Built to sail the Arctic and Antarctica, Hurtigruten’s MS Fram is named after the ship used by Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen on his famed expedition to the South Pole in 1911. The 318-passenger vessel embraces the same intrepid spirit: She bravely — and safely — navigates icebound waters in some of the world’s most remote regions. Aboard, passengers can expect a true adventure: The programs are packed with lectures from geology to ornithology, and there's plenty of trekking ashore.
What We Love
Windows Everywhere: You won’t find a public room on board without floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the natural beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic landscapes — magnificent sights to behold even in inclement weather.
She’s Built Like a Tank: There's no getting around the notoriously choppy waters of the Drake Passage, but MS Fram's high ice-class and squat superstructure ease passages in the polar regions.
Best Known For
Stunning Itineraries: At both poles, Hurtigruten’s itineraries navigate some spectacular highlights: giant ice caps, lava fields and rock formations, and passages of the Antarctic that are usually iced down.
Functional Design: With a specially crafted expedition deck that houses a fleet of Polarcirkel boats used for landings, MS Fram can embark and disembark guests fast — which means more time ashore. Though practical, she’s also beautifully designed, with interior decor inspired by the culture and textures of the Arctic.
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Who It's Best For
Internationally Minded Polar Explorers: MS Fram’s guests hail from around the world. Expect a largely European clientele, with folks from North America and Asia rounding out the mix. These cruises are not for the lounge-by-the-beach crowd — they're active, and you can expect a good amount of physical activity.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Be Prepared for Plenty of Additional Charges: Optional shore excursions can add up, and prices for drinks tend to be very expensive (and pours are on the stingy side). Hurtigruten charges for still water in the dining room — and nearly everything else on board, with the exception of coffee and tea. Regardless of where she sails, the onboard currency is the Norwegian krone.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.