GET IN: the New York office of Hurtigrut has kinks; questions weren't answered, forms were sent late, promised fare adjustments have not been received. Our local travel agent ran great interference but stories of overbooking and bad info were commonplace. We were bumped from our preferred Jan 8 tour; were told that the sailing had been cancelled which was not true, more likely, we were a victim of an accidental iceberg contact and overbooking. Land services were good in Santiago, not so good in Ushuaia. Hurtigrut needs to not dump passengers at the dock with no place to go in either city; a dayroom for transferring passengers would be useful and was much needed.
SIT DOWN: LAN Airlines did a good job of getting us to Ushuaia. Our LAX connection was late so we were provided with dayrooms and meal vouchers. Ushuaia was interesting and Chile and Patagonia itself were worth a return trip. Embarkation was smooth; Fram was beautiful and the service was Norwegian/impeccable as always. The ship layout is much like other Hurtigrut ships, comfortable, efficient. The food served was hearty, Euro-style befitting our international passenger manifest. From the beginning address of Captain Andreasson thru the landings on the Peninsula we felt we had the safest boat and crew we saw anywhere in that amazing wilderness. The multilingual Expedition Staff was thoughtful, knowledgeable and approachable. The folks who got the most out of the landings were spry and fit, regardless of age.
SHUT UP: Hurtigrut sends extensive reading lists and info about what to bring and what to expect. READ THIS. Folks who had not provided themselves with good gear were cold and miserable. Wool DOES work better than polyprop or fleece. You WILL need seasickness remedies.We received great tips from some fascinating fellow passengers. A LOT of the experience was simply observing the last great wilderness--we spent lots of time with our jaws on the deck in wonder of the brutal magnificence of the White Continent.
HANG ON: We experienced Drake's Lake southbound; not so much northbound. Pack efficiently and bring good locks, your baggage is inaccessible for the transfers. Make sure you have "one hand for the ship." Leave your glitz behind and prepare to be awed by the experience. IT was truly the "trip of a lifetime."