River cruise operator Vantage Deluxe World Travel plans to
build two small ocean expedition ships, with the first one scheduled for service in March
Boston-based Vantage has largely employed a direct-to-consumer sales model
since its founding in 1983, but said it plans to market and sell ocean cruises
through travel agents.
The futuristic Ocean Explorer will be outfitted with 77
cabins, giving it a capacity of 154 at double occupancy. Vantage said the ship will
accommodate 170 guests.
Vantage said 20 itineraries planned in the first year
include sailings in Asia and Europe, a transatlantic passage to North America,
followed by voyages to Central and South America and Antarctica.
Vantage said the ship will provide "true synergy
between luxury travel and expedition cruising." Vantage said the ship's activities will include small-group wildlife viewing, biking, kayaking and paddle-boarding.
The design of the ship will feature the backward-slanting
bow increasingly used by cruise lines, especially for smaller expedition ships.
A rendering shows a vessel with a blue and white hull, several glassy
observation areas towards the bow and plenty of balcony cabins.
A sister ship, the Ocean Odyssey, is scheduled for 2022.
Vantage sails river cruises on the Rhine, Danube, Main,
Moselle and Seine rivers. The company also charters ships in Portugal, the
Mediterranean, Russia, Asia, North America, Central America, and South America.