Tauck officially welcomed the MS Sapphire back into its riverboat fleet in Paris, France, following a massive renovation of the ship's interior spaces. The Sapphire is the first of Tauck's four 110-meter ships to complete the transformation process.
The company's MS Emerald was also reconfigured over this past winter and will return to service later this week. The MS Sapphire sails on Tauck's Seine River cruises, while the MS Emerald sails on the Rhone. The two remaining ships, the MS Treasures and MS Espirt, will undergo identical enhancements next winter and return to service prior to Tauck's 2018 season.
During the refurbishment, the Sapphire was fully gutted, with its most significant change occurring on its Ruby Deck, where 30 cabins were replaced by 20 larger cabins. The overhaul reduced the ship's number of cabins from 59 to 49, thus bringing the Sapphire's overall capacity from 118 passengers to 98.
On the reconfigured Sapphire, (and the three other ships, following their reconfiguration), cabins measuring 225 square feet or larger will now account for 69 percent of all accommodations - the highest percentage of such cabins on any 110-meter riverboats in Europe, according to Tauck. Despite reduced passenger count, Tauck will continue to staff each ship with a cruise director and three Tauck Directors.
Two sets of connecting cabins have also been added to the Diamond Deck, each connecting a 183-square-foot Category 5 cabin with the adjacent 300-square-foot Category 7 suite. The suites boast pull-out couches to accommodate families with younger children. The MS Sapphire offers a river cruise designed specifically for families - "Family Fun Along the Seine," while the MS Emerald sails a "Bon Voyage: France Family River Cruise" on the Rhone.