Tauck will sail an "Arctic Allure: Spitsbergen and the Midnight Sun" small-ship cruise itinerary in 2019.
And the travel company plans to host BBC Earth filmmakers next year on select sailings of four different expedition cruises. The 10-day "Arctic Allure" journey will explore the island of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago.
Located inside the Arctic Circle (roughly halfway between Norway and the North Pole), 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 renowned for its rugged and largely pristine landscapes including glaciers, mountains, and fjords.
Tauck will offer a single departure of the "Arctic Allure" journey (setting sail June 24, 2019), and the itinerary kicks off with a pre-cruise hotel stay in Oslo. The following morning, you board a charter flight to Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on Spitsbergen. There, cruisers will board the Ponant sailing yacht Le Boreal and embark on a seven-day cruise exploration of Spitsbergen. The cruise itinerary itself is highly flexible, based on sea and weather conditions and the location of wildlife. Sites visited may include abandoned, centuries-old whaling outposts, tiny Ny-Alesund (the most northerly civilian settlement in the world), Monaco Glacier and Kongsbreen (King's Glacier), and the ghost town of Pyramiden, an eerie, abandoned Russian coal mining village.
While exploring Spitsbergen's austere landscapes, you'll get to enjoy casual luxury onboard Le Boreal, in the company of no more than 233 other passengers. The ship features a main dining room, casual restaurant and three lounges with bars. Included in the price (10 days from $10,990 per person, double occupancy, plus international airfare) is 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. The fare also covers gratuities, shore excursions, unlimited onboard beer, house wine and spirits, meals, port charges, taxes, luggage handling and more.
Throughout the cruise, you'll see Tauck's Earth Journeys partnership in action. The renowned filmmakers at BBC Earth have created award-winning nature documentaries, such as Frozen Planet, Life, Blue Planet and Planet Earth. Through the partnership, you get to view a number of brief, Tauck-exclusive filmed vignettes produced by BBC Earth filmmakers that will add insight and perspective to the animal life and places you are seeing. Cutting-edge technologies also will be employed in the field by BBC Earth filmmakers. Specific technologies are scheduled to include long-range directional microphones and thermal imaging cameras that will enhance your adventures.
Tauck's "Arctic Allure" cruise will feature 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 cruisers during onshore explorations, provide onboard lectures and be available for more informal discussions throughout the cruise. During a career spanning more than 20 years and over 40 countries, Basset has lived for a month surrounded by some 250,000 king penguins and 10,000 elephant seals on an island in the South Atlantic, been closely eyeballed by a blue whale (the largest animal on the planet) off the coast of Baja California, and been bitten in the back by a cheetah in Namibia.
Other Adventurous Itineraries
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, July 27 and August 3, 2019, from $6,990 per person plus airfare). Morgan's career has taken him from the Canadian Rockies, Scotland and the Pakistani Himalayas to northern Spain, Turkey, Borneo, Siberia and Alaska (among other locations). He has also hosted television productions for BBC, PBS, National Geographic Television and the Discovery Channel, and appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Finally, BBC Earth filmmaker Tim Martin will be sailing on the January 11, 2019 departure of Tauck's "The Panama Canal & Costa Rica" itinerary. Martin has traveled to some 40 countries during his career, stalking Nile crocodiles in South Africa (for a film that helped expose a falsified, fatal crocodile attack/life insurance scam), camped in virgin rainforest in Guyana 100 miles from the nearest road, and been snowed-in in a remote lodge while filming wolves in Belarus (where a non-English-speaking host passed the blizzard by dispensing vodka and champagne each day, beginning at breakfast).