Passengers sailing on Tauck’s European river cruises will have something to look forward to from 2017 onward: namely larger cabins and a refreshed alternative dining venue. The company currently has seven river vessels in two classes, Jewel, and Inspiration. The larger Inspiration Class will have two additions to the fleet later in 2016. Jewel Class vessels operating itineraries in France will be the first to be reconfigured, and will be relaunched in the winter of 2016 in time for the 2017 operating season. The following winter, the remaining Jewel Class vessels will be the next to receive the upgrades for the 2018 operating season.
On each Jewel Class vessel the 150 square foot cabins on the Ruby deck will be replaced by 225 square foot cabins, reducing the number of passenger accommodations from 30 cabins to 20, making 69% of all cabins 225 square feet or larger. The overall capacity of the Jewel Class vessels will be reduced from 118 passenger to 98, and the total number of cabins on each vessel will be reduced from 59 to 49. Although the number of cabins is being reduced, Tauck will continue to staff the vessels with the same number of Cruise and Tour Directors.
The enhancements to the Jewel Class vessels are aimed at introducing some of the enhancements introduced with the newer Inspiration Class vessels already in service, such as the upgrade of the second dining outlet The Bistro, which will be renamed in Arthur’s in tribute to the company’s founder. Arthur’s will provide more casual dining selections than the main dining room, named the CompassRose. On the Inspiration Class ships, Arthur’s has a dedicated kitchen, and this will also be introduced to the retrofitted Arthur’s onboard the smaller vessels. Because of the enhancements to the Jewel Class vessels, Tauck will abandon the distinctive branding for each class of vessel.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar explained the reasoning behind the reconfiguration of the five Tauck vessels. “From day-one our approach has always been to limit passenger capacity, and by doing so, to provide a more intimate, club-like atmosphere and more spacious cabins for our guests,” said Mahar. “The launch of our Inspiration Class ships took that approach to a new level, and with the re-envisioning of our Jewel Class vessels, we’re putting them on equal footing with our Inspiration Class ships.” Following the retrofits, the ships will be collectively referred to as the Tauck Destination Fleet. With the new refreshes to the smaller vessels, they will be redeployed on cruises that might require shorter ships, such as those transiting the Main-Danube Canal, and those sailing on the Rhône and Saône Rivers where crowded ports make docking a smaller vessel easier. The larger ships will primarily be assigned to itineraries on the Danube, Rhine, and Moselle Rivers.
Tauck’s European river cruises are all-inclusive, including gratuities for both ship staff, drivers, local guides, and Tauck Tour and Cruise Directors, airport transfers, meals, service charges, taxes porterage, fuel surcharges, private shore excursions, beverages (including wine, beer, spirits, coffee, water, and soft drinks) and onboard entertainment. Tauck was founded in 1925 and now operates land tours and small ship ocean cruising in addition to European river cruises. Tauck river vessels sail the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Seine, Saône, and Rhône Rivers in Western and Central Europe.