On Friday 16 March in Jiangsu Province, China, Aurora Expeditions attended the steel-cutting ceremony for its new state-of-the-art expedition ship, Greg Mortimer.
The service, which was hosted by China Merchants Group, saw the highly anticipated first cut take place with key stakeholders present for the initial push of the button, which commenced the steel carving.
Robert Halfpenny, managing director of Aurora Expeditions, who was present at the event said, “I was very impressed to see how much of the build progress that has already occurred from cabins already assembled and engines arriving, and seeing firsthand the workmanship and materials already at the shipyard was a testament to the commitment of all involved.
“It was impressive to see the amount of resources and global expertise being shared and invested by all of the partners… The senior management teams of these companies are now permanently basing themselves in Jiangsu to work with the China Merchants Industry Holding group, with a common interest towards the delivery of the Greg Mortimer. The commitment and determination of the entire project was enviable and very much representative of the Aurora pioneering spirit. They are all excited about the delivery of the Greg Mortimer and what it represents to the future of expedition ships and the cruise industry as a whole.”
The new 104-metre ice-class 1A expedition ship will launch in 2019, utilising the latest advancements in naval design and technology to make exploring remote destinations even easier and to create a more enjoyable and comfortable expedition experience. It will also be the first expedition cruise ship to feature the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®.
The main advantage of the ULSTEIN X-BOW® is its ability to pierce waves with much greater stability than a traditional bow. While a traditional bow vessel rises on the waves and then drops violently onto the surface of the water, an X-BOW vessel, less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves, continues on course more smoothly, while maintaining its speed. Because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also improves fuel efficiency and reduces air emissions.
The ship will also be fitted with state-of-the-art offshore dynamic positioning technology, meaning that computer controlled systems allow the ship to automatically maintain its position with its own propellers and thrusters, so it can float atop the delicate sea floor while launching zodiacs, kayaks and other watercraft without using anchors.
Featuring sea-level Zodiac- and activity-loading platforms, dedicated observation decks and plenty of outdoor viewing areas, getting close to nature will be at the core of the ship’s experience.
Following Greg Mortimer’s maiden sea voyage, Spirit of Antarctica, in late October 2019, the ship will operate an additional 20 expeditions across the 2019/2020 season with itineraries spanning Antarctica (Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands) and the Arctic (Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, East Greenland, Jan Mayen, Iceland and Norway).