Anne Majumdar

Aurora Expeditions is keen to get the word out that even though its new vessel is state-of-the-art, it still offers the same spirit of adventure.

The Australian expedition cruise specialist, Aurora Expeditions launched the 2019/20 program for Greg Mortimer, its new 104-metre ice-class expedition ship, last week.

The vessel will set sail on its maiden sea voyage ‘Spirit of Antarctica’ in late October 2019 with initial itineraries spanning Antarctica and the Arctic.

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Speaking to KarryOn to mark the launch, the ship’s namesake and Aurora co-founder Greg Mortimer highlighted its patented Ulstein X-bow as a standout feature.

“There’s absolutely nothing out there like it,” he said.

“It’s the first of its kind.”

The bow is able to pierce waves with much greater stability than a traditional bow, continuing on course more smoothly and using less fuel.

The operator has been “unexpectedly swamped” since it revealed details of the new ship back in November, Mortimer revealed. Whether that interest is down to its environmental considerations, or the cutting-edge nature of the ship is as yet unclear, he added.

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But the interest in the new offering is great news for Aurora, especially as the expedition cruising sector becomes more cluttered.

“There’s a larger number of ships claiming to be expedition vessels irrespective of size,” Mortimer noted.

“So, I guess the points of difference for Aurora will become more obvious, but we’ll need to shout about those a bit more.”

What exactly are those points of difference? Mortimer pointed to smaller passenger numbers, its environmental credentials and the way it treats its guests as particular strengths.

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He also identified its passengers as travellers who are happy to take more risks in search of adventure and enjoy activities long offered by Aurora like camping, diving and climbing.

“We’re keeping all the things we initiated in the Antarctic, but we’re now able to do all that with a slightly larger and posher vessel,” he said.

“But our approach remains the same.”

What the ship will do is open up a range of new destinations for Aurora. Mortimer gave examples as the west coast of Africa, the west coast of South America and the Amazon.

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“We’re in the mid-stream of finalising all those things, but they will be released in the middle of the year,” he confirmed.

Have you visited the Antarctic or the Arctic yet?