Ortelius

The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica providing you with possibilities to adventure remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land. It was built in Poland in 1989 and has the highest ice-class notation and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. The maximum number of passengers is 106 with lots of open-deck spaces, two restaurants, a lecture room and a sauna. While the ship is very comfortable, the aim of all the expeditions is to spend as much time on shore as possible - you will be using the onboard 11 zodiacs and enjoying the company and knowledge of the nature guides.

The vessel offers basic but comfortable cabins and public spaces. There are five quadruple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins); two twin cabins with two lower single berths and shared facilities; 21 twin cabins with portholes, private toilet and shower and two single lower berths; ten twin cabins with windows, private toilet and shower and two single lower berths; six superior cabins with double beds, private toilet and shower and a separate day room, and one suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin. Ortelius has 34 highly experienced Russian nautical crew, 15 international catering staff, six guides and a doctor onboard.

PLEASE NOTE: A typical itinerary to North Spitsbergen is illustrated below. This itinerary is for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

Day 1: Embarkation and departure from Longyerbyen

We arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where in the mouth of the fjord we may see our first Minke Whale.

Day 2: We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen

We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bear are often seen here.

Day 3: Cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier

Depending on the weather we may now sail into Liefdefjorden, crui¬sing near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwake. As well, Polar Bear have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.

Day 4: We will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal

Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull. At the entrance there is the possibility to see Blue Whale. We’ll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gull, and Walrus.

Day 5: At Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet we will just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole.

We will try reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bear inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gull. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, before turning west again.

Day 6: We will retrace our route westwards to keep watch for the Polar Bear

Retracing our route westwards, our route takes us through and along the pack ice, keeping watch for Polar Bear and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead). About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen we sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where Fin Whale forage in summer in the upwelling’s along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of the Kongsfjorden we have also good chances to see Minke Whale.

Day 7: Sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden

In Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walrus. Alternatively we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Fox search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. At nighttime we arrive in Longyearbyen.

Day 8: The last day of our voyage. We disembark the vessel in Longyearbyen

We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for the flights south to Oslo and onward home.

 

Passengers: 116 in 53 cabins
Staff & crew: 52
Length: 90.95 meters
Breadth: 17.20 meters
Draft: 5.4 meters
Ice class: UL1 (Equivalent to 1A)
Displacement: 4090 tonnes
Propulsion: 6 ZL 40/48 SULZER
Speed: 10.5 knots average cruising speed

Antarctic Peninsula – Whale Watching Trip
13 nights

PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Ortelius is 10.5 knots.

Day 1: End of the World, Start of a Journey
Your voyage begins where the world drops off: Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego – nicknamed “The End of the World” – and sail the scenic, mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the rest of the evening.

Days 2 – 3: Path of the Polar Explorers
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you catch a taste of life from the perspective of the polar explorers who first braved these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale blasting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too: A variety of albatrosses and petrels show up, along with Cape pigeons and southern fulmars. Then, near the South Shetlands Islands, the first icebergs flash into sight.

Days 4 – 5: Enter the Antarctic
Gray stone peaks sketched with snow, towers of broken blue-white ice, and dramatically different wildlife below and above. You first pass the snow-capped Melchior Islands and Schollaert Channel, sailing between Brabant and Anvers Islands. Then on to Cuverville Island, stabbing up between Rongé Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. On Cuverville lives a massive colony of gentoo penguins as well as pairs of breeding brown skuas. Neko Harbour, the next stop, affords you the first chance to step onto the Antarctic Continent itself – an epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow. During the following stop at Paradise Bay, you may be able to take a Zodiac cruise in its sprawling, ice-flecked water before sailing on to the Lemaire Channel.

Days 6 – 8: Through the Gullet
After a comfortable night of sailing, you wake among the many islands south of Lemaire Channel. You are now near the Antarctic Circle. At this point a voyage through the aptly named Gullet – a narrow but picturesque channel between Adelaide Island and the Continent – is possible if the ice isn’t too thick. You can explore this area either from the prow of the ship or the edge of a Zodiac, getting the closest possible contact with the terrain as you venture southward.

You might also circumnavigate Pourquoi Pas Island, named after the ship of the famous French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. This location is known for its tight fjords and lofty, glacier-crowded mountains. On Horseshoe Island is the former British Base Y, a remnant of the 1950s that is now unmanned, though still equipped with almost all the technology it had while in service.

Stonington Island is home to the former US East Base and British Base E, which was occupied until 1975. If a stop here is possible, it marks the southernmost landing site of the trip – 68° south. From there your road turns north again, through the Gunnel Channel into Hanusse Bay, with its countless icebergs – and a good chance of spotting whales.

Days 9 – 11: Whales of Crystal Sound
You are near the Antarctic Circle again, cutting north through the countless ice floes of Crystal Sound. Humpback whale sightings are likely, and your approach to the Fish Islands offers the possibility of a Zodiac cruise or even a landing. Whatever the case, the scenery is beyond compare in this area. There may also be more Adélie penguins congregating among the icebergs nearby.

If you’re a bird lover, Petermann and Pléneau Islands provide a great variety of avian life as well as Zodiac cruises among icebergs that are popular leopard seal and crabeater seal hangouts. Minke whales, humpbacks, and gentoo penguins also love to frequent this “hot spot” of Antarctic activity.

Conditions on the Drake Passage determine the exact time of departure.

Days 12 – 13: Familiar Seas, Familiar Friends
Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake, you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south. But they seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Day 14: There and Back Again
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Days 6 – 8: (Alternate program if the route to the south of Crystal Sound/Hanusse Bay is blocked by ice)

You may take a course around the western side of Adelaide Island to reach Marguerite Bay. Should ice conditions also not allow this approach, you may continue the program by exploring the Antarctic Peninsula in and around the Penola and Gerlache Straits.

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Special: 
Antarctic Peninsula Whale Watching Trip
Mar 18-31, 2019
Twin Porthole Cabin on sale for $8300 (was $10200)

New bookings only. Cannot be combined with other offers. Prices are based on double occupancy.