Aurora Expeditions to welcome third X-BOW ship, 'Douglas Mawson', to fleet


Aurora Expeditions, the Australian-owned expedition travel company, will soon welcome its third purpose-built small expedition ship, Douglas Mawson, to its family of pioneering vessels. The cruise vessel, based on the ULSTEIN CX103 design, is due to begin sailing in December 2025.


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

Douglas Mawson’s inaugural season will mark Aurora Expeditions’ return to East Antarctica for the first time in 15 years.

The ULSTEIN series of cruise vessels combines offshore toughness with a luxury touch. Implementing the ULSTEIN X-BOW® feature, first used on numerous offshore vessels, contributes to a more comfortable journey in any weather. The vessel has been designed for smoother and faster ocean crossings and world-leading fuel efficiency. The passengers get close to nature on an extraordinary vessel. 

The vessel will offer Nordic interior design features and 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 to 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.

“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,” commented Aurora's CEO, Michael Heath.

“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 life-changing experiences with the newest, most advanced technology available, and with the most experienced and passionate team in the industry,” he added.

Commenting on the ship's naming, CMO Hayley Peacock-Gower 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 at the forefront of global ocean discovery.  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 and some exciting new destinations.”

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

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