Douglas Mawson

Former name: Ocean Discoverer

Current itinerary of Douglas Mawson

Douglas Mawson current cruise is 9 days, round-trip 10 Night Coastal Tasmania Untamed Wilderness Cruise and Land Tour. Prices start from USD 8156 (double occupancy rates). The itinerary starts on 02 Dec, 2025 and ends on 11 Dec, 2025.

Date / TimePort
02 Dec    Departing from Hobart, Tasmania Australia hotels
02 Dec    Hobart, Tasmania Australia
03 Dec    Bruny Island Tasmania, Australia
03 Dec    coastal cruising
04 Dec    Maatsuyker Islands Tasmania, Australia
05 Dec    Hunter Islands Tasmania, Australia
06 Dec    Kent Group Islands Tasmania, Australia
07 Dec    Flinders Island Tasmania, Australia
08 Dec    Freycinet Tasmania, Australia
09 Dec    Maria Island Tasmania, Australia
10 Dec    Port Arthur, Tasmania Australia
11 Dec    Arriving in Hobart, Tasmania Australia hotels

Specifications of Douglas Mawson

Year of build2025 new ship
BuilderCMIH-China Merchants Heavy Industry (Haimen shipyard, Jiangsu China)
ClassINFINITY ULSTEIN CX103 (ice-strengthened expedition ship)
Building costUSD 65 million
Speed12 kn / 22 km/h / 14 mph
Length (LOA)104 m / 341 ft
Beam (width)18 m / 59 ft
Gross Tonnage7400 gt
Passengers154 - 186
Decks with cabins4
Sister-shipsGreg Mortimer, Sylvia Earle, Ocean Victory, Ocean Explorer, Ocean Odyssey, Ocean Albatros
Former namesOcean Discoverer
Christened bytba
OwnerSunStone Maritime Group AS (via SunStone Ships Inc)
OperatorAmerican Queen Voyages, Aurora Expeditions

Douglas Mawson Itineraries

DateItineraryDeparture PortPrice from
2025 Dec 02 9 days, round-trip 10 Night Coastal Tasmania Untamed Wilderness Cruise and Land Tour Hobart $8156
2025 Dec 12 22 days, one-way from Hobart to Dunedin Hobart $24476
2026 Jan 03 13 days, round-trip 14 Night Subantarctic Discovery Cruise and Land Tour Dunedin $12236
2026 Jan 17 23 days, round-trip 24 Night Ross Sea Odyssey Cruise and Land Tour Dunedin $25196
2026 Feb 09 31 days, one-way from Dunedin to Ushuaia Dunedin $33996
2026 Mar 12 20 days, round-trip 21 Night Falklands South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula Cruise and Land Tour Ushuaia $21756

Douglas Mawson Review

Review of Douglas Mawson

The 2025-built MS Douglas Mawson cruise ship is an ice-strengthened (polar class 1A / PC6) expedition vessel that was originally named "Ocean Discoverer" scheduled for delivery/inauguration in March 2023. The vessel is owned by the Danish company SunStone Maritime Group (via its USA-based subsidiary SunStone Ships Inc).

Like all Aurora Expeditions Australia ships, the Douglas Mawson vessel (IMO number 9992713) will be Bahamas-flagged (MMSI tba) and registered in Nassau.

The ship is named after Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958) - British-born Australian, geologist and Antarctic explorer who (togethr with Sir Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott) was an expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897-1922).

Ocean Discoverer was planned for seasonal chartering to Victory Cruise Lines (fully-owned subsidiary and travel brand of AQSC-American Queen Voyages) and also to Albatros Expeditions (Copenhagen Denmark-based company specializing in Arctic and Antarctic cruisetours, subsidiary and brand owned by Albatross Travel Group Ltd).

Albatros Expeditions itineraries are in Arctic Europe (Svalbard Norway, Faroe Islands, Scotland), Arctic Canada (with Greenland-Iceland), Antarctica (with Patagonia/Chilean Fjords and SGSSI-South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).

IMPORTANT: In mid-April 2022, Niels-Erik Lund (the Miami-based SunStone Ships' CEO) announced that "Unit 7" of the INFINITY-class (the series' last one/intended to be named "Ocean Discoverer") would not be built as the contract with the shipbuilder CMIH (China Merchants Heavy Industry, part of China Merchants Group) is canceled (the reason was not disclosed). The CEO also added that SunStone will now focus to order new BOUNDLESS-class vessels (as their specs had been finished) and that SunStone had been negotiating with ~20 shipyards for the production. However, in mid-January 2023 SunStone announced that INFINITY Class' unit 7 (Ocean Discoverer) will be constructed as the shipbuilding contract with CMIH is already signed.

Note: BOUNDLESS-class vessels are designed by OSK-ShipTech (Denmark) and are larger than the INFINITY-class (12-13,000 GT tons/compared to INFINITY's 7400 GT) and with bigger passenger capacity (200-300, compared to INFINITY's 140.


The boat's delivery is currently scheduled for August 2025.

Douglas Mawson will be long-term chartered to Aurora Expeditions, with a year-round schedule starting revenue operations in December 2025. Itineraries visit polar destinations in East Antarctica and the Ross Sea (between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land) as well as the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands (Snares Islands, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island).

Douglas Mawson's Maiden Voyage is a 10-night "Coastal Tasmania Untamed Wilderness Cruise" (Circumnavigation of Tasmania) roundtrip from Hobart leaving on December 1st (2025). The itinerary includes Bruny Island, Recherche Bay, Maatsuyker Islands, Hunter Islands, Kent Islands, Flinders Island, Freycinet Peninsula, Maria Island, and Port Arthur.

Among Douglas Mawson's inaugural cruise itineraries (2025-2026 season) are the "East Antarctica Expedition" (retracing the route of Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition/1911-1914), the "Ross Sea Odyssey", the "Subantarctic Discovery" (Australia and New Zealand's subantarctic islands), the "Epic Antarctica: Crossing the 7th Continent" (Ross Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula), and the "Coastal Tasmania: Untamed Wilderness".

Aurora Expeditions' "Antarctica Active" program groups all-inclusive activities such as paddling among icebergs, snowshoe hikes, and overnight camping on the ice.

Ship technology

Douglas Mawson is the seventh/last in a series of ten "Ulstein CX103" design (Infinity-Class) expedition vessels, with sisterships Greg Mortimer (2019-Aug), Ocean Victory (2021-March), Ocean Explorer (2021-Jan), Sylvia Earle (2022-Oct), Ocean Odyssey (2022-Oct), Ocean Albatros (2022-Oct). Four more units were intended but eventually canceled and replaced by the new BOUNDLESS Class boats.

The patented ULSTEIN X-BOW design is one of the unusual for expedition ships features, The vessel also utilizes the latest technologies in naval engineering. The ship is technically managed by Cruise Management International (Miami-based passenger vessel/fleet management company). CMI Leisure Miami handles hotel operations.

For the interior designs of this entire series of SunStone-owned ships was contracted the Weston Florida-based company Tomas Tillberg Design.

SunStone cruise ship design (ULSTEIN CX103) World-Class

With the highest for passenger vessel ice-class 1A (Polar Class 6 / PC6), MS Douglas Mawson has icebreaking capacity 1 m (3 ft) and complies with maritime industry's latest polar code requirements and specifications. The boat offers unprecedented levels of safety and environmental protection.

The major advantage of the patented "ULSTEIN X-BOW" design is the ship's ability to navigate with improved stability in comparison to traditional bow-design vessels. X-BOW vessels are less subject to vertical motions (induced by waves), continuing on course smoothly while maintaining high speeds. The ship's engines use less fuel, which results in reduced air emissions and fuel consumption.

The ship is equipped with the maritime industry's latest propulsion and return-to-port systems, as well as dynamic positioning technology. These computer-controlled systems allow automatic maintenance of the ship's position via propulsion units (thrusters and propellers). This allows stable floating while maintaining the necessary stability for launching watercraft - and without using anchors.

Shipboard facilities

The newbuild expedition vessel features dedicated outdoor observation areas (including fore-located Observation Deck with two Hydraulic Platforms and two Viewing Platforms), stern marina (watersports platform serving company's sea kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving programs), a fleet of 20x Zodiacs (large-capacity motorized boats used for passenger transportation - tendering and landings). The aft-located Zodiac loading platform is a new design and allows easier and faster boarding. Sun Deck (top-deck forward) is furnished with premium garden furniture (sofas, armchairs, sun loungers) and used for both relaxation and wildlife viewing. The top-deck bow is the Observation Lounge (served by its own Bar) and midship is the funnel (with four stacks/engine exhaust pipes).

Other facilities include Medical Centre (Infirmary), Change Room (Mudroom), Bar Lounge (lecture theater forward on Deck 5), Dining Room Restaurant, Ship Shop, Lobby area (Reception Desk), Library, Art Room, Wellness Centre (Fitness, Spa, Sauna Room, Treatment Rooms for Massages), Lower Sun Deck (Deck 7 aft, with lifeboats and liferafts), Upper Sun Deck (Deck 8 midship, with sunbathing area and two whirlpool hot tubs).

Four Zodiac Docks (2 on each side, hull access at sea-level) serve as boat launching platforms.


Douglas Mawson staterooms (a total of 86) allow max capacity 186 passengers. Cabins include 68x Balcony, 9x French Balcony and 16x with Porthole Windows. The vessel is served by 100 crew/staff accommodated in 57 crew cabins. Most cabins (80% of all, excepting only Deck 3 cabins with Portholes) are with private, step-out balconies accessible from the living area via sliding, floor-ceiling glass door. Each balcony is furnished with a small table and two deck chairs. 60% of all cabins can be booked with triple occupancy (accommodate a 3rd person on pull-out couch/sofabed).

  • Hotel beds (King-size or two twin, size 200 x 160 cm, ample under-bed storage space for suitcases), sleeping couch (sofabed), bedside cabinets, mirrored vanity (writing desk / dressing table) with chair, built-in dressers with drawers, mini-bar / refrigerator, 42-inch smart HDTV (local and satellite reception), phone (onboard communication only), digital clock / alarm, seating area (small table with 1 or 2 armchairs), spacious wardrobe (closet with hangers, drawers, electronic safe), individual climate control, medical emergency button.
  • Each stateroom has a private, full-size bathroom with shower / WC, hairdryer, premium bath amenities.
  • Suites are in 3 categories - CS-Captain's, JS-Junior and BS-Balcony. These are the largest staterooms, with double-size balconies and offering extra amenities, such as in-room dining service (continental breakfast served on the balcony).

The ship has a total of 20 pairs of connecting rooms (balconied cabins) that can be booked as one "family stateroom" for up to 6 persons. There are no wheelchair-accessible cabins (suitable for passengers with disabilities).

Photos of Douglas Mawson

Add Photo

Douglas Mawson ship related cruise news

Other Aurora Expeditions Australia cruise ships

Douglas Mawson Wiki

SunStone's shipbuilding contract with CMIH for Ocean Explorer (4th) and Ocean Discoverer (5th) Infinity-class vessels was signed on November 13, 2018, by Frank Zheng (CMIH's Vice General Manager) and Lars Stale Skoge (Ulstein's Commercial Director).

The ship-charter deal with AQSC for Ocean Discoverer (Victory Cruise Line's 4th ship) was announced on March 4th, 2020. The boat was scheduled for delivery in September 2022 and to be chartered for 12-13-day voyages in Alaska in 2023.

The ship-chartering agreement includes a deal with the Miami-based company CMI Leisure Management. Ship management services include staffing, hotel services, housekeeping, onboard food and beverages, purchasing supplies, logistics. CMI Leisure is among the world's leading companies providing small-ship management services.

On March 16, 2017, SunStone Ships Inc signed the shipbuilding agreement with the Hong Kong-based company "China Merchants Industry Holdings" (abbrev CMIH) for the construction of 4 expedition vessels. SunStone is the world's largest (by tonnage) shipowner chartering exclusively expedition vessels to cruise travel companies. Since there is an option for an additional 6 sisterships, by this "ULSTEIN CX103" project could be built up to 10 units. The USD 260 million shipbuilding order for the 4 units was signed in June 2017.

The company CMIH is a subsidiary of China Merchants Group (among the country's largest groups of companies). Following the contract with SunStone Ships, CMIH signed an agreement with the Norwegian company Ulstein Design (part of Ulstein Group, headquartered in Ulsteinvik Norway) to supply the ship design and equipment package (ULSTEIN COM / Navigation Bridge system, and the integrated automation systems ULSTEIN IAS and ULSTEIN POWER), and also to supervise the shipbuilding works. For the ship's hotel design was contracted the Florida (USA)-based company Tomas Tillberg Design International (specializing in passenger vessel design). The design features Ulstein's patented X-BOW (providing fuel efficiency and significantly improved stability in rough seas). The vessel complies with the 2009-issued SOLAS requirements for "Virtual Anchorage" and "Safe Return to Port" (SRtP) implemented via Dynamic Positioning System (computer-controlled, automatically maintains ship's position) and Zero Speed Stabilizers (roll reduction system).

CMIH also signed an agreement with the Finnish company "IS Makinen Inc" to pre-fabricate the vessels' cabins, wet units and interior public spaces. For this purpose, Makinen established a cabin assembly plant and an interior workshop facility at the shipbuilding yard in China.

Project's shipbuilder is CMIH's subsidiary "China Merchants Heavy Industry" (abbrev CMHI, shipyard near Shanghai).

The vessel's construction officially started on December 15, 2023, with the steel-cutting ceremony at Jiangsu FRP shipyard (Haimen Base, China). The ceremony was attended by Xianfu Hu (CMIH's General Manager) and Niels-Erik Lund (SunStone Maritime Group's CEO).

The vessel's phisical construction/asseble started on May 30, 2024 with the keel-laying ceremony.

The ship is powered by 4x Wartsila-20 diesel engines (two 6-cylinder plus two 8-cylinder) running on HFO (heavy fuel oil). The 6-cylinder engines are fitted with Wartsila-NOR (exhaust gas cleaning system, NOx gas reducing technology). The contract with Wartsila was signed in November 2017.


The vessel's propulsion system is diesel-electric (twin-screw) and designed by Brunvoll Volda AS (Volda Norway-based company specializing in marine propulsion, positioning and maneuvering systems). For the ULSTEIN CX103 project, Brunvoll contracted DMC (Damen Marine Components, Hardinxveld Giessendam Holland-based marine equipment manufacturer) to produce and supply the vessel's two rudders (model Van der Velden ATLANTIC) and two steering gear systems (model Van der Velden COMMANDER).