Why we like the Ortelius

  • The Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating (equivalent to 1A) and a broad, heavy design making it one of the safest and most stable polar ships
  • Her solid, former research vessel exterior contrasts with a modern, comfortable 3* hotel on the inside following an extensive upgrade programme
  • Choice of recently refurbished and spacious cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms. The generous Twin Window cabins measure 190 square feet
  • Traveling with around 100 passengers ensures slick zodiac logistics and the ability to normally land everyone at the same time
  • Extensive open-deck space maximises wildlife viewing, while the spacious bridge is a great place to hang out
  • Offers a wide range of adventure activities, particularly on the active Basecamp voyages, including diving
  • Uniquely this ship has a helicopter pad which is used on select voyages only, specifically in the Weddell & Ross Seas

Watch our Video Tour of Ortelius

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What our customers think of Ortelius

The cabin was quite comfortable and more spacious than I expected. The storage space was efficient. The bed was comfortable. I loved the shade over our window, which made it easy to sleep. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Elizabeth Chiang - USA

Positively surprised about the facilities. Old but super comfortable. Big rooms. All perfect. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Rafael de Lima Zarpao - Switzerland

The perfect ship for this adventure. From size all the way through accommodations, everything was perfect. The crew could not have been better, from the captain all the way down through the seamen. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Donald Appel - USA

For a ship that was refurbished for “cruising” from a research ship it was great. The food was exceptional and the cabins were quite spacious. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Marilyn Burbidge - Canada

Ortelius exceeded my expectations. It was pleasant, well kept and comfortable, a great refuge after our sometimes frigid and wet adventures. The only thing I missed was an on-board gym. My deluxe twin cabin was wonderful -- spacious, with three windows, comfortable. Food was better than I expected; delicious and varied and with plenty of healthy, delicious foods I prefer, like veggies, fresh fruit, salmon, lean meats. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Carol Masheter - USA

Ortelius was awesome. Loved being on a smaller boat, with a smaller number of passengers. The cabin was just the right size for two people. Ship was easy to navigate. I was surprised how great it all was. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Lindsay Wilson - Canada

The facilities were very good, better than expected; the cabin was clean, spacious, and the mattress very good. I slept like a baby. The food was outstanding in flavor and variety… exceptional. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Arthur Edward Salgado - USA

Amazing - the food was incredible, especially considering they are a lower price than most Antarctic expeditions. All of the staff and crew was amazing. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Audrey Baker - USA

You truly get to experience Antarctica on a small 100 passenger ship. Amazing. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Hannah Wilnau - USA

I loved cruising on this ship. Cabin was great. The food was much better than my expectations. Having been on cruise lines around the world this was my first excursion class adventure. The gap between the two was far smaller than I expected, but I definitely like the smaller spaces. I would definitely choose the ship again. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Michael Robert Perata - USA

Our Expedition Leader ‘Sara’ was outstanding. Every member of her team proved to be a benefit to our overall experience. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Gene Piper - USA

Very happy with the ship and all its facilities, the hotel staff were great and we loved all the food. Also very happy with our cabin. In particular we loved the ship because it felt a bit more practical and authentic compared to what some of the larger and fancier ships might have been like. And the key fact that because it only had 100 guests we were able to land at any location and all at the same time so no-one missed out on any experiences, that feels like a huge factor. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Angus Townsend - UK

Not a modern style ship but it was a great expedition ship. Always felt safe. Even when the passage was wild Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Tom St. Amant - Canada

The expedition team was phenomenal. They were genuinely interested in making the trip the best it could be. I would have a hard time saying that any one was a standout because they all were in different ways. Likewise, I enjoyed all of the lectures. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Darwin Webster - USA

The Ortelius was a great ship because it had a great crew. The food and hotel services were top-notch. I would choose the ship again. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Darwin Webster - USA

Food was amazing! The ship is no frills as advertised but given the nature of the expedition cruise it was perfect. Quad cabin was cozy but everything we needed. Would choose the ship again Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Jessica Abernathy - USA

Everyone on the expedition team was phenomenal - they were all so impressive. I couldn’t have asked for a better expedition leader than Sarah - she was so organized and on top of it, really working hard to ensure all guests had a great time. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Jessica Abernathy - USA

We loved the ship, the landings were spectacular, the knowledge of the guides was endless, the confidence and respect we had for the guides developed immediately, the excellent expedition leaders who we trusted emphatically, and the passengers really had chemistry. Not so easy for a group of 106. We believe that like minded people choose the Ortelius. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Gerry Garber - USA

Loved the unpretentiousness of the ship. The lecture room downstairs should be remodeled - stuffy and closed in - but loved the bar, cabins, the decks, the bridge (loved our captain!!!) and the helipad. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Gerry Garber - USA

The expedition team is just amazing! All members are very knowledgeable and friendly. I admired each of them :) Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Grace Huang - USA

The expedition staff were wonderful. They had a lot of knowledge in their individual fields and were excited to help us explore such a unique territory. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Jodie Pigman - United States Of America

The Ortelius was a great, I loved this ship and I would definitely choose it again if we do another cruise. The cabin was spacier than imagined and had everything we needed. Also the food was outstanding in variety and taste. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Sabine - Austria

Nice and cosy vessel, cabins were above our expectations (big and comfortable), crew was very insightful, food was amazing. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Günter Csebits - Austria

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The boat was great! Really well run by a fabulous staff. The beds are comfortable, cabins clean. In fact, the whole boat was always spotless! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Sarah Gillett - Switzerland

The expedition team was one of a kind. They were incredibly talented, knowledgeable and would sit and discuss anything at length. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Nancy Jones - Canada

Lots of new friendships. The whole staff and crew of Ortelius was phenomenal! Read the full review

Travelled: November 2018

Rebecca Kronick - Guatemala

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The expedition staff were outstanding. A truly exceptional group of people with a nice balance of expertise - biologists, a geologist, historian, photographer. Cheryl, the expedition manager was awesome.

Travelled: January 2018

Karyn & Richard - California

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The staff were professional on any level, (we) could not have wished for more or better. Glad we were on a smaller ship with only around 120 guests so we never felt overcrowded on any of the shore landings.

Travelled: January 2018

Zoltan & Stephen Nemeth - Florida

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Very difficult to choose my best moments as all are equally good. The polar plunges - we did it twice. Wow!

Travelled: December 2017

Yiheli - Chile

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The staff were so friendly and knowledgeable and learned all our names so quickly. I had the vegetarian fare and thought the food was excellent as well. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2017

Christine & Rollence Patugan - United States Of America

The expedition staff was fantastic; I enjoyed connecting with them as part of the entire trip. The food quality and service were both excellent and greatly exceeded my expectations. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2017

Shawn Faessler - United States Of America

It was magnificent. We very much appreciated the assistance provided by Swoop and the recommendations - particularly our cabin chosen by Alex. The organisation of the crew every day to get everyone on shore was exceptional. Everyone provided excellent service; it could not have been better.

Travelled: November 2017

Prue & Dominique - Australia

It all worked flawlessly with the expedition team running all excursions efficiently and with unfailing good humour and enthusiasm.

Travelled: November 2016

Lesley & Charles - UK

I have travelled quite a lot but this was definitely the greatest experience so far. The ship was ideal for its purpose and the cabin surprisingly comfortable and spacious.

Travelled: March 2016

Charles - UK

The cruise is almost over and was absolutely fantastic. We were blessed with beautiful weather and saw incredible wildlife and scenery. I can't say enough about the entire expedition team and crew. After two weeks on board, I am so incredibly spoiled.

Travelled: December 2015

Phil - Texas


Voyages aboard Ortelius

Special Offers:Swoop has access to the widest range of offers and can help you find the right trip, cabin, & price.

Onto the Antarctic Ice

With three medium-sized expedition ships to pick from and regular departure dates throughout the season, this well-priced voyage is a popular option. Across striking landscapes and icy seas, your company includes penguins, seals, whales and skuas. For the adventurous, optional…

  • 10-13 Days
  • $10,050
South of the Antarctic Circle

By including optional kayaking and diving, these late season voyages offer the chance to maximise your polar crossing experience by exploring Antarctica both on and under the water. Travelling at that time provides excellent photographic and whale watching conditions, alongside…

  • 12, 13 or 14 Days
  • $10,000
Spring Quest to Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia

Setting sail ​early in the season, be aboard ​one of the ​first ship​s to head​ south ​as the Southern Ocean reopens for business​. It's a special time in South Georgia as the beaches are packed with breeding elephant seals, while…

  • 21 Days
  • $13,350
Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Adventure

With a good choice of departure dates through the season across three medium-sized ships, this 19-22 day trip stands out for its value for money and the broad range of cabin categories available, including Quads, which are…

  • 19-22 Days
  • $13,550
Antarctic Basecamp Adventure

The ultimate Antarctic adventure, this trip is specifically for the active traveller. Spend 7 days kayaking, hiking, camping, mountaineering and snowshoeing, all included in the price. A medium-sized expedition ship acts as your floating ‘basecamp’. An excellent deal backed up…

  • 13 Days
  • $10,550
Quest for the Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Island

The iconic emperor penguin is the goal of this expedition for wildlife enthusiasts, as your ice-strengthened ship sails into Antarctica’s challenging and little-visited Weddell Sea. Delve deep into historically significant and ice-laden waters, heading for the remote emperor rookery…

  • 11 Days
  • $12,100
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Alex says

What I like about The Ortelius is the unmistakable tang of her original working ship roots as soon as you board, in spite of extensive recent refurbishment throughout. The pleasing result is the feeling of being on a real expedition, but without the traditional discomfort and months at sea.

Alex Mudd Head of Swoop Antarctica

Cabin Categories

Cabin categories for Ortelius, Antarctic vessel

*Note that the above measurements are approximate averages and exact cabin size can vary

All cabins are outside-facing, are en-suite and contain a writing desk and chair.


  • All 6 cabins are on the top deck (5)
  • Double bed with at least 2 windows (cabin 520 has 4 windows facing the bow)
  • Cabins 509 & 529 have an interconnecting door and are ideal for families
  • Sitting area with flat screen TV, sofa-bed, mini-fridge, tea- and coffee-maker
  • Both 518 & 520 cabins have a partially obstructed view
  • Cabin 521 has the bonus of dual aspect windows (facing bows and port side) and unobstructed views
Ortelius ship


  • Both cabins are on Deck 5
  • Twin beds
  • Windows to the side and stern
  • Both 510 & 528 cabins have a partially obstructed view to the stern
  • Small sofa, flat screen TV, mini-fridge and tea- and coffee-maker
Ortelius ship

Twin Window

  • All 12 cabins are on Deck 5
  • Twin beds and 2 small windows
  • Small sofa
Ortelius ship

Twin Porthole

  • 24 cabins on Deck 4 and 4 cabins on Deck 3
  • 2 lower berths
  • Twin portholes
Ortelius ship

Quadruple Porthole

  • All cabins on Deck 3
  • Bunk-beds
  • Twin portholes
Ortelius ship

Deck Plan

Onboard Communications & Facilities

If you wish to stay in touch, even in Antarctica, you can choose from the options below:

  • WiFi: you can connect your personal device from anywhere on the ship
  • Full Internet access: EUR7.50 /20mb; EUR 18 /50mb; EUR35 /100mb; EUR150 /500mb
  • Telephone card: EUR25/ approx. 25 mins depending on destination you are calling.
  • Ship-based email: EUR5 set up fee + EUR15 for a 7-10 day trip; EUR20 for a 11-12 day trip; EUR25 for an 18 day trip; EUR50 for a 30 day trip.

Please note that this is only for light data traffic and that the above prices are only approximate. You can check your personal emails using the onboard computers to connect to the Internet and also by connecting to WiFi to use your own device.

Other facilities include:

  • Plugs: European 220V two-round-pinned sockets
  • Towels, toiletries and hair dryers
  • Laundry service (additional cost)

Find Your Antarctic Ship

Choosing the right ship is crucial, given the amount of time you'll spend on board. Swoop is experienced at helping match our customers to exactly the right ship.

Find your Antarctic ship

Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

With over 100 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.