MV Ventus Australis Review and Specifications
Specifications of MV Ventus Australis
|Year built||2018 / Age : 2|
|Builder||ASENAV Shipyard (Valdivia, Chile)|
|Class||ice-strengthened expedition ship|
|Building cost||USD 50 million|
|Owner||Australis Cruises Patagonia|
|Speed||13 kn / 24 kph / 15 mph|
|Length (LOA)||89 m / 292 ft|
|Beam (width)||14 m / 46 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||4508 gt|
|Decks with cabins||3|
|Christened by||Sol Lecaros de Nevares|
Current position of MV Ventus Australis
Review of MV Ventus Australis
Ventus Australis cruise ship (launched 2018) is owned and operated by the Chilean travel company Australis Cruceros Patagonia, with a sistership and fleet mate MV Stella Australis (launched 2010). Both polar expedition vessels were ordered by and specifically built for the Australis cruise company.
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). Ventus Australis cruises to Cape Horn with both one-way and roundtrip 4- to 7-night itineraries leaving out of Ushuaia (Argentina) or from Punta Arenas (Chile).
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 /under construction). Its ship Via Australis was sold in 2016 to Lindblad and renamed National Geographic Endeavour II. 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 the 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."
The name Ventus Australis (Latin for "Southern Wind") reflects the distinctive weather of Tierra del Fuego, a factor which has long determined the socio-cultural development of the region and that impressed the early mariners who explored Patagonia's southernmost waterways.
For an expedition ship, Ventus Australis 100 cabins are relatively larger, with floor to ceiling windows and either double bed or twins. En-suite bathrooms are shower-only (with WC and sink vanity).
Patagonia Dining Room (on ship's lowest deck) serves buffet-style breakfast and lunch. 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.
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 line’s 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. Navigation Bridge is open to passengers at most times. Room service is not available. Currency onboard is USD. The vessel is equipped with 6 Zodiacs (large-capacity inflatable boats used for passenger tendering and landings).
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
- 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 3 one-way itineraries can be combined in 7-day or 8-day roundtrip cruises (departing 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).
MV Ventus Australis - user reviews and comments
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MV Ventus Australis Wiki
On January 2, 2018, was the vessel's christening ceremony held at ASENAV Shipyard in Valdivia, Chile. The ship's godmother is Mrs Sol Lecaros de Nevares - niece of the Australis company's President Pedro Lecaros.
Inaugural Cruise 2018
The following table shows the ships' "Inaugural Cruise" (2018 maiden voyage) as ports of call sequence and port sequence.
4 nights / 5 days from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia (prices started from USD 1660 per person / ~USD 400 pp double-occupancy "Standard Cabin" rates / Porthole stateroom).
Note: Generally, in Beagle Channel (Glacier Alley) the Australis ships visit either Pia Glacier, Aguila Glacier or De Agnosti Sound.
|Date / Time||Port|
|27 Sep||Departing from Punta Arenas, Chile Antarctica|
|28 Sep||Ainsworth Bay, Chile Antarctica|
|28 Sep||At Sea|
|29 Sep||Beagle Channel, Glacier Alley, Chile Patagonia (Pia Glacier)|
|30 Sep||Cape Horn, Chile Antarctica|
|30 Sep||Puerto Williams, Navarino Island, Chile Antarctica|
|01 Oct||Arriving in Ushuaia, Argentina|
Godspeed to the new ship!
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