Tauck Rolls Out Smaller Group Journeys Averaging 15 Guests!

Tauck Smaller Group tours will launch this year in a pilot program and then for a more robust number of itineraries in 2025. Photo by Tauck.

Did you know that Tauck’s Small Group tours that average just 24 guests now account for more than half of this tour operator’s non-cruise business? Yes, that’s the case. So, it’s not surprising that the company is introducing new Smaller Group tours and departures that average just 15 guests.

Now, that’s a more intimate touring option. Yet, it’s perfect for enjoying the value and perks of a group tour.

By comparison, Tauck’s classic land journeys host an average of 35 to 44 guests. The new Smaller Group tours will begin with a pilot program in three different areas of the globe in 2024.

For 2024, among the options are these:


In all, Tauck will “pilot” 26 Smaller Group departures on seven different itineraries in North America and Europe this year. All will be special departures of existing Tauck itineraries (see photo by Tauck above).

100th Anniversary in 2025

What’s next? The new Smaller Group journeys program will then officially launch with a more robust portfolio of tours during Tauck’s 100th anniversary in 2025. At that point, look for Tauck to expand the concept to 124 departures across 12 itineraries in North America, Europe and Africa.

As in 2024, 2025’s Smaller Groups will feature special departures of existing Tauck itineraries. However, the program will also feature three African safaris where all departures are Smaller Group offerings.

Those 2025 Smaller Group tours, as with all other 2025 Tauck tours and cruises, are posted on the company’s website. To ask questions of a skilled professional travel advisor, contact Pavlus Travel, the largest seller of Tauck in the world. And read on for the complete list of 2025 itineraries offered under this program.

Adding Smaller Group Journeys

“Although a large segment of our guests remains devoted to our classic group size, we’ve also seen incredible growth in our Small Group departures over the past several years,” says Dan Mahar, Tauck’s CEO.

“More recently, some of our guests have shown increasing interest in even smaller group sizes,” he explains. So, “our market research has zeroed in on an optimal group size of 12-20 among those interested in smaller groups.”

Mahar continues: “Our average group size of 15 travelers is right in the center of that sweet spot.”

Market Research Reveals

Tauck’s market research also identified the attributes of smaller group travel that particularly appealed to guests. “Our guests want to experience deeper connections with the places they visit, and they want more time, freedom and flexibility,” Mahar says.

Plus, the research showed that the guests want to forge deeper connections with their Tauck Director, local guides and fellow travelers. Mahar believes that’s all easier to accomplish within a smaller group setting.”

In addition, smaller groups have access to places and experiences that simply aren’t available to larger groups. “On our African safaris, for example, our Smaller Groups stay in cozy lodges and tented camps with limited capacity,” he emphasizes.

That also minimizes disruptions to wildlife and the environment. Plus, it provides an opportunity for more authentic experiences.

Yes, Small is Big

Tauck’s introduction of Smaller Groups is just the latest example of its “Small is Big” philosophy. For several years, that’s reshaped the company’s product offerings. Simply put, it extends far beyond just the Small Group/Smaller Group concepts.

For instance, it applies to how the company operates its European river cruises and small-ship ocean cruises. On Portugal’s Douro River, Tauck’s newest river ship, Andorinha, carries just 84 guests.

That’s fewer than any other riverboat in the company’s fleet. That’s also fewer passengers than on many other similarly sized ships sailing the Douro.

Separately, in 2017 and 2018, Tauck reconfigured its four 361-foot-long European river vessels to decrease their capacity. That reduced the guests hosted on each ship from 118 to 98 per vessel.

In addition, Tauck’s four 443-foot-long ships have a capacity of just 130 guests each. That is far less than the 190 passengers routinely carried aboard other ships of the same size for many other lines plying European rivers.

Tauck's Savor is shown in Wurzburg, Germany. Photo by Tauck.
(Tauck’s intimate river vessel Savor is shown in Wurzburg, Germany. Photo by Tauck.)

Sailing the Ocean Blue

Small is big also applies to Tauck’s ocean offerings. For example, its primary ocean cruise partner is the luxury, small-ship French line Ponant.

Tauck’s guests set sail on Ponant’s 184-passenger Explorer-class ships on numerous itineraries. Overall, 10 of Tauck’s small-ship ocean cruises sail aboard ships carrying fewer than 200 guests. In fact, three of those carry 100 passengers or less.

It’s not simply ship size that matters, says Tauck. The company’s European river cruises and small-ship ocean cruises also feature a choice of sightseeing options in many ports.

So, guests can choose the options that best align with their interests and, in some cases, their preferred activity level. The result is a more engaging, more customized itinerary for each guest.

Tauck also reduces group sizes on such touring. That creates a more intimate and interactive experience. Even in ports where all guests enjoy the same sightseeing, Tauck chooses to divide guests into smaller groups.

2024 Smaller Group Departures

“So, in 2024, the pilot Smaller Group Departures for North America include these trips,” says Shelby Steudle, president, Pavlus Travel. “Give us a call to discuss your interest and we’ll happily provide more details, great service and the best price.”


In Europe, the Smaller Group Departures for 2024 include:

  • “Northern Spain, the Rioja Valley and Madrid”
  • A Week In… Spain
  • “Switzerland: Europe’s Crown Jewel”
  • “A Week In… Ireland”

2025 Smaller Group Departures

“If you’re thinking about a vacation next year, check out these Smaller Group journeys, again with an average of 15 travelers,” says Pavlus Travel’s Steudle.  “If you love the idea of a smaller touring group, these provide a more intimate experience.”

In North America:


Smaller Group journeys In Europe:


In Africa:


Tauck will offer new Smaller Group journeys in East Africa. Photo by Tauck.
(Tauck will offer new Smaller Group journeys in East Africa in 2025. Photo by Tauck.)

For general information on Tauck, visit the tour operator’s official website. Read more about what’s new for Tauck in 2025 in another recent blog. And be sure to discuss your vacation preferences with your travel advisor who can keep you up to date “with the latest and greatest” about favorite tour companies.

If you don’t have a personal travel planner, one great option is Pavlus Travel! 

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