Ocean Explorer Review

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Jeannine Williamson

Editor's Note: Ocean Explorer is no longer under the operation of Vantage, as of summer 2023. The ship, which is owned by SunStone, was chartered by Aurora Expeditions for four Arctic sailings, one of which resulted in a well-publicized grounding in Greenland. Content may not be up to date.

Launched in 2021, Ocean Explorer is a 341-foot ice-strengthened ship that accommodates up to 162 passengers in 77 cabins across eight different categories. Unusual for an expedition ship, Ocean Explorer has15 cabins for single occupancy. Other stateroom choices include "TriLuxe" suites designed for triple occupancy, as well as adjoining accommodation options suitable for families and groups.

The majority of cabins -- 80 percent in total, with the exception of Deck 3 cabins, which have portholes -- have private step-out balconies accessed by sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors. All cabins have hotel-style beds (a king or two twins), a table and one or two armchairs, a spacious closet, desk/vanity area, individual climate control, mini-bar, safe, TV and bathroom with shower and premium toiletries. The three suite categories -- Captain's, Junior and Balcony -- have additional amenities, including double-size balconies and in-room dining service.

Public areas include a restaurant offering fine dining, a multi-level observation lounge and lobby, swimming pool, outdoor movie screen, fitness center, spa, sunbathing area with two hot tubs, a shop, and a theater for lectures, musical performances and cultural events. There is a "mud room" changing area for expedition trips and shore landings on the fleet of 20 onboard Zodiacs, as well as a water sports platform for sea kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving programs. Ocean Explorer also has a library, art room and medical center.

Ocean Explorer was built in China by the SunStone company. The ship was originally built for Vantage, but has not been operated by them since summer 2023 after the line went bankrupt. The ship features a patented X-BOW design by Ulstein Design & Solutions, which allows for smoother sailing in rough conditions and deeper exploration into packed ice. Other technical features include state-of-the-art safety technology and an eco-friendly design to reduce emissions into the air and sea, combined with low fuel consumption.


Passengers: 162
Crew: 90
Passenger to Crew: 1.8:1
Launched: 2021

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