There is no denying the increasing popularity of European river cruising and until now it has been one of the few area’s that we have little first-hand experience in.
So when we were invited to join the annual River Cruise Conference in Amsterdam on a cold weekend in November to see 5 of the leading river cruise ships as well as to stay on board the magnificent Tauck ship The MS Grace, it really was a no-brainer!
The first sight of MS Grace was an impressive one and we were welcomed aboard with a glass of Moet* (which continued to flow for the entire weekend) so we felt immediately relaxed and ready to enjoy the fabulous experience that lay ahead!
*As with most river cruises, Tauck offer an all inclusive cruise experience both on and off the ship so you know that all your premium brand drinks, wifi, as well as exclusive and exciting shore excursions are already included.
Once boarded, we were shown straight to our Category 6 cabin (pic above) which was a spacious 225 sq ft room, consisting of full length opening french windows, a gorgeous en-suite bathroom, soft bath robes and a tea/coffee maker – essential for any travelling Brit!
MS Grace exudes comfort and a club like atmosphere without any hint of stuffiness. The twinkling chandeliers in the lobby area only add to the elegance and luxury that continue throughout the rest of the ship.
Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with an extensive choice of hot and cold delights and dinner is table service with flexible dining times and an excellent variety of international cuisine. That evening the on-board Sommelier introduced a choice of 3 superb wines including a delicious Sancere paired with our incredible 3 course meal which was a succulent beef filet & lobster for the main course.
During our stay we heard all about the excellent shore excursions during a 7, 10 or 14 night river cruise, including exclusive entry into various castles, museums and stately homes some offering an exquisite private dinner long after the crowds of tourists have left, or the chance to take a cycle ride along the tow path stopping at a local vineyard to pick up some wine for dinner that evening! These, and many more magical touches mean that guests receive such a personal experience both on and off the ship and it’s easy to see why Tauck has so many repeat guests.
If you are aged 40+ and are appreciative of the impeccable level of service that we received during our weekend trip and are keen to cruise The Rhine, The Danube, The Rhone or the Seine, then we could not recommend Tauck more highly!
In addition, Tauck is unique as they offer their Tauck Bridges brochure, solely for family travel & adventure. There are a number of wonderful river cruises for families with children aged 6+ where the itineraries incorporate interactive fun and hands-on activities such as cooking classes, cultural explorations & exclusive experiences, that are fun for every age and generation to do together.
So I think it’s easy to see that we thoroughly enjoyed our stay on board MS Grace and we didn’t want to leave, but the following day we had the opportunity to compare our Tauck experience with many of the other leading river cruise ships that had come to join the conference.
Here are our highlights:
Amadeus – MS Silver III – The first impression of the Amadeus ship was one of understated elegance and refined luxury. The cabins are beautifully furnished, spacious in size and many with drop down french windows allowing guests to relax in privacy whilst still taking in the stunning riverside surroundings. The dining options were wonderful and the staff extremely attentive.
Emerald Waterways – MS Dawn – Making a clear grab for the 35+ market and bringing down the average age of river cruising quite considerably! With a contemporary feel throughout the ship and an infinity pool at the rear, which by night transforms into a cinema room with popcorn, the vibe is easy going and fun much like the guests on-board.
Crystal River Cruises – MS Mozart – Think opulence, elegance and ultra luxury. There has been no expense spared when it comes to what is currently the largest river vessel sailing the European rivers and anyone 40+ appreciative of the finer things in life, will be very at home on MS Mozart. The on-board experience is unrivalled with a staggering 4 excellent restaurants and a wide variety of amazing shore excursions to choose from including a spin in the ships on-board speed boat!
Riviera River Cruises – MS Shakespeare – Riviera offers a very comfortable river cruise experience in a relaxed environment and at very affordable prices. For those who are aged 50+ looking for a gentle introduction into European river cruising, then Riviera is a great choice.
I hope you’ll agree that we are now well placed to help you choose the best river cruise to suit you so do call us and we would be delighted to put together a wonderful itinerary for you!
The Thames Travel Team – 020 8891 0166 – [email protected]