- 126 (avg)
- year built
- crew members
- 341 feet
- 60 feet
- 17 feet
- cruising speed
- 10-12 knots
- ice class
- 1A, PC6
The Greg Mortimer is an adventure-ready expedition ship designed for comfortable cruising in rugged, remote areas. Built and launched in 2019, this activity- and conservation-minded vessel honors the esteemed Australian mountaineer of the same name. It is the sister ship to the Sylvia Earle and accommodates up to 132 guests in 76 cabins. All cabins have ocean views and 85% have balconies.
This is the first passenger ship to feature the patented X-BOW® icebreaker hull. The design allows it to cross oceans more efficiently and comfortably. Its ice class 6 rating enables it to operate year-round in polar environments. Its ability to venture farther, paired with a design optimized for active off-ship excursions, sets the stage for incredible and far-reaching experiences.
Greg Mortimer Ship Review
The following cruise ship review includes a detailed description of this active small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery, along with a dedicated Greg Mortimer Ship Review written by one of our specialists. Our expedition ship experts have been aboard to bring you firsthand experience. Find the detailed ship description and deck plan below. Then contact our experts to compare this polar vessel with other purpose built, activity-minded, ice-class small cruise ships offering Antarctica cruises.
Choose the Greg Mortimer cruise ship for its spirit of adventure, focus on active excursions and novel design. Stemming from 25 years of polar expertise, its design enables unique vantages to experience the polar world. There are well-thought spaces to prepare for outings, and efficient means of on- and off-boarding guests for outdoor adventures. This state-of-the-art expedition vessel offers the ideal base camp for adventures at the outer limits of exploration.
Design, Sustainability & Accessibility
Purpose built and small enough to go where others cannot, the ship was designed in consultation with expedition leaders. The Greg Mortimer is designed for extreme conditions, active explorations, wildlife watching, education and learning, and a comfortable onboard experience.
The ship was designed and built by the Norwegian ship builders Ulstein Group. MV Greg Mortimer ship is the first tourist expedition ship in operation to offer Ulstein’s innovative, signature bow—the X-BOW®. This patented, inverted bow design is already used on over 100 vessels in commercial shipping. It enables increased sustainability, efficiency, safety and stability in polar regions. This state-of-the-art design, combined with Rolls Royce dynamic stabilizers, offers more comfortable cruising in rough seas, including the Drake Passage.
Moving among landing sites more efficiently lessens the ship’s environmental impact, reducing fuel consumption up to 80% compared to older ships. This bow design also creates space for windows close to the water. Guests can view straight ahead and down into the ocean from a vantage point not possible with older ships that feature a traditional bulbous bow. This translates into the ability for passengers to appreciate the majesty of an iceberg immediately as it appears on the horizon.
Combine the bow design with multiple observation decks, including observation wings that extend out from the sides of the ship, and Greg Mortimer is a top choice for viewing the polar environment from the ship. The ship’s larger volume displacement in the fore, plus inverted bow and slender hull lines offer higher fuel efficiency, less loss of speed in waves, more stability in turbulent waters, softer entry into waves, low acceleration levels, less spray, less slamming and bow impact, and reduced vibration. Additionally, Zero Speed™ dynamic stabilizers help create unrivaled stability and comfort.
Zodiac Launching Platforms
The ship carries 15 Zodiacs for off-vessel explorations. Board Zodiacs via four dedicated launching platforms accessed at sea level from the mudroom. These launch platforms make boarding the Zodiacs quick, efficient and safe. Wait times are minimized, getting you closer to the action for longer. Whether you’re Zodiac cruising through awe-inspiring fjords in search of wildlife or making a quick transit from ship to a shore landing site, these sturdy crafts will play an integral role in your expedition experience.
Spacious activity preparation areas and loading platforms were designed and built in consultation with expert activity guides. A range of add-on adventure activities from kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring are available. This expedition ship is designed to support these activities, making the transition from ship to sea or shore as smooth and efficient as possible.
Hydraulic Viewing Platforms
In addition to onboard observation areas, the Greg Mortimer features unique hydraulic viewing platforms. Designed in conjunction with Greg himself, these platforms can be used in calm waters during gentle cruising or when the ship is stationary. The fold-out design provides unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds.
Responsible Travel Features
Preserving and protecting the environment is reflected in several features of the ship. This ship boasts one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world due to low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design to deliver an 80% reduction in emissions (Compared to Tier 1 engines). The ship also features virtual anchoring to hold its position using a combination of GPS, steering technology, propellers and thrusters. This protects the sea floor and minimizes the damage caused by conventional anchors.
The Greg Mortimer cruise ship features industry-leading safety technology that exceeds the requirements for a ship of this size. Additionally, its world class return-to-port equipment duplicates the propulsion system. This provides a back-up means to maintain operating systems in the event of engine failure. The Greg Mortimer ship is Ice Class 1A and Polar Code 6 compliant, it holds the BV (Bureau Veritas)* class and is fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements. The ship also features a fully-stocked medical clinic designed for use in remote areas.
Designed by Aurora Expeditions, an Australia operator with decades of polar cruising experience, the social areas focus on comfort, efficiency and views. Wide corridors and stairways combined with high ceilings give the ship a spacious feeling. A central elevator and stairway provides easy access to all decks. Water bottle refill stations encourage guests to stay hydrated and conserve glassware. Striking polar art is prominent throughout the ship and in cabins. Some hallways act as galleries with historical images and interpretive information accompanying each photo, or offer a bulletin of guest and crew photos with names.
Lecture Theater & Lounge
Naturalists, expedition leaders and local specialists offer presentations on their area of expertise to deepen your understanding of the region you’re visiting. Join the team in the lecture theater for presentations covering topics as broad as history and culture, biology and climate change. Lectures and presentations have one thing in common: they all aim to engage, educate and entertain.
The lecture theater and lounge comfortably accommodates all guests in a variety of seating arrangements. Clever rows of high-back barstool chairs, cocktail tables and cushy swivel chairs maximize space and ensure everyone can see and hear lecturers. Groups of sofas and chairs underneath large view windows line the sides of the room and are utilized frequently outside of formal lecture times. Numerous screens, a state-of-the-art lectern and a cutting-edge sound system ensure no lecture details are missed.
Dining, Bars & Lounges
Guests are treated to an array of food options with hearty meals and delicious morning/afternoon teas. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, while dinner is a four-course meal. The elegant-yet-casual dining room features tables for two to eight guests that are configurable to accommodate groups of varying sizes. All guests are seated at the same time, in an open arrangement that encourages new connections with each meal.
Viewing windows keep the polar environment in sight while guests dine. Tea, coffee and snacks are available 24 hours a day. The menu changes for each meal, but consistently features meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian options. A fixed menu of steaks, chicken and fish prepared to order is always on offer. A variety of house wine, beers and soft drinks also rotates with each sitting and are complimentary. A semi-private dining room, partitioned off from the main dining room, is available for special occasions or groups.
The bar area outside the lecture theater and lounge, known as the Elephant Bar, is the social heart of the ship. Tables and chairs near large ceiling-to-floor windows are occupied throughout the day. A large central bar staffed by efficient and engaging tenders offers a wide variety of beer, wine, champagne and spirits, with a nightly cocktail special and appetizers served each evening. This bar hosts daily happy hour for guests and expedition leaders to mingle.
Mawson’s Bar on Deck 7 is another popular social area with a totally different feel. A 180-degree wall of windows allows outdoor viewing in warmth and comfort. Doors to the outside observation deck allow guests to pop in and out, retreating indoors when it’s cold outside. Similar cocktail tables and high bar-stools provide a variety of seating with unobstructed views.
Walk inside at the front of Deck 8 to enjoy an enclosed observation lounge. This lounge includes a bar, ceiling-to-floor panoramic windows, wildlife guides, books and binoculars. This set up encourages passengers to relax and share the day’s highlights with newfound friends. Deck 8’s open-air BBQ area is ready to host a special meal on a spectacular day. The two Jacuzzis and two plunge pools at the back of Deck 8 offer a tranquil and refreshing experience between activities.
Multiple observation decks spread throughout the ship is designed for wildlife watching, scenic views, outdoor gatherings and photography. Outdoor observations are located on decks 5, 7 and 8. Deck 5 includes sheltered viewing platforms on starboard and port near the front of the ship. This deck also features the special hydraulic viewing platforms that extend out from near the bow. The aft of Deck 7 offers a large sun deck to enjoy on a calm day. The fore of Decks 7 and 8 features a teak, wraparound observation deck, extending onto outdoor walkways along both sides of Deck 8.
Spa, Sauna & Gym
Relaxing treatments in the Wellness Center spa encourage one to unwind after a day in the polar elements, as does the wooden sauna with a floor-length viewing window. The gym enables guests to maintain fitness routines with weight machines, spin bikes and treadmills.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, the library is a peaceful sanctuary to relax, read, organize photos or play board games with newfound friends. No need to pack a wildlife guide with an ample selection of informative nonfiction titles, guidebooks, travel journals, historical journals, coffee table books, novels and a selection of children’s books. Wildlife guides, books and binoculars can also be found on the observation lounge on Deck 7.
The specially designed mudroom is the launchpad for off-vessel shore excursions and activities. Guests have access to an open locker storage area for boots, jacket, personal flotation device and other outerwear. This removes the need to store these wet items in one’s cabin. Rapid drying areas for drysuits and wetsuits provide the best opportunity for gear to dry out between outings. Four launching platforms from the mudroom efficiently embark Zodiacs for off-vessel explorations.
The mudroom also features bio-security clearance zones for washing and cleaning boots or outerwear as required. This ensures the polar surroundings remain pristine. Activity preparation areas, laser scanning technology and four dedicated, sea-level Zodiac loading platforms along both sides as well as the rear of the ship enable efficient ship-to-shore operations for guests and the 15 Zodiacs carried on board.
The Greg Mortimer boat offers accessibility via an elevator serving all six guest decks. The ship’s shop provides memorable gifts to bring back home and also supplies crucial forgotten items. On board, enjoy added-cost WiFi throughout the ship. The open bridge welcomes guests for a visit with its modern and spacious viewing area. A lack of guest seating in the wheelhouse discourages lingering too long so that everyone has access.
Activities & Expeditions
The Greg Mortimer ship is designed to keep passengers engaged while cruising. Its heart lies in off-ship immersions into the unique environments in which it sails. Whether you seek adventure on land or at sea, a huge range of optional activities make the most of your experience in some of the most beautiful places on earth. This is the ship to nurture your inner adventurer.
All cruises include expected activities such as shore hikes, small craft explorations and photography. The menu of optional activities and the dedication to active exploration distinguishes cruises aboard this ship. Choose from sea kayaking, camping, snowshoeing, ski or snowboard touring, scuba diving, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, or alpine trekking and climbing. These optional activities will be your main mode of exploration through your trip. Guides will assess the conditions at each landing with an effort to join whenever conditions allow. Optional activities are popular and group sizes are limited. If you are interested, plan to book early. Additional fees apply.
Crew, Guides & Expedition Leaders
Up to 20 expedition guides aboard each departure help create a focus on immersion into the polar wilds in which the ship sails. Educational and entertaining guides keep guests engaged on topics such as history, culture, biology and climate. Naturalists and local specialists aim to deepen passengers’ understanding of the region in which they’re traveling. Each departure’s 71-80 well-trained, international crew members are ready to make polar dreams come true, with an eye for detail and a passion for fun.
Each evening, guides conduct a review/preview lecture and slideshow to review the day’s events and prepare guests for the next day. The tag-team nature of their presentations ensure there is always an expert to handle any question and the variety of disciplines overlap and enrich the topic at hand. Formal guide lectures during days at sea provide a foundation of knowledge that enhances the Greg Mortimer Antarctica ship experience.
Cabins & Greg Mortimer Deck Plan
All cabins are comfortable, with neutral tones and earthy touches of wood and stone. Each stateroom or suite offers the option of one king-size bed or two twin beds; spacious, private ensuite bathroom with heated floors, toilet and separate vanity sink; room-controlled thermostat; safe; 42-inch flat-screen TV; desk area; closet space; one mug and drink bottle per guest; and electrical outlets serving 220 volts, 60 hertz AC via a universal plug. Select cabins feature a wheelchair-accessible configuration. Find our detailed Greg Mortimer deck plan below and ask our experts for firsthand cabin recommendations.
A note on cabins with balconies: In our experience, balconies are used daily for activities ranging from a coffee break to reading, taking in sunsets and observing wildlife. Cabins with balconies benefit from a large glass view door and window—an immediate doorway into wilderness.