TORONTO — Looking back on the first sailing for brand new cruise line Atlas Ocean Voyages, the amazing thing is not just that it launched during a pandemic, but that it managed to launch right on schedule.
And when the 196-passenger World Navigator set sail in August 2021, it was the culmination of 10 years of planning, and all the more incredible after 18 months of halted operations for the cruise industry.
“We could not have anticipated a pandemic when we first established the Atlas Ocean Voyages brand in late 2019,” Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages, tells Travelweek in an exclusive interview.
That is no doubt an understatement. While every inch of the travel sector was deeply impacted by the challenges of the past two years, few were under as much scrutiny as cruising.
While the pandemic necessitated changes to World Navigator’s first itineraries, the ship did make a triumphant debut with departures from a much-loved destination: Egypt, as part of the ship’s inaugural Greek Isles season.
More recently, World Navigator successfully wrapped up its inaugural Antarctica season – and even hosted the first official wedding on the so-called Seventh Continent, in February 2022.
We checked in with Aliberti to find out more about Atlas Ocean Voyages and why it should be on the radar for Canadian travel advisors.
“WE ARE A DIFFERENT KIND OF LUXURY”
It’s been years since a new luxury cruise line appeared on the scene. Atlas Ocean Voyages showed up at just the right time, as clients tap pandemic savings to splash out on big upscale trips.
That’s fuelling the high-end market, which was growing in leaps and bounds even before the pandemic.
But while Atlas caters to the luxury traveller, the scene onboard isn’t stuffy. “We are a different kind of luxury. Our casually elegant style means there are no dress codes and no formal nights. We offer a wider menu of shoreside experiences that immerse guests in authentic cultures and lesser-travelled, small destinations,” says Aliberti.
Befitting its name, Atlas sails to ports around the world, from the Med, the British Isles and Northern Europe, Iceland and Greenland, Norway’s fjords and the Arctic, to Africa and Antarctica, to the Caribbean and South America.
That may sound like a lot for one ship to handle. Good thing then that World Navigator is getting sister ships. World Traveller is scheduled for delivery in October 2022. Just like World Navigator, the new vessels will feature 98 suites, solo suites with no single supplements, and staterooms.
Three more sister ships, World Seeker, World Adventurer and World Discoverer, will join the fleet through 2024.
Any client who gravitates to once-in-a-lifetime adventures in remote and unique destinations, personalized service and a luxurious ambience would be right at home on an Atlas ship, he says.
Solo travellers especially are an ideal fit for Atlas, thanks to the Solo Suites, with no single supplement. Solo Suites are 183-sq.-ft. and feature a plush queen-size bed, flanked by twin nightstands with embedded USB and power outlets. There’s a 42”, flat-panel TV and infotainment system, and the marble-panelled bathroom features L’OCCITANE bath amenities. Ample storage in the Solo Suites includes two closets for clothes and even an additional shoe closet.
AGENT RATES FOR SEMINARS AT SEA
Canadian travel advisors are welcome to take part in the cruise line’s Seminars at Sea program, says Aliberti. The onboard experience is aimed at helping travel advisors sail with Atlas and learn about the line’s luxe-adventure style. “We look forward to partnering with more Canadian travel advisors and welcoming more Canadian travellers aboard our small, luxe-adventure ships,” he says.
Starting this summer, travel agents can sail with Atlas for lead-in rates from starting from US$200 per night. There are 10 legs to choose from so far, from six to 13 nights, with options including the Norwegian fjords, the Arctic, Greenland and Iceland, Ireland and Great Britain. Departures are as early as June 17, 2022. And agents who bring five or more guests along for the Seminars At Sea will sail for free.
An Atlas Ocean Voyages Sales Director hosts the agent on a complimentary private land excursion, and presents three onboard seminars. Agents who take part can also receive up to US$1,400 in co-op marketing or US$1,400 reimbursement when they make a full-fare booking within 60 days of their voyage.
“They can bring their family and friends and share this incredible value and experience,” says Aliberti. “We know that once Canadian travel advisors experience Atlas firsthand, they will understand and appreciate our new style of luxury travel and exploration.”
For more information and to reserve accommodation on Atlas’ Seminars At Sea, agents are asked to contact their Atlas Sales representative or call 1-844-44-ATLAS (1-844-442-8527).
For the full story check out the May 19, 2022 issue of Travelweek here.