15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We, three ladies, booked the cruise with Hurtigruten through our agent in Hong Kong. So, the cost covers one night in Buenos Aires (BA) and the 14 days trip. Before the trip, I read enough review about the Fram. Of course, there are ... Read More
We, three ladies, booked the cruise with Hurtigruten through our agent in Hong Kong. So, the cost covers one night in Buenos Aires (BA) and the 14 days trip. Before the trip, I read enough review about the Fram. Of course, there are always mixed rating and comments of the same thing. So, with a little reservation, we went ahead, no choice, right! We were lucky that we get to stay in Emperor hotel in BA, a nice hotel. The register went well, only that we have to get our other information separately. It would be more efficient if all information can be given at one time and that the free wifi be given to us at the same time. Then, the arrangement for getting on board of the bus to the airport is a little low profile, we were not aware or no noticeable sign on boarding the bus. Together with the other Hurtigruten guests, we board on the plane, flew to Ushuaia, and finally on board of the ship. The guest register was a bit disorganize, may be guests can be lined up instead of a crowd jammed in front of the counter. Two major things being asked for are: to let Fram keeps the passport and how we prefer to pay our bill. I decided to make payment in cash and, thus, have to make a down payment of US$100. Then I was given a cabin access card with my name, photo and my birthday(some privacy data, no?) Ours is a standard four person cabin, though a bit crowded but still OK coz we are relatively smaller size as Asian. We wish Fram has upgraded us to a more spacious cabin especially when we heard that there are others being upgraded at the spot! Anyway, the cabin provides basic amenities. We are satisfied except that the cabin space is at least 15% smaller than expected. There are standard cruise activities that come with the fare as part of the package deal, and there are additional paid activities. We learnt about the paid activities first before getting information on the standard cruise activities. So, we booked some of the paid activities. After we've done the first standard activity, we think we better stick with the standard ones because of our energy level. All the standard activities were great, safe yet adventurous enough. We were right about our decision of just doing the standard ones, we enjoyed all of them but not feeling stressful. There were lecture, adventure stories telling and documentary film sections on the ship, so one will never feel bored. All activities were educational, a good balance of information, knowledge and fun. As we understand that Fram is an expedition ship we did not have high expectation as we do for other luxurious cruise, such as food, services, etc. And because of this, we found that all the meals were good! Lots of choices and above average quality to us as asian whose taste bud have been spoiled in our own city. We have no problem with the supply of water, tea, coffee and chocolate...which were provided in a 24 x 7 pantry or water bar. Of course, one will have to take a few steps. We did not order any alcohol drinks and have been having water only during all our meals until the last third day when all activities were done and the ship was heading back to Ushuaia. We had no worries of our health and energy condition then we started to have wine and beer every meal. Oh, even the boots were free of charge! Anyway, we brought our own. May be because we have a TV crew from Germany, and that the ship company wanted to make sure everyone is happily! But nothing is flawless, we were kept pick on using plastic bags to protect our camera by one of the expedition staff who was rude to us even in front of other guests. OK, we accept that is to protect Antarctica. BUT, we saw European and American guests using much bigger plastic bags to protect their canon like lenses!!! So large that one would not be able to not seeing these plastic bags!!! We felt being treated differently. We used the plastic bags because we read from some of reviews from different sources suggesting us using plastic bags to protect our camera. We thought that should not be a problem and we use the plastic bags in a way that it won't blow away unless together with the camera. Anyway, nothing is perfect. I suggest also put more smiles on ones face would be much better. I only see true smiling faces when we were stepping out of the ship on that last morning! Otherwise, I would definitely rate this cruise an excellent!. Last but not the least, the service crew members from Philippine were all very talented! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Notes on Hurtigruten National Park Expedition, 10 September to 24 September 2015 We had been looking forward to our third Explorer Voyage, to Iceland, North East Greenland and Spitzbergen National Park for some time but, unfortunately, ... Read More
Notes on Hurtigruten National Park Expedition, 10 September to 24 September 2015 We had been looking forward to our third Explorer Voyage, to Iceland, North East Greenland and Spitzbergen National Park for some time but, unfortunately, this last voyage was such a massive disappointment that, instead of us now planning our next trip with Hurtigruten, it is most unlikely that we will travel on the Fram or with them again. Signs of what was to come started with the mandatory safety drill. Compared with those on our 2012 and 2013 voyages when the drills went like clockwork the contrast could not have been greater: it was disorganised chaos made worse by the fact that many of the large Chinese contingent on board talked loudly and incessantly over the instructions when they were being given in English or German. Instead of standing in relatively small groups, a large number of passengers had to just mill about trying to catch a glimpse of the crew member demonstrating procedures. Now, it is most important to recognise and acknowledge that cultural and behavioural differences exist and one needs to be tolerant. However, it is a sad fact that the behaviour of many, a majority, of the large number of Chinese passengers left much to be desired. They seem to have no concept of personal space and constantly elbowed their way in wherever, be it on deck or in the lifts or in the dining room. In general, they took little notice of the timings of excursions, demanding to be carried even when their group had not been called, and then refusing to return to the boats at allotted times. It was also an unpleasant experience to follow some of them in the queues for the buffets watching them handle food before returning it to the counters. As for the trip itself well something went wrong early on. It appears that the wrong fuel had been delivered and put into some of the boats and so we hung about for a couple of days, in the, admittedly, beautiful scenery of the Scoresbysund waiting until the Fram could take on-board the correct fuel during a second stop at Ittoqqortoormiit. I am still not sure what actually went wrong as communication with passengers left a great deal to be desired. Whatever the reason, the delay put us two days behind schedule from then on. Now, it is obvious and right that the safety of the ship and of her passengers is paramount and that important decisions must be left to the captain. Nevertheless, when still in Iceland we had been told that the earlier trip from Spitzbergen had been unable to get into some of the planned landing places because of extensive sea-ice. The sea conditions we would meet were known, therefore, before we left Scoresbysund. Slowly, we made our way through sea mist and lots of ice to Myggbukta and then to ‘Dead Man’s Bay’ which was to be our last landing in Greenland as it was decided that the ice would not permit further progress north. Not a surprise really as that, as I have said, was already known. The Fram took a day extricating itself from the ice and then only after having tried all sorts of directions including reverse. The way that it eventually succeeded was to sail south again giving rise to rumours that we were heading back to Iceland. That was not to be so but the Fram, instead of just taking one day to cross to Spitzbergen, actually took two and a half days which severely curtailed the time that we had to see Spitzbergen. A visit to Ny Ålesund was cancelled as it was said that there was to be an oil clean-up drill there. The question then asked was whether Ny Ålesund did not know of the visit by the Fram or whether the Fram did not know of the oil clean-up drill? The Spitzbergen element of the holiday was severely curtailed. Luckily, we had previously circumnavigated the archipelago and had seen it but a number of our fellow passengers was very disappointed. There were good points, however, it was not all negative. The Filipino staff was as welcoming, friendly and courteous as ever, we were very fortunate to have had excellent company at set meals and then there was the wildlife.The high point of the trip was the seeing Humpback, Minke and Orca whales, polar bears, musk oxen, reindeer and Arctic fox. None of the above, however, was sufficient to make up for the serious problems we encountered on this voyage. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
First let me say it should tell you something that I'm posting this 3 years later. That's how disappointing this cruise was. Second, Antarctica is incredible, this cruise line does get you there, and it's worth going - despite the ... Read More
First let me say it should tell you something that I'm posting this 3 years later. That's how disappointing this cruise was. Second, Antarctica is incredible, this cruise line does get you there, and it's worth going - despite the incredible disappointment of the cruise company to deliver a quality safe experience in my opinion. And it is all about the hospitality in this case. If you want to just go on an expedition cruise and not care about food, towels, coffee, comfort... then sure. This is fine. But for the price and with just a little effort they could do so much better. People save their whole livest to get to Antarctica. Why not make an effort. The basics: The ship is fine. I am more concerned with seaworthy and safety in this case. However, the common area is pathetically sad. It's like a small bad lounge in a drab little Euro-hotel. Bad coffee. Stale cookies. It all feels like an uninviting afterthought. Just one aspect of failed hospitality effort that never really brought the cruise together nor made one feel welcomed. The food was terrible. Which at first I figured we were at the end of the world and supplies were limited. But when we explored Ushuaia we found plenty of fresh produce, good coffee, pastries... at reasonable prices. Clearly Hurtigruten could have sourced better. There were literally fights in the dining area. Over what I can't even imagine. All the food tasted like hospital food. Really sad. There is nothing that says luxury at all. The towels were small, worn, scratchy and scarce. Yes we went to an amazing place and got to go on an incredible adventure. I'll always cherish that. But they could have done so much better with the slightest awareness of hospitality. At one point, wanting to create an experience for myself and friends we made on the trip, I paid our guide to pluck a piece of calved glacier ice from the water. I created a moment in the bar where we chiseled-off a piece of that prehistoric ice that contained compressed air bubbles from millennia ago. When you poured a liquor over it you could hear those bubble effervesce. Simple. Magical. Special. Not vaguely in the awareness of our host. Lastly, be warned that if there's a medical emergency, your cruise is ruined. Too much to explain here, but research it. We were told that the cruise before ours lost 4 days for and emergency evacuation. One is supposed to have a doctor's note to go on this adventure. On several occasions we saw people put into very precarious positions by the crew. (Many of which kind of came off as junior-college level awkward dolts. The geologist was frankly weird and rude). These situations could have easily resulted in a crisis. For just one example: a clearly overweight, out of shape, knee brace person with cane teetering on the edge of a portable aluminum stair case while trying to get out of a heavily rocking raft in rubber boots onto a very slippery rocky shore with crashing waves. We actually did have a medical emergency that could have ruined our journey. A man that had several prior hip / knee surgeries fell on the boat. But thankfully there happened to be an anesthesiologist and a surgeon on board. And we were told his wife, having been through so many surgeries, provided critical assistance. Without all of that good fortune we would have ad to go to South Shetlands (if I recall) and wait for good weather and airlift. The ship is required to sit in port until weather clears enough for the plane to leave. Overall, we're thrilled we got to go. We loved it. It was worth the risk. But we make the most or any experience. The places we got to see were truly once in a lifetime. And the austere beauty of this other worldly place is unrivaled. It's just too bad that this company doesn't interested in making a sincere effort to make it special. Read Less
Fram Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 2.0 2.8
Public Rooms 3.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.8

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