Aurora Expeditions' Newest Ship Is Specifically Designed for Sailing Antarctica

She sets sail next month

aurora expeditions ship

Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions / Benjamin Tan

Polar expedition specialists Aurora Expeditions announced the launch of its second expedition ship, Sylvia Earle, a sister ship to the line's Greg Mortimer, which launched in 2019.

Specifically designed for Antarctic expeditions, the Sylvia Earle features an inverted bow design known as the Ulstein X-BOW, which helps to reduce fuel consumption with smoother and faster navigation through ice-class waters and waves—a big plus for the notoriously rough Drake Passage crossings and conservation-minded travelers.

This innovative Ulstein X-BOW hull design first debuted on the Greg Mortimer but is quickly becoming the standard for arctic and antarctic vessels—Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Endurance, Albatros Expeditions’ Ocean Victory, and Vantage Cruise Line’s Ocean Explorer have all debuted with the inverted bow.

Along with the X-BOW, passengers on the new eight-deck Sylvia Earle will find a Citizens Science Center, an immersive program that enables passengers to participate in ongoing science observations and projects guided by a Citizen Science member and the ship’s expedition team while onboard, during shore excursions, or in zodiacs.

“Our goal is to immerse our expeditioners in some of the world’s most remote and fascinating places and, in doing so, create lifelong ambassadors for the planet,” said Hayley Peacock-Gower, the company's chief marketing officer. “More than 30 years in the making, Aurora Expeditions has a track record for pioneering adventure and discovery, and respectful travel is at the core of our ethos.”

Sylvia Earle suite

Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions / Benjamin Tan

Aurora’s newest purpose-built, 100 percent climate-neutral Antarctic expedition ship is named after Dr. Sylvia Earle, a noted marine biologist, oceanographer, and National Geographic explorer-in-residence for over 25 years. Further celebrating women in science, the ship will also feature six public decks named after pioneering female conservationists, including Dr. Earle and Dr. Carden Wallace AM, Joanna Ruxton, Sharon Kwok, Bernadette Demientieff, Dr. Asha de Vos and Hanli Prinsloo.

To further create an educational and immersive understanding of the Antarctic environment, the ship also features a dedicated lecture hall where passengers can participate in presentations and lectures about the destination in tandem with the shore excursions they experience, such as sea kayaking, snorkeling, walks and hikes, and zodiac cruises. The ship also has a dedicated mudroom and sea-level kayak and zodiac launch deck for easy loading and unloading on excursion days.

Although Antarctica is wild and rugged, while on the ship, guests will be surrounded by creature comforts, including multiple restaurants and bars, several observation areas and lounges, heated hot tubs and an infinity pool, and even a gym and spa facilities. Cabins are spacious, contemporary, and more akin to what you’d expect from a hotel room than an expedition ship. Nearly all cabins have private balconies, and suites have separate lounge areas.

On Dec. 10, 2022, Sylvia Earle will set sail on her first expedition to Antarctica from Ushuaia, Argentina, with room for 132 passengers.

“We are beyond thrilled to announce our newest ship, Sylvia Earle, is in the water and on her way to Antarctica,” said Aurora’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Heath. “We cannot wait to introduce her to our loyal trade and consumer partners worldwide and, of course, a new generation of global expeditioners in search of adventure, discovery, and extraordinary life-changing experiences.”

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  1. Ulstein. "X-BOW." Accessed Nov. 21, 2022.