The World’s Next Great Small Expedition Ship: The Douglas Mawson

Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions

Built for adventure, the newest state-of-the-art expedition ship — Aurora Expeditions’ well-outfitted Douglas Mawson — will set sail in 2025 on voyages to the world’s wildest places. Joining Aurora’s acclaimed Australian line of small ships, the Douglas Mawson will be the last in a line of purpose-built vessels that have redefined small ship expedition cruising. 

Named after the legendary Australian geologist and explorer, Aurora Expeditions’ new small ship embodies Mawson’s pioneering spirit and lust for global discovery. Featuring the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW and purpose-built with enhanced sustainability features, the polar class 6 ship carries an average of 154 adventurers in smooth, quiet comfort. 

Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions

Boasting Aurora’s most extensive range of cabins yet, nearly 80% of Douglas Mawson’s cabins will have a balcony. There are 58 connecting balcony staterooms and a range of single cabins for solo travelers. The most posh cabin on the ship is the 487-square foot Captain’s Suite with a balcony and separate lounge. 

The Douglas Mawson features a host of amenities to enhance experiences on board the floating base camp. After a long day of exploring, passengers can retreat to the back deck to swim in the heated outdoor swimming pool, find a sun bed to read on, or soak in one of two Jacuzzis. Fitness enthusiasts can work up a sweat in the gym before unwinding in the sauna, the intellectually curious can learn something new in the Citizen Science Centre, and everyone can enjoy a delicious meal with new and old friends in one of two restaurants. Throughout the ship, multiple observation areas provide space to simply relax in comfort while keeping watch for wildlife as incredible seascapes and landscapes unfold.

Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions

Aurora Expeditions was established in 1991 by Greg and Margaret Mortimer and is one of the first operators to become a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). In just the past few years, Aurora became a certified 100% Carbon Neutral company; launched its second purpose-build ship, the Sylvia Earle, honoring inspiring Women in conservation; hosted the 2023 inaugural Antarctic Climate Expedition; and was named “World’s Best Expedition Cruise Line” by the World Cruise Awards.

The Douglas Mawson’s inaugural season will mark Aurora Expeditions’ return to East Antarctica for the first time in 15 years, with new itineraries to include a Mawson’s Antarctica voyage to East Antarctica in honor of the ship’s namesake, departing from the Tasmania capital of Hobart. The semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica, will be capped by immersive explorations of the Subantarctic Islands.

Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions

Vicki Arkoff

Based in Los Angeles, Vicki Arkoff is a longtime Contributor for JustLuxe, reporting on travel, entertainment, and luxury goods and experiences. She is Editor at Large for The Awesomer, Rides & Drives, Pursuitist, 95 Octane, and Technabob, and reports for Atlas Obscura, Connect, The Daily Meal, Lonely Planet, Prevue, WestJet Magazine, Where Traveler Guestbook, Where Traveler Magazine, Baltimore Su...(Read More)

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