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World Explorer (Mystic) Review

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World Explorer (Photo: Quark Expeditions)

The 172-passenger World Explorer is the first purpose-built luxury expedition ship to enter service for Portugal-based Mystic Cruises. Although Mystic owns and operates the vessel, it is primarily chartered by Quark Expeditions, German-based Nicko Cruises and French-tour operator Rivages Du Monde during various seasons of the year.

An all-suite, all-balcony ship, the 413-foot-long World Explorer boasts efficient hybrid diesel-electric engines; a dynamic positioning system that doesn’t require the vessel to drop its anchor; and is rated to Ice Class 1B for navigating through ice floes in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The ship is outfitted with a fleet of Zodiac rafts that whisk passengers on complimentary scenic cruising ventures and explorations ashore. World Explorer also has onboard kayaks and stand-up paddle-boards that can be enjoyed for an additional fee. Some lines, like Quark, will even let passengers camp ashore (for a fee).

World Explorer offers a well-stocked library with destination-relevant titles; a full spa and fitness center; a pool and sauna; a lecture theater; plenty of open deck space and scenic lounge areas; and an onboard wellness program.

World Explorer will be joined by sister-ship World Voyager in 2020.


The ship’s main dining room offers an open-seating environment and has adjacent outdoor seating for those who wish to dine alfresco. As with the ship’s bars, beverages like soft drinks, juices, liquors, spirits, beer and wine can be purchased for an additional charge.


World Explorer distinguishes itself with its all-suite, all-balcony cabins that come in six different categories spaced across two decks. The smallest of these is a generous 215 square feet, while the largest accommodation onboard – the ship’s four Owner’s Suites – comes in at 355 square feet.

All cabins have beds that can be positioned as a queen or two singles; a step-out balcony; sitting area with sofa; mini-refrigerator; an interactive television system; and private bathroom with shower.

Top Deck Attractions

Up top, World Explorer has a wrap-around jogging track that encircles the ship’s radar mast and funnel, along with plenty of space for scenic viewing. One deck down, the ship has a swimming pool and hot tub with plenty of sheltered and unsheltered seating options.


Entertainment primarily takes place in the form of excursions ashore and informative enrichment lectures onboard. Daily briefings notify passengers of the day’s activities ahead, and most passengers will be content to mingle in the ship’s observation lounge over cocktails as they peer out into the ocean for wildlife sightings.


World Explorer primarily sails to the Arctic and Antarctic, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, but also offers a handful of positioning voyages throughout the year, depending on which company (Quark or Nicko) is chartering it.

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