Tauck has announced details of its new-for-2019 "Arctic Allure: Spitsbergen and the Midnight Sun" small ship cruise itinerary, as well as plans to host BBC Earth filmmakers next year on select sailings of four different expeditionary cruises.
The new 10-day journey will explore the island of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Located inside the Arctic Circle, Spitsbergen and the archipelago's other islands are notable for their population of some 3,000 polar bears, which exceeds the area's human population. The archipelago is also home to Arctic fox, Arctic moose, Svalbard reindeer, and approximately 30 species of birds, while the surrounding waters are inhabited by whales, dolphins, seals and walruses. Containing six national parks, Spitsbergen is also known for its landscapes including glaciers, mountains, and fjords.
Tauck will offer a single departure of the "Arctic Allure" journey next year (beginning on June 24, 2019), and the itinerary kicks off with a pre-cruise overnight hotel stay in Oslo. The following morning, Tauck guests board a charter flight to Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on Spitsbergen. There, guests will board the Ponant sailing yacht Le Boreal and embark on a seven-day cruise exploration of Spitsbergen. At about 460 feet in length and a maximum capacity of 234 guests, Le Boreal offers intimate accommodations and public spaces like a main dining room, casual restaurant and three lounges with bars.
The cruise itinerary itself is flexible, based on sea and weather conditions and the location of local wildlife. Sites visited may include centuries-old whaling outposts; Ny-Alesund, the most northerly civilian settlement in the world; Monaco Glacier and Kongsbreen; and the ghost town of Pyramiden, an abandoned Russian coal mining village.
The 10-day journey is priced at $10,990 per person, double occupancy, plus international airfare. The price includes the initial overnight in Oslo, roundtrip flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen, the seven-day cruise aboard Le Boral, and a final hotel overnight in Oslo. Also included are all gratuities, all shore excursions, unlimited onboard beer, house wine and spirits, meals, port charges, taxes, luggage handling and more.
Throughout the cruise, guests will benefit from Tauck's Earth Journeys partnership with the filmmakers at BBC Earth, the creators of such nature documentaries as Frozen Planet, Life, Blue Planet, and Planet Earth. Through the partnership, guests will view a number of brief, Tauck-exclusive filmed vignettes produced by BBC Earth filmmakers that will add insight to the animal life and places they are encountering during their trip.
Guests will also experience Spitsbergen and its wildlife in unique ways, through the hands-on use of new technologies employed in the field by BBC Earth filmmakers. Specific technologies are scheduled to include long-range directional microphones and thermal imaging cameras.
Tauck's "Arctic Allure" cruise will have a special appearance by BBC Earth filmmaker Peter Bassett, one of three BBC Earth filmmakers who will be joining a total of four Tauck expedition cruise itineraries next year. Bassett will accompany guests on shore explorations, provide onboard lectures, and be available for more informal discussions with guests throughout the cruise.
Bassett will also be joining Tauck guests in 2019 for the January 7 departure of its Antarctica cruise aboard L'Austral. In addition, filmmaker, bear expert, ecologist, author and TV host Chris Morgan will offer an onboard presentation on all three sailings of Tauck's "Alaska's Inside Passage" cruise aboard Le Soleal next year (July 20 and 27; August 3, 2019).
Finally, BBC Earth filmmaker Tim Martin will be sailing with guests on the January 11, 2019 departure of Tauck's "The Panama Canal & Costa Rica" itinerary.