The focus on Jewel in terms of entertainment is truly on destination-related enrichment. The core pieces of the program are Tauck's complimentary tours, which operate every day the ship is in port. On our exotic Danube cruise, options were interesting and varied -- with a lot of special touches.
On some cruises, the chef hosts a tour to local food markets for the culinarily curious; on a Danube River stop in Vienna, we spent a delightful morning prowling the city's famous Naschmarkt as the chef, aided by the maitre d', picked out foodstuffs for us to sample. (They also picked up some treats to share back onboard with the rest of the passengers.)
Tauck handles even the simple stuff right: On days when there was a good amount of free time (in addition to a day of touring, we also had a full day at leisure to explore Vienna), Tauck arranged for shuttle service to and from the ship. Since the city's a good trek by taxi or subway from the Danube cruise piers, and since most river lines will merely hail you a cab or point you in the direction of the Metro, this was appreciated.
A "Discovery Briefing" occurs each night in the main lounge during cocktails and before dinner, during which one of three Tauck tour directors onboard discusses the next day's tour. In essence, they offer a taste of what to expect and information on what time to congregate in the lounge. "Briefing" could be synonymous with "boring," but the directors all have strong ties to the places we visited (one born in Romania, another married to a Bulgarian), so the information was solid -- and the enthusiasm was real.
The tours themselves are operated with precision -- organized and on time, every time. Each morning in the lounge, passengers are divided into three groups of about 30 each for tours -- much more intimate groups than you'll find on other river cruise lines. Guides utilize the Quietvox wireless audio system on walking tours; they speak into a transmitter, and the sound is picked up by each person's individual receiver and earphone. Which group you end up with depends on what color Quietvox you pick up. This system makes it easy for groups of friends who want to be in the same group; just grab several of the same color Quietvox receiver boxes, and you're set. It was also fun to switch colors (yellow one day, blue the next) and travel with different people throughout the voyage.
In the evenings, as mentioned, there is piano entertainment provided in the main lounge (and the occasional liquor-induced passenger crooning). The ship also hosts folkloric performances in port by local musicians and dance troupes. But this is not a late-night crowd; most retire to bed after the post-dinner specialty act to rest up for the next very busy day.