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Aurora Expeditions Names New Ship After Acclaimed Oceanographer

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Aurora Expeditions will name its second purpose-built expedition ship after the acclaimed marine biologist and oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Earle is the first woman to become chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and was named by “Time” magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998.

Built to world-class polar standards, the ship will launch in October 2021 in Ushuaia, Argentina. As part of its commitment to responsible travel, Aurora Expeditions will continue to name its new ships after explorers who are passionate about their environmental commitment and who share the company’s vision for the future. The company’s first purpose-built vessel, Greg Mortimer, was named for the co-founder of Aurora Expeditions in late October 2019.

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An Australian company, Aurora Expeditions started working with U.S. and Canadian travel agents about 18 months ago and now has dedicated inside salespeople in North America to help support agents in the different time zones.

The new 126-passenger ship also will have the patented Ulstein X-Bow and its inverted bow design, in combination with Rolls Royce dynamic stabilizers. The Ulstein X-Bow cuts through the swell, minimizing vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves. This helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60 percent and improved passenger comfort.

Aurora said its ships have the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, due to a combination of low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design. The state-of-the-art Tier 3 engine delivers an 80 percent reduction in emissions and can use virtual anchoring to hold its position instead of dropping an anchor on the delicate sea floor. Onboard desalination plants convert seawater to fresh water that is safe to drink, so Aurora ships carry less fresh water on sea crossings, further reducing fuel consumption.

Working in parallel with Mortimer, Earle will be channeling her marine-conservation ethos into a fully immersive onboard guest experience.

Activities include expert-led kayak expeditions, Polar ski touring, climbing, snowshoeing, hiking and exploration by Zodiac. There also are plans for marine researchers, scientists and conservationists to join the expedition team onboard the Sylvia Earle.

The Ulstein X-BOW on the Sylvia Earle will feature a two-level glass atrium lounge in the bow, offering views to the front of the ship.

For more information, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au.

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Cruises

Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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An MSC Cruises ship was turned away from at least two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday after a crew member fell ill amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The New York Times, MSC Meraviglia was denied from docking in both Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands after port authorities learned that a crew member from the Philippines was ill. However, the Associated Press reported that the employee was believed to be sick with the common seasonal flu.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

The cruise line expressed frustration over the repeated denial, claiming that the ill crew member and all passengers on the ship had passed a health screening prior to embarking.

“The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul,” MSC Cruises said in a statement to the Times. “He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to Type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms.”

The ship, which is carrying more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is in the midst of a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Miami that had included scheduled stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras.

MSC Meraviglia isn’t the first ship to be turned away from port amid fears of the spreading coronavirus and likely won’t be the last. Tuesday’s unexpected hiccup comes just one week after MSC Cruises updated MSC Bellissima’s Grand Voyage itinerary to Asia.

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