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Greg Mortimer (Aurora Expeditions) Activities

5.0 / 5.0
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Entertainment
Sam Ballard
Cruise Critic Contributor

Entertainment & Activities

This is not a good ship to book if you're looking for singers or magic shows. There is a piano in the lounge, but it seems to be mainly for passengers who know a tune or two.

Shore Excursions

Shore excursions are booked before you get onboard. Kayaking, mountain climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, snorkelling and scuba diving are usually available -- although it might depend on expedition staff on your sailing. Once you've booked an activity, you're able to do that activity at every available opportunity -- often during morning and afternoon landings. Activities are not bookable onboard and you cannot transfer to another activity without going onto the waiting list. Overall, the system is a little rigid, but the company says it's to make sure expedition staff can plan the voyage properly, which is understandable.

The expedition staff will try and give passengers at least one opportunity to go camping on the ice, although -- as with everything on an expedition cruise -- it's weather permitting.

Zodiac cruising is available to everyone and free of charge.

Wildlife Viewing

Greg Mortimer has been purpose-built to make the most of polar regions and so it boasts a number of spots that are perfect for wildlife viewing. The Observation Lounge (Deck 8) is the highest point of the ship and is great for keeping an eye out for whales. However, nothing can compare to the ship's two hydraulic platforms (Deck 5, forward) which are lowered when the ship is doing a particularly scenic stretch of sailing. Watch out for seals dozing on an ice floe or perhaps a killer whale.

The key thing to remember about seeing wildlife on an Aurora voyage is you must keep a distance of five metres. However, if an inquisitive penguin chooses to break that rule, and they often do, there's not much you can do about it. That five-metre rule applies to everything from Gentoo penguins to elephant seals. You'll get a full debrief of animal interactions when you're onboard.

Enrichment

What the Greg Mortimer lacks in traditional entertainment, it more than makes up for in enrichment. A typical sailing will have between 15 and 18 expedition staff onboard, specialising in the destination, from naturalists to historians and photographers. These might include lessons on taking better images on smartphones or talks about historic expeditions. These are highlighted on the daily program, which can be accessed on screens around the ship and on TVs in your cabin.

Greg Mortimer Bars and Lounges

Lounge (Deck 5): The main bar on the Greg Mortimer is where you will find explorers uploading photographs after a day out on the ice or regaling fellow passengers over a cocktail. It has a nice ambience after dinner, although it thins out fairly quickly.

Lecture Theatre (Deck 5): Just beyond the lounge is the lecture theatre, which is comfortable enough to act as an overspill area when the main bar is full. A 24-hour coffee and tea station is also here, as well as a jar of homemade cookies.

Observation Lounge (Deck 8): During the day, you'll find binoculars, reference books and a log book recording all of the wildlife that has been seen so far on the cruise. There is a bar, although it is rarely used.

Greg Mortimer Outside Recreation

One of the best things about Greg Mortimer is that it combines a cruise and expedition ship together perfectly. That means passengers wanting a little bit of comfort will still find it, even in some of the inhospitable places on Earth. On Deck 7, passengers can find a Sun Deck. Deck 8 has two Jacuzzis.

Greg Mortimer Services

Reception on Deck 5 is always manned. Next to it is the shop where you can buy everyday essentials and souvenirs. Wi-Fi is available around the ship ($125 per person per voyage).

The ship has a library with an impressive curated collection of literature, from maps to text books. On our cruise, one of the books was written by the historian onboard. There are also two computers -- one Mac and a PC -- to upload images onto a shared drive. Board games can also be borrowed in the library.

Spa & Fitness

Greg Mortimer offers treatments ranging from the Polar Hydrating Facial ($140 for 60 minutes) to the Midnight Sun Massage ($129 for 60 minutes). There are only seven types of treatment listed on the spa menu, but passengers can ask for a quote on any treatment not mentioned. Tipping is optional and there is no service charge.

The gym is open 24 hours a day and is impressive for such a small ship. The new equipment includes rowing machines, exercise bikes, treadmills, elliptical machines, weight machines and yoga mats.

For Kids

Children are allowed onboard but must be at least eight years old. It's worth noting there aren't any specialist programs organised for children so you need to make sure they are curious about your destination as they will have plenty to learn about.

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