Skip to main content

Aurora Expeditions to Launch First Purpose-Built Luxury Polar Cruise Ship

These days, Antarctic cruises are a dime a dozen as countless tour companies operate multi-week expeditions to the continent. But, few boast a truly luxurious experience. That’s all about to change as Aurora Expeditions — a company which has been leading polar expeditions for more than 25 years — recently announced plans to upend today’s polar leisure cruise model in a big way.

For decades, the baseline for Antarctic cruise liners has been to repurpose old (sometimes very old) polar research vessels into ships loosely fit for leisure travel. On the outside, the ships look much as they did in their former incarnations — solid, rugged, rigid designs with all the charm of a Russian icebreaker. Because–in many cases–that’s exactly what they are. Base- and mid-level cabins often involve cramming up to four passengers in a single room, and only the priciest, flagship suites promise modern amenities like a private bathroom.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

This month, Aurora Expeditions in partnership with SunStone Ships announced a state-of-the-art, ice-class vessel that will be built to current high-performance polar code specs. The 104-meter leisure ship will be among the most technically advanced of its kind, promising never-before-seen protection for passengers and the environment. Indeed, from the outside, it appears to be part submarine and part luxury cruise liner. Among the new features is a purpose-built X-BOW. The updated bow design allows the ship to slice through the high seas with far greater stability and less vertical movement which equates to a far more comfortable ride for passengers. This is noteworthy for travelers crossing the notoriously choppy Drake Passage en route to Antarctica.

The rear of the ship will feature a custom designed deck to accommodate a larger numbers of divers and kayakers, plus a sea-level platform for Zodiac boarding. There will also be a mudroom to ensure skiers and climbers have a dedicated space to prepare for their off-ship expeditions. Inside is where passengers will notice a markedly improved cruising experience, however. Most cabins will offer private bathrooms and balconies. Luxury common amenities will include an 180-degree observation deck, plenty of outdoor viewing platforms, and a wellness center with a sauna, gym, and spa.

This currently nameless ship is slated to debut during Aurora Expeditions’ 2019/2020 Antarctic season which runs from November to March. Full itineraries will be announced later this year.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
How do AirTags work? What to know about the No. 1 travel accessory
You should never travel without AirTags — here's what to know
man tracking AirTag on phone

If you're a frequent traveler, you've likely experienced the panic of misplacing your luggage or belongings at some point. Fortunately, Apple's innovative AirTag device can help alleviate those stressful situations. This small yet mighty accessory has quickly become a must-have for travelers, allowing you to keep track of your possessions with ease. 

But how exactly do AirTags work, and why are they so important when it comes to traveling?
The technology behind AirTags

Read more
Lake Quinault’s 33-mile rainforest tour transports you to a fantastical world
Lake Quinault offers a magical outdoors experience
Moss and Lichon covered tree in the Quinault Rainforest

The Olympic Peninsula offers all of the outdoor attractions you could want: mist-enveloped mountains, pristine lakes, rugged coastal cliffs, and one of the best national parks in Washington state.
But most unique is the 1.3 million acres of enchanting old-growth rainforest, seemingly lifted straight from the pages of a fairy tale.
Most visitors flock to the Hoh rainforest to witness the iconic moss-covered trees, but the Quinault Valley offers a less crowded, equally stunning experience.
For those seeking an intimate and informed connection with the Quinault Rainforest, the one-of-a-kind 33-mile Lake Quinault Tour weaves comfort, educational rigor, and unrivaled access into the valley's hidden gems.
Here's what you can expect on the Lake Quinault Tour, alongside helpful tips on how to make the most out of your time in this otherwordly region of Washington.

What to expect on the Lake Quinault Rainforest Tour

Read more
It’s not just Lake Como: 6 beautiful Italian lakes to add to your bucket list
Add these lakes to your itinerary
Lake Garda

Italy, with its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and world-famous cuisine, has long been a favorite destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. Amidst its picturesque scenery lie some of Europe’s most captivating natural wonders– the Italian lakes. Whether you are relaxing by the water or embarking on a scenic hike, the lakes in Italy provide a gorgeous backdrop. These are just a few beautiful Italian lakes to add to your bucket list.
1. Lake Garda

Location: Northern Italy
Where to stay: Popular towns to stay in include Sirmione, Bardolino, and Malcesine.
How to get there: Lake Garda is easily accessible by both car and public transportation. Major airports such as Verona Villafranca Airport and Milan Bergamo Airport are within driving distance, and train services connect nearby cities like Verona and Brescia to the lake’s shores.

Read more