Ross Sea Antarctic Odyssey Cruise

Erwin Vermeulen
Surfacing Humback Whales
Rinie Van Meurs-Oceanwide Expeditions
Albatross in the arctic.
Jan Molenveld-Oceanwide Expeditions
Travelers exploring the arctic with zodiacs.
Rinie van Meurs
Franco Banfi
An old iceberg
Monica Salmang-Oceanwide Expeditions
Ortelius' dining area.
Monica Salmang-Oceanwide Expeditions
The bar and observation lounge aboard the Ortelius.
This is your ultimate chance to sail to the southern parts of the Antarctic peninsula, Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas into the Ross Sea, visiting Shackleton’s and Scott’s huts, Mc Murdo Station, the Dry Valleys and Campbell Island Island. Aboard the ice-class vessel, Ortelius, be prepared for true emotion and one unforgettable memory on this Antarctic cruise!

Day 1

Embark in Ushuaia, Argentina

In the afternoon, embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

Days 2-3

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

Cross the Drake Passage.

Day 4

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Antarctic Peninsula

Arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and sail in the early morning through the spectacular Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island, where fur seals may haul-out on the beaches. Gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, and south polar skuas are confirmed breeders. Pléneau Island was first charted by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903-05 of Jean-Baptiste Charcot and was named after his expedition’s photographer Paul Pléneau. Also visit Petermann Island with colonies of Adélie and gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags. Petermann Island was named after the German geographer August Petermann, who was a member of a German Expedition in 1873-74.

Day 5

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Polar Circle / Fish Islands

Sailing south through the Penola Strait, cross the Polar Circle and arrive at the Fish Islands. The small islands lying east of Flouder Island are called the Minnows, first charted by the British Graham Land Expedition (1934-37) of John Rymill. Observe Adélie penguins and blue-eyed shags among myriads of large icebergs. Perhaps set foot on the Continent for the first time in the stunning setting of Prospect Point.

Days 6-7

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bellingshausen Sea

Cross Bellingshausen Sea, where you may see your first pack-ice.

Day 8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Peter I Island

Peter I Island (or in Norwegian Peter I Øy) is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometers long) in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and was named after the Russian Tsar Peter I. It is claimed by Norway and considered a territory on its own. It is very rarely visited by passenger vessels due to the exposed nature of the place. If the weather conditions allow, attempt a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.

Days 9-14

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Amundsen Sea

These days sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, while your ship takes advantage of the west-going Antarctic coastal current. The sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling emperor penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also orcas and minke whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmarine petrels.

Day 15

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ross Ice Shelf

Approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front of 30 meters high. In the Bay of Whales at the eastern side of the shelf, close to Roosevelt Island (named by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd in 1934 for President Franklin D. Roosevelt), Roald Amundsen gained access to the shelf and ventured to the South Pole, where he finally arrived on 14 December 1911. Also the Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area at Kainan Bay in 1912. Attempt a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf if conditions allow for it.

Day 16

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

Sail along the Ross Ice Shelf to the west.

Days 17-21

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ross Sea

In the Ross Sea your captain intends to visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror, and Mount Byrd with all the famous spots which played such an important role in the dramatic British expeditions of the last century, such as Cape Royds with the cabin of Ernest Shackleton. The goal is to visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott; from Hut Point Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. Further attempts will be made to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favorable, the helicopters will be used to offer landings.

From McMurdo Station a substantial 10 km hike to Castle Rock may be offered, with great views across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. Land by helicopter in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys. The conditions here are the closest you get to the conditions on Mars anywhere on Planet Earth!

Days 22-23

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

West Coast of Ross Sea

Sailing northward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay. Should the ice prevent the ship from entering Terra Nova Bay, you may progress further north to find the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie penguin rookery.

Day 24

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Cape Adare

Cape Adare is the place where people for the very first time wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899 is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie penguins in the world.

Days 25-29

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

Work your way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea and start the journey north through the Southern Ocean. Depending on weather conditions, you may opt to set a course sailing by Scott Island.

Day 30

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Campbell Island

Campbell Island is a sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a luxuriant and blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is fantastic with a large and easily accessible colony of southern royal albatrosses on the main island and breeding wandering, Campbell, greyheaded, black-browed, and light-mantled albatrosses on the satellite islands. Three penguin species breed here - eastern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed penguins. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but elephant seals, fur seals, and sea lions have recovered.

Day 31

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

During this sea day make your way to Bluff, New Zealand.

Day 32

  • Breakfast

Disembark / Bluff, New Zealand

Arrive in Bluff near Invercargill (New Zealand) where passengers depart for their homebound journey.

 Quadruple PortholeTriple PortholeTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
* Itinerary operates in reverse.
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Ortelius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.

Special note: Crossing the Date Line:
Both departures have a total duration of 31 nights/32 days. However, looking at the starting and ending dates of the voyages, it “seems” that the January 13 departure has a duration of 32 nights and the February 15 of 30 nights. This is explained by the fact that we cross the International Date Line at 180 degrees longitude, resulting in a day being added on the January departure and a day subtracted on the February departure. In any case, the duration of the voyage is still 31 nights/32 days for both voyages.

Fares include:
• Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
• All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
• Free use of rubber boots aboard the Ortelius.
• Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
• All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
• Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
• Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not included:
Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Helicopter Transfers:
These departures will transfer passengers ashore by zodiac. But, the two helicopters onboard will be operated in certain areas where zodiacs can not be used. Potential candidates for helicopter transfers are Cape Evans (hut of Scott), Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton), Ross Ice Shelf at Bay of Whales, Peter I Island, and the Dry Valleys. In theory the goal is five helicopter based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time can not be predicted. No guarantees can be given and in no event will claims be accepted.

Please note: It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed US $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure the Ortelius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US $400 per passenger.