Designed to sail the rough and rugged waters of the world's polar regions, Hondius is a sturdy, nimble ship built to be comfortable, durable and, above all, safe. With a capacity for 174 (170 in Antarctica), Hondius offers plenty of window-lined public rooms and outer deck spaces for sightseeing, as well as nautically inspired staterooms and suites.
Equally important for vessels sailing to some of the most unspoiled places on the planet, Hondius uses LED lighting systems, steam heating plants, biodegradable paints and lubricants and state-of-the-art power management systems to keep fuel consumption and CO2 levels to the absolute minimum.
The ship also features a fleet of Zodiac rafts for easy exploration. These are able to pull up to a special shell door within the ship, where a sheltered indoor embarkation platform shields passengers from the elements while loading and unloading.
Onboard pricing is in Euros, and Oceanwide Expeditions recommends distributing crew gratuities of 8 to 10 Euros per person, per day, in cash. All electrical outlets onboard are two-pronged European 220V, so North American cruisers will need to bring adapters or converters.
Meals are taken in the ship's main restaurant and tend to focus on nourishing cuisine. Exploring the polar regions is hard work, and the emphasis on rejuvenation in onboard meals is apparent. Don't expect haute cuisine, but do expect tasty, well-prepared meals that provide the energy to go out on that second Zodiac tour.
Cabins aboard Hondius range in size from 129 to 376 square feet. Like most ships of this class, the lower accommodation levels are more functional than luxurious, with entry-level staterooms offering porthole windows and capacity for up to four people. Still, cabins are comfortable and cozy, and they feature plenty of nautical textures and colors.
A total of six Grand Suites feature private balconies and increased living space, though they are the only accomodations onboard to feature verandas. All other accommodation grades offer either porthole or picture-window views.
All cabins feature private bathrooms with showers; flat-screen televisions; hair dryers; closets and storage space; very small sitting areas; and Wi-Fi access for an additional cost.
Upper deck activities are primarily limited to scenic viewing, with plenty of deck space forward and aft to allow for photo and panoramic viewing opportunities in the world's polar regions.
Hondius has an open-bridge policy that allows passengers to visit the ship's navigation bridge during select times during the voyage.
Entertainment is predominantly edutainment, revolving around onboard lectures that focus on history, biology and other destination-relevant topics. Numerous lectures are presented throughout the voyage, along with daily recaps that highlight the day's activities and offer previews for the following day.
When not ashore, expect fellow passengers to be immersed in books, conversation, cocktails or even editing the day's photos on personal laptops.
Hondius sails numerous itineraries to Antarctica during the North American winter and to the far Arctic during the North American summer.
Among polar expedition ships, Ortelius stands apart as a true explorer. Its ice-strengthened hull allows navigation in year-old ice, and that -- combined with heliport and garage space for three helicopters -- allows Ortelius to delve deeper into polar exploration.