July 26, Longyearbyen, N78°13' W15°38'
Another very early wakeup call for our charter flight to Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The charter was run by Enter Air, a Polish company. Magne was able to snag an exit-row seat for me, which was very much appreciated. What wasn't appreciated was being told, once we were in the air, that catering had not supplied the plane and that we would not be provided the promised breakfast. They did have some candy bars, which helped a bit.
Once we landed in Longyearbyen, we boarded a bus to take us to the World Traveller, our home for the next nine nights. But then the bus didn't move. It seemed that the combination of the passengers and their luggage exceeded the weight capacity of the bus and its sensor refused to let us budge. So another bus was called to take the people - the luggage stayed on the first bus and we all made our way towards the ship. Along the way we got a glimpse of the entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault that stores plant seed from countries around the world. Tourists are not allowed inside.
The World Traveller is one of several new ships owned and operated by Atlas Ocean Voyages, a Portugese company. Other than the OAT Trip Experience Leaders, all of the staff on the ship worked for Atlas. Having experienced quite a few different small cruise ships, we were delighted to find that our cabin on the World Traveller, and indeed the entire ship, was very thoughtfully laid out. Our cabin, 523, had a small balcony with a couple of chairs, some others in the same general class exchanged the balcony for more inside space and an electrically operated window. There were plenty of electrical outlets, all the light switches worked reasonably, and even the shower was well-designed.
Throughout the ship were small places passengers could sit and chat, coffee service was available in many places, the lounge had clusters of seating that could be configured for varying group sizes (something missing on most ships we've been on), and even the dining room could accommodate parties from two to twelve. Spoiler alert: we loved this ship so much we have already booked another cruise on it for 2024.