M/v Plancius started her life in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. In June 2004, the vessel was taken out of active service and was purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions in December 2006. The vessel was completely rebuilt in 2009 and complies with the latest SOLAS regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). She is classed by Lloyd's Register in London and flies the Dutch flag.
M/v Plancius can accommodate 112 passengers in 54 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 quadruple, 40 twin (approx 15 square meters) and 10 twin superior (approx 21 square meters). All cabins have private facilities and lower berths (either two single beds or one queensize bed), except for the four quadruple cabins (2 bunk beds).
The vessel has a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge with bar on deck 5 with large windows offering full panoramic views. M/v Plancius has large open deck spaces with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3, giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. She is equipped with 10 Mark V zodiacs, including 40 HP 4-stroke outboard engines and two gangways on the starboard side which guarantees a smooth zodiac operation.
M/v Plancius is comfortable and nicely decorated, but is not a luxurious vessel. Our voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by an exploratory educational travel programme, spending as much time ashore as possible.
The vessel measures 89 meters in length (267 feet), has a breadth of 14,5 meters (43 feet) and a draft of 4,8 meters (15 feet) and is equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system which reduces the noise and vibration of the engines considerably. The 3 diesel engines generate 1.230 horse-power each, giving the vessel a speed of 10 - 12 knots. The vessel is ice-strengthened and was specially built for oceanographic voyages. M/v Plancius is manned by 30 international crew members including 6 expedition staff and a doctor.
M/v Plancius was named after the Dutch astronomer, cartographer, geologist and vicar Petrus Plancius (1552 -1622). Plancius theorised the existence of an accessible northern passage to Asia and his theory encouraged several discovery voyages at the end of the 16th century. A Dutch expedition - under the command of Willem Barentsz - discovered Spitsbergen but got stuck in the pack-ice of Novaya Semlya (now Russian territory). Those discoveries gave rise of the 17th century whaling industry in Spitsbergen. M/v Plancius is furthermore a homage to the predecessor of Oceanwide Expeditions (Plancius Foundation, 1981 - 1996), the very first cruise operator on a yearly base in Spitsbergen, offering voyages with their vessel "Plancius". It certainly means "the return of Plancius". Oceanwide Expeditions continued with the activities of the Plancius Foundation from 1996.