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Tauck Small Ship Cruising Cruise Highlights

Why Go?

Intimate ships cater to a small group of passengers in a familial, club-like setting

A tour company with nearly 100 years of service and expertise under its belt

Tauck Directors, who are knowledgeable destination specialists, lead every shore excursion along with local guides

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Tauck Small Ship Cruising Overview

Tauck's luxury small-ship operation, which launched in 1993 and offers destination-intensive itineraries, does not operate its own ships. Instead it uses a combination of whole-ship charters and Tauck-branded group space on existing cruises. The line started by partnering with Windstar and Ponant and continues to work with the two lines almost exclusively, though it also charters Metropolitan Touring's Isabella in the Galapagos.

Who goes on Tauck Small Ship Cruising cruise ships?

Tauck passengers are primarily well-traveled North Americans who can afford the best when it comes to their vacation options and are deeply committed to immersion travel. Passengers are mostly in the 50 to 70 age range, typically running younger on expedition itineraries and older on cultural cruises. In the Galapagos there is a kids' program on the Tauck Bridges itineraries during peak school vacations, and the line also hosts multigenerational groups on other sailings from time to time.

Do I have to dress up on a Tauck Small Ship cruise?

Not with formal wear or ties, but you will find that some Tauck Small Ship cruises slant toward the dressy side, particularly on partial charters of Ponant ships. In some places the onboard dress is dictated more by the destination; in Antarctica, the Galapagos and Iceland, the dress code tend toward casual; elsewhere, you'll find that the dress is mainly resort casual or slightly elegant, at least at dinner.

What are Tauck Small Ship Cruising's most popular activities?

The ships Tauck Small Ship uses might vary, but the destination, history and culture are where the focus lies, and whether the cruise is a full or partial charter, Tauck passengers have their own shore excursions and guides. Particularly popular are Tauck's exclusive Earth Journeys cruises, created in partnership with natural history experts from BBC Earth. On these sailings, travelers might get to play with various pieces of field equipment provided by Tauck directors and local guides, depending on the itinerary, which could mean putting an FLIR thermal-imaging camera to work, trying out a GoPro video camera or utilizing special microphones that can pick up underwater sounds.

Onboard, the pace is always relaxed, with passengers enjoying the spa and reading. They attend in-depth enrichment lectures that give more context to the upcoming experience on shore, and often enjoy early, private visits to places, like the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, which leave more independent free time for leisure or to relax after exploring.

Is everything free on Tauck Small Ship sailings?

Pretty much. Even on cruises where other passengers have more limited inclusions, Tauck passengers have complimentary happy hours and wine with dinner, and special Tauck meals on land. The fare covers cocktail parties, enrichment lectures and shore excursions with your group, land stays pre- or post-cruise (offered on all cruises, expect those in Iceland and Alaska) and airport transfers, Wi-Fi, beverages and all gratuities to the Tauck director, ship and hotel staff, drivers, local guides and experts.

You will pay extra for some drinks, spa treatments on ships with a spa and laundry services.