Carrying a maximum of 530 passengers, MS Fridtjof Nansen is the second of Hurtigruten's purpose-built expedition vessels and is the near-identical twin sister of MS Roald Amundsen.
Built at the Kleven Verft shipyard in Norway, and with ultrastylish interiors, the 20,889-tonne vessel combines Scandi-cool comforts with a rugged, environmentally friendly vessel designed to primarily sail in Antarctica and Greenland. The battery hybrid-powered propulsion system saves up to 20 percent on fuel consumption.
Passengers will find a raft of green policies in place, such as no single-use plastics and a request to fill up water containers -- provided free -- from drink stations around the ship. There are recycling bins in all cabins and items such as hair dryer bags and some crew uniforms are made from recycled materials. There is the option to hang a "we stay green" sign outside the door to skip having your stateroom cleaned and towels washed. Additionally, there are opportunities to join beach cleans at ports of call.
The people that sail with Hurtigruten tend to be mature outdoor types with a keen interest in nature. They come from a variety of countries, including the U.K., mainland Europe and the U.S.
There are 265 outside cabins, half of them with balconies, and they come in three main categories. Some cabins have sofa beds to accommodate families and the largest suites have hot tubs. There are accessible cabins but no single cabins.
Aside from the Explorer Lounge, the main heart of the onboard experience is the Science Center, an edutainment venue where passengers and crew meet to create a deeper understanding of the areas explored. Depending on the sailing, the crew includes up to 22 knowledgeable expedition staff who mingle with passengers at mealtimes, host lectures and workshops and accompany shore expeditions, providing a very immersive experience in the destinations being visited.
MS Fridtjof Nansen has three restaurants, a lecture theatre, library, sauna, gym, spa, outdoor pool and hot tubs, and free Wi-Fi.
All passengers share a sense of discovery and many will eschew mainstream cruising on large ships. Some passengers are very well-travelled while others will be embarking on an expedition sailing for the first time. The main requirement is to have a sense of adventure and be reasonably fit for getting in and out of the Zodiacs used on excursions. They are a friendly crowd and happy to share tips on photography and chat about places they've visited. Although the ship has no facilities for children, and you are unlikely to see any on term-time expeditions, there are special sailings with activities for youngsters.
Onboard announcements on the ship are in English.
There is no dress code and the main benchmark is to pack outdoor all-weather gear -- thermal undergarments, thick socks, fleeces, hiking trousers, breathable layers, hats, gloves, scarves, sunglasses and so forth. Hurtigruten provides a high-performance expedition parka for passengers to keep and thermal boots to loan for the duration of the sailing.
There is no requirement to dress for dinner and many passengers don jeans, casual trousers and jumpers. Some smarten up a bit more, particularly for the Lindstrom restaurant which is complimentary for suite passengers and open to other passengers for a fee.
Although it is a Scandinavian tradition, going naked in the sauna is not allowed!
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