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Atlas Ocean Voyages: Growing fast, adding destinations, seeking talent

Luxe adventure is 'elegance with inclusion and on-board community,' Alberto Aliberti summed up
Two years ago at Seatrade Cruise Global Alberto Aliberti made his debut as president of the new US office of Portugal-based Mystic Cruises — subsequently rebranded as Atlas Ocean Voyages. How far the brand has come.

The Atlas team made a strong showing at Seatrade in Miami last week when Aliberti appeared on the New Presidents Panel and hosted a news conference.

World Navigator is in service and 'going well,' itineraries for World Traveller are open for sale and those for the line’s third ship, World Seeker, will be announced in November.

Wider itineraries

2023 destinations will include the Panama Canal, Central America and Mexico’s Yucatán, the Middle East and Antarctica adventures from New Zealand.

'With three ships, we’re able to cover more of the globe,' Aliberti said.

Now that World Navigator is operating, travel advisors have a better understanding of the brand's 'luxe adventure' positioning and inclusive value — 'It's elegance with inclusion and on-board community,' Aliberti summed up.

MICE market

Shipbrokers for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions market are taking an interest, too, and conducting site inspections.

'They like our gorgeous, retro-chic look,' Aliberti said, and the ship size is right — double-occupancy capacity for 196 passengers.

MICE business currently equals one-third of one year on one ship, with bookings into 2024. Group benefits start with the sixth stateroom.

Newbuilds on schedule

According to Aliberti, the Atlas building plan is on track and all ships on order are financed.

After World Traveller in 2022, World Seeker is due out in late spring 2023, with the fourth ship approximately a year later and the fifth in late 2024 or early 2025.

World Navigator has been plying the Eastern Mediterranean since August and this month will arrive to the Caribbean before heading to South America and Antarctica.

Next up: Antarctica

For the 2021/22 Antarctica season, passengers will fly from the US on chartered private jet to Ushuaia, Argentina, to embark, cutting out long layovers and airport changes and maintaining a safe bubble en route.

There will be a morning stop in Santiago, Chile, for a crew change during which Atlas will treat travelers to a festive Champagne brunch in a private airport lounge.

Once in Ushuaia, they’ll go directly to World Navigator. All crew and passengers must be vaccinated for COVID-19 and there are additional testing requirements.

Atlas Assurance

At the Seatrade news conference, Aliberti announced beefed-up insurance. The line has included emergency medical evacuation insurance since the beginning; the comprehensive new Atlas Assurance, bundled into every booking, also protects passengers with medical, travel and legal coverage.

Medical coverage includes emergency evacuation and return home transportation (including dependent children), emergency prescription and eyeglasses replacement, payment guarantee of medical expenses, dispatch of physician or specialist, worldwide hospital and physician referral, and more.

Travel services include lost document assistance, 24-hour emergency travel arrangements, embassy and consular assistance, traveling companion transportation, and more. Travelers also are covered with worldwide legal and bail bonds assistance.

Atlas Assurance is part of the 'All Inclusive All the Way' proposition, a 'go big or go home' decision by Atlas, as Aliberti put it. Including air is extremely popular, he said. (Suite passengers get business class air.) And travel advisors like the heftier commission that comes with bundled pricing.

Generous military discount

In other news, Atlas introduced a 20% discount on its best price offer for active duty military and veterans, which Aliberti said is much more generous than the typical 10% off rack rate. This offer is available for bookings throughout 2022.

'We're taking CVs'

During Seatrade, Aliberti put out the word that Atlas — growing fast — is recruiting.

'Our outside sales force is our focus now because we have a lot more inventory to distribute,' he said.

Atlas just signed a lease to expand its downtown Fort Lauderdale office by 70%, taking over the other half of the floor.

Aliberti's recruiting challenge: 'We are a start-up. We are extremely entrepreneurial. People must have an entrepreneurial mindset. It is a very fast-moving office. You have to be dynamic and forward-thinking.'

One lucky catch has been cruise line veteran Lee Lennon, owner/principal of Travel by Design, who according to a company spokesman is consulting exclusively for Atlas, drawing on her immense experience to help further develop the brand's luxe-adventure land programs.

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