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5 Tauck First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We have been to Russia and Africa with Tauck, and this was or first river cruise ever, although we have been on ocean cruises. The other reviews are comprehensive, so I will mention other points. I recommend room 323 which is next door ... Read More
We have been to Russia and Africa with Tauck, and this was or first river cruise ever, although we have been on ocean cruises. The other reviews are comprehensive, so I will mention other points. I recommend room 323 which is next door to Authur's where I could pop in any time for cappuccino, tea, cookie/snack to take back to my room, or to sit to see both sides of the river since this was the aft end. Just quick and easy. Interestingly, the motor coaches we used had a bathroom, and we could actually use them. We have been on tours where we were not allowed to use the bathroom on the coach. What? Not enough time in Vienna. There should have been 3 full days and a guided tour of the Kunst Historical Museum one of the most important museums in the world; and Vienna one of the most beautiful cities. What architecture! This was our second visit to Vienna. I hesitate to mention since it is a personal preference. The rooms need an adequate dressing table for My Lady with a mirror and lamp. Obviously a man designed the rooms, not a woman. LOL They were generous in providing me with a laptop for the entire trip, although Wi-Fi was as slow as molasses. I did note there is no Doctor on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first River Cruise so didn't know what to expect. This cruise was Fantastic. We couldn't have asked for more. The room was a nice size with all amenities. The food on the ship was delicious and the servers were ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise so didn't know what to expect. This cruise was Fantastic. We couldn't have asked for more. The room was a nice size with all amenities. The food on the ship was delicious and the servers were the best! When we left they felt like family. Whatever you wanted or needed Tauck was there for you. The tours were Great as were the tour guides. We felt they gave more than was required. The Tauck tour directors gave us extras, they accompanied us to extra tours plus we had private tours to the Library in a Monastery in Prague which is not open to the public. Our dinners in two Palaces were above expectation with entertainment that was Unbelievable, I.e., opera/ballet while eating dinner. I would definitely recommend this trip. I would suggest that you spend an additional Two days in Prague as we really only had 1-1/2 days which was not enough to see all the beauty of Prague. We made many friends on the ship and all of us gave this trip 5+ stars Sue G Read Less
Sail Date June 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
This was my second trip with Tauck and my wife's third. Choosing an extra day in Brussels pre-trip and one in Amsterdam at the end gave us just the right amount of time to get ready for the trip and ready to renter the real world. ... Read More
This was my second trip with Tauck and my wife's third. Choosing an extra day in Brussels pre-trip and one in Amsterdam at the end gave us just the right amount of time to get ready for the trip and ready to renter the real world. Dealing with the airlines misdirection of her suitcase, the Tauck people managed to get it to the boat on sailing day. Many thanks to them for the assistance. We thought the boat was excellent - service, food, accommodations were all just what was expected. The tour organized excursions were well done with the exception of getting lost on the way to the Kinderdijk. There also was some confusion on the location of drop off and time of pick up in Haalem. There was a good balance in time on tour and free time. I chose the Ghent option to view the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. My wife went to Brugges. She was a bit disconcerted in the slow pace of the tour and that not enough time was spent along the canals and old town. Maastricht was a highlight in that we visited the American War Cemetery on July 4th. Lunch at Chateau Neercanne was delightful. We found the framed memorial of he signers of the EU treaty which took place there. We actually sailed past Venlo to dock in Cuijk - a delightful little town with an interesting art exhibition mixed in and around the cemetery behind the church. The Floriade was exceptional to see. We had the whole day there and then took a back road through rose fields on the way back to the ship. The Easter Island statue along the way had everyone stumped, but later research showed it to be in memory of Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch explorer who discovered and named it. The asparagus statue was interesting. In Arnhem we docked directly in front of the bridge discussed in the Cornelius Ryan book. We chose the visit to De Hoge Velue National Park and the excellent Kroller-Muller museum and its collection of Van Gogh paintings. The cheese farm and Kinderdijk were excellent visits, with the exception of getting lost. The sand dunes of the North Seas were totally unexpected and the visit to the Delft factory very interesting. We then sailed into Amsterdam overnight and arrived in port under a rainbow. Great view approaching the city. We chose Haarlem and the Franz Hall Museum which we enjoyed, but the confusion on bus locations cut time off our visit. The afternoon was spend wondering Amsterdam and the Anne Frank with presale tickets. If you plan to visit the Anne Frank house, make reservations over the Internet way before you go. Tickets are hard to come by an the line never shrinks. The early morning trip to Aalsmeer flower market was amazing. It is worth the effort to get up early. The Rijksmuseum and canal cruise are great. We chose to stay in that area to visit the Van Gogh museum which is just down the street and that area is a far from the ship as you need to go in Amsterdam. The walk back to the ship would be about 20 minutes without stopping. The extra day at the Sofitel went well for us, but some of our companions had issues getting there from the ship - the coordination of the shuttles left something to be desired. Airport transfers to the hotel the next day went perfectly. Overall the scope, pace and excursions of the trip was excellent and we realize this was a special itinerary for the Floriade this year. However, the normally excellent coordination between guests and staff was a bit lacking. Some guides had never been to some of the stops, times and places were not precise between the three coaches, and getting lost, while an adventure, should have not taken place. Highlights: Finding the Willow Man inside he Floriade was a real treat. Maastricht is a hidden gem which we absolutely fell in love with. The American war cemetary on July 4th was very moving. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We took a Tauck river cruise from Prague to Budapest on the Swiss Jewel. While this is a review of that cruise, we have a special focus. Gale has limited mobility, and the majority of the off-boat tours were done with her in a transport ... Read More
We took a Tauck river cruise from Prague to Budapest on the Swiss Jewel. While this is a review of that cruise, we have a special focus. Gale has limited mobility, and the majority of the off-boat tours were done with her in a transport chair pushed by her husband Bob. The chair has a thick cushion, which was critical for comfort. It has 12" foam wheels in the rear and 6" removable wheels in front. It collapses easily, and was stored in the reception area of the boat. Gale was able to move easily throughout the boat using her Canadian crutch, and took advantage of the elevator to get to the lounge and dining area. She also had to walk on and-off the boat, since the gang-plank was too narrow and steep for the chair. Also, there were times when two or three boats were docked next to each other, and this required going through (or up and over) one or two boats. The busses also have 4-to-6 steps, and the seats are not so easy to get into and-out of. That said, the trip was a wonderful experience, and the cobblestones the price of admission. Here is a non-typical tourist view. Our reviews of private time in Prague, the hotel, and two great restaurants (Imperial and Amade) are on TripAdvisor. Prague: The Hradcany Castle district has some of the worst cobblestones seen, and the walk was difficult. However, by cheating a bit and walking on the grass we were able to keep up with the tour. Also, the (wonderful) Tauck staff made arrangements all along the way for us to go in side doors to hidden elevators. Because of this, we missed very little of the tours. The Tauck dinner at the Lobkowicz Palace the first full day of the trip foreshadowed the special treatment we were to get throughout the cruise. The Lobkowiczes fled Prague just before WWII and did not return until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989. The current scion, Boston born and bred, hosted the wine reception with a 40 minute review of the palace's history, followed by a private tour of the museum, followed by a private dinner in the Palace. If in Prague, do not miss this site. The third day of the trip was a killer. Bags packed by 7 AM, three-hour bus trip to Regensburg Germany, long tour over rough streets, boarding the boat and unpacking, dinner, and collapsing in bed late. Day was a blur, so no memory of Regensburg to share. We woke up in Passau, and in spite of the hills and cobblestones had a good touring day. These stones were smaller and flatter, and there was an HP entrance to the cathedral. Our small group tours with some great local guides were followed by on-board Austrian entertainment. Passau was in West Germany, so did not have the grayness we would see in areas controlled by the Soviets. Ironically, its Southern location, right on the Austrian border and next to Czechoslovakia, meant it was ignored and avoided much of the Westernization that the rest of Germany experienced. Tour day five was supposed to be a tour of Salzburg, but it was cold and very rainy. Given the long bus ride to and from Salzburg, she who would have to sit in the chair through all the rain made the right choice and stayed on the boat. The other passengers said that, given the rain and the crowds, we did not miss much. The next day was a delight, as the boat moved through the beautiful Wachau Valley to Dernstein -- a beautiful little town on the banks of the Danube. The countryside included terraced vineyards, ancient buildings, quaint villages, and beautiful post-rain lighting. The walk from the boat up to Dernstein was steep, and pushing the chair up the incline was a lung busting adventure. But the tour by another delightful local guide was worth it. The local Augustinian monastery was human-sized, and it (and the surrounding sights) fascinating to see and hear about. The delights of Vienna are well known, and need not be written about here. The city center is a 20-30 minute bus trip from the boat, and all touring sites are fairly easy to get to and around with the chair. Of note, Tauck had another of its private dinners, near where those horses dance, with spectacular music, opera, and ballet as entertainment. Oh, my! On the afternoon of the 2nd day in Vienna we departed for Bratislava. Upon arrival in the morning, we started with a riveting talk on life in Slovakia from the late 30's on by the head of the local tour guides. Bratislava was a nice surprise -- interesting to see and very easy to see. Still cobblestones, but the smaller, flat-topped ones for the most part. The cruise portion ended in Budapest. Can we tell you what hell Buda is for both parties riding and pushing a wheelchair? Some parts are wheelchair accessible, but most of the tourist areas feel like they left the rubble from the WWII bombings in place and expect people to deal with it. Pest, on the other hand, is very easy to move about. Not only flatter and smoother, but more accommodations for chairs. From the Marriott hotel in Pest, we had the benefits of the great view of the river and the hills of Buda, along with the ease of moving about the modern Pest. The visit to the State Opera House (requires two short sets of stairs before access to the elevator) ended with another Tauck treat -- beautiful music and opera from balconies at the top of the staircase. Our farewell dinner had, yes, more wonderful music as part of the Tauck treat. Lessons learned: it may not take a village, but it takes a boat-load of people to make for a wonderful trip. There was a large crew to keep the boat running, the food cooking, and the pusher's scotch glass full. There were four Tauck staff who managed all the events, and gave some wonderful and knowledgeable lectures on the boat and busses which enhanced all aspects of the trip. There were a different set of local guides at each stop, who usually gave very knowledgeable and fun tours. All told, the staff made a nice trip a wonderful trip. We made some friends on the trip among the other guests, and will keep in touch with them. But, all helped out at different points and none felt we slowed them down. When the front wheels of the chair got jammed going over a curb, someone was there to pull us out. When Gale was too tired to climb the steps, several lifted the chair and carried it down. When the view was blocked, people moved automatically to allow the chair through. Among the joys of the trip was the sad realization that we saw a few others in chairs, and a few struggling with dual crutches over the stones. What was a temporary problem for us must be a daily challenge for the residents. Thanks to Tauck for taking a risk and letting us go. Note that the other cruise companies would not accept chairs. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
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