The motor vessel (M/V) Ortelius is an ice-strengthened small ship designed for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica. At only 106 passengers and 47 cabins, she assures a flexible polar experience with maximum wildlife opportunities.
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Ortelius review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery. Please read our review below then contact our polar cruise experts to compare the Ortelius with other small ships crusing Antarctic and Arctic waters.
Ortelius 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. Small ship cruises aboard the Ortelius offer passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, designed to spend as much time ashore as possible.
Common Areas Aboard Ortelius
The 106-passenger M/V Ortelius offers a comfortable "hotel standard" on-board experience with ample public areas including two dining areas, a bar/lecture room a sauna and several observation areas on multiple decks. This small expedition ship has a spacious bridge, which is accessible to polar travelers. The Ortelius has a highly experienced Russian nautical crew of 34, 15 international catering staff, 6 professional polar expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor. She also has 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.
Activities Aboard Ortelius
Ortelius' flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. She carries 11 zodiacs of which 9 are in use and 2 on reserve. The zodiac engines are 60hp Yamaha. Numerous activities are available aboard Ortelius depending on the voyage: kayaking, mountaineering, skiing, SCUBA diving, hiking, camping and more.
Cabins Aboard Ortelius
The Ortelius has 6 cabin categories (vs. 7 categories when she was the Marina Svetaeva) located on three decks. Cabins range from simple affordable quadruple, triple or double rooms to more spacious superior cabins with large view windows and one suite. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a sink, private shower and toilet (except for the Twin Non-Private), closet and a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin. Ortelius cabin configurations are as follows:
Quad Porthole/Triple Porthole
Ortelius has 5 quadruple cabins #340-344 located on deck 3. Quadruple cabins have porthole windows, two sets of bunk beds and private facilities. Quadruple cabins can also be used as triple or twins. These are popular single share cabins.
Ortelius has 25 twin porthole cabins: #337-339 located on Deck 3 and #428-439 and #445-454 on Deck 4. Each has a porthole window, private toilet and shower and two single lower berths. Cabins located on Deck 4 are quieter than those on deck 3 because they are farther away from the noise of engines and generators. Deck 4 has access to the forward observation deck.
Ortelius has 10 twin window cabins #510, 512-513, 518-519, 524-528 located on Deck 5. Each cabin has view windows, private toilet and shower and two single lower berths. Cabins #518-519 are considerably larger but their windows are directed midship. Deck 5 is the quietest cabin deck and has the best access to upper observation decks and the ship’s bridge.
Ortelius has 6 superior cabins #455, 509, 511, 516, 520 and 523 on Decks 4 and 5. Each superior cabin has a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room with couch, desk and table. Superior cabins are twice as large as the twin cabins. Deck 5 is the quietest cabin deck and has the best access to upper observation decks and the ship’s bridge.
Ortelius features one suite located on Deck 5. The expansive suite has a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. Deck 5 is the quietest cabin deck and has the best access to upper observation decks and the ship’s bridge.
Twin Non Private
Ortelius has 1 twin non private cabin #327 located on Deck 3. This cabin is reserved for local leaders and group escorts.