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Tauck kicks off river cruise ship refit plan

Thu 16 Mar 2017 by Rebecca Moore reporting from Seatrade Cruise Global, Florida

Tauck kicks off river cruise ship refit plan
Tauck’s Sapphire river cruise ship has been reconfigured (pictured), part of a wider fleet refit strategy

Tauck has refitted two of its river vessels and plans to follow with the rest of its 110m vessels through 2018 – and will double its small ship cruising capacity.

In part of a two-year initiative to reconfigure more than 50 per cent of the company’s European riverboat fleet, the most dramatic enhancement aboard each ship will take place on the Ruby (middle) Deck, where 30 46m2 cabins in the original configuration will be replaced with 20 cabins measuring 69m2 each. Aboard each reconfigured vessel, 69 per cent of all cabins will be 69m2 or larger – which Tauck claims will be the highest percentage of such cabins on any 110m riverboat in Europe. In addition, overall capacity will be reduced from 118 passengers to 98, with the total number of cabins on each vessel going from 59 to 49.

Tauck’s reconfigured Sapphire will be launched back on the market on 3 April and Emerald a few days later.

And the company says it plans to add more vessels – it is just a question of when.

Elsewhere, Tauck has announced the company’s four-year plan to double its small ship cruising capacity through strategic fleet expansion, deepened partnership programmes and new itineraries. Tauck president Jennifer Tombaugh told delegates at a press conference at Seatrade Cruise Global: “A key part of our growth is our partnership with Ponant.”

Ponant, the France-owned cruise line, will debut four new luxury expedition yachts in 2018 and 2019.  As part of an expanded partnership, Tauck will leverage all four Ponant newbuilds starting with Le Lapérouse in summer 2018. 

“Today, Tauck utilises five Ponant ships for 10 itineraries. By 2020, we’ll be sailing on nine Ponant ships further supporting our investment in growing the category,” added Ms Tombaugh.

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