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We had the chance to visit state-of-the-art expedition cruise ship Ultramarine. The vessel was docked in Amsterdam to prepare her for the upcoming Arctic season, the perfect moment for our Waterproof Expeditions team to have a look on board.

Ultramarine started sailing in 2021. It’s a new geneartion expedition ship, purpose-built for cruises to both polar regions. On board, there’s space for up to 199 passengers and as many as 140 staff. The vessel was designed to go beyond the familiar, by offering a combination of unique itineraries, new adventure activities and high-end luxury. It also features a range of sustainability features, exceeding all industry standards.

Ultramarine’s Lounge Area

We start our tour in the Panorama lounge. It’s located high up on deck 7, at the front of the ship. A great place to relax indoors while staying connected to the mesmerizing landscapes drifting by. The lounge has a cosy feel with comfortable chairs and a bar. Tucked away in one of the corners you’ll find the library. Very convenient are the stairs that lead out to the large deck above, so you can quickly head outside when wildlife has been spotted.

There’s a second lounge area for lectures, the Ambassador Theatre. This is where the expedition team regularly holds talks with the support of a big tv screen. The room also has a bar, so you can also have a coffee/tea or little snack during the lecture.

Food & drinks

Ultramarine offers you three options when feeling hungry. First is the casual Bistro 487, conveniently located on the same deck as the large panoramic lounge. Here you can grab a quick bite at the buffet and take place at one of the high tables inside or on the terrace outside. Perfect for enjoying the polar landscapes.

The larger buffet restaurant and main restaurant with plated service are both located on deck 5. The buffet restaurant has plenty of window seats on both starboard and port side so you don’t have to miss anything wile cruising. Situated just behing the buffet restaurant is Balena, featuring a menu with various options for each course. Tables accommodate 2 to 10 people for a fine dining experience. This way you can enjoy a quiet dinner with a loved one or join other expeditioners. Again, the windows offer views from every seat in addition to direct access to the wraparound deck. During our visit on board Ultramarine we had a little taste of the chef’s menu in Balena, a wonderfull gastronomic experience!

Ultramarine’s Helicopter Program

Certainly the greatest highlight of this new ship are its’ two twin-engine helicopters. These fuel-efficient helicopters are celebrated for their small external footprint and reduced noise pollution. The are able to take guests further over the polar landscape than any other helicopter in its category. These unique features open up a whole new range of off-ship adventure options. Besides the standard flightseeing, you can participate in heli-hiking, alpine kayaking, icesheet landings and even go camping in a remote valley on Greenland. In Antarctica, the helicopters give you the unique chance of visiting the Emperor Penguins at Snow Hill Island. Ultramarine is one of only a few ships that can offer this Emperor Penguin Experience. All heli excursions start from the two heli platforms on Deck 8.

Zodiac embarkation & Ready rooms

The ready rooms, or mud-rooms, are a convenient place to store your outdoor gear. Your yellow expedition parka (which you get to keep) and boots are likely to get wet after a landing and by storing them in your locker you don’t have to worry about dirty gear in your cabin. Not surprisingly, the ready rooms are located next to the zodiac boarding area on deck 2. This is where you embark on most off-ship adventures. Guests are divided into groups for zodiac cruises and landings. Simply listen to the announcements for boarding instructions. Zodiac embarkation is at water-level which makes for quick deployment. Boarding points are located on boths sides of the ship as well as at the ship’s marina which is located at the back.

Wellness & Fitness

Another luxury featere of Ultramarine is the beautifull Tundra spa. Take a moment to warm up in the large panoramic sauna or steam room after an excursions. Offering a variety of treatments, the spa and adjacent room with lounge beds allow passengers to fully relax and unwind. You’ll also find a fully-equipped gym, featuring a separate yoga space with views to the outside.

Ultramarine cabins

Ultramarine offers an impressive choice of luxury accommodation, from cosy single cabins large terrace suites. We found the interiors modern yet very welcoming, with warm colors and soft fabrics. Each cabin has a private bathroom and items like a hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and reusable water bottles are standard in each room.

Single, Twin and Triple Cabins

Single travellers have the option to book into a shared twin, triple or balcony suite. These rooms are particularly spacious. With big seperate beds, a nice sitting area, picture windows, a desk, refrigerator and a bathroom with plenty of storage space. Located on Deck 6, you’ll find several single cabins. These are ideal for solo guests who appreciate privacy and want to wake up to wonderfull views from the comfort of their bed. Good to know, these are the only single cabins with floor-to-ceiling windows available onboard any ship in its class.

Premium Suites

If you are looking for a more spacious and luxurious cabin, the Premium Suites on board Ultramarine are to die for! While visiting the ship we were amazed everytime we opened a door. All Premium Suites have a balcony, upgraded bed linen, in suite coffee and offer more privacy in the bathroom with an enclosed toilet and a full bath in addition to a shower. One of our favorites was the Terrace Suite. It’s perfect if you are looking for a very spacious room with generous interiors and a huge balcony with lounge chairs. We particularly liked its’ wide layout with a TV in the middle of the room, dividing the sleeping and living area. Good to know, the Terrace Suites are centrally located on deck 6, ensuring minimal discomfort by motion of the ship.

The largest and most luxurious suites on board are the Owner’s Suite and Ultra Suite. These feature the most sleeping, entertainment and storage space you could ever need on board an expedition ship. Imagine seperate sleeping, dining and living areas, a bedroom with walk-in closet, a powder room and an additional walk-in hallway closet. Other included extra’s are binoculars on loan, WiFi credit, laundry service, in suite dining, and a spa package. It’s the ultimate accommodation for travelers who want all the comforts of home (and more) while travelling.

Fun features

While exploring the ship we found it was extremely well designed. Every little detail has been optimised to offer guests on board the best experience. For example, each shower has a little bench. Just in case the ship hits rough weather, you’ll be able to sit down while taking a shower. And if that weather has got you seasick, you can simply watch the lectures live on the TV from your bed. Another clever multimedia feature are the big touch screens in the reception area. These provide you with all the information about the ship and crew at any time. Last but not least, one of our favorite spots on the ship are the bar seats on the aft deck. Take a drink in one hand and your binoculars in the other, and simply enjoy those wonderfull views while cruising.

Are you ready for an expedition cruise on board Ultramarine? Ultramarine sails in Antarctica from November through March and sets sails for the Arctic from May through September. Contact the experts at Waterproof Cruises & Expeditions, we are happy to help you find the ultimate polar adventure!

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