OUR ADVICE: CHOOSE A DIFFERENT COMPANY! Take your “inner explorer” elsewhere. We took the last cruise of the 2022 Antarctic season with Hurtigruten (Feb 28 to March 17). It turned out to be a COVID disaster for us and many others on the ship, MS Roald Amundsen, and Hurtigruten was completely disorganized, incompetent and unhelpful in its response.
After two pandemic years avoiding infection with the virus, 11 days on the ship was enough time for us to come down with COVID. We believe, upon good information, that COVID came onto the ship through the incompetence (and greed) of Hurtigruten. Thirteen passengers bound for the cruise were on the same plane from Europe to Santiago. When antigen tested before boarding in Punta Arenas, two of those passengers tested positive for COVID and were turned away. The other 11 passengers from the same airplane did not test positive and, despite exposure to COVID from the two who were positive, were allowed to board the ship without any further restrictions or period of quarantine. That we believe is how the virus arrived on the Amundsen.
Further, no efforts were made to enforce masking or social distancing on board. For example in the so-called Explorer Lounge, passengers would enter wearing masks but as soon as they were seated, usually within six feet of other non-affiliated passengers, they would remove the masks in order to consume coffee, etc. Thus an airborne disease is allowed to spread through a confined space. By day 11, both my wife and I tested positive and were sent to the so-called “Red Zone” on level four for quarantine. (I should say here that not everyone who was positive for COVID was sent to the Red Zone, since Hurtigruten soon ran out of space there and thus allowed some passengers to quarantine in their more comfortable original quarters.) Despite our many requests for information about the state of the illness on board so that we could understand what protective measures to take (e.g., remaining in our cabin), such as the number of infected passengers, Hurtigruten refused to give any information, claiming that such information was confidential which is of course absurd because we were not asking for the names of the ill passengers.