Popular tour and river cruise operator Tauck has recently announced it plans to increase its Christmas Markets river cruise offerings for the upcoming 2014 winter season by 67 percent, adding additional ships and increasing their Christmas-themed departures.
Tauck will add their new ms Inspireand ms Savoron the highly-popular Christmas Markets runs that occur every year from November 25 to December 24. They will join the line’s existing ms Treasuresand ms Swiss Jewel.
Tauck offers two separate itineraries for those seeking to sail through the festive Christmas Markets of Europe this year: the eight-day Christmas Markets Along the Rhine from Cologne to Basel and reverse; and the eight-day Christmas Markets Along the Danube that operates from Nuremberg to Vienna and reverse.
One of Tauck’s hallmarks has always been providing their guests with unique experiences both onboard and ashore, and the line will do just that on these Christmas Markets itineraries. Guests will 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 freshly-made glühwein – traditional mulled, spiced wine that is a favorite drink for taking the chill out of the winter air.
Tauck is also poised to increase their overall capacity substantially in the next two years with the addition of three new vessels to their fleet, operated in conjunction with Swiss line Scylla A.G. Tauck will take delivery of two brand-new Inspiration-class ships in 2016, and a fifth Jewel-class vessel – the ms Espirit – in early 2015.
The ms Espirit was originally slated to enter the Tauck fleet in 2010 but Tauck elected to defer her entry into service due to the economic downturn. Scylla temporarily entered her into service under another brand, but she will undergo substantial renovations this year and will enter service with Tauck in early 2015.
The refit will bring the ms Espirit into line with Tauck’s existing Jewel-class vessels, with a total capacity for just 118 guests. A total of 14 suites will measure 300 square feet, and will feature walk-in closets and marble bathrooms with full-sized tubs. Seven junior suites and 38 staterooms measuring between 150 and 183 square feet will complement her total accomodations. Staterooms and suites will feature 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 percent of all accommodations, and the Esprit will also feature the Compass Rose restaurant, a lounge, boutique, massage studio and a second, more casual dining venue in the aft-facing restaurant known as “The Bistro.”