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Antarctic Expedition Ships

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Below is a small sampling of the type of vessels that are available to adventurers who plan to explore the Antarctic. These ships can vary from Russian icebreakers to expedition cruise ships with ice-strengthened hulls. An Antarctica cruise usually departs from Ushuaia, though itineraries that can range from 10 to 23 days in duration.

Search Words: Antarctic Expedition Ships, Antarctica Cruise Ships, Luxury Liners, Ice Breakers, Research Ships, Vessels, ice-strengthened hulls


Research Expedition Ships

These are former research ships refurbished for small-group passenger travel, but they still maintain the expeditionary feel of their former status. Each ship has a large navigation-bridge and open-deck viewing areas and a fleet of Zodiac crafts, affording spontaneous wildlife viewing opportunities in otherwise inaccessible areas.

They usually carry between 46 and 56 passengers, in comfortable twin or triple cabins both with and without private facilities, they pride themselves on their relaxed and informal atmosphere, more akin to private expeditions than conventional cruises. All cabins have a porthole or window and ample storage space. Facilities include a dining room serving international cuisine, lounge with bar, sauna and infirmary. The small number of passengers allows speedy and hassle-free landings. Offer economical options for solo travelers who want to share accommodations with other passengers in a wide range of cabin categories.

Polar Pioneer   Professor Multanovskiy
Polar Pioneer - The Polar Pioneer was built in 1983 in Finland as an ice-strengthened research vessel and she spent many of her early years navigating the dangerous waters of the northern coast of the former Soviet Republic. With an ice-strengthened hull and passive stabilizers it is able to navigate scenic areas for smooth sailing where many other vessels cannot. More...   Professor Multanovskiy - The Professor Molchanov was built in Finland in 1982-83 for polar and oceanographic research and carries a maximum of 48 passengers in comfortable outside cabins. With an ice-strengthened hull and passive stabilizers it is able to navigate scenic areas for smooth sailing where many other vessels cannot.
Grigoriy Mikheev   M/V Akademik Shokalskiy
Grigoriy Mikheev - The 'Grigoriy Mikheev' is a modern and comfortable research vessel of the Hydrographic Institute of St. Petersburg. Built in 1990 in Finland, and designed as an ice-strengthened vessel and converted in the Netherlands for passenger use, the vessel is ideally suited to expedition cruising and Antarctica travel.   M/V Akademik Shokalskiy - The Akademik Shokalskiy, built in Finland in 1982 for polar and oceanographic research, carries a maximum of 48 passengers in comfortable outside cabins, above the waterline. Her ice-strengthened hull permits smooth navigation, and her active stabilization system reduces the ship's roll.

Ice Breakers/Research Expedition Ships

Former ice breaker research ships converted to passenger vessels. These larger ships offer many deluxe amenities including fitness facilities, gift shops, and multiple bars and lounges, but maintain the expeditionary style and feel of former "working" ships.

Yamal   Kapitan Khlebnikov
Yamal - The nuclear icebreaker Yamal was built in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1992 by Murmansk Shipping Company and is one of five ice-breakers in this class. Not simply an ice-reinforced ship, the Yamal is a powerful and sophisticated icebreaker that has taken adventurous passengers to the North Pole since 1993.   Kapitan Khlebnikov - The Kapitan Khlebnikov was built in Finland in 1981 and is one of three vessels of this class. Not simply an ice-reinforced ship, the Kapitan Khlebnikov is a powerful polar class icebreaker, which has sailed to extremely remote corners of the globe with adventurous travelers since 1992. It was the first ship ever to circumnavigate Antarctica with passengers in 1996-97.

Expedition Cruise Ships

Spacious, comfortable passenger vessels designed for smooth sailing in the icy Antarctic waters with ice-strengthened hulls, deluxe accommodations and services. These ships offer larger cabins, as well as deluxe amenities such as roomier public areas, lounges and bars, gift shops, and fitness facilities.

M/V Polar Star   M/V Ushuaia
M/V Polar Star - The Polar Star was built in Finland and served in the Swedish fleet of icebreakers under the name of Njord. She is one of the most safe and comfortable ice class vessels with safety standards exceeding requirements for several years to come.   M/V Ushuaia - The research vessel "Ushuaia", former "Researcher" and Malcolm Baldrige", was built as an oceanographic research vessel for the NOAA (National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration), a U.S. government agency. After 20 years performing oceanographic research, the vessel was acquired by Ushuaia Adventure Corp.
Marina Svetaeva   Sarpik Ittuk
Marina Svetaeva - Built in 1989 in Poland, the recently refurbished Marina Svetaeva is spacious and comfortable, with two helipads for her voyages to East Antarctica and the Ross Sea.   Sarpik Ittuk - The Sarpik Ittuk was built in 1992 at the Ørskov Shipyard in Frederikshavn, Denmark, to navigate the ice-choked waters off Western Greenland and is classified to operate in ice-filled waters.
Lyubov Orlova    
Lyubov Orlova - The Lyubov Orlova was built in former Yugoslavia in 1976 and further upgraded in 2002. This spacious, comfortable ice-strengthened motor vessel carries a maximum of 110 passengers and has passive stabilizers for smooth sailing.    

Luxury Expedition Liners

These expedition cruise ships w/ice-hardened hulls offer luxury 5-star amenities and services. Because of their size, they offer a smoother ride than the smaller, more intimate and informal craft. Even in the challenging environment of Antarctica, passengers enjoy the detailed touches offered onboard these luxury vessels, yet still participate in adventurous land excursions and awesome wildlife viewing.

MS Nordnorge   Marco Polo
MS Nordnorge - Built in 1997 in Norway, she has been sailing in Antarctica since the 2002
season. The ship complies with all safety requirements and is classified as a polar vessel suitable for sailing in icy waters,
  Marco Polo - Built in 1965, V.E.B. Mathias-Thesen Werft, Germany. The Marco Polo is well equipped to handle the open-water cruising and icy channels of Antarctic seas. She was built with a strong ice-strengthened hull that makes her perfect for Antarctic expeditions.
Hanseatic   Explorer II
Hanseatic - German owned and operated, the Hanseatic was introduced in 1993 as an
ice-worthy expedition liner. One of the most comfortable and sophisticated ships sailing in the Antarctic.
  Explorer II - Launched in 1996, the Explorer II is well equipped to handle the open-water cruising and icy channels of Antarctic seas. Her speed, ice-strengthened hull, stabilizers and bow thrusters give her the power, stability and agility necessary to ensure a safe, smooth passage for all on board.

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Last update on: December 21, 2009

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