Liveaboard Review

The MV Ortelius is an A1 Ice Class ship, which means that she is best suited to navigating the icy waters of the Polar Regions. She offers activities such as camping, kayaking, mountaineering, and snowshoeing/hiking and photo workshops. Onboard the MV Ortelius, passengers also use helicopters for planned ship to shore excursions which is uncommon in other cruise ships plying the arctic regions.

What the MV Ortelius lacks in terms of entertainment, she offers in the perfect haven environment for relaxing after a busy day ashore.

Our Overall Review


Things we like:

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    Many divers commended the opportunity to dive with Killer Whales in the Arctic.
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    Many people were happy with the crews ability to care and to ensure everything ran smoothly.
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    Some people stated that the expeditions on the ice was a once in a lifetime experience.
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    The food was tailored to the liking of the people on board the MV Ortelius and they loved every bite.
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Things we don't like:

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    Many people noted that sometimes the ice would get to thick and the Ortelius was halted.
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    Some divers noted that the wet suits offered little protection in regards to the cold weather.
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Diving on the MV Ortelius in the Arctic

Formerly known as “Marina Svetaeva,” the MV Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The boat was then refurbished and reflagged and now takes passengers on expeditions and cruise trips to the Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands, and South Georgia.
The 91 meters/298 feet MV Ortelius comes from an old breed of expedition vessels and is slightly eclectic in style. Robust and functional, the boat is ideal for expedition trips and caters to 116 guests in 53 cabins. All its cabins are spacious, with modern amenities.

Trips aboard the MMV Ortelius are designed to make guests spend as much time as possible on the shores of Antarctica.

Each day, passengers on the Ortelius will be treated to an interactive adventure program through Antarctic waters. Travelers can learn from a highly experienced crew as part of detailed lectures or can spend time viewing the gorgeous surroundings from the bridge, the bar and social areas.


All cabins on the MV Ortelius are fully air-conditioned, have climate control and en-suite bathrooms and are fitted with modern amenities. The quadruple and triple porthole cabins are best suited to a group of friends or single passengers willing to share the room with someone of the same gender.

All twin cabins have lower birth bedding arrangements but differ in terms of viewing, size capacity, and decks. Guests can also choose from Twin Porthole Deck 3 and Twin Porthole Deck 4 in the more affordable twin share categories.

The Twin Superior and Twin Deluxe Cabins have larger windows. The highest category available in the superior cabin and comes complete with a double bed plus sofa (bed), private en-suite bathroom, plenty of room plus a TV, desk, and chair for your convenience.

The ship has plenty of open-deck spaces as well as a large bridge accessible to passengers. Alongside the expedition team that is made up of an expedition leader plus five guides/lecturers, the ship is operated by 34 extremely experienced Russian nautical crew members, 15 international catering staff and a doctor.
The boat also has two restaurants which are able to accommodate all guests simultaneously. The meals are served buffet-style by the boat’s onboard chef, and snacks are provided free of charge and are available during the day and in between meals. Guests are also given bottled water on the MV Ortelius.

The MV Ortelius also has a bar/lecture room and a sauna. The boat has 10 zodiacs on board with 60hp Yamaha engines, maximizing time spent onshore and wildlife opportunities.

As regards safety, the vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. She is also equipped with a diving tracking device, oxygen tanks, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and life rafts.

Best time to go

The best time to go on a cruise or expedition trip aboard the MV Ortelius is in the summer months (May-September) when the Antarctic Peninsula has a warmer and wetter climate.


Once booked, the MV Ortelius departs from Ushuaia, on the island of Tiera del Fuego in Argentina. The Itineraries offered by this large boat vary and can range from 9-31 nights depending on bookings, sea and weather conditions apply.

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