5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've travelled several times before on Fran and have always loved the ship, but we're less enamoured this time. First, the good. The crew are amazing. They work so hard and are so professional. Many do more than one job and ... Read More
We've travelled several times before on Fran and have always loved the ship, but we're less enamoured this time. First, the good. The crew are amazing. They work so hard and are so professional. Many do more than one job and work really long hours, but they are unfailingly cheerful and friendly, welcoming you back like a long lost friend. There were major problems in their cruise (documented elsewhere and not the topic of this review), but the expedition team did their best to give everyone the best experience given the conditions and lack of time/resources to organise landings. Next, the bad. The food. In the past we have rated the food highly. No longer. there was often little choice. Some was frankly inedible, such as the vegetarian set meal one evening . I had the fish alternative- cold and barely cooked. There was too much obvious recycling of food: the 'steam-roasted' ( even I know the difference in cooking!) vegetables a classic example. Steamed one night, heated up by being roasted the next then cold for salad the next. Decent fresh ingredients were just spoilt by being badly cooked. Apart from the bread and pastries - delicious as ever. Now the ugly. The penny-pinching. Little things such as: no tissues in bsthrooms, turning off the coffee machine after lunch, running out of hot chocolate .....to mention a few.. Hurtigruten cruises are not cheap and, quite frankly, we don't expect this level of penny- pinching. It just leaves a bad impression. Please remember that this is an expedition ship NOT a cruise ship.. There is no need to dress up in the evenings and don't expect evening entertainment, swimming pools, organised activities beyond the expedition landings etc. If this is what you want, then this is not the ship for you. Much as we have enjoyed Hurtigruten 's explorer voyages in the past, we will probably look elsewhere in the future. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We paid a deposit at the time of booking. When it came time to pay the remainder, I hadn't heard anything from Hurtigruten. I contacted them to ask for an invoice saying how much we owed. They sent it but failed to mention that their ... Read More
We paid a deposit at the time of booking. When it came time to pay the remainder, I hadn't heard anything from Hurtigruten. I contacted them to ask for an invoice saying how much we owed. They sent it but failed to mention that their banking information had changed. Fortunately I caught it last minute otherwise some stranger would have received a lot of money. Food is only available at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are no snacks available in the evening. As a result, I would have to remember in the morning at breakfast to take some snacks back to the room to store in the fridge. If I forgot we went hungry. The delivery of lectures is poor. It was regularly difficult to hear in the back of the room, and it was impossible to see the screen unless you sat in the first few rows. A room with a graded floor would help avoid that problem. The door design to the outer deck 5 is absurd. It opens right into part of the ship giving about 10 inches of clearance to get through the door when coming back inside from the front of the boat. Apparently excursions booked at the time of booking are non refundable. This was never told to me in writing or in person when I booked the cruise over the phone. It was never written on any of the invoices from Hurtigruten. This made it very challenging during the cruise to cancel excursions, although before we left the boat we were assured that the paperwork for the cancellations was complete and that we would be receiving a refund. Our cruise finished Jun 30, and today it is July 17. After many back and forth emails, I have received a partial refund (although they insist the full refund was issued) and my husband has received nothing. It takes at least a week if not longer to hear back from them. Hurtigruten is by far the most unprofessional company I have ever had to deal with. I have no intentions of traveling with them again in the future. The cruise industry is competitive and I have many other options. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were particularly interested in the kayaking and camping opportunities which were heavily advertised in the brochure and a major selling point for the trip. Although these were optional activities, the wording and photographs suggested ... Read More
We were particularly interested in the kayaking and camping opportunities which were heavily advertised in the brochure and a major selling point for the trip. Although these were optional activities, the wording and photographs suggested that the only reason you might not be able to participate would be inclement weather. On the cruise, a meeting was arranged to present these activities and we were informed that only 3 groups of 12 kayakers would be organised. As the activity would obviously be oversubscribed, a list would be posted outside the meeting and a 'draw' made to select participants. There would be no camping due to 'staffing issues'. Nothing more was announced until the day before the kayaking when a list of 36 names was posted on a noticeboard. 18 of these were members of a Chinese party who, we were told, had 'special status' due to them being 'around the world' customers. The remaining 18 places were heavily oversubscribed and so many passengers did not get to kayak. With over 200 passengers on the Fram this was a very poor ratio for an activity which was so heavily promoted in the cruise brochure. I wrote to Hurtigruten regarding this issue and finally received a reply pointing out that kayaking and camping were cancelled on this trip due to bad weather. When I pointed out that the the weather had been glorious and the kayaking actually went ahead they eventually sent a very short reply stating that passenger safety was the most important consideration! I still don't know if they simply sent me a stock answer or whether the ship had given them incorrect information. Either way, the matter was dealt with in a very disappointing manner. So, Antarctica and South Georgia are wonderful destinations but if you want to kayak, camp, hike or carry out any of the advertised activities be very careful booking with Hurtigruten. There are other excellent companies out there! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
The main reason for taking this cruise was to see exotic Greenland and Iceland at the same time. This cruise only offered 1 stop in Iceland after leaving Reykjavik but I spent a full week in Iceland on my own using a rented car to ... Read More
The main reason for taking this cruise was to see exotic Greenland and Iceland at the same time. This cruise only offered 1 stop in Iceland after leaving Reykjavik but I spent a full week in Iceland on my own using a rented car to appreciate that wonderful and scenic island. We were lucky to have smooth sailing the whole trip, slightly bumpier going across to Greenland but still pretty smooth considering. Weather was also in our favour 90% of the time, with fog lifting when appropriate. All of the stops on this itinerary where worthwhile and Hurtigruten does a great job of getting everyone off and back on with their small tender boats (max. 8 people). Generally, the stops were interesting enough on their own but most stops had excursion options if you wished, like escorted hikes, glacial boat rides, kayaking, etc. Two stops included a guided hike without charge. The first stop in Greenland included a natural warm water spa which was fun to partake with a small changing hut nearby. The regular cabins are done well while the suites (which I had) are that much better in the bedding, amenities, wine & beer at lunch/dinner, espresso/cappuccino at breakfast, 2 bottles of water and chocolate each evening and housecoats to keep. The vast majority of the crew and staff are friendly and helpful. The front desk staff stood out for me. Most of the expedition team are interesting, friendly and approachable. Among 14 expedition team members, there were only 2 natural English speakers and the rest were mostly from Germany originally (although 1 was from Netherlands, another from Poland, 2 from Greenland and 1 other from Iceland). All lectures, information sessions and excursions were in 2 languages: English and German. I am sure the Germans had it easy with so many German native speakers in the team, but the lectures in English were often difficult to follow or at least awkward to listen and understand, except when the very interesting and knowledgeable Canadian guy lead a session or a group/excursion ashore. Of the 12 European expedition team members, I would say 2 of them had great English (as a second language) and 2 more were pretty good, while the rest ranged from OK to terrible English. Food was EXCELLENT overall with a good variety and different menus such as Norwegian (of course), Greenlandic, Filipino, sea food and lots of great lamb. All of the service staff (restaurant, bar and stewards) were from Philippines. They worked very hard and most were super friendly. The Fram ship is fantastic and well dressed for sailing polar waters in great comfort. The decorations around the ship are interesting and well done, relating to polar expedition history and the original Fram vessel from the 1890s. There is a wonderful lounge and bar on the top level, 2 hot tubs, good size gym, 2 lecture rooms, a bistro and games room and a spacious and well appointed restaurant at the stern on deck 4 (of 8). There are also great outdoor viewing spots on decks 5, 7 and 8. One day, we could not get to our planned port of call because of too many icebergs blocking the entrance. To make up for this, the captain stopped in a strategic spot in a large fjord with several stationary icebergs around and we spent a few hours exploring these bergs close-up with the small tender boats (either 7 or 10 pax at a time, depending on the boat size). This was an unexpected great surprise which really added a wonderful experience to all to feel the wonder and awe of these creations of nature. The last 3 days on this trip were perhaps the most memorable starting with viewing the ice berg factory at Ilulissat, then stopping at a small hamlet where we got to visit inside a Greenland home for coffee and sweets, participated or watched a football match between the Fram crew/guests and the village (they won easily), enjoying some Greenland music in a sing-along with villagers, and on the final day a well orchestrated day of visiting the Greenland ice cap, looking for animals (Musk Ox was spotted) and a wonderful outdoor meal before being flown overnight to Copenhagen on a chartered Airbus 330 Greenland Air flight ... which was also excellent with open bar, full hot breakfast served, headphones and in-seat personal entertainment system. This was a super experience with an excellent and appropriate ship which is well thought out and executed by Hurtigruten. Highly recommended. Read Less
51 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We actually didn't sail on that date as we didn't sail at all and I wanted to share my experience of the customer service you should expect when your cruise gets cancelled by Hurtigruten. My mother was informed of the ... Read More
We actually didn't sail on that date as we didn't sail at all and I wanted to share my experience of the customer service you should expect when your cruise gets cancelled by Hurtigruten. My mother was informed of the cancellation when she was about to board the plane to Norway. Not only she spent the whole time crying and worrying, but no alternative was provided. The refund didn't come through until 6 days after the cancelled trip so my mum had to borrow money from me in order to get to Trondheim, the final destination of the cruise ship. When I politely asked to cover expenses in order for us to get to Trondheim, I was refused citing "it is not our policy" though in terms and conditions there are vague statements of cancellation refunds as well as complaints procedures. We have spent an extra £500 trying to get to Trondheim which we have otherwise never gone to if the cruise was cancelled 2 or 3 weeks before the date but as all our hotels have been pre-paid it was a horrible experience. If anyone has any explanation for how a trip organiser isn't liable for customer's getting from A to B that they have sold on the first place, please share with me. This is the first of a kind for me and I would personally never organise anything with Hurtigruten again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We took an "Arctic Islands Expedition" trip on FRAM, sailing from Tromso, Norway on May 13, 2016 and finished at Reykyavik, Iceland on May 22nd. In between we had three Zodiac landings (Bear Island, Hornsund, and Jan Mayan) as ... Read More
We took an "Arctic Islands Expedition" trip on FRAM, sailing from Tromso, Norway on May 13, 2016 and finished at Reykyavik, Iceland on May 22nd. In between we had three Zodiac landings (Bear Island, Hornsund, and Jan Mayan) as well as three port dockings at Ny Alesund, Longyearbyen, and Isofordur, the first two were in Svalbard and the third was in Iceland. The scenery was excellent, this goes without saying. There were a bit more than 200 passengers, about 40% are Germans, 30% Norwegians, 25% British, and 10% Americans. Most passengers are quite experienced. In particular, in preparing for the tour I read numerous reviews on CruiseCritic, and noticed that several of them had rather harsh reviews on the ship. We are quite satisfied with the ship and with our cabin (cabin 346, category N, about 140 sq ft and fitted for handicapped access). In comparing with many other cruises we have taken on other cruise lines, we did not find anything close to excessive nickeling-and-diming. Water, coffee, and tea in the dining room are freely available, and good hot cocoa is available round the clock outside the dining room. The food is plentiful - it does become monotonous after a few days but nobody comes abroad for Norwegian cuisine anyhow. All services, from dining staff to expedition team members, are at least functional. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The company is wonderfully skilled at the cruise thing. The exploration team was varied in expertise and covered every aspect of animal, mineral and social knowledge. They put safety first and we always felt in good hands. They educated us ... Read More
The company is wonderfully skilled at the cruise thing. The exploration team was varied in expertise and covered every aspect of animal, mineral and social knowledge. They put safety first and we always felt in good hands. They educated us thoroughly on our landings, what to expect and encouraged exploration. The ship is designed for beautiful flow and both social and solitary activities. The many possible sitting areas and the view from the windows and decks would satisfy anyone. This is an exploration and expedition cruise. The cruise is for people interested in learning and being actively involved. This is not a cruise for those interested in being passively entertained or have a need to be pampered and treated like royalty. On this cruise you are encouraged to learn, read, listen, question, kayak, camp, walk, sleep and eat a wonderful array of food. The bread and desserts as well as the roasted lamb was wonderful. I slept like a baby. The ship's stabilizers prevented almost all side to side movement and with seas almost without waves for the three weeks I can't speak to how the ship handles during storms. We made all landings and even an extra stop at Deception Island because of our legendary good weather. But I did hear people at Port Stanley say that the bridge crew of Hurtigruten is more skilled and confident than many other tour companies and often makes landings when other ships are afraid to do so. Besides camping and photography lessons and reading with tea and cookies in hand, I loved all the watercolor lessons we were offered. From the hotel, and back to the hotel, ships staff made everything so easy. Nothing seemed impossible. And I did not meet one grumpy or unpleasant person onboard the ship. I am currently making plans for my next Fram with my son and also another Hurtigruten voyage with my mother. My only complain is for the Hurtigruten front office. Getting responses or questions answered by them is like pulling out your own teeth one at a time. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Firstly, I am not a travel writer or Author, I write as it comes to my head and this is my honest opinion. This was our first time cruising on Hurtigrutens Ms Fram. After reading all the reviews we were somewhat skeptical about our ... Read More
Firstly, I am not a travel writer or Author, I write as it comes to my head and this is my honest opinion. This was our first time cruising on Hurtigrutens Ms Fram. After reading all the reviews we were somewhat skeptical about our trip. We consider ourselves well traveled, this was our 7th Continent, 69th Country, 409th City (Ushuaia) and 14th Cruise. I cannot Thank Hurtigruten enough for providing us with a FANTASTIC experience, Fantastic Service and Unforgettable Trip. The Drake was kind to us although not the smoothest sailing but it was not hectic and with a little medication we made it with no more than a wobble here and there. WARNING - take your own Motion sickness meds and take them when boarding Fram, don't wait to you hit the Drake Passage. Our Stateroom Category M2 was very comfortable on Deck 6. The catering was very good and satisfied our pallets. Enough choice and to be honest we could have had buffet over the whole period. The bread was top class, freshly baked and such a variety. Salads great, Ice cream and desserts great. Water, coffee, tea and Hot chocolate available all day at no charge. Dining staff were very good and attentive. The Expedition team were fantastic and who needs Las Vegas entertainment when on an expedition, there was something for everyone and we learned so much about this wonderful continent thanks to the on-board team of experts in this field. There was a very entertaining evening that the staff put on toward the end of the cruise. Just love the Fram Choir. For those who need to be entertained, I would suggest you go on a Carnival Cruise or go to Las Vegas. This IS AN EXPEDITION. Our first landing went extremely well and we made every landing planned for the whole 12 days. Muck boots are very comfortable and at no charge either. Obviously changes have been made on Hurtigruten regarding charges and this did make a difference to passengers. Polar circle boats were easy to access and with experienced staff there were no problems at all. I can highly recommend Hurtigrutens Ms Fram for anyone lucky enough to be able to venture to this exclusive part of our planet. The weather was great, 3 short days of snow but this gave us the real feel of Antarctica, rest of the time was sunshine and fine days. Of course its cold but with all the correct clothing it was perfect. Read the tips on what to wear and you will be fine. Read the documents for your cruise online and you will inform yourselves about what you can expect and what is needed by the company and all should run smoothly. If you are reading this then you have access to the internet so go ahead and inform yourself. Its no good going on a trip like this and not being satisfied with only 6 flavors of Ice Cream, really!?? We were lucky to see thousands of penguins, loads of whales and seals. Many different bird species. On our way back toward the Drake Passage we encountered about 10 Orca/Killer whales attacking an elephant seal that had sort refuge on the ledge of a floating iceberg - the captain stopped the ship and encircled the iceberg for about an hour and a half - what an experience. We are back just over a week now and I am still pinching myself that what we experienced was real and experienced on this very planet Earth. Thank you Hurtigruten, Thank you Ms Fram and all those on board that made this journey/expedition so great. Here's wishing that if you are reading this that you have plans to travel to the Antarctic and that your trip will be as fantastic as ours. I can highly recommend Hurtigruten. Read Less
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
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 3.4
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.8

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