Avoid the crowds and have some of the world’s best sites to yourself with these exclusive after-hours experiences.
The family-owned touring company Tauck, founded in North America in 1925 by Arthur Tauck, is looking forward to welcoming Australian travellers again on its small group land and river journeys.
Australians, it seems, love the small-group Tauck land journeys, rivers cruises and small-ship tours and the company’s guiding philosophy – with Australians representing the company’s second-biggest market after North America.
At a recent Sydney event with Steve Spivak, Vice President of Global Sales and Partner Relations, Tauck, he said, “We come back to the word purpose over and over again. We’re about inclusiveness, care and doing the right thing. We have to treat people’s travel visions with great care,” said Steve.
“Sustainability for us is not just things like our carbon footprint but responsible tourism, and leaving destinations better off than when we arrived. Tauck makes a grant each year to the the preservation of the USA National Parks and we do other projects in the areas that our travellers visit. We look carefully at how we travel, using small ships, and working with partners like PONANT who use hydro vessels,” said Steve.
He shared the story of how founder Arthur Tauck set out on the backroads of New England to lead his first tour in July 1925. Arthur started out as a travelling salesman after inventing the humble coin tray, which he would sell on the road to various banks.
“He learned the stories of people. He would bring joy to their lives and still to this day, that’s what we do. Our story is always grounded in that purpose,” said Steve.
Each tour takes two years to meticulously plan. “We design each tour to bring emotion. Each guest is entrusted to a Tauck employee when they travel. They test first how it flows and the narrative of every journey.”
Steve says that Tauck tours are built on four key fundamentals: for guests to leave their worries at home; to get what you pay for (and then some); travel in good company with other lifelong learners; and never settling for ordinary.
“We ask ourselves, ‘what are we offering to our guests that they couldn’t experience on their own?’”
Here are six, exclusive after-hours experiences Tauck has curated for guests on its tours.
During Tauck’s 11-Day Life on the Mississippi cruise/tour, you will take a private, after-hours visit of Graceland, the home of the king of rock ‘n roll, Elvis Presley. It is the second most-visited home in the United States, welcoming 4,000 visitors on peak days. During this exclusive experience with Tauck, you’ll bypass the crowds and enjoy an hour-long, guided tour of the home and grounds of this National Historic Landmark.
Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Chapels, Rome
On several of Tauck’s tours through Italy, including the 8-Day A Week in The Amalfi Coast, Capri and Rome tour, you’ll visit revered sites such as The Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Chapels in Rome after-hours. Millions of people visit The Sistine Chapel each year to glimpse the 343 figures painted on its ceiling by Michaelangelo, commissioned in 1508 by Pope Julius II. It took him five years to complete.
Musée de Louvre, Paris
Avoid the selfie-sticks and jostling to see Mona Lisa’s smile when you take a guided tour of the Musée de Louvre after-hours, during a number of small-group tours that take in Paris – such as the 8-Day Impressions of the Seine: Paris to Normandy river cruise.
St Mark’s Basilica, Venice
Tour the legendary St Mark’s Basilica, one of the most visited sites of Venice, during an after-hours visit with Tauck. View more than 500 columns and 8,000 square metres of mosaics in the church that dates back to the 9th century AD. You will stay for two-nights in Venice near the Rialto Bridge during Tauck’s 10-Day Lake Como, Venice, Florence and Rome land journey.
Claude Monet’s home, Giverny, France
Visit the Giverny home of Master Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, during the Tauck 10-Day Rendezvous on the Seine river cruise. Home to Monet for 43 years, from 1883 to 1926, you’ll enjoy an early morning and exclusive tour before the crowds arrive, taking in the incredible gardens, lily ponds and wooden bridges where Monet painted some of his most-loved artworks.
Discover ancient secrets, view hieroglyphics and tomb paintings, and follow in the footsteps of the pharaohs during an after-hours, private visit to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Tutankhamen. Immerse yourself in the legend and mystery of Egypt during the 10-Day Egypt: Jewels of the Nile land journey.