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.
My cabin was a little smaller in size than others in the same category, but it was the last available which was mid-ship when I booked (although others in the stern were still available). Being a bit smaller, this cabin had 2 comfy chairs instead of 1 comfy chair and a love seat, plus 1 smallish round coffee table instead of a larger oblong coffee table. Also, the HDTV was placed on the wall above one of the night tables. This meant you either watched TV from the comfy chairs OR from the bed with one's head at the foot of the bed. That was a little awkward but workable. The desk was a good size and there was plenty of closet space and shelves. The shower was rather nice with a semi-circular sliding glass door. The bedding was excellent ... very comfy. There was a large picture window and a fully stocked bar fridge included: 1 red wine, 1 white wine, 2 beer cans, 2 pop cans, 5 airplane size liquors (Cognac, Baileys and scotch), 4 bottles of water and cream for coffee. The welcome gifts included 2 MS Fram mugs to keep, 2 housecoats to keep, 2 pairs of slippers, lots of fruit, 2 small chocolate bars and 1 LARGE bag of potato chips or crisps (where we enjoyed over several days as a snack).