Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) of Seattle announced the delivery of the Mare Australis. EBDG became involved with the Mare Australis project when operator Nisa Navegacion was referred to them by a previous client. Navegacion was looking to design a new vessel and EBDG was selected based on their expertise with small cruise ships. According to EBDG Project Manager, Douglas Wolff, P.E., the design was based on the successful design of her sister ship the TERRA AUSTRALIS.
In 2000, Wolff traveled to Chile to ride the Terra Australis and learn of the vessel's operations and layout so that similar elements could be incorporated into the new design. The Contract Design for the Mare Australis was completed in fall 2001. The vessel, constructed at ASENAV Shipyard in Chile, was delivered on November 11 and sailed to Punta Arenas and began commercial voyages on November 29th.
The SOLAS-compliant Mare Australis has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. Unique design features include passenger lounges which convert to lecture halls where naturalists lead educational programs
on wildlife and ecology. The galley boasts the latest in equipment for preparation of regional cuisine. The transom is designed so that all passengers can safely access rigid inflatable boats which are used for the numerous shore excursions. A bow thruster was added for extra maneuverability and every passenger cabin has a window.
It features a conventional driveline with fixed-pitch propellers, 2 Caterpillar 3512B engines, 2 Twin Disc MG-6984-00-SC reduction gears, and 2 Detroit Diesel 6L-71 180 kW generators with a 90 kW emergency gen set.