We took the August 2 – August 16, 2016 Abercrombie and Kent tour of the Arctic. This is our second time on the ship as we also sailed in December 2012 with the Abercrombie and Kent tour of Antarctica. Many of the ship crew (and staff) were the same as the previous tour. We found the crew, staff and A&K to be exceptional and excellent choices for delivering a tour that is very dynamic, flexible and not a simple checklist of ports/stops. We loved how the staff and crew added unexpected stops or landings when the opportunity appeared or we had more time in our schedule based on the great time we made crossing certain areas faster than expected. We should call out that we had great weather and this helped to made additional landings possible due to fast transit times.
The start of the tour was in Oslo Norway. We booked our first night at the Hotel Continental. What a great choice. What a great location. What great service. Highly recommended hotel when visiting Oslo. The second night was booked with A&K: Hotel Bristol. It was only a few blocks away from the Continental so the location was great – but we were very disappointed with the hotel quality and amenities for such a high price as part of the tour. The rooms were TINY and you could not even move a suitcase past the bed to the other side as there was no room to do so. The shower has no door since it is so close to the toilet and sink. You definitely do not want to be in the bathroom when someone else is taking a shower as you will also be soaking wet from all the spray. The room was also very warm…when we complained, they brought up a desk fan as the solution as there was no air conditioning…despite the fact we were in August, a summer month. The hotel lobby and décor were delightful, but the rooms definitely proved the hotel is mainly a turnkey large volume tourist hotel and not a luxury accommodation.
We stayed in cabin 416 this time similar to last time. It appears that the fourth floor is the best value of all floors. It is conveniently located in the middle of most areas and available at a reasonable price. All the cabins (except one or two) are the same size, same décor and same amenities. If you like to be on a higher floor, the cost is elevated significantly, but you really do not receive any major or significant benefits. The ship has not been renovated since its launch, but we found that all cabins and ship were extremely well maintained and any damage, wear and tear has definitely been fixed or replaced despite being 7 years old.