Greenland was rightly the desired destination, with the ship sailing from Reykjavik, Iceland. Passengers were inconvenienced at the outset by the fact that Hurtigruten had taken delivery of the ship before necessary US documentation was in ... Read More
Greenland was rightly the desired destination, with the ship sailing from Reykjavik, Iceland. Passengers were inconvenienced at the outset by the fact that Hurtigruten had taken delivery of the ship before necessary US documentation was in place, consequently the itinerary lost a day's sailing around Iceland. Six weeks on, the promised refund is yet to arrive. Embarkation was shifted from the cruise ship quay to a concert hall in Reykjavik, which involved a long wait of several hours before boarding.
The ship was new and there were a number of 'running-in' glitches. The service staff was friendly and worked hard to please, but they seemed to be stretched i.e. struggling to deliver, so restaurant service was sometimes delayed and/or rushed. The menu in the fine-dining restaurant remained unaltered over two weeks. The main restaurant was crowded and its layout ill planned.
On-board communication with passengers during the cruise was poor due to numerous issues, not least 'expedition' staff saying what the policy was - and then ignoring it themselves! The result was often chaos e.g. the statutory emergency drill was not conducted appropriately; chaos reigned even for the simple task of returning expedition boots. The poverty of the experience was compounded it seems by (1) the number of passengers (ca. 500) being too large for 'expedition' activities (e.g. long waiting times for a boat group's turn ashore - time which could not be used productively due, on occasion, to poor communications and/or lack of on-board activities plus poor lecture facilities) and (2) the 'expedition' team failing to demonstrate adequate discipline and/or training (and/or inclination?) in handling this number of paying customers. Some, not all, of the 'expedition' team were ignorant about the places visited, did not actively seek to help or interact with passengers, particularly when ashore i.e. some of the 'expedition' team gave the impression they were onboard for their own expedition, not that of the paying customers. Lectures by the 'experts' invariably opened with an apology for not speaking on their specialist topic!
The excursion to the icecap on the last day was curtailed halfway because the Hurtigruten flight home was leaving early, something that the airline staff did not communicate to customers on-board, when checking them onto the flight, six hours earlier. Again disappointment, confusion and chaos due to poor communications on board. Hurtigruten has not given any explanation for this last shortfall.
This new hybrid powered ship is also trying to be a hybrid of cruise ship and expedition vessel; the conclusion from this experience is that the MS Roald Amundsen carries too many passengers to deliver a true expedition experience. Read Less