Originally constructed in 1976 to be one of the Royal Dutch Navy’s research vessels, the M/V Plancius underwent a refurbishment in 2009 in order to carry passengers through Antarctica for the experience of a lifetime. Ideally suited for the frosty weather with a high ice class notation, the Plancius welcomes up to 116 passengers aboard its Polar adventure trips. There are a total of 53 cabins across the 5 decks, all with en-suite facilities and lower berths aside from two triple cabins and four quadruple cabins with bunk bed sleeping arrangements. The Plancius has a number of social areas for guests to gather, interact and appreciate the stunning scenes around them. There is a spacious observation bar and lounge on the upper most deck and plenty of open space on the 4th deck to walk around the vessel and nature watch. As part of its recent refurbishment, the Plancius now has a diesel-electric propulsion arrangement that reduces noise and vibration, making it more likely to spot a wide variety of animals as she cruises along. On the vessel’s 3rd deck there is a lecture room and restaurant.
A number of itineraries and trip lengths are available, from the shortest 7-day trip to visit Ascension Island or a 37-day trip that explores the Antarctic Peninsula. Guests will be overwhelmed with the variety of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that can be had in Antarctica, such as soft climbing the nearby mountains, observing leopard seals on the hunt or kayaking along the icy shorelines. Passengers will get the chance to experience a truly unspoiled landscape where they might see killer whales, sea lions or King and Gentoo penguins at any point.
When it comes to diving, this is done once or twice a day via shore entry or zodiac entry depending on the conditions and location. Divers will need to have experience in cold water diving and should come equipped with a dry-suit and their own gear. Pre-filled air tanks and weights are available onboard. The accompanying dive team and dive guides are very experienced and will lead guests safely through the icy waters alongside the ice floes before descending to around 20 meters where sea lions, leopard seals and penguins are likely sightings.