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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Our ships carry an average of 132 passengers. 

The majority of our clients come from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Europe. However, we do often have a mix of other nationalities on board, including our Expedition Team. 

There is ample storage space in all cabins on our ships. Your empty baggage can be stored safely elsewhere on the ship if need be. 

There will be computers in the library and media room for your use. 

All our ships are air-conditioned, with the onboard temperature ranging from 15°C to 25°C. You can control the temperature of your cabin by adjusting the airflow through the roof vent and turning your heater on or off. 

While the crew onboard is international, everyone speaks English. 

The electrical supply on board is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Please bring a converter if your devices use 110 volts. International electrical sockets are available in your cabin and throughout the ship. If you have many devices, it is advised you bring a multi power board. 

Wi-Fi is included onboard, but please appreciate that when traveling in remote areas connection can be unreliable. Telephone access for personal use is not available on board. In case of an emergency, our Expedition Team can facilitate communication with your family members. 

In general, items that are not included in the cost of your voyage are: flights to and from your voyage, pre- and post-accommodation, transfers, gratuities, items purchased from the onboard shop, laundry costs and other items of a personal nature (unless stated in your voyage inclusions). Some voyages do include certain pre- and post-cruise travel arrangements, so please check your specific voyage inclusions on the website or contact us. 

House wine, beer and soft drinks are included at dinner. All other drinks can be purchased from the bar when desired. Coffee, tea and drinking water are available for free throughout the day.  

Travel insurance, including medical evacuation cover, is mandatory for all Aurora Expeditions voyages. We advise you to have insurance for voyage cancellation to ensure you will be covered financially if you are forced to cancel your voyage due to circumstances beyond your control. It is in your best interests to carefully read the General Terms & Conditions on your booking form. 

Gratuities/tips for crew are included in your voyage fare, to the value of USD$15 per person per day. It is at your discretion if you would like to tip outside of this. It is not necessary to tip the Expedition Team members. 

Yes. Our talented chefs will take your requirements into their meal planning and ensure you receive tasty, healthy meals. Please ensure you list any dietary requirements on your personal details form. 

We recommend that you take US dollars for exchanging in Norway and Iceland. It is better to carry US dollars for tipping and payment of bar bills on board the ship. You can also pay with all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express. 

The onboard currency is US dollars. All your onboard purchases including bar, laundry, and purchases from the onboard shop are charged to your shipboard account and settled by credit card or cash (US dollars only) at the end of the voyage. 

There is a ‘No Smoking’ policy throughout the interior of our ships. 

Hairdryers are provided in each cabin. 

Many people ask us if they will get seasick. It is a very difficult question to answer because it depends so much on the individual. Our experience is that a small percentage of people are seasick on any trip but most of these people are fine after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness, then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. We advise you to come armed with motion sickness tablets, and there will be a doctor on board to assist with any bouts of seasickness. 

We generally run our ships “Australian style” which is casual and to finish all passengers are encouraged to dress comfortably and as they see fit for the occasion. In practice, some people may choose to dress smarter whereas others will be more casual, but everyone should feel at ease to dress as they see fit within reason. 

We use the same provider for both hospitality and food and beverage as Vantage used on its Infinity class vessels so the quality of food and beverage and hospitality will be the same as Vantage. In practice the Infinity class ships are best practice in terms of technical performance with luxury accommodation and facilities.  

Auroras “fit to travel policy” is the same as most polar operators apply although and seeks to apply the appropriate level of risk in a pragmatically.  

There are two aspects to the fit to travel policy: 

  • The first relates to a passenger’s degree of mobility and physical fitness  
  • The second relates to the risk that they may need emergency medical services  

With respect to mobility and fitness the only requirement is to be able to climb a flight of stairs and get in and out of a zodiac from the ship and from the shore. Passengers who choose to kayak, snorkel or dive may have incremental health and fitness requirements, but these do not apply to all passengers. Obviously as itineraries are designed that don’t require zodiac use and which are less strenuous then the mobility and fineness requirements will be relaxed. 

With respect to overall health when we travel to remote polar regions there are limited medical facilities and a medical emergency will require a medical evacuation which is complex and costly and disrupts the voyage for other passengers. We have a well-equipped medical facility on briars with a qualified doctor who are able to deal with medical issues and emergencies as the arise but once again we seek to manage risk appropriately. Once again for itineraries where quality medical services can be easily accessed, we will modify our policies.  

The fit to travel process has evolved over time and in most cases the process is as follows: 

  • A trip is booked and a deposit paid by the passenger is activated in the passenger portal
  • As part of the documentation process a medical self-assessment form is completed by the passenger seeking to travel
  • The medial self-assessment form is reviewed by a trained person and where deemed appropriate referred to an outside qualified consultant who is a doctor
  • The doctor will usually request more information and the passenger will be asked to take a more comprehensive assessment form to their doctor which their doctor will be required to complete and sign and confirm that the passenger is “medically fit to travel”.
  • The completed medical assessment will then be sent back to the outside medical consultant who may choose to contact and discuss the assessment with the doctor. 

It is ultimately the responsibility of the passengers’ own doctor to assess them as medically fit to travel and our role is to ensure that the process is responsibly applied. If anyone would like a copy of the medical assessment form to discuss with their doctor it can be provided.  

Obviously as new itineraries are developed the medically fit to travel forms will be amended. We also on accession are open to discuss specific circumstances and have allowed people to travel without activities to be with family on a holiday. 

If people are fit to travel, then we have no formal policy and we have had people on board in wheelchairs but as a rule we would suggest people traveling on the small infinity class ships be reasonably mobile as there is only one elevator. 

Solo Travel

If you would rather have a cabin all to yourself, you can pay a 50% surcharge on Greg Mortimer and Sylvia Earle ships or enjoy NO single supplements on the dedicated solo accommodations on the Douglas Mawson ship. This way, you can explore endlessly at your own pace. This option can be combined with other offers and discounts. Read more  

Yes We’ll find you a like-minded traveler to share with. Save the solo supplement and we’ll pair you with a like-minded traveler based on gender and your selected cabin category. If we’re unable to find you someone to share with, the solo supplement is waived. This option can be combined with other offers and discounts. Read more  

Groups

If you book 10 or more in your group and your 11th Traveler will travel for free. We offer some additional perks. For questions and inquiries, please email Groups@vantagexplorations.com  

Air

We do offer airfare at an additional cost. You must purchase the cruise package first and our team can assist you with the airline reservations.  

The Arctic

As with all wild animals, we cannot guarantee you will see polar bears. However, the time of year we visit is when bear numbers are at their peak, and our experienced team and crew are aware of their habitats and are well trained to spot these marvelous creatures in the wild. 

Yes. Each passenger travelling on our Arctic voyages will receive a complimentary polar expedition jacket to wear during your expedition and take home after your trip. 

Your expedition jacket is provided; however, you’ll need to ensure you pack the correct wet weather gear for your landings. 

Shipboard clothing is informal and casual; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in the polar regions. However, be sure to keep your jacket closed for unexpected sightings!  

Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary. 

We recommend you take two pairs of gloves. 

It is important that you bring a comfortable pair of enclosed walking shoes to wear on board the ship. Muck boots are provided on board and are required to be worn on all landings. If you have concerns regarding extra small or large sizing or hard-to-fit feet, we recommend you bring your own pair. 

Onboard, you can store your wet weather gear and muck boots in your locker, found in the mudroom. 

We aim to get off the ship as much as possible to experience the destinations up close. Twice per day is common but more if weather, daylight hours and the itinerary allow. Duration of the landings vary from site to site but at the height of the peak season, cruise operators must stick to timings allocated by authorities. 

Yes, it’s a good idea to bring your own, especially if you have trouble walking over uneven ground. Some of our landings can be on slippery rocks or deep snow, and we may go for extended walks to see different parts of our landing point. We recommend the telescopic poles with the optional snow-basket tips. You can purchase these poles in most outdoor stores. 

Although you cannot swim or participate in our snorkeling program in the Arctic, most of our voyages stop for a ‘Polar Plunge’, where all willing passengers can take the ultimate dip into the icy Arctic Ocean. Experienced scuba divers have the option to dive on selected voyages. 

Generally, we ask you to relieve yourself on board before going on a landing and if the necessity arises ashore, you will be driven back to the ship. Your expedition team will instruct you more on this when you are on board.  

We advise against selecting multiple activities as each is a dedicated activity for those with the relevant experience. To make the most of your time and money, we recommend selecting only one activity. 

To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you from participating. 

Antarctica & Expedition Cruises

During the summer months (when we visit) the temperature can range from -2°C (28°F) to 8°C (46°F). Big storms are rare, but if one comes through the temperature could drop to -8°C (17°F). Read more 

Shipboard clothing is informal and casual; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in our polar regions. However, be sure to keep your jacket close for unexpected sightings! Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary. Read more 

To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you from participating. 

Although you cannot swim in Antarctica, most of our voyages stop for a ‘Polar Plunge’, where all willing passengers can take the ultimate dip into the icy Antarctic waters. You do have the option to take up our Polar Snorkeling activity, or experienced scuba divers have the option to dive, on selected voyages. Additional charges may apply. 

Antarctica is the southernmost continent on Earth. The South Geographic Pole is in Antarctica, and most of the continent lies within the Antarctic Circle, at 66.5 degrees south of the Equator. 

Antarctica is so far south that most of the continent receives 24 hours of daylight during summer, and 24 hours of darkness during winter. 

Antarctica lies to the south of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean (also known as the Antarctic Ocean). Most visitors access Antarctica via ship or aircraft from an Antarctic ‘gateway city’. The five official Antarctic gateway cities are Ushuaia (Argentina), Hobart (Australia), Punta Arenas (Chile), Christchurch (New Zealand), and Cape Town (South Africa). 

The name ‘Antarctica’ comes from ‘Antarktos’, meaning ‘opposite the Arctic’. Antarctica and the Arctic are indeed opposites in many ways, and they lie at the polar extremes of the globe: the Arctic to the north and Antarctica to the south. 

Antarctica doesn’t belong to anyone. There is no single country that owns Antarctica. Instead, Antarctica is governed by a group of nations in a unique international partnership. The Antarctic Treaty, first signed on December 1, 1959, designates Antarctica as a continent devoted to peace and science. Since then, 54 nations have acceded to (signed) the Antarctic Treaty, taking part in this unprecedented example of international diplomacy. Read more 

Antarctica is home to a hardy community of wonderful wildlife, which has adapted to the cold, windy and icy Antarctic environment. 

There are four species of penguins in Antarctica. They are the emperor, Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap. The emperor and Adélie penguins are found only in Antarctica. 

There are six species of Antarctic seals: Ross seals, Weddell seals, crabeater seals, leopard seals, southern fur seals and southern elephant seals. They all live in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, hauling out on ice or land to rest and pup. 

Many whales visit Antarctic waters during the summer feeding season between late October and early April. The whales that commonly visit Antarctic waters include humpback whales, killer whales, minke whales, fin whales, sei whales and even the enormous blue whale! 

In addition to these charismatic creatures we see on the ocean’s surface, the Antarctic ocean is filled with a rich variety of sea life, from single-celled algae, which form the foundation of the Antarctic food web, to krill, a tiny crustacean which is a keystone species in the Antarctic ecosystem, providing sustenance for seals, whales, penguins and many other seabirds. 

Most animals that thrive in Antarctica are marine animals. This means that they rely on the ocean and marine ecosystems to survive and thrive. However, there are a few Antarctic animals that live entirely on land. These include the microscopic springtails, nematodes and tardigrades, which live amongst moss and lichen in areas which are not permanently snow-covered. 
Read more 

Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth. The average temperature in the interior throughout the year is about -57°C, with the minimum temperature being -90°C during the winter season. Although the coast is warmer and temperatures can reach a maximum of between -2°C and 8°C during the summer. It is, on average, the coldest, windiest, and driest of all the continents on Earth. Read more 

Tourists visit Antarctica during the summer, between early October and late March. The Antarctic winter is cold and dark, and the continent is surrounded by an enormous fringe of sea ice, which almost doubles its size. Many animals migrate north and the Antarctic Peninsula is inaccessible. 

As summer arrives the sun returns to Antarctica, and with it comes rafts of penguins, pods of whales and herds of seals. Sea ice drifts or melts away from the Antarctic Peninsula coastline, allowing expedition vessels access into many sheltered bays and harbors to marvel at the splendor of the Antarctic summer. Read more 

Children are more than welcome on our Antarctica cruises. However, we recommend that they are at least 8 years old and must travel with their legal guardian. Children pay the same rate as an adult traveler. Read more 

Vantage Travel Credit Passengers

No, Vantage Travel has ceased operations. Pacific Travel Partners is a subsidiary of Aurora Expeditions, which has purchased the remaining assets of Vantage TravelPacific Travel Partners has agreed to allow Vantage passengers with future travel credits for any Aurora Expeditions voyage, by November 30, 2028.  

It is only possible to give high credit usage application to products with high fixed costs where we have control of the product which is the case for Ocean going cruises on our own Infinity class ships. If we do launch our own river cruise product, then we will review credit usage percentage but for land the credit usage will probably be capped at 20%.   

At this stage we have not considered the future of the Presidents Club but will look at benefits and make a decision in the near future. There will be some form of loyalty program although whether or not it is the Presidents Club and what benefits will apply is still to be decided.  

Vantage Travel ceased operations and filed for chapter 11 bankruptcyPacific Travel Partners, a subsidiary of Aurora Expeditions has acquired the assets of Vantage Travel. This has been settled in bankruptcy court with the agreement to allow passengers who have paid but not received travel services by way of a credit to be used on future travel towards any Aurora Expeditions’ voyages, by November 30, 2028.   

We have been made aware that creditors have been contacted by people posing as representatives of Aurora or various banks and credit card companies. We urge you to act with caution and please feel free to contact us to verify the authenticity of the contact 

We have not received any information related to identity or financial transactions. The only information we have received is name, address, phone number, and email address. We have also agreed to be bound by the requirements of the court appointed privacy ombudsman. 

If you prefer not to utilize your credit or receive any further contact, that’s absolutely your choice. We’ll provide you with the option to easily opt out of all communications. 

Credits can be applied to the current brochure price and cannot exceed 50% of the full brochure price for ocean cruises or 20% for River and Land toursCredits cannot be applied to air, pre/post arrangements, or extended travelRefunds are not available. 

Credits can be gifted to friends or family members and can be applied to any of Aurora Expeditions’ voyages. Passengers must be fit to travelCredits will be applied to the full brochure price and cannot exceed 50% of the list cost for ocean cruises or 20% for River/Land toursCredits cannot be applied to air, pre/post arrangements, or extended travelRefunds are not available. 

The maximum amount of credits that can be applied to each trip is 50% of the full brochure pricing for Ocean cruises and 20% for River/Land.  

Credits can be applied to any future Aurora Expeditions voyage by November 30, 2028.  

Yes, credits can be applied to multiple trips, can be shared with family and friends, or could be used to take your family and friends along on your journey.   

Credits are transferrable to family and friends if you cannot use themIf credits are not applied to an active journey by November 30, 2028, they will be forfeited 

Credits cannot be bought or sold. 

Passengers with credits can use their credit for a deposit so no money will need to be paid until 90 days before departure.

The term “family and friends” simply implies that the credit can be “gifted” and not sold or traded. Also, it cannot be “gifted” to a commercial entity that could sell or trade the credit. In essence the credit can be used by anyone that you may choose to gift the credit to.

Your credit can be used on multiple trips until the credit is fully used. We will keep track of your credit and at any time you can enquire about the remaining value of your credit.  

We understand the desire in some cases to use a travel agent but the level of discount being offered to credit passengers makes it unviable to introduce a travel agent commission. If you wish to use an agent, then we would suggest you book right cruise component direct and the rest of your trip and your airfare through a travel agent. We do also offer these services but who you use is your choice.  

If trips are postponed and no insurance collectable, then generally any deposits paid will be converted into a credit for future use. Under special circumstances we will consider refunding deposits, but this is not a policy.  

We understand that many Vantage passengers are traveling later in life and may either as a matter of choice or for health reasons are not able to travel in the future even though they may have a credit. In the auction process we considered this and although we could not contemplate cash refunds under any circumstances, we believed the inclusion of a provision to allow the use of credits by “friends and family” with no restriction was an appropriate compromise 

Our policy is that if you cancel a trip after final payment then you forfeit your payment because we are unable to resell that berth at such short notice. In practice most passengers who cancel last minute can claim under their insurance policy and if they cannot then we would consider a credit depending on the circumstances but would not offer a refund.