It is with some trepidation that my departure date for the Roald Amundsen cruise to Antarctica, Chilean Fjords and the Falklands approached (Feb.2020). This was due to some pretty horrendous reviews (see Cruise Critic) that the ship received in its maiden voyages particularly to Greenland, Canada and the Northwest Passage. My fears were only alleviated when much improved reviews began to come out of the trips from Antarctica. I had also contacted Hurtigruten myself with my concerns and received a letter from them saying how they had addressed the issues of criticism put forth by previous passengers. And I must say Hurtigruten were on the ball in most aspects! This was my third Hurtigruten expedition and it was everything that I had hoped for and then some! The Amundsen is a fantastic ship with soft décor and beautiful Nordic touches. The facilities would rival any large cruise ship and in fact were better than many! The cabin, I upgrade to an Expedition Suite, was spacious, the beds to die for and the bathroom probably one of the largest on any cruise that I have been on. My only complaint was the measly size of the bath towels! A definite disappointment!
Being a Suite passenger, I was able to eat either in the Main restaurant, the Aune, or the Lindstrom without any extra charge. The food, although obviously a very subjective topic, was not to my taste, too much fish, seafood, wild boar, venison although you are able to get a decent chicken breast if asked. The service, while excellent, felt very rushed in both restaurants as if they wanted to clear you away to set up for breakfast. A quiet word with the serving staff did slow them down in the Lindstrom though. The menu in the Lindstrom stays the same for 7 days which is fine if you eat there on occasion, but as a Suite passenger it became rather monotonous especially when you are as picky as I am! It would be nice to have the menu rotated more as I ended up eating chicken breasts most of the voyage. Freidheim was excellent with lovely international bites. Again, had the menu been more extensive, I would have eaten there more often. The Pilipino serving staff and crew were some of the best that I have ever had on a cruise, always willing to do anything for you.
People need to understand that the Hurtigruten lines are not like your average cruise as there is not laid on entertainment although there are a few fun evenings. If that is what people are looking for, they will be disappointed. However, if you wish to be educated, involved in science and truly learn about the sites where you will visit then the Amundsen and indeed all of the Hurtigruten ships will not disappoint. The Expedition Team are truly inspirational and will leave you wanting more. They offer not only fantastic lectures throughout the day on the sites, wildlife, geography all by graduates and experts in their fields, but they map out and lead the landings and are there to answer any of your questions. They are what make these cruises out of this world. The dress code is casual which also makes for a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere on board.