World Explorer

World Explorer Review and Specifications

Specifications of World Explorer

Year built2019 new ship
BuilderWestSEA shipyard (Viana do Castelo, Portugal)
Classice-strengthened expedition ship
Building costEUR 85 million (USD 100 million)
OwnerMystic Invest via Mystic Cruises (Portugal)
OperatorQuark Expeditions, Nicko Cruises
Speed16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph
Length (LOA)126 m / 413 ft
Beam (width)19 m / 62 ft
Gross Tonnage9300 gt
Passengers86 - 176
Decks with cabins2
Christened bytba

Review of World Explorer

MS World Explorer cruise ship is Quark Expeditions' newest vessel built to custom specifications for the company. The ship was constructed by the shipbuilder WestSEA (naval shipyard in Viana do Castelo, Portugal) and scheduled for delivery in 2019.

Ship history and ownership

The vessel is owned by the Portugal-based company Mystic Cruises and seasonally chartered by Quark Expeditions (for polar cruises) and also by the European river cruise operator Nicko Cruises (for the rest of the season). The polar travel company Quark Expeditions (established in 1991) specializes in polar expedition cruises to Antarctica using vessels with ice-strengthened hulls. Quark Expeditions became part of the UK-based TUI Travel on May 1, 2007.

World Explorer cruise ship (Quark Expeditions)

Mystic Cruises is a new brand owned by the Portuguese entrepreneur Mario Ferreira - president of Mystic Invest SGPS (group of companies) and best known as the CEO of the Portuguese river cruise company Douro Azul, operating on Douro River roundtrips from Porto. Mario Ferreira is also famous for being Portugal's first space tourist (traveling on Virgin Galactic's Spaceship One / owned by Richard Branson). Besides Mystic Cruises, Mystic Invest also owns the river brands DouroAzul (Portugal) and Nicko Cruises (Germany).


The cruise ship World Explorer is an all-suite, all-balcony cruise vessel with scheduled all 10 cruises during its first Antarctic season 2018-2019. The vessel's draft is only 15 ft (4,7 m) allowing access to remote islands and unique coastal destinations. The ship is powered by two Rolls Royce diesel-electric marine engines (total power output 9000 kW). The hul is ice class 1B. The ship has all 2 lifeboats, which are fully enclosed. Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet).

Every cabin features either a private walk-out or Juliet balcony. MS World Explorer also boasts plenty of public areas for guestd to unwind after a busy day outdoors, such as the glass-domed Observation Lounge for full skyline views and quiet contemplation, the Explorer Lounge for a chat and a drink, and the library for intimate relaxing and reading. Discussions and presentations are facilitated in the lecture theatre.

World Explorer cruise ship (Quark Expeditions)

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

Wellness and health facilities feature an outdoor running track, small gym, sauna and spa with change rooms, showers and lockers. Add-ons include camping, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Cruise itineraries

When chartered by Nicko Cruises, the ship operates on cruises in Europe (Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Coastal, Baltic Sea, Norwegian Fjords), also to Iceland and Greenland.

  • The inaugural Nicko cruise was a 7-day itinerary (May 2-9, 2019) from Oporto Portugal to Palma (Majorca Island, Spain). prior to May 2019, the ship offered 2 repositioning voyages between Europe and South America, but they were available for booking also by other operators and travel agencies.
  • In the Western Mediterranean (southern Europe), for Nicko the ship had scheduled all 4 itineraries, then was relocated to Northern Europe for 2 Norwegian Fjords cruises (13-day itineraries).
  • In July 2019 followed two 12-day "Baltic Capitals" roundtrips from Kiel Germany, followed by one 8-day Iceland cruise from Kiel and two 14-day Kiel roundtrips to Iceland and Greenland. For September were scheduled two roundtrips from Hamburg Germany (7-day, and 5-day), followed by a 13-day relocation itinerary Hamburg-Oporto and the Europe-South Amerca Transatlantic repositioning crossing (October 4) from Lisbon Portugal to Rio de Janeiro Brazil.  

When chartered by Quark Expeditions, the ship operates on polar cruises (itineraries to ports and destinations in the Arctic and Antarctica).

Quark cruise deals

Quark Expeditions cruise deals are inclusive of:

  • 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay, group transfers (airport-hotel on the day prior departure, and hotel-ship on embarkation day)
  • onboard accommodation (daily housekeeping service)
  • all onboard meals (breakfasts, lunches, dinners) - know that the ship's galley / kitchen can't prepare kosher meals
  • all Zodiac landings (daily, weather permitting) and Zodiac transfers and cruising (daily)
  • media presentations by Expedition Team members and special guest lecturers
  • waterproof expedition boots (on shore landings)
  • complimentary Quark Expeditions logoed parka
  • lifejackets and immersion suits
  • complimentary coffee, tea and cocoa (24 / 7)
  • hairdryer and bathrobe (in all cabins)
  • pre-departure materials (including maps)
  • all service taxes and port fees
  • all onboard luggage handling
  • emergency evacuation (medevac) insurance to a max benefit USD 100,000 pp
  • Fly-cruise deals are inclusive of complimentary house wines (by the glass), beers and spirits on the ship, also of all gratuities (staff and crew) and all domestic flights (prior to embarkation).
  • Shipboard laundry and Ironing services are available at additional cost.
  • Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet) and cost extra.

World Explorer wiki

  • The cruise ship's design is based on a Rolls-Royce expedition vessel platform. This design was developed by Giuseppe Tringali (Italian naval architect). It features an ice-strengthened hull and top-notch hybrid power and propulsion systems.
  • On September 8, 2017, was the vessel's steel cutting ceremony held at WestSEA shipyard (Viana do Castelo, Portugal). The ship (hull number C010) is first in a series of polar expedition cruise vessels constructed for Mystic Cruises, with planned seasonal charter operations by Quark Expeditions.
  • In summer 2019, the ship was chartered by the German river cruisetour company Nicko Cruises, offering two 14-day voyages to Antarctica. In 2018 (February 20 through March 1), Nicko scheduled a total of 10 road shows in Germany to promote the company's new "ocean cruising" business. Each of the shows started with a casual get-together and buffet with finger food, followed by presentation of the vessel and its Nicko cruise itineraries. Then travel agents enjoyed full meals and desserts.

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