Tauck says the time is now right to relaunch touring and cruising in select international markets after an extended pandemic hiatus. The US travel company will restart operations in Europe and Africa over the next few months building on a recent expansion of its US domestic trips.
The company plans to reopen in stages, beginning with selected departures of its Iceland and Treasures of the Aegean small ship ocean cruises in June and July. Also scheduled for July are the resumption of the company’s cruises in the Galapagos Islands, as well as its Tauck Bridges family adventure in Costa Rica. Tauck’s guided safaris in eastern and southern Africa will resume in August, along with land tours in Spain, France and Portugal.
August will also mark the resumption of Tauck’s European river cruises, with departures sailing on the Rhône and Seine in France and the Douro River in Portugal. Although no firm date has been set, Tauck plans to restart its cruises on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers – and the bulk of its remaining European land tours – in early autumn as border openings permit.
Tauck’s August sailings on the Douro will mark its first-ever journeys on the river, as well as the debut of its new MS Andorinha riverboat, which had been flagged to launch last April.
Andorinha will accommodate 84 guests, versus up to 112 passengers – or 33% more people – on other cruise lines’ Douro ships of the same approximate size. The ship’s design and décor will reflect the climate and cultural traditions of the Douro River Valley, and one especially notable feature will be a pop-up restaurant that rises from the stern of the vessel’s Sun Deck on hydraulic lifts to become a fully functioning eatery with commanding views of the surrounding countryside.
“All the hard work and meticulous planning we’ve put into our relaunch in the US has paid off,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar, “and we’ve proven conclusively that we can deliver the Tauck-level experience our guests expect while still following all of the necessary safety protocols.”
As the world begins to reopen, Mahar is strongly urging travellers to lock in their holiday plans now.
“One thing we’ve learned time and again over our 96 years is that travel denied is really travel deferred,” Mahar said. “When people are unable to travel, it only fuels their desire and determination to do so. And now – with 97% of our guests having been vaccinated – we’re seeing demand come roaring back.”
Mahar said that 90% of Tauck’s 2021 US departures are completely sold out.
“2022 has the strongest advance bookings of any year in our 96-year history, and April was our strongest booking month since 2007. We still have space today,” he added, “but we can’t say how long it’s going to last.”
Tauck’s return to Europe comes as the company marks 30 years on the Continent. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be back, and we can’t wait to share the incredible wonders of Europe with our guests once more.”
The company operates more than 70 land tours, river cruises and small ship ocean cruises across Europe, including Tauck Bridges family trips and a number of small group land tours averaging just 24 guests.
Tauck will resume its safaris in eastern and southern Africa with the 2 August departure of Mountain Gorilla Safari: Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda and the 4 August departures of Kenya & Tanzania: A Classic Safari and South Africa: An Elegant Adventure. All of the company’s safaris are small-group journeys, with as few as 18 guests per departure to ensure an up-close, intimate immersion into the local culture, flora and fauna.
At this time, Tauck’s Australia and New Zealand programs remain halted due to border restrictions. Tauck also noted that it expects to operate all 2022 scheduled tours and cruises.
Lead image: Douro River Valley, Spain | Courtesy of Tauck