5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I came to enjoy the cruise with my wife. Upgraded to suite and met some lovely people while on board. We have had some weather challenges snd couldnt dock, but overall enjoyed the day by day experience. Met nice restaurant team, ... Read More
I came to enjoy the cruise with my wife. Upgraded to suite and met some lovely people while on board. We have had some weather challenges snd couldnt dock, but overall enjoyed the day by day experience. Met nice restaurant team, housekeeping guy, Captain and funny Hotel Manager. Great welcome speech by the way. When we spoke with him all the things got way better! Chef Gundi we loved and his food. When we received a sad info that cruise got cancelled due to technical issues we tried to save and solve this cruise, we encountered a terrible and unfriendly person on expedition desk, black hair expedition coordinator. She is the most unfriendly.snd unprofessional person we met in the past 20 year cruising. Very rude and she ignores our questions. I am not sure how can you hire this person. One man on reception bolded, he ignored our questions and directed wrong. Hire a person who is a guest oriented. All in all Reception and other team helped us out. Thank you so much, but coordinator and guest relation manager ruined our day and cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have just returned from a trip on the Fram. We went to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Food was great. Expedition team delivered a smooth and safe trip for us. There were 182 passengers. We did two landings or small boat ... Read More
We have just returned from a trip on the Fram. We went to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Food was great. Expedition team delivered a smooth and safe trip for us. There were 182 passengers. We did two landings or small boat cruises on days where the weather permitted or we were not at sea. Did some lovely scenic cruises on board the ship, which I loved. On most days, but especially on days at sea ( travelling to the Falklands or to Antarctica from South Georgia), lectures or “ science corner” sessions were given by the expedition team. Some were historical, ornithological, marine mammal or ecological. Very high quality of expedition staff. They were available during landings to answer questions and point out interesting things to see. Our Drake Passage crossing was calm, however we experienced some rough seas crossing from South Georgia to Antarctica. We dressed warmly, honestly I never felt cold. My husband and I kayaked in Antarctica which was a great experience. We were in the hands of two very experienced kayak guides. That experience was probably my top adventure experience. Highly recommended. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked the MS Fram out of New York to Halifax, NS. The ship itself is beautiful with sleek Euro styling, glass, and mirrors everywhere. Nice lounges, great sauna, lots of deck space and so forth. A nice touch was the gift of a ... Read More
We booked the MS Fram out of New York to Halifax, NS. The ship itself is beautiful with sleek Euro styling, glass, and mirrors everywhere. Nice lounges, great sauna, lots of deck space and so forth. A nice touch was the gift of a Hurtigruten Explorer jacket. We were lucky to have a cabin with a queen bed on what they call Artic Superior. The lower part of the ship has bunk beds. The dining is below American standards. The breakfast buffet would not pass Maricopa County Arizona Health standards. The food was cold and not keep at proper temperature for a buffet. The eggs were put out sunny side up with with whites uncooked. There was no cook to order egg station. Pancakes cold. Everything was cold beginning with the plates. The soups were cold, cold bacon. Lunch was the same beginning with a cold bowl for your soup or cold plate for the buffet.. At dinner you had one choice of entre. Not really a choice. They just brought out today's meal. One night they served steaks. I was lucky to get a medium one. One our tablemates had to ask for a well done one. One night they had a vegetarian meal. I passed and left the plate there and went to bed. One night they served a Ceasar salad with the meal. My wife would never pick a Ceasar salad from the menu. It did not have any romaine lettuce in it? BTW no iceberg or romaine lettuce for the entire trip. Only spring mix and arugula was served. My beverage machine trick was to fill the cold cup with hot water and wait a minute. I dump it out and then had the machine make hot chocolate or coffee. They was no sense putting hot chocolate in an ice cold cup. In the bar one customer got into it with the bartender about the short pours. They filled the shot glass about 7/8 full and that was it. Expensive to boot considering they are serving tax free alcohol. There was no entertainment per se. They had lectures about the islands and ports which were helpful. They even had talks about Antarctica and other cruised they offer. If you are a liberal, you would love their Environmental whacko lectures. The service was substandard to the US market. Late room make up service or they are pounding on your door while you are in the shower. They do not have a modern card system whereby they know if you are in the room or not. In the dining room, there really wasn't any service since they brought everyone at the table the same thing. On two nights they had buffets- an American buffet one night with undercooked bratwurst, and a Phillipino night. The ports were great, the scenery fine. We had good hot lunches ashore about 4-5 times on the voyage. The launches went fast and were safe. There were no wet landings. We went to a lot of neat places. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We made a booking in November 2016 to travel through the North West Passage with Hurtigruten because of our interest in the history associated with this remote area. We had travelled with Hurtigruten before; doing the classic Norwegian ... Read More
We made a booking in November 2016 to travel through the North West Passage with Hurtigruten because of our interest in the history associated with this remote area. We had travelled with Hurtigruten before; doing the classic Norwegian coastal voyage, and had enjoyed that (apart from eye watering bar prices). The journey booked was titled “The Northwest Passage: In the Wake of Great Explorers – Eastbound” and was planned to travel from Cambridge Bay at the western end of the passage through to Pond Inlet at the eastern end followed by two stops in Greenland that were clearly there as part of repositioning the vessel. The information provided about Fram indicated it was a very capable ship and well suited to travel in difficult polar waters. Hurtigruten’s information also made much of the wildlife to be seen – another key point for us. While in Canada before the cruise we received your e-mail forwarding a communication from Hurtigruten on 5th September advising that our ship, MS Fram would not be able to reach Cambridge Bay. As requested by Hurtigruten, we attended the briefing on the evening of 9th September at the Hotel in Montreal which was hosted by Mario, the Expedition Leader, who was just re-joining the ship after leave and did not appear to be well briefed. He advised that ice conditions were unlike previous years but reassured us that he had a plan B and, if necessary, a plan C. When someone asked if we could cancel our trip and get a refund we were told to join the ship & it would all be sorted out on board. The following day the passengers were taken (in three separate groups) from the hotel and our group was flown to Resolute Bay, where we changed to smaller aircraft and flown to Pond Inlet (the last stop in Canada at the end of the North West Passage according to the original itinerary) where we boarded the ship. Once on the ship there was a fuller briefing by Karin Strand, Field Operations & Expedition Team Manager, who normally appears to work in head office. She seemed to have joined the ship for the two “North West Passage” voyages & we wondered if she had been put on board to provide a “Hurtigruten Head Office message”, as she left the ship with us on 22nd September. At the meeting she advised that the North West Passage was blocked by ice and that we would not be seeing anything of the original itinerary in Canada other than Pond Inlet. We were told that there were other good options including visiting Ellesmere Island. The next day the passengers were taken out to spend some time on an ice berg floating at sea, which was an interesting experience but not what we booked. It also involved lots of waiting around for our turn to use the small rubber boats. There were a good design in that they had steps at the bow and boards at the side but their capacity was small and there were nothing like enough for all passengers to use them at once even though the ship was far from full. The following day we were taken to North Arm on Baffin Island to see some very old rocks which was mildly interesting but not what we booked. That evening Karin finally admitted that Hurtigruten had run out of options given the difficult ice conditions as even Ellesmere Island (where the westbound cruise spent time) was now ice bound. At this point it also emerged that Fram has a limited ice capability (ice class 1B) and the Canadian Ice pilot had refused permission to go further into the ice because of that limitation. I found later that other companies’ ships with a 1A ice class had been allowed to go much further. Karin suggested that the ship headed for Greenland and those present agreed as it was better than going around in small circles getting nowhere. It was quite clear that Hurtigruten needed to go back to Pond Inlet to drop off the local person who had joined the ship 2 days earlier and also the Canadian Ice Pilot. We were given the option of simply dropping off these two people and immediately setting sail for Greenland or stopping and taking a look at Pond Inlet before departing. It was accepted by all that seeing the settlement of Pond Inlet was the better choice. At this point passengers also complained about the lack of the promised lectures activities on board and these started thereafter. This did reveal another weakness of our ship as the lecture theatre had an open back allowing lots of ambient noise in and no staged seating (and a low ceiling) meaning it was impossible to see the screen properly unless sitting right at the front. After slowly crossing Baffin Bay & the Davis Strait for 2 days we visited alternative four sites in Greenland which were scenic & somewhat interesting but not what we booked. I became bored with clambering over rocky barren places. The mood of the passengers became more and more fed up and Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life” was adopted as an informal anthem – enough said! The last 2 planned visits to Ilulissat and Sissimiut went ahead as planned and were enjoyable. I have the following comments: - • No cruise ship has managed to transit the North West Passage this summer ( we believe that 4 ships had planned to go in the short season). • The Cambridge Bay Website stated that the Fram would not be visiting their settlement as far back as 24th August. The website content was subsequently changed and I was left with a clear impression that Hurtigruten had applied pressure to tell the story their way. • Subsequent research showed that the Canadian authorities were issuing ice warnings as early as 20th August and I find it highly improbably that Hurtigruten were not aware of this. • The briefing at the hotel did not make clear the full nature of the change to the itinerary. Ice maps were shown but the captions were not legible at a distance and the implications were not made clear. When someone asked if a refund was possible they were publicly told it was not. It appeared that Hurtigruten simply wanted to get us onto the ship so that further protest would not be possible. Mario could not confirm when asked what wildlife was spotted in Greenland during the westbound voyage which had just completed, which speaks of poor preparation but probably also they knew that little or no wildlife had been seen. • Hurtigruten knew before we travelled to the vessel that we would not be completing the full itinerary and should have offered a refund in line with their terms and conditions. I have included a cut and paste from their terms and conditions here:- “Occasionally we may have to make a significant change to your confirmed arrangements. Significant changes include the following: • Change of UK departure airport. A change from one London airport to another is not considered a major change. London airports are Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City. • Change of your time of departure or return by more than 12 hours. • Change of your flight from a day flight to a night flight if this also includes a change to your departure time of 3 hours or more.† • Change of resort. • Change of holiday accommodation to accommodation of a lower official rating. † For the purposes of the contract night flights are those which depart from the UK between 2200 and 0600 hours or arrive in the UK between 2400 and 0600 hours. If we have to make a significant change or cancel we will notify you as soon as possible and if there is time to do so before departure we will offer you the choice of: (a) (for significant changes) accepting the change and the contract between us will then be varied to incorporate the change; or (b) accepting alternative arrangements altogether (subject to availability) of comparable or higher standard from us (at no extra cost); or (c) if available, accepting an offer of alternative arrangements of a lower standard, with a refund of the price difference between the original arrangements and the alternative arrangements; or (d) withdrawing from the booking completely in which case we will as soon as possible, refund all money paid to us. Passengers must give notice of their decision as soon as reasonably possible and not later than 7 days of being informed of the alteration. If we do not hear from you within 7 days, we will contact you again to request notification of your choice. If you fail to respond again, we will assume that you have chosen to accept the change or alternative booking arrangements.” Had a refund been available we would have taken it and made our own way home . • Hurtigruten’s strategy appeared to be divide and conquer – passengers repeatedly asked for an offer on board but this was refused. We were told each of us would be contacted separately when we returned home & that we would all be fairly dealt with, regardless of our nationality. • During the voyage passengers asked for a conference call to Hurtigruten senior management - this was refused. • Lectures did not start until passengers complained • Preparation for lectures was poor with audio visual not sorted until people were waiting • We paid a great deal of money and did not receive what was promised. We understand that the ship could not go through the ice & that safety is paramount (so much for Hurtigruten’s claims in the brochure which left many people believing that Fram has Ice Breaking capability). However, this is was not a minor change, as the fundamental element, the trip through the North West Passage in the footsteps of the explorers, was completely deleted. We came away with a clear impression that Hurtigruten simply wanted us to get on board ship, so they could try to manage their way through the problem and pay out as little as possible. Hurtigruten’s approach appears to be sly, sneaky, evasive and not in the slightest consumer focussed. • The safety briefing and lifeboat drill didn’t happen for 24 hours • Much was made of the wildlife to be seen when this cruise was advertised but we saw nothing in Canada (I think one person saw a seal) and the birdlife was limited and unremarkable. Initially it was suggested that Greenland was a good substitute but staff were evasive about what we might see in Greenland, despite questions on several occasions. Hurtigruten’s own MS Fram Voyage handbook page 7 highlights the wildlife we could see in Greenland. However, it was eventually admitted that we were too late in the season to see most things, as confirmed by the naturalist experts on the ship. We paused and looked at two “Bird Cliffs” that were completely devoid of birds. We saw no Polar Beas, Narwhal, Walruses, Seals, Musk Oxen, Reindeer, Artic Foxes or Arctic Hares. There were a few, very distant whale sightings. This was also very disappointing, as for many passengers, wildlife was a 2nd major consideration for booking (after seeing the NWP). Not all was bad:- • The staff were generally very good • The food was good (although not as good as it had been on the Norwegian coastal journey a few years ago) • Embarkation at the start of the cruise and disembarkation at the end were handled well • The specialist experts on board were generally good • Bar prices were reasonable We are in discussion with Hurtigruten about refund of monies paid but this proving to be hard work and so we are seeking legal support via our travel insurance. We have lost all confidence in Hurtigruten and have no wish to ever travel with them again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Wanted to follow In the “Footsteps of famous explorers through the North West Passage” as the itinerary advertised. I live in the area where Sir John Franklin was born and have followed his story for many years so this would be a trip ... Read More
Wanted to follow In the “Footsteps of famous explorers through the North West Passage” as the itinerary advertised. I live in the area where Sir John Franklin was born and have followed his story for many years so this would be a trip of a lifetime to follow in his wake and also that of other famous mariners. Saw the full,page advert in weekend papers from ROL Cruises who declare themselves to be the leading agents for Hurtigruten. Had sailed with Hurtigruten before (twice) so relied upon them and felt confident they would be honest and truthful. The trip was the most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased (apart from my house). But that was not the case. ROL contacted us on 5/9/18 with a short email saying the departure point for the Fram had changed. No alarm bells rang because with expedition style cruising, slight amendments are sometimes necessary. However upon arrival in Montreal, began to be very suspicious that something major was wrong. At a briefing in the Montreal hotel we were assured “all was going to plan and not to worry”. We were shown a video clip showing a ship crew member having “a wonderful time” but she didn’t disclose that the Fram wasn’t going anywhere near the North West Passage. Another passenger had seen comments on Facebook by travellers who were actually on board who said the ship was just sailing up and down at 8 knots and not proceeding to the planned itinerary but again we were assured by Hurtigruten representatives that all was well. Just get on board they were saying. Once on board of course we were trapped. Then a major change to the itinerary occurred and although we have been raising complaints ever since, ROL and Hurtigruten are stonewalling all the passengers who have joined together in a protest lobby group. I am absolutely sickened by the behaviour from these providers who I trusted with my hard earned cash who I thought were professional and knew what they were doing. It turns out Fram isn’t the type of “ice proof” ship I’d been lead to believe. Reading the brochure is a million miles away from what is provided. I see the same trip is being offered in the next brochure without any warnings of the ice conditions. Negligent and untruthful. Shame. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We joined MS Fram on the !0th of September for a cruise advertised as the Northwest Passage In the Wake of the Great Explorers. As a result of ice conditions only 4 days of the 14 day voyage bore any relationship to the advertised ... Read More
We joined MS Fram on the !0th of September for a cruise advertised as the Northwest Passage In the Wake of the Great Explorers. As a result of ice conditions only 4 days of the 14 day voyage bore any relationship to the advertised itinerary and 3 of those days were in Greenland that was not the main objective in any case. Although Hurtigruten was not responsible for the ice conditions they were responsible for the appalling way in which the disruption was handled. We first heard of a major change at the briefing in Montreal after all passengers had assembled ready to fly north early the following morning. No senior Hurtigruten staff were present and we were given no opportunity to cancel. We were told of plan B but once we were captive on the ship, at the new departure point Pond Inlet, that was not enacted with no explanation. Instead after 3 days sailing in a tight circle we headed off to Greenland. Subsequent investigation made it clear that Hurtigruten must or should have known at least 2 weeks before we left, from the ice condition reports and failure of other boats to get through, that traverse of the Northwest passage was highly unlikely this season. In fact a Cambridge Bay [original departure point] website stated on the 24th of August that the MS Fram would not be visiting in 2018. Needless to say this webpage quickly disappeared after it became widely known. Hurtigruten eventually reluctantly agreed to compensation but this was only to be communicated through individuals’ travel agents after returning home. At no time did the captain address the passengers about the drastic changes and in fact remained aloof throughout the voyage. Subsequently there have been a series of differing compensation offers despite assurances on the boat that we would all be offered the same. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We went on a previous holiday with Hurtigruten where this cruise to the North west Passage in Canada was highly recommended. We were due to travel from West to East. The North West Passage was in fact already closed, and no cruise ship ... Read More
We went on a previous holiday with Hurtigruten where this cruise to the North west Passage in Canada was highly recommended. We were due to travel from West to East. The North West Passage was in fact already closed, and no cruise ship navigated it in 2018 at all due to the heavy build-up of ice, which is not unusual. Hurtigruten's East to West cruise through the Passage had already been abandoned, but we were NOT informed. Instead the port of embarkation was changed from the West to the North East, involving an 18 hour journey from Montreal by air, with several stops, finally arriving in a fifty seater old turbo-prop at Pond Inlet, close to the Magnetic North Pole, where we boarded from an open inflatable dinghy in the Arctic Ocean at 10.30 at night ! Next day we were at last informed that the North West Passage was closed. Instead of being told the truth about the abandonment of the East to West cruise, we were misled into joining the ship where we became hostages, trapped in the Arctic with no possible means of returning to civilisation. Hurtigruten's sole intent had been to prevent us from exercising our cancellation rights under the contract. Now being at the WRONG end of the North West Passage, even if there had been no ice, there would simply not have been enough time to go down 1200 miles of the Passage and return back up it again before we were due to go home. The journey was supposed to be one-way through the Passage, NOT a return journey. So we ended up sailing around doing nothing in mid ocean for five days, and finally went on a very boring sail down the coast of Greenland - I did not need to spend in excess of £20,000 for what amounted to little more than a seaside jaunt aboard the Skylark from Brighton ! Hurtigruten's behaviour has been arrogant. They have admitted liability by making derisory offers of compensation which are totally unacceptable. A major complaint has been the refusal to respond to my communications; all I ever get is a lot of boilerplate hype about how they value my feedback, but never any individual response. It was even worse on the ship, where the senior representative refused to discuss anyone's complaints by sitting down to talk in a civilised fashion one-to-one. All she ever did was to make public announcements and then scurry away to hide. My main gripe is that Hurtigruten's brochure is full of re-assurance about how well equipped the ship was to navigate "treacherous waters", but there was never any suggestion that it involved any risk of ice making navigation impossible, despite hundreds of people throughout history having perished in the ice. If there had been any warnings at all, I would never have risked all that money for nothing. I will never go on a Hurtigruten cruise again and would caution anyone thinking of doing so to be very careful, especially those thinking of joining the maiden voyage of the new Roald Amundsen through the North West Passage in 2019, the advertisements for which still do not mention any risks of ice closing the route. You go at your peril. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
To participate in Hurtigruten's "Ultimate Voyage - Through the Northwest Passage - in the Wake of the Great Explorers" aboard the MS Fram. AGAINST TRAVELLING WITH HURTIGRUTEN For over 100 years, Hurtigruten have ... Read More
To participate in Hurtigruten's "Ultimate Voyage - Through the Northwest Passage - in the Wake of the Great Explorers" aboard the MS Fram. AGAINST TRAVELLING WITH HURTIGRUTEN For over 100 years, Hurtigruten have provided an excellent coastal ferry service along the coast of Norway and from our own experience, we would agree. But over recent years, they have expanded to operating adventure cruises, particularly to both Arctic and Antarctic waters, under the slogan "World Leader in Exploration Travel". With this we would NOT agree, after our recent experience aboard Hurtigruten's MS Fram, when we should have sailed eastwards from Cambridge Bay in Arctic Canada through the Northwest (NW) Passage, in the "Wake of the Great Explorers" - but we didn't!! And the way that Hurtigruten has handled this extreme disappointment has destroyed our faith in Hurtigruten, and any belief we had that it was an honourable company who put the well-being of its clients above its 'bottom line'. In the summer of 2018, Hurtigruten ran two cruises in the NW Passage. The first, starting from West Greenland in late August, should have sailed westwards through the passage to Cambridge Bay in Canada, arriving there on September 10th. The second should have left Cambridge Bay on September 10th, sailing eastwards through the passage and on to West Greenland, arriving there on September 24th. The first cruise made only a slight incursion into the passage; the later cruise didn’t even enter the passage, and the most westerly it got was Pond Inlet, just north of Baffin Island. We had booked on the second (later) cruise when it was first advertised through Reader Offers Limited (ROL), a ‘supplier’ to Hurtigruten, in February 2017. It was not an inexpensive cruise (£20,000 for two passengers), but with a long standing interest in Canadian Arctic explorations (particularly the 1846 failed expedition of Sir John Franklin and subsequent expeditions to investigate its fate - especially as the wrecks of the expedition ships Erebus and Terror had been located recently in 2014 and 2016 respectively), we felt this cost was warranted. And the Hurtigrten/ROL prospectus hardly hinted at any likelihood of failure! On the evening before we left home on this adventure, we received an e-mail (dated September 5th) from Hurtigruten via ROL to inform us that the port of our embarkation on the MS Fram would be changed (to where not specified) because of ‘ice conditions in the Victoria and James Ross Straits are such that no ordinary ship can sail through the area’ - but no indication that the whole of our itinerary through the NW Passage would be abandoned. Even when we reached Montreal, at a meeting with the Expedition Team at the hotel on the evening of September 8th (when our port of embarkation was revealed to be Pond Inlet near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage) - but again with no indication that our NW Passage itinerary was to be completely aborted! Once on board the MS Fram on September 10th, we got some more quantitative information on the ice conditions in the Northwest Passage - but it took until September 13th before the Expedition Team finally confirmed there was no hope of us sailing into the NW Passage. So this essential and major element of our itinerary was finally abandoned, and we sailed to West Greenland for some extra days there. The above timescale aspects are important. If we were charitable, we might have considered Hurtigruten’s slowness in accepting their NW Passage itinerary would have to be abandoned was due to a naïve hope that a timely change in ice conditions would arise, showing a lack of knowledge and experience in cruising in the Canadian arctic waters - after all, their proposed cruises of the Fram in the Canadian Arctic were hailed as ‘maiden voyages’! But as we gained more knowledge of the circumstances, we began to realise that a more likely explanation was a carefully choreographed and cynical attempt to get us aboard the Fram in a duplicitous move to avoid cancellation before the start of the holiday - which under both Hurtigruten and ROL terms and conditions would have entitled us to a full refund of our holiday costs!! Further evidence of this interpretation is given by the situation of the preceding (westwards) cruise of the Fram, where passengers were informed on 3rd September that ice conditions in the NW Passage would not allow their transit to Cambridge Bay - an admission that would have allowed our trip to be cancelled well in advance of our leaving home! Moreover, the ice information came from the official Ice Charts of the Canadian Coastguard, which indicated from the end of July that the NW Passage could not be navigated due to sea ice, and from which it is abundantly clear that there was no remote possibility of fulfilling the Fram’s itinerary through the passage for either the westbound or eastbound cruises. Indeed, this impossibility was demonstrated to other (and earlier) transits by passenger ships: the Vavilov, Akademik Ioffe, Bremer, Boreal, Soleal, and Oceanic Adventurer, all of whom cancelled their arrival at Cambridge Bay before the cancellation by the Fram on 4th September. Indeed, no tourist ships traversed the NW Passage at all in the summer season of 2018. And that includes ships who would have been assisted by following a Canadian ice-breaker, an artifice not afforded to the class 1B only ice-strengthened MS Fram. On 29th October, we received our next communication of substance from Hurtigruten (the second of only two), again via ROL. This document was again profuse in apologies for the changes to our cruise itinerary, and offered us a cash reimbursement of approximately 50% of what we’d paid ROL, plus the offer of a further 50% off a holiday in 2019, to be selected from a small range of future Hurtigruten cruises. This latter aspect is of little interest to us, as it involves a further 50% payment from us, and at present we are also disinclined ever to travel with Hurtigruten again!! So for us what Hurtigruten’s offer boils down to was to reduce our holiday from “the Ultimate Voyage - Through the NW Passage - in the Wake of the Great Explorers” to essentially an eight day cruise along the West Coast of Greenland for just under £10,000 for the two of us if we‘d accepted Hurtigruten’s ‘reimbursement’ of 29th October. Whereas if Hurtigruten had had the honesty to cancel this ‘Ultimate Voyage’ before it started, and given us a full refund (as then due under their terms and conditions), we could have used our £20,000 to book a future 18 day holiday from Reykjavik to Western Greenland, and still have about £10,000 to spare!! And we might have admired Hurtigruten’s moral stance to look after their clients, and retained some respect for the self-styled “World Leader in Expedition Travel”. We don’t dispute Hurtigruten’s decision not to traverse the Northwest Passage. But we are angered by their tardy response to sea ice conditions, and we are now certainly convinced that the failure of Hurtigruten/ROL to face the facts in the public domain in August (that the Northwest Passage was a ‘no go’ area for passenger ships in 2018) and to persist with our Fram cruise when they could have cancelled before our start, was a shabby treatment to keep a large proportion of our money!! So after Hurtigruten’s moral failure, we are now pursuing redress under Hurtigruten’s legal responsibilities, in particular under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. We now note in the summer of 2019, Hurtigruten/ROL are again offering two cruises through the Northwest Passage from/to Cambridge Bay to/from West Greenland, on the MS Fram. In addition, they are also offering a full transit of the Passage, starting from Halifax (Nova Scotia) to Nome (Alaska), on their new ship, the Roald Amundsen. Again, their prospectuses for these voyages are couched in glowing and enthusiastic terms, with little hint that they could be aborted. They even advise “you will be sailing amazing straits … and hopefully enough ice to make it for excellent wildlife spotting” - they should be careful for what they wish!! We shall observe the progress of these journeys with interest, to see if Hurtigruten have learned anything from their aborted cruises on the Fram in 2018. Please be aware that we found the on board staff to be delightful, and we had no complaints regarding the ship's catering and house management (although the lecture room situation was unsuitable) - our sole complaint is with Hurtigruten Management and the way they aborted the cruise through the NW Passage with derisory compensation. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
For the first time, in August/September 2018, Hurtigruten ran two cruises to the Canadian Arctic on Fram, advertised as “Northwest Passage - in the wake of the Great Explorers”. The two cruises were mirror images of each other: the ... Read More
For the first time, in August/September 2018, Hurtigruten ran two cruises to the Canadian Arctic on Fram, advertised as “Northwest Passage - in the wake of the Great Explorers”. The two cruises were mirror images of each other: the first was planned to start in Greenland, cross the Davis Straight to Lancaster Sound, cruise through part of the Northwest Passage to Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, where the passengers would disembark; and the second cruise would embark passengers in Cambridge Bay and take them through the Northwest Passage and on to Greenland. These cruises were not cheap. With associated connecting flights, each UK passenger would pay a minimum of £10,000. Arguably, this was a reasonable cost for this fantastic experience, visiting notable historical sites on a ship “purpose built as an expedition vessel”, and apparently well suited for “the added navigational challenge of ice in the water .... no need to worry, though, … with a 1B ice class, ship-depth sounding database, extractable forward-sounding sonar and iceberg search lights - and the Captain and his crew are experienced in sailing treacherous waters …” Hurtigruten state in their Terms and Conditions that: “If we have to make a significant change or cancel we will notify you as soon as possible and … will offer you [the opportunity to] withdraw from the booking completely in which case we will as soon as possible, refund all money paid …” Despite global warming, the normal state of the Northwest Passage is that it is blocked by ice. In 2016 and 2017, the only cruise ships to successfully traverse the route were accompanied by icebreakers. This information is freely available. In the summer of 2018, the Northwest Passage was blocked by ice, as usual. No cruise ship was able to complete the journey. When the Fram arrived at Lancaster Sound with the first, westbound passengers on 3rd September 2018, she was unable to proceed any further. It is inconceivable that Hurtigruten were not aware of the impossibility of completing the planned itinerary for this group of passengers. Canadian ice forecasts are published and archived. Cruise ships from other companies had already cancelled their visits to Cambridge Bay (see the Cambridge Bay website). The second group of passengers, scheduled for the eastbound cruise, left the UK on 8th September. On 5th September, Hurtigruten dispatched an email stating that the Fram would be “unable to reach Cambridge Bay and the embarkation point for your voyage will be changed.” No mention or offer of cancellation was made. There seemed no reason to assume anything other than that this was a relatively minor change to the itinerary, perhaps changing the embarkation point to somewhere close to Cambridge Bay. As it was, a tortuous journey to northern Baffin Island was arranged for this second group of passengers in order for them to join the Fram. After two days in that area, the Fram sailed to Greenland, some five days earlier than planned, having never entered the Northwest Passage at all. Hurtigruten must have known that they would have to make a “significant change” to the planned itinerary for this second group of passengers before those passengers left the UK. Not only did Hurtigruten know that they had failed the first group of passengers, the Fram was now incorrectly located to achieve anything like the advertised itinerary for the second group. The purpose of the trip, the planned traverse of the Northwest Passage was deleted, and the passengers were taken to a different continent. Passengers were very dissatisfied. The situation was ironically summarised by the Norwegian Captain of the Fram who said, “I appreciate that you have paid for a Rolls Royce and received a Lada.” Complaints to Hurtigruten have resulted in obfuscation, delay, refusal to meet face-to-face and the offer of derisory compensation. Shockingly, having failed to deliver during 2018, Hurtigruten is currently advertising the same, two, mirror image cruises, on the Fram, for August/September 2019, and have “sold out” a new itinerary for a cruise on the MV Roald Amundsen between Alaska and Greenland during the summer of 2019. Passengers who have booked berths on these cruises should beware of the likely deceit, ensure that at least part of their payment is made by credit card, and ensure that they have legal cover as part of their travel insurance. They should be fully aware that no cruise ship has managed to traverse the Northwest Passage without being accompanied by an icebreaker. Neither the Fram nor the Roald Amundsen are icebreakers, whatever the glowing and misleading words used to describe them in Hurtigruten’s brochures. From this experience, in my opinion Hurtigruten should be avoided. I will never travel with them again, and would advise other potential passengers to look elsewhere. There are many other companies running “expedition cruises”. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience; sailing east-bound through the Northwest Passage to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. Unfortunately, instead, it turned out to be a huge disappointment as ice conditions prevented the ... Read More
This was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience; sailing east-bound through the Northwest Passage to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. Unfortunately, instead, it turned out to be a huge disappointment as ice conditions prevented the Fram from its planned itinerary. While we were understandably disappointed at the NW PASSAGE cancellation due to the prevailing ice conditions,  it was the TOTAL failure on the part of Hurtigruten US to keep us informed prior to the voyage that we found unacceptable. Especially since it was  known to Hurtigruten that the passage had been blocked to shipping for the entire 2018 transit season.  Not only that, but the alternate sailing areas considered for us,  such as Lancaster Sound, Bellot Strait and Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay were also known to be ice-bound.  The Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown was unable to enter Lancaster Sound on Sept 6, 2018, due to heavy ice conditions.  (See Nunatsiaq News dated Sept 7, 2018) In our case we checked cruisecritic’s FRAM roll call where there was a link to a Facebook posting by Hurtigruten, reporting the NW passage would not be passable due to ice conditions. That was the first indication we had that there was a problem - approximately 10 days before our departure for Montreal. We are not regular users of Facebook and it was only by chance we found this. We immediately phoned the Hurtigruten US office in Seattle and were told that there was an eblast being prepared for all the east bound pax that would be sent out “within minutes.” This email never arrived. The day before we were scheduled to fly to Montreal , we once again phoned Hurtigruten and the rep provided little additional info. When I expressed our frustration and disappointment with Hurtigruten's lack of customer service, we were told that it was the “Norwegian way” ! The failure to inform passengers many weeks ahead of the sailing that no transits of the NW passage had been possible at all this year was a big PR failure and disservice to those on this itinerary. In sum: Not once did we receive any information either by phone or via email from Hurtigruten US that we would not be going through the NW Passage. All the info we gathered was as a result of our own efforts. By contrast, we have nothing but praise for the ship’s crew. The expedition team made heroic efforts to make the alternate itinerary less of a disappointment. They were dealing with a significant number of angry passengers and were unfailingly diplomatic in their responses despite the harsh comments and a tense atmosphere.  The ship’s entire crew is a great credit to the company with their good spirits, excellent service and great attitude despite the long hours and heavy schedules they contend with. Their additional burden in dealing with many unhappy customers deserves our admiration and gratitude. In order for Hurtigruten to expand its marketing of expedition style itineraries, they will need to overhaul their currently ineffective communications program to improve customer relations; to include a fair compensation to passengers for the cost of a failed itinerary and for the total failure of keeping passengers informed in a timely manner giving them options as to whether to proceed with the voyage or not.   Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
What was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime booked 2 years in advance for a special occasion turned into a total disappointment and a waste of money. The purpose of the trip was to travel in the footsteps of the great explorers ... Read More
What was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime booked 2 years in advance for a special occasion turned into a total disappointment and a waste of money. The purpose of the trip was to travel in the footsteps of the great explorers visiting along the way all the historical sites associated with these early explorers, our trip was supposed to start in Cambridge Bay exiting Canada at Pond Inlet before ending in Greenland reversing the itinerary of the earlier westbound trip. 3 days before departure we were told Ice Conditions prevented the ship reaching Cambridge Bay and a new itinerary would be revealed in a briefing in Montreal before we flew to meet the ship. Despite the fact that it became obvious Hurtigruten were aware of the conditions a number of weeks before departure which resulted in this significant deviation to the itinerary they denied passengers the right to cancel or discuss any form of compensation until after the voyage was over. To cut a very long story short despite being assured we were going to the North West Passage we were flown to Pond Inlet, spent 3 days bobbing around this area before abandoning any pretext of attempting any of the NWP and headed for an extended out of season visit to Greenland hence the massive disappointment especially with the way Hurtigruten has dealt with this matter on board and since. On the positive side service staff as always were friendly, helpful and tried their best, although service levels were not at as high a level as my previous trip on Fram. I believe this was because Hurtigruten seem to have cut down on the numbers so the already overworked staff had even more to do. Whilst some passengers might have been satisfied, most given the cost of this trip were not. Hurtigruten have eventually offered some form of compensation, but for a significant number a passengers from around the globe this is not enough. Passengers accept that the journey could not be undertaken because of the Ice conditions, No ship was able to undertake the journey in 2018 and very few have done so in previous years without the help of Icebreakers, so it didn't matter which cruise line you chose this year as the NWP was inaccessible. The issue is not that the voyage could not be undertaken as disappointing as that was, but that Hurtigruten knowing the Ice Conditions a number of weeks before did not offer Cancellation, Compensation or any other alternative but to go on the trip and fight for compensation afterwards. If I was booked on one of the many sold out 2019/20 trips I would be worried and asking plenty of questions of whichever cruise line I have booked with. Finally if you are contemplating a trip like this to the more remote and less travelled areas of the globe, book in the knowledge you could very well be wasting your hard earned money as the trip like ours could be nothing like the original itinerary and turn into a big big disappointment. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
As an experienced cruiser (Europe, South Asia, Middle East, South America, Antarctica, Galapagos Islands etc), my wife and I were thrilled to see advertised early in 2017 a cruise by Hurtigruten through the North West Passage of Canada ... Read More
As an experienced cruiser (Europe, South Asia, Middle East, South America, Antarctica, Galapagos Islands etc), my wife and I were thrilled to see advertised early in 2017 a cruise by Hurtigruten through the North West Passage of Canada finishing in Greenland. Having assessed our financial situation, we made our reservation for the trip, and then saved for the next 18 months or so to ensure that we had sufficient funds to pay the balance. On the evening of the second day in Montreal we, and all the passengers going to Cambridge Bay (the advertised departure point), were brought together by the Cruise Team and told that our departure point for the cruise wouldn’t be Cambridge Bay, but would be Pond Inlet on Baffin Island, as the North West Passage was blocked by ice. Some passengers stated straight away that without the North West Passage on the agenda, there was no interest in the cruise, and wanted to cancel the cruise before it had even started. We were all ‘fobbed off’ by the team saying that Hurtigruten would call each of the cruisers individually on our return to explain and discuss the matter, as some passengers were asking ‘on the spot’ for their money back. So the cruise went ahead and turned out to be wandering around northern Canada and off to Greenland earlier than expected - interesting but NOT what was booked. When we were back at home, we found that Hurtigruten knew three weeks before we sailed that Cambridge Bay was inaccessible due to the failure of the ice to disperse during the summer. The Cambridge Bay website announced on 24th August that FRAM had cancelled the visit. We are still awaiting a full refund of our costs. So far, Hurtigruten has offered a 60% refund - this is insufficient. The ship, cabin, dining and service were all as expected, but without the main purpose of going, it was a pointless cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've travelled several times before on Fran and have always loved the ship, but we're less enamoured this time. First, the good. The crew are amazing. They work so hard and are so professional. Many do more than one job and ... Read More
We've travelled several times before on Fran and have always loved the ship, but we're less enamoured this time. First, the good. The crew are amazing. They work so hard and are so professional. Many do more than one job and work really long hours, but they are unfailingly cheerful and friendly, welcoming you back like a long lost friend. There were major problems in their cruise (documented elsewhere and not the topic of this review), but the expedition team did their best to give everyone the best experience given the conditions and lack of time/resources to organise landings. Next, the bad. The food. In the past we have rated the food highly. No longer. there was often little choice. Some was frankly inedible, such as the vegetarian set meal one evening . I had the fish alternative- cold and barely cooked. There was too much obvious recycling of food: the 'steam-roasted' ( even I know the difference in cooking!) vegetables a classic example. Steamed one night, heated up by being roasted the next then cold for salad the next. Decent fresh ingredients were just spoilt by being badly cooked. Apart from the bread and pastries - delicious as ever. Now the ugly. The penny-pinching. Little things such as: no tissues in bsthrooms, turning off the coffee machine after lunch, running out of hot chocolate .....to mention a few.. Hurtigruten cruises are not cheap and, quite frankly, we don't expect this level of penny- pinching. It just leaves a bad impression. Please remember that this is an expedition ship NOT a cruise ship.. There is no need to dress up in the evenings and don't expect evening entertainment, swimming pools, organised activities beyond the expedition landings etc. If this is what you want, then this is not the ship for you. Much as we have enjoyed Hurtigruten 's explorer voyages in the past, we will probably look elsewhere in the future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We paid a deposit at the time of booking. When it came time to pay the remainder, I hadn't heard anything from Hurtigruten. I contacted them to ask for an invoice saying how much we owed. They sent it but failed to mention that their ... Read More
We paid a deposit at the time of booking. When it came time to pay the remainder, I hadn't heard anything from Hurtigruten. I contacted them to ask for an invoice saying how much we owed. They sent it but failed to mention that their banking information had changed. Fortunately I caught it last minute otherwise some stranger would have received a lot of money. Food is only available at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are no snacks available in the evening. As a result, I would have to remember in the morning at breakfast to take some snacks back to the room to store in the fridge. If I forgot we went hungry. The delivery of lectures is poor. It was regularly difficult to hear in the back of the room, and it was impossible to see the screen unless you sat in the first few rows. A room with a graded floor would help avoid that problem. The door design to the outer deck 5 is absurd. It opens right into part of the ship giving about 10 inches of clearance to get through the door when coming back inside from the front of the boat. Apparently excursions booked at the time of booking are non refundable. This was never told to me in writing or in person when I booked the cruise over the phone. It was never written on any of the invoices from Hurtigruten. This made it very challenging during the cruise to cancel excursions, although before we left the boat we were assured that the paperwork for the cancellations was complete and that we would be receiving a refund. Our cruise finished Jun 30, and today it is July 17. After many back and forth emails, I have received a partial refund (although they insist the full refund was issued) and my husband has received nothing. It takes at least a week if not longer to hear back from them. Hurtigruten is by far the most unprofessional company I have ever had to deal with. I have no intentions of traveling with them again in the future. The cruise industry is competitive and I have many other options. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were particularly interested in the kayaking and camping opportunities which were heavily advertised in the brochure and a major selling point for the trip. Although these were optional activities, the wording and photographs suggested ... Read More
We were particularly interested in the kayaking and camping opportunities which were heavily advertised in the brochure and a major selling point for the trip. Although these were optional activities, the wording and photographs suggested that the only reason you might not be able to participate would be inclement weather. On the cruise, a meeting was arranged to present these activities and we were informed that only 3 groups of 12 kayakers would be organised. As the activity would obviously be oversubscribed, a list would be posted outside the meeting and a 'draw' made to select participants. There would be no camping due to 'staffing issues'. Nothing more was announced until the day before the kayaking when a list of 36 names was posted on a noticeboard. 18 of these were members of a Chinese party who, we were told, had 'special status' due to them being 'around the world' customers. The remaining 18 places were heavily oversubscribed and so many passengers did not get to kayak. With over 200 passengers on the Fram this was a very poor ratio for an activity which was so heavily promoted in the cruise brochure. I wrote to Hurtigruten regarding this issue and finally received a reply pointing out that kayaking and camping were cancelled on this trip due to bad weather. When I pointed out that the the weather had been glorious and the kayaking actually went ahead they eventually sent a very short reply stating that passenger safety was the most important consideration! I still don't know if they simply sent me a stock answer or whether the ship had given them incorrect information. Either way, the matter was dealt with in a very disappointing manner. So, Antarctica and South Georgia are wonderful destinations but if you want to kayak, camp, hike or carry out any of the advertised activities be very careful booking with Hurtigruten. There are other excellent companies out there! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
The main reason for taking this cruise was to see exotic Greenland and Iceland at the same time. This cruise only offered 1 stop in Iceland after leaving Reykjavik but I spent a full week in Iceland on my own using a rented car to ... Read More
The main reason for taking this cruise was to see exotic Greenland and Iceland at the same time. This cruise only offered 1 stop in Iceland after leaving Reykjavik but I spent a full week in Iceland on my own using a rented car to appreciate that wonderful and scenic island. We were lucky to have smooth sailing the whole trip, slightly bumpier going across to Greenland but still pretty smooth considering. Weather was also in our favour 90% of the time, with fog lifting when appropriate. All of the stops on this itinerary where worthwhile and Hurtigruten does a great job of getting everyone off and back on with their small tender boats (max. 8 people). Generally, the stops were interesting enough on their own but most stops had excursion options if you wished, like escorted hikes, glacial boat rides, kayaking, etc. Two stops included a guided hike without charge. The first stop in Greenland included a natural warm water spa which was fun to partake with a small changing hut nearby. The regular cabins are done well while the suites (which I had) are that much better in the bedding, amenities, wine & beer at lunch/dinner, espresso/cappuccino at breakfast, 2 bottles of water and chocolate each evening and housecoats to keep. The vast majority of the crew and staff are friendly and helpful. The front desk staff stood out for me. Most of the expedition team are interesting, friendly and approachable. Among 14 expedition team members, there were only 2 natural English speakers and the rest were mostly from Germany originally (although 1 was from Netherlands, another from Poland, 2 from Greenland and 1 other from Iceland). All lectures, information sessions and excursions were in 2 languages: English and German. I am sure the Germans had it easy with so many German native speakers in the team, but the lectures in English were often difficult to follow or at least awkward to listen and understand, except when the very interesting and knowledgeable Canadian guy lead a session or a group/excursion ashore. Of the 12 European expedition team members, I would say 2 of them had great English (as a second language) and 2 more were pretty good, while the rest ranged from OK to terrible English. Food was EXCELLENT overall with a good variety and different menus such as Norwegian (of course), Greenlandic, Filipino, sea food and lots of great lamb. All of the service staff (restaurant, bar and stewards) were from Philippines. They worked very hard and most were super friendly. The Fram ship is fantastic and well dressed for sailing polar waters in great comfort. The decorations around the ship are interesting and well done, relating to polar expedition history and the original Fram vessel from the 1890s. There is a wonderful lounge and bar on the top level, 2 hot tubs, good size gym, 2 lecture rooms, a bistro and games room and a spacious and well appointed restaurant at the stern on deck 4 (of 8). There are also great outdoor viewing spots on decks 5, 7 and 8. One day, we could not get to our planned port of call because of too many icebergs blocking the entrance. To make up for this, the captain stopped in a strategic spot in a large fjord with several stationary icebergs around and we spent a few hours exploring these bergs close-up with the small tender boats (either 7 or 10 pax at a time, depending on the boat size). This was an unexpected great surprise which really added a wonderful experience to all to feel the wonder and awe of these creations of nature. The last 3 days on this trip were perhaps the most memorable starting with viewing the ice berg factory at Ilulissat, then stopping at a small hamlet where we got to visit inside a Greenland home for coffee and sweets, participated or watched a football match between the Fram crew/guests and the village (they won easily), enjoying some Greenland music in a sing-along with villagers, and on the final day a well orchestrated day of visiting the Greenland ice cap, looking for animals (Musk Ox was spotted) and a wonderful outdoor meal before being flown overnight to Copenhagen on a chartered Airbus 330 Greenland Air flight ... which was also excellent with open bar, full hot breakfast served, headphones and in-seat personal entertainment system. This was a super experience with an excellent and appropriate ship which is well thought out and executed by Hurtigruten. Highly recommended. Read Less
51 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We actually didn't sail on that date as we didn't sail at all and I wanted to share my experience of the customer service you should expect when your cruise gets cancelled by Hurtigruten. My mother was informed of the ... Read More
We actually didn't sail on that date as we didn't sail at all and I wanted to share my experience of the customer service you should expect when your cruise gets cancelled by Hurtigruten. My mother was informed of the cancellation when she was about to board the plane to Norway. Not only she spent the whole time crying and worrying, but no alternative was provided. The refund didn't come through until 6 days after the cancelled trip so my mum had to borrow money from me in order to get to Trondheim, the final destination of the cruise ship. When I politely asked to cover expenses in order for us to get to Trondheim, I was refused citing "it is not our policy" though in terms and conditions there are vague statements of cancellation refunds as well as complaints procedures. We have spent an extra £500 trying to get to Trondheim which we have otherwise never gone to if the cruise was cancelled 2 or 3 weeks before the date but as all our hotels have been pre-paid it was a horrible experience. If anyone has any explanation for how a trip organiser isn't liable for customer's getting from A to B that they have sold on the first place, please share with me. This is the first of a kind for me and I would personally never organise anything with Hurtigruten again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We took an "Arctic Islands Expedition" trip on FRAM, sailing from Tromso, Norway on May 13, 2016 and finished at Reykyavik, Iceland on May 22nd. In between we had three Zodiac landings (Bear Island, Hornsund, and Jan Mayan) as ... Read More
We took an "Arctic Islands Expedition" trip on FRAM, sailing from Tromso, Norway on May 13, 2016 and finished at Reykyavik, Iceland on May 22nd. In between we had three Zodiac landings (Bear Island, Hornsund, and Jan Mayan) as well as three port dockings at Ny Alesund, Longyearbyen, and Isofordur, the first two were in Svalbard and the third was in Iceland. The scenery was excellent, this goes without saying. There were a bit more than 200 passengers, about 40% are Germans, 30% Norwegians, 25% British, and 10% Americans. Most passengers are quite experienced. In particular, in preparing for the tour I read numerous reviews on CruiseCritic, and noticed that several of them had rather harsh reviews on the ship. We are quite satisfied with the ship and with our cabin (cabin 346, category N, about 140 sq ft and fitted for handicapped access). In comparing with many other cruises we have taken on other cruise lines, we did not find anything close to excessive nickeling-and-diming. Water, coffee, and tea in the dining room are freely available, and good hot cocoa is available round the clock outside the dining room. The food is plentiful - it does become monotonous after a few days but nobody comes abroad for Norwegian cuisine anyhow. All services, from dining staff to expedition team members, are at least functional. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The company is wonderfully skilled at the cruise thing. The exploration team was varied in expertise and covered every aspect of animal, mineral and social knowledge. They put safety first and we always felt in good hands. They educated us ... Read More
The company is wonderfully skilled at the cruise thing. The exploration team was varied in expertise and covered every aspect of animal, mineral and social knowledge. They put safety first and we always felt in good hands. They educated us thoroughly on our landings, what to expect and encouraged exploration. The ship is designed for beautiful flow and both social and solitary activities. The many possible sitting areas and the view from the windows and decks would satisfy anyone. This is an exploration and expedition cruise. The cruise is for people interested in learning and being actively involved. This is not a cruise for those interested in being passively entertained or have a need to be pampered and treated like royalty. On this cruise you are encouraged to learn, read, listen, question, kayak, camp, walk, sleep and eat a wonderful array of food. The bread and desserts as well as the roasted lamb was wonderful. I slept like a baby. The ship's stabilizers prevented almost all side to side movement and with seas almost without waves for the three weeks I can't speak to how the ship handles during storms. We made all landings and even an extra stop at Deception Island because of our legendary good weather. But I did hear people at Port Stanley say that the bridge crew of Hurtigruten is more skilled and confident than many other tour companies and often makes landings when other ships are afraid to do so. Besides camping and photography lessons and reading with tea and cookies in hand, I loved all the watercolor lessons we were offered. From the hotel, and back to the hotel, ships staff made everything so easy. Nothing seemed impossible. And I did not meet one grumpy or unpleasant person onboard the ship. I am currently making plans for my next Fram with my son and also another Hurtigruten voyage with my mother. My only complain is for the Hurtigruten front office. Getting responses or questions answered by them is like pulling out your own teeth one at a time. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Firstly, I am not a travel writer or Author, I write as it comes to my head and this is my honest opinion. This was our first time cruising on Hurtigrutens Ms Fram. After reading all the reviews we were somewhat skeptical about our ... Read More
Firstly, I am not a travel writer or Author, I write as it comes to my head and this is my honest opinion. This was our first time cruising on Hurtigrutens Ms Fram. After reading all the reviews we were somewhat skeptical about our trip. We consider ourselves well traveled, this was our 7th Continent, 69th Country, 409th City (Ushuaia) and 14th Cruise. I cannot Thank Hurtigruten enough for providing us with a FANTASTIC experience, Fantastic Service and Unforgettable Trip. The Drake was kind to us although not the smoothest sailing but it was not hectic and with a little medication we made it with no more than a wobble here and there. WARNING - take your own Motion sickness meds and take them when boarding Fram, don't wait to you hit the Drake Passage. Our Stateroom Category M2 was very comfortable on Deck 6. The catering was very good and satisfied our pallets. Enough choice and to be honest we could have had buffet over the whole period. The bread was top class, freshly baked and such a variety. Salads great, Ice cream and desserts great. Water, coffee, tea and Hot chocolate available all day at no charge. Dining staff were very good and attentive. The Expedition team were fantastic and who needs Las Vegas entertainment when on an expedition, there was something for everyone and we learned so much about this wonderful continent thanks to the on-board team of experts in this field. There was a very entertaining evening that the staff put on toward the end of the cruise. Just love the Fram Choir. For those who need to be entertained, I would suggest you go on a Carnival Cruise or go to Las Vegas. This IS AN EXPEDITION. Our first landing went extremely well and we made every landing planned for the whole 12 days. Muck boots are very comfortable and at no charge either. Obviously changes have been made on Hurtigruten regarding charges and this did make a difference to passengers. Polar circle boats were easy to access and with experienced staff there were no problems at all. I can highly recommend Hurtigrutens Ms Fram for anyone lucky enough to be able to venture to this exclusive part of our planet. The weather was great, 3 short days of snow but this gave us the real feel of Antarctica, rest of the time was sunshine and fine days. Of course its cold but with all the correct clothing it was perfect. Read the tips on what to wear and you will be fine. Read the documents for your cruise online and you will inform yourselves about what you can expect and what is needed by the company and all should run smoothly. If you are reading this then you have access to the internet so go ahead and inform yourself. Its no good going on a trip like this and not being satisfied with only 6 flavors of Ice Cream, really!?? We were lucky to see thousands of penguins, loads of whales and seals. Many different bird species. On our way back toward the Drake Passage we encountered about 10 Orca/Killer whales attacking an elephant seal that had sort refuge on the ledge of a floating iceberg - the captain stopped the ship and encircled the iceberg for about an hour and a half - what an experience. We are back just over a week now and I am still pinching myself that what we experienced was real and experienced on this very planet Earth. Thank you Hurtigruten, Thank you Ms Fram and all those on board that made this journey/expedition so great. Here's wishing that if you are reading this that you have plans to travel to the Antarctic and that your trip will be as fantastic as ours. I can highly recommend Hurtigruten. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We, three ladies, booked the cruise with Hurtigruten through our agent in Hong Kong. So, the cost covers one night in Buenos Aires (BA) and the 14 days trip. Before the trip, I read enough review about the Fram. Of course, there are ... Read More
We, three ladies, booked the cruise with Hurtigruten through our agent in Hong Kong. So, the cost covers one night in Buenos Aires (BA) and the 14 days trip. Before the trip, I read enough review about the Fram. Of course, there are always mixed rating and comments of the same thing. So, with a little reservation, we went ahead, no choice, right! We were lucky that we get to stay in Emperor hotel in BA, a nice hotel. The register went well, only that we have to get our other information separately. It would be more efficient if all information can be given at one time and that the free wifi be given to us at the same time. Then, the arrangement for getting on board of the bus to the airport is a little low profile, we were not aware or no noticeable sign on boarding the bus. Together with the other Hurtigruten guests, we board on the plane, flew to Ushuaia, and finally on board of the ship. The guest register was a bit disorganize, may be guests can be lined up instead of a crowd jammed in front of the counter. Two major things being asked for are: to let Fram keeps the passport and how we prefer to pay our bill. I decided to make payment in cash and, thus, have to make a down payment of US$100. Then I was given a cabin access card with my name, photo and my birthday(some privacy data, no?) Ours is a standard four person cabin, though a bit crowded but still OK coz we are relatively smaller size as Asian. We wish Fram has upgraded us to a more spacious cabin especially when we heard that there are others being upgraded at the spot! Anyway, the cabin provides basic amenities. We are satisfied except that the cabin space is at least 15% smaller than expected. There are standard cruise activities that come with the fare as part of the package deal, and there are additional paid activities. We learnt about the paid activities first before getting information on the standard cruise activities. So, we booked some of the paid activities. After we've done the first standard activity, we think we better stick with the standard ones because of our energy level. All the standard activities were great, safe yet adventurous enough. We were right about our decision of just doing the standard ones, we enjoyed all of them but not feeling stressful. There were lecture, adventure stories telling and documentary film sections on the ship, so one will never feel bored. All activities were educational, a good balance of information, knowledge and fun. As we understand that Fram is an expedition ship we did not have high expectation as we do for other luxurious cruise, such as food, services, etc. And because of this, we found that all the meals were good! Lots of choices and above average quality to us as asian whose taste bud have been spoiled in our own city. We have no problem with the supply of water, tea, coffee and chocolate...which were provided in a 24 x 7 pantry or water bar. Of course, one will have to take a few steps. We did not order any alcohol drinks and have been having water only during all our meals until the last third day when all activities were done and the ship was heading back to Ushuaia. We had no worries of our health and energy condition then we started to have wine and beer every meal. Oh, even the boots were free of charge! Anyway, we brought our own. May be because we have a TV crew from Germany, and that the ship company wanted to make sure everyone is happily! But nothing is flawless, we were kept pick on using plastic bags to protect our camera by one of the expedition staff who was rude to us even in front of other guests. OK, we accept that is to protect Antarctica. BUT, we saw European and American guests using much bigger plastic bags to protect their canon like lenses!!! So large that one would not be able to not seeing these plastic bags!!! We felt being treated differently. We used the plastic bags because we read from some of reviews from different sources suggesting us using plastic bags to protect our camera. We thought that should not be a problem and we use the plastic bags in a way that it won't blow away unless together with the camera. Anyway, nothing is perfect. I suggest also put more smiles on ones face would be much better. I only see true smiling faces when we were stepping out of the ship on that last morning! Otherwise, I would definitely rate this cruise an excellent!. Last but not the least, the service crew members from Philippine were all very talented! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Buenos Aires to The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Long distances between landings makes for a very expensive cruise for not much time on shore. The cruise part was sub-par for food and service compared to "cruise" ... Read More
Buenos Aires to The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Long distances between landings makes for a very expensive cruise for not much time on shore. The cruise part was sub-par for food and service compared to "cruise" lines. The "expedition " part really focused on very expensive extra price options such as hikes, kayaking and polar boat cruising rather than free field trips to view wildlife or historical sites led by experts as previous trips to Antarctica have been. The large group of people to manage (216) compared to smaller ships, created its own problems with trying to get everyone suited up and on shore each landing. Expedition leaders gave a lecture or two on board during the cruise and led extra price trips on shore or policed passengers to be sure no one got near wildlife. (except penguins which wandered in and out of the water nearby and were impossible to control). Landings were usually at least a mile round-trip or more from major bird colonies. (five miles in one instance). One stop in the Falklands had transportation for the old and lame which was nice. All land excursions and activities were almost outrageously overpriced as was internet service which probably shouldn't even be offered except for emergency use. Note that it is charged by the hour, not by use. Simple emails could easily take half an hour to download or send. Food pretty plain and some of the meat was low quality and some "fishy" tasting fish - absolutely unacceptable from a Norwegian outfit. Lots of raw dried meat, smoked fish, slimy sea thing starters and they must have gotten a whale of a bargain on orange sherbet which seemed to be an ice cream choice practically every day. Best thing about the ship was the 7th deck observation lounge. Great views and plenty of seats. (Could have been anchored to the floor though- several of them tipped over during rough seas dumping passengers on the floor). All in all, an acceptable ship and a good trip. I just prefer fewer people and more field-trip type interaction between passengers and experts rather than lectures and activities you can do at home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
The Fram is a modern small ship with stabilizers.. Norwegian cruise line with experience in ice. The crew and excursion guides were excellent. South Georgia is a spectacular place and we were there for two nights and one and a half days. ... Read More
The Fram is a modern small ship with stabilizers.. Norwegian cruise line with experience in ice. The crew and excursion guides were excellent. South Georgia is a spectacular place and we were there for two nights and one and a half days. Great tour locations. We hiked the last portion of Shackleton's hike across South Georgia and it was a memorable experience. Grytviken is spectacular.... I would have liked to spend more time there. Great excursions on the Antarctic archipelago and on the continent itself.... we missed a few neat places (Elephant Island) and the Penguin Post Office because we were so early in the season.... but a beautiful cruise with experiences and organized cruise line. When you are there the environment dictates where you can go, So sometimes you just have to move on or adjust your expectations. Food was great. We loved every minute and are keen to return. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the Hurtigruten folk! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Hurtigruten’s North East Greenland National Park Expedition. 10th to 24th September 2015. This voyage on the Fram to the North East Greenland National Park was so seriously flawed that we will not be travelling with Hurtigruten ... Read More
Hurtigruten’s North East Greenland National Park Expedition. 10th to 24th September 2015. This voyage on the Fram to the North East Greenland National Park was so seriously flawed that we will not be travelling with Hurtigruten again. We had rated previous voyages as excellent, including one on the Fram, and the comment that Hurtigruten is Norway’s national treasure was, in the past well deserved. The voyage was booked two years ago and chosen because of the focus on Greenland’s National Park. As soon as we set foot on board it became evident that something had changed. The embarkation process was chaotic with people milling around all over the place. Later the mandatory safety drill was so badly organised that it would be surprising if anyone knew what to do in an emergency. The drill was also disrupted by a large party who talked noisily amongst themselves throughout. During the evening introduction of the crew and the Expedition team we were dismayed to find that there were hardly any mature Arctic experts, or experts of any kind on the team. These observations were widely discussed by the returnee English and German passengers, many of whom had travelled on the Fram many times before. Three factors ruined this holiday, two of which were known in advance by Hurtigruten and thus were avoidable and the third was complete incompetence by Hurtigruten staff on board. 1. The bad ice conditions were well known to Hurtigruten before we left Iceland because they had been experienced on the Southbound journey of this voyage one week earlier but also because of the Danish Meteorological Office Ice Charts and Satellite pictures. Early in the voyage we were told we would NOT be going into the National Park due to the danger presented by ice conditions and that it was unlikely that we would be able to land anywhere. A few days later this decision was reversed with no satisfactory explanation and this resulted in us spending nearly three days at sea trapped in the ice. 2. We became aware from talking to the crew that Hurtigruten are actively pursuing the Chinese market. The presence of a group of 34 passengers considerably diminished the enjoyment of this holiday from the outset. None of this group spoke any European language and regrettably their behaviour left much to be desired. They did not understand or seem to want to observe mandatory hygiene rules in the restaurant, queue outside the restaurant when asked, keep quiet when observing wild life, respect the AECO rules about leaving the Arctic unspoilt. They pushed and shoved when others were trying to take photographs of wild life. None of the Hurtigruten staff were Chinese speaking and very little action was taken to ameliorate their behaviour or observe on board etiquette. Regrettably this was not a comfortable or positive experience. 3. We were told by the Expedition Team Leader that Hurtigruten somehow managed to contaminate the stock of fuel for the fleet of landing boats such that diesel and petroleum containers got mixed up. As a result some boats loaded with passengers had to be towed back to the ship as their engines failed. The three days spent cruising in Scoresby Sund where two landings took place was not on the itinerary. This was either a diversion due to the ice conditions or delaying tactics whilst waiting for clean fuel to be obtained for the landing boats – neither excuse was properly explained. As a result of these key issues and poor decision making this holiday was a fiasco. We only spent two days in the National Park instead of seven and only half a day in Spitsbergen. There were periods when no update information was given during which time passengers wondered what was going. The sighting of two adult polar bears, one with a cub, on the ice in Greenland, or the beautiful afternoon spent on the ship surrounded by whales in Iceland did not make up for this very disappointing holiday. There were very few birds due to the time of year. We were told that there were musk oxen and arctic foxes but they were so far away as to be virtually invisible. Our previous experiences on the Fram have been very positive, and even allowing for difficulties of weather and ice conditions the Expedition team have come up with alternative itineraries which have been perfectly acceptable. Not so on this voyage - it was evident something went very badly wrong early on. We got the impression that the Expedition team had basically given up. Possibly the reasons might be due to the change of ownership in late 2014 when Hurtigruten was taken over by a group of British investors. Read Less
Fram Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 2.0 0.0
Public Rooms 3.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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