Tauck Announces 2018 River Cruise Plans with New Itineraries, Shore Excursion Enhancements and Reconfigured Ships
Tauck, the 92-year-old leader in upscale guided travel, has announced its European river cruising plans for 2018, and the coming year will see the launch of two all-new cruise itineraries, the debut of two radically redesigned ships, and added enhancements to the shore excursions featured fleet-wide.
New for 2018 are itineraries on the Danube and Rhine; the 14-day “Royal Danube, Berlin & Krakow” and the 11-day “Rhine Enchantment, Milan to Amsterdam.”
Tauck has also merged two of its itineraries on the Rhone, “French Waterways” and “A Taste of France,” to form the 10-day “Savoring France: Paris, Lyon & Provence” which includes two nights in Paris and a seven-night Rhone River cruise aboard the company’s ms Emerald riverboat.
The “Royal Danube” itinerary (from $5,990 per person plus airfare) begins with an included three-night hotel stay in Berlin at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski, complete with two full days of guided Tauck sightseeing. Guests then travel by high-speed train to Nürnberg, where they’ll embark Tauck’s ms Savor riverboat to begin a seven-night cruise along the Danube that visits Bayreuth, Kelheim, Straubing, Linz, Krems and the Wachau Valley before arriving in Vienna.
Along the way, guests enjoy a choice of sightseeing in each port of call, ranging from history-focused excursions exploring World War II to a walking tour of Jewish heritage sites, to a visit to a BMW automobile factory. The itinerary concludes in Krakow, Poland with an included three-night hotel stay, again with guided Tauck sightseeing, and includes an optional visit to Auschwitz and a memorable subterranean farewell dinner at the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
“Rhine Enchantment, Milan to Amsterdam” (from $5,290 plus airfare) likewise begins with a three-night hotel stay, at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, where guided Tauck sightseeing in the city includes a viewing of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The following day features a day-long excursion to Lake Como, where guests will cruise on its waters and enjoy a six-course lunch at a family-owned trattoria on the island of Isola Comacina.
The itinerary proceeds via high-speed train through the Alps to Basel, Switzerland, transiting the 35-mile-long Gotthard Base Tunnel – the longest railway tunnel in the world – en route. In Basel, guests embark either the ms Grace or ms Inspire for a seven-night Rhine River cruise that includes visits to Breisach, Germersheim, Heidelberg, Rudesheim and Dusseldorf before concluding in Amsterdam.
Highlights of the cruise include a Tauck-exclusive evening at a wine estate overlooking the Rhine, a choice of either a beer-themed or history-and-architecture-themed walking tour in Dusseldorf, and a cruise along the storied canals of Amsterdam.
ENHANCED SHORE EXCURSIONS, EXPANDED OPTIONS FOR ACTIVE TRAVELERS
For the coming year, Tauck is also ramping up its shore excursions, adding a second option in many locations to give its guests a choice of experiences to better match their interests. For example, guests on Day 5 of the company’s “The Blue Danube” itinerary will be able to choose from full-day excursions to two different countries; Salzburg, Austria or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. (Guests may also opt to remain with the ship in Linz, Austria to explore this medieval town on their own.)
And on the new “Rhine Enchantment” itinerary, guests have their choice of a visit and wine tasting in Riquewihr (one of “The Most Beautiful Villages in France”) or a guided bicycle ride in the Black Forest.
The excursion in the Black Forest is one of several organized cycling opportunities that Tauck has added to various cruises, along with new hiking opportunities and onboard yoga-inspired stretching classes, for more active guests. Other enhancements to Tauck itineraries include exclusive pre-opening visits to Versailles and after-hours tours of the Louvre (both piloted on selected departures in 2017 and expanded for next year), a private Tauck dinner inside the German Parliament building, and an included lunch at Alain Ducasse’s newest restaurant, Ore.
TAUCK COMPLETES TWO-YEAR SHIP RECONFIGURATION PROJECT
Besides debuting new itineraries and enhancing its shore excursions in 2018, Tauck will also complete its two-year initiative to reconfigure half of its riverboat fleet when it welcomes the newly refurbished ms Treasures and ms Esprit into service next year.
The two 110-meter Tauck ships will now feature 20 cabins measuring 225 square feet each on the Ruby (middle) Deck, replacing 30 150-square-foot cabins in the ships’ original configuration. The new deck plan will thus decrease each vessel’s overall capacity from 118 passengers to 98, and reduce the total number of cabins on each ship from 59 to 49.
Cabins measuring 225 square feet or larger will now account for 69% of all accommodations aboard each reconfigured vessel – the highest percentage of such cabins on any 110-meter riverboats in Europe. Tauck will continue to staff each ship with a Tauck Cruise Director and a full complement of three Tauck Directors.
On the Diamond (upper) Deck of each reconfigured vessel, the ship’s second dining venue, The Bistro, will be upgraded with its own dedicated kitchen and chef. The Bistro will be renamed Arthur’s, in tribute to company chairman Arthur Tauck Jr., and its expanded menu will continue to provide more casual alternatives to the fine dining selections offered in the ship’s main Compass Rose restaurant. Tauck first introduced the concept of a second onboard dining venue in 2006 with the launch of its ms Emerald, and the dedicated kitchen and Arthur’s name are enhancements already included on Tauck’s 135-meter ships.
Tauck’s two additional 110-meter ships, the ms Sapphire and ms Emerald, were enhanced with an Arthur’s restaurant, and with the 225 square-foot cabins on the Ruby Deck, during the first stage of the company’s two-phase plan to reconfigure its four 110-meter ships. The ms Sapphire and ms Emerald were refurbished during the winter of 2016-2017, and have returned to Tauck’s fleet this year.