It’s an Australian-first design built by an Australian line. Even its name comes from the Aussie founder of Aurora Expeditions.
But Greg Mortimer, whose moniker adorns the bows of the $80 million expedition ship which starts taking bookings from today, is finding his new found fame a little hard to live with.
In typical laconic Aussie style, he told a launch event in Sydney: “It is disconcerting and weird, even cringe-worthy, to have a ship named after you. I will probably be sick of my own name soon enough.’’
The state of the art Greg Mortimer ship will be the first expedition ship to have the Ulstein X-Bow – utilising the latest naval technology which allows the ship to cut across the waves. Making for a more comfortable journey.
It will have a virtual anchoring technology which means the ship can float in the same position and still launch its zodiacs.
Safety is a core principle for Aurora Expeditions and Greg Mortimer will feature the latest ‘return-to-port’ technology as well as dynamic positioning to ensure the protection of the delicate sea floor the ship will visit.
There will be 15 Zodiacs, sea-level Zodiac and activity loading platforms as well as dedicated 360° observation decks. Passengers will have the option to attend onboard lectures delivered by some of the world’s leading experts, enjoy a drink in the panoramic observation lounge, or unwind in the wellness centre.
“Getting up close and experiencing nature will be the core of our expeditions,’’ Mr Mortimer said.
The ship’s maiden voyage is scheduled for late October next year. It will offer 20 adventures spanning the Antarctic, South Georgia and Falklands Islands and the Arctic covering Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, East Greenland, Jan Mayen, Iceland and Norway.
A 13-day expedition to the Antarctic Circle will cost $14,900 for a balcony suite. A 21-day expedition to South Georgia and Antarctica costs $24,800pp for a balcony suite.
The line is offering two excusive deals on its 2019-2020 itineraries including a free upgrade to a balcony cabin or the option to save up to $6000 pp on selected cabins.
“To be visiting the world’s most spectacular wilderness areas will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any expeditioner,’’ said Robert Halfpenny, managing director of Aurora Expeditions.
“In the Antarctica, you can go polar diving, polar snorkelling, kayaking and skiing – it will be an exhilarating experience. We do not have butlers but we offer pioneering expeditions to the very heart of nature – that’s our battle cry,’’ he added.
Mr Halfpenny has a background in unique travel operations and worked with the Canadian railway journey Rocky Mountaineer.
The ship can accommodate 120 passengers with 40 crew including 15 expedition guides.
It is currently being built in Shanghai.
Bookings go on sale from today. See www.auroraexpeditions.com.au