Aurora Expeditions suspends Australia domestic program

Aussie polar expedition operator committed to 2021 Antartica deployment

Aurora Expeditions has postponed the planned deployment of its expedition ship Greg Mortimer to Australian waters in spring and summer 2021.

The Australian polar cruise company said there was a lack of clarity by the government as to whether its program of domestic itineraries would be approved on time.

“Aurora Expeditions is charting a new course in expedition travel to ensure clarity, commitment and care for its loyal guests, crew and travel trade partners,” the cruise line said in a statement.

Greg Mortimer with Zodiac, Antarctica | Credit: Scott Portelli/Aurora Expeditions

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Committed to 2021 Antarctica deployment

The company said it was necessary to postpone those proposed sailings through regions including the Kimberley, Southern Australia, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania “until there is greater clarity on travel start dates”, adding it is optimistic and “remains committed to operating a full Antarctic Peninsula program starting in November 2021.”

Guests impacted by the Australian spring/summer 2021 campaign withdrawal can apply for a full refund, apply their deposit towards another voyage, or leave their deposit as a credit for a future voyage with Aurora.

“Aurora Expeditions has been working closely with State and Federal Governments to bring a vessel into Australia. We continue to receive positive support for this and we thank each government for its constructive engagement,” said Monique Ponfoort, CEO Aurora Expeditions.

“Aurora is still working to finalise staff and quarantine arrangements but remains unable to give clarity to passengers on departure voyage dates. As a consequence, we feel it is best to postpone the current itinerary of voyages until that certainty is achieved,” she said.

Ponfoort reiterated the Australia program decision is a postponement and not a cancellation.

“Our loyal guests, crew and trade partners are our number one priority,” she remarked. “In these challenging times of uncertainty surrounding travel start dates, we have taken a leadership position to deliver a clear and committed pathway forward with the utmost respect to both the Government and our guests, staff, expedition team and our travel trade partners.”

“We are so looking forward to getting back to doing what we do best – endlessly exploring on our ships designed for discovery – and returning to Antarctica in our 30th anniversary year as a world leader of polar expeditions in November 2021,” Ponfoort concluded.

Lead image: Fotheringate Bay, Tasmania | Credit: Tasmania Tourism/Aurora Expeditions

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