Tauck Savor was christened in Bingen, Germany, a first for the Rhine river town. // © 2014 Mindy Poder
Not unlike the christening of a child, the christening of the Tauck Savor, the second ship of the line’s new Inspiration Class, brought together some 20 members of the same family, as well as staff and key partners of Tauck.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar welcomed guests to the event, which took place at the port of Bingen am Rhein, a charming German village on the Rhein that is often overshadowed by its sister city, Rudesheim am Rhein. Sunny Bingen was a complementary backdrop to the new Inspire ship, the green of the Tauck logo recalling the rolling vineyards directly behind the vessel.
“We all lead very full lives, but a christening is very special,” said Mahar. “It’s a time to admire the beautiful ms Savor and take a pause and reflect on our purpose. Here at Tauck, our vision has always been to enhance our guests’ lives through travel. Moments like this fire us up to continue to do that for many years to come.”
During the speech, Mahar commented on the great year Tauck’s river cruise product has had, including the introduction of the Savor and its sister ship, the Inspire, which was christened in April in Basil, Switzerland. Mahar noted other highlights of 2014, including Tauck’s recognition as the World’s Best River Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure; four new river cruise itineraries; co-location in Basel, Switzerland; a new river sales website; and new river sales directors.
“There’s a tremendous amount of momentum to support this boat here and all the others in our fleet,” said Mahar, leading up to a quote that related to his partnership with Arno and Robert Reitsma of Scylla, Tauck’s river cruise partner. “You don’t want to be the best of the best — you want to be the only ones who do what you do, and that’s always been our focus.”
Mahar pointed out that the new ships focus on Tauck’s commitment to quality, value, overall experience, degree of intimacy (e.g., other boats of the same size would typically hold 60 additional customers) and how the boat has been thoughtfully crafted, alluding to innovative features such as the line’s two-story, lower level cabins — an industry first.
He also noted that the company believes “the more it gives, the more it gets,” noting that the ship’s godmother, Liz Tauck Walters, perfectly embodies the values of a true godmother. Walters, a Tauck board director and daughter of Tauck chairman Arthur Tauck, has played many roles at the company, including tour director and president of the Tauck Family Foundation, a private philanthropic organization.
Hans-Jurgen Klockner, the deputy vice mayor of Bingen, accompanied by the town’s resident Ice Wine Princess — an honorary position that acknowledges Bingen’s status as the home of ice wine — thanked Tauck for choosing Bingen as the site of the christening. This was the town’s first christening of a river cruise ship.
At the event, Mahar stressed that the company’s staff and key suppliers were also like family to the company. Joining the Tauck staff and Tauck family were a variety of company partners, including hotel partners throughout Europe and top travel agent suppliers in North America.
Guests of the christening sailing were treated to a number of Tauck experiences, such as a tour of Rothenburg’s old town, local onboard entertainment such as evening music by an oompah band and a glassblowing demonstration by a local artisan.
On the final day, guests arrived early to Wurzburg for a guided tour of the Wurzburg Residence and gardens, where local musicians surprised guests with a concert. The final dinner was held in the working wine cellar of the palace — only available by special reservation — which was lit up by candles. It featured a performance by a local harpist, and a surprise announcement by Dan Mahar, who honored Claudio Mollo, with a special award for being an excellent partner.
“It takes a partnership to find experiences like this in which to enhance our guests’ lives,” Mahar said.
Back at the ship, dessert was served on the sundeck, where the sunset behind the former Wurzburg castle served as a kind of opening act for a lagniappe, or a Tauck extra: a surprise fireworks show.