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Ocean Discoverer Review

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Fran Golden

Set to be delivered in September 2022, and to debut in Alaska in 2023, the 186-passenger, polar-class Ocean Discoverer is part of the fleet of American Queen Voyages (formerly American Queen Steamboat Company), and a sister ship to Ocean Victory. Both ships deliver in-depth expedition cruising in Alaska.

Constructed and designed by SunStone (a ship management and leasing company), the 8,500-ton Ocean Discoverer carries 186 passengers. The ship features a rounded X-bow design for a smoother and quieter ride – and subsequently less disturbance to the sea bed. The ship is outfitted with Rolls Royce Zero Speed Stabilizers and a Dynamic Positioning computer-controlled system for greater maneuverability.

At just over 342 feet in length, the Ocean Discover can access Alaska’s smaller ports, which are not accessible to larger cruise ships,

The ship carries a fleet of zodiacs and kayaks. Exploration is led by an expedition team, including marine biologists, scientists and naturalists from the department of Marine Biology at California Polytechnic State University, with which American Queen has a partnership.

Accommodations are 93 ocean-view suites. Of these, a total of 68 suites have full step-out balconies while nine suites have French balconies. In addition, 16 suites have panoramic windows. The suites are generously sized, standard suites from 258 to 452 square feet.

Fine-dining and regional cuisine is featured at two restaurants, including the aft-facing main Restaurant with 180-degree panoramic views. Up on top is an open-deck barbecue area, operated on a weather-permitting basis. The vessel will carry a crew of 100, for a 2-to-1 guest to crew ratio.

On the top deck of Ocean Discoverer is a swimming pool with bar and jacuzzi, as well as lots of open deck space to take in the sights.

Guests can sing along at the piano bar when not listening to lectures by scientists, naturalists and other experts. The Ocean Discoverer has two lounges: An ocean-view observation lounge and a lectures lounge. There is also a library, gym and spa.

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