All-inclusive river cruise operator Tauck has unveiled plans to completely refurbish its fleet of five Jewel-class river cruise ships between 2017 and 2018, rolling out new staterooms, upgraded amenities and new dining venues for the ships.
Beginning just in time for the start of the 2017 river cruise season in Europe, Tauck will reconfigure the 110-meter long Swiss Emerald and her sister, Swiss Sapphire. Each vessel – both of which are based in France – will be outfitted with larger staterooms that will reduce overall passenger capacity from 118 guests to just 98 per ship.
By removing the existing 30, 150-square foot staterooms, Tauck will have the space to equip each vessel with a total of 20 staterooms that measure 225 square feet each. Coupled with the reduced passenger count – already one of the lowest in the industry – Tauck’s refurbished Jewel Class ships will feature more personal space throughout the ship than most other river cruise vessels of similar class.
Additionally, all five of Tauck’s Jewel Class ships will be given its own secondary dining venue. Arthur’s, named in tribute for company founder Arthur Tauck Sr., will be added to each ship where the current Bistro alternate dining venue is. The new expanded menu offered at Arthur’s will allow Tauck’s Jewel Class river cruise ships to offer a more casual dining alternative to the fine dining offered in the main Compass Rose restaurant each evening.
Tauck’s remaining three Jewel-class river cruise ships – Swiss Jewel, ms Espirt and ms Treasures – will be refitted during the winter of 2017/2018, entering service with their new staterooms and amenities in time for the start of the 2018 season.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar explained the reasoning behind the reconfiguration of the five Tauck vessels. “From day-one our approach has always been to limit passenger capacity, and by doing so, to provide a more intimate, club-like atmosphere and more spacious cabins for our guests,” he said. “The launch of our Inspiration Class ships took that approach to a new level, and with the re-envisioning of our Jewel Class vessels, we’re putting them on equal footing with our [newer] Inspiration Class ships.”
If you’ve never sailed with Tauck before, it’s worth highlighting the many little things that the company does that makes touring with the venerable tour operator by land or by water so enjoyable.
Cruise fares include all transfers, onboard beverages, every single shore excursion – many of which are unique features not typically available to the general public – and all gratuities. Tauck is so serious about not charging guests extra for anything that the company has actually provided Euro coins for guests on both of my own sailings, explaining that guests shouldn’t have to reach into their pockets to pay for Europe’s notoriously-prevalent pay toilets.
“The behind-the-scenes access to exclusive cultural experiences we provide, the expertise we’ve developed leading award-winning land tours for more than 90 years, the knowledge and service delivered by our Tauck Directors and local guides … they all combine to create an unmatched land experience for our guests,” Mahar concluded.