Ortelius was originally the Marina Svetaeva. Built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, it served as a special-purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. Later it was re-flagged and renamed after the Dutch/Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598), who in 1570 published the first modern world atlas: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Theater of the World. At that time his atlas was the most expensive book ever printed. Ortelius is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Dutch flag.
The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1, equivalent to 1A) and is therefor suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice as well as loose multi-year pack ice. Ortelius can accommodate up to 108 passengers and has an abundance of open-deck spaces. It is manned by 22 highly experienced nautical crew members, 19 hotel staff, eight expedition specialists (one expedition leader, one assistant, and six lecturer-guides), and one doctor. Wild Focus Expeditions is chartering one half of the ship with 50 passengers, will have a separate expedition team and will have a different itinerary than the other charter passengers. Wild Focus will work with the captain and crew of the Ortelius to find the most exciting wildlife possibilities during the entire trip.
Though our voyages are primarily meant to offer our passengers an exploratory wildlife program with as much time ashore as possible, Ortelius offers all the comforts of a standard hotel ― along with a bar and lecture room. Flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. As such, Ortelius carries 10 Zodiacs with 60hp Yamaha engines.
In keeping with the spirit of expedition, dress on board is informal. Bring casual and comfortable clothing for all activities, and keep in mind that much of the scenery can be appreciated from deck ― which can be slippery. Bring sturdy shoes with no-slip soles, and make sure your parka is never far away in case one of our crew shouts “Whales!” over the loudspeaker and you have to dash outside in a moment’s notice. Opt for layers, as it is comfortably warm aboard the ship though often cold on deck.
You will receive pre-trip information and a handbook prior to the trip.