As Tauck is just one of a few major River Cruise-lines… we sell them all, have personally Cruised on most of them including on Tauck (you can see our Picture/Video review of our Tauck River Cruise here http://gallery.shawnpower.com/CruiseVacations/Danube-River-Cruise-Tauck/ & our written review here https://www.shawnpower.com/danube-river-cruise-review-tauck/) and know them all well… you’re probably wondering why would you want to Cruise with them over anyone else?
Well, we’ve put together a few reasons to help you see why Tauck (who’s slogan is “How You See The World Matters!”, and who is ALL about Quality over quantity and is pretty much the highest rated River Cruiseline in the industry) is a great choice to sail with!
1. They Always “Do The Right Thing”!
Tauck is a 90+ year old family owned travel company who’s been delivering truly inspirational travel experiences for people for decades (ever since Arthur Tauck took 6 guests on the 1st road trip to places he knew & loved in New England) and this company has been through it all… depressions, wars, terrorist events, etc. Any company can provide a nice experience when everything goes smooth but a company like Tauck can best handle any unexpected events due to their unique, longstanding relationships around the World.
If there are water level issues on the rivers in Europe for example, many companies say too bad, sorry you didn’t get to see what we promised but as our contract says the itinerary can change anytime and no compensation is owed. Hard to swallow when you’ve dropped $10,000-$20,000 or more on your trip!!
When it comes to Tauck though, a long-standing value of theirs is “Always do the right thing” so if they can’t deliver what you bought, we’ve seen them handle it the best compared to other companies… they’ve sent people home with full refunds the day the Cruise was supposed to start, they’ve bought guests airfare home even if they bought their own air elsewhere in the first place, etc. They don’t have a cookie-cutter policy that fits everyone… they talk to each guest, find out their plans and help each guest individually get home, continue on their journey elsewhere, continue the trip with Tauck with compensation, etc.
The reason this is so important to Tauck is that if they lose a River Cruise client, they lose a potential lifelong client who would have traveled with them all over the World on their land tours too. No other River Cruise company has that much at risk in delivering an amazing experience.
This is the real secret of Tauck’s huge success on Europe’s rivers & it is why Tauck has a huge repeat clientele… as they treat people right and do the right thing they gain clients for life who travel everywhere with them as their clients know they can trust Tauck with their hard earned money to always give them the best experience possible… not something we ever hear from our Viking clients for example!
2. They do the land part better then anyone!
If you’ve read our bio or follow our blogs you’ll know we’ve done a bunch of River Cruises and most of the River Cruise companies do the onboard part well… giving you a nice room, nice food and nice service.
As these ships are small no-one has casinos, big shows, big spas, etc. so when you take a River Cruise, what you’re truly going for is what happens ashore- visits to the destinations you came so far to see…
…and as Tauck has 90+ years experience (and more importantly relationships with vendors at the destinations which gives them Uncommon Access) they do the onshore part better then the rest of the companies out there… by far!
They offer the most Unique, Private, Exclusive, Authentic, Extraordinary experiences such as:
As seen in the above pictures, a private Imperial Evening with reception, dinner & musical performances in a Viennese Palace where Emperors and Kings have feasted and previous guests include Mozart and Beethoven (Upper Danube River)… we did this event with Tauck and it was truly a once in a lifetime experience that us & our fellow guests talked about for days & days!!
As seen in the pictures above, a private tour, reception, dinner & musical performance in Lobkowicz Palace… a privately owned building in Prague Castle (Upper Danube River)
Again, this was truly an amazing experience for us & our fellow guests and something we’d never come close to experiencing on our previous 13 River Cruises!
A private dinner & entertainment in a German Castle (Rhine River)
Lunch & cowboy demonstration with prized black bulls at a private, family-owned ranch (Rhone River)
A private VIP dinner with entertainment at the massive Palace of Parliament in Bucharest (Lower Danube River) **When we were there with another River Cruise line our experience was we took a picture of it from the parking lot across the street :-(**
A private reception & dinner with musical entertainment at a Chateau in Normandy (Seine River)
A presentation with Celia Sandys who’s Sir Winston Churchill’s granddaughter (in London before a Seine River Cruise)
Lunch at Chateau Neercanne (On their Belgium/Holland trip)
The above are just a few examples of some private tours that Tauck offers, you can see more here: http://www.tauck.com/travel-blog/taucks-travelogue/exclusive-partners-exclusive-places.aspx
We’ve been on many of the other River cruise lines and most of them do nothing unique and those that do aren’t usually big experiences like above, they’re simply made up private events at places no-one has heard of so they can at least say it’s something exclusive.
If you’re going to Europe to connect with the history & immerse yourself into the local Culture by experiencing once in a lifetime events at unique venues (chateaux/castles/palaces/family homes) & to meet extraordinary people (royalty, descendants/world figures) that no other companies can match & you can’t do on your own, then Tauck is for sure the travel company you want to invest your hard earned money with as you’ll be assured to create Memories For Life!
3. You get much more attention during a River Cruise with Tauck!
If you go on a River Cruise with AMA, Viking, Uniworld, Avalon, etc. you’ll notice they have their onboard staff to run the ship and then 1 Cruise Director who’s job is to keep the guests organized for the off-ship tours… they deal with local guides, buses, schedule changes, guest’s concerns, etc. and sometimes they seem more concerned with selling optional excursions then anything else. They’re always the busiest person onboard and they’re many times an independent contractor who works for multiple companies and goes from ship to ship so are not always up to date on the ship/itinerary they’re on…
…if you have a question about the destination (you go to learn, right?) they’re the person to ask but you’ll notice they’re always busy and are hard to get time with.
On Tauck they do things a little differently… yes, they have their onboard staff to run the ship and their 1 Tauck Cruise Director to handle issues, transfers, etc. (And keep in mind, as mentioned in # 4 below Tauck doesn’t sell optional tours which frees up their Cruise Director’s time and makes their advice non-biased)
But they also have 3 Tauck Directors on each Cruise to
engage guests, answer their questions, enhance the
guided tours which they join the guests on, etc. They’re
there to give you way more individual attention then the norm which leads to more chances to learn, they help you have more fun and to make sure everything goes wonderful during the guided land tours… other companies simply hand you off to the local guides and they don’t always vet them very well… we’ve had many with bad english and little knowledge which meant we got less then basic info at places we travelled a long way to learn about! 🙁
Another great thing with Tauck having so many “Director Level” staff is that if something serious happens to you as a guest when on Tauck (a trip to the hospital, pharmacy, etc.) one of their Directors will even accompany you there (other lines simply don’t have extra staff members to do that) which will give you the “Peace of Mind” that Tauck will be there for you no matter what you encounter during your trip to foreign lands! **On one of our trips Shawn had to visit a Lisbon Hospital and trying to communicate was almost impossible… having a Tauck Director who knew the language would have been invaluable for us during that experience!**
FYI, Tauck’s Cruise Director & their 3 other Tauck Directors are employees of Tauck and have 10 years of service with Tauck on average (they’re not Independent Contractors like on others going from ship to ship) so they are passionate & knowledgeable about the ships & itineraries, knowing them inside & out, & they’re consistently rated the top “Director Level” staff in the River Cruise industry!
Whether it’s leading a bike ride, helping solo travellers mingle, sharing their “secret” favourite places during a land tour, helping you find a lost item, accompanying guests on a morning walk, etc. Tauck’s Four “Director Level” Staff make the difference between an enjoyable trip & a memorable one!
4. They’re truly All-Inclusive!
The other major North American lines will tell you in their literature that they’re all inclusive yet on many of them you still have to tip all onboard staff & tour guides (almost $200 per guest per week when you convert from Euros) you still have to pay for wine, beer & soft-drinks outside of meals as well as ALL hard liquor (some don’t even include wine & beer with lunch), you still have to pay for airport transfers if you don’t buy their airfare and they ALL offer optional excursions… with Tauck if there’s a site you need to see, they include it and they have no optional tours to sell once you’re onboard… EVER!
EVERY-TIME we Cruise on the other guys we consistently hear people complain about the tipping, price of drinks, extra excursions, etc.
The other most all-inclusive North American based company is Uniworld who we’ve cruised with several times… even though they charge more money per day then Tauck does, they STILL sell extra tours, many of which are must do’s… during our 2 Cruises with Uniworld in France, for example, they offered 4 extra tours the 1st sailing and 5 on the second one… it was for sure a sore point with MANY guests after spending so much money already for their Cruise!
Also included in Tauck’s price is quality… as mentioned in # 2 above their exclusive events are experiences you can’t get elsewhere so even if another company is charging the same daily price it’s for a lesser experience.
If Tauck has a train ride included for example, it’s first class, others charge almost 200 euros more for the upgrade.
When staying in hotels before/after the cruise (some World renowned like London’s Savoy, Four Seasons Prague, Grand Hotel Wien, etc.) Tauck almost always includes a “Welcome” and/or “Farewell” Dinner (some of these are at famous restaurants like Fouquet’s in Paris, Abbaye de Collonges in Lyon, Caru’ cu bere in Bucharest, etc.) whereas other companies include breakfast at the hotel buffet & that’s it.
Recently we stayed in a hotel with a competitor where it was right on the River and they gave us rooms facing the building behind it and wanted 50 euros more per night for a river-view… we begrudgingly paid it as we wanted the experience… they also wanted 1 euro per bottle of water during an 11 hour tour we did with them… guests literally looked at each other wondering if it was a joke or not?
These are bad tastes in your mouth you won’t have when on Tauck.
Each of Tauck’s trips include over 100 items in their prices (other lines leave many, many of these necessities out of their cost) so even though up front Tauck looks much more expensive compared to other companies in the end their value is by far the best (which is why their base of repeat guests is the biggest % in River Cruising) as not only are you spending the same money or more on other companies but with Tauck you’ll have an enjoyable, worry-free/hassle-free experience where money wasn’t a daily sore point (Tauck even paid for our bathroom breaks on our Danube River Cruise!!) as it is for many when traveling to a very expensive place like Europe! (After having taken 9 trips to Europe ourselves we know that scenario to be more then true!)
So if you’re the type of person who likes to have a truly worry-free vacation by getting the money issues out of the way up front when you book so you can enjoy a nickel-and-dime free vacation then Tauck is a great fit for you!
**As Tauck likes to under-promise and over-deliver, on top of all of their inclusions that they tell you about in their brochures they also throw in lots of extra Surprises during your trip which they call “Lagniappes”. All their guests look forward to these throughout their journey as who doesn’t love a nice surprise!! 🙂 Some of our surprises were being “serenaded” by 2 Opera singers at the Budapest Opera House during a private tour, being given money to try the famous sausages in Regensburg, being taken to a local cafe in Bratislava to try their traditional “horns” after a walking tour, having hats for the guys & gloves for the ladies bought for us in Durnstein as it was colder weather then normal, having our washroom breaks paid for at each stop (all North Americans hate paying to go into bathrooms in Europe!!), being treated to Apricot Brandy shots as a reward for completing a hike, etc., etc. These “Lagniappes” were for sure one of our favorite parts of our trip with Tauck!! :-)**
5. Non Overcrowded Ships Featuring Great Service!
With the Highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and less people onboard then the mass-market River Cruiselines (130 guests maximum instead of 190 on an identical size ship) you’ll appreciate the more exclusive/intimate/club-like feel created with bigger rooms, (they offer more 225-300 sq foot rooms then anyone on the Rivers) more space in their restaurants, lounges, & other public areas and less people on the excursions, usually 20 maximum… when we were in France we counted 48 people on each of the Viking buses which meant less time with the guides & way more wasted time getting on/off buses and to round the groups up! 🙁
And because they have less people on their ship it allows them to offer open time/flexible dining… as we mention in the caption under this picture http://gallery.shawnpower.com/CruiseVacations/Danube-River-Cruise-Tauck/i-FBFNvDN it’s a BIG deal as no-one else offers that in River Cruising!
6. Best option for Multi-Generation Family Travel!
As you’ll see here http://www.tauck.com/family-travel/why-tauck-bridges/family-river-cruises.aspx Tauck has more dedicated Family River Cruise sailing dates then anyone (and 7 years additional experience then Disney who doesn’t operate their ships) and their itineraries have been designed from the ground up for ALL family members, not just the kids… also, price-wise, they’re 22% less costly then Disney on average which adds up when you have a big family group that you’re paying for!
And keep in mind, Tauck is a cultural company (they go to visit real princess’ & real castles) whereas Disney is an entertainment company (who we love) but they do fake castles & fake princess’ better. 🙂
Did you know that Multi-Generational travel is more popular then ever… no wonder as it’s a great way for families to bond! 70% of these types of trips are bought by Grand Parents who want to leave their families with great memories of time together rather then simply money which doesn’t take long to forgot about!
**No worries, because Tauck is great with kids doesn’t mean you’ll have them all around on your sailing… they have dedicated dates that work best for families so unless you travel with yours it’ll mostly be other like-minded, adults onboard for the sailing you go on**
So there you have it, some distinct advantages & reasons to take your next River Cruise with Tauck… if you want to travel with a company…
- who’s goal is to transform guests lives & help them have a deeper connection with the destination & memorable experiences & not just a “collection” of places they visited
- who’s clientele are people who are looking for meaningful European experiences with likeminded travellers who they have natural camaraderie with and are knowledge seekers & life-long learners… they’re not those who simply wanted the best price
- where NOBODY pays less then their fellow travel companions for the same room as they have integrity in the way they price and never offer 2for1s, 50% off, free air, etc. as they price it fairly from day 1
- who’s clientele are people who want high quality & don’t want to be disappointed after traveling so far to experience a new destination
…then Call Shawn at 1-800-219-7477 and he’ll help you get your Dream “Tauck” River Cruise Vacation turned into a Reality!
We appreciate you!!
Nancy & Shawn Power
P.S. WOW! A short while after we wrote this page/a couple of weeks after our 1st Tauck trip we received a letter from Tauck’s CEO thanking us for traveling with them and for taking the time to fill out our onboard comment card. AND, he acknowledged specific things we mentioned in our comments… this was our 54th Cruise and NEVER had we received a letter like this before from a Cruiseline and we’ve Cruised with the top lines in the World. To say the least, we were super impressed and it solidified even more how much Tauck truly does care about their clients and the experiences they have when traveling with them!!