Stability and Strength
Our three ships are considered by many to be the best polar expedition ships in the world. These vessels were purpose built to conduct sensitive hydro-acoustic research and science in the polar regions and our newest addition to the fleet was purpose built for expedition cruising.
The original design brief dictated that the vessels offer a very high level of stability. This is achieved through a sophisticated internal trimming system, controlled via a series of gyroscopic sensors around the vessel. The result? Our ships are the most stable vessels navigating polar waters. This stability feature is something you will greatly appreciate should you encounter less than ideal sailing conditions.
Maneuverable, Quiet and Fast
With both bow and stern thrusters and twin reversible propellers, the ship can spin on its own axis – greatly assisting embarkation of the zodiacs in windy conditions. You will notice there is little – if any – ambient noise or vibration, which makes for a quiet ship.
These ships are fast, with a top speed of 14.5 knots in open water. Unmatched stability, coupled with superior speed allows for more time at your destination (rather than ‘at sea’) and more flexibility with itinerary planning – a critical factor in polar waters where ice and weather conditions sometimes dictate our daily itinerary.
Superb Design and Layout
Throughout the ship there are spaces ideally suited to every need. Spacious outer decks provide 360 degree views of the stunning polar landscapes – as well as a great place for an outdoor barbecue, which usually happens once on every voyage. Inside there are comfortable presentation spaces for lectures and film screenings and there’s a multimedia computer lab with several large screen workstations where guests can download and back up photos.
Six Different Cabin Categories
All cabins feature outside windows allowing ample natural light to filter in. Cabins all have lower berths (some triple share cabins have one upper/lower bunk scenario and feature port holes). Specifics of cabins can be found on the DECK PLAN page. Akademik Ioffe carries a maximum of just 96 guests – making for true, small-ship expedition cruising. This is particularly important in Antarctica where visitor guidelines dictate that no more than 100 people can be on shore at any one time. We fall under this limit and that equals maximum time ashore at all locations. Ships carrying more than 100 guests compromise your time ashore.
Enjoy Great Dining? So do we
The exciting schedule of onshore excursions, zodiac cruises and onboard activities are guaranteed to work up a serious appetite. Although the ship operates in some of the most remote locations in the world, you can expect an exceptional variety of tasty meals, prepared by a team of professional international chefs.
Breakfasts are usually buffet style. Lunches offer a great choice of light meals - as well as more substantial options for those who are hungry - and each evening there is a hearty three-course meal offering both variety and choice. There’s also an excellent wine list featuring a range of international wines. You can get a cup of tea or coffee at any time of the day or night and we always offer afternoon tea with cakes and biscuits. Guests with dietary restrictions or special meal requirements are also well catered for.
Join us on the Bridge
There is an open-bridge policy and guests are welcome to meet the navigating crew at virtually any time of day; there’s always something to learn from the officers on watch and the bridge is one of the best places on the ship for spotting whales and sea birds.
There are no compromises here. The expedition staff and crew onboard Akademik Ioffe have the deepest respect for changeable weather in the polar regions and the varying sea and ice conditions. That respect is apparent in every decision made throughout the voyage. The ship carries the most extensive inventory of safety equipment on all excursions and require leaders to undergo vigorous and effective safety training programs. Your expedition team are well prepared, so you can relax and enjoy your voyage.
Relax — You're on Holiday
The ship also features a Finnish dry-heat sauna, a plunge pool, a hot water Jacuzzi, a small gymnasium and day spa with massage therapist.
An expedition gear package is included
An expedition cruise requires a fair bit of planning and some special items of clothing and equipment are needed. You will have use of an expedition wet weather gear package free of charge, which includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants as well as insulated, comfortable rubber boots designed for extended walking. A set of expedition binoculars and a walking pole are also available for the duration of your voyage. This saves you buying expensive items you may only ever use once and eliminates the need to carry such cumbersome gear all the way to the ship. If you do have your own gear, of course you are welcome to bring it. Make sure it is wind and waterproof. If you have questions about gear, feel free to ask.
Comprehensive Pre-Departure Information
After you have paid your deposit and confirmed your place on the voyage, you will be sent two important booklets. The Passenger Information Booklet will need to be filled in and returned to your booking agent. A second booklet, ‘Preparing for your Voyage’ contains all the information you will need to get ready for the journey ahead. Information about clothing and equipment, camera gear, and life aboard the ship, will be found in this document. Print this out and refer to it as you ready yourself for the journey of a lifetime.
Travelling Alone? No problem — many expedition guests do
If you are considering travelling solo on a polar voyage and wish to avoid paying a single supplement, you can be matched up with a fellow expeditioner of the same gender. It’s a system that works well and saves you having to pay a single supplement. If we can’t find someone suitable to share a cabin with, you’ll have sole use of the cabin at no extra cost. You won’t be forced to pay extra. Some guests however prefer to have exclusive use of a cabin. In this case, a single supplement does apply, which is 1.5 x times the cabin price. (2 x times in suites). Contact us to discuss your options. Triple share cabins are also a great option to consider.
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge areas is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large pictures windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened. The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and windows over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/pillows, night light, private facilities, iPad loaded with region specific material, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
These very large cabins are located on deck 6, and feature two lower berths, a loveseat, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. All cabins have a window that can be opened. These cabins provide great access to the outer observation decks and ship’s bridge.
Located on decks 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened.
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private — meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.