Hurtigruten Reveals Compensation for Fram Passengers

December 31, 2007

Bad News for Fram Passengers in Antarctica

Hurtigruten’s Fram Hits Antarctic Iceberg

Hurtigruten is revealing its plans -- some still incomplete -- for compensating passengers impacted by the abrupt end of Fram's existing Antarctic cruise and the canceling of its next.

Passengers who were sailing on the ship when it lost power near Brown's Bluff and ran into an iceberg on Saturday will receive "a refund still to be determined by Hurtigruten's insurance program" as a result of the incident; these travelers were just beginning the actual Antarctic portion of the cruise and lost four key days in the region. As well, they'll be given 30 percent off a future sailing. The booking must be made by March 31, 2008.

Those travelers who'd planned to cruise on Fram's next Antarctic voyage will receive a full refund, which includes air and land add-on components -- whether booked through the cruise line or individually -- and will also get a certificate for a discounted future sailing. In this case the discount's worth 50 percent, and also must be used to book a cruise by March 31, 2008.

The Hurtigruten spokesman also said that the "cause of the power failure which caused the drifting of the ship has not been determined. Canceling the January 2 sailing will allow us to repair the life boat and hinges, as well as assure that the cause of the power failure is studied and corrected in order for this to not reoccur."

Indeed, according to Cruise Critic reader Roger Richman, who sailed on Fram in November, reoccurrence is a problem. "Fram lost our generators twice while in the Chilean fjords and in Antarctica," he writes. "Luckily we did not suffer the same fate as yesterday's collision with an iceberg, but it could have been us."

Richman, who noted that he never would have written the letter had not this weekend's incident occurred, posed a number of concerns about his cruise on Fram, which included "navigational miscalculations" and, at the beginning of the voyage, "no life jackets in any cabin as the staff told us some were stolen by previous passengers."

We've asked Hurtigruten to address Richman’s key points. Stay tuned for an update later this week.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief