Sail Aboard the


with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

General Information

Named for a famous 16th century Dutch/Flemish cartographer, Ortelius was built in 1989 in Poland’s famous Gdynia shipyards. Originally an ice strengthened passenger vessel, she spent many years plying the frozen waters of the Arctic and northern Pacific Oceans on behalf of her former Russian owners.

Under new ownership as of 2011, the Ortelius has been significantly upgraded by major work on her engines, inner workings, and passenger spaces. She has a remodeled dining room and lecture room, a new observation bar, and substantially improved cabins on all decks. She provides comfortable accommodation for 100 passengers, our Expedition Staff, and 41 Russian crew members.

The Ortelius’ length is about 91 m (300 ft) and beam (width) is 18 m (58 ft) with a speed of about 14 knots.

We choose Ortelius for this voyage because she is impressively stable at sea yet very capable in ice. The vessel is robust yet still small enough to explore places beyond the reach of bigger ships. The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice.


The Ortelius has spacious cabins (larger than most ships!) and large public spaces, including the bridge and outer decks, observation lounge and lecture room. A large observation bar provides the perfect space for passengers and crew to wind down and socialize following dinner in the well-appointed dining rooms.

The spacious bridge is always open to passengers and the decks are ideal for photography from the ship, as well as excellent places to watch for wildlife. In the observation bar, you can relax and also find a good collection of polar books. Enjoy entertaining lectures on the flora, fauna, history and glaciology as well as photographic techniques. Meals prepared by an excellent European chef are served in a comfortable dining hall, keeping us warm and full of energy for the next wildlife encounter. Landings are made possible by a small fleet of high quality Mark V Zodiacs with clean-burning four-stroke outboard motors.

Deck Plan

Quadruple3rd deck cabins with 2 upper and 2 lower berths, private bath, porthole, desk, chair, and storage space.
Triple3rd deck cabins with 2 lower berths and 1 upper berth, private bath, porthole, desk, chair, and storage space.
Double3rd or 4th deck cabins with 2 lower berths, private bath, porthole, desk, chair, and storage space.
Superior Double5th deck cabins (much larger than standard Double) with 2 lower berths, private bath, windows, small sofa, desk, chair, and ample storage space.
Superior Plus
(best for couples)
5th deck cabins with 1 queen bed, private bath, windows, refrigerator, sofa (with fold out twin bed), desk, chair, and ample storage space.

Note: Deck plan, cabin arrangements, and cabin amenities are subject to change by ship operator. Deck plan diagrams are not drawn to scale.