The Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was completely rebuilt as a 114-passenger vessel in 2009. It accommodates 114 passengers in 53 passenger cabins.
The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) on deck 5 with large windows, offering full panorama view. Plancius has large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3), giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. She is furthermore equipped with 10 zodiacs and 2 gangways on the starboard side, guaranteeing a swift zodiac operation.
The vessel is equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system which reduces the noise and vibration of the engines considerably and a maximum speed of 10 – 12 knots. The vessel is ice-strengthened and was specially built for oceanographic voyages.
Plancius is manned by 17 nautical crew, 19 hotel staff (6 chefs, 1 hotel manager, 1 steward-barman and 11 stewards / cabin cleaners), 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides-lecturers) and 1 doctor.
Plancius accommodates 53 passenger cabins, all with private toilet and shower, as follows:
5 Quadruple cabins with private facilities
38 Twin cabins with private facilities, lower berths (two single beds)
10 superior cabins with private facilities and double beds
On some Antarctic voyages they offer an exciting ‘open air’ camping option, which gives an intensive experience of the Antarctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to a tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of the Antarctic. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. One expedition guide will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. 1 night has to be booked prior to the trip; any extra nights (if those are possible) must be arranged on board. Additional nights will be charged by the Hotel Manager. For more details please refer to the activity manual.
Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands are some of the last truly unspoilt regions of the world. The mysterious White Continent, with its multi-coloured ice caps, glistening glaciers and towering snow-capped mountains, offers unparalleled scenery and photographic opportunities. Enormous numbers of penguins, whales, seals and seabirds congregate in the food-rich waters along the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic shores.
In general we plan to at least offer 4 kayaking days. Basic kayaking experience is required and physical fitness is essential. Parallel to all other activities we are planning on offering kayaking excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. Oceanwide will provide kayaks and neoprene wet suits. Kayakers will bring their own personal gear. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. For more details please refer to the activity manual.
All itineraries are 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.
Day 1: Ushuaia
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located in the shadow of the Andes and right at the Beagle Channel shore. We’ll sail through this scenic waterway during the evening.
Days 2 & 3: At sea
During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we glimpse at the first icebergs.
Days 4 – 8: In Antarctica
We will sail directly to “High Antarctica”, passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island. On Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island, we will find a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. If we land on Danco Island we can observe Chinstrap Penguins and possibly Weddell and Crabeater Seals. In Neko Harbour we will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glacier and enjoy the landscape during zodiac cruises.
When sailing to Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we will have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area we have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, we hope to get permission to visit the British research station and post office Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we may also offer a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags.
We sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island where we can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Fin Whales. A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica will give you an insight about the life of modern Antarcticans working on the White Continent. Further south we may visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where we will receive a warm welcome from the station crew. Sailing north through Neumayer Channel we arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales.
Days 9 – 10: At sea
In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and taking advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team.
Day 11: Arrive Ushuaia
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
Falkland Islands – South Georgia – Antarctic Peninsula
Day 1:Ushuaia – board vessel
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.
Day 2:At sea
At sea, in the Westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.
Day 3:Falkland Islands
In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the Shore of Carcass Island will give us views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons and passerines. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.
Day 4:Stanley, Falkland Islands
In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area we can see quite an important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. We recommend a visit to the local church and museum (admission fees not included).
Days 5 & 6:At sea.
On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.
Days 7 – 10:South Georgia
In the afternoon of day 7 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni Penguins.
One of the highlights might be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays. At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stømness Bay. There and at Grytviken we’ll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken we’ll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave nearby. We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 10.
Day 11:At sea
Where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel.
Day 12:South Orkney Islands
We are planning on a visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Day 13:At sea
Days 14 – 16: Antarctic Peninsula
We will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent. In good sailing conditions we may decide to extend our time in the Weddell Sea.
Charlotte Bay on the west coast of Graham Land was discovered by Adrien de Gerlache during the 1897–99 Belgica expedition and named after the fiancée of Georges Lecointe, Gerlache's executive officer, hydrographer and second-in-command of the expedition.The topography of the surrounding area is mountainous, with nunataks rising through the ice. Charlotte Bay is often filled with icebergs. Mostly we see seals on floes in Charlotte Bay, and occasional, kelp gulls, skuas, shags, or penguins. In Wilhelmina Bay we will admire the rugged ice coated mountains of the Arctowski Pensinsula.
At Deception Island our ship braves into the entrance of the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. We leave from here and sail through the Shetland Islands (Half Moon) to the open sea with direction Ushuaia.
Days 17 – 18:At sea
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Day 19: Ushuaia
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
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