Mário Ferreira with Mystic Cruises

Fear of Flying Hurting Cruising, Says Mystic Cruises President

What started as a single cruise ship on the Douro Rivers has evolved into Mystic Invest, one of Portugal’s premier tourism brands thanks to company founder and president Mário Ferreira. Along with its many travel services, Mystic Invest owns and operates 40+ ships around the world with a focus on exceptional standards and service. 

We are in the middle of this hurricane of a pandemic and people are cruising

Mário Ferreira joined Porthole Cruise Magazine founder and Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff to discuss the state of tourism for his brand and how Mystic Cruises was looking towards a bright future once COVID-19 is a thing of the past.

Interview with Mario Ferreira


Europe has been far more capable in terms of limiting the spread of COVID-19 than the United States and as a result, some European cruise lines have resumed operation. According to Ferreira, There are some issues that still stand in the way, however. While local Portuguese passengers have no problem getting to the ship via car, it is guests reliant on airplanes who are no longer booking. 

“This week, based on the few weeks since we started, we are around 75% occupancy. When the German guests are coming, for example, to the Douro Valley, because they have to fly, the occupancy is a bit lower. We see that guests are still a little bit afraid of flying,” he said. 

He also went into some detail about what the cruise line is doing to prevent COVID-19 from getting on board a ship in the first place. 

“Regarding what they [passengers] can expect, this is a new reality as you know. They have to expect, first of all we do a test, one of the little finger blood tests to see momentarily if you have, or you had, or you don’t have COVID-19,” he explained.

The cruise line also uses a variety of anti-viral technology like ultraviolet lights and disinfecting mist before cruisers step foot on a Mystic ship. 

When asked about feedback from cruisers wanting to sail during this period, Ferreira cautioned that we’re not out of the woods yet, but things were looking hopeful. 

“We are still in the middle of this pandemic even though in Europe it is a bit more controlled than it is in the US and Brazil, you still have a high number of new cases popping up everyday, but still we are in the middle of this hurricane of a pandemic and people are cruising,” he said. 

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Ferreira also spoke about his company’s newest project, Atlas Ocean Voyages, a new style of luxe-adventure travel on board World Navigator debuting in 2021. The inaugural itineraries include some incredible locales in the Holy Land, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Atlas Ocean Voyages

World Navigator | Photo: Atlas Ocean Voyages/Facebook

The goal is to provide a superior, inclusive, small-ship cruise vacation that deliver larger than life experiences in bucket list destinations. World Navigator holds just 200 guests so guests are closer to an authentic cultural and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.