If the real luxury is to dive with the penguins in Antarctica, or to do some camping under the Antarctic skies, ski and sail in Spitsbergen, to do excursions by helicopter to the Ross Sea and to observe the Emperor Penguins in the Weddell Sea, then there is almost only one name in the World of expedition cruises: Oceanwide Expeditions.

They are based in Vlissingen, The Netherlands, and are known for the more extreme expedition cruises. Presently they operate two vessels: the PLANCIUS and the ORTELIUS.

Terrific news: the company just announced that a new ship has been ordered. It is going to be built in Croatia and is expected in 2019.

The 180-passenger vessel will be named HONDIUS, after the Dutch-Flemish cartographer Jodocus Hondius (Latinized version of the Dutch name, Joost de Hondt, 1563 -1612).

HONDIUS will be one of the few ships with the strongest ice-strengthened hulls in the Polar Regions.

Several companies have announced to build expedition cruise vessels, such as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Ponant, Scenic, Crystal and Hurtigruten. 

Renderings courtesy © Oceanwide Expeditions