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16 Tauck Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

We have just returned from our unforgettable, glorious, spectacular 14 night river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. After we had booked our holiday we read some unfavourable reviews and began to wonder what we may be in for. We had no ... Read More
We have just returned from our unforgettable, glorious, spectacular 14 night river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. After we had booked our holiday we read some unfavourable reviews and began to wonder what we may be in for. We had no need to worry, everything about the holiday was fabulous. The small ship was luxurious and elegantly furnished. the restaurant food, delicious. with a large variety that changed each day to suit the country. The staff were incredible and dedicated to making sure all passengers enjoy their holiday. The day tours extremely well organised. and just the right amount of tour and free time to wander about in the towns. Just everything was perfect. We saw a review that said the wines were bad, We were served to most spectacular wines especially chosen by our lovely maitre d, Andreea each night, the champagne was Moët and Chandon, ( which you could have with breakfast if you so wished. We discovered Pina Calada cocktails were extremely tasty !. Each time I have one in the future I will be reminded to my tauck river cruise. The only advice I would give is that most of our passengers were between 50 and 80, so possibly it would not appeal to the younger person. Many thanks to all the staff on board that made our holiday memorable. Would we book with tauck again..... You bet ya!...... Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our travel agent has been raving about Tauck for years, so when we said we wanted to do a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, she suggested Tauck. We had been on a fabulous Viking river cruise a few years earlier and decided to try ... Read More
Our travel agent has been raving about Tauck for years, so when we said we wanted to do a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, she suggested Tauck. We had been on a fabulous Viking river cruise a few years earlier and decided to try something different. What a mistake. Logistics: Problems with logistics began even before we boarded the ship. We were told to wait for a driver at the east pick up point at Centraal train Station Amsterdam. We waited over half an hour, finally called and found out the driver had been told to pick us up at the west pick up point. He was cross and so were we. Then we found out the ship was a 5-minute walk from the train station. In many places, we had to stand around in the cold and rain waiting for buses. The two worst so far involved Nuremberg where the guides gleefully told us that because it was Sunday NOTHING was open, but we had over an hour ‘free time’ before we could return to the ship so we had a choice of going into a bar at 11 am or standing in the cold plaza waiting. A few days later, we were told we had an early tour and needed to board coaches at 8:30. We arrived at Melk Abbey 15 minutes later where we stood around in a cold courtyard for over 30 minutes waiting for guides. When the guides showed up, they had tour tickets for 9:15. There were many other similar logistical glitches, which might have been understandable on a less costly or larger tour. Sometimes, it would take the tour directors 15 - 20 minutes to divide us into groups - which could have been done on the warm, dry ship, rather than on the cold, rainy sidewalk. Health: Although folks, including crew and staff, began falling ill with an upper respiratory virus two days into the cruise, it wasn’t until day 11 of the cruise - well over a week later – that hand sanitizing was pushed aggressively. Food service, especially once the virus started spreading, helped to fuel the problem. Napkins in the bar, which are placed on the table for drinks and for people to use when eating hors d’oeuvres, were then collected, and piled up neatly for folks to use again!! Buffet lines, where people reach in for food, often with their hands that they may have just used to cover a cough or blow their nose, also helps spread germs. We've been on larger ships that closed buffet lines at the hint of a virus to try to stop its spread. Other cruise ships also have signs reminding guests to use a paper towel to open bathroom doors (which carry huge amounts of germs) but not Tauck. In short, Tauck did nothing to prevent the spread of this virus. They did, however, call in a doctor for a very sick guest. Prevention would have been a better solution! Standing around in the cold and rain worsened this health problem. Many folks on the cruise are over 65 and standing for long periods exacerbates issues with hips, knees, and backs but most of the ‘walking’ tours have involved long periods of standing while a guide told us of the history of the city (information we could have gotten in a printed or oral form before leaving the boat). Schedule and activities: Most days, time off the ship has been limited to a few hours (although there have been some evenings when folks could stay in town for dinner at their own expense). For the most part, activities and excursions have been limited to walking tours of the old town (which all began to look much the same!). This is not much fun in cold rainy weather – which is common in this area - and no alternatives were available. One day there was NO time off the ship which wouldn’t have been a hardship had there been anything to do other than eat and drink. There was a pile of games and puzzles in the main lounge, but no place to work the puzzles. One waiter offered to put up a table for several of us who wanted to work a puzzle, but it never happened even though there is an unused part of the lounge that would have been perfect. There are 3 public areas on the ship: the main dining room which is open only for meals, a large bar/lounge which is open all day but with muzak playing constantly and passengers congregated there all day with nothing to do but drink, the noise level is so high its hard to hear anyone sitting next to you - much less try to read a book. There is also a small 'cafe' on the aft end, but it too is noisy. I went up one morning at 4 am just to get a quiet cup of coffee (self serve coffee there), but a waiter showed up, flipped on the muzak. I asked him if he could turn it down - or off - and he said "But people LIKE music." I said I don't, I'm the only one here, and I'd like quiet. His response was to walk away leaving the muzak blaring. Quality of the few local musicians is very uneven and not up to the standards set on a Viking Cruise of the area we took a few years ago. Staff: Usually polite and knowledgeable, but some do not hold up well under pressure and snap at guests who ask questions. Also, significant gaps in knowledge. One small city we visited had an amazing museum city which they knew nothing about; instead, they suggested a museum of tools. The Ship: Although recently updated, no noise abatement was added. In the public areas, with low ceilings and no noise abatement, conversation is difficult or impossible for those of us who are hard of hearing. During presentations, staff and guests continued to talk making it difficult to hear the speaker. Our cabin was the smallest one I've ever seen. We are not large people, but we could not pass each other walking around the room. There were two problems with our first cabin: a door that wouldn’t stay closed and a stopped up sink, were fixed eventually (for a couple of days, I was told the door wouldn’t stay closed because I wasn’t holding the key properly and the only way to close it was to slam it - thus annoying our neighbors, but when the maintenance man finally came, he had to re drill the door closing). The worst problem was the HVAC which kept our room very cold no matter what we did. This was even more uncomfortable after we got sick. After several days, of the maintenance guy coming and 'fixing' it, on day 11 of the cruise, we were moved into another cabin which also has problems with air, wildly vacillating water temperatures (i.e. cold to scalding in a flash), and cooking odors coming up through the HVAC system. That seems like a lot of problems for a ship that had recently been overhauled. Fitness and Recreation: One tiny room - claustrophobic, with a stationary bike and a few weights - was at the bottom of circular stairs and no way to signal anyone if there was a problem. I could have stood in there and screamed and no one would have heard me. We sent these complaints to our travel agent who forwarded them to Tauck. The Customer Service Representative apparently told our travel agent that this was all normal. The woman at Tauck finally agreed to talk with me, but it was a very unsatisfying conversation: no “sorry that happened,” all she’d say was that it is their policy to talk only with travel agents. Apparently, once they've been paid, they have no interest or concern that this was the worst two weeks of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have traveled with Tauck on four previous land vacations and figured they would be just as good on a river. We traveled from Amsterdam to Budapest. Halfway, we had to switch ships with Sprit's sister ship, the Treasures. Kept the ... Read More
We have traveled with Tauck on four previous land vacations and figured they would be just as good on a river. We traveled from Amsterdam to Budapest. Halfway, we had to switch ships with Sprit's sister ship, the Treasures. Kept the same cabin number. The Danube River was too low and we heard about other tour groups bussing to cities from a docked ship. Our ship had 78 tourists; our cabin was about 300 sq ft. This was great as we got to know almost everyone at least a little bit. The ship swap required a 3 hour drive after a city tour. Our Tour Directors made this fun with games, cookies, crackers, and wine on the bus! Highlights: A private dinner at a Palace in Vienna with 2 opera singers, 2 ballet dancers, and a chamber orchestra: a night sail on the Danube through Budapest - BEAUTIFUL: Lunch at Bruer's Rudesheimer Schloss with great music playing both German and American tunes: Sailing through the Lorelei Valley and the Wachau Valley (Rhine and Danube): Lunch on our own during free time in 3 cities (Tauck gave each person 20 Euros for spending money). The only extra costs we had on this entire trip were a couple meals as we arrived a day early and our souvenirs. You will never go wrong with Tauck. They PLAN for anything! and everything! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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
We took a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. In the most part, the passengers are retirees - particularly from the USA. However, they were active and interesting retirees who were keen to do as much as possible. We were met at the ... Read More
We took a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. In the most part, the passengers are retirees - particularly from the USA. However, they were active and interesting retirees who were keen to do as much as possible. We were met at the airport after a long haul flight by the Tauck arranged transfer van. The van was in impeccable condition and the driver was excellent. We were taken to the Intercontinental Amstel hotel for 2 nights which was also included in the price. The hotel is 5 star and outstanding. Tauck also transfer you from the hotel to the ship. The cabin is small whichever way you look at it. Fortunately, you spend little time in your cabin (apart from sleeping!) as the general areas of the ship are fantastic. In addition, during the day you are often off the ship. One thing to keep in mind is that the cabins right at the back of the boat are near the engines - try not to book those rooms as you will hear the engine noise. The food and service cannot be faulted. The whole of the ship is of the highest standard. All (top shelf) drinks are included in the price. All excursions and tours are also included in the price - these are also quality. Finally, they include a great evening in Vienna which was the highlight of an already great cruise. At first glance, the cost looked a little on the pricey side. However, once you take into account that the price includes airport transfers, pre or post cruise accommodation at a 5 star hotel, all tours, all drinks, great food and service and a highlight evening in Vienna you are, in fact, obtaining a very high quality and memorable cruise for outstanding value. I can only compliment Tauck on the whole cruise from the moment you get off the airplane. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We originally were going on Viking (because we had heard the name) but they could not accommodate us in the hotel stay. Our agent suggested Tauck. What a blessing! We (my sister and our adult sons) loved our Tauck cruise. The ship was new ... Read More
We originally were going on Viking (because we had heard the name) but they could not accommodate us in the hotel stay. Our agent suggested Tauck. What a blessing! We (my sister and our adult sons) loved our Tauck cruise. The ship was new and comfortable. Our rooms very comfortable. Food, drinks, staff, etc. all excellent. Having all-inclusive was great. No extra charges at any time. Not even for a massage tip. So nice. They also gave us extra special touches such as picking up toilet fees, or little treats in town. The boys were among the youngest on the ship, 30 and 28 but fit right in with everything we did. Most nights were were too tired for the evening music, but throughly enjoyed the special guest musicians one night and our crew show another evening. Small touches such as a wet towel and special cookies coming back on board after excursions were appreciated too. The excursions were all fun too. We enjoyed "Tauck Fit" hiking and biking. We all look forward to another adventure with Tauck. We had cabin 203 and 105. We did not want an upper deck cabin because we were concerned about any noise that might come from the sun deck. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Our travel agent said Tauck was the Mercedes Benz of River Cruises. We were picked up in Amsterdam by a chauffeured Mercedes. I was expecting a small tour bus or van. We stayed in a loft room which we thought all in all had as much room as ... Read More
Our travel agent said Tauck was the Mercedes Benz of River Cruises. We were picked up in Amsterdam by a chauffeured Mercedes. I was expecting a small tour bus or van. We stayed in a loft room which we thought all in all had as much room as other rooms and more storage under the loft balcony. I did not have to pull out my wallet except when we bought postcards etc from the small gift shop on board. When they say all inclusive they go so far as paying for the pay toilets on our excursions. I was impressed with our 3 on board tour directors who really helped out. We were at Heidelberg Castle with at least 2 other cruise lines and they were in total chaos trying to follow just one tour guide.. Food was excellent, service superb, nw ship was very clean. Travelers and there were many who said once you use Tauck it is difficult to use anyone else. Its true this was our first trip we up the Rhine and Moselle, we just signed up for the Blue Danube Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We are a retired couple aged 65 & 73 who love to travel and especially cruise. We have cruised on both large & small ships. This was our first river cruise and our first with Tauck, but not the last. First, the Esprit is a ... Read More
We are a retired couple aged 65 & 73 who love to travel and especially cruise. We have cruised on both large & small ships. This was our first river cruise and our first with Tauck, but not the last. First, the Esprit is a lovely ship with I believe a maximum of 118 passengers. There were 99 on our cruise. We had a category 7 suite (#313) that was very comfortable and plenty large enough for the 2 of us. The bathroom was well appointed with a large shower. The bed was comfortable and the walk-in closet was large enough with shelves and a couple of small drawers. Storage in the room was ample, we actually didn't need all of it even for a 2 week cruise. The ship is owned and staffed by Scylla, and the tours, entertainment, etc. are handled by Tauck employees. They work together seamlessly, and if we hadn't been told they were 2 separate companies we probably would not have even known it. Food is such a personal choice I hesitate to comment on it. There were a couple of nights when the main choices didn't appeal to me, but the optional ones available every day were still good. Soups were always delicious! The food was always well prepared and beautifully presented. Dining and bar staff were efficient and served with a smile and friendly attitude. They all seemed to enjoy their jobs. One young lady in particular, Fani, especially won our hearts. Her ever present smile and humor were contagious. If I don't give the food a 5 star rating it is only a personal preference, not a statement on the menu or preparation. Tours, entertainment and Tauck staff: I can't say enough about how wonderful they all were. The Cruise Director, Mary, and Tour Directors Joe, Maggie and Anna couldn't do enough to go out or their way to make sure everyone had a superb experience. They didn't miss anything we could possibly have wanted, even anticipating desires we didn't ask for. If there was a 10 star rating they would definitely deserve it! Local entertainment brought on board as well as the lectures by the Tour Directors were all enjoyable and well presented. If I had to pick a favorite it would be the glass blower, he was very entertaining and funny. Shore excursions were well run, it seems that Tauck hires only quality companies and guides. They are knowledgeable about their areas and their history and give you an all around feel for the area. The highlight was the dinner at the palace in Vienna. I don't want to say too much and spoil it for anyone taking this trip, but suffice it to say we really experienced what it was like to dine like royalty, in a beautiful setting. Every detail from the time we arrived in Amsterdam to the time they dropped us off at the hotel in Budapest was handled flawlessly without a hitch and with smiles and professional attitudes. Be prepared for a wonderful experience and excellent service. Tauck also provides extra surprises that aren't advertised in their brochures. I would recommend this trip to anyone and can't wait for our next adventure with Tauck!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was a great ship with great people. The staff was fantastic and the other passengers were delightful. Our cabin was excellent. Our ship carried 122 passengers and I think it might hold 130 maximum. Other similar sized ships will carry ... Read More
This was a great ship with great people. The staff was fantastic and the other passengers were delightful. Our cabin was excellent. Our ship carried 122 passengers and I think it might hold 130 maximum. Other similar sized ships will carry up to 220 passengers in the same space. We stayed at the Tauck-recommended hotel in Basel (our point of embarkation). The hotel is nice but sterile. We much preferred making out own arrangements on the other end in Amsterdam. We stayed at the Estherea Hotel and it was delightful. Onboard, the internet was somewhere between terrible and non-existent. The food was average at best. We rarely docked in any town that was mentioned in the cruise itinerary. If you take this cruise, you should count on spending 2-3 hours on a bus everyday if you want to see what they advertise. On several nights we were docked in industrial harbors. Scrap metal is not what I wanted to see out of my very nice cabin. Unfortunately, if you don't get on the bus (at 8:15 to 9 am virtually every day) you will not see the sight for the day. A few times there was something to see right off boat but not what I went on the cruise to see. The buses are nice and the drivers are excellent and amazing, I just did not expect to spend so much time each and every day on a bus. Also, because we were not docked in the main towns, it was very difficult to spend extra time in a place that was interesting. Most of the tours were a little superficial to me and often I felt the guides were filling if the space because of time constraints. Unfortunately, they filled with fluff instead of the massive amounts of history available in this area. I have to admit, I do not think this tour was a good fit for me. I am 55 and I think the average age on board was closer to 75. Most of these people are retired and do not need to keep in touch with business, at least occasionally, while on vacation. There was a wide variety of food but it was the same for breakfast and lunch everyday (with a very few exceptions). One passenger made a comment about it feeling like the movie Groundhog Day. I talked with the chef about the food and they tried to make me special meals (the staff really wants to please) but they just do not have the equipment or something to make it happen. I think the food is probably very healthy but it has very little flavor. I had soggy fish and dry tough meat and sometimes I had warm, medium rare ultra-lean beef that tasted like nothing. The waiters and table service were excellent. Unfortunately, I am afraid that the Rhine River is oversold. There are too many boats and people at all of the sights so you can't get close, you can't enjoy and it is all just touristy. There were a couple of times there was on board entertainment and it was nice. We had a dinner in a castle where we were too cramped together to make it comfortable. Likewise, the wine tasting event had us packed check to jowl for another excursion. I would miss both of those if given the option to go back. There was a daytime castle tour that my wife took that she said was excellent. Most of the tours and destinations were nice. It simply took too much time to get to and from them to make it enjoyable. Disembarkation went well. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
we returned home to the states after 14 days on the tauck swiss jewel, sailing from basel to amsterdam. we have over 100 days on both seabourn and silversea, and prior river cruises on the danube, the douro and others as well. we were ... Read More
we returned home to the states after 14 days on the tauck swiss jewel, sailing from basel to amsterdam. we have over 100 days on both seabourn and silversea, and prior river cruises on the danube, the douro and others as well. we were very pleased with this tauck cruise. we have never traveled with tauck before and did not know what to expect, but they were great. the shore excursions were led by excellent local guides, so that we left learning much about strasbourg, heidelburg, cochen, etc. most memorable were the visits to the museum near arnhem which has a recreation of the house to house battle in its basement. unforgettable. we liked going from south to north on this cruise. it's the way the rhine flows and the sailing was smooth and uneventful. we found the entire cruise to be flawless...and we don't often say that. we are now considering budapest to bucharest, which we have not done yet. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Last year I took a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, with Tauck Treasures. I had paid so much money, and I was told that my experience with this company was going to be "FIRST CLASS, WHITE GLOVE TREATMENT". First of all, I had ... Read More
Last year I took a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, with Tauck Treasures. I had paid so much money, and I was told that my experience with this company was going to be "FIRST CLASS, WHITE GLOVE TREATMENT". First of all, I had to book with Intercontinental in Amsterdam in order to be picked up at the airport: not good! Then, as soon as I entered into the cabin, very bad impact! It was a dungeon, I could not even look out because the windows were so high! To get to my cabin I had to go down some spiral stairs, dangerous and uneven! Other complaints: the guides are very skilled, but they don't show much. Food: awful in the boat ride in Amsterdam. One waiter was blowing his nose for breakfast one morning: he had a cold! The lady in charge of special diets was told that I needed a low sodium diet, and she put salt on a plate she brought for me, right in front of my eyes! She kept on forgetting to bring food she had promised, and this happened almost every day! No entertainment at night: it was so boring! Itinerary changed a lot, and many cities in the list were never covered. A lot of disorganization in the ship, we had to pick out a color of bus every morning: what a waste of time! My experience was far from being first class: I could have taken Grand Circle with 35% off the price I paid with Tauck!!!!!!!!! Tauck will not see my face anymore!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We had a great time on this Tauck River Cruise. The whole intent of this trip was to go to Holland to see the flowers in the spring. We decided to add a river cruise to our trip. We planned our trip to arrive 3 days prior to the cruise ... Read More
We had a great time on this Tauck River Cruise. The whole intent of this trip was to go to Holland to see the flowers in the spring. We decided to add a river cruise to our trip. We planned our trip to arrive 3 days prior to the cruise and booked our own hotel and flight. Much to our surprise, Tauck arranged for our transfer from the airport to our hotel. This was just the first instance of exceptional service that we received. After our 3 days pre-cruise, we arranged for a taxi to take us to the cruise port. The Swiss Sapphire is a beautiful ship. The decor was very classy without a lot of glitz. Upon check in we were told to wait in the lounge where a light lunch was being served. After a short wait our room was ready and we were shown to it. The room was small but certainly livable. We had a small balcony that you could put one foot on and lean out the sliding glass door but not any bigger than that. There was plenty of storage and our suitcases fit under the bed. The group areas of the ship consisted of the lounge, lido, dining room and the outside decks. The lounge had a piano player every night who was fantastic. Most of our time was spent there. Every night there would be a briefing on the next days events. The dining room had a mix of tables for 4 or 6 and was open seating for all meals. Lunches were buffet with dinners being 4 course meals with choices of meat, fish or vegetarian every night. You could also choose steak or chicken instead during dinners. Breakfasts were buffet also but you could order eggs any style or pancakes or waffles too. The lido was in the rear of the ship and had a delicious cappucino machine and cookies available all the time. During the morning there was continental breakfast available. At lunch one of the chefs made stir fry but there was also a panini machine and salad and soup in the lido. Dinner was italian but it had to be reserved and we didn't experience it. The staff was truly wonderful. The food was consistently very good to excellent. Every stop we had private local guides take us to the city and tell us about it. The guides communicated through a box everyone wore with an earpiece. They worked very well. The bus drivers were amazing and drove us through areas that a bus shouldn't have fit but did. The Tauck guides kept everyone organized and really did an exceptional job. Most nights there was some kind of outside entertainment in the lounge like a German band or string quartet. There were also several nights spent on excursions. We had booked the same hotel Tauck uses for after the cruise by ourselves. We were driven there in a bus with everyone who had booked through Tauck. After our 3 days post cruise we were again taken to the airport by a Tauck driver. There were so many extras that were included and unexpected it is impossible to list them. Examples include cookies on the bus when leaving a city, water bottles in the lounge for everyone to take with them on excursions and special meals in local restaurants. I could not recommend Tauck more. This was our first organized tour although we have taken many ocean cruises. We would not hesitate to take a trip with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
After 5 days in Paris pre-cruise, we landed in Amsterdam on an overcast, rainy day but the weather got better as the holiday went on. Our Tauck representative was in Arrivals waiting for us and within minutes he had us aboard a Tauck ... Read More
After 5 days in Paris pre-cruise, we landed in Amsterdam on an overcast, rainy day but the weather got better as the holiday went on. Our Tauck representative was in Arrivals waiting for us and within minutes he had us aboard a Tauck coach which we would find out later would be one of three Tauck coaches that followed the boat to the Austrian border and on our way to the MS Treasures. On arrival at the dock we were met with umbrellas and escorted aboard. It only took a few minutes for our paperwork to be completed and we were shown our cabin 209 on Ruby deck. Now I have to admit that before we booked our cruise the only thing that worried us was the size of the cabin 150sq ft. Our fears were misplaced. The cabin is so well designed that its size became irrelevant. There is a huge amount of storage space and the bags fit nicely under the bed. The bathroom is beautifully appointed with the most modern equipment but to be fair it is only a one person at a time bathroom. During our first meeting with the Tauck staff on board it was explained to everyone that Tauck is a Tour company and not a river boat company. The ship is owned and crewed by Scylla. They have some 17 boats cruising the rivers of Europe and 4 of those have been designed to accommodate the wishes of Tauck. There were only 4 Tauck staff on board our cruise director, Steve and 3 Tour Directors, Nicole, Glorija and Jeremy. The big advantage of having one tour director for every 30 or so passengers would become very apparent in the days to come. We discovered that there were 106 passengers, a little under the maximum capacity of 118, made up of 88 from the U.S. 2 from Bermuda, 4 from NZ, 6 from Canada and 6 of us from Australia. From our first outing to our last you could go out with the guides or if you preferred, as some did, you could stay onboard the boat as it relocated from time to time. Having 3 tour directors as well as a cruise director must give Tauck a huge edge over those companies that dont. We never felt left out of any activity nor could we possibly get lost as our TDs appeared to be everywhere with anything you needed. Tauck employ the finest local guides at every port of call on the rivers. They all spoke perfect English, had a wealth of knowledge yet communicated to us in a light and warm manner. The voxes we used were light and easy to use and it enabled us to stop for a photo opportunity and still listen to your guide. There were excursions everyday, sometimes two and if we needed a coach to take us up a mountain to see a castle or cathedral the Tauck coaches would be waiting for us. We got to know the 3 drivers very well and it was sad to see them leave us after we crossed the border into Austria. It is very difficult to single out any particular excursion as being the best because they were all professionally handled but the night at the Palais Pallavicini for our dinner and concert was simply amazing. This is Taucks signature evening on the cruise and I believe its what makes Tauck stand apart from its competitors. Were not foodies but we never had a meal onboard that was not to our liking. The choices at all meals were extensive so youd have to be pretty picky not to find something you liked. Breakfast and lunch were primarily buffet style but at breakfast there was the egg station where you could have your eggs as you desired and at lunch there was always a chefs suggestion on the menu. Dinner was always a la carte and the choices varied every evening. If you wanted lighter fare or an intimate dinner there was the Lido at the stern of the boat. We and a couple of our new found friends ate one evening in the Lido and it was like having a private dinner on a yacht. In all we rated the food as top class. On one occasion we were to all eat in town and Tauck gave us each 20 euros for our lunch. That was a huge surprise. Now we do know a bit about wine and we were delighted to find that we were served different wines every night. We were eager to taste the differences from the wines we have in Australia and although I can say I didnt fall in love with every wine we drank we did find significant differences in all the local wines and came home very happy for the experience. Taucks choices were excellent. At the end of the cruise wed made many new friends and it was sad to say goodbye but Tauck took us to the Hotel and the next morning ensured we got to the airport. This type of service will be hard to match in the future. There are a number of companies that claim to be all inclusive but do they do this? They included a free nights accommodation at the 5 star Le Meridien in Budapest because we were first time travellers. You received 2 free nights if you were a frequent Tauck traveller. Tauck includes all gratuities for everyone. They include all transfers whether you booked your air with them or not. You can drink all the non-alcoholic drinks you like all day every day absolutely free. They even have a fridge in your cabin that they stock with your drink requirements and re-stock it every day. You can drink all the beer you want at lunch and dinner and all the wine you want at dinner. In fact if you didnt want a pre-dinner drink then your bill at the end of the trip would have been zero. If you feel like a snack in the afternoons they will provide you with your choice of freshly baked pretzels or a plate of cheeses and fruit or a plate of sweet cakes or even a big bowl of ice cream all included and delivered to you anywhere on the boat. Tauck provided us regularly with what they call a Tauck lagniappe (a Tauck surprise). We had many surprises over the course of our trip my favourite being a Gondola ride over the vineyards and country side of Rudesheim. Another was a wine tasting in a cellar in Rothenberg. Now on this occasion a couple of people became claustrophobic in the cellar and had to leave and to their surprise one of our ever present TDs appeared to give them each 5 euros so that they could enjoy a glass of wine upstairs and much more. The one incident that will always stick in my mind as the ultimate in all inclusive was after an organ recital in Passau a lot needed to go to the toilet. In Europe most public toilets require a 50cent coin. Instead of having to find one in your pocket or purse a lovely Tauck TD was standing there giving out 50cent coins. Now thats all inclusive service. We found Tauck to be the most professional company weve ever travelled with and the staff on board Treasures was faultless. It may take us 3 or 4 years to save up enough to visit Europe again and if we do well certainly go with Tauck again. They are simply the best. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We just returned from a 13 day river cruise of the Rhine and Moselle. Tauck exceeded our expectations in many ways. Classy is a word that best describes the attention to detail that this tour provided. e.g, On our visit to the American ... Read More
We just returned from a 13 day river cruise of the Rhine and Moselle. Tauck exceeded our expectations in many ways. Classy is a word that best describes the attention to detail that this tour provided. e.g, On our visit to the American Cemetery in Luxemborg, Tauck gave each passenger (96) a white rose to place on a grave. They paid the fees for visits to public toilets. One day they gave each passenger 20 euros each to have lunch in town. The guides in town and tour directors were excellent. Peter Tanner is an outstanding director. His sense of humor and historical knowledge made all his tours the most sought after for passengers. We sailed on the Swiss Emerald. The boat is small but not cramped and the Scylla crew were most accommodating and anxious to please. This is our first river cruise and our first experience with Tauck. I would not hesitate to travel with them again. On our tour, there were those who traveled w/ Tauck 14-21 times, proving passenger loyalty. The cabin was small but adequate w/ the exception of the closet and storage space. There was only one chair w/ a small table or desk. Two people could not occupy the bathroom at the same time, nor was there enough space for two to walk at the foot of the bed. I am not claustrophobic, so this was not a problem for me, but also, we did have a big sliding glass door/window, no balcony. River cruising is much more stable and quiet than ocean cruises. e.g., I experienced no motion sickness in the 12 days. We had a large window, which was nice as the river views were interesting though not always spectacular, e.g., coal loading or light industrial sights, but then we did see the occasional castle. Passing through locks at night can be disconcerting. Some of the jolts were similar to earthquake shocks, so there was that initial feeling of experiencing an earthquake. The bathroom was small but the shower head was great. We did not suffer the usual water saving problem w/ the water pressure. We met a couple w/ the junior suite and they did not feel their room was that much larger than ours, though it was about 50% larger. The shower stall is tiled, so it feels less like some prefabricated compartment. The ship was clean and our rooms always tidied in a timely manner. The crew were hardworking and most accommodating of all requests. River cruising is different from ocean cruises in that they are less frenetic and more intimate. Generally, the food on the Swiss Emerald was not outstanding, but it was always beautifully presented and obvious care was made to attend to differing dietary restrictions/demands. The ice cream was outstanding and worth every calorie. There is a casual dining option on the Lido deck but that needs to be expanded to include lighter fare options for evenings when one just doesn't want a multi-course meal. For our sailing, they instituted an Italian dinner option which was mediocre at best. It is a nice place to have coffee and watch the world go by, so dining there "al fresco" would have been a nice option, even if limited to sign-ups. It's something we suggested to Tauck in our review. Seniors should feel comfortable traveling w/ Tauck. For those less able to walk, they always had a bus that would drive as close as possible or modify the walking demands. The "quietvoxes" used for tours was excellent and those hard of hearing felt they were a godsend. There were approximately 10 ports, some of the smaller towns began to look alike, e.g., the usual cathedral or grave. Adequate time was given in the bigger cities, e.g., Basel, Stasbourg and Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
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