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Fram to Antarctica - post cruise thoughts

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As I said, you leave nothing but footprints. You want to pee, you go back to the ship...

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Not a problem!

 

You will find that any bags to go ashore will need to be vacuumed clean, inside and out, before your fist landing to ensure you don't take anything like seeds ashore and you'll be 'encouraged' to ensure that anything that might blow away is left on the ship, or sealed inside your pockets, or attached to you!

 

The only thing you *can* take ashore and leave is cash at Port Lockroy!! They also take credit cards and I would encourage everyone to spend freely to support the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's excellent work...

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Hi again, digitl,

I am shopping for waterproof pants. Do you suggest lined? Any particular brand? More than one pair each? And is there a thermal underlayer you suggest, if at all? Just curious how cold, damp or warm it may be and to be prepared for any weather.

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Hi eggy

 

Our waterproofs are lined and came from Marks and Spencer (do they still have stores in the US?). We take just one pair each.

 

We wear long johns underneath and have found that we can get by with two pairs as they can either be sent to the laundry or washed in the cabin and dried overnight. Just make sure you keep the heated toilet/shower room floor turned on! The red light next to the switch outside is the clue.

 

In addition to the long johns and waterproofs, we simply wear two pairs of thick socks inside the Muck boots we hire on board, and then a number of relatively thin layers to enable us to reflect the ambient temperature and the amount of exercise we're getting. We always make sure we have something to cover the chest to chin (and above) gap, along with a hat and gloves. The Hurtigruten windproof and waterproof (but not particularly warm) jacket finishes it off.

 

Just bear in mind that it's easier to discard a layer (and we have often removed the Hurtigruten jacket during a landing) than to magic one up and/or put one on when you start to feel cold.

 

If you have been watching old black and white films of Scott in the Antarctic with horrendous blizzards and icicles fixed to noses and chins please put them out of your mind. The peninsula in the southern summer is (usually!!) nothing like that. To us, the air is quite dry and temperatures are typical of those we experience during a typical UK winter, though wind chill can knock them down a few degrees if you're out on deck or on an exposed landing.

 

Hope that helps.

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Dear Digitl,

Thank you so much for your most thoughtful response. Unfortunately we do not have Marks & Spencer here in Atlanta. I will look at their products on line (if they show up) and will compare to similar ones here.

 

I grew up in Connecticut so the cold winter weather is understandable though I've softened quite a bit living in Atlanta. So far I feel as though I am on the right path for packing.

 

What fabric were your thermals?

 

Thanks!

Adrienne

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I think the thermals were cotton.

 

I should say that we are quite relaxed on brands and materials. Despite reading recommendations for some quite exotic materials and expensive brands, our clothing is far from specialist and we have never 'suffered' because of that.

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Hi again, Digitl. Do you recall if they supply shampoos, soaps and lotions in the cabins on the Fram?

Thanks!

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Shampoo/body wash in dispensers on the wall above the wash basin and the wall in the shower.

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Thank you! I was corresponding with someone who went once before on the Fram and will be on our trip in a few weeks. She said they don't supply it. What you've said makes sense. I didn't imagine individual miniatures like the hotels. Funny...even hotels are going away from the miniatures!

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I have double checked with Management and she confirms we were using it just over a month ago on our Iceland/Greenland/Svalbard trip.

 

She does, however, distinguish between the contents of the hand basin dispenser ('hand wash') and the shower dispenser ('shampoo'). As far as I'm concerned it's all detergent. She suggests that you might consider taking your own if you are addicted (my word!) to anything 'special'!

 

Whatever you do, please seek out the shower and use it: we had a (small) number of guests on our last trip who seemed not to have found it during the whole two weeks!

 

(For the sake of absolute clarity, I have absolutely no doubt that you would not do so!!!)

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I wish you guys were going to be on our trip in Antarctica! I think we would get along marvelously! I love your sense of humor. :)

 

Yes, we are American and are obsessed with no-odor lifestyle. hehe.

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I, too, wish we were to be returning to Antarctica this year but we have another year and three weeks to wait.

 

No point in saying 'I hope you enjoy yourselves': there's no doubt you will!

 

I'm not sure who the Expedition Leader will be, it may be Tomasz or Karin (both are great), but say 'hello' to them and the Assistant Leader, Ina, from me (just say the English guy with his DVDs - they'll know!). Also say 'hello' to Manuel the penguin and bird specialist if he's on board.

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Would you be comfortable sharing your first names with me so I can tell them hi for you?

 

Or is Digitl your actual name? ;)

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Fram provides a 'free' (included in the cost and you take it with you at the end of the trip) windproof and waterproof jacket, and rents boots at a very reasonable cost.

 

All other clothing is your responsibility.

 

I found your information about renting the boots very interesting. When we were on the MS Nordnorge, the loan of boots was included.

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We have rented them on each of our four trips on Fram, and the cost has been very reasonable.

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The boots were actually free also on my first trip with MS Fram (2009) and they were to rent (for a very reasonable fee though) on my second trip (2013). However the boots they now have for rent (Arctic Muck Boots, pretty awesome) are so much better than the previous ones.

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The boots were actually free also on my first trip with MS Fram (2009) and they were to rent (for a very reasonable fee though) on my second trip (2013). However the boots they now have for rent (Arctic Muck Boots, pretty awesome) are so much better than the previous ones.

 

That makes sense. The previous boots were simple Wellingtons

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From what I understand the cruise line has changed their packages...starting for the 2016-2017 season the hopper flight into Ushuaia is no longer included in package and neither is the hotel so I have been told

 

We booked this same Antarctic Circle crossing itinerary for Feb 2017 about two months ago which will complement this year's northern Norway Arctic Circle crossing. I went several rounds with H (US office) as their website showed the option to join in Ushuaia and not BA. NOT and option according to the US office. They claimed "dynamic pricing." You have to stay in their hotel in BA and fly on their designated flights between BA and Ushuaia. Package deal at a significantly added expense, of course. Same guidance provided to our TA. Despite that "confusion" we are very much looking forward to this cruise.

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The hotel and flight arrangements have changed like this previously and, no doubt, will change again in the future. It's very much a case of 'what's on offer now may not be the same later'. For example, if you or your travel agent call them for a price, that price is valid for that call and that call only. Put the phone down and call them back and the price may well have changed.

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Since this thread is occasion ally active...any thoughts on crossing the circle vs not? I was on the Midnatsol I'm November and crossed the Arctic circle....now I'm kinda wanting to do the same in the opposite direction. But the circle crossings don't do anything other than Antarctica. I'm torn between an itinerary with the circle or one with something like the Shetland or falklands. Tips? Suggestions? Choose for me? Lol

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Since this thread is occasion ally active...any thoughts on crossing the circle vs not? I was on the Midnatsol I'm November and crossed the Arctic circle....now I'm kinda wanting to do the same in the opposite direction. But the circle crossings don't do anything other than Antarctica. I'm torn between an itinerary with the circle or one with something like the Shetland or falklands. Tips? Suggestions? Choose for me? Lol

 

We went through similar thinking. Decided on the Antarctic Circle crossing since we crossed the Arctic to Nordkapp last July. Many of the large cruise ships stop at the Falklands but traveling south of the Circle is unique. On Fram 9 February 2017.

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I have done both Antarctic Circle and Falklands/SG/Antarctica loop with MS Fram. Both were fantastic! ;)

 

On a "purely Antarctica" trip (Circle or not) it is very unlikely that you will not stop in some of the South Shetlands Islands as they are right there on your way and offer very nice landing opportunities. They are not that different from what you can see closer to the Peninsula. I chose the Antarctic Circle trip because at this point it was the longest trip I could do, which should be your only incentive, since a Circle crossing is never guaranteed (depends on ice conditions, weather, and so on). We did cross the Circle, and our most spectacular landscapes were in that area, but as it was later in the season there was less ice in the northern part.

 

I did the Falkland/SG/Antarctica trip in early December, and we didn't go as much South of course, but the landscapes in the Peninsula were as spectacular as what I had seen further South later in the season. Falklands were a nice surprise, but it is true you can visit it by other means if you really want. But to be honest, South Georgia is a place like no other. All superlative, dramatic landscape, neverending fauna, and rich human history. So for the next trip, I have chosen this route again. I'm doing the "Ultimate Antarctica" loop which I think has a good balance, with 2 days in Falklands, 2 days in SG, an attempt to visit South Orkneys and at least 5 days in the Peninsula (we had 6 last time since Orkneys were not possible).

 

So my advice now (I'm not the only one to give it) : go for the longest trip your money (and free time) can give you and try to include South Georgia in it. But do not aim for any specific landing spot or landmark as nothing is a given in this area and you shouldn't open yourself up to be disappointed. And another optimistic note : whichever itinerary you choose, if you go with an open mind and are ready to be flexible on the schedule, then you will have an absolutely amazing time.

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We have crossed the Antarctic Circle on Fram and have done the peninsula - South Georgia - Falklands trip on her too.

 

Though the Circle trip is subtly more impressive, if I had to choose to do one trip or the other I would do the peninsula - South Georgia - Falklands for its variety and the stunning South Georgia. In fact it's so good we're going back on Fram this coming November/December.

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