Aurora Expeditions joins the world in celebrating World Penguin Day 25th April 2021

                     Aurora Expeditions joins the world in celebrating                        World Penguin Day 25 April 2021

                      Our endearing, feathered friends are vital barometers                       of the health of the oceans and the planet

On 25th April 2021, Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition cruising company, will join in the global celebrations of World Penguin Day. But whilst the world bows to the emperors and salutes the kings in an affectionate tribute to these funny, curious creatures, World Penguin Day also pays homage to the critical role penguins play as bioindicators of the state of the oceans and the planet.

World Penguin Day was created in 1972, when researchers at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station noted that every year on April 25th, Adelie penguins started to return from months at sea to migrate north in search of better food supplies for the winter. As one commentator wrote, ‘They returned to the same spot, on the same day, every year. This seemed too incredible a coincidence…and it wasn’t. This is the normal migrating pattern of these penguins.’

The aim of World Penguin Day is to raise awareness of the challenges and threats penguins face. These adorable, waddling acrobats are in fact barometers of the health of the Southern Ocean, the beating heart that pumps life around our blue planet. But penguins are in trouble. Their survival is at risk due to constant environmental threats: climate change, overfishing and habitat destruction. Today, of the 18 or so registered species, at least 10 are classified as endangered.

Emperor and Adelie penguins, for example, are reliant on sea ice for krill, their main food source, which feeds and breeds under the ice. Parts of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean are warming, and sea ice distribution is changing, altering penguin feeding grounds and food sources. Emperor penguins, which live closest to the pole, are the most vulnerable; their fate is inextricably linked to sea ice for breeding, moulting and feeding. As they already breed on the southernmost point on the planet, there’s literally nowhere for them to go if their breeding habitat becomes too warm.

Chinstrap penguins are ‘the canary in the coal mine for a whole host of changes that are happening on the Antarctic Peninsula’, according to Heather Lynch, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolution at New York’s Stony Brook University. One large chinstrap colony has shrunk by more than half over the last thirty years, and with temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula rising, some species are thriving, whilst others are at risk of extinction.

One species that is thriving is the salp, a jelly-like planktonic species that is becoming increasingly common in Antarctic waters. Salps are thriving due to years of diminished sea ice cover, and more salps generally means less krill. Krill is a keystone species within the Antarctic ecosystem, a food source for penguins, whales, seals and other creatures, so the increase in salp numbers is causing concern amongst some scientists. ‘There is a really delicate balance between the salps and the krill,’ says Kirsten Thompson, Lecturer in Ecology at the University of Exeter, adding, ‘You see the ecosystem out of balance. The Southern Ocean is really critical for the ocean everywhere else’.

The upshot is that whilst Antarctica is considered to be one of the most vulnerable places on Earth, this magnificent white continent may well hold the answers to our future.

There’s no better way of delving into the secrets of Antarctica and its wildlife than on a transformative, polar adventure with Aurora Expeditions. New to the portfolio in December 2021 is the ‘South Georgia and Antarctic Odyssey’, featuring the far-flung and rarely visited South Sandwich Islands. This expedition offers a unique opportunity to explore some of the most remote wildernesses on earth, witnessing their charming, tuxedoed inhabitants with highly qualified guides, marine researchers, scientists and experts passionate about environmental responsibility, ocean conservation and the survival of wildlife in this remote territory. While onboard, experience the refined comfort of the ‘Sylvia Earle’, the most advanced, greenest expedition vessel available.

Zodiac cruises, shore landings and a kayaking option allow guests to learn about these fragile habitats in situ, with opportunities to observe one of the world’s largest king penguin rookeries in South Georgia and the massive, million-strong chinstrap penguin waddle on the volcanic South Sandwich Islands.

Understanding the delicate nature of our world is integral to the pioneering spirit and ethos of Aurora Expeditions. So, whilst we applaud and revel in the comical antics of penguins on World Penguin Day, we also acknowledge their pivotal role in the present and the future of the planet.

In the words of Howard Whelan, Expedition leader, polar expert and lead on an Antarctic expedition which informed the Academy Award winning film Happy Feet, ‘Penguins are the sentinels of the well-being of our world. If they fail, we all fail. We must listen, watch and learn from what they are telling us – and, in the process, be thankful for the joy they bring us with their utterly lovable and entertaining antics’.

Aurora Expeditions offer a 25 Day Voyage South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey featuring South Sandwich Islands 17 December 2021 – 10 January 2022

South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey feat. South Sandwich Islands


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WORLD FIRST: Aurora Expeditions dedicates its new expedition ship Sylvia Earle to leading female conservationists


3 March 2021, London: Australia’s award-winning expedition operator, Aurora Expeditions, is celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 by dedicating its new expedition ship to five of the world’s leading female conservationists.

The new purpose-built ship Sylvia Earle, launching in October 2021, is named after the world-renowned marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle.

In a world-first, each individual deck will bear the name of other pioneering female conservationists; Dr. Carden Wallace AM, Joanna Ruxton, Sharon Kwok and Bernadette Demientieff, along with the Deck 5 dedicated to Dr. Sylvia Earle herself.

“Female scientists are leading the way in global conservation initiatives and we want to honour these five extraordinary women who work tirelessly to make the world a better place,” says Aurora Expeditions CEO Monique Ponfoort.

“The scientists we have chosen are inspiring leaders in their fields, and as part of the deck theming, we will educate our expeditioners on the impressive and important conservation work they continue to do. We are so proud to be able to honour these incredibly talented women,” she adds.

The new ship’s decks will be named after:

Dr. Sylvia Earle: ‘Hero of the Planet’

Dr. Sylvia Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998; and was named by Time magazine as its first ‘Hero of the Planet’. Her own conservation initiative Mission Blue is creating a global network of marine protected areas known as ‘Hope Spots’, and her new Deep Hope project aims to deliver two ‘deep-dive’ submersibles to collect crucial scientific data of as-yet-unseen ocean depths.

Bernadette Demientieff: Arctic Wildlife Guardian

Bernadette is a passionate mother/advocate for the rights of Alaska and the Gwich’in people of northeast Alaska and northwest Canada. As Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, she speaks for the protection of the calving grounds of the porcupine caribou herd known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against any destruction from oil and gas companies.

Dr. Carden Wallace AM: Coral Conservation Champion

Principal Scientist Emeritus at the Queensland Museum since 2014, Dr. Wallace is a preeminent Australian scientist and the first curator/director of the Museum of Tropical Queensland from 1987 to 2003. She is an expert on corals and was part of a team that discovered the mass spawning of coral in 1984. In recognition of her contribution to marine science, Dr. Carden Wallace was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021.

Joanna Ruxton: Plastic Free Pioneer

Joanna has the rare distinction of being hailed as ‘the person responsible for the plastic-free movement’ by Sir David Attenborough himself. She spent many years at the BBC Natural History Unit working on the first ‘Blue Planet’ documentary series. Her award-winning film ‘A Plastic Ocean,’ released in 2016, shows the devastating impact of plastic waste on ocean ecosystems and has helped to turn the tide against single-use plastics. In 2009, Joanna co-founded Plastic Oceans UK (now known as Ocean Generation), with the goal of inspiring an inclusive global movement to restore a sustainable relationship between humanity and oceans.

Sharon Kwok: Future Generation Educator

In 2013, Sharon founded the AquaMeridian Conservation and Education Foundation to promote marine education and inspire the next generation to protect and preserve ocean biodiversity. Sharon continues her advocacy as a Mission Blue and WildAid board member and as Executive Director of the AquaMeridian Conservation & Education Foundation.




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Aurora Expeditions launches bumper Antarctica 22/23 season

18th February 2021, London: After receiving a record number of bookings for the Arctic and Global 2022 season, Aurora Expeditions, which was voted the World’s Leading Polar Expedition Operator 2020 in the World Travel Awards, has launched its Antarctic 2022/23 summer season itineraries.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the 2022/23 season marks the highest number of expedition voyages that Aurora Expeditions has operated in one Antarctic season with 26 departures running across its two, state of the art, purpose-built expedition ships, Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle. The season launches with early bird deals of up to 30% off*.

With one of the most diverse and immersive activity programmes in the polar regions, the new Antarctic expeditions will feature several exhilarating add-ons to allow expeditioners to create their perfect bucket list experience. These include snorkelling, diving, and kayaking, camping on the ice, Shackleton’s Crossing, ski touring and snowshoeing as well as hikes and zodiac excursions.

Aurora Expeditions has been a leader in polar expeditions for the past 30 years, and pioneers in the introduction of many activities in the polar regions, including the first to offer kayaking, camping on the ice under the stars without a tent! and diving in Antarctica.

The new Antarctic 22/23 program includes:

Spirit of Antarctica

Embrace the spirit of polar exploration on this classic expedition to the coveted white continent. Sail across the famed Drake Passage, admiring spectacular seabirds and approaching the ice as the explorers of old did, by sea. With a chance to Zodiac-cruise through pack ice, set foot on the continent, choose from a range of adventure options and even perhaps camp under pastel polar skies, this is the quintessential Antarctic voyage for adventure lovers.

Departure Dates:

Greg Mortimer:

  • 07 Nov 2022 – 18 Nov 2022 (12 Days)
  • 17 Nov 2022 – 28 Nov 2022 (12 Days)

Sylvia Earle:

  • 19 Nov 2022 – 30 Nov 2022 (12 Days)
  • 29 Nov 2022 – 10 Dec 2022 (12 Days)
  • 09 Dec 2022 – 20 Dec 2022 (12 Days)

Across the Antarctic Circle

Venturing below the Antarctic Circle is about more than just earning bragging rights. It is the chance to enter a different world more rarely seen, it feels more isolated and colder than further north, with great swathes of pack-ice and dreamlike icebergs. Thread through pack ice and narrow channels where scenes of ice-clad mountains, feeding whales and lively penguin colonies become lasting memories.

Departure Dates:

Greg Mortimer:

  • 16 Dec 2022 – 28 Dec 2022 (13 Days) – Christmas Voyage (Sail Only)
  • 01 Feb 2023 – 12 Feb 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Sail)

Sylvia Earle:

  •  07 Jan 2023 – 19 Jan 2023 (13 Days) (Sail Only)

Antarctic Explorer

Early Antarctic explorers returned from their voyages to the deep south with tales of a magnificent, ice-covered land teeming with life. Experience the awe-inspiring immensity of Antarctica and immerse yourself in the unimaginable beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula, where vast glaciers tumble into the sea, penguins are dwarfed by soaring peaks, and humpback and minke whales feast on abundant krill. Reduce your time on the high seas by flying at least one way across the Drake Passage.

Departure Dates:

Greg Mortimer:

  • 15 Jan 2023 – 25 Jan 2023 (11 Days) (Sail/Fly)
  • 23 Jan 2023 – 03 Feb 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Fly)
  • 11 Feb 2023 – 21 Feb 2023 (11 Days) (Sail/Fly)
  • 19 Feb 2023 – 02 Mar 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Fly)

Sylvia Earle:

  • 18 Jan 2023 – 28 Jan 2023 (11 Days (Sail/Fly)
  • 26 Jan 2023 – 06 Feb 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Fly)
  • 14 Feb 2023 – 24 Feb 2023 (11 Days) (Sail/Fly)
  • 22 Feb 2023 – 05 Mar 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Fly)
  • 03 Mar 2023 – 14 Mar 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Sail)

Wild Antarctica

Famed for its tremendous tabular icebergs, year-round sea ice, fascinating fossils and the pivotal role it played in Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, the Weddell Sea offers unsurpassed opportunities for exploration. Embark on a true Antarctic expedition as we not only explore the west Antarctic Peninsula but also attempt to venture east towards the icy perimeter of the Weddell Sea, often guarded by impenetrable pack ice and home to awe-inspiring tabular icebergs.

Departure Dates:
Sylvia Earle:

  • 4 Feb 2023 – 15 Feb 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Sail)

Greg Mortimer:

  • 28 Feb 2023 – 11 Mar 2023 (12 Days) (Fly/Sail)

Subantarctic Safari

Steeped in history, the Falklands~Malvinas is also a beacon for bird lovers. Discover an incredible diversity of charismatic penguin species including king, macaroni, rockhopper, Magellanic and gentoo. Watch as black-browed albatross wheel overhead, with approximately 65% of their global population returning to the precipitous, craggy bluffs of the Falklands~Malvinas to breed. In South Georgia, jagged peaks and glaciers create a breathtaking backdrop for beaches crowded with elephant and fur seals, and countless penguins.

Departure Dates:

Sylvia Earle:

  • 04 Nov 2022 – 20 Nov 2022 (17 days)

South Georgia and Antarctic Odyssey

This voyage encompasses the best of the Antarctic Peninsula and the enchanting wildlife haven of South Georgia. Discover the historic Falklands~Malvinas and stand in awe before the world’s largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. In Antarctica, experience the serenity and grandeur of the most remote place on earth, where penguins nest, whales feed and captivating seals frolic in ice-speckled seas.

Departure Dates:

Greg Mortimer:

  • 21 Oct 2022 – 8 Nov 2022 (19 Days) (Embarks in Stanley, Falklands~Malvinas)
  • 27 Dec 2022 – 16 Jan 2023 (21 Days) New Year Voyage (Embarks in Ushuaia, Argentina)
  • 10 Mar 2023 – 30 Mar 2023 (21 Days) (Embarks in Ushuaia, Argentina)

Sylvia Earle:

  • 19 Dec 2022 – 8 Jan 2023 (21 Days) Christmas & New Year Voyage (Embarks in Ushuaia, Argentina)

Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula

This epic voyage takes you on a journey beyond comparison, visiting enigmatic subantarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Similar to the South Georgia and Antarctic Odyssey, but with additional time in the Falklands~Malvinas to discover the fascinating history of the islands and encounter the spectacular birdlife found there. Feel awed in the presence of South Georgia’s king penguin colonies, some of the largest on earth. Immerse yourself in the serene grandeur of the Antarctic Peninsula as you embrace the true spirit of exploration and adventure.

Departure Dates:

Greg Mortimer:

  • 27 Nov 2022 – 17 Dec 2022 (21 Days)

Antarctica Complete

Experience unparalleled adventure and discovery on your ultimate Antarctic voyage. If you want to see it all, this is the trip for you. Be transported to enthralling subantarctic islands rich with human history and unique wildlife. Then venture into the deep south of the Antarctic Peninsula, crossing the coveted Antarctic Circle. Zodiac cruise in vast ice-covered landscapes, visit lively penguin colonies, watch for whales and discover the rich history of this fascinating region.

Departure Dates:

Sylvia Earle:

  • 13 Mar 2023 – 4 Apr 2023 (23 days)



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Aurora Expeditions welcome world-renowned marine conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle as a special guest on an expedition to Baja California and Sea of Cortez, 4-12 May 2022

Voyage on Aurora Expeditions’ new ship, the Sylvia Earle, named in her honour of Dr Sylvia Earle including time spent at Dr Earle’s first designated ‘Hope Spot’

2nd February 2021, London: Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s pioneering expedition cruise operator is offering a unique opportunity to meet and explore Baja California with world-renowned marine conservationist, biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Dr. Earle will be a special guest on a 9-day sailing in and around Baja California and the Sea of Cortez (4-12 May 2022) onboard its new, small expedition ship, the Sylvia Earle, named to honour of Dr. Earle’s long-standing commitment to ocean conservation and marine regeneration.

Dr. Earle has a deep personal connection to the Sea of Cortez. In 2009 it was nominated as the first ‘Hope Spot’ for Mission Blue and The Sylvia Earle Alliance. Since then, Mission Blue has created a global network of 136 marine protected areas, vital eco-systems that are critical to the health of the ocean.

Expeditioners joining the voyage will enjoy fascinating once-in-a-lifetime on-board talks given personally by Dr. Earle and have the opportunity to join her on immersive excursions both on land and water in the Gulf of California.

The voyage offers the chance for explorers to see and learn about this extraordinarily rich and biodiverse marine environment and begin their personal journey as ‘ambassadors’ for ocean conservation. Dr. Earle will share her views on the significance of climate change and why the Sea of Cortez, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was her first designated Hope Spot.

Aurora Expeditions and the new ship Sylvia Earle will support Mission Blue’s conservation efforts with wildlife mapping and location photography and video, above and below the water. On board ‘Citizen Science’ projects, run by the expedition team leaders will support marine research to ensure the critical health of the ocean.

“By travelling with Aurora Expeditions on Sylvia Earle, I feel it is an incredible opportunity for people to learn about these extraordinary marine habitats in situ, and as a result, become ambassadors for protecting them,” says Dr. Earle.

“Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is ocean, it is our life support system, and we need to learn everything we can about it,” she adds. “I see great synergies in working closely with a company that shares my vision for the future and which is, from the top down, passionate about the marine environment.”

Aurora Expeditions is planning voyages to other key ‘Hope Spots’ including:

The David Attenborough of the marine world, Dr. Sylvia Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998; and was named by Time magazine as its first ‘Hero of the Planet’ the same year.

“Our goal is literally to inspire a network of hope – one place, one community, one vision at a time – but together around the world,” says Dr. Earle. “And by linking people, sharing stories, and carrying evidence of success or problems from one place to another, we get this global ‘brains trust’ working to get us from where we are to a better place.”

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Aurora Expeditions Launch Maiden Season Programme Aboard the New Ship Sylvia Earle With a focus on Mission Blue Hope Spots as championed by Dr. Sylvia Earle

  • Aurora Expeditions first voyages to Raja Ampat, Russian Far East, Aleutian Islands and Baja California
  • 12 incredible new itineraries aboard the Sylvia Earle launching in November 2021

LONDON, 24th November 2020: Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition company has today launched a diverse and intrepid collection of global voyages for the maiden season of the new expedition ship the Sylvia Earle. Itineraries will include visits to remote Mission Blue Hope Spots as championed by Dr. Sylvia Earle herself.

The exciting 2022 global programme, 12 new itineraries taking place between April and October, continue to push the boundaries of expedition voyaging by taking our expeditioners to breath-taking and remote destinations including Alaska and Haida Gwaii, The North-West Passage, Baja California, Raja Ampat, West Papua and The Russian Far East.

Launching alongside the new itineraries will be exclusive early bird deals of up to 25% off.*

Aurora Expeditions plans to raise awareness of fragile ecosystems by visiting Mission Blue Hope Spots, as supported by the Sylvia Earle Alliance. By visiting these locations, such as the Gulf of California or the Misool Marine Reserve, Aurora Expeditions aims to highlight the importance of conserving these incredibly biodiverse marine areas which are critical to the health of the ocean and to the balance of the ‘Earth’s blue heart’.

Monique Ponfoort, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Expeditions commented: “Our purpose-built expeditions ships are designed to connect our expeditioners with the world’s most intrepid and unique environments, and we are proud to be partnering with Dr. Sylvia Earle to continue our goal of creating lifelong ambassadors for the wild and remote places we visit. In keeping with Sylvia’s own vision and achievements, the Sylvia Earle will have a large focus on marine education and conservation, offering the opportunity for our expeditioners to learn about these incredible, biodiverse marine habitats in situ.”

“With the upcoming delivery of our second purpose-built expedition ship the Sylvia Earle, it continues to be an exciting period of growth for the business. We hope these new itineraries evoke some wanderlust for those of us who are patiently ready and waiting to get out and explore the world again.”

The Sylvia Earle’s Arctic and Global 2022 programme includes:

NEW: Baja California and Sea of Cortez

  • Baja California Odyssey: 23 April – 5 May 2022
  • Baja California & Sea of Cortez: 4 May – 12 May 2022

The rugged islands and coastal desert of The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, are a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and the very first of Dr Sylvia Earle’s designated Hope Spots. Famously dubbed the ‘aquarium of the world’ these waters are home to over 900 species of fish, including sharks – 90 of them endemic – more than 2,000 invertebrate species and a variety of whales, dolphins, rays, sea turtles and sea lions.

NEW: Alaska Expeditions

  • Alaska Adventure: 19 May – 31 May 2022
  • Alaska Adventure & Haida Gwaii: 30 May – 11 June 2022
  • Alaska Odyssey: 10 June – 23 June 2022

The ever-changing landscape of Alaska’s Inside Passage is teeming with wildlife, including nine varieties of whale, Brown and Black bears and bird colonies up to half a million strong. Kayak through waters which are home to an abundance of fin-slapping whales or zodiac-cruise through inlets in search of bald eagles and peregrine falcons. Inuit guides will lead hikes along the tidal flats and estuaries looking out for grizzly bears feasting on salmon, before joining members of the Haida Gwaii indigenous community who will share stories of their extraordinary history and heritage.

NEW: Aleutian Islands

  • Aleutian Islands: 22 June – 8 July 2022

Alaska’s rugged peninsular with glaciers tumbling from icefields is the start of a journey through the Aleutian Islands which form the Pacific Rim of Fire; a northern arc of islands separating the Pacific Ocean from the Bearing Sea. From end to end starting in the remote Alaskan fishing port of Seward and ending at Russia’s spectacular Kamchatka Peninsula, this voyage offers a unique opportunity to explore a wilderness rich in biodiversity, history and heritage. Brown bears, dolphins and seals call the Alaskan coastline home and as the volcanic islands fragment along this 1900 km chain, they give way to caribou, sea otters, Stellar sea lions, and a variety of whales. Breeding colonies of black-legged kittiwakes, tufted puffins, crested auklets and peregrine falcons occupy the skies and historic relics ranging from Aleut villages, Russian fur trade depots and remnants of World War II battles are explored onshore landings.

NEW: The Russian Far East: Kamchatka & Chukotka and Wrangel Island

  • Kamchatka & Chukotka 6 July – 21 July 2022
  • Wrangel Island 19 July – 3 August 2022
  • Wrangel Island 1 August – 16 August 2022
  • Kamchatka & Chukotka 14 August – 31 August 2022

Tundra dotted with wild-flowers, treasured wildlife sanctuaries and indigenous communities come together in the wild, remote and extreme Russian Far East. Wrangel Island, a bonsai garden of over 400 plant species, is home to the world’s highest concentration of polar bear dens and the largest population of Pacific walrus. On land there are nesting grounds for over 100 migratory bird species, reindeer and musk oxen, and in the icy waters along the Chukotka coast beluga, grey and humpback whales feed. Further south in Kamchatka and Chukotka brown bears and cubs forage along the riverbanks feasting on salmon whilst sea eagles swoop down to take their share. Further east lies the Commander Islands a group of treeless sparsely populated islands in the Bering Sea. They are the ‘South Georgia of the North Pacific’, and a breath-taking maze of sea stacks and arches are home to red-legged kittiwakes, red-faced cormorants, parakeet, whiskered auklets and even laysan albatross.

NEW: Kuril Islands

  • Kuril Islands: 29 August – 12 September 2022

Teeming with marine life and migratory birds, the Kuril Islands are the steppingstones between Hokkaido in northern Japan and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The 22 islands and 30 islets form a necklace of active volcanoes and sea-sculpted coastlines with soaring bird cliffs. A kaleidoscope of landscapes awaits, from mega herb and coniferous forests to grasslands and lava fields, and the nutrient rich waters are home to sea otters and harbour seals, Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoise and sperm whales. Watch out for exquisite little murrelets who nest on the ground at altitudes where trees don’t grow, and brown bears fishing for salmon in the shallower waters. History comes in many forms including the abandoned Soviet secret submarine base in the flooded caldera of Broutana Bay, the remains of Ainu (indigenous Japanese) settlements, and the World War II capture of the Kuril Islands from Japan.

NEW: Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands

  • Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands: 21 September – 4 October 2022

Northwest of West Papua lies Raja Ampat, 9.8 million acres of sparsely populated land and sea. Over 1500 tiny forested islands surrounded by clear blue waters are scattered throughout this Indonesian archipelago, the most biodiverse marine habitat on the planet. The Misool Marine Reserve, a designated Mission Blue Hope Spot, protects one of the richest coral reefs within the highly biodiverse Coral Triangle, whilst on land over 500 species of bird have been recorded. It’s a paradise for divers and snorkelers, a twitchers haven, and a melting pot of cultures influenced by the people of Melanesia, Islam, Portuguese explorers, and Dutch traders who came in search of highly prized spices and nutmeg.



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Aurora Expeditions reveals the cutting-edge design of the ‘Sylvia Earle’ Its second purpose-built expedition ship

16th November 2020, London: Aurora Expeditions Australia’s pioneering expedition cruise operator is on schedule with the build of its second state-of-the-art expedition ship, the ‘Sylvia Earle’, and today can reveal its striking new exterior design alongside renders of its impressive interiors.

Due for delivery in October 2021, the ship is named after the world-renowned oceanographer and marine conservationist, Dr. Sylvia Earle, who is actively involved in the development of her namesake. The purpose-built ship features the cutting-edge Ulstein X-BOW®, a core design element that is essential to the speed, agility and impressive fuel efficiency of the ships in the Aurora Expeditions fleet.

CEO Monique Ponfoort says: “It is really exciting to see a second X-BOW ship coming into the market for Aurora Expeditions. Its innovative, eco-sensitive design captures the essence of small-ship expedition travel pioneered by Aurora Expeditions.”

Monique continues: “Exploring the natural world is at the heart of what we do and elements of nature have been brought into the interior design of the ‘Sylvia Earle’. Education and conservation are integral to our DNA, and ensuring passengers immerse themselves in a destination is of paramount importance to us. Our goal has always been to create lifelong ambassadors for the protection of the wilderness areas we travel to and we know that the ‘Sylvia Earle’ is in a strong position to help us achieve those goals.”

Yet again, the second ship of this design will break new design grounds. The Ulstein X-BOW® on the ‘Sylvia Earle’ will incorporate a unique two-level glass lounge in its bow. Offering superb views from the front of the ship, passengers will be able to appreciate this extraordinary perspective on the horizon, in particular when the majesty of a large iceberg appears in the distance. This ship will also feature an outdoor swimming pool, heated by repurposing engine heat, which will be a welcome addition to its facilities in warmer regions.

Beautiful spaces have been integrated into the interior layout, a highlight of which is The Sylvia Earle Science Centre. Created with input from Dr. Earle herself, the science centre, located in the glass lounge in the bow, is the perfect space from which to experience onboard citizen science programmes. In keeping with Dr. Earle’s own vision and achievements, there will be a particular focus on marine education and conservation.

Tomas Tillberg, Managing Partner of Tomas Tillberg Design and his team have led the interior design of the ‘Sylvia Earle’, as they did with the ‘Greg Mortimer’ Aurora Expeditions first X-BOW ship.

“Our close collaboration with Aurora Expeditions has resulted in a design that is not only visually appealing but also eco-friendly as we have chosen, where possible, materials that are environmentally sustainable. The design also emphasises the importance of casual, elegant comfort, that will really make guests feel relaxed and at home.”

Global Head of Marketing, Victoria Primrose, notes: “The sleek exterior livery of the ‘Sylvia Earle’ makes use of our signature teal colour making the ship instantly recognisable as an Aurora Expeditions vessel. For the interiors we deliberately chose a simple, natural colour palette, taking inspiration from the remote and pure natural areas that we travel to.”

Aurora Expeditions ships boast one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, due to a combination of low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design. The state-of-the-art Tier 3 engine delivers an 80% reduction in emissions* and can utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position instead of dropping anchor on a delicate seafloor. On-board desalination plants convert seawater to freshwater that is safe to drink. The ships, therefore, carry less fresh water on sea crossings, further reducing fuel consumption.

The ‘Sylvia Earle’ will be the second in the fleet to sail with the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®, whose inverted bow design, in combination with Rolls-Royce dynamic stabilisers, offers unrivalled stability and comfort1 on ocean crossings. The Ulstein X-BOW® cuts through sea swells, minimising vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves. This also helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%*.

*Tier 3 compared to the older Tier 1 engines.

1Aurora Expeditions does not claim that this will prevent or cure motion sickness or seasickness.


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Hike Some of The World’s Most Dramatic Coastal-Cliff Landscapes on Aurora Expeditions’ New Voyage along The West Coast of Ireland

  • Aurora Expeditions inaugural voyage to Ireland
  • Unique itinerary accessing islands and locations that are exclusive to Aurora Expeditions
  • Voyage special guest: Greg Mortimer; Australian mountaineer, explorer & co-founder Aurora Expeditions

 24th February 2020, London, UK: Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition cruising company, has announced its first ever voyage to Ireland on board their new ship, Greg Mortimer.

Sailing from Dublin in May 2022, this one of a kind 13-day itinerary features some of the country’s most spectacular coastal highlights, including Donegal, Clare Island, Connemara National Park and The Skelligs.

Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland’s west coast is characterised by soaring cliffs, dramatic peninsulas with medieval ruins and enchanting castles steeped in history. This breathtaking scenery will be revealed during expert-led wildlife walks, nature hikes and coastal kayaking tours. Daily trips by Zodiac will showcase breeding seabirds such as puffins, fulmars, guillemots, storm petrels and shearwaters.

Scattered along the west coast and carved out in the harsh Atlantic Ocean are a series of remote and private islands which hold the ghosts of a life, long lost. Hidden away and exclusively available on this voyage, these isles of savage beauty, forgotten in time, hold the archaeological gems of iron and bronze age sites, and early Christian monasteries dating back to 500-600 AD. Some isles were formerly home to pirates who ruled the seas, now they are peacefully occupied by birdlife nesting on the cliffs that dramatically rise from the seas.

Exploration starts at the wild and rugged Inishowen Peninsula, Ireland’s most northerly point and the jewel in the crown of Donegal. Nearby Troy Island boasts an abundance of rare birdlife and wildlife species. Gaelic is the islanders’ first language and many ancient customs, including the appointment of the island king, endure today. Ceide Fields is home to some of the oldest stone-walled fields in the world, dating back 6,000 years, and on the Dingle Peninsula, passengers will find one of the richest concentrations of archaeological monuments in western Europe.

Given the moniker, ‘The Enchanted Island’ the next port of call, Inishbofin, is set in the wild splendour of Connemara amid the magical beauty of sea, cliffs and mountains that make up the Galway-Mayo coastline. One of the most traditional and untouched parts of the country, the island is a breeding area for many bird species, the rarest or most threatened of which is the corncrake. On Inishbofin Aurora Expeditions offers three looped walks, all with stunning views of the island’s beautiful scenery and birdlife.

Weather permitting the Greg Mortimer will also land at the World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael, in County Kerry. The monastic site is home to a sixth-century “beehive” monastery as well as breeding seabirds including gannets, Arctic terns and a colony of orange-beaked puffins.

From the ship, passengers might catch site of dolphins, whales, orca and porpoise. There will also be an opportunity to tuck into a west coast meal of locally produced and foraged food from Connemara, and to enjoy an authentic ‘trad session’ of traditional music played by local musicians and Irish expedition team.

Aurora Expeditions commented: “The rarely-seen and forgotten islands along the Celtic west coast are intertwined with ancient culture, storytelling, mythology, history and wildlife and fit perfectly into Aurora Expeditions’ portfolio. Our guests love to go in search of the unusual and authentic and this itinerary really delivers.”

Joining this trip is the Australian mountaineer and co-founder of Aurora Expeditions, Greg Mortimer, after whom the ship is named.

Aurora Expeditions’ Historian and British Isle expert, Carol Knott, said “As an archaeologist and expedition guide, I find the remote corners of the west of Ireland constantly surprising and inspiring. Here we encounter a stunning combination of spectacular Atlantic scenery, indigenous wildlife, fantastic ancient sites and a unique living cultural heritage. What a rare opportunity to explore these little-known treasures.”

A 13-day Ireland’s West Coast Voyage, 13 – 26May 2022

The voyage departs from and returns to Dublin

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Aurora Expeditions celebrates the launch of new global voyages 2021-2022

14 January 2020 UK: Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition cruising company has launched its 2021/22 program aboard both the Greg Mortimer and the Sylvia Earle, the world’s first passenger ships to feature the Ulstein X-BOW®. The new program includes a diverse and exciting variety of new itineraries and destinations, including Antarctica and the South Sandwich Islands, Ireland and Costa Rica.

Aurora Expedition’s Global Head of Marketing, Victoria Primrose notes “We’re thrilled to launch our new program that will be run across our two world-class, purpose-built expedition ships. The variety of our unique small group expeditions that allow passengers to experience otherwise extremely difficult to reach destinations has resulted in phenomenal demand.”

“With the delivery of our second purpose-built expedition ship launching in October 2021, we have the ability to widen our offering. Whilst polar voyages remain core to the program, we have introduced new itineraries and destinations such as Ireland and Costa Rica which will offer our customers breathtaking experiences in some of the most biodiverse and impressive places on the planet.”

“We’ll also continue to offer a broad range of adventure activities on all of our voyages, from sea kayaking to rock climbing and polar diving1, so our guests can customise their trips and get the most out of their time onboard.”

Launching with the new 2021/22 program is an exclusive early bird deal offering a saving of up to 30 per cent on new voyages booked and deposited by 31 March 2020, or until sold out, whichever comes first*.

Some of the main highlights of the new Aurora Expeditions 21/22 program include:

NEW South Georgia & Antarctica Odyssey ft. South Sandwich Islands – 25 Days

Sailing on the Sylvia Earle

On this epic voyage, not only will passengers explore the famed white continent and far-flung South Georgia, they will also sail to the South Sandwich Islands, a chain of remote and seldom-visited volcanic islands. Exploring with experts and by zodiac, this voyage is both unique and true to Aurora Expeditions’ spirit of adventure.

NEW Guanacaste, Costa Rica – 7 days

Sailing on the Greg Mortimer

Costa Rica is blessed with abundant nature, pristine beaches and immense biodiversity. In Guanacaste, passengers will explore a slice of Costa Rica rarely visited by expedition vessels including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Guanacaste Conservation Area, hiking in wildlife-rich rainforests and venturing to peaks in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, where archaeological sites offer a glimpse into Costa Rica’s ancient past.

NEW Ireland’s West Coast – 13 Days

Sailing on the Greg Mortimer

Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland’s rugged west coast is a journey through hundreds of islands, enchanting peninsulas and fjords, soaring cliffs, crumbling castles and unique flora and fauna. With special guest Greg Mortimer himself, passengers can expect a truly memorable expedition.

NEW Sub-Antarctic Safari – 17 days

Sailing on the Sylvia Earle

Steeped in history, the Falklands~Malvinas is also a beacon for bird lovers. Expeditioners will marvel at the incredible diversity of charismatic penguin species including king, macaroni, rockhopper, magellanic and gentoo. Passengers should keep an eye out as black-browed albatross wheel overhead, with approximately 65% of their global population returning to the precipitous, craggy bluffs of the islands to breed.

NEW Solar Eclipse in Antarctica – 16 days

Sailing on the Sylvia Earle

In December 2021, a full solar eclipse will occur in the Weddell Sea region, offering passengers the rare and historic opportunity to witness this remarkable spectacle in Antarctic waters. This once in a lifetime voyage will visit the incredible white continent and the spectacular island of South Georgia.

The full 2021/22 program is available for download here.

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Aurora Expeditions renews its commitment to responsible expedition cruising with the launch of its new ship ‘Sylvia Earle’

Second state-of-the-art vessel to launch in October 2021

6th January 2020, Sydney, Australia: Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition cruising company, will name its second purpose-built expedition ship after the acclaimed marine biologist and oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

The new ship honours Sylvia as an accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer; the first woman to become chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. The vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long-standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife.

Built to world-class polar standards the ship, the Sylvia Earle, will launch in October 2021 in Ushuaia, Argentina. In the spirit of exploration, and as part of its commitment to responsible travel, Aurora Expeditions will continue to name its new ships after explorers who are passionate about their environmental commitment and who share the company’s vision for the future.

Aurora Expeditions ships boast the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, due to a combination of low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design. The state-of-the-art Tier 3 engine delivers an 80% reduction in emissions* and can utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position instead of dropping an anchor on the delicate sea floor. On-board desalination plants convert seawater to freshwater that is safe to drink. Ships, therefore, carry less fresh water on sea crossings, further reducing fuel consumption.

Working in parallel with Greg Mortimer, the esteemed Australian mountaineer and Founder of Aurora Expeditions, Earle will be channelling her marine-conservation ethos into a fully immersive onboard guest experience, not only in the Polar regions but in other destinations as the ship sails from south to north and vice-versa.

Activities will play a major part in the passenger experience – with expert-led kayak expeditions, snowshoeing, hiking and exploration by Zodiac placing guests at the heart of the destinations in which they are sailing.

In addition to a stellar line-up of highly qualified expedition guides, there are plans for marine researchers, scientists and conservationists to join the expedition team on board the Sylvia Earle.

“Ninety-seven per cent of Earth’s water is ocean,” says Dr Sylvia Earle. “It is our life support system and we need to learn everything we can about it. I see great synergy in working closely with a company that shares my vision for the future and which is, from the top down, passionate about the marine environment. Through travelling with Aurora Expeditions on the Sylvia Earle, I feel it is an incredible opportunity for people to learn about these marine habitats in situ, and as a result, become ambassadors for protecting them.”

Aurora Expeditions said: “We are proud to be working with Sylvia on plans for the new ship. Our ships are designed primarily to connect people with the environment and everything Sylvia does encapsulates what lies at the core of Aurora Expeditions own beliefs and practices.”

“In keeping with Sylvia’s own vision and achievements, the Sylvia Earle will have a large focus on marine education and conservation.”

The 126-passenger ship will be the second in the fleet to sail with the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®, whose inverted bow design, in combination with Rolls Royce dynamic stabilisers offers unrivalled stability and comfort1 on ocean crossings. The Ulstein X-BOW® cuts through the swell, minimising vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves. This helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%*.

As well as improving comfort at sea the inverted Ulstein X-BOW® offers an enhanced viewing experience by bringing passengers much closer to the immediate environment than that which can be achieved on ships with a traditional, bulbous shaped bow. Aurora Expeditions’ ship, Greg Mortimer, was the first passenger ship to incorporate this innovative marine technology.

The second ship of this design will break ground yet again. The Ulstein X-BOW® on the Sylvia Earle will feature a unique two-level glass atrium lounge in the bow, offering extraordinary views to the front of the ship. In Polar regions, this means that passengers will be able to appreciate the majesty of an iceberg immediately as it appears on the horizon.

With the revolutionary ULSTEIN X-BOW® technology to cross oceans more comfortably, expansive observation decks to bring you closer to the environment, inviting communal areas and unsurpassed environmental credentials, Aurora Expeditions’ ships offer the perfect base camp for adventures at the outer limits of human exploration.

*Tier 3 compared to the older Tier 1 engine

1Aurora Expeditions do not claim that this will prevent or cure motion sickness or seasickness

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Sneak Peek: First interior shots of the most advanced expedition ship in the world

First passenger ship with the Ulstein X-Bow® The Greg Mortimer, is now ready to set sail for Antarctica to begin her inaugural voyage

UK: 9 September 2019 Aurora Expeditions, a world leader in expeditionary voyaging to the polar regions, has today announced that it took delivery of the Greg Mortimer. The highly anticipated ship is set to redefine expedition voyaging with its revolutionary patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®.

Named after Aurora Expeditions’ adventurous co-founder, the 104­-metre ship is the first expedition vessel to feature the patented Ulstein X-Bow®; innovative marine technology that allows for gentler sea crossings, improved comfort, greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

The ship is now ready to make her way to Ushuaia in anticipation of the official christening followed by the inaugural voyage to Antarctica departing on 31 October 2019.

With the delivery of the Greg Mortimer, Aurora Expeditions has released the first preview of interior images of the ship. The Greg Mortimer features refined but inviting public areas for passengers to feel comfortable and relax in. The interiors feature a simple, neutral colour palette taking inspiration from nature in the polar regions.

Tomas Tillberg, Managing Partner of Tomas Tillberg Design & Associates led the interior design of the Greg Mortimer.

Working with Aurora Expeditions we wanted to ensure we allowed nature to take centre stage on the Greg Mortimer and bring the outdoors into every aspect of the expedition. Most rooms feature large windows and the ship has ample dedicated viewing areas such as the hydraulic viewing platforms and the observation deck to ensure passengers never miss an impromptu whale sighting or to simply take in the beautiful landscapes.”

Letting passengers completely immerse themselves in the destination is of paramount importance to Aurora Expeditions. Their goal is to create lifelong ambassadors for the protection of the wilderness areas they travel to, and education and conservation are integral to Aurora Expeditions’ DNA.

The 12-day maiden voyage will depart Ushuaia, Argentina for Antarctica on 31 October 2019.

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