Tauck has announced the official restart of its operations in Europe and Africa. 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, as will its 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 fall as border openings permit. Those itineraries will be added to an “Open for Travel” page on Tauck’s website as they return to the company’s active roster.
The New ms Andorinha
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. The Andorinha will accommodate just 84 Tauck guests, a smaller number compared to other cruise lines’ Douro ships of the same approximate size. One especially notable feature of the ship will be a pop-up restaurant that rises from the stern of the vessel’s Sun (top) Deck on hydraulic lifts to become a fully functioning eatery with views of the surrounding countryside. Named Arthur’s for Tauck chairman Arthur Tauck Jr., the restaurant can also be lowered for added clearance when passing under low bridges.
Restarting its European operations is significant for Tauck, it says, as it’s the company’s most popular destination worldwide. Tauck has already resumed operations in the U.S.—its second most-popular destination—and the success Tauck is currently enjoying there will inform and enhance the restarts in Europe and Africa.
Tauck’s return to Europe also comes as the company marks 30 years on the continent. In all, Tauck 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 August 2 departure of “Mountain Gorilla Safari: Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda” and the August 4 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.
Tauck CEO: Demand Is Spiking
With the world beginning to reopen, Tauck CEO Dan Mahar is urging travelers to lock in their vacation plans now. “One thing we’ve learned time and again over our 96 years is that travel denied is really travel deferred,” said Mahar. “When people are unable to travel, it only fuels their desire and determination to do so. And now—with 97 percent of our guests having been vaccinated—we’re seeing demand come roaring back.”
He added: “Ninety percent of our 2021 U.S. 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, but we can’t say how long it’s going to last.”