Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plancius – Oceanwide Expeditions new vessel afloat

This is the start of a new era in polar expedition cruising: the Dutch-flagged, expedition vessel "Plancius," operated by Oceanwide Expeditions, is finally ready to set sail to Antarctica this season.

"Plancius" is now freshly painted and alongside the dock in the Netherlands. While the ship is waiting for final sea trials, a team of builders is giving the final touch to the interior of the vessel. The crew will board end of October and bring life to the ship. Departure from the Netherlands is scheduled for early December in order to carry out the first Antarctic voyage on January 8, 2010.

Oceanwide Expeditions offers the free use of boots aboard the ship. Also, outdoor wind and waterproof North Face® expedition jackets can be ordered and bought for a discounted price prior to departure and will be given to the passengers on board the vessel.

Plancius is a base camp for various activities such as scuba diving; kayaking; near-shore, field camping; and active hiking trips with snowshoes. Detailed information can be found on Oceanwide Expeditions website or can be requested per email.


"Plancius" will set new standards to the world of expedition cruising: spacious yet small ship character; comfort and style; modern technology and safety appliances; and a base camp for active, adventurous, and wildlife-minded modern explorers!

"Plancius" was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named "Hr. Ms. Tydeman." The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was finally purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel was completely rebuilt and converted to a 110-passenger vessel, which complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea) and is classed by Lloyd's Register in London. The ship sails under the Dutch flag.

It's a small ship operation: "Plancius" can accommodate 110 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 triple private cabins, 39 twin private cabins (ca. 15 square meters), and 10 twin superior cabins (ca. 21 square meters).

All cabins offer lower berths (either two single beds or one queen-size bed), except for the 4 triple cabins (bunk beds and 1 lower bed). 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 Mark V zodiacs, including 40 HP 4-stroke outboard engines and 2 gangways on starboard side that guarantee a swift zodiac operation.

"Plancius" is comfortable and nicely decorated, but the ship is not a luxurious vessel. It's made for explorers! Voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by an exploratory educational travel program, spending as much time ashore as possible. This vessel will fully meet our demands to achieve this.

The vessel measures 89 meters in length (267 feet), has a breadth of 145 meters (475 feet) and a draft of 48 meters (157 feet) and is equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system, which reduces the noise and vibration of the engines considerably. The 3 diesel engines generate 1,230 horse-power each, giving the vessel a speed of 10-12 knots. The vessel is ice-strengthened and was specially built for oceanographic voyages.

"Plancius" is manned by 17 nautical crew, 18 hotel staff (6 chefs, 1 hotel manager, 1 steward-barman, and 10 stewards/cabin cleaners), 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides-lecturers), and 1 doctor.

"Plancius" was named after the Dutch astronomer, cartographer, geologist, and vicar Petrus Plancius (1552 – 1622). Petrus Plancius theorized the existence of an accessible northern passage to Asia and his theory encouraged several northern discovery voyages at the end of the 16th century. A dutch expedition under the command Willem Brantsz discovered Spitsbergen, but got stuck in the pack ice of Novaya Semlya (now Russian territory). Those discoveries gave rise of the 17th century whaling industry in Spitsbergen.

"Plancius" is furthermore a homage to the predecessor of Oceanwide Expeditions (Plancius Foundation, 1981-1996), the first cruise operator on a yearly base in Spitsbergen, offering voyages with a small cruise vessel named Plancius. It certainly means "the return of Plancius." Oceanwide continued with the activities of the Plancius Foundation in 1996.


Last 30 Days' Most Popular Posts