Mystic Cruises fleet
Review of Mystic Cruises
Mystic Cruises is a new cruise company (Oporto Portugal-based subsidiary) owned by Mystic Invest SGPS SA (shipowner). The parent company is the Ferreira family-owned Portuguese financial holding with brands mainly in the travel tourism and leisure industries.
Mystic Cruises (website) is a brand owned by the Portuguese entrepreneur Mario Ferreira - CEO and President of Mystic Invest SGPS (group of companies) and best known as CEO of the Portuguese river cruisetour company Douro Azul operating on Douro River. Mario Ferreira is also famous for being Portugal's first space tourist (travelling on Virgin Galactic's Spaceship One / owned by Richard Branson).
Mystic Invest fully owns several brands specializing in travel and tourism business (cruises, tours, hotels) and real estate. The list of brands (subsidiaries) owned by the parent company Mystic Invest includes DouroAzul (Portugal), Mystic Cruises (USA), Atlas Ocean Voyages (North America), Nicko Cruises (Germany), Priority Dolphin (shipbuilding), Mystic Tua (Portugal), Mystic Adventure (tour agency in Barca d'Alva), World of Discoveries (theme park in Porto Portugal), Helitours (Porto and Douro Valley), BlueBus (Porto), hotels and resorts (Hotel do Cais, Monumental Palace Hotel, Douro Marina Hotel, Wine Lodge Hotel), Caminho das Estrelas (suborbital and Zero-G flights), Mystic Real Estate.
In late-April 2019, Mystic Invest announced plans to establish and launch in 2021 the new subsidiary company "Mystic Cruises USA" led by Alberto Aliberti (CEO and President), headquartered in Florida (Fort Lauderdale) and served by 20-60 employees. On November 14, 2019, was introduced the new (adventure-luxe) brand "Atlas Ocean Voyages" which is managed by Mystic Cruises USA. Bookings were opened on January 2, 2020, with the operations scheduled to start on July 7, 2021, with the ship World Navigator. Early-booking promos included per-cabin savings (up to USD 2000) and half deposit.
In early-June 2019, Certares GBT Holdings Ltd (global company specializing in travel, tourism and hospitality investments, subsidiary of Certares Management LLC) became a shareholder in Mystic Invest Holding. The Ferreira family is the majority stake owner of Mystic Invest's cruise companies (DouroAzul, Nicko Cruises, Mystic Cruises) and full owner of holding's non-cruise subsidiaries.
Mystic Cruises fleet consists of 6 vessels, of which some are chartered to other cruise lines (small companies and independent tour operators), including to some Mystic Invest-owned brands.
World Explorer (2019-launched) and World Voyager (2020-launched) are operated under charter by Nicko Cruises and Quark Expeditions. The other 4 liners (currently under construction) will be operated by Mystic Cruises USA. These are World Navigator (2021), World Traveller (2022), World Seeker (2022), World Adventurer (2023) and World Discoverer (2023). For the construction of all these units was contracted the shipbuilder WestSEA (naval shipyard in Viana do Castelo, Portugal). The ship name "World Discoverer" was also trademarked.
Each vessel features an ice-strengthened hull (allowing year-round operations in polar regions), LOA length 126 m (413 ft), width 19 m (62 ft), GT tonnage 9300, max passenger capacity 200 (max 176 on polar itineraries), crew capacity 125, 8 decks (2 with cabins), 86 staterooms, shipbuilding cost EUR 70 million (USD 80 million) - or EUR 350,000 (~USD 395K) per berth.
On May 16, 2019, Mystic Cruises signed a partnership with Adonis AS (provider of maritime HR / human resources support and solutions) for ocean fleet's management. Adonis Maritime HR Suite includes services like staff recruitment, crewing and payroll.
Ship design was developed by Leadship Ltd (Piraeus Greece-based company) owned by Italian naval Architects Giuseppe Tringali and Mirco Zoia. It features an ice-strengthened hull (ice class 1B), top-notch automation and control system, modern propulsion (based on electrical pods / azimuthing thrusters), dynamic positioning system (using GPS data to accurately maintain ship's position without anchoring), advanced water treatment system, hybrid powerplant (diesel-electric) with efficient marine engines (two Rolls-Royce engines running on ULSD / ultra-low-sulfur diesel).
The Rolls-Royce powerplant costs GBP 7 million (EUR 7,75 million / 8,9 million) and includes two main engines (Bergen C25-33L8P) and one auxiliary dual-fuel genset (Bergen C25-33L6P). The engines are connected to vessel's electric power system (Rolls-Royce SAVe CUBE) allowing them to operate efficiently at variable speeds. Rolls-Royce Promas propulsion is an integrated propeller-rudder system to optimize hydrodynamic efficiency. Promas includes two controllable pitch propellers integrated with two flap rudders, steering gears and tunnel thrusters.
Vessel's draft is only 15 ft (4,7 m) allowing access to remote islands and unique coastal destinations. The ship has all 2 lifeboats (full-capacity) which are fully enclosed. Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet). Landings (passenger transportation) and coastal exploration voyages are served by ship's own fleet of ten Zodiacs (motorized boats stored aft on Deck 7) and 2 loading stations.
The shipbuilder WestSEA is owned by Martifer Group via the subsidiary Martifer SGPS. This is a family-owned holding company founded in 1990 (by the brothers Carlos and Jorge Martins), headquartered in Oliveira de Frades (Portugal) and Euronext Lisbon (stock exchange) listed since 2007. Martifer Group has over 3000 employees and specializes in metal construction and (since 2004) in renewable energy (wind and solar energy equipment production). Martifer Group is one of Europe's largest metal construction companies, with subsidiaries in Spain, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Brazil and Angola.
The two Mystic Invest-owned European river cruise companies - "DouroAzul" (Portugal) and "Nicko Cruises" (Germany) - operate mainly modern newbuild riverboats deployed, respectively, on Douro River (in Portugal) and on Seine-Rhone rivers (in France) and on Moselle-Rhine-Main-Danube rivers (in Central Europe). Almost all boats are built after the year 2000 and have 4 decks and capacity between 80-180 passengers (Portugal-based ships are smaller).
Itinerary of Mystic Cruises
All the four Mystic Cruises ocean-going ships will operate on global itineraries leaving from various seaports worldwide. The new company will rely mainly on North American passenger sourcing. Fly-cruise deals from the USA will be also available for booking.
Company's fleet of modern riverboats is deployed exclusively in Europe - on Douro River (in Portugal), on Seine-Rhone river (in France) and on the Western-Central European rivers Moselle, Rhine and Danube. Boats' homeports (departure ports) include Germany (Passau, Cologne, Berlin, Stuttgart, Stralsund, Saarbrucken, Potsdam), France (Paris, Lyon), Basel-Zurich (Switzerland), Prague (Czech Republic), Amsterdam (Holland).
The company also owns a luxury hotel barge - Spirit of Chartwell - cruising on Douro River since 2012.
Atlas Ocean Voyages 2021 itineraries
Atlas Ocean Voyages is a subsidiary company and travel brand managed by Mystic Cruises USA (parent Mystic Invest). Atlas Ocean Voyages fleet includes the newbuild vessels World Navigator (2021), World Traveller (2022), World Adventurer (2023), World Seeker (2024).
Bookings were opened on January 2, 2020, with the operations scheduled to start in July 2021 with World Navigator. The inaugural cruise season of Atlas Ocean Voyages (2021) included 66 different port destinations (Mediterranean Sea, Black Seas, Holy Land) visited on a total of ten 7- to 15-nights long itineraries.
- Atlas Ocean's inaugural cruise (11-night itinerary, July 17th) departs from Valletta Malta and visits Piraeus-Athens, Zakynthos Island, Katakolon-Olympia, Elafonisos Island, Chania (Crete), Sitia (Crete), Rhodes Island, Mykonos Island, Siracusa (Sicily), Kusadasi.
- Black Sea cruise (7-night itinerary, July 28th) departs from Piraeus-Athens and visits Kusadasi; Nessebar, Bucharest, Odessa (2 overnights). Black Sea cruise (9-night itinerary, August 4th) departs from Piraeus-Athens and visits Novorossiysk, Batumi, Sinop, Amasra, Sochi (overnight), Istanbul (overnight). Both Black Sea cruises can be combined into a B2B (16-night).
- Three Holy Land cruises offer overnights in Haifa (Tel Aviv) and Ashdod (Jerusalem).
- 7-night Mediterranean cruise (September 18) is from Piraeus-Athens to Civitavecchia-Rome and visits Corinth Canal (passage), Itea-Delphi, Katakolon, Taormina (Sicily), Agropoli, Agropoli, Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Naples.
- 7-night Mediterranean cruise (September 25) is from Civitavecchia-Rome to Lisbon and visits Livorno, Marseilles, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Gibraltar.
- Follows a 17-night Europea to South America Transatlantic crossing (October 4) from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. The itinerary includes stops in Funchal (Madeira Island) and Mindelo (Sao Vincente Island, Cape Verde) before Brazil (Fernando de Noronha Island, Natal, Recife, Salvador, Buzios). An 8-night itinerary (Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo) visits Buzios, Paraty, Ilhabela, Porto Belo, Imbituba, Punta del Este.
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