Aurora Expeditions, the 28-year-old Australian adventure cruise company, has a new chief executive – one of the most senior Australasian executives from luxury adventure line Ponant.

Monique Ponfoort (centre in our picture) takes on the role of leading the two-ship line at a time when it has the capability to come into its own thanks to its investment in new, small ships and focus on environmentally friendly cruising.

The Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle, which launches in 2021, both feature the Ulstein X-bow, an inverted bow design that has been used on over 100 vessels in commercial shipping industry.

Aurora was the first passenger line to incorporate this innovative marine technology. The bow cuts through the swell so passengers feel fewer vibrations, make quicker transits through sea passages. It also helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%.

Chairman of the board, Neville Buch said: “Monique is an impressive executive and her extensive experience in the cruise and travel industry will be of enormous value to Aurora Expeditions. The board and I are delighted that Monique has agreed to join us. We have a very exciting future ahead of us with our second vessel, the Sylvia Earle arriving in 2021 and further vessel plans in the pipeline.”

Monique Ponfoort said: “I was drawn to the growth and forward thinking of the business together with their true passion in delivering outstanding expeditions and guests experiences to some of the most remote and unique places and cultures in the world.  I look forward to building on this incredible 28 years of history and to achieve further success in the years to come.”

Aurora faces challenges as a result of its ill-fated journey in South America last march, when the Greg Mortimer left Argentina days after the World Health Authority declared coronavirus a global pandemic. A number of those on board tested positive to the virus.

It is facing a law suit by passengers who claim it endangered safety in setting sail. Aurora has said it will “vigorously defend the action”.