ortelius small ship cruising on a sunny day with penguins and travelers in the foreground
Modern reception area on Ortelius ship with light wood desk, white accent lights, beige floor & small giftshop in glass case.
Renovated reception area on Ortelius ship with classic polar maps, modern blue bench seating, wood accents & beige floor.
dining room with rows of tables and chairs with windows on the walls aboard the ortelius small ship
ortelius superior cabin with a large bed, window and picture of a whale on the wall
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108 guests
year built
crew members
52 crew members
300 feet
58 feet
19 feet
cruising speed
10.5 knots
ice class
UL1 (equivalent to 1A)

The M/V Ortelius is an ice-strengthened small ship designed for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica. At only 108 passengers and 50 cabins, she assures a flexible polar experience with maximum wildlife opportunities.

In Summer 2019, one engine on the Ortelius ship was replaced and an extra engine was added, ensuring swift and secure operations. A $1.5 million cabin reconfiguration in 2014 (Deck 5) and 2016 (Deck 4) completed the vessel’s refurbishment program, creating a modern, clean design similar to her sister vessel Plancius. Refurbishments included upgrades to cabin beds, wardrobes, desks and chairs, as well as new carpets, ceilings, piping and wallpaper throughout the ship.

Ortelius Review

AdventureSmith Explorations’ Ortelius review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery. Our polar experts have been aboard the Oceanwide Ortelius firsthand. Please read our review below then contact our polar cruise experts to compare the Ortelius ship with other Antarctica ships and small cruise ships sailing Antarctica cruises and Arctic cruises including cruises to Greenland.

Choose the M/V Ortelius for exploring the polar regions on a small, stable ship that offers passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program. The Oceanwide Ortelius makes for an excellent ship for active-, adventure- and wildlife-minded modern explorers as she is designed for travelers to spend as much time ashore as possible. Her polar cruises are primarily defined by an exploratory educational travel program that offers activities that are designed to accommodate a wide range of experience and fitness levels. She also offers sea routes that are short and direct, allowing for maximum shore time.

Ortelius History

The Ortelius ship was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989 and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science under her original name: Marina Svetaeva. The vessel was renamed Ortelius after the Dutch/Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) who published the first modern world atlas in 1570. Among her many polar achievements, the vessel is known in pop culture for hosting Metallica aboard in December 2013 for their no-amplification, 7th-continent performance at the heliport of the Argentine Antarctic Base Carlini. 

Common Areas Aboard Ortelius 

The M/V Ortelius offers a comfortable on-board experience with ample public areas including two dining areas that accommodate all passengers at the same time, a bar/observation lounge with six large windows, theater-style lecture room and several observation areas on multiple decks. This small expedition ship has a spacious bridge which is open to visits by guests. She also has one of the highest possible ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multiyear pack ice.  

Dining Aboard Ortelius

Dinners are a plated affair with three courses serving meat, fish or vegetarian dishes. Breakfast and lunches are served buffet style. Coffee, tea and water are included, however alcohol and soft drinks are additional.

Crew & Guides Aboard Ortelius

The Oceanwide Ortelius has 24 highly experienced nautical crew members, 20 international hotel staff, 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor. An international team of polar experts and field guides are assembled to share their enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge through lectures, briefings and field excursions. The science-minded professionals aboard cover major topics like marine biology, geography, geology, glaciology, ornithology and history. When it comes to excursions, the staff have all been trained and qualified in their respective activity. These scientists, lecturers and expedition guides work hard not just for safety but also to highlight examples of the unique elements of these intriguing polar regions.

Activities Aboard Ortelius

The Ortelius ship’s expert crew and nimble maneuverability allow for safe passage, speedy disembarkation and supremely flexible itineraries assuring for maximum wildlife opportunities. She carries 10 Zodiacs with 60hp Yamaha motors. Nine Zodiacs are in use and one is on reserve. As an activity-focused ship, the M/V Ortelius offers quality equipment and supplies to create safe, fun and comfortable exploration experiences. Numerous activities are available aboard Oceanwide Ortelius depending on the voyage: kayaking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, skiing, scuba diving, hiking, camping, photography workshops and more. Helicopters are aboard select Ortelius cruises for remote landscape exploration.

Cabins & Deck Plan Aboard Ortelius

The Ortelius ship has five cabin categories located on three decks. Cabins range from simple affordable quadruple, triple 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. The electrical supply aboard Ortelius is 220v, 60Hz. Electrical outlets are standard European with two thick round pins, so a 220v/110v converter may be needed.

ortelius small ship cabin with 4 beds and a window between them
Quadruple Porthole

#341-344 on Deck 3: two upper & lower berths and two portholes.

twin porthole cabin aboard Ortelius small ship in Antarctica
Twin Porthole

#339-340 on Deck 3; #428-439, 445-456 on Deck 4: two lower berths and two portholes.

ortelius ship cabin with 2 beds and windows
Twin Window

#511-513, 515-517 & 522-527 on Deck 5: two lower berths and two windows.

ortelius small ship room with 2 beds and doors leading out of it
Twin Deluxe

#510 & 528 on Deck 5: two single lower berths, three windows, refrigerator, coffee and tea maker.

ortelius superior cabin with a large bed, window and picture of a whale on the wall

#509, 518-521 & 529 on Deck 5: one double bed, at least two windows, single sofa bed, refrigerator, coffee and tea maker.

Ortelius deck plan
Trips, Tours & Cruises

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