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Solar Eclipse in Antarctica aboard the Greg Mortimer

Posted by Andrew Castles on January 19, 2019

Australia’s leading polar expedition cruise operator Aurora Expeditions has this week announced the 2020/21 Antarctic and Arctic cruise schedules for their new state-of-the-art expedition ship the Greg Mortimer.

A highlight of the announcement was more detail about their once-in-a-lifetime 22 day ‘Solar Eclipse in Antarctica’ expedition which will depart Ushuaia in Argentina on 24 November 2021. Although total solar eclipses occur somewhere around the world every 12 - 24 months, it is indeed a very special opportunity to experience one over the white continent on a cruise that also calls in at the wildlife-haven that is South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

 

 

Departing from Ushuaia in Argentina, the Greg Mortimer will cross the famed Drake Passage, putting her unique X-Bow design to good use (the innovative bow design promises to reduce up and down movement and ‘roll’ in rough seas). On arrival at the peninsula guests will enjoy time to land on the ice, calling at sites including Lemaire Channel and ‘Kodak Alley’ and having close up encounters with Gentoo Penguins. 

From the peninsula, the ship will get into position at the centreline of the eclipse in the northern Weddell Sea, where up to four minutes of totality is expected during the eclipse on the morning of 04 December 2021. Details of the eclipse,courtesy of NASA, are as follows:

 

Nasa solar eclipse Antarctica map 2021

 

The next stop on the voyage will be four full days spent exploring the iconic South Georgia islands. South Georgia is renowned for incredible wildlife experiences, including Salisbury Plains, home to one of the largest King Penguin populations at over 100,000 pairs. There’s also the opportunity to pay respects at the grave of legendary polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and Godthul, replete with its bleached whale bones, colonies of fur seals and penguins just ‘hanging about’.

The Falkland Islands mark the final stop of the voyage, before the expedition wraps up back in Ushuaia on 15 December 2021.

See the full itinerary here: https://www.expeditioncruisespecialists.com/destinations/antarctica/antarctica-eclipse-aurora

 

Greg Mortimer Solar Eclipse Map

 

About the Greg Mortimer

Launching in October 2019, the 104-metre Greg Mortimer is Aurora Expeditions’ first purpose-built expedition vessel. Most striking is her unique X-Bow design, a feature said to ensure even the most fearsome crossings (such as the Drake Passage) can be made in relative comfort. 

On the inside, travellers will savour all of the comforts of home, include spacious staterooms, all with private en suite, and many with private balcony. There’s also an open seat dining room that accommodates all guests in one sitting, and a top deck bar / lecture room to sit back and enjoy panoramic views.

 

Greg Mortimer Suite

 

Experiences expeditioners will appreciate the dedicated mudroom (with individual lockers for all travellers) and innovative hydraulic viewing platforms which slide out from the side of the ship allowing up-close experiences with passing whales and icebergs.

Prices for the 22 day ‘Solar Eclipse in Antarctic’ voyage start at USD 23,700 per person in a triple share stateroom through to USD 29,600 per person in a twin share Balcony Stateroom and USD 51,200 per person (twin share) in the Captain’s Suite – which we should point out is not actually sharing with the Captain!  And, when you book before 31 March 2019 there’s also some great Earlybird Savings on offer – call us for details today.

See more about the Greg Mortimer at: https://www.expeditioncruisespecialists.com/ships/greg-mortimer-aurora

Limited to no more than 120 expeditioners aboard the new Greg Mortimer, this unique journey is sure to sell quickly. For more information contact our Antarctica Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 or send us an email for pricing and availability.

Click here to read about three more great Antarctica Eclipse cruises aboard the new Hondius, Ortelius and Plancius.

 

 

2021 Solar Eclipse Cruises in Antarctica

Posted by Andrew Castles on July 02, 2018

If you’ve got your eye on an expedition cruise to Antarctica in the next few years, you might just want to clear your calendar for November / December 2021. A total solar eclipse will occur over Antarctica on 4 December 2021, so don’t miss your chance to see one of Earth’s most wondrous cosmic events in one of Earth’s most magnificent locations. 

Though total solar eclipses occur somewhere in the world once every 18 months or so, they can only be seen along a very narrow path, so you need to ensure you're positioned right on the centre-line of the eclipse to experience full totality (total darkness during the day). And that’s exactly what you will get when you join a luxury small ship cruise down to Antarctica for this eclipse. You’ll enjoy a prime viewing position to see the moon transition in front of the sun, with 1 minute and 54 seconds of total darkness expected.

 

 

Of course, while the eclipse is without doubt a major highlight of this expediiton, you will also enjoy all that Antarctica otherwise has to offer.  Three of the ships making this voyage will be the ice-strengthened Plancius (116 passengers), Ortelius (116 passengers) and the world's first Polar Class 6 expedition ship, the soon-to-be-launched 174 passenger Hondius. The full voyage takes 20 days and will visit the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctica Peninsula. 

On the morning of the eclipse, each of these ships will be positioned on the centre-line of the moon’s shadow, at the edge of the sea ice in the Weddell Sea, between the South Orkneys and South Georgia.

Here's an overview of what's on offer:

 

Aboard Hondius  - Limited Cabins Remaining!

 

Hondius in Antarctica

 

Antarctic Peninsula - SOLAR ECLIPSE - South Georgia - Falkland Islands

Launching in 2019, the 174 passenger Hondius is the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 cruise ship. Technologically-advanced with excellent eco-tourism credentials, the Hondius sets a new standard in polar cruising.

More about Hondius

See the Itinerary

Date: 26 November - 15 December 2021, 19 nights / 20 days 
Embarkation & disembarkation: Ushuaia
 

Prices per person, twin share in US Dollars:

· Quadruple Porthole: $16,400

· Triple Porthole: $17,900

· Twin Porthole: $19,800

· Twin Window: $20,600

· Twin Deluxe: $22,100

· Superior: $23,700

· Junior Suite: $25,400

· Grand Suite with private balcony: $29,150

· Hondius Suite: $33,500

 

 

Aboard Ortelius - SOLD OUT!

 

Ortelius Antarctica eclipse cruise

 

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - SOLAR ECLIPSE - Antarctic Peninsula

Launched in 1989 as Marina Svetaeva for the Russian Academy of Science, Ortelius caters to just 116 guests and is ice-rated to the highest levels (equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate the ice packs of the Polar regions.

More about Ortelius

See the Itinerary

Date: 24 November - 13 December 2021, 19 nights / 20 days
Embarkation & disembarkation: Ushuaia

Prices per person, twin share in US Dollars:

· Quadruple Porthole: $16,400 - SOLD OUT

· Triple Porthole: $17,900 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Porthole: $19,800 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Window: $20,600 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Deluxe: $22,100 - SOLD OUT

· Superior: $23,700 - SOLD OUT

 

 

Aboard Plancius - Limited Cabins Remaining!

 

Plancius eclipse 2021

 

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - SOLAR ECLIPSE - Antarctic Peninsula

The ice-strengthened 116 passenger vessel Plancius is an excellent vessel for polar expedition cruises in both the Arctic and Antarctica.

More about Plancius

See the Itinerary


Date: 23 November - 12 December 2021, 19 nights / 20 days
Embarkation & disembarkation: Ushuaia
 

Prices per person, twin share in US Dollars:

· Quadruple Porthole: $16,400

· Triple Porthole: $17,900

· Twin Porthole: $19,800

· Twin Window: $20,600

· Twin Deluxe: $22,100

· Superior: $23,700

 

Single travellers are accommodated on each ship upon payment of a single supplement of between 70% and 100%.

 

Antarctica eclipse cruise hondius

 

The goal on this itinerary is of course to experience the total eclipse, but please keep in mind the polar regions are known for their unpredictability. There’s always the chance overcast skies may hinder visibility and that adverse conditions may alter certain details of the pre-planned route. Plancius and Ortelius are scheduled to make the trip clockwise, while Hondius will make it counter-clockwise.

These once-in-a-lifetime voyages combining the best of Antarctica with a total solar eclipse are sure to sell fast. Secure your place today by calling the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80 or email [email protected]

 

Hondius the latest new ship for Antarctica

Posted by Andrew Castles on March 23, 2018

Hondius cruising in Antarctica

 

Over the next two years we’ll be seeing some exciting advancements in expedition cruising, with several new ships taking to the water. And, if you’re planning a trip to the polar regions this will be particularly good news for you, with at least three state-of-the-art ships due to launch during 2019/20.

Previously we’ve told you about the new polar ships currently being built for both Aurora Expeditions (The Greg Mortimer) and Lindblad Expeditions (National Geographic Endurance), and today we’d like to provide you with an update on the new Hondius, currently under construction in Croatia for Dutch polar operator Oceanwide Expeditions.

Hondius is set to become the fifth ship in the Oceanwide fleet and - upon launch - will become the first ever vessel to achieve Polar Class 6 standards. Her ice-strength means she can venture into the deepest of polar regions, beyond the capability of other ships. She’s also designed to be exceptionally friendly to the environment as well, exceeding the latest green requirements imposed by the International Maritime Organization, using only bio-degradable paints, LED lighting, steam heat, and flexible power management systems to keep fuel consumption and CO2 emission at the absolute minimum.

 

Hondius Antarctica Cruise Lounge

 

Onboard, Hondius will accommodate up to 174 explorers (and 72 crew) in style, and just because you’re sailing through the least civilised locations on Earth doesn’t mean your on-board experience has to be uncivilised. As a Hondius guest, you will enjoy cuisine, surroundings, and service that starkly contrast the rugged world just outside your window. A sizable observation lounge, fully provisioned bar, and separate library room guarantee that what time you spend on board will be spent comfortably entertained.

Hondius also offers a choice of eight different levels of accommodation, with porthole cabins (quad, triple and twin) available for the budget-conscious and families, through to Superior Cabins, Junior Suites and the ultra-luxury Hondius Suite. Custom-designed and impeccably outfitted in stylish mid-century modern décor, you’re sure to be impressed by the look and feel of your cabin.

 

Hondius Superior Cabin Antarctica Cruise

 

Hondius 2019 Antarctica Cruise Schedule

 

Hondius’s 2019 Antarctic schedule has just been released, and you can be one of the very first to experience this new state-of-the-art vessel. Her inaugural voyage is a 20-night expedition departing 3 November 2019, and there’s still cabins available, starting at USD $12,500 per person in a Quad-Share cabin or USD $15,700 in a Twin Window cabin through to USD $24,900 per person in the exclusive Hondius Suite.

Here’s Hondius’s full 2019 calendar of Antarctic sailings:

 

03 November 2019 - 20 Nights - Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Puerto Madryn to Ushuaia / From USD $12,500 per person

 

02 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $6,500 per person

 

11 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $6,500 per person

 

20 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $7,200 per person

 

29 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $7,200 per person

 

07 January 2020 - 19 Nights - Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $15,350 per person

 

05 February 2020 - 10 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $8,950 per person

 

15 February 2020 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $7,200 per person

 

24 February 2020 - 22 Nights - Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Elephant Island, Antarctica Polar Circle

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $15,350 per person

 

17 March 2020 - 13 Nights - Antarctica Whale Watching Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $8,500 per person

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL CALENDAR OF SAILINGS

 

For more information about Hondius’ inaugural Antarctica season - and her soon to be announced 2020 Arctic season of sailings - call the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 (within Australia) or +61 7 4041 2101.

 

Hondius in Antarctica

Orion heading to Russia & The Far East

Posted by Andrew Castles on February 15, 2018

orion russia far east

 

The 102-passenger National Geographic Orion is a familiar expedition ship to many Australians, having been based in our part of the world for several years while she was operating under the Orion Expedition Cruises banner to locations including the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.

After farewelling Australian waters a few years ago now, Orion was integrated into leading North American expedition company Lindblad Expeditions’ fleet as the National Geographic Orion. She has quickly become a staple down in the Antarctic region, offering cruises from South America during the peak Antarctic months of November to March, filling in the rest of the year with a series of European cruises during 2017 and a full schedule planned for the South Pacific (Tahiti, Fiji, Kiribati) between March and September 2018.

And now, just this week, we’ve been handed details of an exciting new schedule of departures for National Geographic Orion in 2019, focusing on the Bering Strait and Russian Far East. What’s particularly exciting about these voyages is that they are to regions which have been notoriously hard to reach in the past. For example, the Siberian Coast and Wrangel Island are bucket-list destinations for expedition cruisers, however there’s only ever been a couple of departures a year aboard the sturdy little Spirit of Enderby to cater to the growing demand.

Here’s details on the three different programmes on offer. If you’re interested in securing a berth we encourage you to get in early as there is only limited space and we expect these new programmes to be filled quickly by Lindblad’s large North American customer base.

 

13 Day Bering Sea Wilderness

Nome (Alaska) to Seward (Alaska)

Departing 9 July and 4 September 2019

Price from $20,290 per person

This 13-day itinerary explores the Bering Strait, a body of water separating the United States from Russia. While most of the voyage is spent in US waters, there is a brief crossing into (and landing) in Russia in the town of Provideniya. Other highlights of the expedition include exploration of the Pribilof Islands – home to about half the world’s population of fur seals, brown bear spotting in Katmai National Park and rarely-visited Kodiak and Shumagin islands.

 

 

 

13 Day Russia’s Far East and Wrangel Island

Nome (Alaska) to Nome (Alaska)

Departing 11 August and 23 August 2019

Price from $20,290 per person

This is the voyage that we’re perhaps most excited about. Not only does it cross the Arctic Circle into the Russian High Arctic, there’s also time spent exploring remote villages and towns on the Siberian Coast and, to top it all off, a four-day expedition around Wrangel Island Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site dubbed the ‘polar bear nursery'.

 

Orion wrangel Island cruise

 

22 Day Across the Bering Sea: From Katmai to Kamchatka

Seward (Alaska) to Nome (Alaska)

Departing 18 June and 21 July 2019

Price from $32,320 per person

For those with a bit more time, this 3,800-nautical mile journey almost circumnavigates the Bering Sea and explores one of the most rugged and wildlife-rich regions of the planet. You will have the chance to spot coastal brown bears from Katmai National Park to the Kamchatka Peninsula, search for Steller’s sea eagles along the scenically stunning Zhupanova River and marvel at the abundance and variety of marine mammals and seabirds from the Aleutians to the Commander Islands. 

 

Orion Russia Cruise

 

About the National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion accommodates just 102 guests in 53 staterooms and suites, nine of them with balconies. She is equipped with a full complement of cool tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, 14 heavy-duty Zodiacs, and an ROV. Her size and nimbleness offer the perfect combination of safety and the liberty to voyage untrammeled locations, where large cruise ships and less experienced expedition teams cannot go.

Click here for full details on National Geographic Orion

 

Orion cabin

The Greg Mortimer - a New Polar Ship Unveiled

Posted by Andrew Castles on January 29, 2018

Greg Mortimer Aurora Expeditions

 

In the last few days, one of Australia’s pioneers of polar expedition cruising, Aurora Expeditions, has unveiled plans for a new expedition ship to operate alongside their current vessel Polar Pioneer, along with a raft of exciting itineraries making use of the advanced technologies and capabilities of the new ship.

Named after adventurer and original founder of Aurora Expeditions’ the new 104-metre Greg Mortimer looks nothing like a lot of the other expedition ships we see today. Her unique X-BOW design promises to make open water crossings (like crossing the notorious Drake Passage) a lot more comfortable than on similar size ships, and her onboard facilities pull together many decades of experience in planning and operating polar cruises to some of the most remote locations on earth.

 

greg mortimer zodiac launch

 

The Greg Mortimer will accommodate up to 160 travellers, although she will be limited to just 120 in Antarctica to ensure that all guests are able to spend as much time ashore as possible. There’s 80 suites and staterooms aboard, and all rooms will feature a private en suite. All but 15 cabins also feature a generously-sized balcony. Staterooms feature multiple personal storage options, a choice of twin or double-bed configuration, international power outlets and a daily cabin service, as well as all the basic amenities that you'll need onboard.

 

Greg Mortimer Suite

 

We love the amount of space offered in the ship’s common areas, many which offer commanding views outside. A popular gathering point will no doubt be the 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, both high up on deck 8. There’s also a 270-degree open sundeck on level 7. If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two unique hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5 which magically open from the side of the ship.

There’s a beautifully-appointed dining room that can accommodate all guests in one sitting, a lecturer lounge which will be home to presentations and briefings, a library with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Keen photographers and artists will revel in the ship’s multimedia room.

 

lecture lounge on greg mortimer

 

Aurora Expeditions also invites guests to take in all the action in the bridge, their open bridge policy meaning that 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 first-hand look at the inner workings of the Greg Mortimer. 

When it’s time to head ashore, a great deal of planning has been put into the design of Greg Mortimer to ensure zodiac operation is as smooth as possible. Greg Mortimer will carry 15 heavy-duty zodiacs, all launched independently from four specially designed launching platforms. This means adventurers will be able to spend more time exploring on the two to three daily landings rather than queueing up for zodiacs.

 

The Greg Mortimer's inaugural schedules

The Greg Mortimer’s inaugural Antarctic expeditions are slated for October 2019. There will be 11 & 12 Day ‘Spirit of Antarctica’ voyages priced from USD $9,900 per person, followed by a fascinating schedule of South Georgia and Antarctic Odyssey expeditions commence in late November and running through the end of January 2020. These 21-day voyages are priced from USD $17,700 per person.

After the inaugural Antarctic season, the Greg Mortimer will head north to the Arctic for the northern hemisphere summer. There’s some great options available here too, including an 11-day Spitsbergen Odyssey (great for polar bear viewing) and also a 14-day ‘Jewels of the Arctic’ programme which takes in Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard.  

But for us, the undoubted highlight of the inaugural Arctic season is a new voyage into the Russian High Arctic and Franz Josef Land. This region has only opened up to expedition cruising in recent years as ice-conditions have changed, and we’re already getting lots of enquiries from guests about ticking this location off their bucket list.

Only a handful of ships have the capabilities to operate into this part of the High Arctic, and we reckon the Greg Mortimer’s 15-day Franz Josef Explorer will prove incredibly popular, so get in quick for this one! Departing from Longyearbyen on 12 July 2020, prices start at AUD $11,330 per person for an Aurora Stateroom. Click here to check out the full Franz Josef Land cruise itinerary.

To celebrate the announcement of the Greg Mortimer, there’s some fantastic launch deals on offer! These once-in-a-lifetime deals are on for a limited time only (you must book and deposit by 31 March 2018) and include free upgrades and savings of up to $6,000 per person. To find out which deals apply to each departure call the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80.

 

Greg Mortimer launch savings

 

*Terms & Conditions
Free upgrade from Aurora Stateroom to Balcony Stateroom valid on all 2019/2020 Antarctica and the Arctic voyages aboard the Greg Mortimer. Save up to $6,000pp offer based on booking a Junior Suite on a 20-day South Georgia voyage. Other savings apply to passengers booking and paying for Balcony Staterooms, Balcony Suites and Junior Suites on all 2019/2020 Antarctica and the Arctic voyages aboard the Greg Mortimer, subject to availability. Strictly limited number of staterooms available on selected voyages. Inaugural voyage deals available until 31 March 2018 only or until sold out or withdrawn. Passengers must book and pay a non-refundable deposit of $2,500 in the voyage currency to secure their booking by 31 March 2018.

 

kayaking from the Greg Mortimer