How We Choose Our Expedition Vessels

We have carefully evaluated and chosen a group of three small ships for our guests going to Antarctica. All of them are state of the art vessels and purpose built for adventure voyages in polar regions. They are comfortable, safe and are run by highly experienced and professional crews.Please note that many other outfitters use aging Russian research vessels which are very spartan and not designed to comfortably accommodate adventure tours. Please keep this in mind when planning your once in a lifetime Antarctic experience.

For this post we’ll focus on our first choice: The Greg Mortimer

A ground-breaking, new state-of-the-art vessel and one of the most advanced expedition ships in the world.

This is what we love about this ship:

1. Low Environmental Impact

80% lower emissions into the air and sea with advanced ‘Tier 3’ engines with lower energy consumption, high fuel efficiency. The ship uses state-of-the-art virtual anchoring technology, meaning the ship can hold its position using its own propellers and thrusters while launching Zodiacs and kayaks without disturbing the seafloor and the organisms living there. The design also reduces light pollution for minimal wildlife disruption and there is a policy in place to minimize the use of plastics.

2. Safety

The most up-to-date safety technology. This starts with the ‘return-to-port’ equipment – not compulsory on a ship of this size – which duplicates the propulsion system. This enables the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. Furthermore, the Greg Mortimer is Ice Class 1A and Polar Code 6 compliant, holds BV class and is fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements. It’s also built with a Rolls Royce stabiliser system.  If there’s an incident or accident during your adventure, the ship has an onboard, fully-stocked medical centre – where our trained medical team can provide necessary treatment in a timely fashion.

3. Seaworthiness

Polar expeditions face some of the worst Mother Nature can throw at us. However, this won’t be problem on the Greg Mortimer with it’s sci-fi style bow.  It’s a patented X-BOW™, created by Norwegian ship designer ULSTEIN. This bow concept that’s been built on over 100 vessels in the shipping industry and allows for more gentle sea crossings, improved comfort and reduced emissions. The Greg Mortimer  is the first expedition vessel to utilise this technology.

4. Custom Platforms for Wildlife Viewing and Transferring to Zodiacs and Kayaks.

With the use of hydraulics, parts of the hull magically transform into platforms that make it easy to get into attendant boats and to view wildlife.

CUSTOM-BUILT ACTIVITY PLATFORM

Regardless of your destination, we offer a number of additional activities to allow you to see more of the environment. From kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, it’s these optional activities that often leave the biggest impression on your trip as a whole. Onboard the Greg Mortimer, there is a spacious activity prep and loading platform for these activities and more – designed in consultation with our expert activity guides.

HYDRAULIC VIEWING PLATFORMS

To ensure you get the best views possible, the new ship features unique viewing platforms, custom-built for the Greg Mortimer. Accessed from Deck 5, the two platforms fold out hydraulically for unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds – make sure your camera is locked and loaded!

ZODIAC LAUNCHING PLATFORM

Zodiacs are a vital part of getting up close and personal on your adventure – sneaking into areas that the Greg Mortimer can’t reach. On this new ship, there are specially designed launching platforms that enables us to load Zodiacs easily and quickly, allowing you to spend more time exploring on the two to three daily landings.

4. Accommodation

Creature comforts and well-being are a big consideration of the overall design. All staterooms have private bathrooms, personal storage options, twin and double-bed configuration options, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service, as well as all the basic amenities that you’ll need onboard.

Of course, the prospect of unexpected wildlife encounters is always on the table so your accommodation needs to have a view as well! Across four of the five stateroom categories, you’ll find large floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock. Additionally, there are private balconies in roughly 80% of the staterooms, allowing you to watch the world float past and take in the salty air of the open ocean. We have introduced three cabin categories to our Balcony Stateroom category. These have been classified into category A, B or C depending on the cabin size and deck location.

Another great feature of the accommodation on the Greg Mortimer are the interconnecting staterooms. If you’re part of a family or group who want some privacy, but still want to be close to each other, these staterooms are the perfect option.

BALCONY SUITES AND STATEROOMS

Located on Deck 4, the Balcony Suites feature private balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area and seating areas.

 

STATEROOM TWINS AND TRIPLES

The Greg Mortimer features eight Aurora Stateroom Twin cabins  and six triples all featuring portholes and private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they’re close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that’s close to the action.

 

5. Other Perks

ONBOARD OBSERVATION POINTS

Let’s face it – you don’t want windowless rooms when travelling around some of the most beautiful locations around the world. This is why the Greg Mortimer is designed with plenty of dedicated observation spaces – more-so than any other expedition vessel we’ve been on.

From the indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, both on deck 8, to the 270-degree open sundeck on level 7, there are plenty of observation points to share around the ship! If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5.

Also, the Greg Mortimer also has an open bridge policy, which means at any point you can come up to the bridge and check out what the captain and officers are up to. From watching navigational practices to observing mapping techniques, you can get a firsthand look at the inner workings of the Greg Mortimer.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

Time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with more Zodiacs (15) than any other Aurora ship, which means you can maximise your time on shore. From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time. Just remember to charge your camera before you step onto the Zodiac!

ACTIVITY OPTIONS

One of the great benefits of travelling with Aurora Expeditions is the number of optional activities that you can participate in. From kayaking and skiing to diving and climbing, these are one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you need to take advantage of.

Aboard the Greg Mortimer there is a specially designed launching platform for all activities, a concept overseen by our activity experts. This area also includes individual lockers in the expansive mudroom and rapid drying areas for wetsuits so you can quickly get warm after exploring in the elements!

DINING

From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, you get the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain’s Welcome, as our guests, you’re welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to a range of different menu options and courses for each meal.

Meals are served in a large restaurant with family style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Additionally, a private dining area will also be available on request. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow.

On the last day of your trip, the team on the Greg Mortimer put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails – a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you’ve met on-board.

ON-BOARD ENTERTAINMENT

When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty!

On all our expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain.

If you’re keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape.

The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 7 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Feeling a little sore after walking around all day? Treat yourself to a massage at the Wellness Centre and feels the aches disappear! Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on Deck 7.

 

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