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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Going to Antarctica was top on our bucket list so we were expecting great things. The itinerary was excellent and the ship's crew were concerned at all times for our safety, which was excellent. The itinerary was good and we were ... Read More
Going to Antarctica was top on our bucket list so we were expecting great things. The itinerary was excellent and the ship's crew were concerned at all times for our safety, which was excellent. The itinerary was good and we were excited to meet the penguins. At embarkation we should have had our medical forms taken off us as we checked in, however this was not done but we were asked to deliver them to a different place the same day. However, we did as requested but the ship mislaid our forms. Having told us that they hadn't received them on the first sea day, and we told them that we had handed them in as requested we heard nothing until the ship was about to sail from Stanley to Antarctica a number of days later when it was insisted upon that we had a medical from the ship's doctor. We were given no apology. The ship itself is comfortable with plenty of pleasant spaces to sit and read or just take in the sites. The cabins are rather compact and the beds not as comfortable as we hoped. The evening dinners were too fancy, no one would go on this trip for the food but would expect good wholesome food. Some of the meat was uneatable. The expedition team were excellent with exceptional knowledge especially in giving their lectures and were always available to answer any questions passengers may have had. The ports of call were good and the shore excursions on the whole were good, but some were very expensive for what you received. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were particularly interested in the kayaking and camping opportunities which were heavily advertised in the brochure and a major selling point for the trip. Although these were optional activities, the wording and photographs suggested ... Read More
We were particularly interested in the kayaking and camping opportunities which were heavily advertised in the brochure and a major selling point for the trip. Although these were optional activities, the wording and photographs suggested that the only reason you might not be able to participate would be inclement weather. On the cruise, a meeting was arranged to present these activities and we were informed that only 3 groups of 12 kayakers would be organised. As the activity would obviously be oversubscribed, a list would be posted outside the meeting and a 'draw' made to select participants. There would be no camping due to 'staffing issues'. Nothing more was announced until the day before the kayaking when a list of 36 names was posted on a noticeboard. 18 of these were members of a Chinese party who, we were told, had 'special status' due to them being 'around the world' customers. The remaining 18 places were heavily oversubscribed and so many passengers did not get to kayak. With over 200 passengers on the Fram this was a very poor ratio for an activity which was so heavily promoted in the cruise brochure. I wrote to Hurtigruten regarding this issue and finally received a reply pointing out that kayaking and camping were cancelled on this trip due to bad weather. When I pointed out that the the weather had been glorious and the kayaking actually went ahead they eventually sent a very short reply stating that passenger safety was the most important consideration! I still don't know if they simply sent me a stock answer or whether the ship had given them incorrect information. Either way, the matter was dealt with in a very disappointing manner. So, Antarctica and South Georgia are wonderful destinations but if you want to kayak, camp, hike or carry out any of the advertised activities be very careful booking with Hurtigruten. There are other excellent companies out there! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I knew this was first cruise of the season, but it was marketed to me as limited to 300-350 people. That made sense for an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Limitations on numbers of people on land at any time creates logistical issues. ... Read More
I knew this was first cruise of the season, but it was marketed to me as limited to 300-350 people. That made sense for an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Limitations on numbers of people on land at any time creates logistical issues. Add to that the early season, and it made sense to have a limitation. Unfortunately, Hurtigruten booked over 400 people on the ship. Made it into a shakedown cruise - too many people to fit in the auditorium; too many people to land efficiently; too many people who didn't fully understand the nature of landings in Antarctica. Items on schedule that then appeared to be a surprise as someone had to scramble to get them going. All expedition staff unavailable during landing days, because every single one was needed to try and get the landings and cruisings done. No one seemed to understand the logistics of moving so many people (particularly so many elderly people) on and off the ship on the zodiacs. It was simple math to figure out that the stated departure time would not sync with the landings and cruisings. Schedules when both a landing and a cruise were available sometimes ruled out lunch for certain groups. With two dinner seatings, there didn't seem to be any attempt to check on people's preferences. I actually wrote on my passenger info form (sent out very late, with an email that I had not returned -couldn't return a form that was never sent to me) that I wanted early seating, but was assigned to late (was able to change). Some tables were assigned to people to sit alone (???), others had one single man, one single women - not traveling together (???), but when it was asked it we could broadcast a meeting in the bar area for single travelers to meet each other (not for hooking up, but to simply meet others traveling on their own), was told not appropriate. A shake down cruise is the best description I can provide. Off ship excursions are substantially overpriced. If you are traveling with a group, suggest you try to book directly or accept that Hurtigruten will be charging at least double the actual cost. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The Antartic region should be on everyone's bucket list. It is an awesome region to visit and the Midnapsol is certainly well equipped to handle the weather and the landings very effectively. The food on board was of excellent ... Read More
The Antartic region should be on everyone's bucket list. It is an awesome region to visit and the Midnapsol is certainly well equipped to handle the weather and the landings very effectively. The food on board was of excellent quality but with little daily variety, and the a la catre restaurant was worth the extra cost.The Philippino crew were very efficient and exceedlingly friendly, making it a very happy ship and happy cruise for all. The ship is in need of renovation again. Carpets in public areas near and on stairs were dirty and worn in some locations, and many of the bar chairs had also seen better days. The alcoholic drinks were very expensive and even by limiting my consumption and avoiding premium wines and spirits, my bar bill worked out at more than 30 pounds sterling each day. The Dazzler hotel in Montevideo where we stayed pre-cruise was very substandard and best avoided. The worst thing was the inexcusable mistake made by the Purser's Office in giving the Chilean immigration authorities the wrong passport number, so that the Immigration arrival form issued to me was invalid and which would have precluded my departure from Chile. I spend 16 unnecessarily stressful hours and a totally sleepless night worrying about whether this mistake could be corrected. Finally, the next morning I was issued on our arrival in Punta Arenas with a correct immigration arrival form by the Purser's Office with no apology! A great relief to me, but this sheer imcompetence on the Purser's part left a very sour note in my mouth in relation to the whole cruise experience. I still await Hurtiguten's apology and recompence for this dreadful error on their part.. Despite the above, I certainly do not regret taking the cruise and would recommend a visit to the Antartic region wholehearted to anyone with a spirit of adventure and exploration. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I chose this cruise 14 months ago because of a good offer. Its ports of call were departure from Montevideo; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; the Falkland Islands; Antarctica; Chilean Fjords; then flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago de ... Read More
I chose this cruise 14 months ago because of a good offer. Its ports of call were departure from Montevideo; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; the Falkland Islands; Antarctica; Chilean Fjords; then flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago de Chile. A storm made us tread water prior to arriving in Argentina and so we lost a day in the Falkland Islands. We landed at New Island, Falkland Islands, with those first off having five hours if they wanted and me having only just over three hours. In Stanley we had just five hours ashore and NONE of the ship's expensive excursions involved trips to the 1982 war sites or the nearest penguin colony, Gypsy Cove: I organised a private driver. Antarctica was to include Elephant Island or Shakleton with kayaking; Arctowski Station, Neko Harbour, or Dorian Bay. NONE was achieved owing to 'wind'. We did manage Cuverville Island and Orne Harbour where one needed to be a mountain goat with rubber boots to achieve the steep climb BUT still without kayaking. So we missed out on obtaining an Antarctica stamp in our passport at Arctowski. We then headed to the Chilean fjords BUT did not land at Garibaldi Fjord owing to 'wind'. The last three days were at sea with nothing to do apart from watching tv in my cabin. There were three teams on this ship: the Norwegian officers; the Philippino staff; and the expedition team. We heard from the expedition team over the PA BUT it took them two days to get organised with the daily schedule, and their estimates of departures from the ship were wildly amiss, let alone actually advising us we were not visiting the site on our schedule! I summed up the team as very amateurish, on stage looking like schoolchildren awaiting the wrath of the head teacher. Viewing a disabled person being manhandled up the gangway by one officer and two staff was quite a spectacle witnessed by at least 20 people. The officer was very defensive stating the disabled person knew the situation when he booked the cruise. This being a Norwegian ship, fish was a popular food: I am vegetarian who does not eat it but it was in the soup, the salad pasta, and the hot pasta. I survived on potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the occasional special pasta preparation from the chef. Even the fried eggs at breakfast had streaky bacon over each one. My cabin was on deck 7 of 8. It was comfortable enough and well-maintained by the staff. The ambience generally throughout the ship was very good. Just a shame the whole purpose of being on it did not materialise as anticipated. Disembarkation was farcical owing to a faulty door mechanism. Hanging around in Punta Arenas from 8 a.m. and arriving in Santiago at 5 p.m. with only a beer and a honey nutrition bar served on the flight to sustain me for those nine hours made me relieved that the whole disappointing cruise was behind me. Read Less
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