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Navigating New Horizons: Atlas Ocean Voyages Anchors Expedition Cruising Growth

In recent years, expedition cruising has become increasingly popular

in the travel sector, with Atlas Ocean Voyages at the forefront of this trend. Their luxurious yachts and bespoke itineraries offer intimate and immersive journeys to remote Polar regions and popular Mediterranean and Northern European countries.


Catering to sophisticated travelers seeking exhilarating experiences and refinement, the company’s commitment to unique itineraries and curated expeditions allows for deep exploration of pristine landscapes with ultimate comfort. As they capture an increasing segment of the market, travel advisors are eagerly expanding their portfolios with these luxe-adventure itineraries, proving that the demand for rugged escapades – while also feeling pampered – is thriving.


Onboard one of Atlas’s intimate yachts, the WORLD NAVIGATOR® launched in August 2021, the WORLD TRAVELLER™ that began its sea journeys in November 2022, or the WORLD VOYAGER™ launched in November 2023, you’ll find yourself in an intimate setting with a lively social atmosphere, yet with plenty of space to find solitude.


The onboard experience with Atlas is where luxury marries adventure, providing guests with a personalized service and meticulous attention to detail within a casual and comfortable ambiance. Relaxing venues include the Atlas Bar and lounge area on Deck 4, as well as the Dome Observation Lounge with 270’ glass and dome observation area and a large outside deck on Deck 7. Daily Afternoon Tea and evening entertainment alternate between these two venues.


Atlas sailings attract a diverse range of age groups, especially Millennials, Gen-Z, and recently retired individuals who are not loyal to traditional upscale/luxury cruise lines. Juxtaposed with extremely well-traveled guests vying for bragging rights of visiting the world’s most far-flung destinations, are many first-time cruisers and those who avoid large ships, drawn to these smaller expedition ships.


While children are allowed, there are typically not many youngsters aboard. There are no activities for young children, making the sailings more suitable for families who enjoy wildlife, history, and culture over large ship entertainment. There are always lots of solo travelers on board, and the friendly, welcoming wait staff are always eager to help solo guests connect with others.


Onboard entertainment consists of a piano player; guest musicians and a Cruise Director who will perform songs once or twice per sailing. There are also lectures onboard with varying topics according to the itinerary. Lectures are presented in the Deck 4 lecture theatre as well as on screens in the main lounge and in each cabin. On Polar sailings, the expedition staff make interesting and informative presentations based on their interests and areas of expertise such as photography; geology; history; regional geo-politics; birds; whales and other wildlife. Some may tell stories of their life living as researchers in Antarctica or the Arctic or polar cross land expeditions they may have undertaken in the past.


Voyages range from 5 to 21 nights, offering opportunities to combine expeditions for a tailored experience. With a maximum of 198 guests, camaraderie flourishes among travelers and crew. Smaller ships foster a unique environment for shared experiences and storytelling. For Polar expeditions, guest capacity is reduced to allow for additional Expedition Staff.


Atlas Ocean Voyages offers an “Always Included” business model with a wide range of complimentary inclusions to enhance the guest experience. This includes zodiac expeditions, cultural activities, dining with rotating menus, and unlimited beverages. Guests can enjoy open bars, 24-hour room service, specialty canapés, and in-room minibars at no extra cost. Additionally, specialty drinks, high tea, champagne, and L’OCCITANE amenities are provided, along with pre-paid gratuities and extra perks for suite guests.


The cuisine aboard is globally inspired, with daily changing menus that ensure each meal is a showcase of gastronomical delight, crafted with the freshest ingredients from local ports and international waters. The main dining room has a relaxed atmosphere while the food is plentiful and varied. For warmer weather sailings, there are optional outdoor seating areas at the rear of the ship and AFT7 charcoal grill restaurant on the pool deck, which serves a casual lunch menu and becomes a steak and seafood grill by night.


Snacks, teas, specialty coffee drinks, smoothies, and fresh juices are available at Paula’s Pantry on Deck 4 along with some relaxing seating areas and hidden corners to read a book or watch the world go by.


The cabin accommodations on the Atlas yachts offer a variety of options to suit different preferences. Adventure Oceanview cabins on Deck 3 are popular among solo travelers. Veranda cabins on decks 5 and 6 provide 270sq ft of space, including a balcony. Horizon cabins on the same decks also offer 270 sq ft of space, with a full glass wall that can be lowered to create a Juliette Balcony for extra interior space.


For those looking for a little more luxury, there are Veranda Deluxe and Horizon Deluxe cabins with an additional 30 sq ft of separate living space. The ship also offers three suite categories – Journey Suite, Discovery Suite, and Navigator Suite – each with separate sleeping and living space, oversize balconies, walk-in closets, and Butler Service. The cabins are each elegantly appointed with marble bathrooms and offer amenities such as Nespresso machines, plush bathrobes, slippers, and Portuguese cotton bed linens.


All Atlas ships seamlessly blend understated elegance with modern comfort, such as convenient multi-prong electrical outlets and USB ports in multiple locations. Starlink internet is available onboard. There is a limited free offering which can be supplemented by purchasing additional packages.


Atlas offers a plethora of compelling itineraries to some of the world’s most magnificent and off-the-beaten-path destinations. The brand has carved a niche in providing awe-inspiring experiences from the ice-blanketed landscapes of Antarctica to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean, with exciting new expeditions to the Caribbean and South America complementing their rich portfolio.


Antarctica has been the flagship destination for Atlas since inception. 9- and 11-night itineraries are now being expanded to include up to 18 nights with the addition of stops in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. All 3 ships will be sailing here for the upcoming 2024-2025 season and beyond, with the possible addition of new sister ship, World Seeker, (date not yet confirmed).


Those who seek the mystique of Greenland; Iceland and the Arctic can explore the dramatic fjords, wild landscapes, and indigenous wildlife unique to this region. Atlas ensures that adventurers here not only witness the untouched beauty of the Arctic but also learn about the local cultures and the intricacies of Arctic ecosystems. For the 2024 summer season, Atlas will have 2 ships sailing the Arctic for the first time (World Navigator and World Voyager).


Turning to Northern Europe, Atlas curates journeys that intimately connect guests with the rich history and diverse cultures of the region. Along with the UK and Ireland, Norwegian fjords expeditions are designed to access smaller ports for a more personal and authentic experience, often far away from the typical tourist trails.
In the Mediterranean, Atlas prides itself on offering itineraries that are both culturally enriching and pleasing to the palate. Extended port times allow voyagers to delve deep into the Mediterranean lifestyle, with opportunities to explore ancient ruins, quaint coastal villages, and bustling markets.


The epicurean expedition focus is especially evident here, where guests have the chance to indulge in exclusive culinary experiences – from wine tastings in renowned vineyards, visiting local truffle farms, to discovering the secrets of traditional olive oil production on family-owned estates.


For those looking to sail to warmer climates, Atlas’ Caribbean and South American sailings are the latest additions to their itineraries. These new offerings continue the Atlas tradition of intimate and immersive travel but add the vivid colors and vibrant rhythms of these regions to the mix.


The epicurean focus is a fundamental element of non-polar cruises, with Atlas integrating a deep appreciation for gastronomy into its voyages. In ports known for their culinary heritage, guests may engage in cooking workshops with local chefs, dine at exclusive restaurants, or visit markets with onboard culinary experts to source fresh ingredients to be prepared on the ship. Guest chefs are often onboard to showcase their talents and participate in fun competitions with the ship guests, allowing them to show off their own culinary skills to fellow passengers.
Depending on the itinerary, there are one to several included shore excursions with additional unique offerings, available for purchase. The Atlas ships dock/tender in small Mediterranean ports like Portofino, eliminating the need for shore excursions due to the town’s accessibility. This allows for extended time in port, with early morning arrivals and late-night departures for in-depth exploration and enjoying dinner or evening activities on land, uncommon on larger cruise ships.


Itineraries are designed with short travel distances between small ports, creating a more relaxing and immersive experience. This allows passengers the opportunity to visit unique locations and spend quality time exploring each port of call. Itineraries are also different each week and allow for creating back-to-back extended voyages.


Offerings for polar expedition clients include a free private charter jet service, allowing for seamless travel to and from the embarkation point. For Arctic voyages, charters are typically from Oslo.


For Antarctica voyages, clients will fly from Buenos Aires. Notably, airport greeting service and hotel transfer is not included in Atlas’ package however, there is an included 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay in the city which allows clients to relax and acclimate before their adventure begins.


Early morning wake-up calls are typical for the return to the airport next day and charter flights to Ushuaia. When time allows, there is the opportunity for a walk around the charming and bustling small port town before boarding the ship.


On return days after the cruise, an included excursion takes clients for a short area drive to Tierra del Fuego National Park allowing for a taste of Patagonia before the return charter flight to EZE, Buenos Aires international airport, arriving late afternoon. Most clients will be able to connect to an international return flight the same evening without having to add an additional overnight stay in the city.


Atlas will soon be debuting a new website, along with online B2B and B2C booking systems – features that have until now not been available to consumers or travel advisors. Launch is slated to be completed by the end of Q1.


Overall, Atlas offers advisors a product with excellent service and comfort blended with luxury and adventure. Especially, considering the “Always Included” and evergreen 2-for 1 promotions, the price point is extremely competitive positioned between mainstream cruising and Luxury brands. Whether Polar or Mediterranean/European is your client preference, there are plenty of unique options with more on the horizon!

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