World Explorer current position
Specifications of World Explorer
|Year built||2019 / Age: 2|
|Builder||WestSEA Shipyard (Viana do Castelo, Portugal)|
|Class||ice-strengthened expedition ship|
|Building cost||EUR 70 million (USD 80 million)|
|Owner||Mystic Invest via Mystic Cruises (Portugal)|
|Operator||Quark Expeditions, Nicko Cruises|
|Speed||16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph|
|Length (LOA)||126 m / 413 ft|
|Beam (width)||19 m / 62 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||9300 gt|
|Passengers||196 - 200|
|Decks with cabins||3|
|Sister-ships||World Adventurer, World Discoverer, World Navigator, World Seeker, World Traveller, World Voyager|
|Christened by||Carla Bruni Sarkozy|
World Explorer Itineraries
|Date||Itinerary||Departure Port||Price from|
|2021 Jan 26||14 days, round-trip Antarctica with World Explorer||Buenos Aires||$17337|
World Explorer Review
Review of World Explorer
MS World Explorer cruise ship is a newbuild specifically designed for operations in the polar regions (Arctic and Antarctica). The vessel is owned by Mystic Invest (via the subsidiary Mystic Cruises) and operated under charter by Nicko Cruises (subsidiary) and Quark Expeditions (Travelopia-owned polar cruise company founded in 1991). The shipbuilder is WestSEA (naval shipyard in Viana do Castelo, Portugal).
The ship World Explorer is the first vessel in a planned 10-ship fleet of Mystic Cruises, that includes the sisterships World Explorer (2019), World Voyager (2020), World Navigator (2021), World Traveller (2022), World Seeker (2022), World Adventurer (2023), World Discoverer (2023).
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 (1991-founded) specializes in expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic via icebreaking vessels (passenger ships with ice-strengthened hulls). Quark Expeditions became part of TUI Travel (UK) in 2007 and since 2016 is owned by Travelopia Group Holdings Ltd (UK).
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 CEO of the Portuguese river cruise company Douro Azul, operating on Douro River roundtrips from Oporto. Mario Ferreira is also famous for being Portugal's first space tourist (traveling on Virgin Galactic's Spaceship One / owned by Richard Branson).
The shipowner Mystic Invest is a Portuguese family-owned financial holding that 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 (Portugal), 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.
The cruise ship World Explorer is an all-suite, all-balcony vessel with a total of 86 staterooms for 176 passengers (max capacity 200, max capacity 140 on polar cruises). Each of the staterooms offers as standard (complimentary / price-inclusive) amenities
- en-suite bathroom (shower, WC, washbasin, hairdryer, plush bathrobes and slippers, premium bath products)
- separate bedroom (Queen-size double bed convertible to 2 twins / single beds, bedside cabinets, bedside USB charging ports, wall-mounted lamps)
- mirrored vanity table / writing desk with armchair, lounge area (2-seater sofabed, coffee table with chairs), Horizon and Veranda cabins additionally have a plush loveseat
- smart HDTV (infotainment system, Internet, on-demand movies, Bluetooth connectivity), large wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), minibar (fully-stocked refrigerator)
- individual air-conditioning, LED lighting
- daily turndown service
- Still and sparkling bottled water is provided complimentary and replenished twice daily.
Towels (excluding those on the rack) and bedsheets are changed every 3rd day (depending on cruise itinerary length). Shipboard laundry and ironing services are available at extra cost. Laundry bags are provided in the cabins and collected each morning.
Each cabin is equipped with orange-colored lifejackets, which are used in cases of emergencies and during lifeboat drills. Ship's electrical supply is 220 V (50 Hz). The electrical outlets (found in all cabins and throughout the ship) are standard European 2-pin plugs. A total of 5 USB ports (per cabin) are for digital devices (cameras, smartphones, tablets, etc). Each cabin is also fitted with a total of 5 power outlets (110V / 220V).
Most cabins (~90%) are with private step-out balconies, excepting only the aft-located (decks 5-6) "French Balcony" cabins, which are with a sliding window (upper panel) opening to a railing (Juliet balcony). Cabin balconies are furnished with 1 low table and 2 deckchairs. Superior, Deluxe and Owner suites additionally have 2 lounge chairs on their balconies.
MS World Explorer has 7 cabin categories ranging in sizes from 185 ft2 (17 m2, Adventure Stateroom) to 355 ft (33 m2, Owner Suite). French Balcony cabins (Infinity Stateroom, 270 ft2 / 25 m2) are with floor-ceiling glass wall with a slide opening window (upper panel). Balcony cabins (Veranda Stateroom, 215 ft2 / 20 m2) are with a step-out balcony. Triple cabins (Junior Suites) are in 2 different types - with either outdoor or French Balcony. The all 12 Adventure-type (Porthole) cabins are located midship on Deck 3 and each with a large non-opening window.
All top-tier suites are 2-Room (1-Bedroom) and with larger balconies (sized 110 ft2 / 10 m2) furnished with 2 sun loungers, 2 teak deckchairs and 1 low table. Each suite has 2 closets and 2 large HDTVs (wall-mounted in the bedroom / living room).
Cabin bathrooms are with spa showers (rain shower head, handheld showerhead, 4 adjustable body jets), L'Occitane bath products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, handwash, hand lotion). Owner Suites and Deluxe Suites bathrooms are with double basin vanity (his-and-hers sinks) and separate WC. Owner Suites bathrooms are with bathtub.
Shipboard facilities and activities
The ship offers plenty of public areas, including Observation Lounge (glass-domed, with surrounding outdoor terrace), Explorer Lounge (multi-purpose and full-bar venue with floor-ceiling windows and comfortable seating), Library (reading lounge), Lecture Theatre (24-hour open Auditorium serving cruise company's enrichment program with daily scheduled activities, including port talks, discussions, media presentations), aft-located Dining Room Restaurant (with floor-ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace for al fresco dining / weather permitting).
Explorer Lounge doubles as multi-purpose room hosting special events (anniversaries, birthdays, group and private meetings, etc). Fresh-baked cookies and pastries are offered in the afternoons. Hot and cold snacks are available during the evening cocktail hour (activities permitting) and special occasion events. Lounge's Bar is staffed by a professional bartender serving a selection of liquors, spirits, premium beers, wines and champagnes (by the glass). Complimentary beverages include soft drinks, juices, water, coffee, tea.
Polar Library is well stocked with books and popular board games. The Library is open 24 hours. Its collection includes books in various languages and themed on wildlife, history, marine biology, geology, ecology, also field guides, picture- and reference books.
Polar Boutique is ship's gift shop selling travel essentials and souvenirs, as well as a selection of expedition gear (clothing, waterproof pants, gloves, hats). Shop's opening hours are based on the daily scheduled cruise activities.
In the Lobby area is ship's Reception (Guest Services Desk) served by dedicated staff that assists passengers with information, purchasing PIN cards (Internet/email access, phone cards), arranging wake-up calls. The Reception also doubles as Cashier's Office for setting shipboard accounts and making payments of these accounts towards the end of the cruise. Also on Lobby Deck are the ship's two entrance areas (portside and starboard) used for passenger embarkation/disembarkation in ports of call where pier/quay/wharf is available for docking.
Wellness facilities include an outdoor jogging track (on top-deck), small gym, Sauna Room, Spa (room for massages, showers, changing / locker rooms), Hairdresser. On Sun Deck is the outdoor heated swimming pool surrounded by a sunbathing area with loungers. The pool has a kids (shallow) area separated from the deeper saltwater plunge pool. The ship doesn't provide lifeguard on duty. On top-deck (aft) is a Helideck - helipad used in cases of emergencies.
As complimentary shoreside activities are offered camping, seakayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, Zodiac boat tours.
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.
In 2021, Quark Expeditions has planned two "Antarctic eclipse voyages" during which our Moon will completely block the Sun to produce the solar corona phenomenon. The Earth's total solar eclipses happen approx every 400 years. The Antarctic solar eclipse will occur on December 4, 2021, in Weddell Sea.
- Quark Expeditions "Antarctic Solar Eclipse 2021" voyages are offered on 2 ships - World Explorer (17-day itinerary, November 26 - December 12) and Ocean Diamond (20-day itinerary, November 25 - December 14). Prices start from USD 17,000 pp.
- Both cruises will feature as special guests Fred Espenak (US astrophysicist), Babak Amin Tafreshi (National Geographic photographer) and David Baron (author of the book "American Eclipse" themed on the solar eclipse that occurred on July 29, 1878).
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 (onshore 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). Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet) and cost extra.
World Explorer - user reviews and comments
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World Explorer Wiki
All Mystic Invest newbuilds as investments were backed by ICBC Leasing - part of ICBC Ltd (Chinese multinational bank, ranked world's largest by assets, deposits, loans, customers and employees). The shipbuilding financing was supported by Portuguese banks (during construction) and ICBCL Leasing funding (following delivery) through sale and charter-back of the vessel, with an obligation to repurchase it on maturity. Mystic Invest intends to build a 10-ship fleet of the same design.
In August 2017 were completed design's tank tests. The testing water tank and ship model were conducted by the Wageningen-based MARIN (Maritime Research Institute Netherlands). On September 8, 2017, was 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 2018 (February 20 through March 1), Nicko Tours scheduled a total of 10 roadshows in Germany to promote 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 gourmet desserts.
Vessel's launch (float-out from drydock) was on October 28, 2018. The christening ceremony was on April 6, 2019, held at West Sea's Viana Shipyard. Ship's Captains are Aleks Zakalashnyuk (Russian), Filipe Sousa (Portuguese) and Terje Willassen (Norwegian).
Ship's godmother is Carla Bruni Sarkozy - 1967-born (as Tedeschi) Italian-French singer and supermodel, who in 2008 married France's President Nicolas Sarkozy. The naming ceremony featured a Methuselah of Henri Blin Champagne (traditionally crashed against the hull) and several performances by the godmother, some in duet with Pedro Abrunhosa (1960-born Portuguese singer and songwriter).
World Explorer ship technology
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 / USD 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 ship'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.
World Explorer's 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.
After a drydock retrofitting project (planned for early-2020), World Explorer will become the world's first-ever cruise ship fitted with hydrojet propulsion (technology initially developed for military vessels). The ship will be upgraded with two SPJ Pump Jets by SCHOTTEL (model SPJ 82) allowing silent navigation at 5 knots speed (9 kph). This is a propulsion system upgrade (alternative propulsion units) as the hydrojets are used only in destinations with specific marine life. Both hydrojets pump water to propel the ship and similarly to the in-hull mounted Azipods (underwater azimuthing thrusters) can rotate 360 degrees. They also allow dynamic positioning (via GPS) to stabilize / fix the vessel without using propellers or anchors. Hydrojet propulsion units were installed on the sisterships World Voyager (2020) and World Navigator (2021) during their construction.
Inaugural cruise itineraries 2019
For summer 2019, the ship was chartered by the German river cruisetour company Nicko Cruises (subsidiary of Mystic Cruises), offering two 14-day voyages to Antarctica. Next are listed vessel's inaugural itineraries as call ports and times (arrival/departure).
16-day Maiden Voyage (South America)
|Date / Time||Port|
|31 Mar / 01-02 Apr (overnight)||Departing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|02-03 Apr||Hotel Stay|
|03 Apr - 20:00||Ushuaia, Argentina|
|04 Apr||At Sea|
|05 Apr 09:00 - 18:00||Port Stanley, East Falkland Island|
|0607-08 Apr||At Sea|
|09 Apr 08:00 - 18:00||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|10 Apr 08:00 - 20:00||Montevideo, Uruguay|
|11 Apr 08:00 - 17:00||Punta del Este, Uruguay|
|12 Apr||At Sea|
|13 Apr 09:00 - 16:00||Itajai, Brazil|
|14 Apr 14:00 / 15 Apr - 01:00 (overnight||Paraty, Brazil|
|15 Apr 08:00||Arriving in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
18-day Transatlantic repositioning cruise (South America to Europe)
|Date / Time||Port|
|15 Apr||Departing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|16 Apr - 18:00||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|17 Apr||At Sea|
|18 Apr 18:00 / 19 Apr - 18:00 (overnight)||Salvador de Bahia, Brazil|
|20 Apr||At Sea|
|21 Apr 07:00 - 15:00||Recife, Brazil|
|22 Apr 11:00 - 15:00||Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil|
|23 Apr||Equator crossing|
|24-25 Apr||At Sea|
|26 Apr 09:00 - 14:00||Praia, Santiago Island, Cape Verde|
|27-28 Apr||At Sea|
|29 Apr 14:00 - 18:00||Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal|
|30 Apr||At Sea|
|01 May 08:00 - 18:00||Lisbon, Portugal|
|02 May 07:00||Arriving in Porto-Leixoes, Portugal|
7-day repositioning (Oporto to Mallorca)
|Date / Time||Port|
|02 May 18:00||Departing from Porto-Leixoes, Portugal|
|03 May 08:00 - 16:00||Lisbon, Portugal|
|04 May 12:30 - 15:30||Gibraltar, UK|
|04 May 18:00 / 05 May - 18:00 (overnight)||Puerto Banus, Marbella, Spain|
|06 May 08:00 - 18:00||Cartagena, Spain|
|07 May 08:00 - 18:00||Formentera island, La Savina, Spain|
|08 May 08:00 - 18:00||Port Mahon, Menorca Island, Spain|
|09 May 08:00||Arriving in Palma de Mallorca, Majorca Island, Spain|
9-day inaugural Mediterranean cruise (prices from USD 3770 pp)
|Date / Time||Port|
|09 May 18:00||Departing from Palma de Mallorca, Majorca Island, Spain|
|10 May 08:00 - 18:00||Alghero, Sardinia, Italy|
|11 May 07:00 - 17:00||Bonifacio, Corsica, France|
|12 May 08:00 - 17:00||Capri Island, Italy|
|12 May 19:00 / 13 May - 18:00 (overnight)||Amalfi, Italy|
|14 May 08:00 - 18:00||Giardini-Naxos, Taormina, Sicily Italy|
|15 May 07:00 - 13:00||Gozo Island, Malta|
|15 May 14:30 / 16-17 May (overnight)||Arriving in Valletta, Malta|
12-day repositioning (Mediterranean to Baltic cruise) - prices from USD 4200 pp
|Date / Time||Port|
|01 Jun 18:00||Departing from Lisbon, Portugal|
|02 Jun 07:00 - 18:00||Porto-Leixoes, Portugal|
|03 Jun 08:00 - 15:00||La Coruna, Spain|
|04 Jun 14:00 - 20:00||Le Verdon-sur-Mer, Medoc, France|
|05 Jun||At Sea|
|06 Jun 07:00 - 19:00||Honfleur, France|
|07 Jun 12:00 / 08 Jun - 18:00 (overnight)||London Greenwich, England|
|09 Jun 08:00 - 20:00||Zeebrugge, Bruges, Belgium|
|10 Jun 08:00 - 20:00||Rotterdam, Holland|
|11 Jun 07:00 - 17:00||Amsterdam, Holland|
|12 Jun 15:00 / 13 Jun (overnight)||Arriving in Hamburg, Germany|
12-day inaugural Norwegian Fjords cruise (prices from USD 4400 pp)
|Date / Time||Port|
|13 Jun 18:00||Departing from Hamburg, Germany|
|14 Jun||At Sea|
|15 Jun 08:00 - 18:00||Stavanger, Norway|
|16 Jun 08:00 - 23:00||Bergen, Norway|
|17 Jun 08:00 - 18:00||Flam, Norway|
|18 Jun 08:00 - 18:00||Olden, Norway|
|19 Jun 08:00 - 18:00||Geiranger, Norway|
|20 Jun 08:00 - 20:00||Kristiansund, Norway|
|21 Jun 08:00 - 15:00||Trondheim, Norway|
|22 Jun 16:00 - 23:59||Leknes-Gravdal, Vestvagoy Island, Lofoten Norway|
|23 Jun||Norwegian Fjords (scenic cruising)|
|24 Jun||North Cape, Nordkapp, Norway|
|24 Jun 08:00 - 16:00||Honningsvag, Mageroya Island, Norway|
|25 Jun 08:00||Arriving in Tromso, Norway|
13-day inaugural Iceland cruise (prices from USD 5000 pp)
|Date / Time||Port|
|05 Aug 18:00||Departing from Reykjavik, Iceland|
|06 Aug 07:00 - 16:00||Heimaey Island, Iceland|
|07 Aug 08:00 - 18:00||Eskifjordur, Iceland|
|08 Aug 07:00 - 16:00||Seydisfjordur, Iceland|
|09 Aug 09:00 - 18:00||Akureyri, Iceland|
|10 Aug 08:00 - 17:00||Isafjordur, Iceland|
|11 Aug||At Sea|
|12 Aug||Prince Christian Sound, Greenland|
|13 Aug 08:00 - 20:00||Nanortalik, Greenland|
|14 Aug 08:00 - 17:00||Qaqortoq, Greenland|
|15 Aug||Prince Christian Sound, Greenland|
|16 Aug||At Sea|
|17 Aug 08:00 / 18 Aug (overnight)||Arriving in Reykjavik, Iceland|
Godspeed to the new ship!
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