Aurora Expeditions names third ship Douglas Mawson

Arriving in late 2025, new itineraries will unlock East Antarctica from Hobart

Aurora Expeditions has revealed its third purpose-built small expedition ship will be named Douglas Mawson in a nod to the Australian explorer and geologist.

The Australian expedition company revealed the name to members of its loyalty program yesterday ahead of a formal press announcement today.

Due to begin sailing in late 2025, Douglas Mawson’s inaugural season will also 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 honour of the ship’s namesake, departing from Hobart.

Douglas Mawson will be a sister ship of Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle

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Douglas Mawson will carry an average of 154 passengers and will be Ulstein’s newest Infinity Class vessel to enter the market, joining Aurora’s sister ships, also named after pioneers in their field, Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle.

The small ship will feature the latest and greatest revolutionary Ulstein X-BOWâ, designed for smoother and faster ocean crossings and world-leading fuel efficiency, and will offer Nordic interior design features with stylish and comfortable staterooms and suites across 11 different categories, most featuring private balconies. For the first time, Aurora will also offer several single berth cabins to cater for the growing solo traveller segment.

Public spaces include two restaurants, two bars, an outdoor heated swimming pool, pool bar and Jacuzzis, a gym and sauna, relaxation and wellness areas, a library lounge, a citizen science centre and lecture theatre, and expansive observation decks offering panoramic views of wilderness and wildlife.

Junior Suite, Douglas Mawson

“We’re thrilled to be launching the newest and final Infinity Class vessel, which we have named in honour of pioneering Australian geologist and explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson,” said Michael Heath, CEO of Aurora Expeditions.

“We are equally delighted to be offering passengers new itineraries departing from Australia as part of the ship’s inaugural season, including an exploration of Mawson’s Antarctica, which will visit Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, and New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands.

“Aurora has pioneered expedition travel to the world’s most remote places for more than three decades, and we know that exploration is not just about what you see, but how you see it. That is why we are committed to delivering lifechanging experiences with the newest, most advanced technology available, and with the most experienced and passionate team in the industry,” he added.

Douglas Mawson, Sun Deck and Pool

Commenting on the naming of the ship, Hayley Peacock-Gower, Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Aurora Expeditions takes great inspiration from the incredible legacy of Sir Douglas Mawson. Indeed, it was Mawson’s SY Aurora vessel that inspired our founder, Greg Mortimer, to name our company Aurora. Like its namesake, Douglas Mawson will be a ship that’s on the forefront of global ocean discovery.”

“We also look forward to our partnership with the Mawson’s Huts Foundation – a custodian of Australia’s Antarctic heritage and advocate for Antarctic science education for children – and supporting the fantastic work they do to preserve the Mawson’s Huts complex and bring the stories and achievements of Sir Douglas Mawson and his Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14 to life,” she added.

“We can’t wait to welcome Douglas Mawson to our fleet of small ships, and we look forward to announcing the full program of voyages for the new ship, which will offer passengers incredible expeditions in the polar regions, as well as some exciting new destinations.”

Douglas Mawson, Observation Lounge

Like Aurora’s sister ships, Douglas Mawson is designed to be a comfortable base camp for adventure, with Zodiac access points, a changing room and mudroom preparing passengers for off-ship and on-shore activities, while a dedicated science centre is the hub for a variety of participative and educational Citizen Science programs.

Aurora Expeditions plans to commence voyages on Douglas Mawson in December 2025, with the inaugural voyage and full program to be announced soon.

Douglas Mawson, Lounge

Those who pre-register their interest in Douglas Mawson’s inaugural Antarctica 2025/2026 season before 18 April 2024 are eligible to receive an additional US$2,000 per couple* off their trip with Aurora Expeditions.

Douglas Mawson Pre-Registrations at:    

Learn more about Douglas Mawson at

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