Tauck Expanding European River Cruise Options

Tauck World Discovery has announced its 2010 European river cruising plans, including the addition of two new cruise itineraries. Also slated for next year are two Oberammergau extensions, four- and five-day land journeys that combine with selected Tauck river cruise itineraries and include premium seating tickets for the village’s famous Passion Play performances. Tauck will offer a total of nine European river cruises in 2010.

“European river cruising continues to be a very robust and vibrant segment of our business, and we’re excited to continue with the careful and measured expansion of our river cruise offerings,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar. “By growing our river cruise portfolio slowly, we’ve been able to maintain the same high standards, quality of guest experience, and strong value that Tauck has been known for since 1925. Along with the launch of our new MS Swiss Jewel in April, these two new river cruises represent important steps in our efforts.”

 The two new itineraries are the 12-day “Strasbourg To Prague Serenade” and a 19-day “Romance Of The Rhine & Danube.” The Strasbourg-to-Prague cruise (from $3,990 per person, double, plus air) begins with two nights at the Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile, with city sightseeing in Strasbourg and an exploration of the surrounding Alsatian wine country. The following seven-day cruise includes visits to Baden-Baden, Heidelberg, Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nurnberg and Regensburg, before a two-day stay at the Hilton Prague Old Town with guided sightseeing in the city.

“Romance Of The Rhine & Danube” (from $6,790 per person, double, plus air) also starts with a two-night stay at the Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile and visits to many of the same cities along the Rhine, Main and Main-Danube Canal.  The 14-day cruise then continues along the Danube with visits to Passau, Linz, Salzburg, Durnstein, Vienna and Bratislava, before concluding with a two-night stay at the InterContinental Budapest.

Tauck’s two Oberammergau extensions allow guests to easily add an extra four- or five-day land component to their river cruise itinerary, and enjoy the moving spectacle of the Oberammergau Passion Play. Performed just once each decade, the Passion Play recounts the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  It was first performed by Oberammergau’s citizens in 1634, after the village escaped a local plague epidemic. Today the play is a major cultural event involving more than 2,000 Oberammergau residents as actors, singers, musicians and technicians.

The four-day Oberammergau extension begins in Munich with a welcome reception and dinner at the Spatenhaus, a traditional Bavarian restaurant, before proceeding to Oberammergau the following day. In Oberammergau, guests will view the Passion Play from Tauck’s specially reserved premier seating in Section 1A, before enjoying in-town accommodations at the Hotel Maximilian.  Day three includes a visit to the opulent 19th-century Linderhof Palace and free time to explore Munich, before the extension concludes on the following day.

The five-day extension also begins in Munich and includes a walking tour of the city with a visit to 17th-century Schloss Nymphenburg, a former summer residence of Bavaria’s ruling family. Days two and three include time in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the Passion Play in Oberammergau (again, with reserved seating in Section 1A of the theatre). A guided walking tour of Salzburg, Austria, highlights the fourth day, with the extension concluding on day five.

Tauck’s fleet of three sister ships, the MS Swiss Jewel, MS Swiss Sapphire and MS Swiss Emerald have each been launched within the past three years, and all are virtually identical.  Tauck’s ships each accommodate just 118 guests, vs. 140 or more on other similarly sized vessels, providing a less crowded and more relaxed ambiance. The ships also feature a bistro-style Lido Bar, providing a more casual dining alternative to the main restaurant.

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