- Built: 2007
- Length: 374 ft.
- Berths: 318
- Width: 67 ft.
- Gross Tonnage: 12,700
In 1891, the idea of providing daily, year-round express boat service along the west coast of Norway was born, and Hurtigruten, formerly known as Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc., took up the challenge in 1893 when one boat successfully completed a run from Trondheim to Hammerfest. This started a communications revolution, giving business and coastal inhabitants better access to the outside world.
From its beginning, it was believed that tourism could be an important part of Hurtigruten operations, and today, Hurtigruten has expanded their operations to include routes from the southern tip of South America to Antarctica. Hurtigruten accommodates even the most savvy travellers with spacious suites, comfortable cabins, and a variety of public areas and panoramic lounges.
Although similar in exterior, each ship has her own specific style on board in terms of color schemes and the art and artists chosen to decorate the interior. The artwork on board is renowned. The people and scenery along their routes have inspired well-known artists who have brought them to life on board.
Built in 2007, the MS Fram is Hurtigruten’s newest ship to join the fleet. It was especially designed for cruising Arctic waters with its shallow draft, powerful bow and stern thrusters. Through the extensive use of wood, leather and oak, its interior has a Nordic feel. She has a dining room, café, library, Internet café, sauna, two heated outdoor Jacuzzis, a panoramic lounge, and a gift shop.
All cabins are stylish and comfortable with two lower-berth beds, and contain air conditioning, heat, a smoke alarm, and a private bathroom with a hair dryer. Also, there are several well-appointed suites. The fitness room located on deck 7; the sauna is on deck 8; the dining room, Internet café, and reception are on deck 4; the two heated outdoor Jacuzzis are on deck 7; and the panoramic lounge and library are on deck 7.
Guests on board Hurtigruten ships originate from all corners of the world. You’ll have the opportunity to meet people from a variety of countries and cultures — and will perhaps make lifelong friends who become future travelling companions.
The programs on board the MS Fram are filled with unforgettable experiences to a region that is largely undiscovered by tourists. A highlight is sure to be Antarctica, where you’ll explore this fantastic continent with its unique landscape and a wildlife including various species of penguins, whales, and seals. The ship’s fleet of PolarCirkel boats gets you up-close and personal to flora and fauna during your voyage. And whether it’s a day at sea or an evening after a day of sightseeing, your time aboard will be an intensely educational experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Antarctica Sailing
Q: What is the MS Fram like?
Upon arrival on board, there will be a mandatory passenger drill followed by a welcome meeting. Security information as well as practical information about the cruise will be given. The ship complies with all safety requirements and is classified as a polar vessel suitable for sailing in icy waters, equipped with a fleet of PolarCirkel boats for landings. The ship offers a comfortable restaurant, a stocked bar, lounges, and conference rooms. She also offers a library with a selection of books about the regions, a fitness room, a sauna, two heated Jacuzzis and a gift shop that holds assortments of local souvenirs, handicrafts, postcards, stamps, and basic personal effects. Unlike traditional cruises, however, there is no organized entertainment on board; Mother Nature is the entertainer!
Q: Are there lectures/briefings given on board?
The ship has experienced lecturers with in-depth knowledge of all the ports you will be visiting. They will conduct lectures of various topics during the cruise and hold recaps to sum up each day’s events. Time and place will be decided by the Expedition Team and will be announced through the daily program. Do not hesitate to contacting them for unanswered questions. Information on board is given in English and German.
Also, as a Vantage customer, you’ll have an experienced English-speaking Vantage Program Manager to accompany you throughout your journey.
Q: How will I know what to expect each day?
The Expedition Team will inform about the daily program, arrival and departure times, excursions, and other activities. To hear all announcements in the cabin, your TV needs to be set to a specific channel number. Check you cabin folder for the correct channel number once on board. Important updates to our programme will be announced to the cabins via separate speakers. The onboard Expedition Team is composed of an Expedition Leader, a Trip Coordinator, and several lecturers. Biographies of the Expedition Team can be found on the bulletin board located by their Information desk. At the Expedition desk, you will be able to find information regarding the trip and book any optional excursions. The program is subject to changes depending on weather and ice conditions or unforeseen circumstances. Please keep in mind that the weather and ice conditions in Antarctica are highly variable and may change quickly. The planned itinerary may change and landings may be cancelled due to deteriorating conditions. The ship reserves the right to change the itinerary due to weather conditions and other unforeseen events.
Q: What are the cabins like?
Cabins aboard the ship are comfortable and cozy. All cabins on the MS Fram have two lower berths. Each cabin has air conditioning, heat, a smoke alarm, and a private bathroom with a hair dryer. There are only 220-volt/50 Hz sockets, so an adapter and converter are required.
Q: Is there room service?
The cabins are cleaned daily. The ship regrets that meals or drinks cannot be served in the cabins.
Q: What kind of meals are served on board?
At breakfast and lunch, the ship serves a buffet of international specialties, while a three-course meal is served at the tables for dinner. Some nights, dinner will be a buffet. A selection of wines is available for purchase at lunch and dinner. There is a bar (not included) with a selection of spirits, wines, beers, and soft drinks, and a lounge with coffee service. The exact hours for meals will be given on board.
Q: What about special dietary requirements?
Please advise Vantage at time of booking if you have special dietary requirements. The chefs will do their utmost to meet your dietary requirements.
Q: Are there any other services on board?
A small fitness room and a sauna are available to the passengers. The ship’s shop has a limited assortment of local souvenirs, handicrafts, and postcards for sale as well as a small selection of soap, toothpaste, and other personal effects. Woolen sweaters, fleece jackets, and wind/ waterproof hats and gloves are also for sale on board. There is also a small selection of books and souvenirs for sale. The ship has a library with a limited selection of books about Chile, Argentina, Antarctica and the other ports you will be visiting. As a courtesy to fellow passengers, passengers are asked not to remove any books from the library at any time.
Q: Are there laundry facilities on board?
Limited laundry service is available on board for a fee.
Q: Is there a doctor on board?
There is an English-speaking doctor and nurse on board at all times, and the MS Fram features a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle emergencies. In serious emergencies the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger. The price for consultation is approximately 285 NOK (as of print time).
In case of a medical emergency in Antarctica, the only means of evacuation are by airplane to the city of Punta Arenas, Chile, as there are no hospital facilities in Antarctica. This is very expensive and dependent on favorable weather conditions. Therefore, comprehensive travel/health insurance is a MUST. Remember to bring sufficient medication to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labeled and with clear instructions for its use, in case of the need for emergency treatment by the ship’s doctor. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor. Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from ship’s doctor and captain must be followed. We strongly encourage all passengers to purchase travel/health insurance. Check with your local health
authorities regarding recommended vaccinations for travel to the countries visited on this itinerary.
Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty System, the ship is required to carry medical information regarding all passengers. Prior to departure, a confidential medical information report will be mailed to you to fill out and bring with you at the time of embarkation. Every section of this form must be completed and the form must be signed by a doctor.
Q: Is this cruise suitable for physically challenged passengers?
Most of the Antarctic landings are by PolarCirkel boats and the terrain on shore may be fairly rugged, so you should be reasonably sure-footed. These sturdy boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas.The crew will show you what to do, and as long as you follow their instructions, it will become second nature after a few days. These excursions are not suitable for the physically challenged.
Q: What if I experience seasickness?
Seasickness pills are available on board at reception at a low cost. If you are prone to seasickness, please bring pills you are familiar with.
Q: Is smoking permitted on board?
Smoking is only permitted in designated areas on the deck. Smoking in your cabin, the dining room, and during lectures is not permitted. To show respect for the environment, please use the provided ashtrays when smoking outside. Throwing cigarette butts overboard is strictly prohibited.
Q: What is used for identification on board?
An identity card will be issued upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure. All passengers are requested to wear this card when disembarking the ship in any port of call and on landings in Antarctica. The card serves as a control system on the gangway enabling the ship to know which passengers are on board and ashore at any time.
Q: What is used for identification on board?
Passports will be collected by the crew during the check-in process in order to clear immigrations and customs. Passports will be kept throughout the voyage and returned at the end of the trip. Please be sure to bring a photocopy of your passport with you.
Q: What clothes should I bring?
The dress code aboard the ship is casual and you are not expected to dress formally for meals.
All passengers will receive a wind and waterproof jacket as a memento (sizes XS to XXXL). A Woolen sweater or fleece jacket is required to wear underneath. For safety and practical reasons we suggest that passengers wear it on all landings in Antarctica. Passengers will also be lent one pair of rubber boots to wear during landings in Antarctica. Various boots in sizes are available on board.
For outer clothing we suggest several layers instead of one thick piece of clothing, as the temperature may vary quite a lot during the day. Wind and waterproof pants/jacket is a necessity at sea and on excursions in Antarctica. You should also bring gloves (both inner and outer waterproof gloves), a scarf, and a warm cap/hat to wear outdoors. We also recommend long underwear and warm socks.
Aboard the ship you may wear ordinary shoes or tennis shoes. On landings in Antarctica passengers are expected to wear the rubber boots lent by the vessel.
Q: What other items should I bring?
We strongly recommend that you bring a pair of good quality sunglasses. The Antarctic sunlight and its reflection from the ice are very strong. We recommend wearing them at all times when outdoors! Also, due to high light refraction from ice and snow combined with a thinning ozone layer, we suggest all passengers wear a high UV factor sunscreen when outdoors.
We recommend you to bring a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at wildlife and nature, as well as a camera to capture this unforgettable experience. When using your camera you should always use UV or skylight filter and lens hood. If you use special brands of film, make sure you bring your own — special films are difficult to obtain in South America. Professional photographers normally prefer slow speed film (100 ASA or less) in Antarctica. Of course, you’ll want to bring extra batteries for your camera as battery life is shorter in cold areas. There are sockets in the cabins for charging video camera batteries. We recommend that you bring sufficient video film, as the ship’s kiosk only carries limited stocks. Be sure to bring high UV factor sunblock.
To protect your valuables while on excursions, a small waterproof backpack is a must. Be aware that water spray is to be expected during transfers from ship to shore and on board our PolarCirkel boats.
Also, you should pack enough toiletries, medication, and film to cover any delays.
Q: What is the environmental policy?
All waste is stored on board until it is deposited for treatment ashore. The ship does not dump waste in the sea and you are asked not to leave any waste ashore when you are on excursions. In populated areas there are containers for depositing waste; please use them. Please respect the saying: “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures!” Human traffic in Antarctica is strictly regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which prohibits more than 100 people from being ashore simultaneously. Passengers will be instructed on how to comply with IAATO guidelines. Hurtigruten is a full member of IAATO.
Q: What are the procedures for life-saving equipment, lifejackets, and safety on board?
The ship complies with all safety requirements, and is classified as a polar vessel suitable for sailing in icy waters. Upon arrival aboard ship, all passengers will be instructed in safety procedures, as well as the use and location of the safety equipment. There is a safety plan situated on the inside of the cabin door. We stress the importance of becoming acquainted with the ships safety plan. Special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Polarcirkel boats. Please follow the instructions given by the expedition leader and crew/staff. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be handed out to all passengers before the first landing. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given.
Q: What are the security regulations?
MS Fram complies with the ISPS (International Ship and Port Security System) regulations, and all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection upon arrival port facility or ship. You are kindly asked to keep this in mind packing your luggage for the voyage. The ISPS regulations also include hand baggage scans in all ports of call throughout the course of the voyage.
Q: What is the method of payment on board?
Upon arrival aboard the ship you will receive a cruise card, which works as a “credit card” in addition to being the key card for your cabin. The card may be used as means of payment in all the facilities on board. Prior to your final departure from the vessel, your account will be added up and settled on board. Hurtigruten regrets that there is no facility for cash withdrawals or currency exchange on board.
Q: What currency is accepted on board?
Currency on board is the Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Visa® and MasterCard® are also accepted on board. Please note that when using your credit card on board, your account will be debited in Norwegian Kroner (NOK) with the rate of exchange of that day.
Ashore, U.S. dollars are accepted as well as local currencies. Some shops might accept U.S. cash, though this is not a common practice. In some places ashore major credit cards are accepted. Be aware that smaller towns only accept cash in local currency and sometimes U.S. dollars.
Q: What is the tipping policy?
Hurtigruten has learned that many of their guests wish to give a special thanks to their service crew on board. It is as your discretion to honor service rendered by the crew in bars, restaurant and cabins. In order to give you some guidelines, Hurtigruten recommends 75 NOK (approximately $12 USD) per passenger per day as an average gratuity. Whatever amount you decide to give, please fill in the form you will find in your cabin and give it to the purser two nights before the end of the cruise. The amount will then be debited to your cruise account.
Q: Can I bring alcoholic beverages?
Guests are respectfully reminded that only beverages bought from the ships restaurants and bars can be consumed on board. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports-of-call and from the onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the sailing. According to Norwegian law, persons over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase beer and wine. Spirits are only available to persons over the age of 20 years.
Q: Is there a bar service?
The ship has a bar service offering spirits, wines, soft drinks, and coffee at a charge.
Q: How do I keep in touch on board?
All cabins are equipped with a telephone. In order to call from the ship, a card has to be purchased at the reception desk.
There is an Internet café on board and access may be purchased at reception. Wireless access is only available in the Deck 4 reception area. There is no connection in the cabins and suites. Please note that the connection is a 516 MB line and that both internet and telephones from time to time will be out of range due to vessels location geographically. The ship’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the phone number is +47 51 40 64 40.
There is a mailbox at reception.
Depending on the carrier company with whom you have subscribed, mobile phones will function in some places on shore. Check with your carrier company for more details. Guests may use their own GSM telephones on board the ship at all times at an international price level. The price will vary depending on which mobile operator you use. Please check with your carrier company for rates and if your subscription is valid on the MCP Satelite System board.
For further information on Hurtigruten and your ship, please refer to their website at hurtigruten.us.