Expedition Cruise Line to Welcome New Vessel in 2025

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Aurora Expeditions, the Australian-owned adventure cruise company, has announced the upcoming launch of its third small ship, the Douglas Mawson, set to begin sailing in late 2025.

Introducing the Douglas Mawson

Signifying Aurora Expeditions’ return to East Antarctica with new itineraries from Hobart, Tasmania, Aurora Expeditions is set to enhance its fleet with the introduction of the Douglas Mawson. The new Infinity Class vessel will debut in late 2025.

The ship, named after pioneering Australian geologist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, will embark on its inaugural season with a special focus on East Antarctica, Aurora’s first return to the region after 15 years.

“We’re thrilled to be launching the newest and final Infinity Class vessel,” said Michael Heath, chief executive officer, Aurora Expeditions. “We are equally delighted to be offering passengers new itineraries departing from Australia as part of the ship’s inaugural season.”

Observation Lounge Rendering, Douglas Mawson
Observation Lounge Rendering, Douglas Mawson (Photo Credit: Aurora Expeditions)

As a key figure in the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration,” Mawson led the Australasian Antarctic Expedition from 1911 to 1914, helping to map the Antarctic coastline. The expedition established bases, conducted extensive studies, and explored previously unknown regions. 

“Aurora takes great inspiration from the incredible legacy of Sir Douglas Mawson. It was Mawson’s SY Aurora vessel that inspired our founder, Greg Mortimer, to name our company Aurora,” said Hayley Peacock-Gower, chief marketing officer, Aurora Expeditions.

Features and Itineraries of Douglas Mawson

Designed to carry an average of 154 passengers, Douglas Mawson will join its sister ships, the 132-passenger Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle, also named for exploration and environmental conservation pioneers. The ships will emphasize small-group, immersive experiences.

Douglas Mawson will feature a Nordic-inspired interior with a range of staterooms and suites, most equipped with private balconies. Unique to the ship will be several single-berth cabins to cater to solo travelers. There will be 86 cabins in total.

Public areas will include diverse dining options, bars, and outdoor heated swimming pool, and wellness amenities. The ship also emphasizes educational opportunities with a citizen science center and lecture theater offering various participative and educational programs.

Aurora Stateroom Single Rendering, Douglas Mawson
Aurora Stateroom Single Rendering, Douglas Mawson (Photo Credit: Aurora Expeditions)

As an expedition ship, passengers will enjoy expansive observation decks with panoramic views of the wilderness and wildlife. Indoor lounge areas will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and the Glass Atrium Lounge inside the bow.

For its inaugural journey, Douglas Mawson will offer a special itinerary that follows in the footsteps of Mawson’s Antarctica. Passengers will visit Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, and New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands.

Douglas Mawson, like its sister ships, will serve as a base camp for passengers to explore. The ship will feature Zodiac access points, a changing room and a mudroom preparing passengers for off-ship and on-shore activities, and Ulstein X-BOW technology to improve fuel efficiency while offering smoother ocean crossings.

Aurora has not revealed the full program of voyages for Douglas Mawson, but the cruise line says it will visit the polar regions and “some exciting new destinations.” The inaugural voyage is anticipated for December 2025.

Aurora Expeditions is launching its 2024 expedition season in April with a “Patagonia & Chilean Fjords” voyage aboard Sylvia Earle. Launching April 5, the 15-day cruise will explore Cape Horn, Beagle Channel, Glacier Alley, Francisco Coloane Marine Reserve, the Chilean Fjords, Torres del Paine National Park, PIO XI Glacier, Tic Toc Bay, Castro, and Puerto Montt.

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