We’re only four days into April and the traditional river cruise christening season shows no signs of slowing down. In Basel, Switzerland yesterday, long-standing tour operator Tauck christened their first new vessel in three years – the 443-foot long, 130-guest ms Inspire.
The ship was jointly christened by Tauck Cruise Directors Lynn Hardcastle and Bridget Ashton. Hardcastle blessed the new ship, while Ashton cut the ribbon that sent the traditional bottle of champagne (Moët & Chandon) crashing into the hull, officially welcoming the ms Inspire into service.
Joining Hardcastle and Ashton as honorary godmothers to the Inspire were their Tauck Cruise Director colleagues Mary Pierik and Eszter Pusztai. Following an onboard reception, the Inspire and its guests departed on a celebratory two-night cruise along the Rhine.
“Today is another important step in the evolution of Tauck River Cruising,” observed Tauck CEO Dan Mahar. “Not only are we welcoming a new vessel into the Tauck fleet, we’re also celebrating the debut of an entirely new class of Tauck riverboat.”
The event was also an excellent opportunity for the company to pay tribute to their hardworking Tauck Cruise Directors. “By honoring our four Tauck Cruise Directors as godmothers, we’re really celebrating the genuine, friendly and personalized service provided by all of our Tauck Cruise Directors and Tauck Directors,” said Mahar. “They are the direct, critical link between Tauck and our guests, and they do an absolutely incredible job delivering the Tauck experience.”
Substantially larger than the company’s other vessels, ms Inspire and her forthcoming sister, ms Savor, carry just 12 additional guests. River cruise vessels of this size can typically carry nearly 200 guests apiece, but with a maximum passenger complement of 130, expect the onboard atmosphere to be unusually intimate.
“In tandem with our state-of-the-art Jewel Class ships, our new Inspiration Class ships will allow us to continue leveraging our 90 years of experience to deliver the finest, most enriching cultural explorations along Europe’s rivers,” said Mahar. “Pairing our growing fleet of vessels with our incredible expertise promises to keep us firmly positioned as the ‘world’s best,’” added Mahar, noting that Tauck has been named both the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” and the “World’s Best River Cruise Line for Families” twice in the past three years by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.
Both Inspire and Savor will offer several new enhancements to the Tauck product on the waterways of Europe. Perhaps the most high-profile new addition to these vessels is the inclusion of Loft Staterooms. Situated on the ship’s lowest deck, these innovative staterooms will measure 225 square feet and feature a raised seating partition banked by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that can open to let the fresh air in to the room, not to mention far more sunlight than the average riverview stateroom.
Tauck has also incorporated more suites than ever before into the design of Inspire and her sister, with 22 full suites onboard that measure 300 square feet apiece. Along with these suites, both vessels will also have 32 staterooms measuring 225 square feet, plus an additional thirteen cabins ranging from 150 to 190 square feet. In keeping with Tauck’s policy of welcoming solo travelers, four of the 150 square foot cabins are being set aside for guests traveling on their own.
Both ms Inspire and ms Savor will also feature a second onboard restaurant offering lighter and more traditional American fare to complement the ship’s main dining room. Situated all the way aft on Diamond Deck, this casual restaurant will be named Arthur’s in honour of company chairman Arthur Tauck, Jr.
“I can’t think of a person with more warmth and caring hospitality than Arthur Tauck, and his spirit will grace this space and everyone who dines here for years to come,” said Mahar.
River Cruise Advisor’s Aaron Saunders will be sailing aboard ms Inspire’s first voyage on Monday from Amsterdam to Brussels. Stay tuned for his full Live Voyage Report!