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Save for a couple double-wide vessels, the vast majority of European riverboats are constrained to the same dimensions, leaving mostly software to differentiate.
However, when it comes to Tauck, there are numerous features that distinguish its river cruise experience. Myriad bonus amenities and activities add up to an unforgettable river cruise. While sailing its The Rhine and Moselle itinerary, I saw firsthand how Tauck actively seeks out ways to add value to its voyages.
On our journey, one such Tauck exclusive was a grand gala dinner hosted at Schloss Ehreshoven (Ehreshoven Castle) in the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany. The elegant estate is a historic moated castle originally associated with the Siegburg Abbey monastery and later expanded into a three-winged manor house with a stately garden. Today, it is utilized as a charitable foundation and residence for canonesses, as well as a filming location and event space.
Here, a reception and dinner were served to guests, while a live string quartet performed. A three-course meal, paired with wine, began with a tasty selection of grilled fish with avocado salsa before a rich entree of tournedos of beef and a sweet send-off of mascarpone tart. In between plates, guests were invited to tour some of the castle’s other regal rooms including its medieval chapel.
Onboard the ship, Tauck perks reminded me of how the Adventures by Disney brand augments AmaWaterways sailings with its own signature additions; except on Tauck, it’s all bundled from the very start. Nearly everything is already included, from all alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages to crew gratuities, and it extends to more than just a pair of dining venues. Other lines may tack on a bonus buffet from time to time, but Tauck goes all out.
I was astounded to discover that what was described as a “cherries jubilee station” turned out to be a full-blown ice cream sundae parlor temporarily erected in the ship’s atrium. The namesake fruity topping was certainly showcased, but so, too, was a staggering array of about 10 ice cream flavors and several other tempting garnishes. Similarly, a chocolate extravaganza offered on another evening featured cakes, brittles, fondue and more. My sweet tooth was more than satisfied as were my cravings for savory items.
At another point in the sailing, all passengers were also treated to an oyster bar.
Plus, often while returning to the ship, a small local treat would await, such as a tray of German yogurt candy. It just goes to show how an accumulation of little to large considerations can make a world of difference to clients.