By Anne Kalosh.
Tauck, the venerable, family-run tour operator based in Connecticut, is expanding its small ship passenger volume by a whopping 40 percent in 2019. The company will add five new itineraries, increase the number of vessels featured in its fleet and sail more charters with partner cruise lines.
Why book with a tour operator like Tauck, instead of directly with a cruise line? By pairing its 93 years of experience leading land tours with the expertise of its small ship partners, the company claims to deliver a superior destination experience.
For example, thanks to its connections, Tauck provides special access and experiences such as exclusive, after-hours tours of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums, and insights into the natural world from by the nature documentary filmmakers at BBC Earth.
In 2019, Tauck will expand its Earth Journeys partnership with BBC Earth, producers of such award-winning films as “Blue Planet,” “Frozen Planet” and “Life.” The company’s new Spitsbergen and Alaska itineraries will be included in the Earth Journeys partnership, along with Tauck’s other expedition cruises.
The company’s highly seasoned Tauck directors are another bonus. Each small ship cruise is accompanied by at least one Tauck director who serves as concierge, expert guide and fun, knowledgeable traveling companion.
Tauck programs aren’t for the budget traveler. However, for those with the means, virtually everything is included in the cruise pricing—all shore excursions, all gratuities, all port charges, airport transfers, luggage handling and more. Plus, most cruises are paired with included hotel stays, complete with guided Tauck sightseeing, at the beginning or end of the voyage, or both. Featured hotel properties include such swanky digs as The Langham in London, the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo, the Grand Hotel Oslo and the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney.
Among the new cruises in the company’s 2019 lineup are the nine-day “Arctic Allure: Spitsbergen and the Midnight Sun,” featuring a seven-night cruise aboard the Ponant ship LE BOREAL, and the 11-day “Legendary Scottish Isles, Edinburgh and Glasgow,” with a seven-night cruise aboard Ponant’s LE CHAMPLAIN. The 20-day “Cruising Down Under,” also new, combines a six-night land exploration of Australia with two-night hotel stays in Queenstown and Auckland, New Zealand, and a nine-night New Zealand cruise aboard Ponant’s LE LAPEROUSE.
Tauck is also adding North America to its cruise portfolio, with an eight-day “Alaska’s Inside Passage” itinerary aboard PONANT’s LE SOLEAL and a 12-day “Cruising the Great Lakes: Chicago to Toronto” journey that includes an eight-night cruise aboard Ponant’s LE CHAMPLAIN, bookended by two-night hotel stays in both cities.
Next year will see Tauck further expanding its partnership with the French line Ponant. Tauck currently operates itineraries aboard six Ponant ships, including the soon-to-launch LE LAPEROUSE, which will be featured this summer on Tauck’s “Iceland: Land of Fire & Ice” cruise. LE LAPEROUSE is the first of four new “Explorer” expedition ships Ponant will introduce in 2018 and 2019, and Tauck features three of those next year.
In addition, Tauck is increasing the number of charters it will operate with its partner cruise lines by approximately 50 percent, and raising the total number of small ship cruise departures by 12 percent. In all, Tauck will offer 22 itineraries next year aboard a fleet of 13 ships.
© This article is protected by copyright, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the author. All Rights Reserved. QuirkyCruise.com.