Tauck River Cruising will double its small-ship cruising capacity over the next four years, president Jennifer Tombauch told reporters at Seatrade this week.
Through a partnership with French-owned cruise line Ponant, Tauck will use four Ponant new-builds, starting with Le Lapérouse in summer 2018. By 2020, Tauck expects to be sailing a total of nine ships.
Le Lapérouse will debut with a seven-night “Iceland: Land of Fire & Ice” itinerary on July 3, 2018, sailing out of Reykjavik and stopping at tiny villages and isolated islands.
Tombaugh said demand for Tauck’s small ships is high, but the fleet has only five Ponant ships for 10 itineraries. Still, “we’d like to think we do small better than anyone,” Tombaugh said. And the partnership, which includes the new underwater lounges that were revealed this week, also falls in line with Tauck’s desire to showcase destinations.
“It’s how we blend the destination in with our overall experiences that make it so special,” she said. “It’s about being the best at what we do and delivering those great experiences to our guests.”
Tauck also revealed this week that it will add sailings to Cuba on Le Ponant starting in December 2018.
It’s how we blend the destination in with our overall experiences that make it so special.
Tauck will run the itinerary—which includes a seven-night cruise plus a one-night pre-cruise stay in Miami and two nights in Havana— three times in December 2018 and three times in January 2019. The cruise starts in Havana, and then sails around Cuba to Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago de Cuba.
Meanwhile, on the river, the 92-year-old Tauck will debut two of its refurbished river vessels this year—Emerald and Sapphire, both with fewer, but bigger, cabins. The middle decks, which previously had 30 115-square-foot cabins, will now have 20 225-square-foot cabins.
Sapphire, which previously held 118 guests total, will sail on April 3 with only 98; Emerald will relaunch on April 7. The ships will also get The Bistro, a new dining venue on the upper deck, with a dedicated kitchen and chef.
Tauck will do the same to the rest of its 110-meter vessels for 2018.