Both the young and young at heart delight aboard a weeklong Danube river cruise filled with European holiday festivities onboard and ashore... Your family will discover Europe's time-honored holiday traditions in historic cities and towns along the Danube featuring the sights, flavors, and music of the season. Sightseeing is designed for all generations to enjoy together – in Oberndorf, home of "Silent Night"… at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and magnificent Melk Abbey... in Old Town Bratislava with medieval games and a scavenger hunt… and in Budapest, "the Pearl of the Danube." And you'll toast the season during a Tauck Exclusive evening at a private palace in Vienna with dinner, a performance, and a waltzing lesson!
Cruise begins: 6:00 PM, Regensburg, Germany. A transfer is included from Munich's Franz Josef Strauss International Airport or Munich Train Station to your riverboat, ms Joy, docked in Regensburg or Vilshofen and all decked out for the holidays! Guests who enjoy a pre-cruise stay in Munich will receive a transfer from Tauck's hotel to the riverboat. Join your captain onboard your riverboat for a fun welcome reception followed by dinner this evening. Set sail for Passau.
Wake up early aboard your riverboat in Linz for your full-day excursion to Oberndorf and Salzburg. Mozart was born in Salzburg, and his family home is still there. The Sound of Music was set in Salzburg, and you might recognize a few locations from the movie. Have lunch at a local restaurant, and then you're off on a choice of afternoon excursions. One choice will have your family discovering the story behind one of the world's most beloved Christmas carols in Oberndorf, the town where "Silent Night" was born in 1818, and hear some stirring music. Alternatively, enjoy some additional free time in Salzburg to explore as you please. Reboard your riverboat, and cruise overnight to Dürnstein.
Early this morning your riverboat sails through Wachau Valley wine country before docking in Dürnstein. Disembark for your choice of shore excursions. One possibility is to visit Melk Abbey, a sprawling Baroque edifice high on a hill overlooking the Danube. Softly golden in the winter light, Melk Abbey is filled with centuries of treasures. It's been a beacon of learning for generations and is still home to a secondary school today. On a guided tour, your family will love imagining going to school in these magnificent surroundings. According to the abbey's Christmas legend, the Virgin Mary and the Christ child made a miraculous visit to the abbey, where a young novice juggled oranges and entertained the infant so much that he clapped for joy and Mary gave the baby to the priest-in-training to hold. Your family's other choice this morning is to go on a walking tour in the charming riverside Old Town of Krems, set against a striking backdrop of terraced vineyards. After lunch onboard your riverboat, enjoy some local wines at a tasting and learn about wine-making in the Wachau Valley. Your riverboat sails for Vienna this afternoon.
Disembark for a sightseeing tour of Vienna, taking in the elegant boulevards, palaces, museums, opera house, and other impressive buildings built during the days when today's capital city of Austria was a grand Imperial city – the home base of the Habsburg family whose Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled much of Europe. Your family can return to the riverboat for lunch or try a local restaurant or café. This afternoon is free for exploring Vienna as you please. Shuttles between your riverboat and downtown Vienna will run throughout the afternoon. This evening, enjoy one of Vienna's most enchanting holiday markets, glittering with lights and sparkling with seasonal treats.
Please Note: To preserve your sightseeing experience in Vienna and maximize our time there, we may rotate our activities on Days 5 and 6 on some departures.
Following an introduction to Vienna this morning, enjoy a firsthand look at the Habsburg emperors' home life during your guided visit at Schönbrunn Palace, once their magnificent summer residence, boasting 1,441 rooms and exquisite gardens. This afternoon is free for exploring Vienna as you please; shuttles between your riverboat and central Vienna run throughout the afternoon. Then, it's time to dress up for a Tauck Exclusive evening at Palais Pallavicini, one of Vienna's few private palaces, where you'll enjoy a champagne (or juice) reception, dinner, a performance, and a waltzing lesson for a wonderful night of family fun.
Please Note: To preserve your sightseeing experience in Vienna and maximize our time there, we may rotate our activities on Days 5 and 6 on some departures.
Your riverboat arrives this morning in Slovakia's capital city, Bratislava. Head to Old Town to try your hand at some medieval games and enjoy an interactive walking tour with a scavenger hunt. Your afternoon is free. This evening onboard your riverboat, Slovak performers entertain your family followed by your captain's farewell cocktail hour and dinner.
Dock in Budapest this morning and disembark your riverboat for a tour of a city divided by the Danube River. Known for its stunning architecture as "the Pearl of the Danube," Budapest was once two separate cities, Buda and Pest. Your family will go on a walking tour through the castle district and take in the amazing views from Fisherman's Bastion. See elegant Andrássy Avenue, monumental Heroes Square, and City Park. Tour ends: Budapest. A transfer is included from Kempinski Corvinus Hotel, Budapest to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. Guests should book an afternoon flight home to be able to participate in Budapest sightseeing. Families enjoying a post-cruise stay at Kempinksi Corvinus Hotel, Budapest will receive a transfer from Tauck's hotel to the airport. Please allow at least 3 hours for airport check-in.
Both the young and young at heart delight aboard a weeklong Danube river cruise filled with European holiday festivities onboard and ashore...Your family will discover Europe's time-honored holiday traditions in historic cities and towns along the Danube featuring the sights, flavors, and music of the season. Sightseeing is designed for all generations to enjoy together – in Oberndorf, home of "Silent Night"… at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and magnificent Melk Abbey... in Old Town Bratislava with medieval games and a scavenger hunt… and in Budapest, "the Pearl of the Danube." And you'll toast the season during a Tauck Exclusive evening at a private palace in Vienna with dinner, a performance, and a waltzing lesson!
Traveling with Peace of Mind
Our commitment never wavers – to earn your trust by always doing the right thing. As we explore the world together again, this will be more important than ever as we adapt to living and traveling in the presence of COVID-19.
Tauck is 97-years young this year, and our ability to weather many storms over the decades is a result of our values and beliefs – as a family and as a family-owned and led company. In addition to the guiding light of these values, our extensive experience, local knowledge and global support network help to ensure your safety on every Tauck journey. Building upon our bedrock of award-winning guest care, we have worked tirelessly to prepare for your return following the COVID-19 hiatus in travel. With guidance from leading experts, including the CDC and WHO, together with our internal Global Response Team and, most importantly, with feedback from thousands of our guests, we have redefined how we will conduct our experiences as we resume travel.
Tauck is Prepared for the Unexpected
For decades, Tauck has operated in over 70 countries in all 7 continents. Over this time, our staff and network of supplier partners have always been there to support our guests and team on the road. Our guests travel with a comprehensive, built-in support system that starts with the care and local knowledge of our Tauck Directors and extends to our network of partners around the world, including hoteliers and transportation companies.
At the core of our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the unexpected is our Global Response Team - a group of over 50 employees across all departments who stand ready to spring into action around the world. This team has plenty of experience, from weather events, high and low water on rivers, earthquakes, volcanic ash, civil unrest and work stoppages. They have also dealt with past virus outbreaks including the SARS and Zika viruses.
The Tauck Travel Well Pledge
Before we operate tours and cruises, all Tauck employees, our supplier partners and our guests will take Tauck’s Travel Well Pledge.
As a company, we will follow our enhanced protocols with diligence and rigor; review them frequently as the landscape changes and always make common-sense decisions grounded in purpose and pride. We embrace these new and necessary measures to combat COVID-19 and will do our very best to provide the Tauck care we have been honored to deliver for 97 years.
OUR NEW HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Consistent with our commitment to the well-being of our guests, we are implementing enhanced health and safety protocols. These protocols may vary by geographic regions and will certainly evolve over time, as science and society respond to new realities:
Prior to interacting with guests, each member of Tauck’s field staff is trained in enhanced protocols and participates in a personal health screening.
Once on tour, our Tauck Directors and supporting staff are responsible for maintaining these protocols with a special focus on cleanliness and physical distancing. They will relay critical information regarding requirements, advise when protocols are mandatory – such as wearing a face covering in group settings – and help facilitate guest care through communication with appropriate parties should a guest become ill on tour. All Tauck staff will adhere to the same requirements.
When joining a Tauck journey, every guest is responsible for their own health and, in turn, the protection of their fellow travelers, the Tauck staff, our suppliers and the places we visit. Guests will pledge to follow the direction of the Tauck staff and adhere to health and safety protocols.
Guests are expected to wear face coverings in all group settings, to wash their hands frequently and to adhere to supplier and government regulations. While supplies of face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available, guests are asked to bring such personal items for their own comfort.
Small is BIG
For many years, Tauck has emphasized and invested in more choices of activities, resulting in smaller groups for activities like sightseeing and events. This is consistent with our mantra that “Small is Big” – small groups and smaller ships with fewer guests.
We initially focused on these elements to improve the guest experience. Yet today they take on an additional dimension; small group experiences and more personal space are critical in providing the peace of mind our guests expect. Accordingly, we are offering even more small group experiences and limiting guest numbers across all of our journeys.
We have been working diligently with our partners to be prepared to welcome you back when the time is right.
Tauck has worked meticulously with our global supplier partners to plan for every itinerary following the hiatus in travel. All partners, whether they be a hotel, museum, small ship/riverboat, restaurant or other partner, have been thoughtful about how to provide a Tauck experience in this environment.
And while it's impossible to list all of the enhanced health and safety protocols for the hundreds of Tauck partners across the globe, we would like to share a representative sample of what you can expect:
Our hotel partners all have world-class health and safety protocols. However, these guidelines may vary depending on local situations and regulations. Here are some typical examples:
Ships and Riverboats
We have worked closely with our cruise partners to ensure the best possible health and safety protocols and to ensure the care and service you expect from Tauck:
Sightseeing and Local Activities
Many of our experiences are exclusive and/or private and that’s important in taking care of you. Whether it be a guided tour, a visit to an iconic museum or private home, a musical performance, or any other special Tauck activities, we are applying the same rigor to health and safety protocols:
Tauck has always been known for a la carte dining; having more freedom to decide when and with whom to dine now has more value than ever. Additionally, our partners whether they be hotels, ships, special venues or restaurants, are raising their already rigorous hygienic standards. Here are some examples:
Keeping on-tour transportation safe is a major focus of our team who has worked with hundreds of partners to ensure continuity in health and safety protocols:
Our Supplier Partners are ready for you
Tauck is proud to have worked closely with our partners around the world, many of them for decades, to deliver the quality, comfort and safety you expect. Whether it be hotels and resorts, riverboats and small ships, restaurants, event venues or transportation companies, their meticulous health and safety protocols reflect their leadership and well-earned respect in the travel industry. The following are some select health and safety protocols. We will update these on a regular basis.
In addition to our supplier partners, we have also been actively engaged with global travel organizations to standardize health and safety protocols throughout the travel industry. TourCare is one example:
TourCare are health and sanitation guidelines developed by the tour industry's major global associations: the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Tauck, and our supplier partners, meet and exceed these guidelines that require members to adhere to the highest standards in the industry.
The Tauck experience was everything we expected it to be. We also appreciated the warm reception as their first cruise on the Danube since the Covid shutdown. Their professional staff navigated the travel restrictions as we moved from country to country and overall elimated those worries for us. Their were 52 (of a possible 130) passengers on board so to say we were given VIP treatment is an understatement. We loved the crew on board the MS Joy as well as the talented Cruise Director and Tour Directors. The experience that they created for us is the reason why we will continue to travel with Tauck and recommend them to others. On a negative note, I was disappointed in the hotel selection in Prague. The InterContinental where we had originally been booked was under renovation. We were shifted to the Hilton which was average at best. Additionally as a Category 7 traveler, we were put in a standard room. Other Category 7 travelers were upgraded to the premium floors which I found irritating.
Once you take a Tauck tour, you'll never go with another Operator. The Tauck experience was incredible and totally worth the money. Can't think of one thing to complain about or would change.
Enjoyed all aspects of the Tauck Cruise.
It is wonderful to have every detail taken care of with a smile on the face of the staff.
Tauck is always an outstanding experience.
While watching a video on the history of Tauck during a coach ride portion of this tour, I was surprised to find out that this company pioneered land tours in North America, and was the first to offer European river cruises. Tauck takes care of even the smallest details, from tipping local guides to providing us with coins to use restrooms during walking tours of the various cities we visited. WiFi onboard is complimentary -- something even NatGeo doesn\'t offer on their cruises. And, an open bar to boot, where I ordered the most exotic cocktails and kept the bartenders grinning and guessing as to their ingredients. Our arrivals at hotels in separate coaches on land portions of the tour were coordinated beforehand with our rooms and luggage, so that we did not have to spend any time standing in large gatherings in the hotel lobby waiting for rooms to be assigned and room keys slowly doled out as in other tours. As we off boarded our coaches, we were handed our room keys and were able to proceed immediately to our rooms, with our luggage delivered soon thereafter. Each hotel stay was fabulous and impressive -- four stars all the way. Live orchestral music gave our dining experiences a truly special touch.
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We had a marvelous trip. Tauck thinks of everything!!