This is my first Tauck trip and it did not disappoint in terms of service and the overall quality of what was offered.
I did the 14 day Seine river cruise trip from Paris to London in July 2017. In practice this is only 9 days on the river boat and 5 days in hotels in Paris and London.
The Tauck tour directors were helpful and friendly and I could not fault them. The whole trip was well organised and any glitches quickly dealt with. There were a number of 'small surprises' along the way which were appreciated and made you feel like you were valued and getting a high quality product - arguably you have already paid for these additional extras as part of the fare, however if you are looking for a trip experience which is above the essentials Tauck delivers.
Scylla who own and operate the river boats offered an equally great product. Staff were professional and friendly - as good as I have experienced anywhere. Food quality and variety was much better than I expected and the wines were of a good standard. My main complaint about dinner service is that it is very rushed - given there is very limited entertainment on the river cruise, dinner should be made in to more of an event. What is the rush? The ship has recently been refitted and therefore it was fresh and modern.
As mentioned this is a 14 day 'cruise' but only 9 nights on board the ship. The other nights are spent in hotels in Versailles and London. Accommodation in London was at the Savoy and I am pleased to have experienced this lovely hotel. The Waldorf in Versailles was ok but nothing to rave about. I would have much preferred to spend the full 14 days on ship. The packing up and moving involved in shifting really broke up the holiday (I was not the only person who felt this). The Seine is a short river, however there is much to see and I would have preferred a less frenetic pace of the land tours (see comments below). It is not that I am infirm - I just like to balance on board relaxing with touring. 14 days with the same land experiences spread out would have been much better.
I am experienced ocean cruiser and this was my first river cruise. To compare the two products:
I travel on five star all inclusive ocean cruises and the service and staff were equivalent. I took a basic suite (ie: port hole only) and this room size was fine for me as a single person. I would not recommend it for two people (although a number of people did share on my trip). The room is very small and closet space is limited.
Entertainment on the river cruise was, as expected, very basic and 'touristy'. I really missed entertainment at night which is a big part of the enjoyment for me on an ocean cruise. This will impact on my personal decision as to whether to take another river cruise. If however you are happy to go to bed early and don't value night time entertainment then this would not be an issue for you. There was a pianist who was very good. I would have liked a more contemporary suite of music - just because I am in my 50s doesn't mean I only want to hear stuff written over 20 years ago.
The absence of rough seas is a real advantage on a river cruise especially if you get sea sick. There is always something to look at as you pass along the banks and this is pleasant
There is a lot more emphasis on 'off ship' activities on the river cruise. While you are able to stay on board with no issues, I found the level of activity which kept you off ship a bit excessive. I like to spend half a day on shore and half a day relaxing on ship which is very achievable on ocean cruises. Given the on shore program (which I wanted to do) there was only limited opportunity for on ship relaxation and I would have liked a greater balance.
Overall - I was not disappointed in the Tauck product. They lived up to their reputation. The extra you pay is worth it. The newly refurbished ship is lovely and it is very relaxing and easy to get around.