Oceanwide celebrates 30 years of expedition cruising
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Oceanwide Expeditions. Starting with a humble three-masted herring lugger, Oceanwide has expanded into a four-vessel fleet offering voyages in multiple destinations across the Arctic, Antarctica, and the sub-Antarctic islands.
Formed in December 1993, OEX operated chiefly in Belize and the Galapagos before moving its focus to polar destinations like Svalbard and Greenland, amassing a formidable fleet that enabled it to expand operations to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falklands.
It was not until 2009 that Oceanwide began to resemble its current configuration, acquiring its longest-standing vessel, Plancius, followed by Ortelius in 2011, and finally the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel, Hondius, in 2019.
But what has not changed in Oceanwide’s 30 years as a frontrunner in polar travel is its commitment to close-contact, wildlife-centered voyages that emphasize maximum shore time and outdoor activities. Owning and operating all of its vessels also enables OEX to execute exceptionally flexible itineraries that respond rapidly to every weather and wildlife opportunity as it occurs.
This dynamic focus has earned Oceanwide five World’s Leading Polar Expedition Operator awards, two World’s Best Expedition Cruise Line awards, and many others. Nevertheless, OEX continues to prioritize immersive travel over accolades, holding true to its roots as a family-run company operating out of the small Dutch port town of Vlissingen.
“I take immense pride in Oceanwide’s rich history and evolution,” says CEO Michel van Gessel, “and I eagerly anticipate the future with utmost confidence. Our commitment to remain innovative, to continue evolving and improving, is an integral part of our identity.”
Main image by Sara Jenner