ms Sapphire Review

ms Sapphire
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Small passenger capacity adds to intimate feel onboard


Cruise fares are among highest in river industry

Bottom Line

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


Passengers 98
Crew 29
Passenger to Crew 3.38:1
Launched 2008, refurbished 2017
Shore Excursions 0
Colleen McDaniel
Cruise Critic Editor-In-Chief

ms Sapphire Overview

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.

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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.

ms Sapphire Gratuity

Tips are not expected as Tauck's tour prices include gratuities for ship staff (and hotel staff if there's a land stay), local guides, drivers, Tauck directors and the cruise director. If you'd like to give a little extra -- say, to an excellent bartender or to the massage therapist onboard -- be sure to carry some cash as you won't be able to charge it to your onboard account. The onboard currency is the euro.

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ms Sapphire Member Reviews

ms Sapphire
Sail Date: Jul 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...Read More
ms Sapphire
Sail Date: Jul 2016
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...Read More
ms Sapphire
Book Lover
Sail Date: Aug 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...Read More
ms Sapphire
Sail Date: Apr 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...Read More

Tauck River Cruising Fleet