MV Stella Australis

MV Stella Australis current position

MV Stella Australis current location is at South America West Coast (coordinates -54.77958 S / -69.60246 W) cruising en route to PTA.ARENAS. The AIS position was reported 55 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of MV Stella Australis

Year built2010  /  Age: 12
Flag state Chile
BuilderASENAV Shipyard (Valdivia, Chile)
Classice-strengthened expedition ship
Speed13 kn / 24 kph / 15 mph
Length (LOA)89 m / 292 ft
Beam (width)14 m / 46 ft
Gross Tonnage4508 gt
Passengers100 - 210
Crew62
Decks5
Cabins100
Decks with cabins3
OwnerAustralis Cruceros
OperatorAustralis Cruises Patagonia

MV Stella Australis Review

Review of MV Stella Australis

The 2010-built MV Stella Australis cruise ship is owned and operated by the Chilean travel company Australis Cruises Patagonia. The polar expedition vessel was ordered by and specifically built for the Chile-based Australis cruise company. From the same design is the sistership and fleetmate MV Ventus Australis (2018-built).

The vessel (IMO number 9534676) is currently Chile-flagged (MMSI 725017800) and registered in Punta Arenas.

The ship is luxurious, with yacht-like design and able to navigate the Chilean Fjords and Patagonia's shallow bays and narrow fjords at the tip of South America. This region is the only zone of operations of the cruise line (September through April). Stella Australis cruises either on one-way or roundtrip 3- to 7-night itineraries leaving out of Ushuaia (Argentina) or Punta Arenas (Chile).

MV Stella Australis cruise ship, Antarctica

The Australis cruise line is owned by the Patagonia-based Menendez family. During the late-1800s, their business was focused on seal hunting and sheep breeding. Currently, the company owns and operates two expedition cruise ships (Stella Australis and Ventus Australis (launched 2018). Its ship Via Australis was sold in 2016 to Lindblad and renamed Nat Geo Endeavour 2. The Australis company's current business is run by 3 brothers. They acquired the first ship, "Terra Australis" (formerly Savannah), in 1990, and ran weekly cruises roundtrip from Punta Arenas. In 2002, the company built Mare Australis. About that time, Murray Channel was opened to commercial traffic, which opened the door for itineraries to Cape Horn via a direct route.

The Chilean cruise line specializes exclusively in the archipelago making up the most remote Patagonia's part - Tierra del Fuego. The fleet operates on 5 itinerary routes between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas, including Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan. Australis is among the few cruise lines to offer the opportunity to go ashore at the World Biosphere Reserve "Cape Horn National Park" (often called "the end of the earth").

MV Stella Australis cruise ship

Decks and Cabins

For an expedition ship, Stella Australis staterooms (100 total) are relatively larger and with either a double bed or two twin beds. The contemporary decor is in white and nautical blues. En-suite bathrooms are shower-only (with WC and sink vanity).

Though there are 6 cabin categories (2 grades on each of the 3 cabin decks), actually there are just 2 layouts. Standard Cabins are sized 16 m2 (175 ft2), while the 4 Superior Cabins (located midship) are sized 20 m2 (220 ft2) and have larger double beds. All cabins are with picture windows. Cabo de Hornos deck rooms are with floor-ceiling windows, which cover nearly the room's entire outside wall.

The boat has 5 passenger decks, of which 3 are with cabins.

Shipboard facilities

Patagonia Dining Room (on ship's lowest deck) also has picture windows. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style. Dinner, which is a mix of international and local fare, is always served. Entree selections usually include fish, chicken, beef or lamb. Wines from Chile and Argentina are included in the Australis cruise fares.

MV Stella Australis cruise ship

Public rooms consist of 3 lounges for lectures, socializing and relaxing. The smallest (Yamana Lounge) is a forward-facing observation lounge. The aft (Sky Lounge) is where lectures about Patagonia's history, sights and wildlife take place, given in two official languages (English and Spanish). Darwin Lounge (on the upper deck) is the largest, with a bar, cocktail tables and armchairs.

The crew is generally made up of locals. The bridge is open to passengers at most times. Room service is not available. Currency onboard is USD.

Although the ship has no dress code, there is a list of suggested clothes, including hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, sweater, waterproof (gloves, pants, hiking shoes or boots). At the Captain's Dinner, for men is recommended to wear a jacket, for women - a dress.

 

Australis Cruises itineraries

The Australis cruise line operates a set of three one-way polar itineraries ("Patagonian Explorer" expeditions) with departures from homeports Ushuaia and Punta Arenas.

  • 3-night from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas (with Stella Australis) - Day 1 (Ushuaia), Day 2 (Cape Horn - Wulaia Bay), Day 3 (De Agostini Sound - Aguila Glacier), and Day 4 (Magdalena Island (in September and April replaced with Marta Island) and Punta Arenas.
  • 4-night from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas (with Ventus Australis) - Day 1 (Ushuaia), Day 2 (Cape Horn - Wulaia Bay), Day 3 (Pia Glacier - Garibaldi Glacier), Day 4 (De Agostini Sound - Aguila Glacier - Condor Glacier), and Day 5 (Magdalena Island (in September and April replaced with Marta Island) and Punta Arenas.
  • 4-night from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia (with Stella Australis and Ventus Australis) - Day 1 (Punta Arenas), Day 2 (Ainsworth Bay - Tuckers Islets / in September and April replaced with Brookes Glacier), Day 3 (Pia Glacier - Glacier Alley / in September and April replaced with Brookes Glacier), Day 4 (Cape Horn - Wulaia Bay), and Day 5 (Ushuaia / no excursion day).

These 3x one-way itineraries can be combined in 7-day or 8-day B2Bs (departing roundtrip from either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas).

Australis cruise fares are inclusive of all shore excursions (guided Zodiac boat landings / 1 or 2 per day, each with duration about 1/2 day), onboard enrichment program (lectures, media presentations), onboard meals and drinks (including coffee, tea and juices, plus wines at lunch and dinner). Gratuities are not price-included. Suggested discretionary tipping is USD 15 pp per day (tips envelope is left in the stateroom on the last cruise night / optional credit card payment).

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    MV Stella Australis Wiki

    The following table shows an exemplary cruise itinerary to Antarctica operated by Stella Australis roundtrip from homeport Punta Arenas.

    7 nights / 8 days Chilean Fjords and Antarctica (themed "Darwin's Route") with prices starting from around USD 3400 per person (USD 490 pp per day, double-occupancy "Standard Cabin" rates / Porthole stateroom)

    Date / TimePort
    01 OctDeparting from Punta Arenas, Chile Antarctica
    02 OctAinsworth Bay, Chilean Antarctica
    03 OctChilean Fjords/Patagonia
    04 OctPuerto Williams, Navarino Island, Chile Antarctica   
    04 OctCape Horn
    05 OctUshuaia, Argentina   
    06 OctCape Horn
    07 OctBeagle Channel/Glacier Alley
    08 OctMagdalena Island, Chile
    08 OctArriving in Punta Arenas

    Note: While navigating Beagle Channel, the ship visits either Pia Glacier, Aguila Glacier or De Agnosti Sound.

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