Polar Tracks Expeditions


seasoned & refurbished

About the Ship

This much-beloved little expedition ship began as the Marina Svetaeva, built in Poland in 1989 as a special-purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science

Carrying just 108 passengers, Ortelius is one of the smallest expedition vessels in the fleet. Comfortable and nicely decorated, but not luxurious, it is made for explorers. Full of small ship character and charm, she is a base camp for active, adventure and wildlife-minded modern explorers, not to mention she is one of only a few vessels offering itineraries to see emperor penguins via helicopter. 

  • Passenger Capacity: 108
  • En suites in all cabins
  • Lecture/bar area
  • Two restaurants
  • Low-cost Quad Porthole cabins
  • Large open deck spaces
  • Adventure activities included in “Base Camp” departures
  • No expedition parka
  • Rubber boots to borrow
  • Helicopter platform for Snow Hill itineraries
  • Ice Class: UL1 (equivalent to 1A)

Why We Like Ortelius


    High ice-class – Ortelius has an ice-class of UL1 (equivalent to 1A) which means she can easily navigate through solid one-year sea ice as well as loose multi-year pack ice, getting you to spots that other ships might not be able to.


    Lots of open-deck space – the best place to spot wildlife is out on deck, and Ortelius offers great outdoor space on different levels of the ship.


    Informal atmosphere – a comfortable ship with an easygoing atmosphere, you never have to worry about whether you’ve got the right dinner wear.


    Ortelius offers unique itineraries such as expeditions to Snow Hill in search of emperor penguins using helicopters, and journeys to the remote Ross Sea, not to mention their popular "Basecamp" departures with all adventure activities included.

Photos of Ortelius

Cabin Categories

Insider Advice

We’re a different kind of agency. We work on the ships, with the teams, and are currently active in the polar regions. Our insider advice is truly that – straight from the field – and it’s updated in real time if things change.