PHOTO: Tauck's Swiss Jewel. (photo courtesy of Tauck)
Tauck has big plans for its charters as it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary of small ship cruising (in 2018).
The tour company and riverboat operator revealed as much via press conference at the Seatrade Cruise Global convention.
As a premium tour company, Tauck has a shoreside focus but also endeavors to up its presence in cruising. Already, the company sails nine dedicated riverboats with only up to 110 passengers onboard and less than 100 in France.
The brand speaks a lot to the notion of “small is the new luxury,”—its first two vessels on the river were redesigned for 2017 with even fewer cabins, only accommodating 98 guests instead of the earlier 118. In order to make the change, 30 mid-deck cabins were swapped out for 20. Other riverboats will be similarly outfitted in 2018.
Even on Tauck’s small ships, no more than 300 guests are accommodated. Said product line is usually the first to sell out, so the company is gearing up to double its capacity by 2020. While it does not have small ships specific to its brand like the riverboats, the company will continue to team up with Ponant, whose fleet will expand via four new ships in 2018 and 2019.
Ponant will first sail the new Le Laperouse on July 3, 2018, with its “Iceland: Land of Fire & Ice” itinerary, a weeklong roundtrip from Reykjavik.
“Today, Tauck utilizes five Ponant ships for 10 itineraries. By 2020, we’ll be sailing on nine Ponant ships further supporting our investment in growing the category,” said Jennifer Tombaugh, president of Tauck.
READ MORE: Tauck Says Small is the New Luxury
The company will also newly feature Cuba aboard the partner line’s Le Ponant in 2018, sailing between Havana and Santiago de Cuba to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. The 10-night people-to-people cultural trip will include one night in Miami, two nights in Havana and the weeklong cruise with departure dates scheduled for December 14, 23 and 28.
At least for now, Tauck has no plans to build its own small ships like its riverboats, which in the meantime is beneficial for Ponant.
Considering each other storytellers, Tauck and BBC Earth have partnered for four years in a collaboration that leverages the popularity of the new “Planet Earth II” television program. Select small ship cruises in 2018 will feature BBC Earth accordingly, with onboard experts and brand training and certification.
READ MORE: Tauck Rolls Out the Second Year of BBC Earth
As part of the Tauck Earth Journeys portfolio, cruises will spotlight film vignettes and specialty field equipment like long-range microphones, thermal imaging cameras, night-vision goggles and self-activating camera traps.
Altogether, the Tauck cruise program is all-inclusive thanks to complimentary shore excursions, gratuities, port charges and taxes, airport transfers, luggage handling, internet access, onboard meals and shoreside dining options; as well as free onboard beer, wine and cocktails, plus pre and/or post-cruise hotel stays on most itineraries.
Perhaps most attractive? Tauck is a third-generation family-owned company that offers family itineraries: They admit they are not the cheapest travel option but do consider it a great all-inclusive value.
There certainly is a difference.