Tauck, the world’s leading escorted travel and river cruise company, welcomed ms Sapphire & ms Emerald back to its fleet. After a long renovation programme, ms Sapphire was the first of Tauck’s four 110m ships to complete its radical transformation, followed closely by the company’s ms Emerald. The ms Sapphire is to sail on Tauck’s Seine river cruises, while the ms Emerald will travel along the Rhone. The two remaining 110-metre ships, the ms Treasures and ms Esprit, will undergo the same improvements next winter and return ready for Tauck’s 2018 sailing season.
With the redesign, Tauck continues to prioritise creating larger cabins and roomier public areas for its guests, rather than maximising the number of passengers on board. The Sapphire and Emerald were fully gutted in a “down-to-the-studs” refurbishment, with the most significant change occurring on the Ruby (middle) Deck. Here, 30 150-square-foot cabins have been replaced by 20 larger cabins each measuring 225 square feet. With the total number of cabins reduced from 59 to 49, the Sapphire’s and Emerald’s overall capacity have dropped from 118 passengers to 98, creating a more spacious and luxurious experience for guests.
“The reconfiguration of the ms Sapphire and our other 110-metre ships underscores our commitment to providing our guests with the most spacious cabins and the most relaxed, intimate ambiance on board,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar, who noted that the 110-metre ships each have 14 300-square-foot suites, in addition to the 20 new 225-square-foot cabins. “We firmly believe that we have the finest, most elegant riverboats on Europe’s rivers, and that our guests’ onboard experience is perfectly complemented by Tauck’s 92 years of destination expertise, which ensures they also enjoy the very best experiences ashore.”
On the reconfigured ms Sapphire and ms Emerald (and Tauck’s two other 110-metre ships, following their reconfiguration), cabins measuring 225 square feet or larger will now account for 69% of all accommodation – the highest percentage of such cabins on any 110-metre riverboats in Europe. Despite the reduced passenger count, there will be no compromise in service as Tauck will continue to staff each ship with a Tauck Cruise Director and a full complement of three Tauck Directors, ensuring guests’ every need is catered for.
Tauck guides, or “Tauck Directors,” accompany each Tauck trip and handle all the details and logistics inherent in travel, leaving guests completely free to focus on enjoying their holiday. Professionally trained and with a wealth of experience, Tauck Directors are also true destination experts and their on-tour commentary and knowledge helps guests dig deep into the history and culture of the place they are visiting, allowing them to make the most of their time away.
New Arthur’s Restaurant & connecting cabins
Another notable alteration is on the Diamond (upper) Deck, where the ship’s second dining venue, The Bistro, has been upgraded and its menu expanded. The Bistro has been renamed Arthur’s, in tribute to company chairman, Arthur Tauck Jr. It has its own dedicated kitchen and chef who continue to provide a more relaxed alternative to the fine dining offered in the ship’s main Compass Rose restaurant. Tauck first introduced the concept of a second riverboat dining venue in 2006, and the enhanced Arthur’s restaurant is already featured on Tauck’s four 135-metre ships.
Two sets of connecting cabins have also been added to the Diamond Deck, each connecting a 183-square-foot Category 5 cabin with the adjacent 300-square-foot Category 7 suite. These spacious connecting cabins are perfect for families. Tauck has four river cruises designed specifically for families, with the ms Sapphire featured on Family Fun Along the Seine and the ms Emerald sailing on Bon Voyage: France Family River Cruise on the Rhone.