Tuesday 26 June 2018

Keel-laying of Greg Mortimer in Shanghai

#expeditioncruising .

Expedition Cruising sent our special correspondent to Shanghai to see this engineering marvel for himself.

By Barry Matheson

Seasickness. It’s the bain of every seafarer, but Sydney-based Aurora Expeditions believes its new expedition ship, currently under construction in China will greatly reduce seasickness.

The ship, named the Greg Mortimer, after the company’s co-founder, will have what is called an X-Bow (pron: cross bow) that is said to accept anything the sea can throw at it.

I was able to inspect this revolutionary concept at a colourful keel-laying ceremony for the vessel staged by the Chinese at a giant shipyard in Nantong on the mouth of the Yangtze River, a 2-hour drive from Shanghai.

Keel laying of Greg Mortimer in Shanghai (BM)

Designed by the Norwegian Ulstein Group, the inverted X-Bow is shaped somewhat like a submarine’s bow that keeps ships more stable in rough seas.

“Instead of the vessel rising on the waves and then dropping with tremendous force, the X-Bow slices through the waves”, says Aurora Expeditions’ General Manager, Robert Halfpenny.

“Less slamming forces means more comfort for our passengers and crew and it’ll also help to reduce seasickness”, Halfpenny said.

“Another plus is that it uses less fuel to get through the waves, helping to save energy, and there’s very little spray so the deck remains relatively dry behind it. It takes very little water on deck to start being a hazard,” he said.

Although it won’t begin its inaugural passenger voyage until October next year, Aurora Expeditions says there’s so much interest in the new ship, its first sailing is already sixty percent full.

The company is seeing a surge in bookings and it believes

“Up until now, expeditioners have had to sail in old Russian research ships that were very Spartan, but the new Greg Mortimer is state-of-the-art with ensuite bathrooms, big balconies, TV, twin and double beds and daily cabin service”, says Halfpenny.

It has just the one dining room serving delicious courses at each meal including house wines, beer and soft drinks, afternoon tea and snacks.

Observation lounge

There’s an observation lounge that offers 180-degree views so you don’t miss out on wildlife and wilderness passing by, and viewing platforms perfect for watching polar bears, whales, or the ship pushing through pack ice.

Its 15 Zodiacs will take passengers on more frequent and longer landings, and how’s this? There’s no climbing up and down gangways, boarding the Zodiacs will be at sea-level making it much easier to transfer to and from the ship.

There’ll also be a team of expedition specialists, each hand-picked for their expertise – naturalists, historians, scientists and complimentary access to a doctor and medical clinic.

“We will take small groups to the heart nature and with its modern ice-strengthened hull, the ship has the ability to explore places that larger ships can’t reach,” says Robert Halfpenny.

An 11-day Svalbard Odyssey is priced from $8,200pp in an Aurora Stateroom departing 12/6/2020. Svalbard is a Norweigan Archipleago situated midway between continental Norway and the North Pole and is considered the best entry point for an Artic safari and polar bear sightings, or a 14-day Jewels of the Arctic cruise from $10,500pp in an Aurora Stateroom departing 26/7/2020.

Contact Aurora Expeditions 1800 637 688


About Greg Mortimer

In 1988, Greg Mortimer hatched an audacious plan to sail to Antarctica and attempt Mount Minto, the highest unclimbed peak in the Admiralty Ranges. He had already become the first Australian to reach the summits of Mount Everest, K2 and Annapurna 11, without using supplementary oxygen. Returning triumphant, he and his future wife, Margaret founded Aurora Expeditions. In 1992 he went off on his first expedition cruise to Antarctica, often landing where few, if any, had been before. Limiting group numbers, expedition cruising was born and today his company is one of the world’s leading polar specialists.

The writer travelled to Shanghai as a guest of Aurora Expeditions.

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