World Traveller is Atlas Ocean Voyages' newest ship and the second of five intimate, yacht-style vessels planned for the upper-premium cruise line, a U.S. subsidiary of Portugal-based Mystic Invest Holdings. World Traveller joined her sister ship, World Navigator (launched August 2021), for her inaugural season in Antarctica after a dual naming ceremony in Chilean Patagonia on November 18, 2022.
Built by West SEA Shipyard in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, World Traveller is 423 feet in length, 9,930 gross tons, and features eight decks (six for passengers). The ship is a Polar Class C vessel with an Ice Class 1B-certified hull, and it's built with the latest fuel-efficient hybrid power management and propulsion systems. This state-of-the-art engineering is sensitive to our ocean's fragile ecosystems, wildlife, and marine animals and allows the ship to cruise with little or no noise up to five knots. In addition, the GPS-based Dynamic Position System replaces the use of an anchor, which can damage the ocean floor.
World Traveller is an elegant ship with beautifully appointed and light-filled public spaces. There are 98 luxurious staterooms and suites in nine different categories. The vessel accommodates 196 guests (double occupancy) and 127 crew (slightly less for expedition sailings). Nearly 90 percent of the cabins have a balcony.
The spacious and stylish interior design by Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec of Portugal's architecture and design firm, Oitoemponto, is like what you'd find on a superyacht or in a coastal vacation home. Inspired by the Italian phrase "La Dolce Vita" (the sweet life), the chic Mediterranean scheme features timeless wood paneling, mid-century modern design elements, and fabrics in rich shades of blue, yellow, and cream, and with accents of terracotta, green, and slate.
The inviting public spaces and lounges offer cozy seating for two and larger communal areas so guests can gather with newfound friends as they meet throughout the expedition or voyage. The corridors leading to the 98 staterooms and suites are particularly noteworthy, with wood-paneled walls, maritime-inspired black and white photos that are also found throughout the ship, and navy blue-clad leather doors. Even in the ship's marble public restrooms, no attention to detail is missed.
In keeping with the line's commitment to conscious navigation, guests will also find a Vero water station on Deck 4 where water aluminum bottles can be refilled that are supplied to each guest for the expedition.
Atlas Ocean Voyages offers an all-inclusive experience on board the ship. The pampering begins at home with the arrival of a vegan leather case holding your personalized travel documents, itinerary, and luggage tags. If you're traveling to Antarctica (as I did), you’ll have private charter jet service from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, where you and your fellow passengers will then travel by motor coach to the ship. Guests can also book airfare and pre- and post-cruise land packages through Atlas that include some transfers, depending on the program selected.
Once on board, guests are checked in while seated in the Atlas Lounge with a glass of Champagne. The pampering continues throughout the voyage with unlimited wines, premium craft cocktails and beers (top shelf beverages are at an additional cost); specialty coffees and teas; an in-room mini-fridge stocked per your request; L'Occitane bath amenities; all meals and room service; included gratuities; Zodiac safaris and expedition landings; a parka to take home and much more.
The staff and crew are friendly and attentive and know your name the minute you arrive on board. They also quickly learn that you drink a low-fat latte in the morning or prefer a glass of dry white wine before dinner. Many of them transferred over from World Navigator, so they were well-trained. Still, everything on board the ship – from the dining venues to the expeditions – was so well run that it seemed as though World Traveller had been at sea for many months and not on its inaugural expedition. For the expedition team, this was the first time they had met as a group, yet they all worked incredibly well together.
Days are busy on the ship, even when it's a sea day and the captain is hard at work navigating the best route for the least "shake" on the Drake Passage. Onboard lectures and movies are educational and worth attending, and members of the expedition team were very informative and willing to answer questions. Every staff member and crew went above and beyond to make the expedition a memorable and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Even though guests may have been a bit weary in the evenings after exhilarating onshore landings and wildlife sightings in Antarctica – or days spent trying to stand upright while traveling on the Drake Passage – cocktail hours and the evening recaps were well attended. Many guests also managed to stay awake after dinner for musical performances by the cruise director, guest entertainer, and talented piano player and singer.
That being said, World Traveller and Atlas overall is not a luxury line, in terms of industry expedition competitors such as Silversea and Seabourn. It does provide a lovely premium experience, especially for the fares, which have been reasonable for Antarctica in its maiden seasons.
World Traveller's deck plan is easy to learn and will become familiar in just a short time on board the ship. Passenger accommodations are located on Decks 3, 5, and 6, while most public spaces, lounges, the Vasco da Gama Auditorium, and restaurants are on Deck 4. If you're on an expedition to Antarctica, you will spend most of your time on Deck 4 and in The Dome Observation Lounge on Deck 7. The Water's Edge on Deck 5 (at the bow of the ship) is another place you should visit while on a polar expedition. The heated seating at just 30 feet above the waterline is an ideal spot for up-close wildlife and scenic iceberg encounters.
If you're sailing in warmer climates around the world, Deck 5's aft-situated Zephyr Lounge would be a great spot to meet for cocktails during a sailaway or at sunset. Other outdoor venues include the 7-Aft Pool Bar and 7-Aft Grill on Deck 7. The poolside venues serve gourmet burgers, casual bites, craft beer, and refreshing cocktails during the day. 7-Aft Grill offers al fresco dining in the evening with fresh seafood and specialty chophouse favorites.
You'll also find the sundeck, heated pool, and hot tubs located near the bar and grill midship on Deck 7. And the Zodiacs are stored at the back of the ship on Deck 7.
The mud room is located midship on Deck 3. When it's time to head off the ship, you'll find lockers equipped with cold-weather gear for the polar regions – or snorkeling equipment in warm destinations – and the boarding areas for the Zodiacs. The ship's medical facility is also on Deck 3.
Deck 8 features a jogging track with exercise stations located at intervals around the track. Twelve laps around the track are equal to 1 mile. World Traveller's helipad is located on Deck 8 aft.
World Traveller has an Open Bridge Policy, so passengers are welcome to stop in on Deck 6 forward if the bridge is open. There may be times in destinations like Antarctica when the seas are rough that the bridge is closed to guests.
There are two guest elevators available should you wish to avoid taking the stairs. They are typically not in operation during rough days at sea.
With nine categories of rooms and suites, guests have a choice of accommodations ranging from 183-square-foot solo ocean view staterooms (located on Deck 3) to the 465-square-foot one-bedroom Navigator Suites on Decks 5 and 6. There are a total of 10 suites in three categories, and they all feature oversized balconies, butler service, and full-room service dining, where you can order from the restaurant menu.
Most cabins are either Veranda (48) or Horizon (24) staterooms at 270 square feet in size. The Veranda cabins, located on Decks 5 and 6, have an outdoor sitting area, while the Horizon cabins (also on Decks 5 and 6) feature floor-to-ceiling Juliette balconies with the top-drop electric window. The Horizon staterooms offer more indoor living space with a small sofa and two chairs, while the Veranda rooms have an indoor grouping of two chairs and a small table and lamp.
The ship's accommodations boast marble spa bathrooms with a walk-in mosaic glass shower, a marble seat, a rain head, body jets, and L'Occitane toiletries. A nice feature is that the glass shower door has a latch, so it doesn't swing open. Other stateroom amenities include terry bathrobes, slippers, and luxurious Egyptian cotton linens from the Portuguese brand, Lameirinho. Nespresso coffees and Kusmi teas are in-room amenities, as is daily replenished sparkling and still water from the onboard Vero water refilling station. A flat-panel television with an "infotainment" system includes daily onboard lectures and programming.
Dining is a highlight on board World Traveller. From the generous breakfast buffet or grab-and-go fresh-pressed juices in the morning to internationally inspired fare in the evenings, the meals are well-executed at the ship's main dining venue, Lisboa (Deck 4 aft). Lisboa is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. There is also al fresco dining available in season.
Guests are treated to local specialties, such as Argentinian beef (sourced in Ushuaia, Argentina), while sailing in Antarctica or unique dishes like risotto with freshly shaved black truffles. One evening we dined on sumptuous lobster, and for the Gala Dinner, one of the choices was black Angus Chateaubriand. On the morning buffet, guests will find raw honeycomb and freshly ground nut butter to slather on the excellent selection of freshly baked loaves of bread and a wide selection of hot and cold dishes. I looked forward to every meal on board the ship.
Paula's Pantry (midship Deck 4) is where you'll find convenient and freshly prepared breakfast foods, a light lunch, snack items, and specialty coffees and teas throughout the day. The Dome Observation Lounge also offers pastries and coffee in the morning for breakfast. Tea is served in the lounge at 4 p.m. daily.
The two other al fresco options, the 7-Aft Pool Bar and 7-Aft Grill are additional dining venues when World Traveller is sailing in warmer climates.
Room service is available from the "always available" menu as part of the all-inclusive amenities.
World Traveller has sanitizing stations throughout the ship and a hand-washing area outside Lisboa. Please refer to Atlas Ocean Voyages' health and safety protocols for the most up-to-date vaccination, testing, and masking requirements aboard World Traveller.
· All onboard meals, afternoon tea, and snacks
· Unlimited wines, premium craft cocktails, and beer
· Cultural immersion on every voyage, including one complimentary tour in each destination
· Lectures, presentations, expedition landings, and Zodiac cruises in polar regions
· Mini bar stocked with your personal preferences
· In-room movies and television programming
· All onboard entertainment
· Complimentary 150 MB internet access for staterooms and 250 MB internet access for suites
· Use of yacht marina water toys (including sea kayaks and paddleboards in polar regions)
· Private Charter Jet Service on Antarctica and select Arctic expeditions
· Emergency Medical Evacuation Service
· A parka to take home from an Antarctica or Arctic expedition
· Top-shelf wines and spirits
· Upgraded packages for internet access
· Additional shore excursions
· Pre- and post-cruise land packages and transfers
· Spa treatments
· Purchases in the boutique
World Traveller's passengers are predominantly well-traveled professionals and English-Speaking Americans. Atlas describes its clientele as "low-key connoisseurs in search of authentic cultural experiences and once-in-a-lifetime journeys." The youngest passengers were in their mid-to late-30s or early 40s, but most guests were 50 years of age or older. The guests are also affluent, as expeditions to Antarctica are typically pricey.
Most guests were traveling as couples for the Antarctica expedition, but there were quite a few single passengers, and they got on well with solo travelers and other guests on the ship. The overall onboard vibe is amiable, so it's not difficult to converse with or meet other travelers.
Outdoor adventure, wildlife viewing, birding, and photography were some of the top interests on board, as were the informational lectures and movies on the history of early exploration of Antarctica.
While the ship does not offer programming specifically for children, and only a few staterooms can accommodate families with children, there were tweens or teenage kids on board with their parents – and they seemed to have an entertaining and, certainly, educational experience.
Also, the ship offers an environment of inclusivity where everyone will feel comfortable, including those identifying as LGBTQ+, people of color, and others. Everyone was friendly, warm, and welcoming, from the passengers to the crew.