That old saying "One door closes and another one opens" is just as true in the expedition cruise world as back home.
Australis has announced that it's selling Via Australis, the much-love cruise ship that has carried thousands of people through the channels and fjords of southern ChileBut at the same time, the company announced that it's building a brand new ship that will be even better equipped to take on the challenges of cruising Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.
Launched in 2005, the 236-foot-long Via Australis can carry as many as 136 passengers in 64 cabins. But after a decade playing the waters at the bottom of South America, the company decided that a more modern cruise ship was needed to keep up with that latest amenities and innovations in expedition cruising.
Lindblad Expeditions will take assume ownership of the Via after the end of the current sailing season (mid-April) and is expected to relocated the ship to the Galapagos Islands. Australis will replace it with a brand new ship scheduled to launch towards the end of next year (2017). The yet-to-be-named vessel will feature more cabins, more services and amenities, and a more efficient power train.
"This represents a great opportunity for Australis to increase our offerings, with a faster, leaner and more modern ship, similar to the Stella Australis," says Jorge Rodiguez, Australis Market Manager for North America.
Meanwhile, the Stella Australis will continue its scheduled operations in southern Chile and Argentina. Launched in 2010, the 292-foot Stella can carry as many as 200 passengers in 100 cabins at speeds faster that the Via and with more offerings — like an exercise room and large open terrace.
Passengers who have booked passage on Via itineraries in late 2016 and 2017 will be transferred to comparable Stella sailings. Australis reservations agents will contact them soon to answer any questions they might have about the switch. In the meantime, both passengers and booking agents should feel free to call 1-877-678-3772 or email [email protected] for more information.