Tauck is ramping up its small group offerings for 2023, boosting the number of special land tour departures featuring small group sizes this year by 35% over pre-pandemic levels.
In total, the company will feature small group departures on some 75 land journeys in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Most departures will average 24 passengers, with many of Tauck’s African safaris featuring as few as 18 guests on all departures.
Tauck is also supporting the expansion of its small group land journeys with a new 28-page e-brochure that highlights the benefits of small group travel and lists all of the Tauck itineraries where small group departures are available.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar noted that Tauck’s focus on providing its guests with small group experiences pre-dates the pandemic. “Even before COVID, we’d been evolving our product lines to reflect our ‘small is big’ mantra,” said Mahar.
“Our guests understand and appreciate that they’re able to immerse themselves in the destination in a more interactive and authentic way, and enjoy a more engaging and enriching experience, when they travel in a smaller, more intimate group setting. The onset of Covid boosted the appeal of small group travel for very different reasons,” added Mahar, “but even before the pandemic, Tauck was already moving firmly in that direction.”
Tauck's Small Ship Ocean Cruises and European River Cruises
Mahar added that Tauck’s “small is big” ethos extends beyond the small group departures of its land journeys to include how the company operates its ocean cruises, European river cruises, and even its standard-group-size classic land tours.
Tauck’s primary maritime partner on its small ship ocean cruises is the luxury French line Ponant, with Tauck employing Ponant’s new,184-guest Explorer ships on its itineraries. More than a dozen of Tauck’s small ship ocean cruises employ ships carrying fewer than 200 guests, including four vessels that carry 100 passengers or less.
On Europe’s rivers, Tauck’s newest ship, the ms Andorinha, carries just 84 guests – fewer than any other riverboat in the company’s fleet. That’s also fewer passengers than any other similarly sized ship sailing Portugal’s Douro River where the Andorinha operates.
Launched in 2021, the Andorinha’s is just the latest example of Tauck keeping its riverboat capacity intentionally low, in order to offer guests more suites, roomier public areas, and a less crowded, more intimate onboard ambiance. In 2017 and 2018, Tauck reconfigured its four 110-meter ships to decrease their capacity, reducing the number of guests hosted on each ship from 118 to 98 per vessel. Tauck’s four 135-meter ships, meanwhile, have a capacity of just 130 guests each, far less than the 190 passengers (or 46% more) routinely carried aboard competitors’ ships of the same size.
Sightseeing Choices = Smaller Group Sizes
Tauck’s small ship ocean cruises and European river cruises both feature a choice of sightseeing options in many ports, with guests able to choose the option that aligns best with their interests and, in some cases, their preferred activity level. This ensures a more engaging, more customized itinerary for each guest, and it also reduces the size of each group to provide a more intimate and interactive experience. Even in ports where all guests enjoy the same sightseeing, Tauck divides guests into smaller groups - a strategy Tauck follows with its land-based motor coach tours.