Travel: Tauck christens new MS Grace riverboat

Tauck Riverboat
Tauck Riverboat

In a ceremony replete with the tunes of a marching band, speeches from local Dutch dignitaries and the traditional smashing of champagne, Tauck family members and executives recently joined with selected partner-suppliers and travel agents to celebrate the christening of the new MS Grace riverboat in Maastricht in the Netherlands.

The launch of the sleek and elegant MS Grace comes as Tauck is more than doubling the size of its European riverboat fleet – from four vessels at the start of 2014 to nine later this year with the June christening of another new ship, the MS Joy.

Efteling

Efteling

The MS Grace will sail on itineraries along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, and her christening comes at a busy time for Tauck. The family-owned and operated company recently announced its 2017 river cruising plans, which include a new family itinerary on the River Seine and a doubling of its total family river cruise departures. The US-based company has also announced the reconfiguration of the five 110-meter ships in its fleet, to be completed in stages over the next two years.

Efteling’s new €35 million attraction

One of Europe’s oldest theme parks is to open a special new €35million attraction in time of the 2017 summer season which will give visitors the ride of a lifetime.

Efteling theme park is located in the southern Netherlands and it’s new ‘Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy’ will be the largest and most expensive and thrilling attraction imaginable.

Symbolica will be a ‘dark ride’, an indoor attraction for the whole family, and similar to other Efteling attractions such as ‘Droomvlucht’, Fata Morgana and Carnaval Festival. The new attraction will revolve around the interplay of reality, dream and fantasy. Symbolica will form part of Efteling’s 65-year anniversary celebrations and is planned for the centre of the park.

Host in the Palace of Fantasy will be Pardoes the magic Jester. Visitors are invited to rediscover their imagination on an adventure through the magical, hidden rooms of the Palace. A maximum of six people will step into a carriage and then choose one of three different routes. Each route will offer a different adventure with interactive elements through the Palace of Fantasy.

Symbolica is being constructed in the centre of the park next to ‘Polles Keuken’ pancake restaurant. The attraction’s construction will cost approximately €35 million.

Since the opening in 1952, more than 120 million visitors have experienced an unforgettable day at Efteling, in the south of Holland. Over the years, Efteling has grown to become one of Europe’s biggest theme parks, with a unique fairytale atmosphere, natural surroundings and a wide range of thrilling and enchanting attractions. Over the next 18 months Efteling is investing around €30 million in the construction of a new holiday village, bordering the theme park, Efteling Golf Park and the Loonsche Land nature district.

The site, which is more than eight hectares in size, will feature central facilities and holiday homes designed to be compatible with the district’s natural surroundings. Preparation work will begin this year and the first guests are expected to be welcomed in the early part of 2017. Efteling is open all year round and makes an ideal family short-break destination with the Efteling Hotel and the holiday village Efteling Bosrijk just a stone’s throw away.

For more details, log onto www.efteling.com/en

Getting a taste of Bavaria

Latest ‘gems’ from Ramblers Worldwide Holidays’ extensive portfolio include something Bad, something with a Fiss – all washed down with a Bavarian Beer! Here are some suggestions from Ramblers’ extensive portfolio:

Bad Gastein– a two week holiday embracing superb alpine walking in the beautiful Salzburg region. Highlights include, the ‘base’ Bad Gastein located south of Salzburg on the edge of the Hohe Tauern National Park; a three mountain trek on the Turchlwand, Mauskarspitze, and Hirschkarspitze; the Stubnerkogel gondola and Graukogel chair lift; the Nassfeldertal Gorge and the old Roman road across the Niederer Tauern Pass.

Price from £825 per person includes return flights, transfers, half board accommodation and the services of two dedicated tour leaders (2 walking grades). Departures from 3 June.

Fabulous Fiss – a one or two week holiday showing off the Tirol in all its splendour! Situated on the Upper Inn Valley at the foot of the Samnaun mountain range, it’s known locally as ‘the sunshine terrace’. Highlights include a great network of Alpine footpaths and cable cars; wonderful meadows, ridges, woodland, mountain streams; stunning vistas like Urgtal, Ortler and the Oetztal Alps and gentle alpine villages like Serfaus and Ladis.

Price from £1,135 per person includes return flights, transfers, half board accommodation, local cable car and bus and the services of a dedicated tour leader (some dates have two walking grades). Departures from 10 July.

Bavarian Beer Gardens – a one week adventure combining fabulous walks and opportunity to pay homage to several of Bavaria’s venerable institutions! Highlights include Bad Kohlgrub in the Ammer Valley; the lakes and waterfalls near Bad Bayersoien and Murnau; the mountains above Oberammergau and Garmisch; the monastery at Ettal; King Ludwig II’s palaces of Linderhof and Neuschwanstein Castle; and the amazing Ettal monastery whose monks have brewed the famous beer for over 400 years.

Needless to say, each day’s walking and sightseeing ends with a thirst quenching beer or two at one of the region’s many beer gardens. Price from £955 per person includes return flights, transfers, half board accommodation, a day trip to Neuschwanstein and the services of two dedicated tour leaders (two walking grades). Departures from 26 June.

For more details see www.ramblersholidays.co.uk