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Antarctica expedition cruises

Ortelius

The ice-strengthened 'Ortelius' is a great expedition vessel for polar cruises in the Antarctic.

Class: Antarctic Category 1
Style: Polar expedition
Passengers: 116 maximum
Length: 298 ft
Cruising speed: 10 knots

Cabin prices:

Introducing 'Ortelius'

The Ortelius is a polar expedition cruise ship for 116 guests. She offers comfortable cabins, good food, plenty of open-deck space, well-designed practical facilities and a good range of voyages. She is rated ice-class 1A, which puts her among the most rugged passenger ships in Antarctica, although with a cruising speed of 10 knots she is not the fastest.

Ortelius and her sister ship 'Plancius' have a special goal to get you off the ship as much as possible. Sea routes are short and direct, allowing for maximum shore time. Activities are tailored to a range of experience and fitness, but with the objective of experiencing Antarctica directly at first hand.

All voyages offer a range of wildlife encounters (the best being those that visit South Georgia) . The 'basecamp' voyages are particularly focussed on active experiences: camping, snowshoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, glacier traverses, mountaineering and much more.

Ortelius is the only ship in the region with an onboard helicopter, with the possibility of flights to reach otherwise inaccessible locations.

Guests are independent-minded travellers from around the world, with a high proportion from Europe and North America. English is the first language on board. Some voyages are bilingual: English/French or English/German.

Ortelius has 22 nautical crew, 19 cabin crew, and 8 expedition staff (expedition leader, assistant leader, 6 guides). There is also a doctor on board.

On board 'Ortelius'

Cabins

Ortelius cabin Superior

Superior

Number of cabins of this type: 6

Bed configuration: double bed only

Ortelius cabin Twin Deluxe

Twin Deluxe

Number of cabins of this type: 2

Bed configuration: twin beds only

Ortelius cabin Twin Window

Twin Window

Number of cabins of this type: 12

Bed configuration: twin beds only

Ortelius cabin Twin Porthole

Twin Porthole

Number of cabins of this type: 27

Bed configuration: twin beds only

Ortelius cabin Triple Porthole

Triple Porthole

Number of cabins of this type: 2

Bed configuration: Single bunk beds

Ortelius cabin Quadruple Porthole

Quadruple Porthole

Number of cabins of this type: 4

Bed configuration: Single bunk beds

Decks

Ortelius deck Deck 3

Deck 3

(Deck level: 5)

Ortelius deck Deck 4

Deck 4

(Deck level: 4)

Ortelius deck Deck 5

Deck 5

(Deck level: 3)

Ortelius deck Deck 6

Deck 6

(Deck level: 2)

Ortelius deck Deck 7

Deck 7

(Deck level: 1)

Voyages in detail

Important

Everyone visiting Antarctica and the South Atlantic must recognise the obvious: that conditions can intervene at short notice and a voyage's planned itinerary must be altered. Make sure you read 'A very important note on published itineraries' in 'How to choose an Antarctic cruise'.

Select a voyage

Some of the sites that may be visited

Melchior Islands

(planned for Day 4)

The Melchior Islands are a group of many low, ice-covered islands lying near the centre of Dallmann Bay in the Palmer Archipelago, Antarctica. They were first seen but left unnamed by a German expedition under Eduard Dallmann, 1873–74. The islands were sighted and again roughly charted by the Third French Antarctic Expedition under Jean-Baptiste Charcot, 1903–05. Charcot named what he believed to be the large easternmost island in the group "Île Melchior" after Vice Admiral Jules Melchior of the French Navy, but later surveys proved Charcot's Île Melchior to be two islands, now called Eta Island and Omega Island. The name Melchior Islands has since become established for the whole island group, of which Eta Island and Omega Island form the eastern part, while the Sigma Islands mark the northern limit of the islands. It is possible to take a zodiac cruise among the icebergs, which is particularly beautiful at dusk and you may glimpse leopard seals playing on the beach.

Cuverville Island

(planned for Day 4)

One of the more popular islands to visit and named after a French Admiral, Cuverville Island's northern shore hosts large colonies of gentoo penguins. The eastern coast hosts breeding kelp gulls and Antarctic shags. Look out for mosses and lichens growing in the cliffs and from a Zodiac you may well see leopard or crabeater seals in the water or on the icebergs. Look out also for Skua and Antarctic tern.

Gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island

      courtesy Quark Expeditions

Danco Island

(planned for Day 4)

Danco Island is in the middle of the beautiful Errara Channel and is home to a large number of Gentoo penguins. It is one of the best sheltered spots in Antarctica. Some of Antarctic’s best Zodiac cruising is right around the island, and if you get the timing right and the snow and penguins make it easy for you, climbing to the top of the island for the views can be one of the best things you will do here. More than 2,000 pairs of breeding Gentoo penguins occupy the slopes behind the northern coast of Danco Island. Weddell seals are almost always present on the offshore rocks and beaches, and the Errera Channel is a favourite haunt of Humpback and Minke whales towards the end of the summer. Danco Island or Isla was charted by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under Adrien de Gerlache, 1897–1899. It was surveyed by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey from Norsel in 1955, and named by the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee for Emile Danco (1869–1898), a Belgian geophysicist and member of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, who died on board Belgica in the Antarctic.

Gentoo penguins on Danco Island

      courtesy Oceanwide

Neko Harbour

(planned for Day 5)

Along the eastern side of Andvord Bay, the sheer ice cliffs lining the coast are interrupted by a tiny rocky point called Neko Harbour. This is an excellent place for ice-cliff viewing. Ground space is hard to find here but it does not stop a small colony of Gentoo penguins nesting a good distance up the cliff. If you follow them please don’t step in their short legged “websteps” as this will make their icy climb more difficult. Perhaps a last stop on mainland Antarctica but beware straying too far. Extreme care should be taken due not only to hidden glacier crevasses but also huge waves created by falling ice. Other wildlife includes Snowy sheathbill, Skuas and Kelp gull.

Paradise Bay

(planned for Day 5)

This harbour lives up to its name and even looks fantastic on a cloudy day! Named by 20th century whalers it is still the place to spot Minke, Humpback and Killer whales. The scenery is spectacular and most boats stop here if they are passing. Zodiac cruises through the recently calved iceberg bits are also popular. A beautiful and memorable place.

Jougla Point

(planned for Day 6)

Jougla Pont is a Gentoo penguin colony on Goudier Island, that also hosts the restored buildings of an earlier British scientific base. Wildlife also includes: Antarctic shag; Skua; Snowy sheathbill; Kelp gull; Antarctic tern; Weddell seal

Lemaire Channel

(planned for Day 7)

Lemaire Channel, illogically named after an African Belgian Explorer, is a dramatic deep fjord guarded by looming volcanic cliffs. Sufficiently narrow to be blocked by icebergs, take every advantage you can to enjoy the magnificent scenery. Leopard and crabeater seals enjoy chilling out on the ice floes. See if you can spot Gentoo penguins and Antarctic shags, humpback and Minke whales.

Pleneau Island

(planned for Day 7)

Pleneau Island is situated at the southern end of the Lemaire Channel off the Atlantic Peninsula. The island’s cobbled beach (1.2km long) blends into smooth rock terraces inclining gently towards an ice cap that dominates the western part of the island. Tense moments for the crew… Large icebergs are blown here by the winds and become trapped so manoeuvering between them is quite a skill. You can take a zodiac cruise and hopefully see humpback whales cruising around doing shallow dives. Wildlife here includes Gentoo penguin, kelp gulls, south polar skua, Blue-eyed shag and Antarctic tern. Southern elephant seals visit plus the occasional grounded iceberg!

Petermann Island

(planned for Day 7)

Petermann Island is the southernmost visitor site on the Antarctic Peninsula.

It was named after a German cartographer and discovered by the German Antarctic Expedition led by Eduard Dallmann (1873-4), which sailed on the first steam ship, Cape Gronland, to reach Antarctica.

In 1909 French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot and his men sheltered here in Circumcision Bay (so named as 01 January celebrates the feast of Christ's circumcision).

Wildlife includes Gentoo and Adelie penguin colonies, Snowy sheathbill, Skua, Kelp gull, Wilson's storm petrel, Antarctic shag, red and green snow algae.

There is a memorial cross to 3 members of British Antarctic Survey who died on the sea ice nearby in 1982.

Wilhelmina Bay

(planned for Day 8)

Wilhelmina Bay, discovered and named after the Queen of the Netherlands by Adrien de Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic Expedition 1897 -99, when the latter made a valuable contribution to understanding the geography of the northwest coast of Graham Land. De Gerlache named the whole area Palmer Archipelago after the pioneering sealer and he himself was honoured with Gerlache Strait at the request of other expedition members. After sighting Alexander Island in February 1898 their ship became stuck in ice and they were forced to overwinter with great difficulty in the Bellingshausen Sea – the first men to do so in Antarctica. They eventually returned to Chile.

Kayaking in Wilhelmina Bay

      courtesy Antarctica XXI (Philip Stone)

Melchior Islands

(planned for Day 8)

The Melchior Islands are a group of many low, ice-covered islands lying near the centre of Dallmann Bay in the Palmer Archipelago, Antarctica. They were first seen but left unnamed by a German expedition under Eduard Dallmann, 1873–74. The islands were sighted and again roughly charted by the Third French Antarctic Expedition under Jean-Baptiste Charcot, 1903–05. Charcot named what he believed to be the large easternmost island in the group "Île Melchior" after Vice Admiral Jules Melchior of the French Navy, but later surveys proved Charcot's Île Melchior to be two islands, now called Eta Island and Omega Island. The name Melchior Islands has since become established for the whole island group, of which Eta Island and Omega Island form the eastern part, while the Sigma Islands mark the northern limit of the islands. It is possible to take a zodiac cruise among the icebergs, which is particularly beautiful at dusk and you may glimpse leopard seals playing on the beach.

  • Lecture room
  • Gallery
  • Reception
  • Dining room
  • Medical room
  • Observation Lounge
  • Bar
  • Bridge
  • Observation deck
  • zodiac cruising
  • land excursions (hiking, trekking)
  • outdoor camping (only in certain weather conditions)
  • kayaking
  • snowshoeing
  • ski trekking

Maximum number of passengers

116

Naturalist guides

Crew members

52

Overall length (ft)

298

Cruising speed

10

Gross tonnage

4025

Draft

18

Other technical information

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

This information has been provided by the boat operator and is subject to alteration

Customer reviews for Ortelius

Sailings for 'Ortelius'

Our prices

Prices are per person. The prices shown here are the current prices charged locally by each boat in their chosen currency. We charge our UK customers the equivalent price converted to British pounds at the current exchange rate. This helps keep prices low and protects you from currency fluctuations.

Our price promise

Our prices should be the best available anywhere. If you find a better price elsewhere please let us know: we will certainly try to match or beat it.

Complete trips

An expedition cruise is only part of your complete trip. Discuss your ideas with us. Our well-travelled experts can arrange your international flights from the UK, and design all the other parts of your trip in Argentina, Chile or elsewhere to fit the exact dates of your cruise and the things you want to do, and to make the best use of your time and budget. There is no obligation until you are ready to go ahead.

Your financial protection

By booking your trip with us you also benefit from our 100% financial protection and the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, or your plans change, our friendly experienced and resourceful travel specialists are here to help you.

Special offers

Special offers are often available (some are very generous) but they may only be open for short periods. Contact us to find out which offers are available now.

Cruise Starts Ends Nights Superior Twin Deluxe Twin Window Twin Porthole Triple Porthole Quadruple Porthole