Only few ships go into the Ross Sea. That's why I didn't mind the rather poor design of Ortelius (the lecture room practically guarantees seasickness, uncomfortable bar area, too small dining room etc.). The ship's crew responsible for operating the ship and the hotel staff all were professional, friendly and helpful. However, the actual expedition and expedition staff was quite disappointing.
Some of the expedition staff didn't know how to operate a Zodiac. On the most remote cruise with difficult conditions that's irresponsible. Maybe it was the lacking skills that kept us from landing in some places.
There were too few expedition staff. While there were enough Zodiacs, for landings and Zodiac cruises passengers could never go at once. Usually there were 2-3 groups going one after the other, leading to long waiting times and short Zodiac cruises. For a trip that is very expensive, not having enough staff to land everyone at the same time is unacceptable.
Out of 32 days, there were only 10 days with landings, helicopters rides etc. so be prepared for many, many days at sea. Lectures were good. However, the expedition staff apparently was selected according to their capabilities of giving lectures and not by their capability to be out at sea and do landings.
The expedition leader had poor communication skills, at times condescending. With so few landings, the expedition staff should have had enough time to relax. Still, the leader was always complaining on how exhausting everything was.
There were Zodiac cruises on which passengers were packed into a Zodiac while 4 staff members had plenty of space for themselves doing a cruise on their own. Providing passengers with the best experience was secondary to the expedition staff's experience.
The team was sometimes poorly organized. One reason was lack of staff.
The idea of the trip is great but Oceanwide doesn't implement it very well. They need more expedition staff to land or cruise everyone at the same time and staff that actually knows how to operate Zodiacs. Expedition leader has to be selected more carefully. The last thing passengers want is a complaining and condescending leader.
Small port, very simple.