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Tauck announced that it will launch two newbuilds next year, bringing its total number of ships in Europe to six. The new vessels, which will be sister ships, are slated to launch in March and June of 2014. Tauck will also add four river cruise itineraries in Europe in 2014.
“Demand for our river cruises continues to grow, and our guests and travel agents love the onboard and onshore experiences that Tauck provides,” said CEO Dan Mahar. “We’re excited to be expanding our portfolio and adding more capacity as well as more choice to travelers who are eager to experience our unique offerings.”
The four new itineraries will bring additional choices to the Seine, Rhine and Danube rivers. According to Mahar, Tauck’s growth is focused on delivering the finest all-inclusive cultural explorations along Europe’s rivers.
“We craft complete destination experiences that enrich and inspire our guests,” he said.
Mahar described the company’s newbuild designs as evolutionary, with new features and amenities, but keeping key elements that are the hallmarks of the product and its philosophy. Like Tauck’s current fleet, the new vessels will accommodate fewer guests than similarly sized vessels in other lines.
“By limiting passenger capacity, we’re able to offer a much higher percentage of suites, and provide the same intimate, club-like atmosphere our river cruise customers have come to enjoy with Tauck,” said Mahar.
In keeping with practice on Tauck’s existing ships, the 2014 vessels will have a high guide-to-guest ratio to ensure superior service, with each staffed by a Tauck cruise director and three Tauck directors.
The four new itineraries on tap for 2014 will also draw on familiar Tauck elements, according to Mahar. As existing cruises do, they will feature fully inclusive pricing with no options sold separately, and the line will continue its policy of having all gratuities, all shore excursions, airport transfers, unlimited wine and beer with onboard meals and more built into cruise fares. And the company will stress exclusive insider access to unique cultural experiences that independent travelers would find impossible to arrange on their own.
“What’s most important to us is that our guests enjoy the same exemplary Tauck experience, regardless of which Tauck riverboat or Tauck river cruise they’re on,” Mahar said. “We truly believe that we offer the finest experiences on Europe’s rivers, and we know we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”
The company currently offers 14 different all-inclusive river itineraries throughout Europe on four ships – Swiss Emerald, Swiss Sapphire, Swiss Jewel and Swiss Treasures – each carrying no more than 118 passengers. Itineraries range from eight to 24 days, with more than 100 departures annually on the Rhine, Danube, Main, Rhone, Saone and Moselle rivers. Tauck’s cruise portfolio includes a range of in-depth, general interest itineraries exploring local culture, cuisine and history, as well as sailings on the Rhone and Danube rivers designed specifically for families and themed cruises focused on classical music, French food and wine, fine art and Europe’s traditional Christmas markets.
Very good news for single travelers: A number of 2013 cruises waive the single supplement and, in some cases, add substantial savings. These include 12-day Prague to Budapest sailings throughout the season and the 14-night Paris to Monte Carlo, both of which have no single supplement for Category 1 bookings as well as a $1,000 savings per stateroom.
Tauck also recently became the fourth river cruise company to join CLIA as part of the Specialty Cruise Collection, 14 companies representing river, adventure, small ship and other niche cruising. CLIA’s new global reach also brings in similar lines worldwide, along with agents from organizations in Europe and Australasia. Other members include AmaWaterways, American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Hurtigruten, Louis Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and Windstar Cruises.