FAQ

479 questions found

Category

Region

Destination

Highlights

Ship

Q: Update Coronavirus: Vessel update, 27 March 2020, 10.30pm

UPDATE: 27 March 2020, 10.30pm

We are very pleased and relieved to inform, that this evening all passengers have disembarked our vessels Plancius and Ortelius in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

All passengers are now on their way home!

It was an extreme expedition and we would sincerely thank our passengers for their patience and understanding, as it wasn’t easy. 

To all friends and families of our passengers, they will be home soon! 

We want to express our appreciation to the authorities of Montevideo and Uruguay who made this possible in this very extreme situation,to provide a “corridor sanitaire” to the airport. 

Lastly a special thanks to so many Embassies with whom we worked with in good cooperation over the last weeks. Their support and help was magnificent!

We wish our passengers safe travels back home.

“Difficulties are just things to overcome.”  Ernest Shackleton

Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions
 
 

The following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board, and our agents:

 
Vlissingen, 25th March 2020
 
Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff and Agents,
 
Important notice:
 
Now the vessels are underway to Montevideo, which is a safe port of disembarkation, with arrival early this morning passengers will need to book flights and disembark.
 
Also embassies are urging their residents to book flights and get home asap.
 
As flights are available, staying onboard is NOT an option.
 
We hope you understand, as we always have stated, that we wanted to bring our passengers to a safe port and until then they could remain onboard.
Now this safe port has been reached and everybody can travel home.
 
We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding and wish you safe travels home.
 
Trust to have informed you.

Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions
 

The following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board, and our agents:

 
Vlissingen, 24th March 2020, 5.30pm
 
Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff, and Agents
 
We have finally received confirmation that our vessels Plancius and Ortelius will enter the port of Montevideo this evening.
 
Please confirm or make your travel bookings urgently!
Preferably for 25th, 26th or 27th
 
Our crew onboard will need this information as soon as possible.
 
The British embassy informed us that we have a very good chance to get everybody underway and they expect flight availability at least until the weekend.
LATAM is reacting on demand and we have informed them our needs.
 
You will need to make a booking as long as flights available.
 
Disembarkation will be trough the corridor sanitaire which means the following:
  • Passengers will only be allowed to disembark if they have a confirmed flight, and the Uruguayan government has confirmation that that flight is en route to Uruguay.
  • Passengers will be screened as they leave by the health authority, and all passengers must wear gloves and masks. We will provide these.
  • Once disembarked, passengers will be escorted straight to the airport by coach, where they will have to wait in a prepared area for their flights.
Trust to have informed you.
 
Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions
 

Late last night, the following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board:

 
Vlissingen, 23th March 2020
 
Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff,
 
We have just heard from one of the embassies that this evening that, one of the other vessels in the same situation as ours, that was waiting for disembarking their passengers, have successfully done so trough the “corridor sanitaire” as instated by the authorities in Montevideo. 
 
The embassy states, that they have no reason to believe that the same would not work for those still having to disembark passengers in the coming days, and thus we hope we will get the confirmation of our port days soon. We have now asked for 25 and 26 March but as said, we are awaiting confirmation.
 
One of the embassies have informed as follows:
 
Flight schedules and availability remains subject to change and / or cancellation at very short notice. The embassies understanding is that flights to Sao Paolo and Santiago are still available. LATAM confirmed that there are 20+ seats available for general sale via GDS from MVD to SCL on Thursday 26th March with an onward connection to London with British airways on Friday 27th March. 
 
We also know that embassies are still working hard to make other (commercial) flights available. That is not an easy process and we do not know if this will be in time. They are keeping us updated.
 
About the information send earlier today about a possible charter flight we once again need to state that this is a initiative from a travel-agent and we are not further involved in this, nor with any onward travel. 
 
The number of flights that might be available during our port dates we do not know unfortunately, as you understand this is changing continuously, we also do not know if there will be enough flights for everybody.
 
We want to state, and this is important to realize, that there will be a time that we need to proceed with our vessels. If there is no outlook to either commercial flights and/or Government operated flights at short notice, our vessels will have to continue onwards. Even though, how much we would like you to travel homebound, if restrictions prohibit us to disembark you, we need to accept that and deal with that situation.
 
Between Montevideo and the vessels final destination Vlissingen, The Netherlands, there are not really viable ports anymore; either due to the current restrictions of mandatory quarantine period of 14 days when disembarking the vessel (even given the time already spent onboard), or not accepting the vessels at all.
 
We only want to disembark people when there is a reasonable expectation to reach their homeport and not being stranded at an airport, or being quarantined in a foreign country, and we hope as well that you understand we cannot call every port underway in order to try disembarkation.  
 
This might have an unfortunate result that some of you will have to remain on the ship until we reach Vlissingen, The Netherlands. That is a rather long journey of approx. 3,5 weeks.
 
We understand that each and everyone of you has a clear wish to go home as soon as possible. Unfortunately the current situation in the world does not provide us the opportunity to do so in a quick way. We have no influence on the restrictions Governments put in place and have to deal with the limitations that these bring. 
 
Should it turn out that as mentioned above, we can only provide you the continued safe environment of our vessels which, we will off course do so.
 
After our call in Montevideo, our vessels will have enough provisions for all onboard and enough bunkers to reach Vlissingen.
 
But such a journey requires a lot! 
From you, our passengers, but also from our Crew and staff.
As once we set sail from Montevideo, it’s important to realize that this is for a period of 3,5 weeks. 
 
On the other hand, in many places in the world, people are required to remain inside their houses for the same period of time in order to avoid further spreading of the COVID-19 Virus. 
 
By being in contact with your relatives and from reading news online, we assume that you have a better picture of what the situation in the world is today. 
 
The situation you are in, is very unfortunate and we hope for your continued understanding and support.
 
Then lastly, a practical matter: 
 
We have opened up the internet for your convenience but have learnt that because of extreme usage (which we do understand), your and our email did not transfer during a large part of the day. We see heavy downloads of computer and program updates in traffic logs and we would really urge you to refrain from large downloads. We need our communication means to be available at all times.
 
Therefore we might on certain moments need to temporarily shut down access, this is for making essential communication or receiving essential navigation information possible. We will open it back up again, as soon as possible. We hope for your understanding. 
 
We trust to have informed you for the moment.
 
Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions
 

The following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board and to the agents that have these passengers booked:

Vlissingen, 22nd March 2020, 7.11pm

Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff,

Our efforts for a call to Montevideo continue.

We have some very active embassies that are working hard with the Uruguay government. They are updating us twice a day about their progress. 

The Government has been discussing about the preliminary ideas for their “corridor sanitaire”. And they have issued what looks as their draft requirements.

One of those, is that we need a scanned copy of all passports. The Hotel staff will start working on this.

So on one hand there is something happening, on the other hand we need to be careful and temper your expectations. 

The requirements remain, that passengers may disembark only when in possession of a valid flight ticket departing Uruguay, homebound, with flight departure on the day of your disembarkation.
 
However, until the exact details and requirements from the Government are known, we do not know exactly what the disembarkation date / flight departure date will be to book and/or when we will be allowed into the port.

And then the question, will flights be available? 

As we are not the only one… several vessels are anchored off of Montevideo with the same wish; getting their passengers disembarked and travelling home.

Collectively, we are pushing for Governments taking a lead in this and try if they are willing to arrange extra flights, we as vessel operators have no influence on the availability of flights off course. We have 27 nationalities onboard our vessels, so we assume you all need to travel to different places. 

One of the aspects that we are really looking into is keeping our vessels healthy. 
We have absolutely no signs of COVID-19 onboard and we want to keep it like that. 
 
We are asking questions and want to have clarity from the government of Uruguay, if and why there is the need for people or authorities to board the vessel upon arrival in Montevideo. Especially because ultimately our vessels will be at sea for more than three weeks until
Vlissingen. Hopefully with only crew but off course we do not know that at this stage.

Your safety and those of our crew is our greatest concern!  

We trust to have informed you for the moment.

Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions

 


The following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board and to the agents that have these passengers booked:

Vlissingen, 21th March 2020, 7.23 pm

Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff,

Since we heard late last night that our next destination will be Montevideo instead of Buenos Aires we confirmed to our local agent our intentions and are now working out the details and possibilities.

All embassies in Uruguay/Montevideo have been updated about our change and that our course is now towards Montevideo.

We are exchanging details with them and we are making the planning with the ships-agent.

Our ETA there will be on the 25th. But we do not know at what time we will be allowed inside.
Perhaps we will need to stay there 25th and 26th but those details we are discussing now with agent and embassies.

The same applies in Montevideo as it now does in many other places. 
You will need a valid flight ticket to be able to disembark. Flights are however very limited. 
But, I hope more get available as there are more vessels than ours heading towards Montevideo carrying a lot of people wanting to go home as well.

Because of Plancius not being able to take bunkers and provisions in Ushuaia we need to stop there anyway to be able to take bunkers for the vessels and to get provisions for Plancius. Without those the vessel cannot proceed.

We have received the list with the medication that is needed for our passengers and will order that as well. 

I hope that we soon get more detailed information from Montevideo that we can share with you. 

Trust to have informed you for the moment

Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions

 


The following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board and to the agents that have these passengers booked:

Vlissingen, 20th March 2020, 10.15pm

 

Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff, Agents,

We have just been informed by our contacts at various embassies that Buenos Aires is not an option for us anymore.

The latest decision from Argentine Government is to deny all disembarkation of passenger vessels in Buenos Aires.

Although expected, it’s a change of plans again, same as the old explorers in Antarctica had to change their plans continuously and so will we.

Next stop Montevideo!

We have just been informed that passengers will be allowed disembarkation if passengers are in possession of a valid air ticket and we are preparing the exact details of arrival times in Montevideo which would be needed for flight bookings. 

We are also in contact with embassies to see in what way governments can assist with flights as we are aware that that commercial flights are very limited available, if any.

But we can take at least the required bunkers there and some provisions which are needed for Plancius.

We are also working on making sure we have the necessary additional (passenger's personal) medication for our passengers for a longer stay onboard, should this be needed.

To be clear; our vessels have been at sea since:

Plancius 9  March
Ortelius 16 February
Hondius 24 February 

All people on board are in good health and we have no signs of COVID-19 infections.
 
Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions
 

The following message has been sent to our passengers, staff and crew on board and to the agents that have these passengers booked:

 
Vlissingen, 20th March 2020, 11.25am
 
Dear Passengers, Captain, Crew and Staff, Agents,
 
This is to keep you informed on the current situation.
 
All our vessels have now either departed Ushuaia or have deviated towards Buenos Aires. The Oceanwide fleet of Hondius, Plancius and Ortelius are moving together northbound.
 
Plancius has onboard 114 passengers and 48 crewmembers
Ortelius has onboard 98 passengers and 50 crewmembers
Hondius has onboard 59 crewmembers
 
We are still working very hard to get approval to enter Buenos Aires. But as stated earlier Argentina will be in a total lock-down until 31 March.
 
We have daily contact with embassies and they are pushing hard to allow a port entry in Buenos Aires. We are aware that embassies are working very hard to arrange extra flights for repatriation, these discussions are ongoing between embassies and the Argentine Government including major airlines.
 
At the same time we are working on Montevideo and Brazil. The Falkland Islands/Malvinas are closed so those are no option.
 
We have opened up the Wifi-access onboard so you should be able to keep your relatives or others updated of your whereabouts. We will also regularly update our social media channels with up-to-date information. 
While we understand the concern of your relatives please ask them not to contact our offices with questions, because many at this stage we cannot answer. 
 
We will keep you updated and our social media channels with latest information, please refer homefront to that.
 
As stated we are aiming at Buenos Aires for the 26th, but this is not confirmed yet. We hope the weather conditions will make that possible and off course the authorities.
 
Please rest assured that our goal is not getting you off the ship, we want to get you home! While there are many uncertainties and changing situations we hope for your good spirit and cooperation. We are dealing with a situation new to all of us. 
We have to make the best out of it as long as we are together in this!
 
Stay safe!
 
Michel van Gessel - CEO
Mark van der Hulst - COO
Oceanwide Expeditions
 

Vlissingen, 19 March 2020

Important information (last update: Thursday 19 March 2020 , 14:00 hrs Amsterdam time)

The global health situation caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) may cause concrete travel restrictions and related uncertainties for clients / travelers.

In order to encounter those anxieties and to offer protection in these insecure times we will give answers to urgent questions.

We are monitoring the situation closely and do everything possible to assist in relation with your upcoming voyage with us.

Due to high volumes of calls and emails, you find here first answers to most asked questions .

Please stay alert for further notifications and updates from our side.

Was this article helpful?

Questions?

Can't find the answers you're looking for?

Contact our support team and we'll personally get back to you as quickly as we can.

Related cruises

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice
Up to 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS02-20. Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

27 May - 3 Jun, 2020

Price:

4100 USD 3300 USD 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice
Up to 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS03-20. Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

3 Jun - 10 Jun, 2020

Price:

4100 USD 3300 USD 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice
Up to 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS04-20. Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

10 Jun - 17 Jun, 2020

Price:

4100 USD 3300 USD 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice
Up to 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen, In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

OTL05-20. Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearben, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

12 Jun - 19 Jun, 2020

Price:

4100 USD 3300 USD 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen – Summer Solstice - In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice
Up to 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen – Summer Solstice - In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS05-20. Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

17 Jun - 24 Jun, 2020

Price:

4100 USD 3300 USD 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen – Summer Solstice - In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice
Up to 800 USD discount

North Spitsbergen – Summer Solstice - In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

OTL06-20. Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearben, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

19 Jun - 26 Jun, 2020

Price:

4100 USD 3300 USD 800 USD discount

Category

Region

Destination

Ship