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Jewel Review

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5.0 / 5.0
4 reviews

Bottom Line




Passenger to Crew

April 2009

Shore Excursions
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Tauck Cruise Deals
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic Contributor

Jewel Overview

Editor's Note: Jewel is being chartered for the 2017 sailing season. 

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Jewel -- like the near-identical Emerald, Sapphire and Treasures -- is part of a series of the first ships ever built to the specifications of upmarket tour company Tauck.

Onboard, the ambience is distinctively unique. Jewel, with its dark wood paneled atrium, surprisingly wide hallways for a riverboat and generous public spaces, is more evocative of a grand American hotel, like Colorado's Broadmoor or West Virginia's Greenbrier, than its more utilitarian competitors (whose decors often feel Hyatt-esque). The ambience may be elegant, but it's also comfortable, with plenty of spaces in which to recline -- from the lounge and the library to the very comfortable and spacious staterooms.

Service, from Jewel's U.S.-based tour directors to its mostly Indonesian crew (some staffers hail from Eastern and Western Europe), is superb. It's pampering, intuitive and warm.  

Tauck also exceeded expectations when it came to onboard enrichment and entertainment, all aimed at a very inquisitive and well-traveled passenger. There's nightly piano music and usually some kind of post-dinner event, like a performance by Slovakian folk dancers. The glorious evening we spent at a Viennese palace for dinner and classic entertainment was the most unique and special night I've ever spent on a Danube River cruise. There are lectures on history and culture of places along the river, and the occasional special culinary event, such as a wine tasting with Austrian cheese one afternoon while cruising between Vienna and Bratislava.

Tours, as they are on most riverboats, are included in cruise fares, and though the beloved "Vox Boxes" are provided (so that all can hear their guides without necessarily being close by), passengers are divided into intimate groups. There weren't any recreationally minded tours on our trip, but the ship does have bicycles that are available, free of charge, to passengers who wish to ride independently.

The highlight of the cruise for many of us was the Tauck tradition of "lagniappe." Company founder Arthur Tauck put this New Orleans term for a surprising treat into play, and his legacy endures beautifully. On our Jewel cruise, examples of lagniappes included a coffee klatch in a famous Bratislava cafe, a walking tour of Vienna's famous Naschmarkt led by the chef (and featuring tasting stops that range from wine to meats and cheeses) and, while cruising along the Danube one afternoon, a tasting of regional apricot liqueurs and chocolates. For passengers, the lagniappe is a surprise -- which adds to the appeal.

A few times, passengers spoke about how Tauck tours in general, and, more specifically, its river cruises, cost more than those of other river cruise lines (and tour operators). But there wasn't a soul who begrudged the expense; in true value-for-money fashion, discerning travelers got their money's worth, in spades.

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Fellow Passengers

Tauck's core riverboat audience is well-traveled and well-heeled, in the 55-plus age range. A good number of the travelers on our sailing were repeat Tauck customers, though many were trying the riverboat experience for the first time, having done only the company's land tours. Those with prior cruise experience had generally sailed on luxury lines such as Seabourn, Silversea Cruises and Crystal Cruises.

Jewel Dress Code

Casual attire prevails, at least during the daytime. But do note that casual for Tauck trips is still a bit dressy. Few, for instance, wore shorts either onboard or onshore, though all dressed comfortably. At night, women wore festive pants combos or casual dresses. Most men donned jackets, though few wore ties. The only rather formal night is the captain's farewell dinner; in this case, suits and ties for men and cocktail attire for women were the norm.

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Jewel Ratings

Public Rooms5.04.8
Fitness Recreation5.04.5
Value For Money5.04.8

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Awards and Recognition

Jewel Member Reviews

Sail Date: May 2016
Itinerary-Cruising the Danube from Budapest to Bucharest First time taking a trip of any kind with Tauck and we were very happy with the overall experience. This was an inclusive trip with two pre-cruise nights... Read More
Sail Date: Oct 2013
we returned home to the states after 14 days on the tauck swiss jewel, sailing from basel to amsterdam. we have over 100 days on both seabourn and silversea, and prior river cruises on the danube, the... Read More

Tauck River Cruising Fleet

ms Emerald
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

10 reviews

Emerald, launched in 2006, is the first ship custom-built for the Tauck river fleet. It's beautiful without being ostentatious, and very destination focused.

View All ms Emerald Cruises
ms Sapphire
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Renovated in 2017, ms Sapphire offers a truly all-inclusive experience with luxurious amenities, outstanding service - the ship has only 98 passengers - and a quiet professionalism.

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Chartered for the 2017 cruise season, Jewel provides Tauck's customary high level of service, in a contemporary elegant surroundings.

ms Treasures
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Ms Treasures, which debuted in August 2011, introduced Tauck's updated decor scheme, an airy elegant design that has since been adopted by the three older boats.

ms Inspire
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Inspire is a gorgeous boat -- all shining brass and sparkling crystal, but its opulence isn't offputting. Instead, from the minute you step onboard, you feel welcomed.

ms Savor

Tauck River Cruising's 130-passenger ms Savor sails on the Rhine and Moselle rivers, and sports "loft" design cabins, alfresco dining options and bikes for passenger use.

ms Esprit

Sailing the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, Tauck's 118-passenger Esprit is full of luxurious features, including spacious suites with walk-in closets and marble bathrooms with full-size tubs.

ms Grace
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Attracting an international clientele, Tauck stands out from the pack on Europe’s rivers with its all-inclusive offering, casual elegance and sophisticated vibe.

ms Joy
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Tauck’s all-inclusive Joy, introduced to the fleet of European vessels in 2016, operates a range of itineraries the Danube River.

ms Andorinha

The first purpose-built river cruise ship for Tauck on Portugal's Douro River, ms Andorinha continues the line's lavish inclusivity.

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