M/V Ortelius is an excellent ice-strengthened expedition ship for voyages throughout the Arctic and Antarctica. Aqua-Firma's in-house polar team have guided and lectured onboard and know the ship in-depth.

Ortelius has a unique combination of being one of the smallest expeditionary ships (108 passengers) with a high Lloyds 1A ice rated hull, giving her an advantage over other vessels. Her flexibility and strength facilitate exploration of some of the most challenging locations on the Planet. A broad portfolio offers everything from Classic Expedition cruises to Adventure Basecamp voyages where activities such as snow shoeing, kayaking, camping and photo workshops are included. On certain departures she carries 2 helicopters for exploring the Emperor  colony in the Weddell Sea and for Antarctic Semi-Circumnavigation Voyages.

Contact our Polar Team to discuss ship options

Please click on any side photo to view ships gallery.


91.25 metres

Ice Class:

UL1 (equivalent to 1A)


12 knots (14.3 knots max)


108 passengers in 47 cabins

Staff & Crew:

20 x nautical & 19 x international hotel crew, inc:
- stewardesses
- 1 x expedition leader
- 6 x guides / lecturers (Antarctic)
- 7 x guides / lecturers (Arctic)
- 1 x doctor


Quadruple Porthole Cabins (4)
- bunked (also used as triple or twin)

Triple Porthole Cabins (2)
- bunked (also used as quad or twin)

Twin Porthole Cabins (27)
- 2 x lower berths

Twin Window Cabins (12)
- 2 x lower berths

Twin Deluxe Cabins (2)
- 2 lower berths

Superior (6)
- 1 x double bed and day room


Ortelius was built in 1989 for the Russian Academy of Science, but has since been refurbished and renamed. Ortelius was a Dutch cartographer who in 1570 published the first modern world atlas of the World-which at that time was the most expensive book ever printed.

She boasts plenty of open-deck spaces (including the bow) and a superb panoramic bridge which is accessible to passengers and a wonderful vantage point to stand beside the captain as he navigates through the ice. Ortelius offers comfortable all en suite accommodation, a restaurant, a bar and lecture room.  Her voyages aim to offer  our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program,  with a first class natural history team, endeavouring to spend as much time ashore as possible. She carries 11 zodiacs (60hp Yamaha), 9 of which are in use, while the remaining 2 are on reserve.

A considerable number of quadruple, triple and twin cabins offer attractive lower starting prices for our Polar voyages. Meanwhile, superior cabins offer greater space and more amenities for those seeking a higher standard  accommodation.   All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin and all offer en-suite bathroom facilities.

Client review:

"..the expedition team was first class, we enjoyed their insights, knowledge, lectures and personalities tremendously. The food!!!!…. All spectacular.  The Captain with his open bridge policy- a superlative experience- heavily influenced by the incredible staff on board. 

It was the trip of a lifetime, and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to anyone…. I will look no further than booking here again."   

C Pretorius (Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula Voyage)

  • Ortelius
  • Ortelius Superior Cabin
  • Ortelius Dining Room
  • Ortelius Twin Deluxe Cabin
  • Ortelius Helicopter Pad
  • Ortelius Observation Lounge
  • Ortelius Bridge
  • Ortelius Deck
  • Ortelius in the Ross Sea
  • Ortelius Deck Plan



  • Ortelius Twin Window Cabin
  • Ortelius Quadruple Porthole Cabin
  • Ortelius Bar & Library
  • Ortelius Outside Deck
  • Ortelius Twin Porthole Cabin
  • Ortelius Triple Porthole Cabin
  • Ortelius Lecture Room
  • Ortelius in the Pack Ice
  • Ortelius Reception


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