Originally commissioned as the R/V Researcher for the US National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the Ushuaia has since been refurbished for Antarctica cruises. While in the service of the US government, the ship was the first NOAA vessel to circumnavigate the globe on a scientific voyage (1995), carrying out baseline studies to gather data critical for later years comparison on the ocean's role in global climate change, the Antarctic ozone hole and the El Niño phenomenon, among other projects.
Now, as the newly renamed Ushuaia, the ship has been recently converted for passenger travel accommodating a maximum of 84 passengers in 41 comfortable twin cabins and suites. Navigation and communication equipment have been upgraded and passenger email access on the ship’s bridge has also been installed. Cabins on this ice-strengthened polar vessel are nicely appointed and feature two lower berths in the Suite and Superior cabins and some twin cabins, and upper and lower berths in all others. Depending on the cabin category selected, rooms provide private or semi-private facilities. A desk, wash basin, and ample storage space is standard in all cabins. Public areas feature a large dining room, an observation lounge and bar, a conference room with modern multimedia equipment, a well-stocked “Antarctic” library, a changing room and a small infirmary. Because Ushuaia was built in the US, electrical outlets onboard are 110 V/ 60 Hz with American/Japanese style plugs.
The ship has a large bridge with an open bridge policy. Ushuaia is staffed by an Argentine captain and crew, highly experienced in the art of Antarctic navigation. There is a large amount of outside deck space available to passengers for photography, wildlife viewing or gazing at Antarctica’s spectacular scenery. There is a full complement of Zodiac and other rubber inflatable boats for use for shore landings and for cruising in these small boats to view wildlife and explore Antarctica’s amazing icy coastline.
The ship has a specialist team of international expedition leaders and lecturers, all of whom are extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. Staff also includes a doctor, hotel manager/bar tender and chefs and hotel/restaurant staff.
Outside cabins with 2 lower berths, private facilities, lounge, windows (Suite 207 has a porthole), TV/VCR/DVD and fridge. Suite 201 features 2 double beds, Suite 202 one double and a sofa bed, Suites 204 and 207 feature three lower berths.