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ms Sapphire Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
11 reviews
Sapphire
Editor Rating
4.0
Very Good
Colleen McDaniel
Cruise Critic Editor-In-Chief

ms Sapphire, which joined the Tauck fleet in 2008, is full of little surprises. The ship, which underwent a substantial renovation ahead of the 2017 cruise season, is filled with modern amenities and extras normally associated with coastal cruise ships.

Pros

Small passenger capacity adds to intimate feel onboard

Cons

Cruise fares are among highest in river industry

Bottom Line

Completely inclusive experience means you don't worry about a thing when cruising

About

Passengers : 98
Crew : 29
Passenger to Crew : 3.38:1
Launched : 2008, refurbished 2017
Shore Excursions : 0

All cabins face the outside (most have French balconies). Amenities include flat-screen televisions with on-demand programming, Molton Brown toiletries and cushy bathrobes. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available from bow to stern. An alternative dining option, called Arthur's, is available from early afternoon until late at night and features a 180-degree retractable glass wall for added ambiance.

Then, there's the unusual variety of itineraries offered on the Rhone, Seine and Saone. Sapphire, which never leaves Europe, covers many of the stalwart river routes, including a round trip cruise from Paris that visits Rouen and the beaches of Normandy, with opportunities to explore metropolitan cities as well as idyllic villages, on your own or with the group. Passengers can even borrow bicycles to ride along the river on some itineraries, meeting up with the boat at the next port of call. Depending on the trip you choose, the cruise experience can be almost like a land tour during which your boat is simply your floating hotel. Indeed, the company, founded in 1925, specializes in land-based touring and has been offering guided trips across the globe for decades. 

One final surprise: If Sapphire sails at a bit of a languorous pace, the rest of the experience doesn't necessarily feel as laid-back. Between tour-packed days in port, there are lectures (we had a lesson in the Cyrillic alphabet), shore tours, cocktail parties and, of course, meals.

Fellow Passengers

Tauck's core river boat audience is well-traveled and well-heeled, in the 55-plus age range. A good number of the travelers on our sailing were repeat Tauck customers (though many were trying the river boat experience for the first time, having done only the company's land tours). Those with prior cruise experience had generally sailed on luxury lines such as Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and Crystal Cruises, or with other river operators, such as Viking River Cruises.

ms Sapphire Dress Code

Casual attire prevails. During the day, men and women both wear light pants or jeans with layers on top for transitioning between varying climates (cool, breezy mornings lead very quickly into scorching afternoons). At dinner, men generally wear dress pants and button down or smart polo shirts, with women in pants or skirts with blouses or light sweaters. Dressier attire -- dresses or pants suits, but not fancy gowns, for women and a jacket and tie for men -- was donned only at the farewell candlelit dinner on the last night of our cruise.

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ms Sapphire Cruiser Reviews

River Cruise on the Seine with Tauck

I did the 14 day Seine river cruise trip from Paris to London in July 2017.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.Read More
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JudyO57

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

Cruising down the Seine

Lunch was either in the dining room for a buffet lunch, or in the bistro for a light lunch.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.Read More
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ljbc

6-10 Cruises

Age 70s

Cruising the Seine

Not because they don't do a good job, but our circumstances don't make this company a good match for us.This particular cruise had excursions that kept us on buses for huge amounts of time, again, not what I expected.Read More
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Book Lover

2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

London, Paris and Versailles, Plus a Cruise

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.I chose this cruise because of the before and after days along with the visit to the Normandy beaches.Read More
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meteng

2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

Tauck River Cruising Fleet
ms Emerald
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