A rugged yet authentically nautical sailing experience awaits passengers on Oceanwide Expeditions' Rembrandt van Rijn. Built in 1924 as a herring lugger, the ship was rebuilt as a three-masted sailing schooner in the Netherlands in 1994 before being completely refurbished in 2011 to modern SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) standards. Lengthened three times, the ship has outlasted four engines and held six different names during its long and storied career.
This is a ship for those who want a true adventure and are fine doing without some of the comforts of more modern expedition cruising. Accomodations are small (what some would politely call, "nautical"), and that's how those who flock to Rembrandt van Rijn like it.
Passengers tend to skew a bit younger on this ship, with cruisers ranging in age from 30 to 80 making the trip. However, good mobility is essential, as the ship features weather doors with high sills, steep staircases and plenty of sailing-related on-deck obstacles.
However, those who want a true sailing adventure aboard a historical ship will not be disappointed.
Like other Oceanwide Expeditions vessels, the currency on Rembrandt van Rijn is the Euro, and crew gratuities are recommended at between eight to 10 Euros per person, per day, in cash.
Although Rembrandt van Rijn provides an authentic sailing experience, don't expect to have to subsist on biscuits and hardtack like the early explorers. Cuisine onboard is tasty if uncomplicated, with high-energy comfort fare reigning as the overall standard. Because of the small size of the vessel, you won't have a multitude of culinary options, but dietary restrictions can generally be accommodated with advance notice.
There is no point in being coy about it: cabins Rembrandt van Rijn's cabins are small. Many offer upper and lower berth accomodations, and a total of six cabins at the forward end of the ship are all insides (no windows). The remaining 10 cabins onboard all offer porthole windows. While most accommodate two passengers only, one cabin is designated for triple occupancy.
All cabins include private bath and shower facilities.
The main attractions up top are the scenery and the sails. Deck space is open and plentiful for a ship of this size, and watching the sails being hoisted and lowered is a time-honored tradition.
Excursions ashore and informal briefings, lectures and conversations over a drink or two serve as the primary form of entertainment aboard Rembrandt van Rijn. Like a small river barge, the atmosphere onboard is convivial, with passengers sharing tales of travels and life as opposed to relying on scheduled activities or organized events.
Rembrandt van Rijn primarily offers itineraries to Norway and, occasionally, Arctic Svalbard and Greenland.
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.