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Author: Rebecca Gibson/Monday, January 25, 2016/Categories: News, Cruise news, Ports and destinations
Tauck is to reconfigure more than half of its European river cruising fleet over the next two years.
The line’s five Jewel Class vessels – Swiss Emerald, Swiss Sapphire, Swiss Jewel, Esprit and Treasures – will each be enhanced with larger cabins and a second dining venue, while the overall passenger capacity will be reduced.
Swiss Emerald and Swiss Sapphire, which currently sail in France, will be reconfigured and relaunched next winter in time for the 2017 operating season, while the three remaining Jewel Class ships will undergo identical transformations the following winter before the 2018 operating season starts.
The ships’ middle decks, which currently have 30 cabins measuring 150 sqft, will be reconfigured so they have 20 cabins measuring 225 sqft each. This means that 69% of all cabins will be 225 sqft or larger – the highest percentage of such cabins on any 110m riverboats in Europe. Although this will reduce the total number of cabins per vessel from 59 to 49 and guest capacity from 118 passengers to 98, each ship will still be accompanied by a Tauck cruise director and three Tauck directors.
Meanwhile, The Bistro on the Diamond (upper) Deck of each reconfigured vessel will be fitted with its own dedicated kitchen and chef. The restaurant will be renamed Arthur’s in honour of Tauck founder Arthur Tauck Sr., and offer an expanded menu with both casual cuisine.
“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 Dan Mahar, Tauck CEO. “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 renovations, Tauck will refer to all of its ships as the Tauck Destination Fleet, rather than separating them into the Jewel and Inspiration Classes. The four 135m Inspiration Class ships include Inspire, Savor and the new Grace and Joy, which will launch later this year.
“We absolutely believe that we have the finest riverboats in Europe, and with the reconfiguration of more than half of our ships, we’re continuing to invest heavily in order to maintain our leadership position,” said Mahar. “We feel that our riverboats are essentially an elegant and supremely comfortable means to an end; a way for us to deliver an incredibly enriching and memorable experience within each destination we visit. The behind-the-scenes access to exclusive cultural experiences we provide, the expertise we’ve developed leading award-winning land tours for more than 90 years, the knowledge and service delivered by our Tauck directors and local guides – they all combine to create an unmatched land experience for our guests.”
Tauck is also adjusting its deployment strategy. On longer cruises, including a transit of the Main-Danube Canal, Tauck will deploy 110m ships because their shorter length allows for greater efficiency and flexibility in passing through the canal’s many locks. Two 110m ships will remain in France because their length makes docking easier in the country’s smaller or more crowded ports like Paris. This will include Swiss Sapphire and Swiss Emerald, which will sail on the Seine, and the Rhone and Saône respectively. Meanwhile, Tauck’s four 135m ships will be assigned to itineraries specifically on the Danube River, the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.
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