Antarctica Marathon 2014: OneOcean Ship Valvilov
This is a review of the OneOcean ship Valvilov that took us down to Antarctica.
- Running A Marathon in Antarctica and Australia in 2014
- Hotels, Flights, Final Deposit, Medevac Insurance
- Flight BOS-JFK-EZE (Domestic first, 777-200 business)
- Sheraton Libertador Review
- Marriott Park Plaza Hotel (San Martin) Review
- Shakeout Run in Buenos Aires
- Buenos Aires Daytime Bicycle tour (urban bike)
- Las Nazarenas and Argentinian Cuisine
- Marathon Tours Champagne Toast and Dinner
- EZE City Tour with Marathon Tours
- Flight down to Ushuaia (on Aerolineas Argentinas)
- OneOcean Ship Introduction (valvilov)
- First Night at Sea
- First Full Day at Sea
- Ship Daily Routine
- Marathon Tours and OneOcean cruise
- Trip Clothing and Gear Recommendations
- Antarctica Camera and Tech Recommendations
- Staying Online in Antarctica, Tweeting and FB via Email
- Alcohol onboard Marathon Tours Antarctic Cruise
- Kayaking on Marathon Tours Antarctica Marathon Trip
- Day 1: Yankee Harbor, vacuum Party, and Zodiac operations
- Day 2: Half Moon Island
- Day 3: Race Day
- Antarctica Marathon Runner Highlight: Overall Winner: Bartek
- Antarctica Marathon Runner Highlight: Blind Runner: Henrick Wagner
- Day 4: Dahno Island, Michelson Bay
- Day 4: Race Award Ceremony
- Day 5: Curverville Island, Wilhelmina Bay
- Day 6: Paradise Bay, First and only Continental Antarctica Landing
- Day 6: Outdoor BBQ in Paradise Bay
- Day 6: Paradise Bay Zodiac Cruise and Seals
- Day 6: Champagne Toast and after dinner Pictionary
- Sheraton BA convention Center Review
- AA First EZE-MIA-BOS Review
OneOcean Ship Introduction:
OneOcean is a company that does tours in the Arctic and Antarctic. When the ship is traveling between the poles, they lease their ships to scientists so they can do research aboard their ship. The Russian government owns these ships and were staffed by Russians. The crew that interacted with passengers spoke English.
We boarded the ship around 4pm once we cleared the border control into the dock.
Electrical Outlets: All over the ship, it was the European (two round) plugs. They do have a few adapters but make sure to bring your own or borrow from another passengers. We spent 10 days together so many of the passengers got very comfortable and close with one another.
Reception Area: This was were a crew member was stationed for most of the day and they handled all sorts of requests and can help with issues with the room. You can also get miscellaneous items here, such as razors, flash drives and blank DVDs. It is in the middle of deck 3.
Room (shared bathrooom double): My room was next to the reception area which was very convenient. Surprisingly, I didn’t hear too much noise from the hallway as we are on a very short dead-ended hallway. I thought it was odd that almost all of the rooms on the portside of deck 3 had guys, even though the womens bathroom and shower were on our side. The mens bathroom and shower were on the starboard side of deck 3.
Gym: Very small but adequate as this ship is a research vessel most of the year and at certain times of the year its open to tourists. As there were close to 70 runners on the ship, this room stayed pretty busy. Some managed to get some long runs in before the marathon while the ship was moving.
Presentation Room: Many chairs with projector. We used this room as our own movie room when a presentation wasn’t being held here. It is always empty where there wasn’t a presentation. It is on deck 2 using the center staircase.
Multimedia Room: Three macs, one PC. The race photos were only loaded onto one Mac. It is on deck 2 using the front staircase down.
Library: I almost forgot about this room as I never used it. It is on deck 5 with view of the bow of the ship. There are some arm chairs just outside of the library in case you wanted to relax in a quiet space and talk.
Lounge/Bar: Valvilov – big and upstairs on deck 6 behind the bridge of the ship. Many windows that offers great views of the surroundings, except for the front/bow of the ship.
They have coffee and tea during the day and night (not overnight), and what tastes like ovaltine in a small glass jar.
Here are some pictures of the deck area (deck 6) just outside of the lounge. There is an additional viewing area on deck 7 as well.
Lounge/bar on the Ioffe: slightly smaller but with almost no view of the outside. It is towards the back on deck 3 behind the Mud Room.
Dining Room: It is of a fair size and can easily handle the 100+ guests and Marathon Tours crew. There was another 40 or so crewman that worked on the ship. They have their own dining room, break room, and living quarters on deck 2.
Mud Room: This was the room we traveled through to get off the ship. It usually contained all of our wet weather gear, along with our boots and life vests. We would go through this room so that we could dry off and decontaminate ourselves before/after we got off/on the ship. We would wash our boots outside of the Mud Room before and after each excursion. The first time it took most of us about 20 minutes to get everything on and adjusted but as the trip went on, it became much quicker, closer to 5-10 minutes on most occasions.
Zodiacs: These were the ships we used to get onto land in Antarctica. You walk down the gangplank into these small crafts. At first it was pretty scary to get on but after a few days, I felt pretty safe in it, even in huge waves. You may get wet if there are large waves but for the most part you can stay pretty dry. Always wear your wet weather gear.
These crafts are designed to handle about 25 passengers. They only use it to ferry 12 (with the pilot so 13 total) so in case one of the other Zodiacs have an issue, they can pick up all of the other passengers without any problems. There are six individual inflatable sections and even if two were to completely deflate, it would still be able to handle 25 passengers so don’t worry about the safety of these crafts.
Lifeboat: It is quite large inside and can accommodate 100 people inside. There are two of these crafts, one on each side of the ship.
Overview of the ship:
On our ship, it’s best to stay on the lowest deck as the bridge is usually open, and the lounge has amazing views of the sides of the ship. The lounge is on deck 6, behind the bridge.
As reception is on deck 3, I would prefer to stay on deck 3 as its is very convenient to go to your meals, go to the gym on deck 1, presentation room on deck 1, mud room also on deck 3. It is a bit far from the lounge on deck 6 and it can be very noisy due to the foot traffic as it is a very critical deck. I believe all rooms on deck 3 have shared bathrooms. There are separate bathrooms and showers for men and women, all on deck 3. It may be a bit weird for girls to walk around in their towels coming out of the shower with a ton of people walking around.
If you want a quieter deck, you can try to choose deck 4 but they are all twin private bathrooms, which you share with just one other room. Deck 5 has the suites and more twin private bathrooms.
Most of the ship crew stay on deck 2. OneOcean staff (guides, hotel manager, etc) stay on deck 3 in twin shared rooms. Some of them stay on the busy side of deck 3 near the mud room. Some of the senior officers on board like the Captain of the ship has a room on deck 5, just under the bridge.
Everything you need to buy on board is charged to your room. Things like disposable razors, jacket rentals, kayak trip, anything from the bar can be charged to your room. You can pay it off with your credit card or US cash. They are at the reception area.
Other pictures of the ship:
how much does this cruise cost?
I did this cruise as part of the Antarctica Marathon by Marathon tours. The whole package was about $8000, including a few days in Buenos Aires without airfare. You can look on the oneocean website for Antarctic cruise pricing, which is about $7-8k for their 10 day cruise and goes up to about $15 for a two week cruise.