainment comes in the form of lectures from the tour directors and experts, live music and/or a DJ. Folkloric music is also sometimes featured.
Tauck is targeting upscale, well-traveled professionals in the 55-and-older age range who are looking for an enriching cruise experience. It's also ideal for multigenerational family groups, with family-specific activities offered on select "Tauck Bridges" itineraries. Often, passengers have traveled through Europe before, and they see river cruising as a new way to experience iconic European cities at a more relaxed pace than what's offered by group touring.
Tauck's original five sister riverboats, once called the "Jewel Class" vessels, are 361 feet long and first were designed for 118 passengers. This compares to 150 or more passengers on similar-sized ships owned by other companies. This class comprises ms Jewel, ms Sapphire, ms Emerald, ms Treasures and ms Esprit. Tauck's next generation of ships, first known as the "Inspiration Class" (ms Inspire and ms Savor), which launched in 2014, are each 443 feet long and carry just 130 passengers. Shipboard cabins on all boats, regardless of class, are all outsides, with most having floor-to-ceiling windows. Each cabin is equipped with a flat-screen television, minibar, radio, safe, hair dryer, air-conditioning, bathrobe, slippers, Molton Brown amenities and a private bathroom with shower; power is 220 volts. Bedding is cushy, with high-thread-count sheets and down pillows.
In 2016, Tauck added two more ships to its Inspiration Class: Grace and Joy. The company also has refurbished two of the ships from the Jewel Class, further reducing the capacity to 98 and adding in new specialty restaurants. The rest of the ships in the class will be refurbished ahead of the 2018 sailing season. The company also simplified the ship, dropping "Swiss" from the monikers and going with ms Emerald and ms Sapphire instead. It also no longer designates classes for the ships, instead saying each ship is part of the line's "Destination Fleet."
All boats also have an impressive number of large suites: 14 300-square-foot on the older boats and 22 on the newer ships. Each has a French balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-in closet.
Tasteful public spaces are decorated in teak, marble, brass, wrought iron and glass. In addition, the custom-built boats all feature Wi-Fi access throughout, as well as fitness centers, massage rooms and 24-hour hot tubs.
Tauck's nine riverboats offer a plethora of European itineraries, focusing on the Danube, Rhine, Rhone and Main Rivers -- the huge European waterways that wind through France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Tauck also sails on the Moselle River and Saone River. The company's 24-day "Grand European Cruise" actually traverses the entire European continent, from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Tauck is known for its partnerships with cultural influencers on the ground, allowing for intimate and after-hours experiences at venues from private palaces to world class museums.