Greg Mortimer - launching November 2019Dive and Explore the Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula stretches 1300km northward of Antarctica, towards the southern tip of South America. This is the most accessible part of Antartica and the ice covered mountains form a stunning landscape that few visitors get to see. Between November and April, as Spring and Summer arrives in Antarctica, the pack ice retreats, revealing one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles.
The new expedition vessel, the Greg Mortimer, is a purpose built, state of the art, 104 metre cruise ship that carries 120 passengers and it will offer limited dive spaces on selected trips. A maximum of just 12 divers will be allowed per trip, with a 6-1 diver to guide ratio. With such limited access to Antarctica’s underwater world we expect the places to sell out fast so we strongly recommend you book as early as you can to secure your places.
As a UK appointed agent for Aurora Cruises, we are thrilled to be able to offer such exclusive trips to our dive clients, and we can offer places for non-divers too on any of the cruises. The Greg Mortimer will run a range of itineraries, with a huge variety of activities on offer, such as trekking, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, snorkelling, diving and kayaking. An onboard team of expedition specialists – including naturalists, historians and scientists – are each hand-picked for their expertise and enthusiasm and will share their knowledge and passion through excursions and informal presentations on board.
The Greg Mortimer boasts one of the lowest passenger capacities in expedition cruising, which means longer and more relaxed landings and a more intimate experience. Usually two, sometimes three, excursions per day are planned and passengers can easily board one of the 15 zodiacs from four sea-level launching platforms.
For the dive cruises, two dives per day are planned (conditions permitting), lead by dive experts who will lead you into a polar underwater world of surreal ice formations and breathtaking marine life. Please contact us for details of available dive trips.
Depending on which cruise itinerary you join, the Greg Mortimer departs from either Punta Arenus, in southern Chile, or Ushuaia in southern Argentina. There are several flight options from the UK, but one of the easiest is a direct flight on BA from London to Santiago, connecting with a flight down to Punta Arenus. Flight time in total is just over 18hrs or so. We recommend a night in Punta Arenus or Ushuaia prior to joining the liveaboard.
The Greg Mortimer also offer Fly/Sail or Fly/Fly options on some of their itineraries. While many people treasure their days at sea – looking out for birds and whales – others prefer to maximise their time in Antarctica and this can be done by choosing to fly from Punta Arenas, Chile, to King George Island, which is just off the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip. This removes the sea crossing through Drake Bay passage.
The Greg Mortimer itineraries vary throughout the season, but to give you an idea of what to expect, please see below a classic tour itinerary.
Quick Guide: Greg Mortimer
- 104m in length
- When to go: Nov – Apr
- 120 passengers, but maximum 12 divers per trip
- 80 cabins in five categories: 1 Captain’s Suite, 4 Junior Suites, 2 Balcony Suites, 58 Balcony Staterooms and 15 Aurora Staterooms
- Offers a huge range of activities for non-divers, but anyone participating in diving must be Advanced trained with experience in cold water diving
Accommodation & Facilities
Proudly named after Aurora’s adventurous co-founder, the Greg Mortimer is a 104m, purpose-built expedition vessel with the patented X-BOW® design; a state-of-the-art design allowing for more gentle sea crossings, faster transit speeds, as well as lower fuel consumption and air emissions.
The ship has dedicated observation platforms, including an upper deck, 360 degrees unobscured viewing platform.
There are four sea-level zodiac launching platforms, from dedicated activity preparation areas equipped with lockers and showers. These large ‘mud rooms’ are biosecurity cleansed before and after each excursion, to prevent cross-contamination through the different wildlife habitats visited.
Accommodation on board is in 80 comfortable staterooms, in five room categories; 1 Captain’s Suite, 4 Junior Suites, 2 Balcony Suites, 58 Balcony Staterooms and 15 Aurora Staterooms. All rooms have private bathrooms, personal storage options, twin and double-bed configuration options, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service, as well as all the basic amenities that you’ll need onboard.
Across four of the five room categories there are large floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock, with roughly 80% of the staterooms offering private balconies. There are also inter-connecting staterooms for families or friends.
Facilities on board include two bars/lounges, with stunning floor to ceiling windows offering a special perspective on the landscape. There is also a library, and a Wellness Centre complete with gym, sauna and spa.
Meals are served in the large restaurant with family style dining, and there is also a private dining area available on request. A range of house wine, beers and soft drinks are included with dinner and complimentary teas, coffees and snacks are available 24 hours a day.
On the last day of the trip, the team on the Greg Mortimer will put on a special farewell four-course dinner with cocktails – a perfect way to reflect on the highlights of your cruise and to consolidate friendships with the people you’ve met on-board.
Antarctic Explorer | 11 or 12 Days (please contact us for prices)
Antarctica at its most accessible. Save time (and at least one Drake Passage crossing) on the unique ‘Fly/Sail’ voyages to the icy continent’s picturesque west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The trips will cruise through a stunning landscape of ice glaciers where humpback and minke whales feast on krill and lively penguin colonies are watched by hungry leopard seals.
DAY 1 Arrive in Ushuaia where you’ll be met by an Aurora Expeditions representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. Enjoy rugged mountain scenery, lively cafes, restaurants and bars.
DAY 2 After checking out of your hotel, enjoy free time exploring Ushuaia and surrounds. Embark the Greg Mortimer late afternoon and sail down wildlife-rich Beagle Channel.
DAYS 3–4 Photograph seabirds and swell of Drake Passage, marvel at first icebergs and landing in South Shetland Islands, spectacular scenery of Gerlache Strait.
DAYS 5–7 From historic Port Lockroy to renowned Lemaire Channel, continental landings, and Zodiac cruising among icebergs in Antarctica’s heart.
DAYS 8–10 Return north, searching for penguins, cormorants, and leopard seals on Hyrdurga Rocks, or visit volcanic Deception Island.
DAYS 11–12 Landing on King George Island, home to scientific bases, board our flight to Punta Arenas, enjoying a final night stay in town.
Please note above trip can be done in reverse as a Sail/Fly cruise. Another option is to take the Fly/Fly package, which would include return flights from Punta Arenus to King George Island, skipping the Drake Passage sailing both ways.
Fully-serviced accommodation in your chosen stateroom or suite
Daily shore excursions, guided walks, Zodiac cruises and some activities
Entry fees to historic or tourist sites
An experienced team of destination specialists, activity leaders, and local guides*
An informative and entertaining lecture program by our team of experts
Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and snacks. House wines, beer and soft drinks included with dinner.
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket on polar voyages
Complimentary loan of muck boots on polar voyages
Complimentary use of fitness centre
Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic
Comprehensive pre-departure information kit and destination resource guide
Personalised voyage photo book (post-voyage)
*on selected voyages
Ready for your next adventure?
Great Escapes Diving Holidays Ltd
Office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10.00am - 12.00pm
Tel: 01473 921888