Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 355 out of 500
Accommodation: 130 out of 200
Food: 242 out of 400
Service: 246 out of 400
Entertainment: 72 out of 100
Cruise: 269 out of 400
Overall Score: 1314 out of 2000
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Hurtigruten
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9370018
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: €68.6 million
Entered Service: Apr 2007
Length (ft/m): 374.0/114.0
Beam (ft/m): 66.2/20.2
Draft (ft/m): 16.7/5.1
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (4.6MW)/2
Passenger Decks: 6
Total Crew: 75
Passengers (lower beds): 254
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 45.8
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 3.3
Cabins (total): 127
Size Range (sq ft/m): 113.0-415.5/10.5-38.6
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 6
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 2
Wheelchair accessibility: Fair
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): No
Slot Machines: No
Swimming Pools: 0
Hot Tubs (on deck): 2
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Norwegian krona
Expedition-style cruising in a modern, minimalist ship
Overview. Designed to operate in polar waters, Fram sails from Reykjavik, Iceland, operating Greenland and Spitzbergen cruises from May through September, and winter cruises to Antarctica. It suits mature adults who like exploring independently.
The Ship. Fram features Norway and Greenlandic culture, using an extensive mix of wool, leather, and oak. The interior decor is decidedly Inuit. The few public rooms include the Quilac observation lounge, an Internet café, board room, and a small shop. There is no walk-around promenade deck. Hurtigruten doesn’t have a great culture of hospitality and service, so many passengers feel they are traveling with a ferry company rather than a cruise line. The crew to passenger ratio is low, which does not equate to a high level of service or attention to detail.
In Antarctica, the ship is a fairly capable expedition vessel, but can still get stuck in heavy pack-ice. MV Fram was assisted in January 2013 by the British Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship HMS Protector. An Expedition Leader organizes everything to do with a specific voyage. Expedition specialists provide daily lectures. Boots are provided; they come in European sizes - so it helps to know yours before you go.
Life on board is very relaxed, so formal attire is never needed. Smoking is allowed only on the open deck - and not at all when Fram is in port. The ship operates in Norwegian and English. There are no safety deposit boxes. Hurtigruten operates a no-tipping-required policy. All in all, the ship should provide a fine expedition-style experience in a modicum of comfort.
Accommodation. There are 13 price categories (too many), according to size and location. The good thing is that no cabins have obstructed views. The largest accommodation is one Owner’s Suite, which consists of a bedroom, living room, and bathroom with Jacuzzi tub. Six cabins at the aft of the ship, overlooking the stern and the ship’s wake, have a shared balcony. There are several price grades for the standard cabins, which typically have one bed, and a sofa that converts to a fold-down bed, or two pull-down sofa beds; there’s little room and a few shelves.
Dining. Restaurant Imaq, the main dining room, is located at the stern, and connects with the main lobby via an arcade. Local cuisine and recipes, including such things as bison meat and fresh fish, are featured. However, several meals are of the self-help buffet variety only. An extra-charge bistro and self-serve buffet is available for casual snack food items. Dessert items are particularly good. Alcohol prices are very high.
Entertainment. There isn’t any. Guides and lecturers organize talks and informative briefings based on the cruise area.
Spa/Fitness. Saunas are located one deck above the exercise area. There are no other spa facilities, other than a small, but well-equipped exercise room.