On the eve of its milestone 30th anniversary in 2021, Australian-owned Aurora Expeditions has welcomed Monique Ponfoort as CEO, marking the start of an exciting new chapter in small-ship expedition travel.
With a career spanning more than 25 years in the travel and cruise industry, including Qantas, Jetset, Helloworld, and most recently, seven years in expedition cruising managing the Asia Pacific market, Monique brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Aurora Expeditions at a time when the company is expanding.
With a brand new, purpose-built small expedition ship Sylvia Earle scheduled to sail on her maiden voyage in November 2021 – a sister ship to the award-winning Greg Mortimer – and an array of forward-thinking Aurora Expeditions initiatives on the horizon, Monique is both optimistic and excited for the future of expedition travel.
“Despite the challenges facing the global travel and cruise industry in 2020, our many loyal and repeat guests tell us they are eager to set sail again, and we are excited and ready to welcome them back on board once international borders reopen,” Ponfoort said.
Along with the new expedition ship – named after renowned marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle – the company is launching a host of dynamic programmes featuring new global itineraries which will take our expeditioners beyond the polar regions to some of the most biodiverse corners of the planet, and a new Deposit Protection Scheme.
Destinations in the new Global and Arctic 2022 programme will include Alaska, the Russian Far East, Raja Ampat, West Papua, the North West Passage and Baja California.
“Our Health and Safety protocols remain our number one priority, along with ensuring we can provide booking flexibility and confidence for our future expeditioners. We have recently launched our Deposit Protection Scheme in the form of an escrow account to ensure our trade partners and passengers have confidence when booking future voyages with us during this uncertain time,” Monique added. “I am also delighted that we have joined CLIA’s commission protection programme to ensure we continue to support our loyal trade partners over the coming months and years. Now more than ever, we must support each other in the industry.”