Few industries are more conceptually linked with the idea of innovation than the travel industry. By its very nature, travel is based on the notion of always moving forward, reaching outward, exploring the world around us in different, sometimes daring ways. And few markets within the travel industry represent the outer limits of earthly exploration more than the polar expedition market. In this regard, Oceanwide Expeditions has been a pioneer since its foundation in 1993.
Formed out of a Dutch scientific research program at the University of Groningen, Oceanwide spent its early years building a solid reputation for small-scale, activity-based, highly dynamic voyages that focus on maximum shore time and utmost contact with the exotic polar wildlife. This was achieved by, among other things, amassing a tough fleet of immaculately renovated, thoroughly ice-strengthened ex-research vessels, all of which are reliably staffed by stellar crews and seasoned expedition guides selected from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities.
But Oceanwide’s innovative spirit is evident in other aspects as well, perhaps most notably its distinct passion for active, flexible, truly exploratory voyages. It is the Oceanwide Expeditions philosophy to get passengers off the ship and into the action as often and for as long as possible.
All itineraries are not only designed to make the most of every landscape and animal sighting, but also to allow for efficient moment-by-moment route changes that respond to weather and wildlife opportunities the instant they occur.
It is this innovative outlook that still defines Oceanwide Expeditions. It spurred the company to be the first to offer expedition voyages to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, to form the uniquely multi-activity and immensely popular Basecamp Antarctica voyages, and to successfully execute two consecutive groups of helicopter landings at the seldom-seen Snow Hill emperor penguin colony in 2017 and 2018. Oceanwide makes similarly innovative helicopter voyages around the Ross Sea, among the least-visited locations in Antarctica.
In other words, Oceanwide Expeditions innovation has both defined the company’s vision and informed its specific and far-ranging achievements in the field.
Oceanwide’s desire to always keep improving is also witnessed in its nautical innovations. In May 2019, the forerunning cruise operator added the world’s first registered Polar Class 6 expedition cruise ship to its fleet: m/v Hondius represents one of the most structurally fortified, technologically advanced tourism vessels on the polar seas.
Designed from the ground up for expedition-based Arctic and Antarctic voyages, Hondius holds fewer than 200 passengers, retaining the small-scale approach Oceanwide passengers have come to expect and love with its other ships.
This also means Hondius is capable of venturing into every fjord, bay, and waterway available on all Oceanwide Expeditions routes, granting passengers access to the best polar experiences while also offering expanded onboard workshops that fully immerse them in the fascinating, otherworldly environment.
Hondius accomplishes all of this while holding true to the essential Oceanwide mission to provide shore-based, wildlife-centered, activity-oriented trips that keep sailing legs to the absolute minimum.
The reaction to Hondius has been so overwhelmingly positive, in fact, that Oceanwide Expeditions has already commissioned another similar vessel to be built: m/v Janssonius, named after a Dutch cartographer in the style of most Oceanwide ships, will be the next addition to the company’s rapidly growing nautical family. Like Hondius, Janssonius will embark on voyages in both the Arctic and Antarctica, host a wide selection of engaging and interactive workshops, and offer the core Oceanwide Expeditions activities of kayaking, hiking, mountaineering, camping, scuba diving, and much more.
For this reason and many others, Oceanwide Expeditions leads the pack in polar travel innovation. Always forging ahead, always looking beyond the horizon like the concept of travel itself, Oceanwide is and will continue to be the world’s premier polar expedition provider, pioneering the future of Arctic and Antarctic travel one innovation at a time.