ONBOARD OCEAN VICTORY — When Ocean Victory arrived at Vancouver Port for her inaugural season, the new, 186-passenger expedition vessel received glowing accolades from Canadian dignitaries for its innovative, environmentally sensitive technology.
The ship got raves from travel agents too.
As gorgeous mountain views shone through the vast windows of the lecture hall on a recent sailing, there was praise for Ocean Victory as a game changer in Alaska’s Inside Passage, and John Waggoner, Founder and Chairman of American Queen Voyages, was commended for designing the ship with scientists immersed in marine biology research, particularly on whale migration.
Tom Corsie of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority called Ocean Victory “the new emblem of the cruise season” as “the environmentally responsible ship using the cleanest fuel.” Karen Soyka of Destination Vancouver expressed glee that Ocean Victory overnights in Vancouver. Rosalind Campbell, Councillor of Musqueam Indian Band, welcomed Ocean Victory and her passengers to the indigenous lands, impressed that it “exudes luxury.”
At 104.4 metres, Ocean Victory’s size allows it to berth in ports of call that are off limits to larger ships. The ship’s Ulstein X-Bow design creates a tapered foreship that cuts through waves, reducing pitching and fuel use. Its Zero-Speed stabilizers facilitate smooth, virtually motionless movement through the roughest waters. Its Dynamic Positioning System allows it to hold in place within five metres. Its “green engineering” propellers minimize noise and vibrations for the marine environment. Ocean Victory has Safe Return to Port technology and is classified Polar Code 6 Ice Class 1A.
The environmentally conscious Ocean Victory combines the most innovative small-ship expedition technology built for harsh environments with luxe amenities that do not exist on other small expedition vessels currently cruising Alaskan waters, including an outdoor infinity pool flanked by two Jacuzzis, full-service spa and indoor gym. The interior’s yacht-like cachet features an eclectic mix of contemporary furnishings.
Ocean Victory’s exterior and interior public spaces are designed for nature engagement and spontaneous wildlife viewing. Public spaces are surrounded by panoramic windows, all scattered with telescopes and binoculars for instant access. Both port and starboard sides have retractable viewing platforms.
Ocean Victory’s expedition genius involves two authentic concepts: a team of accredited naturalists who guide eco-excursions on its fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs to places where passengers on bigger ships can rarely venture; and lectures by marine scientists who actively conduct research while sailing. On my cruise, marine ecologist Dr. Samara Haver demonstrated the process of tracking whale sounds. For families with older teens, Ocean Victory is an inspiring science lesson afloat.
“THE GOLDILOCKS ‘JUST RIGHT’ SIZE”
Passengers and travel advisors are also raving about Ocean Victory.
Vancouver-based Bob Bradley, whose agency The Pampered Cruiser specializes in luxury cruising, said that with 186 guests, “Ocean Victory has the ‘Goldilocks Just Right’ size: between spartan small vessels of 30 – 40 guests, and vessels with several hundred.” The excellent onboard team makes “expedition approachable for people who worry they may be unfit for the experience,” he added.
Patty Crichton, luxury small-ship specialist and founder of travel agency Alaska and Beyond, says she’ll recommend Ocean Victory to future clients because “it’s a new hybrid combining the best of expedition with high-end luxury. And it appeals to all demographics.”
Ocean Victory sails 12- and 13-day itineraries between Vancouver, B.C. and Sitka, AK from May through September for American Queen Voyages. The ship will winter in Antarctic under the Albatros brand.
More details on American Queen Voyages and its ships can be found at aqvoyages.com.