Tauck and its maritime partner, Scylla Tours of Basel, Switzerland, originally ordered Esprit in 2008, and it was scheduled to enter Tauck’s fleet in 2010.
However, as the US remained mired in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Tauck deferred delivery of the ship—then little more than a hull—until 2015. Scylla completed construction and has operated the vessel in the interim under another flag. This winter the riverboat will undergo renovations and other upgrades to make Esprit identical to Tauck’s four other Jewel-class vessels.
Like the other Jewel-class ships, Esprit will accommodate 118 passengers, compared to the typical capacity of 140 or more on other ships of similar size. Esprit offers 14 spacious, 300-square-foot suites, each equipped with walk-in closets and marble baths with full-size tubs.
The ship also has seven junior suites and 38 cabins (183 and 150 square feet, respectively), with all suites, junior suites and cabins featuring sumptuous bedding including 400-thread-count linens, soft duvets, Mako cotton pillows with hypoallergenic 90% down filling, 100% cotton blankets and pillow-top mattresses.
All cabin categories also have televisions with in-room movies, mini-bars, terry cloth robes and slippers, radios, safes, adjustable air conditioning and luxury toiletries. Floor-to-ceiling windows and French balconies are featured in 85% of the accommodations, and Esprit also provides the Compass Rose restaurant, a lounge, boutique, massage studio and a second, more casual dining venue in The Bistro restaurant.