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Tauck Christens its New ms Inspire Riverboat in Basel, Switzerland

New Vessel is the First of Two “Inspiration Class” Ships Launching in 2014

NORWALK, CT (April 4, 2014)  Members of the Tauck family, Tauck executives, the company’s Board of Directors, special guests and local dignitaries all gathered dockside in Basel, Switzerland, yesterday to christen Tauck’s newest riverboat, the ms Inspire.  Tauck Cruise Director Lynn Hardcastle offered a traditional blessing, and the ship officially entered service moments later when Tauck Cruise Director Bridget Ashton cut a ceremonial ribbon to send a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne crashing against the ship’s hull.  The festive atmosphere was heightened by music provided by a local band, and by a fireboat that sounded its horn in celebration while sending torrents of water gushing skyward. 

Joining Hardcastle and Ashton as honorary godmothers to the Inspire were their Tauck Cruise Director colleagues Mary Pierik and Eszter Pusztai.  Following an onboard reception, the Inspire and its guests departed on a celebratory two-night cruise along the Rhine.

“Today is another important step in the evolution of Tauck River Cruising,” observed Tauck CEO Dan Mahar.  “Not only are we welcoming a new vessel into the Tauck fleet, we’re also celebrating the debut of an entirely new class of Tauck riverboat.”  The Inspire is the first of two new Inspiration Class ships that will launch in 2014, joining Tauck’s four award-winning Jewel Class vessels.  The Inspire’s sister-ship, the ms Savor, will launch in June as the second Inspiration Class ship. 

“In tandem with our state-of-the-art Jewel Class ships, our new Inspiration Class ships will allow us to continue leveraging our 90 years of experience to deliver the finest, most enriching cultural explorations along Europe’s rivers,” said Mahar.  “Pairing our growing fleet of vessels with our incredible expertise promises to keep us firmly positioned as the ‘world’s best,’” added Mahar, noting that Tauck has been named both the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” and the “World’s Best River Cruise Line for Families” twice in the past three years by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

The four Tauck Cruise Directors were selected as the Inspire’s godmothers in recognition of the outstanding service that Tauck’s onboard personnel provide to the company’s guests, Mahar explained.  “By honoring our four Tauck Cruise Directors as godmothers, we’re really celebrating the genuine, friendly and personalized service provided by all of our Tauck Cruise Directors and Tauck Directors,” said Mahar.  “They are the direct, critical link between Tauck and our guests, and they do an absolutely incredible job delivering the Tauck experience.”

Each Tauck riverboat is staffed by a Tauck Cruise Director and three Tauck Directors who care for a maximum of just 130 guests per Tauck ship.  By comparison, riverboats of equal size operated by other cruise lines routinely accommodate nearly 50% more passengers (up to 190 guests), with just a single cruise director to attend to their needs. 

With fewer passengers on its ships, Tauck can devote additional space to elements that enhance service and provide a refined overall onboard experience, while also ensuring guests enjoy a relaxed, intimate, club-like atmosphere.  And as with its Jewel Class vessels, the lower passenger capacity also allows Tauck to offer a far higher percentage of suites than other river cruise lines.  “Nearly a quarter of the cabins on our Jewel Class ships are 300-square-foot suites, and we’ve increased that to a third on the new Inspiration Class ships,” said Mahar.

“ARTHUR’S” RESTAURANT NAMED FOR COMPANY CHAIRMAN
The Inspire (and the Savor) will feature a second onboard restaurant offering lighter and traditional American fare to complement the ship’s more formal main dining room.  Named “Arthur’s” in honor of company chairman Arthur Tauck, Jr., the café-like restaurant will be located aft on the Diamond Deck where it will feature selections prepared in its own full-service kitchen. 

According to Mahar, the restaurant’s name is an appropriate tribute.  “I can’t think of a person with more warmth and caring hospitality than Arthur Tauck, and his spirit will grace this space and everyone who dines here for years to come,” said Mahar. 

Mahar also noted that the Inspire’s second dining venue reflected another quality that has characterized Arthur Tauck’s career.  “With the launch of our ms Swiss Emerald in 2006, we pioneered the concept of a second dining venue on a European riverboat.  It was a real innovation, and it was immediately popular with our guests,” said Mahar.  “That emphasis on innovation – of putting our guests first, of creatively anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations – has been the hallmark of Arthur Tauck’s 50+ year career in the travel industry.  It’s a focus he learned from his father, Arthur Tauck, Sr., and it continues to drive all that we do today,” concluded Mahar.

That same spirit of innovation is also evident in the eight “loft” cabins located on the lower (Emerald) deck of the Inspire and Savor.  On other European riverboats the lower-level cabins are small, and because they’re mostly below the ships’ waterlines, they’re limited to modest, sealed windows at eye level that admit minimal sunlight and zero fresh air.  Tauck’s 225-square-foot loft cabins, however, have a raised platform seating area located against the ships’ hull/outer wall with a correspondingly higher ceiling immediately above.  The higher ceiling in turn allows the use of a much taller window than can normally be incorporated into lower-level cabins.  The middle portion of this window can be opened electronically for fresh air, and being taller, the window allows far more natural light to fill the cabin.

The two new Inspiration Class ships will both be 443 feet long, and each will have twenty-two 300 square foot suites furnished with two French balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows, pull-out couch, roomy walk-in closets with built-in drawers, and spacious bathroom with rain shower.  Along with the suites, the newbuilds will also have thirty-two 225 square foot cabins, plus an additional thirteen cabins ranging from 150 to 190 square feet.  In keeping with Tauck’s policy of welcoming solo travelers, four of the 150 square foot cabins are being set aside for guests traveling on their own.  All suites and cabins will feature in-room movies, minibar, individual heating and cooling controls, Molton Brown toiletries, and plush bedding with 100% goose down pillows, 400-thread-count linens and pillow-top mattresses.

In addition to launching its two new ships, Tauck is also launching four new river cruise itineraries this year, including its first ever on the River Seine in France.  Those interested in more information may contact their local travel professional, visit www.tauck.com, or call 800 468 2825.

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* * *  Note:  Images available at www.tauck.com/InspireChristeningImages * * *

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