The borders of Argentina will open on Monday, November 1, marking the first time Oceanwide Expeditions has been able to restart expedition voyages in the southern polar regions since the outbreak of the COVID crisis.
The company announced they would restart operations with 2 of their 4 ships, MV Plancius and MV Hondius, which would commence the 2021 Antarctic season on November 23 and 26, respectively. Both boats are currently en route from Europe to South America (Montevideo Uruguay).
MV Plancius already set sail from Oceanwide Expeditions' headquarters in Vlissingen Holland and is currently on her way south.
Due to the many months of inactivity, both vessels have undergone maintenance and extensive sea trials in order to guarantee their speed, maneuverability, equipment, and other vital factors are fit for Antarctic sailing.
“Meanwhile, our staff have been working around the clock on various other projects: Hotel teams are busily arranging provisions, deck and engine crews are working tirelessly to finish vessel improvements, and our guides are checking (and re-checking) all of our expedition equipment to make sure it’s ready for our many outdoor activities.
“Most importantly, we’ve made multiple safety enhancements to our ships and sanitation protocol to keep our guests healthy during their voyages. These include UV air filtration units in our HVAC systems, thermal cameras in ship common areas for continuous temperature screening, and quarantine cabins with independent ventilation systems, among other things.
“These upgrades are further buttressed by significantly improved safety protocol: All crew have been vaccinated, all passengers must present proof of completed vaccination before boarding, and we have devised a detailed outbreak response plan in the event of a suspected infection on board.
“In other words, our Antarctic 2021 cruise schedule is up and running and open for bookings. We invite all guests and travel professionals to have a look at our current schedule and return to exploring the polar regions with us as soon as possible.”