With springtime in full bloom across the European waterways, we’ve asked two of our River Cruise experts, Amber Youell and Michelle Molnar, what guests should expect along the riverbanks this year.
How has Tauck been preparing for the 2023 river cruising season?
Amber: We have been extremely busy with the usual preparations, including ship maintenance, itinerary fine-tuning, ordering supplies, and more. Additionally, our ships ms Grace and ms Joy, christened in 2016, underwent an extensive refurbishment, so guests can expect a refreshed look in the cabins and public areas.
Michelle: In addition to team-building with our Scylla partners, we also had a thorough training with all of our Cruise Directors and Tauck Directors (all full-time Tauck employees) who will be escorting guests both on and off the ship. We focused on finding new and unique ways to surprise and delight our guests while ensuring everything is in place to provide care and comfort.
What is the current outlook surrounding water levels on Europe’s rivers? Should we be concerned about cruising disruption, particularly in the summer months?
Michelle: It’s so hard to tell, and almost impossible to predict what the River Gods (see video) will give us each season! I will say though, that the water levels are absolutely perfect right now and I don’t have strong concern about this coming summer.
Even with last year’s challenges – described as “record low” water levels by the media – we were largely unaffected. We cancelled just one river cruise in 2022, representing less than 1% of our river cruise departures for the year and operated 95% of our 2022 departures with no impact to our guest experience. In those rare instances where an itinerary was impacted, it involved changing ships or adding a hotel night with modified sightseeing.
Tauck is the only company that has full-time employees working on our ships, our Cruise Directors and Tauck Directors. We have great expertise in all the areas along the rivers due to our nearly 100 year history guiding land tours. We provide choices and alternatives if the planned activity for that day needs to be altered in any way. Our product teams have spent a ton of time in each destination so we have a lot of things in our back pocket if something falls short.
Our guests always come first. We are there to handle absolutely everything to ensure our guests are comfortable. We always…
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