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35 Hurtigruten MS Roald Amundsen Cruise Reviews

A state of the art ship, with a state of the art crew. Not your typical cruise with food, entertainment, and gambling being the focus points. This was more of an expedition, with emphasis on education and broadening your appreciation of ... Read More
A state of the art ship, with a state of the art crew. Not your typical cruise with food, entertainment, and gambling being the focus points. This was more of an expedition, with emphasis on education and broadening your appreciation of environment, with an extremely knowledgeable group of people to help you accomplish that goal. They came from an international background and wide range of first hand experiences Germaine to their specialties. The cuisine was more European than American, with ample portions and choices. Not a large choice of comfort foods, (like pizza and Mac and cheese), but you will not go hungry. Landings and excursions were dependent on weather conditions, but the crew did their best to make them happen, and they were wonderful. If wildlife is important to you, this experience will serve you well. A multitude of penguins, (we saw six different species), seals, whales and a variety of flying birds comprised our viewing pleasure. A great trip! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The expeition portion of the was excellent (going ashore), which only last about 60 to 90 minutes. The rest of your time became very boring!!!!!!! Going to the next day presentation was difficult, because the person attempting to speak ... Read More
The expeition portion of the was excellent (going ashore), which only last about 60 to 90 minutes. The rest of your time became very boring!!!!!!! Going to the next day presentation was difficult, because the person attempting to speak English, used "ah" about every third word they spoke. We were on deck 5 (room 565), every morning you left your cabin, you had to smell burnt garlic, because the galley is directly above you. There is no entertainment on the ship at all, unless you count the girl playing the piano in the evening. She was so bad they offered the piano up, if you wanted to play it. These were not worst part of our journey; the food sucks, unless you like fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The fish they served was extremely fishy tasting, which probably explains, why they cook garlic all day long. They make a joke about the food, saying "you came for the destination, not the food." This cruise did not have many from the USA, maybe we hold food to a higher standard. Add to the fact your serving yourself, for almost all the meals, because it a buffet.It didn't help matters, that my wife and I caught the Norvirus, the last Sea Day. We are just getting over the symptoms. If you already have made final payment, watch out for the lettuce, in the salads, a lot of old stuff, they try to serve. The kind that's turning brown and even black!!! Plus bring your own salad dressing, theirs are really bad. We cruise a lot, Elite Plus with Celbrity, but we've also sailed with Carnival, Royal Cribbean, Azamara, and Cunard, about 60 cruises. Hurtigruten would rank below all of them. The only reason we sailed with them, was to actually stand on Antarctica. The cruise was too long, it could have been shorten 3 or 4 days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because as a geographer I have always been interested in traveling to Antarctica. We have had previous experience traveling on Hurtigruten ships. We feel the company does an excellent job, and our experience has always ... Read More
We chose this cruise because as a geographer I have always been interested in traveling to Antarctica. We have had previous experience traveling on Hurtigruten ships. We feel the company does an excellent job, and our experience has always been positive. The crew of the Roald Amundsen was very attentive to our needs, from the wait staff in the dining rooms, to the steward who made sure our stateroom was serviced daily, to the front desk staff, expedition team, medical department, tender boat crews, and all of the scientists and experts who presented the lectures aboard ship. This was truly the experience of a lifetime, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. We would especially like to thank Daniel, from the Aune Restaurant for taking such good care of us, and our evening waiter Zuni who also did a great job. We especially enjoyed the talent show put on by the crew. We had gotten to know many of these folks during our time on board, and it was great to see them in this capacity. The pre-boarding tour of Punta Arenas was very well done. The local guide was informative and interesting. The check-in experience on the ship went very well, and we learned that our cabin had been upgraded. Our dining experience was certainly positive. The food offered was excellent, with plenty of choice to satisfy any kind of palate. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands - Great Explorers and Wildlife Thursday, December 26, 2019 – Sunday, January 12, 2019 Ship: MS Roald Amundsen Cabin: 719 General Comments: All transfers with guides, on buses or ... Read More
Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands - Great Explorers and Wildlife Thursday, December 26, 2019 – Sunday, January 12, 2019 Ship: MS Roald Amundsen Cabin: 719 General Comments: All transfers with guides, on buses or vans were well administered. Hostesses at the pre and post hotel the Intercontinental in Santiago de Chile were very helpful and virtually there early morning to late evening. My husband, who left his hearing aids in our room actually got them back. They were waiting for him on our return with his name in giant letters. You could not have asked for any better organization. An additional guard for luggage security was present. In most cases the luggage was transferred with the passengers. Water, coffee and tea with snacks was available as well as an early morning breakfast on the day we had our flights to Punta Arenas. Pre and Post Hotel: The Intercontinental Santiago de Chile was excellent. Breakfasts which were included were substantial and of good quality. Omelets were an option if you wanted one. The hotel bar food and drinks were very good, especially the pizza with everything on it and the vodka martini’s. Flights: On American, non stop Dallas to Santiago de Chile operated without issues. However, it would be our opinion that offering a cocktail to premium economy passengers and then serving them dinner before they could even drink that cocktail needs to be changed. Being an ex stewardess, unless things have changed, the head stewardess determines how the flight will be worked. In this instance if you wanted a glass of wine with dinner, well that was not going to happen. Latam Charter Flights: Flights were without issue. The food was horrible. Half a loaf of bread with no mayo or mustard. I ended up cutting mine in thirds and putting all of the meat and cheese on the sandwich on that third. We were given a container of jelly, butter, crackers and unripened fruit. Ugh! Ship: MS Roald Amundsen, a hybrid ship, I believe the first of it’s kind. I was fascinated with what our ship could do. No anchors, the captain just told the computer to stay there and it did. Propellers that have the ability to go 360 degrees so the ship can back up, turn left or right or whatever the captain desires. An incredible vessel. Battery and diesel powered. Each night the expedition team would tell us what plan “A” would be for the next day. Mind you they had plans’ A, B, C and D if we needed them. Lucky us we did plan “A” everyday and had beautiful, sunny days and around 30 degrees of summer weather. The expedition team gave us talks on explorers, whaling, penguins, whales, icebergs. We all came back so much smarter. Every morning the expedition team would scout out the site for that days landing, also having enough emergency supplies on hand in case we had to spend the night on shore due to some freak weather event. We would go ashore in zodiacs that held 14 people and the ship was divided into teams. No more than 100 people on Antarctica at a time so we would start going ashore at 10 or 11 and that would continue until 4 or 5pm with people coming and going. When we returned to the ship our special Muc boots would be washed by brushes we stepped into and then we would step into an anti-bacterial wash for the bottoms. Hurtigruten is extremely careful not to impact Antarctica in any way. When we arrived on board if you had new clothes all was good, if you were wearing previously worn items they had to be taken to a special area where all the seams, pockets and hiding places would be vacuumed, no hitchhiking bacteria on Antarctica. You could also kayak, spend the night on Antarctica and do the polar plunge if you were so inclined. Food: Let me first say this ship is worthy a five star rating, unfortunately food on board for the most part deserves a three star rating. I hope they will work to improve the restaurant venues. In spite of the restaurant foods, I would highly recommend this ship and sailing to all my friends. The chef prepared a hot soup every day and all of these were delicious. We also were treated to a pasta dish of the day which was also yummy. The cold sea foods were plentiful and of good quality. If you wanted to have smoked salmon three times a day you could, and my husband usually did. The Lindstrom was promoted as their best restaurant but in my opinion the food was uninspired in preparation and presentation. Their most interesting offering being a starter called Smoked Shrimp which when opened smoke came forth. Very clever. This kitchen would benefit from serving aged beef in it's steak offerings. The best dish was a duck breast which would have been better with a seared exterior and keeping a medium rare interior still pink. The Aune was the main dining restaurant and was fair except with casserole prepared dishes that were allowed to dry out to the elements and so become rather unappetizing. The Fredheim was where one could get a hamburger if you just had to have one. Of course, you could not have fries or potato chips but instead were offered a baked potato with your burger. Bizarre to say the least. I am a graduate of Cordon Bleu Paris with a Grand Diplome, it is my opinion that the Lindstrom would benefit from either smaller plates for the main course or adding more to the presentation so the whole doesn't appear as not enough food on the plate. Enough about food. This Hybrid ship and it's crew gave us 110% every day. You need to put this trip on your to do list. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Hurtigruten offered the best Antarctica cruise available in a brand new technologically advanced hybrid ship. The ship is new, modern, extremely quiet and good for the environment. We visited excursion sites that other ships are not able ... Read More
Hurtigruten offered the best Antarctica cruise available in a brand new technologically advanced hybrid ship. The ship is new, modern, extremely quiet and good for the environment. We visited excursion sites that other ships are not able to get to. We were the southernmost cruise ship in the world for part of the voyage. The staff was excellent - both the hotel staff and the excursion staff. The Penguins were everywhere and adorable. The views were completely amazing. I felt very safe and well taken care of. I was amazed that we had internet the entire trip in such a remote place. I didn't feel like a number or someone to be sold to like on other cruises. The team was very focused on educating us and providing a great experience. Having never been on an expedition cruise before I was delighted. I couldn't have been happier with the trip and the value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Everything from start to finish was fantastic on this cruise. The transfers between the airport and the hotel in Santiago, and between Santiago and Punta Arenas, were seamless. Embarkation and disembarkation were both a breeze. But the ... Read More
Everything from start to finish was fantastic on this cruise. The transfers between the airport and the hotel in Santiago, and between Santiago and Punta Arenas, were seamless. Embarkation and disembarkation were both a breeze. But the best part, by far, was the cruise itself. The ship was beautifully appointed, and offered all the latest technology. Our cabin was much larger than any that we've had on an ocean or river cruise, and very efficiently laid out. We were completely comfortable for the 16 nights. The food was absolutely fabulous, with plenty of selections at every meal, and a nice variety of vegetarian options. This isn't your typical cruise in that there is no entertainment, per se, although the crew did put on some pretty entertaining musical performances. Since we were on board over New Year's Eve, the hotel manager arranged a really fun celebration. But other than that, the entertainment was limited to lectures by the very knowledgeable expedition team, and the excursions themselves - so much better than playing bingo or watching a Newlywed Game! The nature of this cruise requires that you be very flexible and keep a positive attitude. There are a lot of unknowns with the weather, so plans can change very quickly. That's part of the fun! The expedition team and the rest of the crew were very organized and kept us well-informed of what to expect. Safety was always the first priority. Even though we had some bad weather days, the team managed to arrange landings that provided for absolutely spectacular interactions with wildlife, and incredible scenery. For most people, a trip to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, so I would highly recommend trusting that experience to Hurtigruten and the MS Roald Amundsen. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chilean fjords, Cape Horn, Drake Passage, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic islands, south Shetland Islands, Elephant Island, Lemaire Channel were areas visited. Cabin was ok. I cruised in a room separate from my friend, cause I wanted ... Read More
Chilean fjords, Cape Horn, Drake Passage, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic islands, south Shetland Islands, Elephant Island, Lemaire Channel were areas visited. Cabin was ok. I cruised in a room separate from my friend, cause I wanted lots of room. It was a room that most couples share. It was just enough space for just me, I’m so glad I didn’t share it w my friend. Food at all 3 restaurants (1 buffet, 1 a la carte, 1 pay restaurant) was just barely warm. Vegetables were generally overcooked. Meat was rare, sometimes medium rare. Ice cream was available, but not advertised. If you asked for it, it was always available Lectures in their auditorium were an added bonus. They were 40-60 minutes in length, hosted by many different members of the expedition staff. They included geology, oceanography, marine biology, zoology, many others. There were usually 2-4 lectures per day, each usually repeated once for those that were at a meal, etc. Entertainment was not part of the experience at all—it was an expedition voyage, was all about our itinerary. Antarctica itself was entertaining Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ship is state of the art, very stable, very comfortable. Service was excellent. Crew went out of their way to make it an memorable voyage. Dining was above average, much better than many other cruise lines. There is always room ... Read More
Ship is state of the art, very stable, very comfortable. Service was excellent. Crew went out of their way to make it an memorable voyage. Dining was above average, much better than many other cruise lines. There is always room for improvement, but nothing major. The lunch buffet was as good as the dinner. One suggestion would be to have extended hours in the Fredheim restaurant when the landing schedules varied. Expedition crew is comprised of highly intelligent, talented, well organized and helpful team. You need to be flexible with this type if voyage, as weather conditions, etc dictate itinerary and landings. The is quite a lot time on board and waiting for your landing group to be called. There isn't a lot of entertainment on an expedition voyage. TV & movies via satellite from Norway. Crew show showcased some talented crew members. Well stocked library in the science center with books about flora, fauna, voyages, etc., including a take one, leave one area. Hot tubs and infinity pool were open on Deck 10 - too cold for me but many passengers used them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have researching Antarctica expedition cruises for a while. Let me start off by saying I got a bargain price for this cruise...it must have gone on sale for a week when I nabbed it. I might have been a little disappointed had I paid ... Read More
I have researching Antarctica expedition cruises for a while. Let me start off by saying I got a bargain price for this cruise...it must have gone on sale for a week when I nabbed it. I might have been a little disappointed had I paid close to full price. Embarkation was quite disorganized. Busloads of people were brought to the ship at once and IF you knew your cabin number, you could go to that deck to sign in.....but most in this mob scene did not have cabin assignments yet. Cabins were quite spacious for this type of expedition cruise. Had enough room to put cloths after removing coffee-tea sets. Loved the heated bathroom floor. There was also a boot warmer in the closet. Seemed to be a problem with cabin phones on the ship that were supposed to allow for ship announcements in the room. My cabin 4th deck forward port 448 was directly above the location where they launched all the kayaks, zodiacs...so could get a bit noisy during those times, but then again I got this whole cruise at a sale price. Food: I thought the food was very good. I was worried after reading reviews from some of the earlier cruisers when this new ship was first sailing. Buffet had plenty of choices for fish lovers, carnivores and vegetarians, and sit down was limited choice, but still adequate. The alternate casual restaurant (Friedhem?) was interesting, but descriptions on the menu did not match what was received. Ship had a washing station and hand sanitizer at the entrance of the main restaurant, (GOOD thing) but wait staff barely brushed off crumbs from the table mats, nor wiped the mats or tables clean between passengers. Entertainment: Lectures were informative. The (so called) auditorium was basically a big room with hard temporary chairs. If not seated in the front row you could not see; we were grateful that they were able to stream them to the cabin television. Occasional movies in the Auditorium could not be streamed...technology was not set up for that. Also too bad they could not broadcast any missed lectures on demand from the room television. Science lab was a lot of fun and interesting when things were staffed with their scientists but under-used. Excursions: Let's be honest; the whole reason for this type of trip is the excursions. Tourism law dictates only 100 people on an Antarctic island at any one time. With 400 or so passengers they did a pretty good job scheduling groups, but it still seemed a bit crowded. I cannot imagine how much more crowded it would have been if we had been sailing at full capacity (500) Most of the landings had enough excursion team members scattered about the site to help point the way, but occasionally hard to find someone. Captain and excursion team always had (and executed) multiple plans for the day because no one can predict weather and conditions. Alternate plans worked out nicely. Also essential for excursions, I was pleased to see they had a good choice of muck boots to lend out. I had read horror-story reviews from the Roald Amundsen when they first started doing their cruises in Arctic, Greenland the summer of 2019, and was delighted we did not encounter any of these problems on their Antarctic itinerary. All of these excursions were included. The one excursion I paid for in Port Stanley, Falklands to travel to the King Penguin colony (on the private grounds of a tour company ) was advertised to last 3 hours, but was only 2 hours round trip. This left us only about 50 minutes to walk around to see the penguins , shore birds and other scenery. I was glad I got to see the few King penguins, but felt extremely ripped off not having ample time to wander around. Complaining to the excursion team aboard did not help since they also expected this tour to be 3 hours. The company running the tour is just too greedy hoping to get more groups ($$) pushed through during a day.. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Roald Amundsen hybrid ship is the newest in the Hurtigruten group and we were so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to Antartica onboard. The rooms, restaurants, quality of the food, housekeeping, bars are all outstanding. It ... Read More
The Roald Amundsen hybrid ship is the newest in the Hurtigruten group and we were so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to Antartica onboard. The rooms, restaurants, quality of the food, housekeeping, bars are all outstanding. It is however, the wonderful friendliness and professionalism of all staff that makes this trip so special. There are lectures in the science rooms, land and sea excursions, hot tubs on deck, a wonderful sauna, and a swimming pool to keep everyone occupied. Housekeeping was seamless and the rooms were spotless. The food in the three restaurants was fresh and beautifully cooked and with menus that varied on a regular basis which meant there was always plenty of choice and variation. Expedition staff were always on hand to point out whales, or the albatrosses that flew with the ship as we came close to Antartica, the different varieties of penguins, and seals. Stunning scenery and close encounters with wildlife meant this was a trip of a lifetime. Thank you!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I had heard good reviews of Hurtigruten from friends. I felt safe in their hands as they have so much experience of cold, icy countries. When the offer of a reduction on MS Roald Amundsen for it’s first year I took the opportunity ... Read More
I had heard good reviews of Hurtigruten from friends. I felt safe in their hands as they have so much experience of cold, icy countries. When the offer of a reduction on MS Roald Amundsen for it’s first year I took the opportunity and have no regrets. A fantastic ship, a fantastic cruise, lively and knowledgeable expedition crew. I paid extra to camp out. An experience I will never forget. And walking on pack ice is unreal. We were also lucky enough to land on Cape Horn. My only complaint, nothing about Scot. Yes, he failed but he is still part of Antarctica history. Life on board was great. Our cabin was comfortable and spacious, enough room to store our stuff and the cases slipped under the beds. A choice of three restaurants with good food and a spacious bar with plenty of seating. I used the hot tubs and sauna twice and the pool once. And there were interesting lectures to fill in to at time if we wanted. A truly great experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were not sure what to think about the Roald Amundsen after reading the reviews posted that we read before our cruise. We were concerned about the expeditions, our cabin and the dining experience/food. We are happy to report that we ... Read More
We were not sure what to think about the Roald Amundsen after reading the reviews posted that we read before our cruise. We were concerned about the expeditions, our cabin and the dining experience/food. We are happy to report that we have very little that we could mention as being even slightly negative about our experience on this 17 day adventure. From the time we arrived in Santiago to spend the first night at the hotel to the return to Santiago airport at the end of the trip, everything was well organized by Hurtigruten. If you want to be up close to the beauty of Antarctica while knowing you will be well taken care of on your trip, than Hurtigruten and MS Roald Amundsen would be an excellent choice! The Roald Amundsen is a beautiful hybrid ship and the crew does many things to make it "green". They are very conscious of the impact/footprint on the environment. We were each furnished our own water bottle and the ship had multiple filtered water stations on each deck to refill our bottles. They also educated us about what we could and could not do while in Antarctica so as to not hurt the land or the wildlife there. We were well informed every evening about the next day's schedule for landings and lectures. We were kept up to date every day if changes had to be made due to weather and landing conditions. We were told how to upload their app on our phone to keep informed or they would have a "hard copy" schedule at Guest Reception for us if we wanted one. We loved the lectures and information briefings where we could go to the lecture room in Science Center or watch in the comfort of our cabin while sitting in our very comfortable reclining chairs. A few of the "required" briefings had to be done in person at the lecture room but most could be seen in your cabin via live streaming. The expedition team was fabulous - very knowledgeable and helpful!!! There were always several people from the team available to answer questions. On the landings, all or most of them would be on shore helping us to get in and out of zodiac boats and as guides on trails to help with anything. We were amazed at the wealth of information they each had and loved their lectures on the ship. If the planned landing was not possible due to weather or ice conditions, the expedition leader and captain did everything they could to come up with an amazing alternative for the day. We landed at Cape Horn, did an ice landing, visited the Ukrainian Vernadsky Research base camp and made landings 5 out of the 6 days in Antarctica. In the Falkland Islands we docked at Port Stanley and did landings at two other locations the next two days. We can see where the quality of the expedition team can really enhance your experience in Antarctica! We were very fortunate that we had such a wonderful expedition team. We were pleasantly surprised about our experience in the dining room. We ate in the Aune dining room. Breakfast and lunch were open seating buffet with plenty of options. Breakfast included an egg/ omelet station which was delivered to your table. Dinner was assigned seating at either 6 or 8pm where we were served our dinner. A couple of times due to a late landing schedule, dinner was a buffet. Also we had virtually no waiting in any lines. What amazed us was that during the entire trip of 17 days, the meals were not repeated at dinner as well as most lunches! We have been on 2-3 week cruises on the big ships where menus are repeated during the cruise. The food was delicious and was some of the best food we have tasted any where in the world - not just on a cruise ship! There was enough of a variety that we had plenty of choices. We loved that for lunch and dinner they had a menu that listed all allergens for each dish. They did serve fish at every meal but it was a different kind each day. At lunch they had a seafood bar with different variety every day. A different soup was available every lunch and dinner which we especially enjoyed in the cold weather! There was a vegan and vegetarian choice available for lunch and dinner also. Also there were tea/coffee stations located around the ship. We were VERY happy with the food on the Amundsen! The officers and crew on this ship are approachable, friendly and willing to do whatever they could to make your day better. Captain Torrey was the most down to earth captain and often went on landings with us. The officers ate with us in the dining room every day. The dinning room staff was so personable and into customer service. They did everything to make dining an enjoyable experience. Everyone that worked on the ship, whether they were cleaning, doing maintenance, at guest relations, chefs, expedition team or officers would speak to us when we saw them. We felt like family. Our cabin was a Polar Outside cabin (#509) that was toward the front of ship on deck 5. It was very spacious and way more room than we needed for two people. Plenty of storage for our clothes and other things. Suitcases fit easily under bed to get them out of the way. We enjoyed the two comfortable reclining chairs in the cabin. It was a connecting cabin and we never heard any sounds from either cabin next to us. We were able to adjust the cabin temperature with no problem, We believe some of the initial reviews that said the cabins were hot may have been from the heated floors in the bathroom. If the bathroom floor temperature was high and left on all day/night, it would get hot in there. We just turned floors on about hour before showers and then turned off after showers. It was nice to use but not necessary. Bathroom was a good size. The bathroom had a large shower with a door that could swing open. We were not ready to get off the ship when it was time for our trip to end. We would like to go back again some day. We highly recommend Hurtigruten and the Roald Amundsen for a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
For me it was a once in a life time dream, which was especially dissapointing by the tour operator. I have choosen this tour with Hurtigruten because I made a very good experience on a two day tour in Norway. But as a tour operator for ... Read More
For me it was a once in a life time dream, which was especially dissapointing by the tour operator. I have choosen this tour with Hurtigruten because I made a very good experience on a two day tour in Norway. But as a tour operator for cruises it disappointed me nearly overall. A lot of promised things were not there. For example the underwater views on the big screen inside. There you only could see views of Norway. In my point of view Hurtigruten tried to please especially the media on the premier tour to Antarctica including the ship baptism. It was anoying that everywhere were cameras and drones were flying over your head to make a commercial for next year tours without asking for permission. I had several times the impression that the management from the captain to the Housekeeping management were arrogant if you have questions which are not in favour of the them, or if you have to complain something. It also included questions of safety. And on the other hand there was a thing where security standards were ignored. But at the end they blamed it to me, because the name tag was not at my luggage. But the peace of luggage was on board. The housekeeping did not want to help me. It was just a simple member of staff. Although I have booked the transfer from the airport to the hotel downtown - which was nescessary due to a delay of departure of the ship for one day - myself and a couple were refused to with the group to the hotel. Although in the hotel I was forced by the hotel to pay an upgrade otherwise I would not have a room in the hotel. The group in the buses - which arrived shortly later - they all had a room available. The couple and myself are still waiting for compensation from Hurtigruten, as we also had have to pay the taxi to town by ourself. At the airport it was said by the Hurtigruten coordinator that it will be settled shortly. The strange thing was that in the hotel they did not expect me to stay, or that I am part of the hurtigruten cruise. I had also the impression, if you are one of the guests who is not happy with everything you will be ignored, or they blamed it on you if it is not working. What also did not work were the update in the cabin with the latest news. If you complained about it, always an excuse was found. The most helpful and friendly stuff were the "simple crew" like the waiter, or the steward". If you asked them something they helped you directly. If you did it via the reception it also happened that you had have to wait for days and nothing happened. The only thing which worked promply was the reimbursement of the lost see day. Summing up cruising with Hurtigruten is totally different from using Hurtigruten along the shore line of Norway tradionally where the ship is used as a mean of transportation and not as a cruise ship. What I also found not so good was the kind of food. I expected local, Norwegian styled meals. But it was nothing special. Fortunately the scenery reimbursed me for the bad experiences I made with Hurtigruten. So Hurtigruten was just a mean of transportation and not the excitement itself. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise to visit Antarctica and to travel on the latest hybrid ship. This was a very special experience. The ship, the whole crew, the expeditions and activities, the food all met and surpassed our expectations. I was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit Antarctica and to travel on the latest hybrid ship. This was a very special experience. The ship, the whole crew, the expeditions and activities, the food all met and surpassed our expectations. I was travelling with my sister, both of us of pensionable age and we had a wonderful time. We learned a great deal from the lectures and enjoyed the shore excursions enormously. We were very impressed by the ship's hybrid technology, desalination of water supply and waste disposable. We believe that this should be the future of cruise ships. Antarctica is a very beautiful and precious place and we were given every opportunity to experience this part of the world in as eco-friendly way as possible. Our outer clothes were vacuumed, special boots were provided and washed after each expedition. The expedition team were very careful to protect the animals and to abide by all the regulations which govern Antarctica. I fully recommend both M V Roald Amundsen and Hurtigruten for people wanting to experience luxurious, informative and eco-friendly cruising, without "entertainment" and dressing up, in beautiful and special parts of the world. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had an 18-day cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Antarctica and back to Puerto Arenas. It took forever to get onto the ship and get into our cabin (436). Once we got in, things went well for the most part. The cabin was fine but there was ... Read More
We had an 18-day cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Antarctica and back to Puerto Arenas. It took forever to get onto the ship and get into our cabin (436). Once we got in, things went well for the most part. The cabin was fine but there was a horrid odor in the hallway (sewage smell) off and on. Somedays it was barely noticeable; other days we held our noses and ran to our cabin. We reported it but it never changed. Our cabin steward was excellent! Overall, the food was good. The main dining room (Aune) was nice and we always found room for breakfast and lunch buffets. For the served dinners, the menu was great for the first few days but got stranger as time went on. I think they were trying to find new ways to use leftovers. We ate at the Lindstrom (an additional charge) one night but the food was about the same so we didn't go back. The "grill" (the Friedheim) was nice, but small. The menu didn't change much but that was okay as I found the food there very good. Our server (Jen) at the Aune was wonderful. She anticipated our needs and never pestered. Very friendly and easy to joke around with. Excursions went well, although we had to miss the stop at Castro. We were told we would get some compensation for that, but nothing so far. Overall, this was a great journey and I would go on that ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Summer 2018 we booked the expedition-cruise "Alaska and Canada - Aleutian Islands, bears and Inside Passage" for more than £ 6.000,- p.P. According to the travel description we will land on the remote Beering-Sea Islands St. ... Read More
Summer 2018 we booked the expedition-cruise "Alaska and Canada - Aleutian Islands, bears and Inside Passage" for more than £ 6.000,- p.P. According to the travel description we will land on the remote Beering-Sea Islands St. Matthew and St. Paul to experience puffins, sea elephants, bears, vulcanoes, indigenous people, etc. A further landing was anounced in Unga Village, a deserted village on mainland Alaska, and other villages which you also can see on a regular Alaska cruise, such as Dutch Harbour, Kodiak, Sitka and Ketchikan. Few days before we left home, we were informed that we unfortunately will not land on St. Mathew Island and Unga Village. As compensation we got £ 190,-. During the journey we found out, that the landings were cancelled, because the Zodiaks for the landing had no permission for US waters. A well-known cruise-line, like Hurtigruten, they claim to be one of the leading expedition-cruise lines. This company doesn`t have the required authorization for the equipment. During the trip they also cancelled the landing on St. Paul Island. Though it was promised and usual for a expedition-cruise, we had not one "Zodiak"-landing because the boats had no permit for the USA. Hurtigruten offered just € 200,- as compensation for the cancelled landings. So we had a lot of time to stay on board. We have got a regular cruise, without landings on remote islands. Once there were divers under the ship, who tried to fix something. When we arrived in Vancouver, there were a stay in the dock to fix the problem finally. Once we had to go to the harbour by tenderboats, it came out that there were only 1-2 boatsmen who can operate the boats. If the ship would have been evacuated, it would take hours to save 530 passengers and the staff. Unusual for a expedition cruise was the two class restaurant system. Suite passengers may have breakfast and dinner in the fine dining restaurant. The rest has to line up in a canteen style restaurant for food and coffee. At some days dinner was served at the tables. In the restaurant the service provided by Filipinos was very good. But food was mediocre. In the afternoon the restaurants were closed, coffee was available but no pasty etc. WiFi was very slow. TV didn´t work. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Previously very impressed with Hurtigruten, having travelled with them to Antarctica and had an amazing time. I have followed the story of their new ship, the Roald Amundsen, and was looking forward to this expedition cruise, taking a ... Read More
Previously very impressed with Hurtigruten, having travelled with them to Antarctica and had an amazing time. I have followed the story of their new ship, the Roald Amundsen, and was looking forward to this expedition cruise, taking a more adventurous Inside Passage route, on this innovative vessel. My husband and I were amongst the first to book, about 18 months ahead. The flight from Vancouver to Nome to join the ship was very scenic, but it was clear on landing that the weather was dictating events. The sea state had hindered the disembarkation of the homeward bound passengers and at first it was doubtful we would be able to embark that evening at all - the good people of Nome were preparing to put us up! As it happened we did make it on board but it was a little chaotic: we did not get the ‘suite check-in’, the cruise card machine wasn’t functioning properly, cabins weren’t ready, luggage was arriving separately, we couldn’t sail that night, but hey - what an exciting start! Two weeks before setting out Hurtigruten had informed us that two of the more remote landings wouldn’t happen because of US regulations regarding use of the Zodiacs. They said it was a ‘minor change’ and reimbursed €200pp but in reality this was a very major change because it ruled out all ‘wet landings’ and any remote wild life encounters - the very things that provide those amazing memorable moments that define an expedition cruise. Our first ‘landing’ after an extended time at sea, was a substitute stop at Sand Point in the Aleutians which was poorly organised to say the least, provided none of the promised wild life encounters, and revealed how poorly prepared the crew and expedition team were to cope with 500+ passengers in one tender boat and a destination they knew little about. Many passengers were understandably very unhappy about it and to add insult to injury we were all given a dressing down by the Expedition Leader at the evening briefing for complaining about it. There was also a ‘failure to launch’ of tenders which was officially because of ‘high swells’ but it was clear to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of sea states that the swell wasn’t high at all. Thank goodness we didn’t need to abandon ship in rough seas..... The Roald Amundsen is a beautiful ship. The decor is stylish Nordic, the jacuzzis and pool on deck 10 are lovely, the walking track on 11 is great, inside AND outside gym equipment, beautiful sauna, lovely cabins and super comfy beds. The explorer lounge is very comfortable (though the day beds at the bow only give a view of the railings) There is a lecture theatre and scientific equipment on Deck 6 but the former is poorly designed and the latter is mostly wrapped in plastic covers. There is a shop which sells little of any use unless you are in the market for tanzanite jewellery or a new watch, or have forgotten to bring a jacket (but you are given one on board anyway......) There is a spa (didn’t use it). What is clear is that with a full payload of passengers almost all the public areas are too small. The Aune dining area is poorly laid out for both staff and passengers and was a chaotic place to eat. The a la carte Lindstrom was much better but not big enough to accommodate suite passengers except on alternate nights. It’s small menu, though good, did not change throughout the duration of the sailing. The Friedheim ‘street food’ restaurant had an even smaller menu, which was shortened further due to limited availability, and again did not vary for the entire time on board. The lecture theatre is high tech but too small and uncomfortable during use, with passengers spilling out into the adjacent area. It was possible to view proceedings here from the cabin TVs but only for lip readers because the sound didn’t come through. If the use of zodiacs had been permitted it would clearly have been a vey long process for the numbers on board to access and enjoy them. The pool on deck 10 was ‘closed for maintenance’ for almost all our sailing: it leaked into the (expensive) cabins below, whose occupants must have had a truly miserable experience. The optional excursions, predictably I suppose, were overpriced and underwhelming. Some were cancelled at short notice. Some passengers had been given the opportunity to book prior to leaving home and some had not. Some of the expedition team were very new and inexperienced, some of the more senior ones had rather poor presentation skills. Some were excellent. Given that many of their clients are professional, well educated and experienced travellers I feel this team could do worse than up their game. On our previous trip with Hurtigruten in Antarctica we were in awe of the team on board and couldn’t praise them highly enough. Sadly not the case here. There were some notable highlights: seeing sparing bears, multiple humpback whales, the Hubbard Glacier. All amazing. I appreciate that with this sort of sailing itineraries can change, but for poor planning and awareness of regulations to have such a major negative impact on an advertised cruise reflects very badly on Hurtigruten. The on board experience was significantly diminished by ambitious passenger numbers and ‘teething issues’ with the ship. This was, in my opinion, neither ‘expedition’ or ‘cruise’ and Hurtigruten should reflect very seriously on just how it could fail, on both counts, on such a spectacular route. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The airteam, at that time based out of Estonia, failed to consider the inadequate ground time necessary for our SEATAC to Vancouver flight connection and consequently had to change our reservations too late to get seats together. We are ... Read More
The airteam, at that time based out of Estonia, failed to consider the inadequate ground time necessary for our SEATAC to Vancouver flight connection and consequently had to change our reservations too late to get seats together. We are glad that Seattle office is now handling air reservations. Air North at Vancouver airport was in no way equipped to handle Hurtigruten's number of passengers. There was only one check-in counter operational for our flight to Nome which meant several hundred passengers standing for over an hour. Given the demographics of the passengers and the total lack of seating available, this was unacceptable and avoidable. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7 and it was comfortable. Unfortunately the AC did not work adequately and we kept our balcony door open partway the entire time from Nome to Vancouver. The buffet dining was disappointing and nowhere near the standard of Fram. Choices were limited with a lot of fish and the menu was repeated several times. Desserts were boring with only 3 choices - none of which showed any culinary joy. Wait staff were wonderful. There are water dispensers all over the ship, but unfortunately the pour is very slow and the sparkling water option was never hooked up. The Science Center is too large and other than seating the overflow from the lecture hall, is not used to capacity. The very costly Zeiss microscopes are shrouded by their covers most of the time and we found members of the Expedition Team seeming to be mostly preoccupied behind their desks on their computers. One sometimes felt intrusive and reluctant to disturb them with a question and we generally did not feel the same connection with team members as we did on the Fram. The biggest issue expressed by many of the ship's passengers was about the inability to do landings in the Zirkelboats and consequently bypassing two of the Aleutian islands that were on our schedule. The inability to use the boats for landings in US territorial waters was clearly known to Hurtigruten well ahead of time and that should have been conveyed to the passengers accordingly, in a timely manner. The general sentiment was that the price of this voyage was too high for what was delivered. In Dutch Harbor there was a long delay before the one life boat was ready to take passengers ashore and cut down on the amount of time allowed on land. This was due to the crew's unfamiliarity with the equipment. In addition, passengers had to wait one hour to board the launch to return to the ship. After many complaints, the Captain said he would allow two life boats if we had to anchor offshore at future stops. I believe that this ship, with a capacity of over 400 passengers, is not the best choice for Antarctica. We sailed there on a small ship with another expedition company and there were only 120 passengers which allowed for 3 plus landings per day. Since there is a limit to the number of people that can disembark at any one time, and given the long lines we experienced as well as some general disorganization with relatively large life boats on the Amundsen, I would imagine trying to get 400 people ashore in small Zirkelboat groups could be a problem. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of our previous fantastic experience on board MS Midnatsol in Antarctica. We specifically wanted an expedition cruise. We stayed in suite 841 which was lovely, good size, nice balcony and really comfortable ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our previous fantastic experience on board MS Midnatsol in Antarctica. We specifically wanted an expedition cruise. We stayed in suite 841 which was lovely, good size, nice balcony and really comfortable beds. Sadly during heavy seas it sounded like someone had left a screwdriver behind the wall and the noise was very intrusive. Dining was poor. The lovely staff could not cope with he numbers of passengers and the general the layout of the dining areas was poor, for example there is 1 toaster at breakfast situated in the space before the buffet so that it got very congested. The menus were highly repetitive apart from the rare occasions when they took on fresh food. Entertainment and activities were very poor. The lecture theatre has a dreadful layout and can seat only about a third of the passengers. The science area is very underused. Communication of activities was poor and daily schedules for the next day published late in the evening. The rooms are well insulated for sound which is a good thing but it meant that you could not hear the ship-wide announcements because of problems with the ships electronics systems. All excursions that would have made this an expedition cruise were cancelled and this is my major annoyance. On one occasion at a briefing the expedition leader told the passengers to stop moaning to the expedition crew about the lack of expeditions because they were doing their best to find alternatives. This did not make for a happy on-ship atmosphere. The cabin and dining staff were lovely. Some of the expedition crew were also very helpful Ports and shore excursions organised by external agencies were generally OK, however there was a particular low point when the expedition team filled in for a cancelled wildlife expedition by abandoning us in a tiny fishing harbour with little guidance of what to do when we got there. There were many problems with the ship that others have mentioned. Items that have not been mentioned are the high temperatures in the gym and the pool being out of action most of the time because it flooded the deck 9 suites. Passengers that had stayed on from the previous northwest passage cruise reported long, long waits to get off the ship via the zodiacs. We did not experience this because all our similar wildlife trips were cancelled. In summary: the design of communal areas is poor and they are not large enough to cope and there were too many passengers. It is a lovely ship but if you want to go on an expedition cruise or a luxury cruise choose another ship because this does neither. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Most cruise ship companies offer Alaska cruises to Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier but when I saw the itinerary of the Roald Amundsen and nice staterooms, and public areas, I was hooked. It had a starting point in ... Read More
Most cruise ship companies offer Alaska cruises to Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier but when I saw the itinerary of the Roald Amundsen and nice staterooms, and public areas, I was hooked. It had a starting point in Nome, with stops at St. Paul, St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea as well as Dutch Harbor and Unga Village in the Aleutian Island chain. Except for Dutch Harbor, those destinations were only accessible by boats, specifically Zodiacs. A week before sailing we received an e-mail from Hurtigruten, informing us that of unforeseen rule changes by the US government, the landings at St. Paul and Unga Village had to be canceled. Later we learned that only US Coast Guard Zodiacs were approved for landings in the US waters and not the Hurtigruten Nodiacs. The ship itself had a small outside deck at the bow and a slightly bigger one with 2 hot tubs and a pool at the stern. Additionally, Deck 11 at the top of the ship was designed to accommodate most of the passengers with great viewing opportunities. Unfortunately, the ventilation system for kitchen, engine room, sewage holding tanks were also located on Deck 11. This created a very unusual, sweet stench engulfing the entire deck and made it impossible for me to use it. The spacious lounge had comfortable swivel chairs in front of large windows. Unfortunately, they were always occupied by the numerous German passengers who fiercely defended them from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. The Aune restaurant was designed for main cabin passengers in 2 seatings at dinner. Suite people had their own Lindstrom restaurant. During breakfast and lunch on the other hand, it was everybody for him/herself at Aune. With an inadequate number of restaurant staff, it meant you had to hunt for a table, clean it, get silverware, go in line for food and water, while hoping the table would not be occupied by another passenger on your return. How was the food? Glad you ask. I lost 10 pounds in 18 days with no physical activities what so ever. Our first stop was at St. Paul. I watched the crew trying to lower the tender. A fellow passenger and retired engineer, told me, it was obvious to him, they did not know what they were doing and they would never be able to accomplish the task. After an hour, an announcement was made, because of high sea and gale force winds, it was to dangerous to launch the tender and get the passengers safely into the boats. I estimated the waves about 2 to 3 feet with wind speed that still aloud people to be very comfortable on the outside decks. At Sand Point problems occurred when on the entire ship, only one tender driver was trained to dock at the special launch dock on Deck 3 of the Roald Amundsen. One tender with the capacity of 80 people had to shuttle 530 passengers to the shore and back. This reduced the visiting time to only two hours. At the cruise harbors in Kodiak and Ketchikan the clever Roald Amundsen design of ground level access to the ship without a gangway hit a glitch. Because of the tide, the entrance of the ship was much lower than the harbor dock. A long gangway from Deck 6 with about 60% incline was the only way to embark and disembark. Additional stops were made at places that you could easily reach with a traditional cruise for a fraction of the cost and better organized. But Hurtigruten really wanted to top the disaster trip with an expedition leader that was uninformed, uninterested, unhelpful and dishonest. The leadership skills were so bad, that most of his staff disappeared for days. Sometimes they were sitting at the never used science center updating their Facebook status while passengers on the outside decks tried to get information what they were looking at. In Vancouver we were all happy to disembark. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose the cruise because of the promised itinerary. We were on the same cruise as Grizzly56 who has submitted a review already so I will ask you read his review and I will avoid duplication here. We booked through ROL Cruise Ltd ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the promised itinerary. We were on the same cruise as Grizzly56 who has submitted a review already so I will ask you read his review and I will avoid duplication here. We booked through ROL Cruise Ltd on 24th July 2018 and had decided to book a suite and a suite number was duly allocated. This same suite number remained the same all through our correspondence with the agent and appeared on our final cruise tickets. We were dismayed, when we arrived on board the ship to check in, to find that we had not been allocated the suite number we had been expecting for 11 months and instead were given a suite one deck below where we should have been and almost at the stern of the ship rather than midships. I immediately let our dismay be known to the Reception Manager, showed her our documents and she was at a loss to understand why the change had been made without prior warning, without our knowledge and hence without our acceptance. She said she would investigate. I approached the reception desk each day until about half way through the cruise when she had another answer from Hurtigruten. The blame was attached to a "System Error" and by way of apology we were given 300 EUROS to spend on the onboard ship's shop only. By this time, half way through the cruise, we had already purchased anything we were likely to purchase from the shop but we were told the 300 EUROS was non refundable so use it or lose it. We never at the time then or any time since asked for any compensation. Hurtigruten picked the wrong person to try the "System Error" excuse on as I have worked in the oil and gas industry for many years, a good number of which are associated with the design of digital control and safety systems and I pursued a policy of requesting a full technical explanation of how the "System Error" cancelled our suite allocation and without any operator intervention re-allocated us to another suite and re-allocated a different booking reference. First the Hurtigruten head office had tried to blame the staff on board for changing the booking before coming up with the "System Error" ploy. Still without asking for any compensation our request for a full technical explanation was never met and Hurtigruten gave us a financial "pay off" which we hadn't asked for. We had a number of issues to raise with Hurtigruten Customer Services for which they apologised but have never reassured us that Hurtigruten have taken steps to ensure these issues would not be recurring in the future and especially they have never reassured us that the "System Error" would not be repeated. So beware. Other reviewers have mentioned that MS Roald Amundsen was a new ship and were making excuses for Hurtigruten on that basis but we can understand that some events can be attributed to MS Roald Amundsen being a new ship but there are many more which should not have been attributed to a company which proclaims in the brochure timeline to have celebrated its 125 years anniversary in 2018. We were surprised that at the end of the mandatory SOLAS/AECO safety presentation that cruise cards were not scanned. We are not sure how it was possible to ensure that all guests attended this compulsory activity. On the plus side we found the service staff to be very cheery and very helpful although we got the impression that the ship was understaffed and that it was not possible to take on more staff as there was not enough accommodation for them. Cabin comfort and amenities - very good as you would expect on a new ship, no wear and tear on the room. Dining - main dining room when used was poorly laid out and the hot food selection was poor. Menu was repetitive and choices bland. Fitness and Recreation - We didn't use the gym and as this was an "expedition" cruise recreation activities were not the same as you would expect on other cruises e.g. no theatre, no entertainment in the bars etc etc Shore excursions were mainly "hiking" or canoeing or ice field tours by small boats. Most of the hikes and port exploration activities were self guided. The end of cruise excursion to the glacier was endured on uncomfortable vehicles to suit the terrain. This tour was again beset with problems at the "BBQ" ( poor food selection and poor organisation ) and on our post BBQ travel in a vehicle which flooded the bus with diesel fumes and broke down a couple of times. Onboard ship WiFi was mainly hit or miss but more miss than hit. The in cabin AV equipment was brand new as you would expect but the content was regularly disrupted by technical faults and left us with a sense of frustration as neither the remote control functions nor the manual functions on the TV could resolve the problems. Communications from the expedition team through the AV system were poor. As stated below the service staff in the restaurants, bars etc were very helpful and provided excellent service. Despite their heavy workload they were always cheery and would go out of their way to satisfy guest requests where possible. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was an innovative and pioneering itinerary in an inaccessible rarely travelled part of the globe. The ship is simply beautiful. The cabins are spacious, comfortable and well designed. The food is good expedition food,not ... Read More
This was an innovative and pioneering itinerary in an inaccessible rarely travelled part of the globe. The ship is simply beautiful. The cabins are spacious, comfortable and well designed. The food is good expedition food,not haute cuisine. The main restaurant is overcrowded and significantly understaffed. The casual dining cafe is underused as it has a very limited (but good quality) never changing menu.The fine dining restaurant has excellent food and service but it is hard to get a reservation and is a euro25 pp.per visit supplement. The public areas have a wonderful scandinavian ambience,but are simply not adequate for 500 people.Every restaurant,bar,auditorium,lounge and expedition is overcrowded at each event.Passengers have to join a long queue for every meal,seminar,or briefing. Hurtigruten need to address this overcrowding of facilities as it detracts from this high quality ship and this great itinerary. Hurtigruten excell at cruising in remote places and have highly qualified expedition teams and experienced polar waters crew on the bridge.Logistics are excellent with the ship being resupplied regularly even in off the map locations. A great journey ,and a sense of adventure being a pioneer on the first complete transit of The Northwest Passage by a hybrid ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Because I traveled to Antarctica with this company and had a fabulous Voyage so trusted them to provide the same experience in Alaska I was so wrong There were constant changes of itinerary.Not due to weather .More days at sea than ... Read More
Because I traveled to Antarctica with this company and had a fabulous Voyage so trusted them to provide the same experience in Alaska I was so wrong There were constant changes of itinerary.Not due to weather .More days at sea than advertised.in 16 days I spent less than 30hrs ashore.One landing promised glorious beaches fabulous hikes herds of bison ...it took so long to disembark 500 passengers using one tender boat we had 2hrs only. Time to crocodile walk red jackets around a road.no chance at all to see the promised beaches and hikes .When shore did come into view we were so far from IT that any wildlife were mere blobs in the distance .We were promised small boat experience to get close to the Alaskan coast at its most remote.Small boats not used due to us reg which we were not told of.Thus we saw very little of the Alaskan coast , We were told ashore excursions were included they were not all excursions were pre bookable and we were not provided with an excursions list before sailing so any we would have desired were oversubscribed and heavily overpriced.. There were problems with the ship in many ways .from a dreadful auditorium,water logged decks flooded cabins ,lack of seating areas to mention just a few. All in all a most dreadful experience no way was it an Expedition Voyage..it was a cruise without the luxurious facilities and surrounding of a cruise ship and three times the cost of a cruise to Alaska . It was clearly a cobbled together itinerary to get passengers to pay for the repositioning of the ship from the end of the north west passage Voyage to Vancouver where it was to pick up journalists and travel writers. Extremely dissatisfied and disappointed with a trip I had so looked forward to and spent so much hard saved money on .n Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have sailed on Hurtigruten’s ms Fram twice. Of the many cruises we have been on, when asked, we always say that our Antarctica trip on Hurtigruten’s Fram was the best by far. What a disappointment then to sail on the Roald ... Read More
We have sailed on Hurtigruten’s ms Fram twice. Of the many cruises we have been on, when asked, we always say that our Antarctica trip on Hurtigruten’s Fram was the best by far. What a disappointment then to sail on the Roald Amundsen. This was a totally unsatisfactory expedition. There are too many passengers for it to operate as an expedition ship. We were told by Tudor Morgan, Expedition Leader, that these new 500 passenger ships were designed to provide “soft” expeditions – less active, slower paced. But there is nothing in the literature, brochures or website that indicates that there is a difference in expeditions. We expected the Roald Amundsen to operate as the Fram does with the possibility of multiple landings in a day and lots of lectures and movies. The Roald Amundsen is a beautiful ship. It is state-of-the-art but it was not ready for cruising. This was stated by Tudor and by the Captain of the ship. Consequently, many things were not working yet or not working correctly. The hand rails look very stylish. However, you cannot actually hold on to them because the rounded wood part sits atop a metal piece that is sharp when you grab ahold of it. Our departure from Iceland (we booked back-to-back cruises starting in Iceland and ending in Nome, Alaska) was delayed a day and a port cancelled due to an U.S. Coast Guard inspection that had been scheduled prior to the ship being ready but had to take place prior to sailing into Canada and the U.S. Because of the U.S. Coast Guard inspection in Reykjavik we missed Heimaey, Iceland. Because of rerouting due to ice, we missed Prince Leopold Island and Ft. Ross. Because of U.S. regulations, we missed Point Barrows, Alaska. The ship was several years in construction. Hurtigruten had plenty of time to understand the regulations concerning inspections and approvals required for visiting countries ensuring inspections or requirements did not disrupt any planned events. The Captain said that the ship was taken before it was fully ready/finished because it is a very expensive ship and they needed to start paying for their investment. Therefore, we the passengers, were guinea pigs. The head office was blamed for all electronic mis-workings. We were told that a Norwegian third party was responsible for the internet and workings of the television. Safety Briefing: We were told the briefing was mandatory. We could not see the demonstration. There were too many people for the Explorer’s Lounge. 500 passengers do not fit into the Lounge if they are required to see something in the middle of the space. The space is designed with obstructions. Everyone crowded into the center and no one else could see. There was only one-person demonstrating as far as we could tell. It would have been helpful to have multiple people in various locations demonstrating the safety equipment. Following the demonstration, we were told to go to our muster station – the Aune Restaurant. It was stated that our room keys would be scanned – as a way of ensuring that we had all attended. No one took roll. A paper printout of names would have worked. Medical Forms: Completed medical forms signed by our doctor were mandatory for embarking on the ship. However, no one collected medical forms on either cruise. From Iceland to Greenland - the doctor was not ever available to personally deliver the form to. My husband found someone who said they would take the form and give it to the doctor. But there was no official collection of them. However, on the Northwest Passage trip not only did no one collect the forms but the doctor refused to take them. Several passengers asked Reception when the forms were going to be collected and were told that the Doctor did not want them. Passengers had gone to great lengths (time and expense) to have the forms filled out and signed by their physicians as instructed. Why are your own policies not followed? I went to see the doctor with bronchitis. The Doctor said I needed antibiotics but the clinic only stocked erythromycin and I am allergic to erythromycin. So, he said he could do nothing for me and sent me on my way telling me to rest. Disembarkation Day in Greenland: Six of us from the Iceland to Greenland voyage continued on to the NWP trip. We were offered no activities on the day everyone disembarked. We were served lunch and dinner in the Fredheim (a second restaurant). But apart from that the ship was dead. We were not offered the opportunity to join the days’ excursion off the ship. We, however, pressed this issue and eventually we were told we could join the group. Then we were told we could not. Then we were told we could but we probably would not want to because the buses would be crowded, etc. We were strongly discouraged from joining. In the end, we opted not to go. There were absolutely no activities for us on the ship. The newly embarking passengers did not arrive until about midnight. Ship Services Information: The cabins do not have a book of “Ship’s Services and Information.” It is on the TV once you figure out how to find it. But the listings are incomplete or incorrect. The Announcements section tells you to program the F1 button on your phone in order to hear announcements in your room. This did not function. There is no information on what services the Wellness Center offers. Restaurants are listed but nowhere does it tell you that there is a charge for eating in the Fredheim restaurant. No menu available for Fredheim nor Lindstrom. Paperwork says ship’s currency is NOK. On board we are told it is Euro. The Embassy information is incorrect. TV and Announcements: The television must be tuned to Channel 1 in order to hear announcements in your room. You cannot hear announcements if watching a movie. You cannot hear announcements if reading the Daily Program on line. No way to hear announcements without TV being on. The rooms are very sound proof (which is a good thing) so you cannot hear announcements being broadcasted in the hallways. You can not hear announcements if you are in the bathroom. You cannot hear announcements if inside the elevator. None of the News, Sports, etc. channels on the TV worked. Daily Program is shown on TV alternating between English and German. The languages should be separated. You need to have an English channel and a German channel. It takes too long to wait for the appropriate page to come around again. If you have the TV on for a while (an hour??) you get a message asking if it should shut down. But there is no way to answer that question. The TV controller does not allow you to move from the default “YES” position. You can not move the button. So, you have to shut down the TV and turn it back on. This also means that you frequently miss announcements because you are unaware that the TV has shut off. There are cameras on the Bridge showing images off the bow and stern. These live camera images are not broadcast on the TV. The brochure states that there is an underwater camera that allows you to see marine wildlife. There is no such camera. Lectures were supposed to be recorded and available for viewing on our TV’s. This did not happen. Considering the problems with seating and viewing lectures in the Auditorium, this would have been welcomed. Auditorium: Making the auditorium modern and digital seems to have influenced the design rather than functionally. The auditorium is not designed to accommodate 250 (half the ship) at one time and certainly not all 500. It is a very awkward space. Chairs were squeezed in to allow for more seating but there was no leg room. Depending on where you sat you were unable to see the screen. The speaker stands in the middle of the floor space blocking the screens. People sit in the Science Center area for more seating. The speaker is then forced to walk around the four screens to point things out to all those sitting in different locations when the lecture is shown on all four screens. Lectures take twice as long because the speaker keeps having to repeat themselves as they walk around. The headset microphones DO NOT WORK. This was ALWAYS a major ordeal. Continually having to fiddle with them or change them. Or the speaker had to stand still in one spot to keep them from cutting out. At one briefing five different headsets were tried. Each speaker brings his own laptop and it takes two or three people and time to get it to work. Why not hook up one machine (and ensure that it works properly) and just have briefers bring their own flash drives to stick into it. Lectures: Because of the number of passengers and limited number of expedition team members, there are no lectures on board while landings are being made. This means that there are no activities at all on a landing day during the day. Most lectures were given in English and then separately in German. Sometimes a third time in Norwegian. With only one lecture room and the occasional use of the Exploration Lounge there were not nearly as many lectures as there could have been. All activities stopped between noon and 2 pm – lunch time. Only a couple movies were shown. Exploration Lounge: The Exploration Lounge was not designed for all 500 passengers to attend any kind of event. It is too small. It has obstructions that prevent a clear view to either end of the room. There are two smaller spaces to the front of the main section. One by the bar. Because there isn’t enough seating in the main section, these side sections fill up for additional seating. But no one can see from there. People stand up and block everyone’s view. The swivel chairs lined up at the windows each have a very clever little table that swivels back and forth. However, it is a bit fragile and people lean on it to get up. The table tops are now leaning in some direction and anything set on them slides off. If the table top is swiveled off to the side in order to make more space for getting up and down it is then in the way of the next chair. The chairs are very close together for the table top. No one sits in the lounge chairs at the front windows because you cannot see out. The windows are at an extreme angle and there are railings and other obstructions on the outside that prevent seeing anything. Science Center: This is a nice idea especially when you are trying to emphasize the expedition theme. However, it is not practical. It was seldom used and is taking up valuable space. The Science Center is being used for overflow seating when the auditorium is full. Which is basically every time there is a briefing. There is a small reference library and an electronic map that didn’t work. The Science Center could be put to better use making it another lounge area with tables for playing board games, cards and working on puzzles, etc. Like on the Fram. We found three boxed games. We finally found the one puzzle on board. Puzzles are perfect for all the down time we had on board. We started the puzzle on a section of a table in the science center because there was no other place. But it kept getting moved back and forth over the time being worked and pieces got lost along the way. Restaurant: The main dining room is like a small café or cafeteria. Contrary to our documentation, there were no assigned seats only 1st or 2nd seating. People started lining up 30 minutes prior to opening time in order to get a seat. The seating was mostly tables for 2. At breakfast and lunch, you frequently had to stand around and wait for people to leave before you could find an open table. The staff cannot keep the tables cleared and reset fast enough. The hall is designed for two lanes of traffic not the four or five that actually exist. The dining room is a madhouse. It is a frenzy of disorder. Absolutely not set up for the number of people the ship carries. It is noisy. The busing stations are in the middle of the dining room causing noise and lots of congestion. At breakfast, you first come to the toaster, butter and jam, then bread. In order to use the toaster, you have to backtrack and cut into the line. Long lines form at the bread station no matter what meal. The bread line usually goes down the hall past the first set of tables. The main courses are offered in two location, but no one knows that. The line, which always goes down the hall, blocks the kitchen door. Servers have to work their way through the crowd of people. Several times what they are carrying (dirty dishes, clean dishes, food or drinks) was dropped due to someone bumping into them. Salads come after the main food. The oil and vinegar came BEFORE the salad. So, people have to try to cut back into the line to put oil and vinegar on their salads. There is a very poor cheese selection and none at lunch. It was not uncommon for the dining room to run out of dessert and glasses and silverware. The food was never hot but luke-warm at best. A juice dispenser spigot broke, as well as, one of the water dispensers. Neither were repaired. Coffee is NOT served at dinner because (we were told by both servers and restaurant manager) “They do not have time.” This is unacceptable. Passengers could get their own coffee from the machines if they were maintained with beans, water and grounds removed. You are not allowed to remove food from the dining room so it is impossible to eat your dinner dessert with a cup of coffee anywhere on the ship. We had 4 pm snacks in the Lounge during the Iceland to Greenland voyage. There were no snacks on the Northwest Passage voyage. When asked why, the Restaurant Manager stated that it was against U.S. regulations to carry food the distance from the kitchen to the Lounge. This makes no sense. We were NOT in U.S. waters until the last two days of our 24-day voyage. Elevator: There is no way to tell if an elevator is going up or down. There are no arrows indicating which direction the elevator is traveling. Nor is there any kind of sound indicating that the elevator has arrived. You can not hear announcements while in the elevator. The elevator door sensors do not work. We and many others had elevator doors close on us. This problem was not limited to any individual elevator but happened on various occasions in each of the four different elevators. None of the buttons would retract the doors. Ship Store: The ship’s store does not sell sundries/toiletries. The Store staff refer you to Reception who have a written list of items carried. The items are stored in the back somewhere. Why are they not visible in the store? The store on the Roald Amundson is selling impractical items – leather handbags, several different brands of designer watches (i.e., Garmin GPS), high end jewelry to include tanzanite and diamonds. There is an entire section of fragrances. Electronics like GoPro. There are Roald Amundsen tee-shirts in red, white or black and a book about the ship. There are four bins full of stuffed animals. But there were no Iceland, Greenland nor Northwest Passage related items for sale at all - no books, patches, pins, post cards, sweatshirts, tee-shirts or souvenirs of any kind. There was a small assortment of clothing but not long underwear, gloves, socks, winter hats, etc. – items that would have been of use being in the Arctic. Excursions: We booked our excursions on line. The list of excursions was taped to a wall near the Science Center. We were not told this. We found out the day after boarding the ship that a new excursion had been added but it was already full. Point Barrows was on the itinerary as a landing. However, because the Hurtigruten rubber boats do not meet U.S. regulations, we were prohibited from going ashore. When did this regulation come into effect? When did Hurtigruten find out? Why were we not notified prior to being told a couple days before? Expedition Team: Their academic knowledge is outstanding. But they are not good at organization. We were told on several occasions that we would be called by group numbers but no groups were ever called. Crowds of people just showed up at once. People clogged the Exploration Launch area because they arrived when they wanted and stood or sat around. No one prevented this from happening. People crammed into the auditorium as people were trying to exit trying to grab a front row seat. The staff did nothing to police the crowds attending lecturers. Because seating was so limited in the Auditorium and Lounge, people saved seats for future events sometimes hours ahead of time. There were instances when the saved seats were overlooked (ignored) and someone else sat there. On several occasions this nearly caused an international incident. It may be a cultural thing but it is unacceptable for people to hoard the limited seating. Gjoa Haven – The Expedition Team stated that they had a cell phone that could call anywhere. We visited Gjoa Haven on Labor Day and when asked if stores would be open and if crafts would be available, the Team didn’t know. They had not remembered that we would be landing on Labor Day. Why did they not call ahead? We understood that all guides, events, activities, etc. offered ashore were the responsibility of the community. However, the Team could have checked prior to our arrival. There were not enough team members to handle the zodiacs on shore, be part of the various community groups and provide activities on board during a landing day. Landings: Every landing was an all-day event. Launching would stop at 10 am and not resume until 2 pm. Once resumed we did not go ashore until after 3 pm. That meant that we sat around all day waiting to go ashore with no activities on board the entire time. This was the normal routine. There were 14 zodiacs but only 9 drivers. When visiting areas where a local guide was provided, it was customary for an expedition team member to be part of each group. However, because of the number of groups due to the number of passengers, it was not possible for each to have a team member. There were too many groups and not enough team members. Cambridge Bay – were told that our key cards would be scanned when arriving on shore. That did not happen. Disembarkation Day in Nome, Alaska: The Nome, Alaska, airport is tiny. The 145 passengers departing on the plane before ours were pushing their way up to the one-lane security operation one at a time when our 130 passengers arrived. We did not fit in the waiting room. There was seating for perhaps 20. It took an extra two hours to get through security and load passengers. Once again this was a surprise to everyone concerned. We arrived in Vancouver at about 10 pm and then had a 45-minute bus ride to the hotel. However, we were served a very nice hot meal on board our chartered Alaska Airlines plane. Too Many Passengers for an Expedition: The real problem is that the ship CAN NOT accommodate an expedition cruise with 500 people. The Fram, with its 200 passengers in Antarctica, runs perfectly. There is no requirement to stop landings for four hours to accommodate lunch time. Each landing is an all-day event with no activity on board. The Roald Amundsen cannot accommodate 500 people in their public spaces. If there is an agreement to not put more than 100 or 200 on shore at a time it stands to reason that it will take forever to rotate 500 people on and off shore. This was very disappointing. Too much dead time. Not enough lectures. We will never sail on the Roald Amundsen again. Very disappointing. Too many people. Badly designed restaurant. Not enough public space.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Northwest Passage on the MS Roald Amundsen First Impressions and General Observations The voyage began well. The Air Greenland flight was uneventful and Hurtigruten personnel were ready at Kangerlussuaq to see us to ... Read More
The Northwest Passage on the MS Roald Amundsen First Impressions and General Observations The voyage began well. The Air Greenland flight was uneventful and Hurtigruten personnel were ready at Kangerlussuaq to see us to transportation to the boat. We felt some concern at the dock because it was dark and some of us do need to be careful where we are stepping, but we swiftly and safely boarded the Zodiacs with the help of the expedition crew. That the Amundsen was brilliantly lit with apparently every light in use was a bit spectacular. In retrospect, this would seem to be in contradiction to the energy conservation aspects of the ship, but perhaps a bit of hubris would be expected on a maiden voyage. Once on board, we were greeted with the spectacular six story display facing the elevators. Obtaining our identification card/key was quick and finding our stateroom equally fast. Luggage appeared in due course as promised. Having been on the Fram on five prior occasions, I think we were well prepared to what should otherwise have occurred. [Those 5 voyages on the Fram have really set a level of expectation that we feel any Hurtigruten ship would meet and it would be impossible for us not to compare the Amundsen with the Fram.] Hurtigruten literature makes very clear the need for a health statement (“Boarding will be denied if ….”), but no one on the Amundsen was prepared to collect and review the health statements. Subsequent inquiry at the reception desk suggested that staff were essentially clueless about the matter. [This should not be constructed as a criticism of the medical staff of the ship as we witnessed their very fast and efficient handling of the medical emergency that affected a crew member.] The “Mandatory” AECO and Boat Safety Presentations were at best casual and no record of attendance was made as was the custom on the Fram. A crew member did don the safety suit but there was no commentary on the step-by-step procedure to properly secure the suit or even any particular effort made to draw attention to the demonstration; I would question what fraction of the ship’s passengers actually saw or paid attention to it. Those present were asked to move to the emergency assembly stations, but no additional introduction to the rescue boats or locations of safety equipment was made. We grant that use of the safety suit was often shown on one or more of the many video sets, but I don’t think we ever observed anyone paying attention to these. Obtaining expedition jackets and muck boots the next day was without delay and similarly there was no problem in identifying our landing groups. It was rather disconcerting a couple of days latter when the expected rotation of the landing groups was seemingly randomly disrupted by the introduction of jacket patches – one can understand use of a obvious visual identification to prevent passengers from ignoring their allotted place in the landings, but the use of identification patches should have been done from the start. The Captain’s Welcome and introduction to his officers and the expedition team was indeed a fitting introduction to the voyage, and the expedition crew provided a great goodbye at the Captain’s Farewell even though he and his officers were otherwise occupied at that time by the invasion of the US Coast Guard inspectors. The appearance of a Northwest Passenger Certificate was also a most welcome and unexpected surprise at the end of the voyage. Otherwise, our overall initial impression was that the Amundsen is technological marvel, shiny new, but rather sterile compared to the Fram. There seemed to be too much dark tile in floors and walls, the corridor carpets too dark, and the artwork in the corridors and our cabin too uniformly abstract in black and white (the designs didn’t seem to have much relevance to the nature of Hurtigruten itineraries). The only real exceptions to this are the wonderful penguin and polar bear décors of the 6th and 10th deck restrooms. The Strusted prints in the forward stair well are equally abstract, bland in color, and without much appeal. The light colored carpet with red lines in the Exploration Lounge is actually quite attractive and it is unfortunate that it was not more extensively used in the Lounge and in the corridors. We welcomed the presentation by the Chief Engineer on the new technology used in the ship’s construction. The visit to the bridge was most interesting to see how modern technology is incorporated into the navigation. The Expedition Crew The Expedition Crew were fantastic, wonderfully helpful in helping for safe boarding and leaving the Zodiacs, approachable and friendly on board, willing to answer questions, and presenters of a number of interesting and varied lectures. Their attention in making certain that landing sites were safe was very apparent and appreciated. We also were very pleased to see that alternatives were in hand when weather or ice conditions required changes in the schedule. The Cabin Our 4th deck cabin was far larger than we needed, but the double bed was comfortable and very welcome. The reclining chairs actually were quite comfortable. We appreciated the “green” option as our needs for making up the bed and fresh linens were quite minimal. There were some technical problems with receiving announcements in the room via the video system. Although several Norwegian networks as well as Skynews claimed to be found on the TV, no reception on any of these given channels was ever received during the voyage. We also have no idea if the listed movies and other television programs indicated in the TV menu were available as we had no desire and made no effort to access them. Some daily news would have been welcome and so we were happy when the daily news summary finally appeared on one of the channels (without announcement) mid-voyage. Also in mid-voyage, the daily schedule of events on channel 1 was moved (again without announcement) to a higher channel, but we discovered if the TV was left on the higher channel, we no longer received the oral announcements which were restricted to channel 1. At some point, even this seemed not to be working and announcements were subsequently made via the ceiling loud speaker. In sum, however, any problems in the TV system we would rate of minor consequence and presume these will be rectified in due course. We should at this point state our appreciation that the crew and staff did make the effort to minimize the repetition of announcements in multiple languages. A bit more annoying was that only once were we able to access the internet via the ship’s Wi-Fi. As we had no pressing need to maintain e-mail or other contact with the outside world, this rates as a minor annoyance without explanation (possibly the problem was due to the weakness of the signal on the ship). Once home, our laptop instantly accessed our home Wi-Fi so the problem was not with our computer. We would bring attention to one truly awkward design element in the room. That is the entry to the bathroom, with a 6 or 7-inch step upward from the room over 2-inch high sill. A moment of inattention in entering or exiting the bathroom (especially in mid-night when one might be half asleep) could all too easily result in a serious fall and injury. A far lower sill between cabin and bath floors at the same level should be more than adequate to prevent water from escaping the bathroom; actually given the offset of the shower away from the doorway, I am not certain than any sill is necessary. I would hope this concern would be considered in the construction design of any future Hurtigruten vessel. Dining facilities The serving staff were wonderful, quickly attentive and ready to offer some meal alternatives for those with food difficulties. We were rather surprised to see that dining tables in the Aune restaurant were primarily for two persons, certainly not conducive to interaction between passengers. In fact, when passengers did interact at mealtimes it usually meant someone or more would be standing in an aisle and impeding traffic flow. The presence of three passage ways between the tables does not seem ideal. Tables of 6 and 8 seats set perpendicular to a single, and wider, central passage would provide better traffic flow with possibly a few more available seats. The presence of coffee across the aisle from the soup and bread also was a source of congestion. The presence of the shelves along the main corridor is unfortunate. They block the exterior view from half the diners, important as we were always on the lookout to marine life. The lightning on the underside of these shelves does not appear to be significant. But what we can describe only as truly odd, if not bizarre, is the display on these shelves of plastic fruit in canning jars. We cannot imagine how a decorator could possibly believe this to be appropriate to a ship devoted to Arctic exploration! The display of Norwegian tins and the dog sled and marine motifs in the restaurant are far more appropriate even though we confess mild amusement that the former were glued to the shelves so as not to become souvenirs for the passengers. Breakfasts were more than adequate. We did find it curious that orange juice was usually not readily available, though it could be requested of the serving staff. Dry cereal was limited to four offerings, two of which were chocolate based, again curious given the median age of the passengers. High fiber bran cereal would have been more appropriate. But overall, breakfast offerings were more than adequate. Selections in the buffet lunches and dinners appeared to be fewer than what we were accustomed to on the Fram. In particular, the variety of breads on the Amundsen seemed rather limited. Deserts for the lunch and dinner buffets also showed limited imagination on the part of the chef – only three items on offer, one always a berry compote and another a mousse of some form, with the third usually some type of cake. Alternatives of ice cream or a sorbet were offered by the serving staff. I fear we did not find the French(?) style of cuisine for the set menu dinners to be particularly appealing. As Americans, our preference is for a plainer style of cooking in which the artistic presentation of the food is not placed above the actual nature and quality of the item. As this is a culinary prejudice, it perhaps would be inappropriate to make much further comment on the food, though I will make an exception with regard to the several fish offerings of the set menu and the buffet dinners – we very much like baked fish, only seasoned lightly with lemon and pepper. The fish offered on the ship was always prepared within a sauce and seemed generally flavorless. A selection of arctic char was seared on the surface, but otherwise raw. We conclude the chef does not know how to prepare and serve fish. Menus for lunch and dinner should have been prominently posted outside the dining room. Too often, it was too crowded at the serving stations to allow reading the written labels above the serving table and there was no time to question when something had an unfamiliar name. We also note two errors in the information posted outside the Aune restaurant. This tabulation notes meals vary from five-course dinners to buffets – but the set meals were only four-course. An “Afternoon Treat 16:00-17:00” is also listed for the Expedition Lounge. We remember fondly those pastries and fresh pancakes with jam and copious whipped cream served on the Fram every afternoon, but no “Treat” ever appeared on the Amundsen. I suppose we could also mention that hot chocolate was often available on the Fram in addition to coffee and tea. Alas, no hot chocolate on the Amundsen. We did use the alternative restaurant on two occasion for hamburgers. The Expedition Lounge The Expedition Lounge on deck 10 unfortunately is divided into three parts by panels of open metal work whose decorative curves reflect the design in the carpet. We feel their presence is a mistake. It would be far better for the Lounge to be completely open, especially as it was used not only for the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell, for various presentations and open discussions, and the cultural experiences with Inuit visitors to the ship. These panels simply obscure a fair number of the passengers from having a direct view of the presenters. The multiple video screens do portray what the presenters are showing, but the speaker is still not readily visible to most of those present. An open Lounge is simply a more friendly environment and would be a more effective venue for the presentations. The forward design of the Lounge is not optimal. The windows are slanted at far too shallow an angle and are set too far back from the front of the ship to give the best view toward the bow. The forward view should have been designed to give a view as close as possible to what the officers see from the bridge (which our visit showed has an impressive view to the front). We fear that in the Lounge we could also hear the random “Thump, thump, thump” from heavy-footed runners using the trackway on deck 11. Deck 11 should be covered with the rubber-grid mats that are used on the Fram, thick enough to deaden the sound of foot impacts. 6th Deck Auditorium The design of the auditorium is most unfortunate. First, the allocated space seemed too small for the number of passengers though the repetition of programs does work to limit the number of attendees. Perhaps a little more effort could be made to make passengers aware that programs would be repeated and perhaps even attendance by landing groups could be suggested. Second, there was a tendency of passengers to move chairs back to give themselves more leg room at the expense of the row behind them. Third, while the large format of the screen was good, the bottom was so close to the floor that viewers beyond the second or third row found it difficult to see the lower portion of the screen. The use of smaller auxiliary screens at the back of auditorium wasn’t very useful in this regard. The Amundsen would seem to have enough space that the auditorium could (should) have been designed in tiers, with each row a few inches above the one before it. Viewers thus would be more ably to see over the heads of those in front of them, and chairs could not be pushed back. This design is fairly standard, for example, in college classrooms. The auditorium thus would span the height of two decks, but we think this could easily have been achieved. Furthermore, the single entry doors at the front of the auditorium, adjacent to the speaker’s area, are bad as late comers tend to walk in front of the speaker. College lecture rooms have entry at the rear of the rooms, and doors should be double wide for easier entry and egress. For safety reasons, the forward doorways should be retained for emergency use. We did not feel that the design of the auditorium would meet proper safety standards for emergency exit. As a more important point, we must draw attention to the design and placement of the double screen at front. At right angles to each other and set into the front wall, at least a third of those present could not see either of these screens; the auxiliary screens are not a satisfactory alternative to viewing the main screen as they are small and missing is the presenter who often is directing the viewers’ attention to some detail in the picture. The general failure of the electronic pointer further affected the presentations – the presenter might point to some feature on one screen, but most of the audience was left to guess at what this might be. And lastly, the often failure of the microphones was annoying. If the speaker spoke away from the microphone, the sound reproduction would be lost. We find use of the microphones on headbands to be odd. Television news broadcasters typically appear to use a clip-on microphone, suggesting there exist sound systems that are much more reliable than the headbands. Miscellaneous Other Observations I think it would have been better if the main stairway had retained the double side-by-side design used in the Fram. There is two-way travel on stairs and no one agrees on use of the right or left side. Thus when one meets someone from the other direction, there is a 50% need for one or the other to switch sides. With a side-by-side design, we often found it most easy to simply move to the alternative stairway. Perhaps a minor point, but it does seem to make use of the stairs friendlier. Of course, we did use the excellent elevators at times—one can only take the 97 steps between decks 4 and 10 so many times in a day. And the elevators give such a magnificent view of the 6 story display, pleasantly reminding us of past visits to Norway. Perhaps in due course some views of Antarctica and even the 1,000,000 King penguin colony of South Georgia could be added to the display. The maintenance and cabin crew were observed to be doing an excellent job in maintaining the cleanliness of the ship. This is important as not all passengers use the readily available hand sanitation. We have mixed feelings about the sliding doors. On a number of occasions a door would not be working. The push buttons for the exit doors to the aft of deck 10 also were obstinate at times. There is also the annoyance that simply walking past a door would activate the opening. The posting of the morning news summary next to sliding doors near the Science Center meant reading the pages while the doors opened and closed as one moved or remained stationary. Actually given the availability of this news summary via four different language TV channels, posting the paper copies seemed unnecessary (except that this was never announced and discovery of the paper copy and availability on the room TV was fortuitous). The word excellent applies to the Science Center and its Library. The shop was a unexpected disappointing surprise. No postcards, some stuffed toys, and only a few Hurtigruten clothing items. But also jewelry and watches as if this were a Fifth Avenue boutique – these absolutely out of place! Their presence was another unsettling suggestion that personnel involved in the ship design were out of touch with the Hurtigruten precepts of earlier vessels and that expressed in the video presentation of the company’s 125 year history. It would have been far more appropriate to have had a few books related to Arctic exploration and culture, and even other gift items related to the exploration aspect of the voyage – many carvings and other items could be found in the cultural centers of the Inuit towns in Greenland, Nunavut and Alaska and there is no reason why examples could not be secured to sell on the ship. Many similar cultural items can be obtained in Chile and Argentina to accompany southern voyages. That Hurtigruten literature and catalogues for other voyages were lacking on the ship was also surprising. The medallions from port visits by the ship were seen in the corridor in the bridge area. Why hide them here? We have always liked to observe where a ship has visited and to note the variety of emblems that have been acquired. The visibility of the stainless steel exhaust stacks detract from the overall appearance of the vessel. I would suggest that a black cowl of some form be integrated into the upper structure of the ship to hide them. We always ignored the presence of the hot tubs on the Fram and now on the Amundsen, but we suppose some persons might appreciate some warm relief from the cold (we can’t say we have actually observed many passengers taking advantage of them). The addition of a pool on deck 10 seems so unnecessary, didn’t appear to attract much usage, and acted more as an obstacle in passing from one side of the ship to the other if one were on deck observing and photographing wildlife. The addition of a “Wellness Center” just seemed wrong for a Hurtigruten expedition cruise. Summary We have made comparison often to the Fram. Frankly, we are quite fond of the Fram. Yes, its cabins might be a bit spartan, the baths a bit cramped, and so forth, and once we even were rolled out of bed when the ship encountered high waves in the Drake Passage, but the real point is that we have been on the Fram because it was going to really great places, not because we expected to be pampered with soft accomodations, spas, high cuisine, and whatever. We engaged passage on the Amundsen not because it offered more luxury, but because it was going somewhere where our past Hurtigruten experience predicted a memorable once-in-the-lifetime experience with significance of historical, cultural and ecological importance. We only hope that as Hurtigruten brings a new generation of advanced ships into use that this tradition is maintained. Some of what we have noted above we are certain will be rectified as the ship routines become more practiced – but, quite frankly, it would appear that the ship was rushed into use before adequate planning of routines had been done and before crew and staff were trained in those routines. We hope a few of the other suggestions will be accepted where no difficulty would occur in making modifications to the present ship. We hope those few of more serious changes will be considered as Hurtigruten plans new vessels. In addition, we hope that Hurtigruten management seriously reconsider its apparent movement toward a more “yuppified” atmosphere on its ships. The Northwest Passage was a marvelous voyage for us. We expect we will be back on another Hurtigruten voyage in the near future, but not the Roald Amundsen. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
MS Roald Amundsen Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 1.0 2.5
Public Rooms 5.0 3.5
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.1
Family 3.0 3.1
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.2
Service 4.5 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 2.8

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