Atlas Ocean Voyages, a luxury cruise line launching in 2021, is to send adventurous clients to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in a first for the cruise industry. Sam Ballard reports

A new cruise line called Atlas Ocean Voyages is to take its guests to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for a shore excursion – part of a series of firsts that are looking to shake up the cruise industry.

Atlas Ocean Voyages, a luxury adventure cruise company based in the US, revealed the trip as part of its “Max Shore” programme – extended overland excursions, which are offered free to guests booked on a cruise. The idea behind the programme is to complement a luxury ocean voyage with an experiential overland stay.

The three-day Chernobyl tour will include walks into safe areas of the power plant – the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster – as well as a visit to Pripyat, the now abandoned city that was home to workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.ChernobylWhile visits to the 1,000-square-mile area is restricted because of contamination, officials have designated it as safe for escorted visits. Atlas Ocean Voyages is the first cruise company to offer the experience to its guests.

“No other cruise brand offers an included, multi-day overland adventure like Atlas Ocean Voyages does with Max Shore,” says Alberto Aliberti, president of Atlas Ocean Voyages.

“Essentially, we’ve combined two unforgettable, travel experiences – a luxury cruise and a fascinating land tour – into one without compromising either. Usually, tour extensions are at an additional cost and require more days pre- or post-cruise, but Max Shore includes the extended, overland adventure for guests without having to extend their travel time.”

The excursion will be available on Atlas’s 16-day “Black Sea in Full” cruise departing on July 28, 2021, from Athens. As well as Ukraine, it will also stop at Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia and Russia.

In Globetrender’s Future of Luxury Forecast, John O’Ceallaigh, the founder of Lute, explained why Next-Gen Cruises was such an important upcoming trend, particularly for minted millennials. One luxury brand that is dipping its toe in the water is Ritz-Carlton, which, according to O’Ceallaigh made the move because of its clientele.

“The cruise ships’ development was inspired by feedback from Ritz-Carlton clients who told hotel staff they were curious about cruising but hesitant to book with unknown brands,” he wrote.

“It seems Ritz-Carlton’s bet on boating is resonating with a demographic who long felt under-served by conventional cruise companies’ offerings: initial booking data suggests some 60 per cent of Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection clients will be first-time cruisers, and they’re skewering ten years younger than traditional cruise passengers.”

“Pay for Peril” is another trend highlighted in Globetrender’s Future of Luxury Forecast, which you can download via the link below.

With a whole host of companies looking to enter the ultra-luxury market – and with expedition cruising a particular focus – this is one area of the industry that is sure to garner more attention in the coming years.

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE

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