Cruise Review - Tauck European River Cruise
By: Linda Laing
Tauck river cruise on board Swiss Emerald - Budapest to Prague
Last year I had the privilege of experiencing a European river cruise with Tauck onboard Swiss Emerald, cruising from Budapest to Prague. It was an amazing cruise experience, and during my time on board I took note of a few things to give you a complete review of life onboard and onshore.
Tauck Tours wet leases the vessels it uses from a European family-owned business called Scylla. The crew, dining room staff and hotel staff are a combination of European and Asian nationalities, all performing to the Tauck 5-star standard.
It is Tauck staff that act as tour directors and in addition to the Tauck people there are local guides at every stop. All passengers are lent a little receiver box and given an ear piece. The guides use a mike that is tuned to the frequency of your receiver so it is very easy to hear when you are on your walking tours.
The rooms are beautifully appointed, complete with a flat screen TV, stocked refrigerator, hair dryer, L’Occitane amenities and a safe. The power points are European 2 round prongs and 220 volts. The beds are Tauck’s version of Westins heavenly beds and the bathroom has a spacious shower recess with glass doors.
The cabins on the bottom deck have high windows and even though they have all the same appointments they did look dark.
The cabins on the middle deck have floor to ceiling sliding glass doors opening to a Juliet balcony, so no sitting outside. Though one does feel very decadent lying in bed in the morning, with the drapes and window open watching the world glide by.
The top deck features suites, which in fact, are the space of two cabins. One area has the bed and the other is a sitting area. The bathrooms in the suites have a narrow bathtub in addition to the shower. They too have the sliding glass doors with a Juliet balcony.
The main lobby is centrally located on the middle deck and has a hotel desk, a Tauck desk and a small shop. Forward of this is the main observation/entertainment lounge featuring a bar. Wine and beer are included with your evening meal and you pay for any other alcoholic drinks from the bar and at lunch.
Below the entertainment lounge is the dining room which is a combination of window tables and booth-like seating.
Breakfast and lunch are buffet style while dinner is a la carte.
At the rear of the middle deck is a small room which provides an early continental breakfast - it has four computer stations which are free to use, books and board games to borrow. In this area coffee and tea is available through the day. Some evenings this space serves as a specialty restaurant, and there are a handful of tables just outside on the adjacent deck.
The top deck has a lovely area in front of the wheelhouse with tables and chairs, where we had our sail away party. There is a sheltered sitting area behind the wheelhouse and the rest of the sun deck has lounge chairs - some in the open and some under shade cloth. There is a giant chess board and a Jacuzzi also on the sun deck.
On the bottom deck there is a small gym with six pieces of equipment and also a one person massage room, and for those who wish to keep active, the ship carries bikes to ride.
For more information on a river cruise with Tauck, call Linda on 1300 837 681.
Today's Cruise Specialist:
Linda Laing - Originally from British Columbia in Canada, Linda Laing began her Australian travel career 37 years ago. One of her first positions in Australia was with the well known cruise brand, P&O Cruises. Linda has vast experience in airfares and add-on land arrangements, enabling her to offer the complete cruise travel package. Her most recent cruise experiences have been with Oceania Cruise Lines, Peregrine in Antarctica, Star Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Linda also holds her Masters Certificate from the Cruise Council of Australia.