4 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 work really ... 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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Buenos Aires to The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Long distances between landings makes for a very expensive cruise for not much time on shore. The cruise part was sub-par for food and service compared to "cruise" ... Read More
Buenos Aires to The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Long distances between landings makes for a very expensive cruise for not much time on shore. The cruise part was sub-par for food and service compared to "cruise" lines. The "expedition " part really focused on very expensive extra price options such as hikes, kayaking and polar boat cruising rather than free field trips to view wildlife or historical sites led by experts as previous trips to Antarctica have been. The large group of people to manage (216) compared to smaller ships, created its own problems with trying to get everyone suited up and on shore each landing. Expedition leaders gave a lecture or two on board during the cruise and led extra price trips on shore or policed passengers to be sure no one got near wildlife. (except penguins which wandered in and out of the water nearby and were impossible to control). Landings were usually at least a mile round-trip or more from major bird colonies. (five miles in one instance). One stop in the Falklands had transportation for the old and lame which was nice. All land excursions and activities were almost outrageously overpriced as was internet service which probably shouldn't even be offered except for emergency use. Note that it is charged by the hour, not by use. Simple emails could easily take half an hour to download or send. Food pretty plain and some of the meat was low quality and some "fishy" tasting fish - absolutely unacceptable from a Norwegian outfit. Lots of raw dried meat, smoked fish, slimy sea thing starters and they must have gotten a whale of a bargain on orange sherbet which seemed to be an ice cream choice practically every day. Best thing about the ship was the 7th deck observation lounge. Great views and plenty of seats. (Could have been anchored to the floor though- several of them tipped over during rough seas dumping passengers on the floor). All in all, an acceptable ship and a good trip. I just prefer fewer people and more field-trip type interaction between passengers and experts rather than lectures and activities you can do at home. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: 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 ... Read More
“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 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. 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 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
Sail Date: July 2012
1) It's a good choice to cruise North passed 80 degree. North Pole is 90 degree and the trip is still very far from that--realistically speaking. 2) Agreed with previous review(s) that luggage check on board of Fram is at least chaotic, ... Read More
1) It's a good choice to cruise North passed 80 degree. North Pole is 90 degree and the trip is still very far from that--realistically speaking. 2) Agreed with previous review(s) that luggage check on board of Fram is at least chaotic, even with our flight luggage tags the cabin crew said they could not find our names and could not deliver them!? 3) Any passenger who don't understand English, Norwegian is the other choice of language offered at the introduction. Activity leaders later tried German and French for shore landings^^ Public Announcement System used English, German, Norwegian and in that order. 4) Our duty-free purchase of liquor at Longyearbyen was confiscated upon embarkment in order to sell alcohol during the cruise. 5) Everyone is provided with a wind-breaker which is very helpful. Nearly all the shore landings are wet-landing, and water-proof or rubber boots are essential. 6) Canteen staff are mainly Filipino or Southeast Asians, who also provided one night of entertainment. 7) On board, 45NOK for a liter of bottled water or a single whiskey in the bar. Recommendation: Clear ice can be picked up from the Glacier melting to mix with whisky and other drinks. Activity staff helped with that. 8) Special Cabin guests have free drinks at meals and regular guests need to pay even cold water. 9) Gratuity has been increased to 70NOK per person at our July-August 2012 cruise around Svalbard. 10) Blue whales, Polar bear and Glacier calving can be sighted if lucky. There is no snow-sledge for cruise expectation. 11) Except three served dinners, all breakfast, lunch and dinner are buffet inside a nice restaurant. One ending meal of BBQ on the deck provided the toughest meat ever. 12) Compared with Antarctica, the arctic cruise is much calmer and very little or nearly no sea-sick discomfort for oldies. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2007
OUr cabin was described as "cozy". Try tiny. The separate bunks are small and the mattresses are not much more comfortable than an army cot.

The dinners were boring and very poorly organized. In some cases, if you ordered an alternate ... Read More

OUr cabin was described as "cozy". Try tiny. The separate bunks are small and the mattresses are not much more comfortable than an army cot.

The dinners were boring and very poorly organized. In some cases, if you ordered an alternate to the featured meal, you might wait for 20 minutes and by that time the other diners had finished their entrees.

The bathrooms were not supplied with washcloths and the quality of the towels were not worthy of a cruise that was so costly.

The price of the drinks in the bar was too high. I ordered a Martini that cost the equivalent of over eight USD and it was a poor excuse for a martini.

The excursions were overpriced. We went on an express bus from Cork to Waterford at a cost of about 20 Euros (around $29.00 USD) The ship's excursion, that covered exactly the same route, cost more than 4 times what we paid.

A provision for indoor smoking was not provided.

The hot tubs were tepid and even a small pool would have been nice.

The servers, cabin attendants and many of the engineering crew were from the Philippines and were most delightful and friendly.

Fram is a well-engineered vessel and we found her quite sea-kindly and rode well in moderate seas of up to 20 feet. Her stabilizer system provided excellent roll control with the seas coming from any direction. The noise level from the propulsion system was pleasantly subdued.

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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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