We sailed from Ushuaia on the 13th January not knowing what to expect!!!! Various cruise reviews had described very different experiences of cruising with Hurtigruten and we sailed very much hoping for the best!!! The Fram left port later than expected and we thought ...here we go....is this a sign that the cruise will not go well!!!!
However our concerns were ill founded and the cruise delivered an experience we shall never forget.
The scenery, wildlife and the wonder of nature that unfolded before our eyes was awesome!!!!
Magnificent icebergs ,stunning glaciers , vast wilderness, fascinating penguins,frolicking whales and sleek , sleepy seals were some of the sights that we were privileged to experience. The Fram certainly delivered all we could have wished for.
I feel though that I should point out that this is an expedition voyage , catering for passengers who are keen to learn about the Antarctic environment and who are flexible , adaptable travellers. We quickly learnt that the Antarctic is unpredictable and on several occasions our itinerary was adapted, changing by the day!!!
The expedition team on board were very professional. Their in depth knowledge of Antarctica was amazing . They presented as a very dedicated team, keen to share their knowledge and their experiences. Our expeditions from the ship were well prepared and they went that extra mile in making sure that we made the most of every minute spent in Antarctica.
Life on board was informal . Sea days went quickly, relaxing, listening to briefings from the expedition team about penguins, seals, history of Antartica and it's origins, or simply watching the scenery from the many large viewing windows on board.
Mealtimes were informal with 3 set dining evenings . There was no dress code and people wore anything from casual wear to smart casual . There were many different nationalities which led to many an interesting conversation at mealtimes or when relaxing with a drink in the bar.
The food as you would expect had a distinctly Norwegian flavour. The buffet menus had plenty of choice with some interesting fish dishes !!!
The staff on board were polite and helpful. They always had a smile to share with you and gave an excellent variety show towards the end of the cruise.
Clothes wise we did bring too much!!! The ship,is very warm and one layer of thermal wear , plus waterproofs is fine for outdoors!! You are given a waterproof jacket on board and you can take this home with you. The ship also hires rubber boots for wearing on shore excursions and these were excellent, gripping the ice/snow .there is also a small shop on board so if you do forget anything it's not a problem!!
There is 24 hour tea& coffee and very yummy home made cookies available . Bring a thermal mug with a lid or buy one onboard.......very useful when the ship is lurching through Drakes passage!!!
Photo opportunities abound and the ships photographer led some very useful sessions.
At the end of the voyage we were given a CD which included the daily programme, blog and a map showing where our ship had travelled. This plus our photographs &memories will be treasured by us for years to come.
Journey to Antarctica with Hurtigruten aboard the Fram if you want to set foot &experience Antarctica's wilderness . Journey on board a large cruise ship should you wish to gaze from afar. The choice is yours. I know which I would choose ........