Atlas Ocean’s Rodriguez: Broader Audience

Atlas Ocean Ship

With two ships now in service, Atlas Ocean Voyages is attracting a broader audience and diversifying its operations.

According to James Rodriguez, president and CEO of the brand, the expedition market appeals to more demographics than it used to in the past, which may help grow the entire cruise industry, he said, speaking at a conference n Florida in March.

Rodriguez believes that expeditions may serve as a getaway for the industry to attract non-cruises and younger passengers and can also cater to what he calls are the “sofa expeditioners.”

“They have been watching documentaries on Discovery Channel or National Geographic and never thought these destinations were accessible to them,” he explained.

The increased competition in the niche also plays a part in attracting these costumers, Rodriguez said, through diversification in the industry.

“You have different products out there, built to different audiences. Some of the guests who did not think they were interested in an expedition now have offerings that allow them to actually do it.”

One of the things that contributes to differentiation between brands is their hardware, he added.

Sustainability and Connectivity

Atlas Ocean, for instance, operates a fleet of purpose-built expedition vessels that offer the latest sustainable practices, attracting what Rodriguez calls are mission travelers – those who want to go on a product that’s environmentally friendly.

According to Rodriguez, having better internet onboard, through providers like Starlink, also helps bringing in more passengers.

“It makes it more accessible to guests who want to travel and stay connected. I’ve been on an expedition with four couples who were ‘working from home’ from onboard our ship in Antarctica,” he said.

To help sustain areas like the Arctic and Antarctica, the company partners with local organizations such as AECO and IAATO, he said.

“At the destinations we visit, you have to have sustainable programs and I think it’s a good thing. Nobody likes increased regulations, but I think these organizations level the things for all of us, allowing us to go to these areas in a responsible way.”

A green operation also includes sustainable practices onboard, Rodriguez noted.

“We have to make sure that we are practicing what we preach, with single-use plastics and all the other measures that our guests are asking for,” he said.

Epicurean Expeditions

Atlas Ocean is also focusing on warmer water itineraries, offering a new product: Epicurean Expeditions.

“In every single sailing, we put together some type of expedition program based on culinary. We have special guests coming onboard to give wine testing or lectures, celebrity chefs and more.”

The program also includes new excursions that allow in-depth exploration of areas such as the Mediterranean, the British Islands and the Greek Islands.

Regarding deployment, in addition to marquee destinations such as Rome and Barcelona, Atlas Ocean looks for new boutique ports around the world, Rodriguez said.

“We search out for those yacht-style, smaller and out-of-the-way ports that most ships can’t go to,” he explained noting that the company is visiting Seville this year.

Complementing Atlas’ itineraries are culture emersion events. The complementary offerings include not only taking guests to local destinations to meet different people and their culture but also bringing onboard local artisans and more, Rodriguez said.

With a growing fleet, Atlas Ocean wants to expand its reach with new itineraries to other destinations.

Asia, South America and other areas of the world are on the plans for the future, he added.


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