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Smooth SailingApril 30, 2007 By: Jennifer Merritt Travel Agent
Tauck adds another luxury liner as river cruising sales rise
Two years after launching Tauck World Discovery's Swiss
Emerald riverboat, the tour company is roughly one year into building its
sister ship, a yet-to-be-named luxury vessel that, like many younger sisters,
is aiming to follow in Emerald's footsteps. Tauck's
new ship is modeled after the Swiss Emerald
Last year, Tauck finalized plans for the ship, which is set
to make its European debut next spring. The new vessel will have two hot tubs,
a bar/lounge, restaurant and wellness center. As on all Tauck river ships, the
three-deck passenger ship, complete with sundeck, will house a maximum of 118
Guests can choose from 59 outside-facing staterooms,
including 14 luxury suites and seven mini-suites stocked with L'Occitane bath
"The suites will be the best rooms to book," says
Rakesh Dewan, Tauck's product manager of river cruising. "They are 300
square feet, feature floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in closets and marble baths
with full-sized tubs and showers." Agents can expect details of the
361-foot ship's itinerary and maiden voyage in the next 45 to 60 days.
Primarily because Tauck's Emerald was so well
received, Emerald's sister ship will have many of the same amenities,
although the décor will be different, Dewan says. Like the Emerald, the
entire ship will allow for wireless Internet connections and the ship's cabins
will come equipped with plasma TVs, mini-bars, radios, safes and air
conditioning. The ship also will offer the services of onboard Tauck directors.
"Tauck has a specific philosophy in operating any kind of product—that we
deliver what our customers expect," he adds. "We were very successful
with the Emerald, so we're not looking to change much."
The ship will get its name through an internal contest Tauck
is conducting with employees. Dewan says this is just one part of a big undertaking
for the Norwalk, CT-based tour operator.
"It's part of a four-year study we did internally,
focused on market demand," Dewan says. The study uncovered a strong desire
for river cruising—one that is further reflected in the strong sales of the
segment for Tauck.
So far this year, sales of Tauck's river cruising trips are
showing a double-digit increase over 2006 and a 55 percent increase over 2005.
The appeal, Dewan says, is that river cruising offers a
different way of traveling. "There are limitations to river
cruising," he acknowledges, "but at the same time, you unpack once
and you're docked in the center of town, which is key for a lot of people."