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.