A different kind of godmother: River cruise godmothers stay with ships, cruise line

(BPT) - Throughout the history of cruising, cruise lines have traditionally called upon celebrities, royalty, heads of state, or others with little or no ties to the cruise industry to serve as godmothers to their ships.  For most cruise ship godmothers, the role is thus largely ceremonial – their involvement with the ship and cruise line ends when the bubbly is cleaned off the bow.

One river cruise leader, however, is rewriting maritime tradition by choosing godmothers whose roles with the ships and cruise company endure long after the christening ceremony ends.  Tauck River Cruises – three-time winners of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “World’s Best River Cruise Line” award – launched two new state-of-the-art vessels earlier this year.  For the christening of Tauck’s new ms Inspire on April 3 in Basel, Switzerland, the company’s four female Tauck Cruise Directors collectively served as godmother.  And when the Inspire’s sister-ship, the ms Savor, was christened on June 21 in Bingen, Germany, a company Board Director (and Tauck family member) fulfilled the role.

Each of the four co-godmothers for the April launch of the ms Inspire serves aboard a different ship in Tauck’s fleet of riverboats, overseeing the guest experience, and working closely with the vessel’s maritime, hotel and restaurant staff.  Each also manages a team of three guides (or Tauck Directors) assigned to each riverboat. Typically, the Tauck Directors average more than a decade of service with the company.

Tauck CEO Dan Mahar explained the decision to chart new waters in the realm of cruise ship godmothering.  “Our Tauck Cruise Directors and Tauck Directors have collectively been the face of our company for 90 years,” he said. “They are the direct, critical link between our company and our guests, and they do an absolutely incredible job delivering the Tauck experience.”

In June, Liz Tauck Walters, a Tauck Board Director and daughter of company Chairman Arthur Tauck, Jr., served as godmother to the ms Savor.  Noted CEO Mahar: “Christening our newest riverboat is just the latest of Liz’s many contributions to Tauck’s success over the years.  As an undergrad at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Liz led tours of the campus for Tauck groups traveling on our New England itineraries.  More recently, she’s helped lead the company by serving on our Board of Directors, while also helping guide Tauck’s award-winning philanthropy initiatives.”

If Tauck has navigated its own course in choosing godmothers, the riverboats themselves are equally unique.  The ms Savor and ms Inspire together comprise Tauck’s new Inspiration Class ships, and they join Tauck’s four existing Jewel Class ships.  Like the Jewel Class ships, the Inspiration Class vessels carry far fewer passengers – yet they have far more service staff – than ships of the same size operated by other river cruise lines.  Where the 443-foot-long Inspiration Class ships carry just 130 guests, other lines’ ships of the same length carry 190 passengers, or 46 percent more guests.  And where other lines have just one cruise director to tend to the needs of those 190 guests, Tauck staffs each ship with a Tauck Cruise Director and three professional Tauck Directors to care for 130 guests.

With fewer passengers aboard their ships, Tauck is able to provide a more intimate, club-like atmosphere, a higher percentage of suites, and other thoughtful amenities to enhance their guests’ experience.  One such amenity aboard the Inspiration Class ships is a second onboard dining venue, Arthur’s, with its own dedicated kitchen.  Named for company Chairman Arthur Tauck Jr., Arthur’s serves American steakhouse-style selections and provides a more casual option to the fine dining offered in the ship’s main dining room, the Compass Rose. 

In addition to launching its two new ships, Tauck has also launched four new river cruise itineraries this year, including its first ever on the River Seine in France. For more information, visit www.tauck.com, or call 800-468-2825.