NORWALK, CT — Tauck has unveiled its 2016 river cruising plans, and next year the company will be debuting two new ships, a new itinerary along the Rhine and a number of new Tauck-exclusive onshore dining experiences – all at prices up to $1,200 per-couple lower than 2015 rates.
According to CEO Dan Mahar, the price reductions are due entirely to recent foreign exchange gains made by the U.S. dollar against the euro, which Tauck didn’t hesitate to pass along to its customers.
Tauck will also be adding two new Inspiration Class riverboats set to join its fleet, the ms Grace (launching in April) and the ms Joy (launching in June). The ms Joy will sail on three Tauck voyages along the Danube, while the ms Grace will sail exclusively on the Rhine.
Among the itineraries on which the ms Grace will sail is Tauck’s new 10-day ‘The Rhine, Swiss Alps & Amsterdam’ program. The new cruise (from $4,690 per person, plus airfare) begins with an included two-night stay at the five-star Bellevue Palace in Bern. While in Bern, Tauck guests will have a choice of sightseeing options including a walking tour of the city, or for the more adventurous, a full-day excursion into the Bernese Alps to Europe’s highest railway station, the Jungfraujoch at 11,332 feet. The following day guests will enjoy a walking tour in Lucerne’s medieval Old Town before continuing on to Basel, where they’ll board their Tauck riverboat for a seven-night cruise along the Rhine.
Sailing from Basel to Amsterdam, guests will have the opportunity to learn about art in Colmar, the history of Porsche automobiles or Germany’s 2,000-year-old winemaking traditions in Stuttgart, archaeology in Cologne, and The Netherlands’ iconic windmills in the Dutch village of Kinderdijk. In Amsterdam, guests will conclude their journey with city sightseeing, as well as a canal boat tour that includes a visit to the renowned Rjiksmueum.
A highlight for guests travelling on the new Rhine itinerary is a Tauck-exclusive private evening inside Schloss Ehreshoven, or Ehreshoven Castle, in Engelskirchen, Germany. Normally closed to the public, Schloss Ehreshoven dates to the 14th century and was later expanded in the style of a grand Baroque manor house surrounded by a moat and landscaped gardens. The former home of the noble Nesselrode family, the castle will host Tauck guests for a cocktail reception, dinner and live musical performances.
Schloss Ehreshoven will also be featured on Tauck’s ‘The Romantic Rhine’ itinerary in 2016, and it’s one of several new and memorable onshore dinner venues being featured on Tauck’s river cruises next year. Another such venue, Chateau Bizy in Vernon, France, will be featured on the company’s ‘Cruising the Seine plus Versailles, Paris & London’ itinerary. Known as ‘the Versailles of Normandy’, the chateau was inspired by Versailles and constructed in 1740. It counts among its former owners Louis XV, the Duke of Penthièvre, and the last French king, Louis-Philippe. The chateau is today owned by descendants of Napoleon. Chateau Bizy will host Tauck guests for a garden and estate tour, a champagne reception with hors d’oeuvres, and a three-course dinner with live musical entertainment.
Schloss Johannisberg in Geisenheim, Germany, will likewise host Tauck guests sailing on the company’s ‘The Rhine & Moselle’ itinerary. A former Benedictine monastery and later the palace of a Prince-Abbot, Schloss Johannisberg boasts over 1,200 years of winemaking history and was the first Riesling wine estate. While at Schloss Johannisberg, Tauck guests will be able to visit its historic wine cellar, enjoy a reception featuring wines from the castle’s vineyards, and partake of a three-course dinner paired with local wines and musical performances.
Each of these special onshore evenings is included in Tauck’s cruise prices, as are all shore excursions, gratuities, unlimited onboard wine, beer and premium spirits, airport transfers and more.