Ortelius – Antarctica Basecamp

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OVERVIEW:

Expedition and exploration are the focus of these voyages aboard the Motor Vessel Ortelius. The ship becomes a base camp for these polar voyages. “Base camp” is by definition a temporary storing and starting place, from which an activity starts. "Activity modules” are offered which go beyond normal shore programs.

The vessel stays for two or three days at specific locations to serve active passengers as a comfortable hub, allowing more time than usual for wide-ranging activities on this exciting Antarctic cruise, including complimentary camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, and a photo workshop. Polar diving (additional fee) is available on select departures.

Two ships operate this itinerary, the 116-passenger Motor Vessel Plancius or 116-guest Motor Vessel Ortelius.

ITINERARY IN BRIEF:

Day 1: Embark Ushuaia
Day 2 & 3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Day 4 to 9: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula
Day 10 & 11: At Sea crossing the Drake Passage
Day 12: Arrival at Ushuaia - Disembark

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 Motor Vessel Ortelius is 10.5 knots.

  • Ushuaia - Embark

    Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is 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 mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

  • Crossing the Drake Passage

    Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray.

  • Crossing the Drake Passage

    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. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    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.

    Places you might visit includes:

    Neumayer Channel – The vessel may position itself here, launching its multiple basecamp activities from the protected waters around Wiencke Island. You can enjoy the splendors of this alpine environment at sea with Zodiac and kayaking trips, or if you’re in the mood for a walk, there are possible snowshoe hikes and soft-climb mountaineering options farther inland. Naturally, favorable weather conditions determine the possible activities.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Port Lockroy – After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, you may get a chance to visit the former British research station – now a museum and post office – of Port

    Lockroy on Goudier Island. You may also be able to partake in activities around Jougla Point, meeting gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. There are great opportunities also for kayaking and camping here, and when conditions are right, you can even snowshoe around the shore.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, you can sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance you’ll encounter humpback and minke whales here, as well as leopard seals. Kayaking, glacier walks, and more ambitious mountaineering trips are the potential activities of this location.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers opportunities for a Zodiac cruise and landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Paradise Bay – You have the chance to make camp here like a true polar explorer (but with a better tent), enjoying a supreme overnight Antarctic adventure.

  • Exploring the Antarctica

    Errera Channel – Possible sites in this area include Danco Island and Cuverville Island, but also the lesser known (though equally picturesque) Orne Island and Georges Point on Rongé Island.

    On your last day of near-shore activities, you pass the Melchior Islands toward the open sea. Keep a sharp lookout for humpback whales in Dallmann Bay. You might also shoot for Half Moon Island, in the South Shetlands, with further chances for activities.

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

  • At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

    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.

  • At Sea crossing the Drake Passage, northbound

    Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia.

  • Ushuaia - Disembark

    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.

SPECIFICATION:

  • Guests: 116
  • Staff / Crew: 52
  • Length: 90.95m
  • Cruising Speed:14.5 knots
  • Year Built: 1989
  • Renovated: 2016
  • Ice capability: Highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A)

CABINS:

The Motor Vessel Ortelius has six cabin categories located on three decks. Cabins range from simple affordable quadruple or double rooms to more spacious deluxe and superior cabins with view windows. All cabins are roomy outside cabins with a sink, private shower and toilet, hairdryers, desk and chair, ample storage space and a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.

Quadruple Porthole

Quad cabins have 2 porthole windows, 2 upper and 2 lower berths. Also a private shower and toilet, desk and chair, hair dryer and ample storage space. Ortelius has 4 quadruple cabins #341-344 located on deck 3

Twin Porthole

Each Twin Porthole cabin has two porthole windows, private toilet and shower, two single lower berths, desk and chair, hair dryer and ample storage space. Ortelius has 27 twin porthole cabins: #334 and #339-340 located on Deck 3 and #428-439 and #445-456 on Deck 4

Twin Window

Ortelius has 12 twin window cabins #511-517, 522-527 located on Deck 5, approximately 183 square feet each. Each cabin has view windows, two single lower berths, private toilet and shower, desk and chair, small sofa, hair dryer and ample storage space. Deck 5 is the quietest cabin deck and has the best access to upper observation decks and the ship’s bridge

Twin Deluxe

Ortelius has 2 newly renovated twin deluxe cabins #510 and #528 located on Deck 5. These cabins are corner cabins and are slightly more spacious than the normal twin window/porthole cabins. Each cabin has three view windows, two single lower berths, private toilet and shower, desk and chair, small sofa, hair dryer, refrigerator, coffee and tea maker, flatscreen TV and ample storage space. Deck 5 is the quietest cabin deck and has the best access to upper observation decks and the ship’s

Superior

Each superior cabin has a double bed with a flatscreen TV, a single sofa bed, private toilet and shower, desk and chair, refrigerator, coffee and tea maker, hair dryer and ample storage space. Ortelius has 6 superior cabins #509, 518-521 and 529 on Deck 5

DECKPLAN

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation, in Ushuaia.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • During our “Basecamp” departures, all offered activities (including camping, kayaking, snowshoe/hiking, mountaineering, photo workshop) as well as our standard included shore excursions and zodiac cruises) are free of charge.

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

NOTES: 

Age and Nationality

Passengers on a typical voyage range from their 30s to their 80s – with a majority usually from 45 – 65. Our expeditions attract independent-minded travellers from around the world. They are characterised by a strong interest in exploring remote regions. The camaraderie and spirit that develops aboard is an important part of the expedition experience. Many departures have several nationalities on board.

Dress Code

In keeping with our expeditions atmosphere, dress on board is informal. Bring casual and comfortable clothing for all activities. Keep in mind that much of the spectacular scenery can be appreciated from deck, which can be slippery. Bring sturdy shoes with no-slip soles and make sure the parka is never far away in case of the call “Whales!” comes over the loudspeaker and you have to dash outside. Wear layers since it is comfortably warm aboard the ship – and often cold on deck.

Currency & Payment

Refreshments from the bar and souvenirs will be charged to your cabin. The day before departure you can settle your bill with the Hotel Manager and pay by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or cash (Euro or Dollar). We do not accept cheques of any kind. The prices and standard currency on board our vessels is the Euro. Other currencies may be accepted at the discretion of the hotel manager at prevailing rates.

Electric current

The electrical supply aboard the ship is 220v, 60Hz. Electrical outlets are standard European with two thick round pins. You may need a 220v/110v converter.

Gratuities

The customary gratuity to the ship’s service personnel is made as a blanket contribution at the end of the voyage which is divided among the crew. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. As a generally accepted guideline, we suggest US$8 to US$10 per person per day. It is better for the crew, if you can give them cash US Dollar.

Non-smoking policy

On board our vessels we have a non-smoking policy. It is prohibited to smoke inside the ship. You can smoke in the designated smoking areas. Please respect the wishes of non-smokers.

Your physical condition

You must be in good general health and you should be able to walk several hours per day. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. To join most excursions, you must be able to get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. This will become progressively easier with practice. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. You are travelling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.

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 Motor Vessel Ortelius is 10.5 knots.

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