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World Navigator

First Impressions: World Navigator

The world has so much to explore. Perhaps that’s why the team at Atlas Ocean Voyages decided to attach such a global moniker to their first luxury adventure cruise ship. Built for the world’s most remote locales, the 196-passenger World Navigator has the toys to do adventure cruising the right way, but also the opulent amenities and guest-first approach to compete with the top brands in the small-ship, luxury cruising space.

World Navigator arrived slightly behind schedule thanks to the pandemic, but after spending more than a week on board during the ship’s maiden voyage through the Greek Islands, it’s clear the vessel was well worth the wait. By pairing a sleek new ship with an itinerary which includes some of the world’s most famous islands, Atlas Ocean Voyages has the recipe for an exquisite cruise vacation.

World Navigator | Photo: Evan Gove

Small Ship, Big Potential

First impressions matter when it comes to a brand new ship and World Navigator gets off on the right foot. The first thing you notice on board is the elegant, art deco designs and glossy, dark wood paneling from floor to ceiling. It’s a call back to cruising’s heyday when ships were full of tuxedos and evening gowns. Public spaces are ample and feature unique themes and contemporary furniture with a chic style that definitely feels retro.

However, despite the decor, World Navigator is a very laid-back ship with a casual approach to luxury. You’re far more likely to pass your fellow cruisers in the hallways dressed for exploration for a day ashore than you are to see them in a gown. It feels upscale, but there’s no pressure at all from the staff to conform to that idea.

As with most small ships, when on board, you’re never far from anywhere. Of the six decks, guests spend the most time on Four and Seven; the rest are mostly staterooms. Four is home to Porto, the main restaurant; the grab-and-go option Paula’s Pantry; the Atlas Lounge; and L’Occitane spa and fitness studio. Deck Seven is where guests go to jump in the pool or one of two whirlpools. It’s also home to the Dome Lounge, the place to go in the evenings to mingle with your fellow guests.

I found myself making great use of Paula’s throughout the cruise, though I very much enjoyed sitting down for a full three-course lunch. Between the cruise-sanctioned shore excursions and the opportunity to explore a place like Old Town Mykonos or the remains of Akrotiri on Santorini meant a sandwich and fresh-squeezed juice to go was perfect as I strolled down the gangway on to my next adventure.

Speaking of adventure, World Navigator wasn’t built to be a leisurely cruiser. This polar-class vessel comes complete with a heli-pad, Zodiac boats, Jet Skis, and all manner of kayaks and paddleboards for guests to enjoy. There’s also a space at the bow of the ship on Deck Five called Water’s Edge which boasts heated benches, designed to be the perfect place to watch aquatic life when the ship cruises to icy waters.

Dining at Porto and 7Aft

Guests have options when meal time arrives on World Navigator, though not quite as many as other ships. The main dining room, Porto, is gorgeous upon first glance thanks to dark wood paneling and abstract carpet and furniture patterns that are elegant without being over-the-top or gaudy.

Through a set of automatic doors on the far wall of the restaurant, guests find what may be the best place to enjoy a meal on board World Navigator (weather permitting) — Porto’s outdoor section. Lined with wood planking, from the floors to the tables and chairs, the outdoor dining area was where hungry guests gravitated for an alfresco dining experience. The deck’s 180-degree views are much appreciated when anchored somewhere like the immense Santorini caldera at sunset.

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Evan Gove is the SEO & Content Manager for Porthole Cruise and Travel's digital department. He covers cruise industry news and writes ship reviews for porthole.com. You can also catch him as a guest on the YouTube series Cruise Control with Bill Panoff. Follow his tweets and posts about the cruise industry from Porthole Cruise and Travel's social media accounts.