The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius, built in Poland in 1989 and originally named Marina Svetaeva, served the Russian Academy of Sciences. Today, the ship serves as an expedition vessel for 100 passengers, primarily those seeking to explore polar wildlife with as much time ashore as possible. The ship features ample open-deck spaces and a very large bridge which is accessible to passengers. It offers rapid excursions ashore via Zodiac crafts.
The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A), assuring a safe expedition.
The Ortelius has basic but comfortable cabins and this ship's public spaces offer a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room, and sauna. All cabins face outside with at least two portholes or windows per cabin. The ship is staffed with a nautical crew of 34 highly experienced Russians, 15 catering staff and 6 expedition staff, as well as one doctor.