Trip & Ship Review – Explore Antarctica on the Ocean Albatros

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  16 February 2024

Launched in May 2023, the Ocean Albatros is the latest addition to the Antarctica expedition cruising scene, serving as the sister ship to the popular Ocean Victory. Both vessels are part of a Scandinavian cruising company specializing in expeditions to remote corners of the globe.

To commemorate this new addition to the Antarctica cruising family, Viva decided to deploy its incognito research team (Rachel Williams and Tara Sutherland) on our first-ever Antarctica charter expedition.

Rachel and Tara have been on three Antarctic expeditions each, so they are well-placed to offer a trip and ship review.

Now, truth be told, Rachel and Tara weren’t all that incognito… even the Antarctic penguins saw them coming a mile away!


Rach and Tara in penguin onesies, on the ice in Antarctica

Rachel and Tara in Antarctica


The journey aboard the Ocean Albatros, a 10-day expedition to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctica Peninsula, took place in late November/early December 2023. With this ship review, we aim to offer first-hand impressions and insights of both the ship and the specific itinerary of the trip. At the end of this guide, we’ll share more info on this and other expeditions offered by the Ocean Albatros.

For now, enjoy the ride and…welcome aboard!



Boarding the Ocean Albatros in Ushuaia

Boarding the Ocean Albatros in Ushuaia



About the Ocean Albatros

First, the official spiel: 

The Ocean Albatros, known for its compact and sturdy design with the highest safety ratings for polar cruising, excels in stability even in the most challenging conditions. It’s an ideal choice for anyone who’s a little wobbly when cruising the open sea.

The ship features 95 staterooms and suites, all with sea views and most with private balconies.

Onboard amenities include two restaurants, a spa, Albatros Nordic Bar, open deck dining, an observation deck, two rear-deck Jacuzzis, a lecture hall, a library, and a fitness room. What sets it apart from its sister ship, the Ocean Victory is an incredible panoramic sauna offering stunning landscape views.

The Albatros also stands out for providing 12 solo cabins with no single supplement, which is always a huge plus.


Ocean Albatros facilities

The Ocean Albatros, in a nutshell!


> Read more about the technical aspects of the Ocean Albatros


And here’s what our “research team" had to say about the Ocean Albatros overall:

General ship review - Rachel

This is one impressive ship, indeed. Being so new means everything about the Albatros is modern and feels quite luxurious, from the excellent stabilizers (the movement was minimal) to the décor and extra onboard amenities. The cabins are spacious and comfortable, the common areas well laid out, and I absolutely loved the polar-inspired artwork scattered around the ship.

Enjoying a cocktail while looking out over icebergs from the observation lounge is priceless, and as you might imagine, the two Jacuzzis are a colossal hit with passengers. That sauna with stellar views? Yes, it's as indulgent as it sounds.


Ocean Albatros sauna

Relax in the sauna after a long day ashore and soak up those stellar Antarctica views.


“The Albatros combines a genuine Antarctic expedition with modern comforts. The staff and overall services are exceptional, the food varied and delicious, and the itinerary fantastic with an incredible mix of highlights – Rachel."


General ship review - Tara

The Ocean Albatros is a very comfortable ship that lets you get close to the breathtaking Antarctic scenery. I had a Category C cabin with a balcony, and I loved sleeping with my curtains open and waking up to a new view each morning. It is fantastic to open your eyes and see an iceberg drift by! Surreal! 


Ocean Albatros cabin category C

The C-type balcony cabin, the most abundant type on the Ocean Albatros


On the technical side, the ship has a large mudroom, where your complimentary jackets and boots can be kept in a personal locker. It makes it so easy to prepare for excursions and quickly dry off your gear. Plus, you don't need to always lug your expedition gear back to your cabin, which is a priceless convenience.


Ocean Albatros mudroom

The mudroom aboard the Ocean Albatros keeps all your excursion gear neat and clean


Ship size & layout

The Albatros carries 189 passengers and is just over 100m long and 18m wide, which makes her the ideal vessel to explore the remotest bays in Antarctica.



Why is small ship cruising ideal for Antarctica?

Cruising on ships with < 200 passengers offers a more intimate and immersive experience. Smaller vessels can access narrower channels, providing a closer connection to wildlife and secluded spots that large ships simply can't reach. The itinerary is often more flexible with fewer people, allowing for spontaneous wildlife sightings and extended exploration. The smaller group size also creates a friendly atmosphere and camaraderie, facilitates faster (and more numerous) disembarkation, and usually has a lower environmental impact, promoting responsible tourism. Overall, it is the most recommended type of cruising in such remote and fragile environments.


Everything about the Ocean Albatros seems tailor-designed to immerse you in your natural surroundings. The layout allows for easy movement about the ship, and an open bridge policy means you can pop up and see the impressive navigation in progress. The crew are always happy to have a chat.

Expeditions to Antarctica are unlike any other kind of cruising option, as are the ships that offer them. Onboard, Tara and Rachel met several 'anti-cruising' travellers who thoroughly loved the ship and the overall experience.

“Never be put off an Antarctica expedition because you think it'll be like a classic cruise. The destination is like nowhere else on earth, and the cruising experience is totally different – Tara."


Ocean Albatros jacuzzi

The rear deck jacuzzi aboard the Ocean Albatros – THE place to be!


Overview of Cabins

Every cabin has beds that can be arranged as singles or doubles, a bathroom with a walk-in shower, a desk/dressing table, a refrigerator, several USB and 230W outlets, and a TV.

“I loved that the lectures in the theatre were live-streamed on our TVs, so if you wanted to rest after an exciting day onshore but didn’t want to miss a lecture, you could easily enjoy both in the comfort of your cabin. Genius! – Rachel”


Cabins configuration

The 95 outside staterooms on the Ocean Albatros are divided into nine cabin categories across four main decks. Most of these staterooms include a veranda or French-style balcony.

The lowest deck features single cabins and double/triple staterooms near the mudroom and Zodiac embarkation area, all with non-opening portholes.


Ocean Albatros cabin category D

A double category D stateroom with non-opening portholes – the triple porthole staterooms are Category F


Decks 4 and 6 house most Balcony Cabins, ranging from 215 to 258 m2, including triple and interconnecting options. Midship on Deck 4, there's a spacious Premium Suite measuring 484 m2. On Deck 7, you'll find four Junior Suites (452 m2) and a unique Family Suite (560 m2) accommodating up to five guests.


Ocean Albatros family suite

The perfect option for groups of up to 5 people – the Ocean Albatros' Family Suite


Among our research team, the balcony option was a clear winner.

“I recommend going for a balcony cabin if you can. It makes you feel incredibly connected to the environment… at times, I felt like I could almost reach out and touch the ice! It was simply surreal – Tara."



The Ocean Albatros offers abundant and diverse dining options, featuring a breakfast and lunch buffet and an a-la-carte menu for dinner. The culinary offerings cater to vegetarians, vegans, and those with various dietary restrictions—deck 8 hosts Fridtjof Nansen, a speciality restaurant known for hot-rock BBQs with a focus on meat and seafood.


Dining in restaurant on Ocean Albatros

Rachel (back right), Sir John Key (front right) and guests tuck in to a delicious dinner onboard the Ocean Albatros


Food onboard Ocean Albatros

Choose your preferred cut of meat and see it sizzle on a hot rock! Photo by Very Hungry Nomads


For a broader selection, including seafood, vegan and vegetarian choices, as well as homemade desserts, the Jens Munk Restaurant is a must-try.


Desserts onboard Ocean Albatros

Delectably fresh desserts thousands of km away from civilization? On an Antarctic expedition on the Ocean Albatros, you can! Photo by Very Hungry Nomads


A few more crowd-pleasing highlights:

"The hot rock restaurant is loads of fun, and you get to cook your own sizzling meat on a rock that has been heated for 48 hours. I also LOVED the BBQ we had on the outer deck. The range of food was incredible, and it was so fun sitting out in the sun, surrounded by icebergs, with a group of delighted people!" - Rachel


BBQ on the back deck of the Ocean Albatros, in Antarctica

You can't beat a BBQ on the deck of the Ocean Albatros, surrounded by views of Antarctica!


"The food in both restaurants was always great, but my favourite part, truth be told, was the tea and coffee station. It is always open, so I could grab an espresso shot to start the day, perhaps a latte after lunch, and hot chocolate to warm up after a shore excursion (sometimes stopping in at the bar to, ahem, add some baileys to it) ...and a tea to relax before bed. However, there were always freshly baked cookies, so it was a very dangerous place to hang out for too long!" - Tara


Ocean Albatros gym

The well-equipped gym aboard the Ocean Albatros – an excuse to eat more cookies? You tell us!


Activities & excursions

The Ocean Albatros runs twice daily onshore landings, weather permitting. Rachel thinks this makes it the ideal ship for active explorers who want to make the most of their visit to Antarctica and wish to spend as much onshore time as possible.

"Shore landings and Zodiac excursions were included twice daily for everyone, with options for extra excursions like kayaking and snowshoeing for those who wanted to try them. We attempted to include an overnight camp, but unfortunately, conditions didn't allow this to happen on our trip. Regardless, this was an active trip with loads of options for everyone- Rachel."


Group of people on the ice in Antarctica, with Ocean Albatros in the background

Twice-daily onshore landings are unique to small-ship cruising, and they are an absolute highlight


Tara skipped a couple of landings to join the snowshoeing and kayaking outings.

"I love kayaking, and it is extra magical in Antarctica…. just listening to the sounds of your paddle and the sounds of nature. I kayaked on Deception Island, so inside the caldera of an active volcano. You could see steam coming up from the volcanic sandy shoreline - a unique experience - Tara.”


Kayaking in Antarctica on the Ocean Albatros

Kayaking in Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – not every ship offers the option, but the Ocean Albatros does!


And for the snowshoeing experience, Tara had this to say:

“I had never snowshoed before, so I was a little anxious but found it easy to put on the special shoes and hike up from the shoreline. It was so much fun, and the views from the higher vantage point of the snow and ice-filled bay, with our expedition ship right in the middle of it all, were fantastic. Snowshoes make it so much easier to walk on soft snow, so climbing the hill wasn’t bad at all!" - Tara


Snowshoeing in Antarctica, on the Ocean Albatros

Like a walk in the park, but much cooler!


Onboard activities & entertainment

The Ocean Albatros boasts a dedicated crew of around 100, including 18 highly knowledgeable expedition experts. These experts, ranging from bird and whale specialists to photographers, kayak guides, historians, and geologists, are readily available to share their expertise.

The ship offers daily engaging onboard activities such as lectures, special guest presentations, onboard auctions, movie nights, and quiz nights, providing constant entertainment and enrichment.

“The Ocean Albatros carries over 80 hospitality staff, including kitchen, bar & restaurant crew, cleaners, and reception staff. The crew go out of their way to make everyone feel welcomed and appreciated onboard, even trying to remember your name and what you'd like to have. Just wonderful! – Rachel”


What kind of traveller would enjoy this itinerary and ship?

Tara and Rachel enjoyed a 10-day South Shetland Islands and Antarctica Peninsula expedition and agree that their itinerary is ideal for active travellers and first-time explorers of the southern continent. It’s not too long – perfect for first-timers – and offers a great combination of pristine landscapes with fantastical icebergs, a phenomenal array of unique wildlife, loads of history and something different at every landing point.

Primarily, Rachel points out that their journey was in late November/early December, a magical time to visit Antarctica. This is the start of the cruising season when landing sites are pristine, ice is aplenty, and the landscape is an enchanting winter wonderland.


Early season in Antarctica

Early season cruising in Antarctica is the highest guarantee of pristine landing sites and abundant ice


Tara also points out that none of the activities are too hard-core and, of course, you always have the option to skip a landing if you need more rest:

“As long as you can get up and down some steps, can step into a zodiac and onshore, then you can do this trip. It is not physically demanding…so no training is required to see this amazing wilderness. Those who want to challenge themselves more can sign up for optional activities like snowshoeing and kayaking or be adventurous and take a polar plunge. Moreover, the ship is incredibly comfortable and even indulgent – the perfect place to return to after an exciting day onshore" - Tara.


Polar plunge in Antarctica

Have trouble waking up in the morning? Try the Polar Plunge!


About the Antarctica Expedition aboard the Ocean Albatros

Exploring Antarctica is like stepping into a frozen wonderland where nature's beauty takes centre stage. From massive icebergs to adorable penguins, the journey is a visual feast of extraordinary proportions. Our adventure in this untouched wilderness aboard the Ocean Albatros left us in awe and reminded us of earth’s incredible diversity and the need to protect its farthest reaches.

The expedition ship you choose for your Antarctica expedition needs to fit you to a T. It needs to offer everything you love and the level of comfort you desire, and it needs to be just the right size and budget to make it possible. We hope our ship review of the Ocean Albatros has shed light on what this incredible vessel offers.

The Ocean Albatros offers expedition cruises to Antarctica in the southern summer and the Arctic in the northern summer – you can see the full array of expeditions on this ship right here.

Whether you feel it fits your bill or prefer to look for an alternative that might be better suited to you, feel free to contact our Antarctica Specialists at any time.

We’re always here to help make your Antarctica dream come true.

Click HERE for our full range of Antarctica expeditions.


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