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Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

kanab, utah
posts: 32
reviews: 6
Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I've been to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic peninsula 3 times. Now, I want to go to the Ross Sea side but find only 2 ships that go there, the Orion and the Enderby. The Orion seems a bit stuffy, yet the Enderby seems a bit slow, old and spartan. Anyone been on both?

I prefer an in-depth voyage. Orion's is 20 days and cruises at 15 knots per/hr. The Enderby's is 30 days, but cruises at only 10 knots per hour. Any advice?

22 replies to this topic
Queenstown
posts: 92
reviews: 1
11. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Great to hear bri303. Was that the Spirit of Enderby? Are you going back to Antarctica again, or a different destination?

Michigan
posts: 920
reviews: 18
12. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Is there any word whether Lindblad/National Geographic will continue the Orion's Ross Sea itineraries? While their website shows the ship (expeditions.com/destinations/antarctica/ships) it does not indicate its Antarctic destinations.

Queenstown
posts: 92
reviews: 1
13. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Yes- just had a look myself on the website. I thought the Orion had another season in the Ross Sea, but looks like its not on their website and therefore they may have pulled out of the region... Can anyone confirm this?

The Ross Sea side is so full of human history and spectacular natural wonders, and further south than the Peninsula side... it leaves few companies (if not just the one company?!) that truly work on that side of Antarctica.

Some other companies seem to be opting for 'quick pass'' on their semi-navigation Sth America to NZ/Aus but there is so much more to be offered.

posts: 2
reviews: 2
14. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Don't travel on Spirit of Enderby! She is very unstable and rolls at the slightest puff of wind, of which there is an enoromous amount in the Ross Sea. Earlier this year, on Spirit's second voyage to the Ross Sea there were tremendous seas which the ship could not handle comfortably. Passengers were thrown violently side to side and endured many, many days of discomfort. I suffered broken ribs and a spinal compression fracture which was not diagnosed until I returned to Canada. There is a physician on board to assist passengers who needed help but fractures need more than strapping. What was to be a trip of a lifetime and celebration was an endurance test.

I might add that we have travelled on numerous ships to the Arctic and Antarctica and this was the worst. The worst journey in the world!

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,564
reviews: 29
15. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Very sad feedback Heart. I hope you have healed well and can countdown to another voyage with another ship.

Hope you can also stick around this forum as with that many journeys under your belt you have a wealth of useful info to share.

Queenstown
posts: 92
reviews: 1
16. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Yes - I hope you are healing quickly Heartfelt 333. Sorry to hear your voyage was so affected by the sea conditions. From all accounts, it sounds like the season you were onboard had some big unusually large weather patterns moving through.

IMHO it is very difficult to compare the Arctic and Ant Peninsula with expedition ship travel in the Southern Ocean region -the Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and Screaming Sixties (as they were aptly named by early explorers, and continues to be true) are only crossed in a few places in the world, including the leg from Australia or New Zealand, to the Ross Sea.

When comparing the two ships - as per the title of this thread - The Orion (when she was operating in these waters) also had to make the same crossing, and no two voyages are comparable due to being at the whim of the weather and ocean conditions. After looking at the different ships, I would choose the sturdy smaller vessels with ice-strength over the larger more plush ships that tend to operate in Antarctica Peninsula/Arctic.

Just out of interest - I see in the latest eNewsletter from Heritage Expeditions that the Akademik Schokalskiy (sp?) is back in the Ross Sea for a one-off voyage this January - chartered by a "natural history company with a strong wildlife focus", AND there are still cabins available! Brilliant news for anyone wanting to get down to the Ross Sea as usually these voyages book out at least a year in advance! And there are few operators on this side now that Orion has pulled out. According to the newsletter info, it is the sister ship to the Spirit of Enderby,has operated in these waters before, and will run with a similar itinerary. Here's the link: heritage-expeditions.com/trip/wake-scott-and…

posts: 2
reviews: 2
17. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I should add that after discussion with naval architects my husband explained that the bilge keels had been removed and the stabilisers were not in working condition. The experts said that these were two important items for the comfort and safety of passengers.

We expected rough turbulent seas. However with the ship missing these two components, imagine if you can how rough it became on board. Plus the engines making 10-12 knots at the best of times were not able to pull strongly out of the deep troughs made by the southern waves. This was quite unlike the three polar voyages on "Alademik" ships we had taken before.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,564
reviews: 29
18. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I can well imagine - having been in those seas in an icebreaker which of course has no stabelisers. Difference being is all furniture is very well secured - nothing loose. And warnings are given constantly re staying in cabins if conditions become dangerous.

We did witness a couple of very bad falls but mostly with hmmm how shall I say it gently - particularly elderly (85plus) people with a bit of a stubborn streak who refused to listen to instructions (and refused help from others) and thought they could stroll across the dining area with a cup of tea in 50degree rolls.

We only had one day on my last trip where we were encouraged to stay in cabins and they tossed bags of sandwiches and fruit in the door at lunchtime - explaining it was too dangerous for the kitchen staff to be cooking.

Did your injuries take long to heal ? Hope there hasnt been a long lasting repercussion to the spinal compression.

Christchurch, New...
posts: 1
reviews: 1
19. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I’ve travelled on the Spirit of Enderby a couple of times and was sorry to hear of Heartfelt’s problems and hope he/she is recovering well. Sure those wonderful slate grey seas of the southern oceans can get pretty rough but I was always impressed by the skill of Spirit’s Russian crew who seem to read the conditions very well. On the Spirit it’s great to be on the bridge, watching the crew working and sharing the experience of sailing through challenging conditions. But it’s not always like that. Calmer seas, albatrosses and mollymawks, ice – it’s all magic! I haven’t been on the Orion but I enjoyed the small, family atmosphere of the Spirit. And the opportunity to visit such remote and dramatic places without a crowd is fantastic.

Kirchheim unter...
posts: 1
20. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I have traveled with Spirit of Enderby several times, to both subantarctic regions as well as Russia Far East.

Prior to booking my first trip to macquarrie island i was asking myself the very same question.

in the end i chose the spirit of enderby, because it seemed much more nature focused than orion, which defacto is more a deluxe cruise ship with nature touch.

Surely very fine too for travelers with not such a deep love for nature. it is a personal preference whether you are more interested in deluxe accomodation or deluxe nature experience.

it turned out that my decision was absolutely right, as afterwards i traveled with heritage expeditions many more times. Each time the ship and staff led us to absolutely magnificent places, unique in the world, where no other tour operator goes to. heritage has several special permits like on campbell island where you can go off the beaten track, and by the philosophy of the company and owner family the experiencing of nature simply comes first, second AND third on the agenda.

if conditions are right, dinner is postponed to 10 pm, in order to stay longer on land and experience the phantastic evening light, also if the situations allows, on short notice zodiac tours are organised to get closer to wildlife. The atmosphere on the ship is absolutely family style and 100% positive. This very positive atmosphere acc. to my opinion led to the very surprising fact that this June we saw a mega rare northern right whale in russia's sea of okhotsk. to the surprise of everybody on the ship, the whale did not swim away, but came nearer to the ship and played around the ship for quite a while. needless to say, some special whale aficionados on the ship went ballistic :-)

of course when traveling in the south, as correctly stated by Aotearoa, it is not uncommon to experience pretty windy / stormy conditions in these areas. These conditions happened on the way to Heard Island last November. if this happens, one needs to be very, very cautious. even though, it is possible to once in a while be unlucky and get hurt. i have heard of injuries from other ships as well. therefore obviously this would for me now not be a reason not to choose spirit of enderby. i very much hope that heartfelt has recovered by now and is enjoying life again to the max !

after having been on Spirit of Enderby now several times and having booked another voyage firmly already for next year, to another mega unique location, i would always and always recommend this very fine tour operator without hesitation.

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