Antarctica > Ortelius > Spectacular Ross Sea (incl. helicopters)

Spectacular Ross Sea (incl. helicopters)

Dates & Rates

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. Our strongest ice-class vessel, Ortelius will be equipped with helicopters. Be prepared for true emotion and one unforgettable memory.


Days 1: Embarkation m/v Ortelius in Ushuaia - In the afternoon, we 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: At Sea - At sea.

Days 4: We sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island - We arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and in the morning sail 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. We will 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: We may set foot on the Continent for the first time in the stunning setting of Prospect Point - Sailing south through the Penola Strait, we 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. We may observe Adélie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags among myriads of large icebergs. We may set foot on the Continent for the first time in the stunning setting of Prospect Point.

Day 6 - 7: We may see our first pack-ice - Bellingshausen Sea, where we may see our first pack-ice.

Day 8: If the weather conditions allow, we attempt a helicopter landing on Peter I Island - Peter I Island or in Norwegian Peter I Øy is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometres 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, we are likely to attempt a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.

Day 9 - 14: Amundsen Sea! Sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor Penguins - These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, while we take 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 Orca's and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmarine petrels.

Day 15: Ross Sea! - We approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front 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 explore Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area at Kainan Bay in 1912. We intend to attempt a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf if conditions allow for it.

Day 16: Sailing along the Ross Ice Shelf - Along the Ross Ice Shelf we sail to the west.

Day 17 - 21: Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott - In the Ross Sea we intend 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. We also intend to visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott. From Hut Point, Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. If ice blocks access and weather conditions are otherwise favourable, we have the option to use the helicopters to offer landings in one or more places in this area. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base - the New Zealand equivalent. From McMurdo Station we may offer a substantial 10 km hike to Castle Rock were we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will land in 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.

Day 22 - 23: We pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay - Sailing northward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, we pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay. Should the ice prevent us from entering Terra Nova Bay we may progress further north were we find the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie Penguin rookery.

Day 24: We will attempt a landing at Cape Adare to visit Borchgrevink's Hut - We will attempt to make a landing at Cape Adare. This 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.

Day 25 - 29: At sea en-route to Campbell Island - Working our way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea and start our journey north through the Southern Ocean. Depending on weather conditions we may opt to set a course sailing by Scott Island.

Day 30: Campbell Island! The fauna on the island is fantastic with a large colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses - We plan to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, 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, Grey-headed, Black-browed, and Light-mantled Albatrosses on the satellite islands. Also three penguin species, Eastern Rockhopper, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and Sea Lions have recovered.

Day 31: At sea en-route to Bluff - At sea en-route to Bluff, New Zealand

Day 32: The end of our voyage. We disembark m/v Ortelius in Bluff, New Zealand - We arrive in Bluff where you depart for your homebound journey.


Vessel Information & Deck Plan

Itinerary details

Spectacular Ross Sea (incl. helicopters)
31 nights / 32 days
Ushuaia, Argentina
Invercargill, New Zealand
MV Ortelius

Dates & Rates

Dates & Rates Cabins (all Prices in US$ Dollar)
Code Date Quadruple
Start Jan 13, 2017
End Feb 14, 2017
25,700 27,900 32,750 33,850 35,550 37,300
Start Feb1 15, 2017
End Mar 17, 2017
33,850 35,550 37,300
* Voyage OTL28-17 ends in Ushuaia, Argentina and starts in Bluff, near Invercargill and offers the same itinerary as described above, but in reverse.
PLEASE NOTE: A typical itinerary to the Ross Sea is illustrated below. This itinerary is for guidance only! Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.
During this voyage we will transfer our passengers ashore by zodiac. But, we will also operate our two helicopters in certain sites where Zodiacs cannot be used. Potential candidates - not guaranteed - 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, we plan on five helicopter based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time cannot be predicted. The use of helicopters is a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach certain landing sites, that otherwise are almost inaccessible. However, this is a true expedition and we operate our itinerary in the world’s most remote area, ruled by the forces of nature, weather and ice conditions. Conditions may change rapidly; having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made. No guarantees can be given and no claims will be accepted. The vessel is equipped with two helicopters, but in the case that one helicopter is unable to fly due to for example a technical failure, the helicopter operation will cease or even be cancelled, due to the fact that one helicopter always needs to be supported by a second operational helicopter. No guarantees can be given and in no event will claims be accepted.
Special note: Crossing the Date Line This trip has a total duration of 31 nights / 32 days. However, looking at the starting and ending dates of the voyages, it “seems” that this trip has a duration of 32 nights. This is explained by the fact that we cross the “date line” at 180 degrees longitude. Travelling on this trip and crossing the International Date Line, results in a day being added. In any case, the duration of the voyage is still 31 nights / 32 days.


Fares include:

Not included:

Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights ; pre- and post land arrangements; transfer of passengers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); 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).

All rates are quoted per person in US Dollars, based on twin occupancy. US Dollar rates apply for all sales outside Europe. 5% discount will be granted for bookings for one or more consecutive voyages (except on legs within the Atlantic Odyssey). Please note that all dates & rates are subject to change. All voyages will operate subject to a minimum of 70 participants on Plancius and 60 participants on Ortelius.

Single traveller: Single travellers can chose between "single occupancy" at a supplement of 1,7 x the Twin or Superior cabin rate , or "sharing basis" in Twin, Triple or Quadruple category at no additional cost.

Children: Upon request (some voyages may be excluded), children under 16 with parents may receive 40 % discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents / adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents / adults).