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8 Tauck Romantic Cruise Reviews

This was our second Tauck river cruise, the first one being from Milan to Amsterdam on the Rhine and it was wonderful! This cruise however was terribly disappointing for a number of reasons. First, and this of course is no one's ... Read More
This was our second Tauck river cruise, the first one being from Milan to Amsterdam on the Rhine and it was wonderful! This cruise however was terribly disappointing for a number of reasons. First, and this of course is no one's fault, was the weather. It rained for most of the days, but that's neither here nor there. Second, the time spent on buses from the docks to the various excursions was excessive. The buses were comfortable, but if we had wanted to book a bus tour we would have done so. More importantly, it seemed we had very little time to just "hang out" in the ports and get a feel for the towns as we had on the previous cruise. In fact, due to spending four hours on the bus round trip for the excursion to Salzburg (of "Sound of Music" fame) we barely had time for a nice lunch before we needed to meet back at the bus loading area. Thirdly, unlike the previous cruise which had excursions that varied from wine-tastings to museums to rides on the tram above the Rhine, this cruise seemed to focus on history over and over again. It was the same story: oppression by the Austrian Empire, the Nazi's and the Communists with a slightly different spin depending on the country we were in. It was fascinating and compelling the first couple of times but after that, it got old. More variety in excursions and the focus of the native guides would have much appreciated. The cabin was by far the biggest nightmare, however which will be reviewed below. All in all, this cruise fell well short of our expectations and we were severely disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this Christmas Markets tour because it included cities we know and love: Aachen, Cologne, Rudisheim, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strassburg and Colmar. Although cruising the Rhine became problematic after a year of historic heat and ... Read More
We chose this Christmas Markets tour because it included cities we know and love: Aachen, Cologne, Rudisheim, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strassburg and Colmar. Although cruising the Rhine became problematic after a year of historic heat and low river levels, Tauck found a way to make it all work seamlessly, instituting a "ship swap" half way through. Yes, it is inconvenient to have to pack up and unpack again, but Tauck saw to it that it was a minor inconvenience. Our bags were left packed in our room, and when we got to our new ship and almost identical room, there were our bags. We give them a lot of credit for insuring we got to the places we wanted to see and minimized the inconvenience. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas; the crew was festive and jovial. The smaller ship made it easy to meet people and share information. Our tour directors were very knowledgeable and our city guides were very good, one, Markus, in Cologne, not only good but very funny. Tauck really has these trips down to a fine art. Transfers are on time, without making you feel rushed. The MS Grace had lovely spaces, a great dining room, a nice alternative casual dining spot, a huge lounge, and a great large walking deck up top with the hottest hot tub I have ever experienced. We felt like cherished guests our entire time on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
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
Danube Cruise 2018, Traveled 8-02-18 The first thing I want to say is this cruise and all the Tours were all top notch. My traveling companions were all pleased. The money spent is well worth it because you are escorted, given great ... Read More
Danube Cruise 2018, Traveled 8-02-18 The first thing I want to say is this cruise and all the Tours were all top notch. My traveling companions were all pleased. The money spent is well worth it because you are escorted, given great tour guides who take the time to give you an “insiders” look and little treats along the way. I did a Rhine Cruise on Uniworld in 2016, but, this was even better. I would recommend flying in one day early and be able to do all the tours because they are that good and we missed the first day due to flight delays. I am writing this review because I could not find anything extensive on it written. It is hot in August in Europe. You will wear sleeveless tops and shorts and capris and remember your good walking shoes. Nights are best with a nice tunic and leggings, no need for any fancy dresses, jackets or blazers even for the men. The only jacket you need is for the plane when they blast you with A/C. I am also handi-capped and had no trouble keeping up on the tours. This was not the case for other cruise lines I had been on. Every evening, you are given an Itinerary of the next day, along with a card on each town. Maps are available for Orientation. The Ladies in charge of our cruise were Cindy, Daisy, Diane and Hollie Our cruise began with a late afternoon flight out of Charleston into JFK. Naturally being August, thunderstorms formed up in Boston and our flight was delayed for 3 hours and of course we missed our connecting flight into Prague. Well Delta was able to get us routed onto a 1:30AM Flight to MOSCOW……….. on Auerflot. A beautiful and new Airbus with outstanding service, unfortunately, we did not have our “premier” seats we had already paid for. We landed on the tarmac as the terminal did not have a gate available. 300 people were offloaded onto buses. The clock was ticking as we had only 1 hour and 45 minutes to get our connecting flight to Prague. We got thru Passport Control and connected to the second terminal and caught our flight as it was boarding for Prague. This put us in Prague at 9pm instead of 12 noon. Our luggage was held back in JFK and put on the next flight out. Note to self, do not schedule overseas flights to take off late afternoon summer due to thunderstorms being present everyday. Tauck got us to our Hotel which was lovely. We had packed changes of clothes and the hotel gave us a Sundries kit to tide us over. Prague was lovely. We did miss the Welcoming reception at Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle because of our delayed flight, but Tauck gave us 50 Euros a piece to compensate for our missed meal. We missed our first tour and we did the Afternoon tour of the ancient Hradcany (Castle) district on a guided excursion to 1,000-year-old Prague Castle's complex of palaces, courtyards and gardens; the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of St. Vitus; and the grand Baroque libraries of Strahov Monastery, where we received our very own private tour while others could only stand at a barrier and look inside. We elected to “sleep in” instead of exploring Regensburg (which was the only town others did not care for). At 1:30pm, we boarded a bus for a 3 hour ride with scheduled bathroom stops. To Passau to embark. The bus took the back roads which took us thru the Sudetenland and some of the most charming villages and thru the Black Forest. Lots of history here. Arrived in Passau and got on our boat the M.S. Joy with a welcome reception and dinner aboard. Everything is delightful. Perfect! Once the ship knew we wanted to sit together, they gave us our very own table in the back. Engelhartszell we cruised up the Danube and were selected to be part of a group of 7 To visit to a local private home (and a taste of local cake, sweets and coffee), It turned out to be a local farm who had been in the same family since 1642. We saw their chickens, dairy cows and then treated to Elderberry water and fresh milk from their cows. They also offered their house made bacon and Strudel. Many people ride their bikes along here as a vacation. We elected to do a tour of the Jochenstein Lock on the Danube, through which ships navigate through the Wachau Valley. We walked the entire length of the lock and this cruise goes thru 14 different locks. We were not allowed inside the lock, but, our guide was wonderful and knowledgeable. Following lunch aboard the riverboat, Tauck offered an optional bicycle ride along the Danube to Aschach before continuing your cruise this afternoon, bound for Linz. They had two takers, but, it poured down rain on them. We had dinner that evening; after the riverboat's arrival in Linz, but, the musical trio Donau3Klang which offered entertainment was not intriguing to me. Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov or Linz We wisely chose to tour Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. We traveled through beautiful landscapes to Cesky Krumlov, which was narrated by Daisy and saw some of the stunning black Forest and quaint Country Vacation house. Cesky is graced with an incredibly well-preserved medieval heritage and charming ambiance. The town and it’s people are charming and so beautiful. We walked thru the palace Gardens and then toured part of Krumlov Castle climbing the many steps to see firsthand the medieval, Renaissance and Rococo design found inside, along with the stunning views of the town below. At the end of the tour, we were each given a delicious Gingerbread snack!! Lunch was on our own and then it was time to depart for the ship. Excellent tour and Day! 6 Wachau Valley cruise to Dürnstein We continued our Blue Danube River cruise through the Wachau Valley, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved medieval landscapes. The cruise narrated the sites along the way, but, several of us said the Castles on the Rhine part of that cruise was far more exciting. We docked in Dürnstein and took a walking tour along cobblestone streets while some elected for a bicycle ride in the Wachau Valley. We visited the Augustinian Monastery which was breathtaking. During free time, we discovered this region is known for their Apricots! Apricot jam, Apricot liquer…… some might have taken the 20 minute climb up the steps to the ruins of Kuenringerburg, a hilltop castle above the town where Richard the Lionhearted was held for ransom during the Crusades, from which the views of the river and valley are glorious. But we did not, instead we did the 4:30pm beautiful wine tasting at an authentic Austrian tavern. The tasting lasted an hour and we wish it had been done at 3:30pm. Would have allowed us to get back to the ship at 4:30, have a cocktail and get ready for dinner. Those friends who chose not to go into town ended up sitting at the stern enjoying the beautiful river views. Vienna We started with a bus tour that circled around Vienna and then did the walking tour of the Jewish district of old Vienna. I was astounded to see brass plaques on the walls of houses, naming the jewish occupants who were seized for deportation by Hitler. The Austrian people continue to apologize to those of the Jewish faith for those Atrocities. Tauck had a number of buses running beginning at noon who wanted to go back to the ship. We were escorted down their large mall with shops on either side, but, it was so full of tourists we did not stop. We went so we could get back in time for the private Imperial Evening in the Palais Pallavicini, an opulent, private Viennese palace that played a role in the 1940s film noir classic The Third Man. Welcome cocktails and dinner precede an unforgettable spectacle of beautiful ball gowns and a musical performance celebrating the legacy of Mozart. And it was exactly that, just fabulous! Lasted 3 hours. Vienna sightseeing & on to Slovakia Our second day in Vienna, we chose a morning tour to visit the amazing Imperial Apartments at the Hofburg – including the Sisi Museum, dedicated to the popular 19th-century Empress Elisabeth of Austria ("Sisi"), wife of Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph – today Austria’s official presidential residence. I only wish I had made time to visit the Small museum housing the crown Jewels. We were escorted back to where the buses would pick us up. There is an excellent chocolatier named “Bon Bons” right across the street where I could rush in and buy Chocolate for friends back home. Tauck gave us Euro’s to spend in a Café, instead I bought Chocolate. Back to the ship, lunch and then an afternoon cruise to neighboring Slovakia. I felt no need to dine in any of the cities as the Chef on the ship did an outstanding job preparing foods local to the region. Bratislava What a lovely old City and an education of how a city can gleam 20 years after emerging from Communist rule. We all felt this was the most welcoming city because so many menus were in English. We had a walking tour of this cobblestoned, vehicle-free city, and saw 17 centuries of history eloquently chronicled in sites including its 13th-century Old Town Hall, Baroque Habsburg-era palaces, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall and St. Martin’s Cathedral. We were then escorted to an outdoor café where we could have local beer, water or cola drinks and a slice of the local pastry. A crescent shaped roll with a nut filling. Mine was not fresh, but, it was a nice gesture. Farewell dinner tonight and then we must leave our ship in the morning. What Tauck boats can get to Bratislava and Viking cannot?? Better ships belong to Tauck! Disembark in Budapest & explore Buda (Budapest, Hungary, which is split into the sections of Buda and Pest by the Danube River) It was pouring rain, but, we were prepared. They tell you to bring rain gear and it lasted about 20 minutes. We bid farewell to the crew, got off and they walked us to the Covered Market. We only had 45 minutes in the market, but, this was the perfect place to buy Souvenirs. Here is my suggestion, give us a rough diagram of the Market with how the shops are laid out. I would loved to have purchased a Herend Rabbit here. We then explore the city's Buda side with a walking tour of Castle Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; saw Fishermen’s Bastion with its Neo-Romanesque design, and admire the stained glass windows and centuries of history in Matthias Church. We were given some free time to shop and then met back up at the bus and transferred to the Ritz Carlton where Tauck had a beautiful lunch buffet for us. We relaxed that afternoon enjoying the view from our hotel with preplanned dinner reservations at a restaurant that night. Discover Pest & party at the Akadémia Club This morning we explored the Pest side of the city on a tour including a special visit to the opulent State Opera House, opened in 1884, with its royal boxes, gilded vaulted ceiling, exquisite murals and three-ton chandelier and a special Tauck exclusive performance by two of the singers, pure magic! We then rode in a bus which passed by City Park and Heroes’ Square, bounded by some of the finest architectural works in Hungary. Later we did the themed walking tour that focuses on the Hungarian Revolution and includes the Parliament building, the Embassy and St. Stephen’s Basilica. On the way back to the hotel, we saw some friends at an outdoor café and went to have lunch at the Red Pepper where I had the best Goulash yet! That night we had our farewell dinner is at the grand Akademia Club in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences – a fitting finale to our memorable Blue Danube River cruise adventure. Budapest is gorgeous and safe! The Hungarians are awesome and they even have a bronze statute of Ronald Reagan in their square. They are so thankful he helped get them out from under Communist rule. Homeward bound We took the included transfer from The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest to Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport about a 30 minute ride for an 11:30 flight Since we had to allow a minimum of three hours for check-in at the airport., we left at 8:30am. We were able to eat our included breakfast at the hotel at 8am this way, but, the security line at the airport was incredibly long. I would advise anyone traveling in Europe to get the fast track pass to avoid this or fly at dark thirty. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first Tauck cruise. The staff, food, and service were outstanding. Unfortunately, the cabins were not. We were later told that other ships Tauck uses from the Scylla Line had been updated to enlarge the cabins. We were ... Read More
This was our first Tauck cruise. The staff, food, and service were outstanding. Unfortunately, the cabins were not. We were later told that other ships Tauck uses from the Scylla Line had been updated to enlarge the cabins. We were surprised at the lack of space in our cabin, especially for the premium price, compared to those on other river river cruises where we paid less. The French balcony door opened only halfway. It was so heavy that one needed two arms and a strong push to open it. There was not nearly enough counter space. Also the sides of the bed were far too close to the wall and glass French balcony window and the nightstands barely fit. Shore excursions varied, probably due to the destinations. Budapest is a gem; Belgrade and Bucharest are not. Too many ugly, drab Soviet apartment buildings and ever-present graffiti detract from the few scintillating structures popping up among them. Our trip to a Croatian town obliterated during the Balkan War still showed the scars, including an eery bombed-out train station with the town sign dangling in one piece. Our visit to families in the area who shared stories of their evacuation and photos of what was left of their homes was a highlight of the trip, especially since Tauck kept the groups 8-12. It would have been better to spend more time in the vibrant town of Novi Sad, the largest town in Northern Serbia, than in Belgrade. The dinners at palaces in Budapest, Belgrade, and Bucharest's monstrosity (2nd only in size to the Pentagon among world government buildings) were quite pleasant and somewhat worth the much higher price Tauck charges for this trip to the Black Sea. Also, Tauck clients seemed to be in their 70's. Self-exploring adventurers they were not. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was the best river cruise we have ever taken. No detail was too small or overlooked. Everything ran like clockwork allowing for a very relaxing yet very adventuresome cruise. We arrived a day early in Vienna and Tauck had arranged ... Read More
This was the best river cruise we have ever taken. No detail was too small or overlooked. Everything ran like clockwork allowing for a very relaxing yet very adventuresome cruise. We arrived a day early in Vienna and Tauck had arranged for us to stay at the beautiful historic Grand Hotel Wien right on the Ringstrasse. We were able to walk to many of the sights from there such as. Viennna Opera House, the Museum Quarter. Being Christmas time, Vienna was a city of a million Christmas lights. You are transported to a feeling of excitement and joy of the season that you do not get when you are running from the mall to the stores. Tauck picked us up at our hotel, The Grand Hotel Wien, and took us directly to our ship. The staff quickly and efficiently checked us in and escorted us to our cabin. Tauck had picked up our suitcases at our hotel that morning and all of our bags were waiting in our room when we got there. Our room steward showed up a few minutes later with a couple of glasses of champagne and introduced herself to us. The shore excursions are all included in the price and there were three to select from each day. For instance in Nuremburg Germany, you had a choice between a bus driving tour of the city, a WWII historical tour, or a medieval walking tour of the old city. There was something for everyone. You did not even have to select your tour until a half hour before disembarkation for the shore excursion. There were a total of 3 tour directors and a cruise director that were available at all times. They were all extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the area. By the end of the trip, they and the other 99 passengers felt like family. We have taken other tours where we were nickeled and dimed to death. Not here. Everything is included in the price. If you want a glass of wine or a burger, it is yours. They passed out bottles of water before we disembarked and had hot cocoa, a heated cloth and some cookies waiting for us when we arrived back at the ship. We never spent a penny on the ship. The ship was immaculate. She was christened in summer of 2016 and we sailed her in December 2016. The staff never stopped cleaning her and everyone was responsible for keeping her in tip top shape. She was well designed and beautiful in every way. The staff learned our names on the first day and we quickly became friends with all of them. Only the Tour Directors and Cruise Directors work for Tauck. Everyone else works for the company that owns the ship, Scylla. Scylla does a marvelous job of hiring. It was almost as if they instinctively answered "yes" to every request and then went about figuring out how to honor it. There were some difficult passengers on our ship (of course) but the Scylla staff were more professional than any cruise staff that I have encountered and they killed them with kindness. I HIGHLY recommend a riverboat cruise with Tauck/ Scylla. It is clear that both companies have the same priorities and mission. Trust me if you get the chance to sail the Danube on the MS Joy and visit all of the amazing Christmas Markets, it will be the trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We booked a French waterways cruise south from Lyon to Monaco. Poor weather interrupted the boat and prohibited the ship from sailing. We booked a category 7 cabin and added the additional stay in Paris. After the second day on the boat we ... Read More
We booked a French waterways cruise south from Lyon to Monaco. Poor weather interrupted the boat and prohibited the ship from sailing. We booked a category 7 cabin and added the additional stay in Paris. After the second day on the boat we were advised that we would not be able to sail, hence we began a "coach tour", Most definitely not what we had signed up for. We consulted with Tauck staff to ascertain what remedial options we had. They put us off for 3 days saying we would be leaving in the evening, no, we would be leaving in the morning, no. Etc. each day the coach travel became longer and longer until we were on buses for up to 7 hrs a day. Each day we inquired we were told to wait. Having purchased the Tauck insurance we felt we might have recourse, the stress and anxiety was overwhelming. Finally at 6 pm on Day 4 they announced an alternate arrangement that required we decide immediately and leave the ship by 8am. When we asked if we had other options we were told yes but they had no details as to what they were. What kind of answer is that? We were completely held hostage! Tauck provided little compensation, merely a 1500. 00 cruise credit towards future travel with an expiry date attached. Regardless of your trip investment everyone received the same compensation. Category 7 or category below water! Itinerary was not fulfilled and the customer service post cruise has been unresponsive and complacent. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
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