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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Antarctica - Boarding Atlas World Navigator and the first Evening

We arrived at the ship, climbed up a 25 foot gang-plank, and boarded. We were met with a well-organized and pleasant reception in the Atlas Lounge on deck 4.

Servers had small sandwiches and drinks for us. Staff took our temperatures, gave us our personal identity card/room key, and provided us Internet access instructions. Each passenger was given 1GB of Internet data transfers for one device. There are three upgrade options: 500MB and one device for $45, 1GB and two devices for $80, and 5GB and three devices for $350. We’re testing out the complimentary 1GB before we upgrade.

Atlas takes safety and health very seriously. Every crew member is masked, and passengers are encouraged to mask up. Hand sanitizer stations are everywhere, and you can get a complimentary mask in multiple locations. Shelly and I feel very comfortable on board.

We were escorted to our cabin 641 and unpacked. We got the Horizon A1 cabin. It does not have a balcony, but has a sitting area with a small couch, two chairs, and a desk with a mini-fridge and a Nespresso coffee maker. There’s a queen-size bed with two side tables, and a bathroom with a reasonable size shower.

There are electrical outlets all around the room and all but one in the bathroom require Type C adapters. On the right side table by the bed, there is one USB port for plugging in a charging cable. There is a Juliette window, controlled by switches near the bed, that lowers and raises the upper half of the window so you can get an unobstructed view of the scenery. There is a 50” or so TV on the wall opposite the bed. (insert photo). Lastly, there are two floor-to-ceiling closets opposite the bathroom. The drawers and shelves held all our clothes, and I managed to store both our large and carry-on suitcases in them.

After testing out the Internet access, it’s pretty limited. You get a one device, 1GB complimentary account. You are given a paper with an account code you enter when you connect to the network. During peak times, it’s difficult to get texts and emails to your recipients. My attempts have timed out a number of times. The passengers share the satellite connection with the crew too. If you need to get or send texts or email, or post to social networking sites, I suggest waiting until meal times, early morning or late at night. Atlas provides some instructions on how to minimize background processes from using your bandwidth, for example, turning off roaming and automatic cloud backups. A note for passengers in the rear of the boat, WiFi signal is spotty. The best place for a strong WiFi signal is in the Atlas Lounge on deck 4.

We toured the ship and got familiar with each deck. Deck 4 is where most of the action is. It includes reception, the Porto Restaurant where the main meals are located, the Atlas Lounge, an auditorium, and the Seaspa (Shelly booked a 90 minute message for day 2 which is a sea day. I suggest you book your appointments as soon as you can). Deck 7 has the Dome, a lounge and piano bar. Here are two photos of the Dome Lounge:

I got couple photos of the Andes Mountains and a National Geographic Explorer ship ready to set sail. Note Ushuaia in the background.

We attended an orientation in the auditorium which was presented by the Expedition Leader. He went through the orientation of the ship, health and safety protocols, and introduced his team. He said we were not on a cruise, but on an expedition. There was no set-in-stone schedule or ports to visit. The weather would dictate the place and time of the shore excursions. He emphasized the need for patience and flexibility as we were at the mercy of the weather, which is unpredictable.

Dinner was a Greek buffet, and very good. We dined with Jonathan, Monica, and Jacqueline, and enjoyed the company. Shelly and I were quite tired, as we had little sleep in the past three nights. We headed back to our cabin and crashed. The sea was pretty calm although we rocked a bit. We fell asleep around 10:00pm, looking forward to Day 2 at sea.

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