About VENTUS AUSTRALIS
The 210-passenger Ventus Australis was launched in January 2018 as a sister to Stella Australis, both owned by our partner and Chile-based expedition cruise line, Australis. Both ships operate itineraries in the Southern Hemisphere during summer, September to April, between Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile, exploring the misty sounds and inlets, forested islands and massive glaciers of Tierra del Fuego and Chilean Patagonia.
There are many highlights in this unique all-vegan voyage, although a landing at wind-swept Cape Horn is a bucket-list item for a lot of people, as is a chance to follow in the wake of the great explorers through the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan, retracing their many searches for a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Ventus Australis builds on the success of its sister and, in fact, is very similar: same size, same number of cabins, same arrangement of lounges and almost the same layout. The main difference is the decor, which is more contemporary on the newer ship; furnishings have a more luxurious, stylish feel.
The exclusively chartered Ventus Australis is a true expedition ship – compact, with a shallow draft for navigating the tidal fjords and sounds, and equipped with powerful Zodiacs for shore excursions. The guides who escort every foray ashore are superb, full of anecdotes about life on the edge and have intimate knowledge of the ecology. This vegan voyage is all about wildlife, scenery and the extraordinary story of everyday survival in one of the wildest spots on Earth. Documentaries are shown after dinner and evenings center around chatting in the Darwin Lounge or attending Vegan Travel talks and events. There are no TVs in the cabins and no Wi-Fi or cellphone signal, which is a bonus; you really find yourself immersed in your surroundings without the distractions of the outside world.
This is coastal cruising at its purest, the ship’s small size allowing it to get close to the extraordinary scenery of Patagonia; towering cliffs, ribbon-like waterfalls, creaking glaciers and curious evergreen beech forests known locally as “lenga,” draped with lichen. The human side of the region’s history – of indigenous tribes, explorers, settlers, convicts and, today, conservationists – is fascinating. You will see birds, skuas, condors and cormorants, and probably sea lions, and possibly whales and dolphins. But, more than anything, there’s a sensation of being alone in the wilderness – only surrounded by like-minded and compassionate people from around the world. No other company offers this itinerary.
Days onboard fall into a pattern of early breakfast, a morning hike or Zodiac tour, a lecture or briefing, lunch, a second trip ashore, drinks in the bar, dinner, Vegan Travel talks and events and a documentary or bed. When the ship is sailing, there’s an almost dreamy quality to life onboard thanks to the big picture windows that are a feature of every lounge and of the cabins; with no electronic interference, you just find yourself staring out at the scenery for hours.
All trips ashore are by Zodiac, so you have to be somehow fit enough to get on and off these in potentially choppy sea, although the aft boarding platform is very stable – and the crew’s attention to safety is second to none. Shore excursions involve some reasonably challenging hikes, although there is always an easy option offered.
|Gross Tonnage||4508 gt|
|Passenger Capacity||max 200 passengers|
|Cruising Speed||13 knots|
|Stabilised & Air Conditioned||Yes|
Other Special Features
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