Mystic’s World Explorer Completes Five Years in Service

Introduced as Mystic Cruises’ first-ever ocean-going cruise ship, the World Explorer recently completed five years in operation.

Built by the West Sea Shipyard in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, the 200-guest vessel was commissioned during a special ceremony on April 6, 2019.

The event, which took place at the ship’s building dock, was hosted by Mystic Cruises’ CEO Mário Ferreira and included former French First Lady Carla Bruni serving as the Explorer’s godmother.

Responsible for commanding the ship during its inaugural season, Captains Alex Zakalashnnyuk from Russia, Filipe Sousa from Portugal, and Terje Willassen from Norway were also present.

While the christening ceremony took place in April, the World Explorer only entered service a few months later, in early August.

Initially operated by Mystic’s German brand Nicko Cruises, the vessel spent its inaugural season sailing in Northern Europe.

The program included both expedition and traditional cruising, with itineraries visiting Iceland, Greenland, the Norwegian Fjords, and the Baltic Sea.

Chartered to Quark Expeditions for the 2019-20 season in Antarctica, the vessel also offered a repositioning cruise to Brazil before arriving at the Frozen Continent in late October.

Since resuming service after the pandemic, the World Explorer has been sailing under charter for Belgium-based Rivages du Monde during summers.

In 2024, the ship’s season includes a series of itineraries in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and South America.

Upon completing the chartered program, the 9,300-ton ship is set to return to Antarctica for another season under Quark Expeditions’ flag.

After being acquired by the company in April, the World Explorer is set to be operated by Windstar Cruises starting in late 2026.

Renamed Star Explorer, the vessel is expected to undergo a major refurbishment before joining the fleet of the upscale cruise operator for itineraries across the world.

In line with other Windstar Cruises vessels, the Explorer is set to offer a new marina, in addition to a sun deck in its bow and a new range of dining venues.

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