Illinois Tourism & Travel

Crazy About Travel

Bon Voyage. New luxury cruise ship launches from Boston

Patricia Lewis and Deirdre Dirkman stood on the highest issue of a brand name new cruise ship docked in Boston’s Seaport Monday and, with a couple of dozen people seeing them from the dock underneath, smashed a bottle of champagne to christen the Ocean Explorer.

It was a second 5 several years in the producing for Lewis, the spouse of Vantage Deluxe Planet Travel founder and chairman Henry Lewis, and Dirkman, vice president of around the globe functions for the Boston-dependent firm. The pandemic halted cruises and delayed supply of the ship, crafted on the Yangtze River in Nantong, China, by 6 months.

Large windows for ocean viewing on the Ocean Explorer.
Huge windows for ocean viewing on the Ocean Explorer.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

But now, Vantage is hoping the $70 million Ocean Explorer, which will sail to ports in North and South America and Antarctica, can draw visitors who might be cautious of larger sized cruise ships simply because of the pandemic. The 162-passenger vessel will provide an array of higher-conclusion amenities, these types of as lectures, spas, two saunas, regional foods, and an onboard concierge.

And passengers are “ready to roll,” Dirkman explained.

“They’re completely ready to just get out and see the globe and just enjoy,” she explained.

By 2022, Vantage hopes to christen a sister vessel — The Ocean Odyssey — for visits in the eastern hemisphere. Europe and Asia itineraries on that ship for the 2022 season are near marketed out, and the firm has opened its textbooks for the 2023 year. As of now, visitors are required to be vaccinated and current a detrimental COVID examination right before boarding, she claimed.

This is the very first oceangoing luxurious vessel for Vantage, which begun promoting tours to Australia and New Zealand in 1983, nevertheless the business has owned river-bound cruise ships because 1999.

Vantage Travel customer Helen Sigouin gets a tour of the new ship.
Vantage Travel consumer Helen Sigouin receives a tour of the new ship.Suzanne Kreiter/World Workers

Voyages on the Ocean Explorer will be more time, ranging from 15 to 41 times at sea, with selling prices different from $4,399 for a South American voyage to practically $41,000 for a solitary cabin on a journey that commences in Lima, Peru, then travels by air to the headwaters of the Amazon River, where passengers will cruise out to the Atlantic across the Caribbean and then up the East Coast to Boston. The ship will also have a physician onboard, while guests will have to fork out individually for those services and any prescription drugs.

On Monday, company and businesspeople filed onto the docked ship, passing by means of lounges and peeking into cabins. Previous Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, for whom the Flynn Cruiseport is named, stopped by the christening ceremony and recalled viewing ships pull into the terminal when he was a boy or girl.

About 400,000 cruise ship passengers arrived by Boston’s port on 138 ships in 2019, the final total cruise time in advance of the pandemic, explained Lisa Wieland, main government of Massport. Boston is not a top rated desired destination for cruises — the nation’s busiest cruise port, Miami, welcomed 5.5 million passengers in 2019. But Wieland estimated the passengers who do pass through Boston assist about 1,100 direct positions at Flynn Cruiseport Boston and encompassing industries.

Proper now, about 130 ships are scheduled to go by means of the port in 2022, Wieland said.

“No one particular can actually predict what is going to occur following in a world wide pandemic,” Wieland stated Monday. “But if the restoration proceeds as we all hope and count on it will, I assume we can anticipate a sturdy 2022 cruise time.”

The Godmothers of the  Ocean Explorer, Patricia Lewis and Deirdre Dirkman, christen the ship on Monday.
The Godmothers of the Ocean Explorer, Patricia Lewis and Deirdre Dirkman, christen the ship on Monday. Suzanne Kreiter/World Workers

Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at [email protected] or at 617-929-2043.