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A Guide To Atlas Ocean Voyages: “Luxe-Adventure” Expedition Cruises

You probably have not yet heard of Atlas Ocean Voyages; a new luxury expedition cruise line. But I believe you will be hearing quite a bit about it in the coming months. With there currently being 39 expedition vessels currently operating and another 67 on the way…that’s right 96 expedition ships to choose from!…I want to discuss why Atlas Ocean Voyages has caught my eye and my interest.

Atlas Ocean Voyages is focused on providing a true luxury experience on a true expedition ship (five in total with two presently under construction) with an appeal to both the upper-end adventure traveler who desires a combination of time on and off the ship with more classic travelers who prefer a more traditional approach, but with some added excitement.

Atlas Ocean Voyages defines itself as a “Luxe-Adventure”, offering an “All Inclusive All the Way” approach, and very green expedition, designed for the experienced traveler; not the novice. It is focused on those seeking adventure or even an “adrenalin rush”. And doing it with a dual focus on both “Luxury” and “Expedition”. How, exactly, is this new expedition line going to do this?

First, some background! Why? Because, these past couple of years and especially with the adverse financial effects of COVID-19, we all want to know if (a) the company is financially stable; (b) it actually has the background and talent to have the ship built…and in a timely manner; and (c) it actually knows what it is doing! So with that…

Atlas Ocean Voyages World Navigator under construction
at Mystic’s shipyard in Portugal.

Atlas Ocean Voyages, with its home office being in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is essentially owned by Mystic Invest, a Portugal-based privately owned company and Certares, a heavily cruise-related investment company. Mystic Invest is involved in the construction, chartering, and operating river and ocean cruise ships. Mystic Invest initially focused on cruises the Douro River in Portugal and then expanded from there; also operating two European cruise brands: Nicko and Mystic Cruises in addition to now, its U.S. brand, Atlas Ocean Voyages. Certares has investments in a number of prominent cruise and travel brands.

Mystic Invest has retained 100% ownership in its non-cruise businesses. As such, Mystic owns its own shipyard, located in Portugal, that has built ships now operated, for example, by AmaWaterways on the Douro River in Portugal and Quark Expeditions’ newest ship, the World Explorer. Speaking of Quark Expeditions, it had chartered the World Explorer (a huge upgrade to Quark’s fleet), which is to a degree the half-sister to Atlas Ocean Voyages’ World Navigator, for its 2019-2020 and now-canceled 2020-2021 Antarctic seasons.

Don’t be confused by the similar names! And don’t be confused by the World Explorer operating both by Mystic’s own cruise lines, Nicko a/k/a Mystic Cruises in the non-Antarctic seasons. I should also note that Atlas Ocean Voyages is planning a fleet of five (5) similar ships (which I am sure will evolve over the years): World Navigator (2021); World Traveller (2022); World Seeker (2022); World Adventurer (2023) and World Discoverer (2023).

Why are the existing World Explorer and Atlas Ocean Voyages World Navigator merely “half-sister”? Because the basic ship itself will essentially be the same, but the interiors on the World Navigator will be significantly different and more upscale (not that the World Explorer’s interiors are not nice!) Oh, and one more really cool thing

World Navigator will have sophisticated jet drives (called “pump jets”) along with global dynamic positioning (which keeps the ship in place without the use of anchors), so it will be about has hi-tech and environmentally friendly as ship propulsion can get. I was heavily involved with the construction of a 192 foot superyacht which had jet drives with rudders (which have advanced significantly since then). The maneuverability is amazing on that ship, so I can only imagine how incredible it will be on the World Navigator! OK, enough of the nerdy stuff!

I mention these things right up front because unlike other luxury and/or expedition upstarts such as, say Ritz Carlton and Crystal Cruises, Atlas Ocean Voyages has a history of financial stability as well as building and operating ships and doing so on an upscale/luxury basis on the one hand and on an expedition basis on the other. This gives me great confidence for an essentially new expedition cruise line.

Now for the non-ship nerd stuff!

Atlas Ocean Voyages markets itself as “All Inclusive All The Way” which means the following:

  • Roundtrip airfare from 16 U.S. gateway cities. Dependent on the category of your accommodations and the current offerings, most categories will be provided Economy or Premium Economy (promotion dependent) and if you are in a suite: Business Class air. If you prefer to use miles, purchase your air independently, or are not flying out of the U.S., Atlas Ocean Voyages will provide you with a $500 per person credit. Paid for upgrades are also available. (So this is really more of a true “free” air product as air clearly will cost more than that.)
  • Prepaid Gratuities
  • Included Premium Beverages (beer, wine, spirits, waters, etc.)
  • Complimentary experiences in select ports (1 per 7-day, 2 per 9-day, and 3 per 15-day cruises)
  • Complimentary Parka to keep and complimentary boots to use on Polar cruises
  • Complimentary use of Kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) except in polar regions (where there is a cost)
  • Premium Amenities, featuring L’Occitane
  • Butler service for all suites

The World Navigator itself features:

  • Four dining venues with the cuisine overseen by a Two Star Michelin chef,
  • One main lounge (really more of an auditorium),
  • A heated infinity-edge pool and hot tubs,
  • A L’Occitane spa and wellness area,
  • A fitness center with a juice and smoothie bar
  • The Water’s Edge Observation Deck on the bow with heated seating.
  • 18 Ten person Zodiacs
  • Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)
  • Kayaks
  • E-Bikes
  • Guest to crew ratio is a well above average 1 to 1.4.

World Navigator will have 88 staterooms and 10 suites accommodating 196 guests (186 in polar regions) in a variety of categories from 183 square foot oceanview Adventure Stateroom to the 465 square foot (including balcony) Navigator Suite. There are two ADA compliant staterooms and a limited number of triples are available, with suites being able to accommodate four with a rollaway bed.

All accomodations include:

  • Walk-in showers with both rainfall and hand-held shower heads (Navigator Suites also have a bathtub.)
  • Flat-screen televisions with integrated Infotainment systems
  • Coffee/Tea station
  • Filtered water station with refillable bottles
  • Bathrobes
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Included Wi-Fi
  • 110/220 volt outlets
  • Multiple USB charging ports
  • 24 hour room service

There is an interesting mix of veranda staterooms that either have full or Juliette balconies which either reduce or increase the interior space. So a Veranda Stateroom and Horizon Stateroom both are 270 square feet, but a Veranda has a 52 square foot exterior balcony (meaning 218 square feet of interior space), while a Horizon Stateroom has 270 square feet of interior space. Similarly, a Deluxe Veranda vs. Deluxe Horizon Veranda has a similar configuration, but with 248 vs. 300 square feet. There are a total of 48 Veranda, 24 Horizon and 12 Adventure Staterooms,

To better explain, the Horizon configurations will have glass walls with the upper half rising up giving the staterooms a true “bringing the outside inside” experience, while the more traditional balconies will keep the weather outside.

Atlas Ocean Voyages World Navigator Horizon Stateroom

There are three suite categories: Four Journey (382 square feet), two Discovery (445 square feet), and four Navigator (465 square feet); all of which have a 106 square foot balcony included in those figures.

Atlas Ocean Voyages World Navigator Suite

So where is Atlas Ocean Voyages’ World Navigator sailing during its Inaugural 2021/2022 Season? After its Inaugural Voyage on July 17, 2021, the ship will cruise the Black Sea, Holy Land, Aegean Sea, Western Mediterranean, one Transatlantic and one Caribbean sailing, and, of course, then to where it will really shine: Antarctica.

In Antarctica (my favorite destination!) there will be three different itineraries. There will be eleven 9 night sailings from Usuhia and two 12 night two special sailings; one in February 2022 Crossing the Antarctic Circle and one in November 2021 viewing the upcoming total Solar Eclipse near South Georgia Island (an absolutely amazing destination!).

Atlas Ocean Voyages has another exciting differentiator: It is offering some true “get out there” expedition land options, referred to as MAX Shore Tours which will provide you with 2-5 day off the ship true adventure options as well as one-day offerings which may include rock or mountain climbing, hiking, camping or, for example:

  • On its July 28, 2021 Black Sea sailing from Athens to Istanbul the opportunity to fly from Odessa to Kiev to visit Chernobyl including a tour inside the power plant.
  • On its August 13, 2021 Anatolia and Holyland sailing from Istanbul to Athens off-roading with a Bedouin and then glamping in the desert.
  • On some of its Antarctica sailing: Camping overnight on the ice (subject to obtaining approvals).
  • Free-fall jumping in Migra, Malta
  • Whitewater rafting in Sochi, Russia
  • Surfing in Nessebar, Bulgaria
  • Repelling off the side of the Ramon Crater in Israel
  • Climbing Mt. Vesuvius to peer into the crater
  • More specifics on the MAX Shore Tour options are to be released late 2020.

These will all be offered, generally at additional cost, for only a limited number of people per expedition. And, of course, while these more extreme MAX Tour are offered, at the same time two or three other levels of tours will also be offered. They would include more traditional city tours, something a bit more active, such as an e-bike tour as well as more active options such as hiking, kayaking or SUP (stand up paddleboarding)…and, for the experienced SUP folks: even in Antarctica!

Yes, other companies such as Quark Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic (NatGeo) currently offer some more active options but not on a luxury level. And the Seabourn Venture most assuredly will offer activities on a more upscale/luxury level, but it is unknown as of now if similar multi-day off-ship intensive luxury options will be…and, of course, she will not be sailing until December 2021 and will not be visiting Antarctica until the following 2022/2023 season. (The Seabourn Quest will be sailing the Antarctic 2021-2022 season in the Seabourn Venture’s place.)

So what is pricing for these sailing, especially when considering the luxury level of the World Navigator expedition “all-inclusive” experience including air? Because the sailing starting in July 2021 can be combined from 7 to up 24 nights until the World Navigator reaches Antarctica, it is best to contact Goldring Travel directly for pricing. A couple of examples (double occupancy), remembering that Goldring Travel will, of course, provide you with some very generous amenities!:

  • July 17, 2021 (Valletta to Athens – 7 nights) starts at $6,099 per person + 348 taxes for an Adventure Oceanview Stateroom up to $15,999 + tax for a Navigator Suite. Verandas start at $7,299 + tax.
  • August 13, 2021 (Istanbul to Jerusalem/Ashdod – 15 nights) starts at $8,999 + $556 tax up to + tax $18,889 for a Navigator Suite. Verandas start at $10,199 per person + tax.
  • August 13, 2021 (Istanbul to Athens – 24 nights) starts at $15,198 + tax up to $35,498 + tax up to $35,498 + tax for a Navigator Suite. Verandas start at $17,228 + tax.
  • Nine night Antarctica sailings start at $9,499 per person (plus $324 taxes) for an Adventure stateroom and up to $19,399 + tax for a Navigator Suite. Verandas start at $10,699 + taxes.
  • The Solar Eclipse 12 night cruise starts at $14,700 +$432 in taxes. Verandas start at $15,999 + tax and Horizon staterooms from $16,999 + tax. Suites are also available.
  • The Crossing the Antarctic Circle 12 night cruise starts at $11,999 + $432 in taxes with verandas starting at $13,199 + tax.

Interested in exploring Atlas Ocean Voyages further? Give me a call, drop me an email, or send me a Facebook message!

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232

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