Tauck Launches New MS Swiss Sapphire Riverboat

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Luxury Riverboat Is Tauck's Second New Ship In Two Years.

We're taking a very deliberate and measured approach as we grow our river cruising business, to make sure that the quality of the experience continues to live up to Tauck's standards, and to exceed the expectations of our guests

Tauck family members, Tauck World Discovery executives, travel agents, local dignitaries, journalists and other special guests gathered at the Antwerp Cruise Terminal in Antwerp, Belgium today for the official christening of Tauck's new MS Swiss Sapphire luxury riverboat. The launch of the Swiss Sapphire comes just two years after the launch of its sister-ship, Tauck's MS Swiss Emerald.

The Swiss Sapphire was christened in a dock-side ceremony by Lee Tauck, godmother to the ship and matriarch to the third generation of the Tauck family to lead Tauck World Discovery, an 83-year-old luxury tour, cruise and safari operator. The christening ceremony included speeches by Tauck executives and city officials, performances by a local musical ensemble, and fireboats firing cannons and spraying towering geysers of water skyward in celebration. Following the ceremonies, the Sapphire and its guests set sail on a three-day luxury cruise along the Albert Canal.

The Swiss Sapphire was constructed in Hardinxveld Giessendam in the Netherlands, and it will alternate with the Swiss Emerald on six different itineraries. The launch of the Swiss Sapphire highlights Tauck's sixth year offering European riverboat cruises, and it marks the company's continued expansion in the category. Besides the launch of the Sapphire, the company is also adding two new European river cruise itineraries this spring.

Despite the expansion of its fleet and its cruise offerings, Tauck is intentionally managing its growth, says CEO Dan Mahar. "We're taking a very deliberate and measured approach as we grow our river cruising business, to make sure that the quality of the experience continues to live up to Tauck's standards, and to exceed the expectations of our guests," said Mahar. "Our goal is not to be the largest river cruise company in the world, it's to be the best."

The 361-foot Swiss Sapphire accommodates a maximum of just 118 guests, compared to 150 or more on other similarly sized vessels. Guests aboard the Sapphire can choose among 59 outside-facing staterooms, including 14 luxury suites. Each suite boasts 300 square-feet of living space highlighted by floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in closets and marble baths with full size tubs. An additional 45 junior suites and cabins range from 150 to 183 square-feet. All suites and cabins are well appointed with plasma TVs, mini-bars, terry cloth robes, radios, safes, individual air conditioning and L'Occitane toiletries. The ship also features a 24-hour Jacuzzi, Lido bar, lounge, restaurant and wellness center. Along with a ship's crew of 29, the Sapphire also has an onboard staff of three Tauck Directors and one Tauck Cruise Director to ensure superior service and attention to guests' needs.

Those interested in learning more about the Swiss Sapphire and Tauck's Those interested in learning more about the Swiss Sapphire and Tauck's riverboat cruises can visit their local travel professional, call 1 800 468 2825, or go to http://www.tauck.com.

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