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At the end of June, Tauck executives and their family members and agents and guests assembled in Straubing, Germany, on the Danube River for the christening of Tauck’s second new vessel: Joy, which followed the April launch of Grace.
Joy continues Tauck’s policy of offering a large number of spacious suites, rather than a small number of large ones. With twenty-two 300-square-foot suites, the company claims the largest number of this size of accommodations on Europe’s rivers. Each room has a walk-in closet, two French balconies, a pullout couch and a large marble bathroom. In addition, Joy has thirty-two 225-square-foot staterooms; eight of them employ an innovative loft design on the lower deck, with a raised platform seating area set against the outside wall, with a higher ceiling above it. The elevated ceiling permits the room to have a tall window that admits far more light than usual, and the center section opens electronically to bring in fresh air. There also are 13 rooms ranging from 150 to 190 square feet and, as is the case across the Tauck fleet, Category 1 rooms carry no supplement for single travelers. All accommodations have minibars, luxury toiletries and in-room movies, in addition to 100 percent goose down pillows, 400-thread-count linens and pillow-top mattresses.
With capacity for only 130 guests onboard a ship that could carry up to 190 passengers on other cruise lines, Tauck also has more public space. This includes a second, more casual dining option, Arthur’s (named for company chairman Arthur Tauck, Jr.), in addition to the main dining room, Compass Rose. The Panorama Lounge is a center for guests to gather and relax while watching the scenery by day, with musical performances, lectures and other entertainment in the evenings.
Up top, Joy has an open-air Sun Deck with a putting green, plunge pool and comfortable lounging areas. The ship also features a fitness room, a massage studio and a hair salon.
Tauck chose a trio of godmothers — Jacque Moran, Mary Murrin and Kristin Robinson — who are longtime employees who have been promoted into managerial positions after starting as Tauck directors. The company says the choice underlines the critical role of these tour directors in delivering Tauck’s travel experiences around the world and in maintaining the company’s reputation for exceptional service. The three represent 35 years of combined contribution to Tauck. Joy will sail with a Tauck cruise director and three professional Tauck directors.
Joy’s itineraries on the Danube this year include The Blue Danube, Musical Magic Along the Blue Danube and Christmas Markets Along the Danube. Next year, family departures will double from 10 in 2016, and Joy will sail a seven-night Tauck Bridges itinerary, Blue Danube: Family Riverboat Adventure, which will bring family groups onboard as one of four family itineraries. There will also be departures on the Rhine and Rhone rivers and — new in 2017 — the Seine River.
In addition, the introduction this year of Grace and Joy completes a two-year expansion program that has more than doubled the number of vessels in Tauck’s fleet from four in 2014 to nine this year.