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Tauck cruises review
Leisurely-paced small ship cruising with all-included perks.
Tauck offers river and small ship cruising around the world, with carefully planned daily itineraries, overnight hotel stays and complimentary amenities — from shore excursions to alcohol, gratuities and more. But its fine-tuned daily schedules aren’t for everyone. Read on to determine if Tauck is right for you.
Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
Tauck cruises deliver your next vacation on a silver platter, taking care of every detail and leisurely-paced days both on and off shore. For some folks, that’s exactly what they’re seeking — but the structure may be a bit dull for more independent travelers.
Still, Tauck is known for sprinkling delightful surprises, which it calls lagniappe, throughout its itineraries. For instance, it might take you to a local French café where it’s paid for all the pastries and coffee your heart could desire.
Or it hires performers to serenade you in the middle of a free Venetian opera hall tour. Die-hard Tauck cruisers are people who love this kind of planned-with-a-twist experience.
Don’t expect high-energy entertainment or lots of free time to explore on your own. Tauck cruises aren’t for a people who like large ships with swimming pools, water slides or flashy evening entertainment, either. Its itineraries tend to be longer — 10 days or more — so look for something else if you’re working with limited vacation time.
All in all, Tauck cruises are quintessential all-included river cruises that pamper and aim to please.
Where do Tauck cruises depart from?
Tauck’s river and small ship cruising depart near and far. Here’s where you can begin your trip:
Amsterdam, Athens, Bali Denpasar, Barbados, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dover, Dubai, Dubrovnik, Fort Lauderdale, Guam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Keelung, Lima, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Mahe Island, Miami, Mumbai, New Orleans, New York City, Palma De Mallorca, Papeete, Puerta Caldera, Quebec, Rome, San Diego, San Juan, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Venice, Yokohama
Tauk cruises destinations
Tauck offers European cruises on some of the most famous intercontinental waterways, as well as small ship cruising in lakes and oceans worldwide.
We particularly like the one-of-a-kind, Great Lakes: Chicago and Toronto cruise. It also offers top-rated tours through the Alaska inside passage, and around the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica.
Here’s where you can cruise with Tauck:
Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Hawaii, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Middle East, Northern Europe, Pacific, South Pacific, Transatlantic, Western Europe
What’s included in my Tauck cruise?
Tauck takes pride in offering bang for your buck. Both its river cruises and small-ship ocean cruises are all-inclusive. Here’s what’s covered by your fare:
Alcoholic drinks, including premium wine, beer and spirits
Fine dining, at land and sea
Gratuities to Tauck crew, drivers, guides and more
Airport transfers for departure and arrival
All port fees and taxes
Even compared to its premium competitors, Tauck is one of the most all-inclusive options out there. The only thing it lacks is white-glove butler service.
How much do Tauck cruises cost?
Prices vary widely, depending on the itinerary you choose. But here are examples of prices for a few of its most popular itineraries, to compare how it stacks up against the competition. Here, we’ll compare it to Crystal, another luxury cruise line that offers both river and ocean cruises:
Tauck river cruise
Crystal River Cruises
Tauck small-ship cruise
Crystal Ocean Cruises
Danube Reflections (seven nights)
Budapest to Vienna Danube River cruise (seven nights)
Antarctica (13-day cruise)
Ushuaia Roundtrip (11-night Antarctica cruise)
-Vienna, Austria -Bratslava, Slovakia -Wachau Valley, Austria -Regensburg, Austria -Dürnstein, Austria
-Budapest, Hungary -Bratslavia, Slovakia -Dürnstein, Austria -Melk, Austria -Linz, Austria -Krems, Austria -Vienna, Austria
-Buenos Aires, Argentina -Ushuaia, Argentina -Antarctic islands *includes sailing the Drake Passage
-Ushuaia, Argentina -Antarctic Peninsula *includes sailing the Drake Passage
*Prices obtained January 2020 and do not include sale or promotional rates
What is the dress code on Tauck cruises?
Tauck doesn’t have a specific dress code that applies to all of its cruises. Instead, use the itinerary as a guide — but think “country-club casual.”
If you’ll be dining at a fancy land restaurant or going to an upscale concert, consider packing a dressier evening outfit. Most Tauck cruises have at least one gala night where passengers are required to dress up — suit coats for guys and dresses or a nice blouse for women. And there’s usually a welcome dinner that’s a bit more formal.
As a general rule of thumb: Shorts, tank tops, swim suits, lounge wear and jeans shouldn’t be part of your evening attire.
Mostly, make sure you’re wearing comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes with good walking shoes for shore excursions. Check the information included with your cruise confirmation for more details specific to your trip.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) cruise with Tauck
Still trying to figure out if Tauck is right for you? Weigh the pros and cons:
Tauck cruise directors have an excellent reputation
Small ships with an intimate atmosphere
Hot tubs on most decks
Known for five-star customer service
Well-balanced itineraries, with special surprises
Transfers to and from your port
Fare can be pricey — especially if you don’t drink alcohol
Fewer onboard activities than larger cruise lines
Its ships don’t have typical swimming pools
Daily itineraries tend to have a slower pace, catering to older passengers
Reviews claim the quality of the food is just OK
Also keep in mind that most Tauck travelers tend to be older than 55 — that could be a pro or con, depending on your preference.
Frequently asked questions
No, not usually. If your Tauck cruise departs from a port you need to fly to, you’ll have to cover the fare separately. Sometimes, it runs a promotion called Take off with Tauck with special prices on airfare in conjunction with select cruises and tours — but even then you’ll still have to pay, albeit at a discounted price.
If you’re looking for a cruise line that offers inclusive airfare, check out Regent Seven Seas cruises, which provides business class tickets to and from your departure port from wherever you live.
However, if you’re going on a Tauck cruise where a flight is a part of the itinerary — such as its Antarctica cruise, where the group flies from Buenos Aires to Ushaiua, that will be included in your cruise fare.
If you’re interested in river cruises specifically, here’s a handful of excellent options:
Viking River Cruises
A-Rosa River Cruises
Avalon River Cruises
Yes. Tauck waives the single supplement on all European river cruises for category 1 cabins, which is extremely rare in the cruise industry. So even though you’ll travel solo, you’ll still only pay one half of the double-occupancy price. It also offers major discounts for singles on select river cruises elsewhere around the world.
Beyond the price, the intimate atmosphere and attentive crew on Tauck river cruises provide an excellent atmosphere for solo travelers to meet and mingle with friendly faces. It’s a great pick if you’re cruising on your own, especially for the first time.
Latest river cruise deals
Mississippi River cruises starting from $1,395 per person
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