Roald Amundsen Review

True Bucket List Trip - Amazing

Review for Antarctica Cruise on Roald Amundsen
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MaccD
10+ Cruises • Age 50s

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Sail Date: Jan 2023

I wanted to visit Antarctica for many years but money and time (work commitments) prevented it but I decided to finally get around to doing it as an early retirement present to myself. I didnt want to do one of those "sail past it" cruises on one of the large cruise lines but wanted to get a close up view and set foot on the continent. Travelled with a friend.

I did my research and looked at the top providers of expedition cruises to Antarctica - a lot of excellent providers out there with great reputations but many I discounted due to the cost. Antarctica expedition cruises are expensive but I wanted to get a good balance of cost, ship size, facilities, route and activities. I narrowed the choice down to Hurtigruten Expeditions as 1) my prior experience with the company on the Norwegian Coastal Route had been good 2) The ship was impressive 3) The route and itinerary suited my wishlist. The route chosen was the Antarctic Circle expedition as one of the key points on my wishlist was to experience crossing into and sailing within the circle.

MS Roald Amundsen is a strikingly beautiful ship, very well equipped and dealt easily with the often rough waters of the Drake passage and in the ice laden seas particularly around Breakspear Island. On this particular voyage there was 294 passengers so very comfortably below the Antarctic maximum of 500. We had landings or zodiac cruising each day and there were also optional activities such as photo cruising, kayaking, camping and snow shoeing. The optional activities were at extra cost and done by lottery but everyone who wanted to kayak got the opportunity as did the snow shoeing. The captain set the itinerary based on the weather conditions and we got to see a range of landings - some in places never done before, giving a true feeling of expedition. We sailed through The Gullett down to Red Rock Ridge, Stonington Island, Horseshoe Island, circumnavigated Breakspear Island (first passenger ship to do so apparently! - the sea ice was stunning around there and it felt like being on a completely different world - the skill of the captain and the officers was evident in the way we carefully and successfully navigated through an area I though "what? no way are we getting through there!", Blind Bay, the millpond smooth sea and amazing blue skies and sun around the Fish Islands, Port Charcot, Damoy , Neko Bay all on the Western side of the Antarctic Peninsula then over to the Eastern side to Hope Bay, through the Weddell sea through an area teeming with hundreds of whales down to Robertson Island/Christensen Nanatak and finally Cockburn Island before heading back to Ushaia through a calm "Drake Lake" . The wildlife was plentiful Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins, to Weddell and Leopard Seals as well as the plentiful Humpback and Orca. Some lucky passengers got close up to a couple of Orcas hunting a seal on an ice floe - now thats a sight not many get close to everyday!

Cabin Review

Originally I booked a superior grade cabin with balcony on deck 8 for my friend and I to share. However since the ship was below capacity we were able to upgrade on board on the second day of the cruise to a suite on deck 9 for a very reasonable upgrade fee - it would have cost at least 3 times as much each if Id booked the suite originally. The original cabin was very nice with a good sized shower room but the suite was about 40% bigger and just another level in comfort so well worth the relatively small upgrade price. With the upgrade came free laundry, free minibar contents (you paid of you emptied it and wanted it refilled) free carabiner watch each and use of the suite only restaurant which would have been an additional €25 each everytime you used it. Modern , comfortable cabins - suites are definitely worth it if you can get the right price.

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