PHOTO: Tauck’s ms Sapphire sailing in Europe before the renovations. (photo via Flickr/Roderick Eime)
Tour and cruise operator Tauck has announced that two of its river cruise ships, the ms Sapphire and ms Emerald, officially returned to service last week after massive reconfigurations.
The Sapphire returned to the fleet April 3 and the Emerald returned April 7.
With the Sapphire and the Emerald being identical, both ships were reconfigured with the same plan, optimizing each vessel’s abilities and luxury. The interiors of the 110-meter-long (360 feet) ships were gutted and improved to create larger cabins and roomier public areas.
The biggest change comes on each ship’s middle deck, where the previous 30 cabins measuring 150 square feet each have been replaced by 20 larger cabins measuring 225 square feet. The upgrades reduce the number of cabins from 59 to 49 and the number of passengers from 118 to 98, making for an even more intimate setting.
Following the reconfigurations, the 225-square-feet cabins now make up 69 percent of the accommodations on the ships, the highest percentage of such cabins on any of the 360-feet-long riverboats in Europe.
“The reconfiguration of the ms Sapphire and our other 110-meter ships underscores our commitment to providing our guests with the most spacious cabins and the most relaxed, intimate ambiance on board,” Tauck CEO Dan Mahar said in a statement. “We firmly believe that we have the finest, most elegant riverboats on Europe’s rivers, and that our guests’ onboard experience is perfectly complemented by Tauck’s 92 years of destination expertise, which ensures they also enjoy the very best experiences ashore.”
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In addition to the reconfiguration of cabins on the Sapphire and the Emerald, Tauck added a second dining venue, Arthur’s, found on the upper deck. Arthur’s will provide casual alternatives to the fine dining options at each ship’s main Compass Rose restaurant.
Tauck’s reconfiguration project will continue when the other 360-feet-long riverboats in the company’s fleet, the ms Treasures and ms Esprit, undergo identical enhancements next winter. The Treasures and Esprit are scheduled to return to service prior to the 2018 sailing season.
For more information on the revamped river ships, check out the official website of Tauck.