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About SarniaLo

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Sailing, photography
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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Arctic & Antarctic
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  1. If you can walk about 10 minutes with your luggage then indeed bus or light rail would work. I think the airport bus will get you closer, but maybe more expensive than the light rail. Or maybe check with Hurtigruten if they would agree to let you use their shuttle bus (if they still run it) even 2 days before your trip, but I'm not sure it will stop in the city center, it may go directly to the terminal.
  2. I think that will be a very interesting first hand comparison of two ships of different capacities with the same company. I for one would be very interested by your report when you come back. Have a great time (I'm sure you will)!
  3. The captain is the higher ups on board. Yes, ultimately the decision should be his, that's his job, and he's supposed to have the proper training and capacities and experiences to make the best decision for the safety of the ship and crew and passengers. If things go bad, the responsibilities is his also. Are you thinking that he was forced to sail by the cruise company for business reasons?
  4. Thanks for the link hallasm. The fact that Viking Sky was allowed to sail (of course it would) does not mean that it should 🙂 and pilots on board are mandatory in Norwegian waters to get in and out some ports, but ultimately the decision to sail or not is only up to the captain. But I agree with you that the main problem seems to be the engine failure (although the first info that I read on this seemed to say that at least part of the failure was linked to the movement of the ship in the waves, and its consequences on engine oil level, not sure if that still holds).
  5. Indeed some sites in Antarctica are not accessible at all to ships with more than 200 passengers (ships with more than 500 passengers are not allowed to land at all). From previous trip reports it seems that Midnatsol tends to travel to Antarctica with something like 350 passengers and not 500, but I'm not sure if it's a business choice or because they cannot fill the ship. They do rotate the passengers ashore, but they stay less than 2 hours. Midnatsol was not built for expedition purposes, so you can understand that they would be OK with reducing capacity for Antarctica, but Roald Admunsen was built specifically for those destinations and it was built with 500+ berth, and I can't imagine Hurtigruten not trying to fill them. In my experience with MS Fram (about 200 passengers), they tried to do 2 landings per day (weather permitting) and each passenger usually had 1 hour ashore (on average, it can be slightly longer in some sites and shorter in others). Midnatsol I think only tries one landing per day. On Fram the zodiac rotations were very well organized so it was a smooth process and most of the time I didn't feel rushed (and time on board was not wasted). Antarctica is so special that I think companies can get away with a lot of things, but when you have gone on a smaller ship it's hard to go back (I've since been to South Georgia with the 50 pax Polar Pioneer and when you are able to spend hours on land you start to understand what you've missed 😉). Still 500 passengers is a lot and I hope the other trips will be better organized than Terry&Mike's experience, in terms of activity.
  6. Yikes! Was that for the suites or for the regular cabins? How far in advance did you book?
  7. I have, twice. I loved every minute of it. I found the cabins just fine, even roomy, but we all have our particulars and I don't have much experience with cruise ship cabins. You are not in the cabin much except to shower and sleep anyway. I don't think you should choose a trip to Antarctica based on the cabin (but again, we all have our priorities). The main problem for me in the cabins is the lack of space to leave your outer gear (jacket and pants) to dry when it's wet. MS Fram is a great ship, and with around 200 passengers it is becoming a small ship for Hurtigruten (compared to Midnatsol or the new builds), and you want a smaller ship in Antarctica to give more time and experience to each passenger. My second trip was Falklands/SG/Antarctica and I would really recommend that. South Georgia is something else and Falklands was an incredible discovery. You can see my trip reports on my blog in signature. If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer.
  8. Thank you for this very thorough and interesting review. I'd like to see if the problems you mention are merely teething problems or more consubstantial to the ship (I am not surprised about the lack of use of the science center, which seems to me like a gadget item from the start, but that may be because the staff is not used to it yet, we'll see). Also, this looks much like a "repositioning" itinerary so maybe the passengers of the next trips (fully "expedition oriented") will have a different experience as far as activities go (let's hope). I still think this ship is too big for this type of itineraries and I can't see how you can manage to keep 500+ passengers happy and busy when you are trying to do landings or zodiac cruises with so many people. Or it would take an incredible amount of expedition team members.
  9. This is sound advice, but while baby penguins are more or less on schedule, other wildlife (including whales) are more of a gamble. End of season (Feb-March) is supposed to be the better season for whales, but during my first trip in February I just saw one from very far away. Then we went back in December and saw heaps of whales, including a pod that swam in contact with the ship for over an hour. So never expect anything, including wildlife (that would be my main advice actually : go with no expectations and enjoy every minute).
  10. Yes 😉 I sail often (from France) in the Channel Islands which I love, and that inspired me when looking for a username. (sorry, this is totally OT 🙂 ) Agree with Hallasm about the different ships, I think there might be some discussions about 'what is your favorite ship" or "which ship to choose".
  11. Have you browsed through the many discussions on the forum? this one is a good start : What information are you looking for, do you have specific questions? I have been on Hurtigruten several times in winter happy to help you but your question is very broad.
  12. For 1. I would stick to a ship with 200 passengers or less. Most (if not all) of those ships will provide 2. , 3., and 4. (and 5., and probably 6. as well, although you very seldom know in advance what type of scientists will be in the Expedition team, but I think most of them would have someone knowledgeable in weather). A trip shorter than 2 weeks mean you will not have time for South Georgia, as those trips (except those focused exclusively on SG) are usually closer to 3 weeks. If you factor in time to get to Ushuaia and back, if your trip needs to be 2 weeks all included then indeed you cannot plan for a cruise of more than 10-11 days at sea (so around 6-7 days around the Peninsula). Your budget seems somewhat realistic if you can book with the early bird discounts (but more towards middle-end of your budget than bottom, probably). Have a look maybe at Hurtigruten's Fram, Oceanwide's new Hondius, or Ponant, for ships around 180-200 passengers. Quark also could be a really good contender and they have two smaller ships, Ocean Adventurer (recently refurbished) and Ocean Nova (it's an older ship and I don't know the level of comfort on board).
  13. Same here, with more ports of stop and more time in Patagonian channels. Is there another reason that the second itinerary is still in the running? Company, price?
  14. Can you elaborate on which ship/company you are looking at (and point us to the itineraries?), because most of the Antarctica cruise I know (and the ones I did) actually depart from Ushuaia and return there. If you are looking at a "cruise by" in Antarctica with no landings, I don't think the direction matters much and you can choose whichever suits best your overall travel plans.
  15. The booking engine on the website has changed recently. Maybe it is not possible now to book on the Norwegian website if you do not reside in Norway? Check the ToS maybe.
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