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Fram Review

2016 Best for Cabins
2016 Best for Public Rooms
2016 Best for Shore Excursions
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Find a Fram Cruise from £10,598

4.0 / 5.0
68 reviews

Bottom Line




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
Sails To
South America, Antarctica
Hurtigruten Cruise Deals
Ginger Dingus
Cruise Critic Contributor

Fram Overview

Fram, the smallest and newest ship in the fleet of Norwegian coastal line Hurtigruten, was designed for expedition cruises to some of the most remote places on the planet. Launched in 2007, the ship spends the Northern Hemisphere's warmer months in Arctic waters, exploring Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard; November through February is spent in Antarctica, during the austral summer. In between, the ship takes passengers on lengthy transatlantic crossings between the poles.

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Fitting of a polar expedition ship, Fram (pronounced frahm) is named after the wooden sailing ship built in 1892 for Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen's North Pole expedition. The original Fram (Norwegian for "forward") completed three trips: an unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Pole under Nansen; an exploratory mission to the Canadian Arctic with Otto Sverdrup; and a South Pole expedition led by Roald Amundsen, who reached the pole on December 14, 1911.

From the moment you step onboard this compact ship, you feel as though you've arrived in a polar region. The artwork, created by Arctic-region artists, reflects both the Arctic and Antarctic with photos of those early expeditions, paintings of snow-capped peaks and (from the South Pole) pictures of penguins. The staircase landings sport glass sculptures resembling icebergs. Highlights are the model of the Fram sailing ship and the exhibit of Fram artifacts displayed in the arcade hallway leading to and from the dining room. Historic objects are on loan from the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.

While Fram was constructed to sail on polar expeditions, its owners did not skimp on style. The blond woods associated with Scandinavia are everywhere: in cabin and public room furniture, decor accents and even stairway railings. Fabric colors are rich: royal blue and brick red with calmer colors for the carpeting. Public areas, including restrooms, are always spotless.

The onboard atmosphere is decidedly social. The ship has just two main gathering spots for conversation or relaxing, but they tend to be busy with passengers exchanging onshore experiences and gazing at the stunning land- and seascapes. The expedition crewmembers -- a group of scientific experts plus the staffers who handle the logistics of going ashore -- are often available for a chat, and they conclude every enrichment presentation with a question-and-answer session.

Staffers are friendly and efficient, and most speak at least two languages. They're also flexible by necessity; on expedition cruises, every day's schedule is at the mercy of weather and sailing conditions. When our Greenland itinerary was snarled by fog and ice, the expedition team rejiggered our daily programs -- sometimes multiple times a day -- and kept us informed via timely P.A. announcements in two or three languages.

While most passengers were satisfied with their cruise overall, the ship's biggest flaw is inconsistency. Among the daily nature and history lectures were some of the most engaging talks we've ever heard on an expedition cruise, but also a few of the worst (unfocused, repetitive or simply not useful). While set-seating dinners were typically delicious, the buffet offerings drew some complaints for the lack of variety. Many shore excursions thrilled passengers, but a few were overpriced or underwhelming. And the lack of reliable Internet access was a persistent source of frustration for those hoping to keep in touch with family members, house-sitters or coworkers at home. In the end, though, these were minor quibbles in comparison to the adventures we were having ashore.

Top Fram Itineraries

21 night antarctica cruise

Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), West Point, Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego)

View All Hurtigruten Fram Itineraries (11)

Fellow Passengers

Fram's destinations of Greenland, polar Norway and Antarctica draw a largely non-North American passenger manifest. On our Greenland sailing, at least half of the passengers onboard were German, with a fair number of Norwegians and other Europeans. Antarctic cruises tend to draw more Americans and Asians. Because many excursions require a good deal of walking and even some uphill trekking, passengers generally are fit adventure-seekers in the 50-and-older age range.

The ship usually operates in at least two languages: English and, depending on the nationality of the bulk of remaining passengers, German, French or Norwegian. All P.A. announcements are given in English and at least one other language, and most lectures are also presented, in separate rooms, in two languages. The majority of the European passengers speak at least a little English in addition to their first language.

Hurtigruten Fram Dress Code

Casual is key. On an expedition cruise, dressing for comfort takes priority over being a fashion plate. Bring snow-country clothes you can layer -- remember the waterproof pants, thermal underwear, hat, gloves and sturdy walking shoes. In Greenland or coastal Norway, good hiking boots should suffice; in the snowy polar regions, waterproof calf-high boots are recommended. Fram rents these "muck boots" for 120 NOK (about $20) for a cruise.

Sweaters and slacks or jeans are fine at dinner; though button-down shirts weren't uncommon, ties and sport coats would have looked out of place in the dining room. All Fram passengers are given a hooded parka to use onboard and bring home as a great souvenir.

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Fram Ratings

Public Rooms3.04.1
Fitness Recreation2.03.3
Value For Money4.03.4

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More about Hurtigruten Fram

Where does Hurtigruten Fram sail from?

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Cruises on Hurtigruten Fram start from £10,598 per person.

Is Hurtigruten Fram a good ship to cruise on?

Hurtigruten Fram won 3 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2016 Best for Cabins
  • 2016 Best for Public Rooms
  • 2016 Best for Shore Excursions

Hurtigruten Fram Member Reviews

Sail Date: Feb 2020
I chose this trip on the Fram based on that experience, reputation and price - but primarily the itinerary, which gave more time on South Georgia.... Read More
Sail Date: Dec 2019
I would certainly go again and recommend the Fram as an excellent vessel (with a capacity of about 200 passengers)... Read More
Sail Date: Feb 2020
I also liked the Fram... I could certainly understand why there were so many repeat Hurtigruten passengers. I would definitely love to go on another cruise with Hurtigruten.... Read More
Sail Date: Dec 2018
We then had to return to the bus, to sit there for 20 minutes before being taken to the ship, the Fram, for embarkation.... Read More

Hurtigruten Fleet

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

82 reviews

Midnatsol is a luxury cruise ship, cargo vessel, car and passenger ferry, and expedition vessel. It sails year-round up and down the west coast of Norway.

Hurtigruten Midnatsol Cruises to the British Isles & Western Europe View All Hurtigruten Midnatsol Cruises
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Norway's 1,250-mile coast attracts traditional cruise passengers to a Nordnorge voyage. Meanwhile, young European backpackers use the ship as a means of transportation between towns.


Fram was designed for expedition cruises to some of the most remote places on the planet. The ship spends ample time in Arctic waters.

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Trollfjord joined Hurtigruten in 2002 and is one of the most modern ships in the fleet. Trollfjord sails Baltic Sea voyages year round from Bergen.

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Finnmarken is just one of four vessels in Hurtigruten's fleet to be built in the 21st century. It carries cruisers along with cargo along Norway's coast.


Polarlys, built in 1996, sails voyages that explore Norway's coastal communities and stunning fjords as part of Hurtigruten's fleet of "Contemporary Ships."

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Nordkapp, meaning North Cape, links Bergen to some 35 ports along the Norwegian coast as far north as Kirkenes, a mining town near the Russian border.


One of Hurtigruten's six "Contemporary Ships," Nordlys sails voyages that explore Norway's coastal communities and fjords. Full cruise passengers are primarily 50-plus and European.

Richard With
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Like the rest of Hurtigruten's Norwegian coastal fleet, Richard With is a working ship that makes calls around the clock, picking up passengers and goods.


Hurtigruten's Vesteralen was built in 1983 and overhauled in 1995. The vessels sails Scandanavian itineraries, focusing on the spectacular Norwegian Fjords and offering regional cuisine.

3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

MS Lofoten, named after the island chain off the northern Norway coast, was one of the last ships designed for Hurtigruten as a break-bulk cargo passenger ship.

Kong Harald
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Kong Harald is the first of Hurtigruten's ships to have undergone a total ship refurbishment. The line hopes the refreshed look will attract a younger crowd.

MS Spitsbergen
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Hurtigruten's 335-passenger Spitsbergen launched in 2016 in the Arctic Circle before heading to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe and Shetland Islands and Arctic Canada.

MS Roald Amundsen
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The world's first hybrid powered cruise ship, the MS Roald Amundsen, is named after the pioneering Norwegian-born polar explorer who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest passage in 1911. 

Fridtjof Nansen
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

MS Fridtjof Nansen is the second of Hurtigruten’s new hybrid powered expedition ships, which is scheduled to launch in 2019. The first is MS Roald Amundsen, which is scheduled to launch in May 2019.

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