Vessels: Polar Pioneer, Oceanic Discoverer, Coral Princess
Entered service: 1985
Months of operation: Year-round
What’s included in the price:
- Comfortable and spacious cabins
- All meals
- All shore excursions from the ship including Zodiac cruises, lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
- Services of resident medical officer
- Port taxes and charges
- Pre-departure booking service
The name says it all. Aurora are one of the most experienced of Australian companies running expeditions and they provide exactly that. This company offers cruises to some of the wilder parts of the globe and some of their excursions can be hairy, but extremely exciting. These are not cruises for the faint of heart or people who are not fit. Older people should carefully consider if these cruises are what they really want to do, but for those who want an out of the ordinary adventure, Aurora are definitely the line to cruise with.
Aurora was one of the first companies to take smaller manoeuvrable ships to the Antarctic. Even their largest ship carries only 72 passengers so they are more like an adventurers’ club than a cruise ship. Whist the Antarctic can be calm and beautiful in the summer months, it is still an extreme environment which can get the heart of even the most ardent adventurer racing. Excursions onto the pack ice to visit penguins or kayaking through ice flows are experiences that won’t be quickly forgotten.
Aurora have a very simple pricing policy for their cruises: everything on board is included. This includes trips ashore, food and drink enjoyed on board, port charges and taxes and the attentions of the resident medical staff.
The company offers more locations than just Antarctica. Some cruises visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. There are cruises to Norway, Iceland, the wilder parts of Scotland and even Greenland. There is a cruise to the Russian Far East whilst closer to home Papua New Guinea and the Kimberley coast may be visited.
Whichever cruise is taken, there are always a number of experts included in the crew. These people explain to passengers exactly what they are going to see and how to take the best advantage of their visit. Lectures are given before the excursions are made and the expert accompanies passengers to add even more value to the trip.
One of the really great features of an Aurora cruise is their “Open bridge” policy. Interested passengers can visit the bridge at any time. Here they get a superb view of the area the ship is in and learn from the watch keepers everything that is going on at the time. Seeing and tracking giant icebergs on the radar is not an experience many people have enjoyed. Watching a highly dangerous polar bear in the Arctic from the safety of the bridge of a substantial ship is another memory that will not be forgotten.
The company are deeply committed to preservation of the environment and educating their passengers on the habitats that they visit. Anyone who has a sense of adventure and interest in the health of the planet will greatly enjoy an Aurora cruise.
As can be properly expected, there are none of the usual cruise ship entertainments and pastimes on an Aurora ship such as will be found on a Caribbean cruise liner. The ships are designed to take passengers to some of the remotest parts of the world. To see and experience extremely unusual places. There are no casinos or fitness suites on an Aurora ship. Exercise will be available with a variety of activities such as rock climbing or trekking over polar ice caps.
Aurora offer adventures in remote locations from the comfort of a ship. The cruises are designed for fit people who have an interest in the environment. Because of the very nature of the places visited, things will not always go according to plan and weather conditions can change within a very short time, but this is part and parcel of the adventures that the company offers.
Aurora Expeditions’ team of expert staff present fascinating lectures and help you explore when out in the field. The spacious bridge is always open to passengers and viewing decks are ideal for enjoying the spectacular wildlife and scenery. Captain’s drinks and the barbecue on the ship’s bow are always passenger favourites. Selected voyages also offer kayaking, climbing, scuba diving and camping options.
Delicious, wholesome meals are prepared by western chefs. Tea, coffee and nibbles are available 24 hours. Open seating in the dining rooms.
Cabins are spacious with ample storage space. All cabins have outside portholes or windows. There is a choice of shared or private facilities.