The future of luxury cruising with Atlas Ocean Voyages

COVID was an accelerator for the cruise industry to focus on new segments and services during the downtime. Atlas Ocean Voyages developed compact, more nimble ships that could traverse the globe with a personalized, luxury experience. They are unique in delivering this hybrid luxury experience on a small vessel. Sailing the world with less impact Their newest ship, the World Navigator, only holds 196 passengers. It has a unique propulsion system that uses water in the main jets and thrust ports, which allow it to get into shallow waters and hover a position without using an anchor. Whether it is the Antarctic or the Caribbean, or in-between, the ship can go places where big ships simply can’t go. Small does not mean limited options as the ship has five dining options, three bars, a spa, fitness center, theater, and an upper deck pool. Casual luxury experience Many people have cruised before and have participated in formal dinners and events with the Captain and senior staff. AOV went the other way and focused on country club casual or luxury with no pretenses. You can dress as you feel and eat steak tartar in your tee shirt and flip-flops. Superb cuisine and beverages Expect options in cuisine on the World Navigator in both actual food and dining location. Porto is the main restaurant and has impeccable decor and Michelin-level food to match. The 7Aft Chop House has the only wood-fired grill on a cruise ship, so that steak is way better than average. A menu feature is one side of the fare list featuring classics, the other side the cuisine focus for that meal, from one country or a region. The result is seven to nine entrees and matching accompaniments, a boatload more than any small ship and more than many medium-sized ships. And vegetarian options are plentiful, well thought out, and just as tasty as the regular items. Relaxing adventure stops Get up and go varies from day to day, so you are presented with matching choices when the ship stops. Stroll in a locale and explore on your own or take a guided tour. For the highly fit and adventurous, there are zip-line and aggressive hike/trek options. In warm weather locales, AOV gives beach access to passengers, often at private beaches. In remote locations, AOV, on occasion, provides a full-onsite/land experience for guests, including lunch. Five star appointments While in technical terms, your lodging is a cabin, it is more of a suite. A large bathroom compared to most cruise ships where two people can function. Ample room to walk around the suite and a nice sitting area. Whether an actual balcony or a Juliet window, every suite has a more than adequate ocean view. The beds feature high thread-count linens. The interior design is similar in terms of rich wood, fabrics, and chrome through the ship up to the bars and restaurants. The overall theme is space with individual nooks and areas for a bit of privacy or small conversations. Super staff With the many offerings in this type of luxury environment, the concept just won’t work effectively without highly trained staff. The standard team is 115, one of the top-three staff ratios to guests in the cruise industry. The attention to the guest means it is likely that the various staff will greet you by name and know your preferences within a few days.

Neil Wolkodoff

Neil Wolkodoff is a golf and travel writer from Denver, Colorado. He covers golf, dining, activities and accommodations from the luxury and unique perspective. He has even been golfing with goats.

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  1. It was inevitable that COVID – 19 was going to change the world and cruising too. After all that time locked away in our little boxes, with our world shrinking, once we were finally let out we knew what we all wanted. Primarily those two things are freedom and space. And that’s where I think Atlas Ocean Villages are coming from. To me it looks as if they’ve ticked all the boxes.

    1. John, my assessment as well, AOV hits on a new set of offerings for the luxury marketing. Even at full capacity, the ship has a spacious feel with all the seating, dining and bar options. And, the ability to go or not go on anything gives you the freedom to have your sense of adventure dial up or down any day based upon your mood.

  2. Hopefully, smaller has to be better for the cruise industry. There are many fascinating cities around the world which have limited moorings in their harbour.

    I’ve been in some ports and literally seen thousands of passengers disembark from mega liners which really changes the nature of the place.

    1. Ted, precisely one of the positives of a small ship. They simply can go places others can’t, both in terms of limits on passenger numbers or docking needs. With zodiacs, you can go almost anywhere where the zodiac can beach.

  3. Never been on a cruise, never really fancied it. Most ships seem too big and too impersonal. This one may be more my sort of thing.

    1. Julie, you are correct from my experience. This gives one the ability to actually meet people and talk during the down times as most of the seating is in little nooks that promote conversation.

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