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Bella0714

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  1. We got it through *****.com. I was skeptical at first because the price was so low, but they’ve been around for a while and online reviews are fine. There’s no difference from what you’d get on Hurtigruten’s website; hotel in Santiago, interior flight to Punta Arenas are included. Also, any remaining concerns I had were wiped out when I paid, checked my credit card and saw that payment had gone through Hurtigruten. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Dates besides ours were available. Dave
  2. The Falklands weren't even in any of our original plans. At first, that was the place we were planning to see penguins up-close if we did a sail-by on the mega-liners. This cruise we're doing is just one bonus after another. The only possible major negative is that for the price we got we had to take an unspecified outside cabin. We'll be relatively low (the outside cabins are Deck 4 and 5), but I'm hoping we're not too far forward. Right now, it looks like the ship has a lot of empty cabins (I think the brochure price was way too high for such a large ship), so we could get lucky.
  3. Thanks to everyone for your valuable help. We finally booked, and after all of our debate about Midnatsol in Feb. 2020 vs. Fridtjof Nansen in 2021, we decided on…neither. We got a great deal on the new ship, Roald Amundsen, for this coming January 27. Departing Punta Arenas. Seven days in Antarctica, three in the Falkland Islands, Beagle Channel and an attempted landing in Cape Horn (I know not to count on that). The extra day in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and the price (lower than Midnatsol's) overcame my concerns about the new ship's launch problems. We're just going to have to have faith in Hurtigruten, which I feel is an excellent company, to work things out. Besides, by then, it will be the ship's sixth time doing that itinerary. This is more than we'd ever expected to do. I really thought we'd end up on Holland America or Princess because of price concerns. We're very excited. Antarctica kept showing up in my dreams last night!
  4. You should look at Hurtigruten. We did and that's how we're going to go (also celebrating a 60th birthday). Some of their ships are larger than the other expedition companies', but they still schedule a landing per day and, presumably, get closer to wildlife and land. I don't know because I haven't taken one, but I'm about to. Don't book on www.Hurtigruten.com. Go to Hurtigruten.no., which is their Norwegian site and significantly less expensive. Use Google Chrome, which will translate for you. Right now, 13 days with six of them in Antarctica can be had for about $5,500 pp including all taxes and fees. When you add it all up–port fees, etc., charged by the big cruise lines, the cost of penguin expeditions in South America–that's more than HAL or Princess but not significantly more. I have found, like you have, that the other expedition companies are a lot more expensive unless you're sharing a triple or a quad.
  5. I haven't but I will when I call to book. From what I've seen, U.S. insurance doesn't cover up to real cost, until up to a covered limit.
  6. Thank you again. I'm very sorry about the loss of your partner. And I didn't mean to belittle the cost of these trips; they are expensive, and my wife and I continually balk at the cost. What I meant is that paying out-of-pocket for an evacuation from Antarctica can have a far more drastic effect on your wallet than losing the cost of a cruise; there's no doubt that we're going to get evacuation insurance. Just unsure as to how much. I was just looking at your blog again. You would really love Alaska, especially Kenai Peninsula/Denali/Valdez/Katmai.
  7. Now that I'm getting down to the nitty-gritty, just wondering if anyone can tell me who you used for trip insurance; it appears as if Hurtigruten requires it, and it seems to make sense to have at least medical evacuation/repatriation coverage. We never get trip insurance, figuring there's no need to insure small-ticket items, but medical evacuation coverage seems like a big-ticket item that is necessary; just not sure up to what amount. Some say $1,000,000. Others say $100,000 or $250,000. Also, can anyone tell me why they think trip cancellation/interruption/trip delay insurance might be more necessary on this trip than it would be on, say, a trip to Norway? Thanks again.
  8. Has Hurtigruten told you the name of your hotel? I’m figuring we will want to add a night before and one after.
  9. I can’t imagine how excited you must be. Has Hurtigruten said the time of departure from Ushuaia and when you’ll be flying back to Argentina on the last day? I’m sure you’ve given yourself some wiggle room in Buenos Aires, too. That’s probably the departure we are looking at. It coincides with my 60th.
  10. I've decided on Midnatsol and the extra day as the better option on Hurtigruten; the extra planned day in Antartica and not having to worry about whether the new ship will be ready solved that dilemma. My other dilemma has always been between a ship that can land in Antarctica and a sail-by. Even booking on Hurtigruten.no, the price difference is substantial: about $5,300 per person on Midnatsol booked through Hurtigruten.no vs. about $2,300 per person on Princess (three days in Antarctica plus Punta Arenas, Falkland Islands and Ushuaia for a day, so plenty of chances to see penguins on excursions). Although I never doubted that the expedition cruises are a lot better, I also wondered whether I'd be satisfied with a sail-by. But then I remembered our two trips to Alaska and the difference between getting close to land, the glaciers and the wildlife on small day-cruise ships during our second visit and how far away we were from most things on Holland America the first time. Then a few days ago, my wife and I watched YouTube videos of actual travelers' Midnatsol Antarctica voyages and Holland America Antarctica voyages. I know some people have compared sail-bys to going to New York City and just sailing around it without stepping foot into the city. I never found that comparison apt. But after watching these videos, I realized that the difference between expedition journey/sail-by is the difference between watching a sporting event from the front row as opposed to watching it from the upper deck. It wasn't even the stepping-foot on land aspect that excited me most about these Midnatsol videos; it was how close they got to wildlife, icebergs, etc., especially when in the zodiacs. And then there's six days vs. three. So my dilemma has been solved, and now the only question left to be answered is whether my wife, who suffers from dry eyes and some auto-immune issues, is okay wearing a scopolamine patch. That experiment will happen this weekend, and then we can book.
  11. Wow, Kaisatsu, I just saw the price of that: $3,599.95. Add that to the price of the Princess cruise with tax and gratuities and one could easily go on a small ship that makes landings.
  12. Yes, I did look at the Christmas cruises, but being away from family during Christmas is not even up for discussion. As for the 13-day trips, that extra day in Antarctica with Midnatsol–6 days in Antarctica vs. 5 with the new ship–tilts the discussion in its favor, especially considering the possible weather concerns with a cruise down there; what if we lose a day or two because of weather? And, as SarniaLo pointed out, Hurtigruten has had setbacks with recent launchings of new ships. I think for us, Midnatsol this winter is the happy medium between big cruise ship (HAL, Princess) and the more-expensive offerings, which are out of our budget. I also suspect that I'm overthinking this.
  13. SarniaLo: Thanks for your response. I do recall reading about the problems with Roald Amudsen. That's a very good point. The new ship looks like it's going to be beautiful, but my first instinct was that an extra day in Antarctica is more important. By the way, i hope you enjoyed your recent trip to Norway. Your pictures on your blog are very nice. We were there three weeks before you and lucked into seeing the lights several times. My wife and I feel as if we need to act quickly on Antarctica for a number of reasons: Hurtigruten, when booked through .no, is about what we can afford, the "Highlights of the Frozen Continent" voyage is being reduced by one day starting next fall, and I suspect that the budget option–sail-by cruise on a large ship–might stop being an option after next winter when the polar code is fully in effect. One thing I am surprised by is the large number of cabins available on the February 21 and March 3, 2020 Midnatsol sailings.
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