10 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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
We sailed the Polar Circle itinerary Feb. 1 2013. The Antarctica scenery, wildlife, and landscape are spectacular and the itinerary met our every expectation and more. The ship public spaces are clean and in good repair with a very nice ... Read More
We sailed the Polar Circle itinerary Feb. 1 2013. The Antarctica scenery, wildlife, and landscape are spectacular and the itinerary met our every expectation and more. The ship public spaces are clean and in good repair with a very nice observation lounge/bar on Deck 5, good space around the lecture rooms and coffee bar on Deck 4, and good outside space for observation when weather permits. There are very nice saunas for men and women and two outdoor hottubs. There is a small but adequate fitness area with treadmills and and weight equipment. It is usually not crowded and easy to access but there is no drinking water and towels are on a different floor. We purchased return air from Buenos Aries to Ushuaia embarkation point and airport transfers in Ushuaia. The flight down and embarkation was without incident but the dis-embarkation and return flight were poorly handled. We were told to board a bus at 7:45 am for a two hour city tour and transfer to the airport. We got on the bus, it drove to a parking lot at the end of the pier, parked, and we were told we had 2 hours free time for whatever we wanted to do. The ship told us nothing about walking around the town and few were prepared for a walking tour. We were fortunate that the weather turned out well or it would have been two hours sitting on the bus. The return flight was scheduled for 12:30 pm and was delayed an hour. It is 3 1/2 hours. Hurtigruten made no provision for lunch and told us nothing about the lack of lunch. Communications from Hurtigruten before the cruise were limited and terse. Our final cruise documents had to be emailed because we still had not received them a week before our flight departed. We received a notice that a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was included in the package that we purchased, would no longer be included and we would have to pay an extra $105 pp to take it. We got this straightened out but the messages from Hurtigruten were flip to terse and showed little respect for us. This lack of communication continued throughout the trip. Ships officers dined in the dining room but seldom said hello or engaged with passengers. The expedition leader was not visible on the ship at all. Expedition team members seldom interacted with passengers on board outside of their lectures. Daily programs were fragmentary and not very descriptive of what shore excursions would be. The shore excursions are included in the price and there were about a dozen in different places. Most were short walks, some difficult, with good views of penguin colonies and landscape. Safety during landings in the Polarcircle boats were a priority for the expedition team and were conducted safely under sometimes difficult conditions. We had suite 638, one of the highest category suites on the ship. There was a spacious balcony. The suite itself was very spacious but not as conveniently appointed as we have seen on other lines. There was not much storage for this size cabin and the bathroom was very small and without the finishes and amenities that we have seen in suites on other lines. This is an expedition ship and you are constantly changing into and out of shore landing gear but there was no accommodation in the room for the gear or for drying wet landing apparel. Amenities were better than other cabins on board but much less than we have seen in lower category suites on other lines. The restaurant and hotel staff were friendly and helpful but there did not seem to be enough staff to meet needs in a timely fashion. The waiters started clearing tables well before people were finished and once they started clearing it was difficult to get service. Eight of our 12 evening meals were buffet. The served dinners were fixed menu with one option for the entree. Lunch and dinner buffets were heavy on starches and pasta. Salads were available but vegetables were limited. We found the food quality to be mediocre and often less than well prepared. Wine and beer are available for meals but expensive. Our cabin rate included wine and beer with meals and the servers were trained to recognize this without issues about charges. There is coffee, tea, and some pastries available at no charge during the day but no other food available between meals. The crew did two evening talent shows that were fun. Movies were available some nights but no other entertainment. There are limited itineraries that sail below the Antarctic Circle and MV Fram will have to be considered if you want that itinerary but be aware of the shortcomings of this company and vessel. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2008
I selected Fram because she was a new ship. Actually, she is very well engineered, but the interior is terrible, old fashioned and cheap. The cabins are the worst I have ever seen on any cruise ship. Small and poorly decorated, worse than ... Read More
I selected Fram because she was a new ship. Actually, she is very well engineered, but the interior is terrible, old fashioned and cheap. The cabins are the worst I have ever seen on any cruise ship. Small and poorly decorated, worse than your average overnight Ferry. There is nothing else to do on this ship entertainmentwise. It is very boring! The bar prices are outrageous and the drinks are rather poor (they use cheap wine and poor ingredients, but the bar prices are the highest you can imagine). The worst thing was the disgusting Norwegian-style cuisine. They seemed never to have heard of finesse, taste, spices and choice. It was basically the same boring selection every day. Soups were generally avoid of taste, there was no vegetarian choice on the buffet, pasta and vegetables were generally overcooked and prepared without any spices nor finesse. I have never experienced such bad food anywhere in the world. Did you ever wonder why there is no Norwegian restaurant in your neighborhood? Well, hereĀ“s why: their cuisine is uneatable for our taste buds. You just wonder why they force their crappy Norwegian food on international guests going to Antarctica? Do they want you to experience how poorly the early explorers had to live down there? Come on board Fram and experience yourself! Well, having said all the bad things about this ship (and I would never go on Fram or any other Hurtigruten ship again) there were some good points. Lectures were excellent, given by a great team of experienced staff. The landings in Antarctica were great and so was the scenery. Next time I chose a different ship, though.

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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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