Tauck Boosts Capacity by Two-Thirds on its 2014 Christmas Market River Cruises

Total Ship Capacity Will More Than Double Over a Two-Year Period

NORWALK, CT (August 14, 2014)  Tauck will continue to increase its presence in European river cruising later this year, when it dramatically boosts the capacity of its Christmas market cruises along the Danube and Rhine rivers.  The move is the latest in an eventful year for Tauck’s river cruising efforts, following the launch of the company’s two new Inspiration Class ships (the ms Inspire and ms Savor, christened in April and June respectively) and the addition of four new river cruise itineraries.  Tauck was also recently named the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for the second consecutive year, with the results appearing in the magazine’s current issue.

For the coming holiday season Tauck will boost its Christmas market river cruise departures by 67%, and increase the number of ships sailing on its two Christmas-themed itineraries from three to four.  The new ms Inspire and ms Savor will both make their Christmas market cruise debuts, joining the ms Treasures and the ms Swiss Jewel

Tauck offers two different eight-day Christmas market river cruises, “Christmas Markets Along The Rhine” and “Christmas Markets Along The Danube.”  “Christmas Markets Along the Rhine,” (from $2,550 per person plus airfare) visits markets in Germany and France as it travels south from Cologne to Basel aboard Tauck’s ms Inspire on December 7 and aboard the ms Swiss Jewel on December 13.  Northbound departures following a reverse itinerary begin in Basel on November 30 and December 14 aboard the ms Inspire, and aboard the ms Swiss Jewel on December 6.

“Christmas Markets Along the Danube” (from $2,590 per person plus air) sails eastward from Nürnberg to Vienna aboard the ms Savor on November 29 and December 13, and aboard the ms Treasures on December 7.  A reverse (westbound) itinerary begins in Vienna on December 6 aboard the ms Savor, and on November 30 aboard the ms Treasures.

Special Tauck touches include onboard cultural performances and local crafts demonstrations, lectures and walking tours, and culinary demonstrations highlighting traditional gingerbread and cookies.  Guests will also enjoy select meals ashore, including an Austrian lunch at the iconic Stiftskeller St. Peter restaurant in Salzburg, and lunch with beer produced on-site at the award-winning Brauhaus Vetter restaurant and brewery in Heidelberg.  In addition, Tauck will host a tree-trimming party aboard each riverboat and each ship will feature festive holiday decorations and seasonal treats including glühwein, the traditional mulled wine of the region.  Tauck’s Christmas market cruises, like their other river cruises, are virtually all-inclusive, with all gratuities, meals, shore excursions, unlimited onboard beer, wine and premium spirits, airport transfers and more included in the cruise price. 

The jump in capacity for Tauck’s Christmas market river cruises reflects a larger, ongoing effort by the company to boost its overall river cruising capacity to meet strong demand and better serve its guests and travel agent partners.  Within a two-year period, from mid-2014 through mid-2016, Tauck will have expanded its fleet from four ships to nine, representing a 125% increase in fleet size.  The expansion will include the two Inspiration Class ships launched this year, an additional two as-yet-unnamed Inspiration Class ships launching in 2016, and a fifth Jewel Class ship – the ms Esprit – set to join Tauck’s fleet in early 2015.  

Tauck and its maritime partner, Scylla, originally ordered the ms Esprit in 2008, and it was scheduled to enter Tauck’s fleet in 2010.  However, as the U.S. remained mired its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Tauck deferred delivery of the ship – then little more than a hull – until 2015.  Scylla completed construction and has operated the vessel in the interim under another flag.  This winter the riverboat will undergo renovations and other upgrades to make the Esprit identical to Tauck’s four other Jewel Class vessels. 

Like the other Jewel Class ships, the Esprit will accommodate just 118 guests, compared to the typical capacity of 140 or more on other ships of similar size.  The Esprit boasts 14 spacious, 300-square-foot suites, each equipped with walk-in closets and marble baths with full-size tubs.  The ship also has seven junior suites and 38 cabins (183 and 150 square-feet, respectively), with all suites, junior suites and cabins featuring sumptuous bedding including 400-thread-count linens, soft duvets, Mako cotton pillows with hypoallergenic 90% down filling, 100% cotton blankets, and pillow-top mattresses.  All cabin categories also have televisions with in-room movies, mini-bars, terry cloth robes and slippers, radios, safes, adjustable air conditioning and luxury toiletries.  Full floor-to-ceiling windows and French balconies are featured on 85% of all accommodations, and the Esprit also boasts the Compass Rose restaurant, a lounge, boutique, massage studio and a second, more casual dining venue in The Bistro restaurant.

Those interested in more information can contact their local travel professional, call Tauck at 800 468 2825, or visit the company’s website at www.tauck.com.

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