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7 Hurtigruten MS Roald Amundsen Cruise Reviews

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
Overall a good cruise with a new ship where you need to accept that some proccesses dont work. The new ship is great. Our suite on deck 9 was really perfect. The main restaurant has a structure we dont like. Its like a quick ... Read More
Overall a good cruise with a new ship where you need to accept that some proccesses dont work. The new ship is great. Our suite on deck 9 was really perfect. The main restaurant has a structure we dont like. Its like a quick restaurant. The extra restaurant for suite guests is really good in service. The expectation is that the menu will change within a 2 weeks cruise. Visiting areas without a harbour means uising small boats to enable guests to go on land. To handle this for 500 guests with 12 guests on a boat means that you need a lot of time until you can go on land. The qualification of the expedition team (not a holiday - an expedition) was good. But they have to learn that the guests have paid for a holiday alo and not only for an expedition. The absolut negatives experience ever was the flight back from greenland to denmark in the middle of the night. Out conclussion: never flight back from greenland in the night. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Greenland was rightly the desired destination, with the ship sailing from Reykjavik, Iceland. Passengers were inconvenienced at the outset by the fact that Hurtigruten had taken delivery of the ship before necessary US documentation was in ... Read More
Greenland was rightly the desired destination, with the ship sailing from Reykjavik, Iceland. Passengers were inconvenienced at the outset by the fact that Hurtigruten had taken delivery of the ship before necessary US documentation was in place, consequently the itinerary lost a day's sailing around Iceland. Six weeks on, the promised refund is yet to arrive. Embarkation was shifted from the cruise ship quay to a concert hall in Reykjavik, which involved a long wait of several hours before boarding. The ship was new and there were a number of 'running-in' glitches. The service staff was friendly and worked hard to please, but they seemed to be stretched i.e. struggling to deliver, so restaurant service was sometimes delayed and/or rushed. The menu in the fine-dining restaurant remained unaltered over two weeks. The main restaurant was crowded and its layout ill planned. On-board communication with passengers during the cruise was poor due to numerous issues, not least 'expedition' staff saying what the policy was - and then ignoring it themselves! The result was often chaos e.g. the statutory emergency drill was not conducted appropriately; chaos reigned even for the simple task of returning expedition boots. The poverty of the experience was compounded it seems by (1) the number of passengers (ca. 500) being too large for 'expedition' activities (e.g. long waiting times for a boat group's turn ashore - time which could not be used productively due, on occasion, to poor communications and/or lack of on-board activities plus poor lecture facilities) and (2) the 'expedition' team failing to demonstrate adequate discipline and/or training (and/or inclination?) in handling this number of paying customers. Some, not all, of the 'expedition' team were ignorant about the places visited, did not actively seek to help or interact with passengers, particularly when ashore i.e. some of the 'expedition' team gave the impression they were onboard for their own expedition, not that of the paying customers. Lectures by the 'experts' invariably opened with an apology for not speaking on their specialist topic! The excursion to the icecap on the last day was curtailed halfway because the Hurtigruten flight home was leaving early, something that the airline staff did not communicate to customers on-board, when checking them onto the flight, six hours earlier. Again disappointment, confusion and chaos due to poor communications on board. Hurtigruten has not given any explanation for this last shortfall. This new hybrid powered ship is also trying to be a hybrid of cruise ship and expedition vessel; the conclusion from this experience is that the MS Roald Amundsen carries too many passengers to deliver a true expedition experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Roald Amundsen is a brand new ship of a very high standard, but there are issues with how it is run. We chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Greenland and this seemed to be a good itinerary. We were excited by the thought ... Read More
The Roald Amundsen is a brand new ship of a very high standard, but there are issues with how it is run. We chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Greenland and this seemed to be a good itinerary. We were excited by the thought of a new ship, and thought there were a couple of cruises before ours, so that any teething issues would be sorted out. This proved not to be the case. The expedition crew seemed not to have worked out that dealing with 500 passengers was totally different from 200. The sound system didn't work properly so that briefings were difficult. There is no area on the boat to brief everyone, even when split into two groups. The food was very good, but tables were not allocated, so that people queued up for up ot 30 minutes before their seating time, obstructing the stairwell. When dinner was "set menu" it was great, but the buffet didn't work very well because the access into the restaurant was through the main food service area. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have just returned from what was advertised as a 12 day sailing on Hurtigruten‘s new ship Roald Amundsen and what turned out to be a 10 day trip, to Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. We are a married couple in our late 50s and early ... Read More
We have just returned from what was advertised as a 12 day sailing on Hurtigruten‘s new ship Roald Amundsen and what turned out to be a 10 day trip, to Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. We are a married couple in our late 50s and early 70s from the UK and have travelled on over 30 cruises including 2 Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyages which we loved for their simplicity and variety and very reasonable pricing. We had originally booked on Fridjof Nansen the sister ship but this was cancelled as the ship is not yet ready. When my husband made the new booking for Roald Amundsen he was told there were no connecting flights available yet but would become available if we looked on the website. We were so pleased to see an announcement that flights and transfers were now available for U.K. passengers for £99 per person. When I rang to book these we were told that this price was for new passengers only and that our price would be £454 per person. We eventually felt we had no choice but to pay this. We had a very long flight to join the the ship in Longyearbyen - we left our home in Leicestershire at 10 am on the Friday morning and finally boarded the ship just after 5 am on the Saturday morning. I had previously asked Hurtigruten if we would be able to sleep on board that night and they said of course we would. This was not true. As a great and very welcome surprise to me my husband had upgraded us to a suite. We were supposed to have a priority champagne check in. This didn’t happen and we carried our own luggage on and queued in various places until we were able to check in, it was chaotic and not a good start after such a long journey. We finally got the card keys for our suite on deck 8 (841). This was one of the highs. A light spacious room with comfortable seating and a large set of French doors to a clear glass balcony, other suite and cabins towards the middle of deck have a metal fronted balcony because of the red stripe on the ship branding it ‘Hurtigruten’; this is not mentioned in the publicity literature or reflected in price differences. There was ample storage throughout and an excellent bathroom with heated floor and with a spacious glass doored shower. The huge advantage to having a suite is free laundry so when we arrived home we had little washing to do. We had been assigned breakfast and 5 out of 10 dinners in the speciality restaurant Lindstrøm. Lunch could be taken in the self-service Aune main restaurant or the free to us, but not other passengers, Fredheim restaurant. Breakfasts in Lindstrøm were always excellent - great service and choice. Dinner in Lindstrøm is from an a la carte menu with an amuse bouche, starter, main course and dessert - the main problem is that it did not change throughout the cruise - I don’t like fish and that left my choices even more limited - I ended up having the same beef main course three times and eventually left most of it. Service, however, is excellent and suite guests get free wine with lunch and dinner which is good quality and free flowing. We often had lunch in Fredheim which serves ‘street food’ - burgers, dumplings, sausages, tortillas, crepes etc - tasty, good quality and excellent service. However, the menu never changed and we got tired of eating the same food for lunch and for 4 dinners out of the 5 we had no table in Lindstrøm. We were assigned a table in Aune for the 6pm sitting for those 5 nights and went the first night. It was a chaotic buffet with no menus, huge queues with people pushing in. The order of food did not resemble standard eating. It started with ‘main’ courses served tapas style in tiny bowls, followed by soup, then two salad selections and then a very limited dessert selection. The main courses were cold but the food was good quality. On my first trip I gave up because of the queues and the strange selection. I went again later and got bread and a small salad. We didn’t go again for dinner but did go 3 times for lunch as Fredheim had got boring. The experience was similar. The ship itself is one of the highs - public areas are tastefully decorated in Scandi style, think upmarket IKEA not luxury cruise ship. The Explorer Lounge is the only inside bar and observation lounge. It is spacious with a wide range of seating and we were almost always able to sit where we wanted to. Bar staff are excellent and soon got to know names and preferences and always had a warm friendly welcome. Drinks prices are comparable with bar prices at home - a large gin and tonic being 7€. Downstairs on Deck 6 is the Science Centre where there were a wide range of lectures and talks on the next day’s itinerary. The lectures were generally well-presented and informative. The next day talks were fun and interesting but gave little concrete information about the next day and we had to wait for a late night or early morning delivery of a paper copy of the ship’s daily programme to find out concrete details which made planning difficult. The talks in English were generally held at 9.30 pm which seemed late and interrupted the evening. We had expected an action packed itinerary (we had to get a medical declaration of good health for the trip - this was problematic as our GP refused to complete and we had to go for private consultation which cost £200 for 10 minutes, nothing was cheap about this trip!). In the ten days we got off the ship 5 times on the RIBs. There were 3 x 90 minute walks on land - two hikes in beautiful countryside and guided by red flags not the explorer staff and one landing in the beautiful, isolated settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit. These were highlights but short and the rest of the day was spent sitting around. They were done in rotations of groups of about 100 - some got off early at 8.30 am, some had to wait all day till as late 4.30 - 5 pm. There was a spectacular trip in the RIB around the icebergs in the Bjørne Islands but this was only an hour and the member of the explorer staff accompanying us had to be asked questions rather than offering information; he wasn’t a specialist though he was friendly. The last day was a choice of excursions at our stop in Iceland. We chose the Highlights of Snaefellsnes. The tour was excellently organised, not by Hurtigruten, and very informative with a very knowledgeable guide. It was, however, very expensive at £144 for 5 1/2 hours. In all we felt we could have been offered more on such an expensive trip which led to long days. We fortunately had free WiFi to occupy our time and lots of reading matter. The WiFi is free for suite guests but 17€ a day otherwise. It was good in Longyearbyen and Iceland but intermittent elsewhere. We wouldn’t have paid extra for it. We booked the trip not only for the Arctic scenery but also for wildlife. We saw polar bears three times which was a great joy. We got good photographs and were pleased to see the bears looking healthy and well-nourished unlike the footage of lone bears on icebergs one sees in nature documentaries. We saw brief glimpses of various whales, a few seals and some birdlife though not nearly as much as we’d been expecting. When it came to our transfer to Reykjavík airport at the end of the cruise we were disappointed by the arrangements. We’d booked everything through Hurtigruten as we thought this would be efficient. Our flight was at 12.30 pm. We were told our transfer would be at 7 am for a 45 minute ride to the airport. We queried why it was so early. This was not well-received and we got the glib reply, “Well we have to clean the ship”. We knew the next group of passengers was boarding at 8 pm; it’s a new, spotless cruise ship. Larger ships we have been on manage to do the turnaround much quicker, often in less than two hours. We were told that we’d be called by deck at 7 am. In fact there was a general announcement for everyone on the 7 am transfer to leave the ship at 6.50 am. In conclusion was it a good trip? Yes, it was - the trip of a lifetime to see remote places and polar bears close up. Was it what were we’re promised in the itinerary? Not really. We were supposed to spend days 5 - 8 in the North East Greenland National Park. After our first day there at 10 pm a very serious captain told us that the Danish authorities wouldn’t allow it as we didn’t have a pilot, they are required for ships with over 250 passengers - Hurtigruten should have known this. Our alternative was days spent in the beautiful Scoresbysund. We didn’t feel we’d missed out but many passengers did. Would we do it again? Very unsure about this - a good cruise but it could have been so much more. Hurtigruten must do better with this beautiful ship and her attentive staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Some general information about DH & I for reference: we are in our mid to late 50’s, reside in Louisiana, are avid travelers who have visited more than 80 countries, on all 7 continents, and have taken 30+ cruises, including ... Read More
Some general information about DH & I for reference: we are in our mid to late 50’s, reside in Louisiana, are avid travelers who have visited more than 80 countries, on all 7 continents, and have taken 30+ cruises, including expedition type cruises. This was our first sailing with Hurtigruten. This was a new ship, and was on it’s third sailing. I will give bullet points first, then a daily overview farther below, and will try to be as detailed as possible. Ship – the ship is lovely with clean lines and Norwegian furniture, simple and elegant. There are water bottle filling stations on every floor. The rooms are understated and come across beautifully. Almost half of Deck 6 is dedicated to the Science Center which is very underused space. The ship is kept very warm, and being in the Arctic we saw many passengers walking around in shorts and tshirts. The cabin temperature cannot be fully controlled, but only controlled to a few degrees cooler or warmer than the overall ship temperature, resulting in our cabin being too hot for us for the duration of the voyage. Cabin – the cabin décor is beautiful. We had an XT Arctic Superior, outside cabin with balcony, which was perfect for us. Colors are pale woods and putty colors accented with charcoal. The bed was extremely comfortable, but the double comforters are far too hot for the temperature the ship keeps. There are 4 pillows. The trash can has 3 recycle bins, and there is another bin in the bathroom. The storage is a thin coat & shoe/boot closet with metal pegs and a shoe dryer system. The closet has 6 hangers and 2 shelves on the left side, and additional hanging space on right (no hangers though) and 2 shelves, plus shelf with safe that will hold a small lap top. Then there is a shelving system with 2 upper cabinets with a coffee pot in the left one; below there are 4 drawers on the left (1 contains a large blow dryer which I removed and placed elsewhere), then there is 1 drawer on the right that contains coffee and tea setups, and a lower cabinet holding the fridge with minibar (charge applies). There is a shelf here, and 2 thin shelves in the center, and space for 3 wine bottles. We were given gifts of some chocolate pieces, and 2 refillable Hurtigruten water bottles. Full length mirror on wall, and 2 bath robes provided for use plus slippers. In the main part of the room was a small desk and chair with mirror over, and phone on the wall, and 2 thin shelves on wall. There are 2 thin nightstands with drawer. There are 6 wall plugs of the 2 round pin style. 4 wall pegs for hanging garments. 2 reading lights. 2 sitting chairs, 1 with footstool, table between, lamp, wall mount large TV with thin shelf below. The bathroom was small but functional, with a decent size glass shower, a shelf under the sink, 2 hanging pegs, shelf beside the sink, and then 2 thin shelves attached to the wall. The products are by Arctic Pure and feature Handwash and Moisturizer next to sink, and Hair/Body Gel and Conditioner in shower; there is no bar soap. Our balcony was rather deep, and had 2 adjustable mesh chairs and a small table. Food – this area was a huge fail for us. Every single meal, breakfast, lunch & dinner, every single day was served buffet style in the Aune Main Dining Room. We are not fans of buffet style, but can accept it at breakfast and lunch when necessary. Several guests complained and were told that there were many Chinese on board and they preferred buffet. The food was good in taste, although often could use some salt and pepper or lacked seasoning, but was heavy on Asian offerings (dumplings, congi, etc). As the Chinese guests would often sit in your seat if you left the table, one person on your party had to stay to “protect the table” while the other person went for food at the buffet; this resulted in us never sharing a meal together as one person would be up getting food and one sitting down. A huge disappointment. Although dinner was served buffet the entire cruise, dining times were assigned to 6pm and 8pm, and they stuck to this. There are 2 other dining rooms, but both involve a charge to dine there, unless you are in a suite. Internet – the internet onboard worked from boarding on Sunday afternoon to late on Monday night, and then was out for the rest of the cruise. It was included at no additional charge. Announcements – were made in English, German, French and Chinese. The Chinese announcements were often made multiple times, with one announcement being given 7 times from 7:15pm to 7:50pm on Tuesday evening. Daily Program – delivered every evening after 12 midnight for following day, so we only saw it when we woke up the day of. Excursions – were not well organized, information not provided during excursion, were very boring in content. Possibly because ship is new. Passenger makeup – of the 520 passengers, 177 were Chinese, 38 American, 46 UK, 18 Swiss, 56 German, 13 Japanese, and the rest “a bit of everything”. Overall – the itinerary was pretty with shores of upper Norway and Svalbard being attractive, but hardly any time off of ship and not much to see. For the most part a very slow and dull itinerary. While there were several bird sightings, the only other wildlife was 1 arctic fox, 2 reindeer and a group of walrus. The lectures were not provided early in the sailing when we had much down time, but were provided late in the sailing when guests were busy. There is no other entertainment, so you’ll want to prepare with books to read, although the TV offered a good movie selection. On Friday, July 19, 2019, we flew from the US, arriving in Tromso, Norway on Saturday mid-day, on Lufthansa, with no travel issues along the way. We stayed 1 night in the Clarion Collection Hotel With in Tromso, the room was of good size and clean, and included a decent dinner, and breakfast the next morning. Tromso is a charming city, with an active harbor front area. We walked from town across the bridge and over to the Arctic Cathedral. On Sunday, July 21, around 1:30pm, we took a cab to the MS Roald Amundsen, docked about 15 minutes ride from town, and boarded immediately with no delay and no lines. We were told the room was not ready, but could leave our luggage and tour the ship. Most passengers were on the pre-cruise tour that was scheduled to arrive at the pier around 3pm. We toured the ship, took some photos and had a coffee and light snack in the lounge. We were surprised to see many dirty cups and glasses sitting in the seating areas near the pool, and the Explorer Lounge (main lounge). Our room was ready at 2:35pm, and we gathered our luggage and took it to the room, unpacked and settled in. Our room was an Arctic Superior XT, outside cabin with balcony, on Deck 7 and was very nice. The weather was 75 degrees (all temps in Fahrenheit) and sunny. We collected our red expedition jackets in the Science Center on Deck 6. We liked the style, and they are more like light weight jackets, wind and water repellant, which we were happy with. We checked out the Science Center while there, and it is very large and appears to be well stocked, but didn’t connect with the staff. We noted that each time we entered the Science Center during the cruise, we were asked “Can I help you?” by someone working there, but as we didn’t really have a specific question, we would reply “just looking around” and the conversation would end. The expedition staff seemed to be on computers and laptops, or moving around or talking with other expedition members. There was an open seating buffet dinner, and then a Mandatory Safety Drill, which was scheduled to start at 8:30pm, but began at 9:15pm, and ended at 9:50pm. Many of the passengers were quite tired by then from travel. Monday, July 22, We woke up to find our Daily Program outside our door, which was delivered after 11pm the night before. Boat Group Patches and Rubber Boots for landings were to be distributed, beginning at 8:30am, as your group number was called. This required you to first go to Science Center on Deck 6 and locate your group number on the postings, ours was Group 5. Our group was called around 9:30am, and then we went to Deck 5 to try on boots, and receive our Patches, and then to Deck 3 to collect our boots. We arrived in Honningsvag at 10am, and were able to disembark at 10:30am. Weather was 74 degrees and sunny. Most passengers went on a ship excursion to the North Cape. DH and I went on a walk through town, and then a hike up the mountain overlooking the town, shopped a bit and back on board. We were excited to see 2 reindeer strolling through town. This town is small, with 1 main street, and an attractive church, and is cute. Lunch was served from 12:30-1:30pm, buffet style. All On Board was 3:45pm. There was a Captain’s Welcome for English & German guests at 5:30pm, where the staff was introduced and a glass of champagne was provided, it lasted about 30 minutes. No lectures from the Expedition Staff were scheduled today. The internet on the ship went out late on Monday night, and stayed out for the duration of the sailing. Tuesday, July 23, this was a sea day, with 1 scenic cruising by expedition boat trip. 64 degrees and partly cloudy. At 9:30am there was a Mandatory Expedition Boat safety briefing, which lasted until 10:15am, where we were given instruction on RIB boats, shore regulations, and so on involving an expedition cruise. We arrived in the harbor at Bjornoya at 11:30am. At 2pm our group had a 1 hour “expedition boat trip” which amounted to a scenic cruise in the inflatable boat to view birds perched on the sides of rocks, and a ship wreck on the beach (no landing). Our boat did not contain any expedition staff, only the boat driver, and no information was given during our outing. This was the only activity of the day. No lectures from the Expedition Staff were scheduled today. Wednesday, July 24. 40 degrees and overcast. At 10am there was an informational briefing about the landing and outings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. We arrived in the harbor at Burgerbukta at 12 noon. Our group was scheduled for a 3:30p 1 hour Landing, and a 4:30pm 1 hour Scenic Cruising. Our landing occurred at 4:10pm, and consisted of a walk down a sandy beach and up to a point to view a glacier. The scenic cruising took place directly afterwards, and consisted of sailing near the glacier and some larger pieces of floating ice; again, no expedition staff on boat, only driver, and no information given. These 2 activities, which did not begin for our group until after 4pm, were the only activities scheduled for the day. 1 lecture from Expedition Staff on “Arctic Seabirds” scheduled for 6:30pm, but we were not able to attend as we did not get back on board until 6:45pm, and then had to get ready and go to dinner. Thursday, July 25. 45 degrees and mostly sunny. At 9am we arrived into the tiny research town of Ny Alesund, and were able to get off the ship at 9:30am, with all aboard being 3:15pm. We walked through the town, visited the museum, visited the shop, took some photos. The ship offered a guided walk through town for our group at 11:15am, which I took, lasting for about 45 minutes, and which I would rate as average and slow. I took several laps around the town to stretch my legs from so much time spent on the ship. There were 2 lectures scheduled for today, 9:30am “Spitsbergen, postcards through time, geology of Spitsbergen”, and 5:30pm “Polar Bear”. At 9:30pm there was a talk on “information about tomorrow” given, which was actually information on turning in boots, collecting passports, and disembarkation proceedings. Friday, July 26. This was a rather weird day in it’s schedule, as you’ll see later. At 9am we approached a walrus haul and were able to watch walrus from the ship with binoculars or high powered camera equipment, there was also an Arctic Fox in this location. At 10:30am was a lecture on “MS Roald Amundsen Engine and Technical Features”. From 11am-3pm, guests needed to return their boots and their boat group patches, and pick up their passports. At 3:30pm, lecture “Walruses and Seals”, at 4:30pm lecture “Ocean Giants: whales of Svalbard”; although we needed to nap during this time to prepare to be up all night. We also needed to pack this day, as we had to be out of our rooms by 6pm, and our accounts were closed at 8pm. We packed up and were out of our rooms by 5:45pm, turned in our luggage, and went to dinner. We arrived in Longyearbyen, and were able to be off the ship beginning at 8:30pm. There was a shuttle to the Svalbard Museum, but we chose to take the 20 minute walk to stretch our legs. Everything else in town was closed, so afterwards we went to the Svalbar, for a couple of local beers, and returned to the ship on the last shuttle at 11:15pm. We were directed to make ourselves comfortable in the crowded Explorer Lounge, where all the passengers awaited their shuttles to the airport, ours was scheduled for 2:50am. We spent the next few hours passing time, or trying unsuccessfully to nap. Our shuttle to the airport was at 2:50am on Saturday, with our included flight to Oslo scheduled for 4:10am, which departed at 4:45am and arrived in Oslo about 7:30am. This sailing included flights from Longyearbyen to Oslo, and the ship had scheduled 4 flights for passengers, at 2:25am, 3:25am, 4:05am, and 4:10am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
MS Roald Amundsen Ratings
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