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MVPinBoynton

Review of HAL Zaandam SA/Antarctica Cruise with lots of Photos

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If I were 10 years younger without stability issues at times, I'd do it. At this stage of my life, doing so would be foolish.

 

You might like to consider Hurtigruten Fram's polarcirkel boats which take you safely from a solid tender pit on the ship to shore. There is staff support on both the tender pit and on shore.

 

My daughter had been to Antarctica etc. on a small basic boat, so knew all the activities she wanted to do. On my first visit, I wanted to feel safe (not climb down any rope ladders, etc. into tube like boats). Fram met both our needs. I would love to go again, like everyone who has been to that unique region.

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You might like to consider Hurtigruten Fram's polarcirkel boats which take you safely from a solid tender pit on the ship to shore. There is staff support on both the tender pit and on shore.

 

My daughter had been to Antarctica etc. on a small basic boat, so knew all the activities she wanted to do. On my first visit, I wanted to feel safe (not climb down any rope ladders, etc. into tube like boats). Fram met both our needs. I would love to go again, like everyone who has been to that unique region.

 

Fram's Polarcirkels really are very good. Firm seating and plenty of rails to hold onto. On our first Antarctic trip the expedition team and crew got a lady in a wheelchair ashore in one.

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Fram's Polarcirkels really are very good. Firm seating and plenty of rails to hold onto. On our first Antarctic trip the expedition team and crew got a lady in a wheelchair ashore in one.

 

How stable are the Polarcirkels, and also getting in and out?

Is it more like getting into a regular tender (lifeboat) or a zodiak or ?

 

That's really nice about the woman in a wheelchair being helped ashore in Antarctica!

(It fits with our one experience with Hurtigruten, albeit in Norway. The crew were the most pleasant and helpful we've encountered on any line/any ship. But getting a wheelchair and occupant onto land in Antarctica... no doubt "priceless" for her :))

 

GC

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I know that many people looking at this board are not able to do expedition ships for some reason, and are interested in doing a cruise with HAL or Celebrity to be able to experience Antarctica. We spent four amazing days in Antarctica on the HAL Zaandam in January and just loved the experience. Such a beautiful and unique experience. Standing next to King penguins in the Falklands was also an awesome experience. I am so glad that we were able to do this cruise. I have done a complete review of the cruise with lots of photos if you are interested in seeing what a cruise like this is like.

 

You can see the review on our website, which is linked to in my signature. Enjoy!

 

AMAZING photos!

Thanks so much.

 

We had no idea one could get so close with ships that weren't "expedition" ships trying to get passengers on shore via zodiacs and such.

 

We'll look into this more now!

 

I've *really* wanted to see Antarctica, but was concerned that I wouldn't do well in the zodiacs (although I'd definitely still want DH to do that).

 

The other concern is in case of medical emergency... it's so more time for any rescue than most other itineraries...

(No, we wouldn't be expecting any such emergencies, or we'd never even consider such a trip. But we aren't 20-somethings anymore...)

 

Thanks SO much for sharing those photos (especially that "page 4" of your photos - wow!).

 

GC

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How stable are the Polarcirkels, and also getting in and out?

Is it more like getting into a regular tender (lifeboat) or a zodiak or ?

 

A quick search turned this up... http://www.satsignal.eu/Hols/2009/Antarctica/album/slides/2009-01-26-2024-14.jpg

 

You can see the rails to help with getting in and out, and the central rail to hold onto whilst on the move along with the rigid seating. The hand-holding (sailors' grip) is typical for a wet landing.

 

They're really stable and we much prefer them over the zodiacs we have been in!

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A quick search turned this up... http://www.satsignal.eu/Hols/2009/Antarctica/album/slides/2009-01-26-2024-14.jpg

 

You can see the rails to help with getting in and out, and the central rail to hold onto whilst on the move along with the rigid seating. The hand-holding (sailors' grip) is typical for a wet landing.

 

They're really stable and we much prefer them over the zodiacs we have been in!

 

Really helpful!

 

Was this Hurtigruten?

If not, do they also have the same setup, including that little stepping stool?

 

This would be quite "doable".

 

Thanks!

 

GC

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Really helpful!

 

Was this Hurtigruten?

If not, do they also have the same setup, including that little stepping stool?

 

This would be quite "doable".

 

Thanks!

 

GC

 

Yes, Hurtigruten's Fram (note that the larger Midnatsol uses zodiacs).

 

Glad it was helpful!

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Thanks for the amazing review. I booked this exact cruise for January 2020 today, and have already started my countdown!

 

We booked our cruise way in advance too. It is a good thing you did, since this itinerary books up quickly. You will be so glad you booked it. Just amazing! Be sure to book your excursion to see the King Penguins on the Falkland Islands too. There were many people on our cruise that were most disappointed they were all sold out.

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AMAZING photos!

Thanks so much.

 

We had no idea one could get so close with ships that weren't "expedition" ships trying to get passengers on shore via zodiacs and such.

 

We'll look into this more now!

 

I've *really* wanted to see Antarctica, but was concerned that I wouldn't do well in the zodiacs (although I'd definitely still want DH to do that).

 

 

The other concern is in case of medical emergency... it's so more time for any rescue than most other itineraries...

(No, we wouldn't be expecting any such emergencies, or we'd never even consider such a trip. But we aren't 20-somethings anymore...)

 

Thanks SO much for sharing those photos (especially that "page 4" of your photos - wow!).

 

GC

 

 

I am so glad you enjoyed the review. The real thing is so much better than the photos, so book a cruise to Antarctica as soon as you can.

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Yes, Hurtigruten's Fram (note that the larger Midnatsol uses zodiacs).

 

Glad it was helpful!

 

Ah, very good to know!!

 

We would have chosen the Midnatsol.

We were on the Trollfjord in March, and loved it, so we would have just booked the sister ship, had you not mentioned this.

 

Now to decide... expedition or one of the special sail-by cruises like what MVPinBoynton took.

We had assumed landing would be too difficult, but with the setup shown in the photos, that shouldn't be a problem.

 

Was getting on and off the Fram also relatively easy?

We don't have trouble with regular tenders (well, not more than others do, when seas are a bit choppy).

 

Thanks again!

 

GC

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Yes, Hurtigruten's Fram (note that the larger Midnatsol uses zodiacs).

 

Glad it was helpful!

 

Any idea why Hurtigruten uses zodiacs on the Midnatsol but uses the other on Fram?

Also, would this answer suggest whether Fram would continue and not switch to zodiacs?

 

And in more soothsaying queries, any info about what the two new "green" ships will be using for excursions to shore?

 

Finally, maybe there isn't a huge difference getting in/out of the two little water vehicles?

 

Thanks!

 

GC

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Midnatsol uses zodiacs because she is a much bigger ship than Fram and so needs larger craft to get the increased numbers ashore speedily. Because she is bigger, and landings for all ships are limited to 100 people at any one time, landings are more limited than they are on Fram.

 

 

I very much doubt that Fram would change over to zodiacs. The Polarcirkels are so much better than zodiacs, both for access and transfers, and she has actually acquired a couple of larger Polarcirkels for ice cruising. In our experience, getting in and out of Polarcirkels, and then holding on securely during transfers, is much easier and more comfortable than it is with zodiacs.

 

 

 

Whilst not dismissing the Midnatsol option, I would go for Fram every time. As we did on five trips!

 

 

As for the new 'green' ships, I would remain with Fram. Like Midnatsol, they will carry too many passengers for us. Whilst Fram isn't amongst the smallest of the expedition ships, we found her to offer the best compromise (it's all a compromise!) on itinerary, comfort, landing opportunities and cost.

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I know that many people looking at this board are not able to do expedition ships for some reason, and are interested in doing a cruise with HAL or Celebrity to be able to experience Antarctica. We spent four amazing days in Antarctica on the HAL Zaandam in January and just loved the experience. Such a beautiful and unique experience. Standing next to King penguins in the Falklands was also an awesome experience. I am so glad that we were able to do this cruise. I have done a complete review of the cruise with lots of photos if you are interested in seeing what a cruise like this is like.

 

You can see the review on our website, which is linked to in my signature. Enjoy!

 

Adding my thanks and KUDOS for a great review - and what terrific pictures! For many years we have tried to do do this, our last continent! We had hoped to set foot, but that time has passed and even the "drive-bys" were scarce... but we were just able to book a 34-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago with 4 days cruising Antarctica! Now I am REALLY excited after reading this and seeing the pictures (I need to get a REAL camera!) Thanks for sharing how great it can still be for those not able to do the "expedition" trips. Bless you!

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Adding my thanks and KUDOS for a great review - and what terrific pictures! For many years we have tried to do do this, our last continent! We had hoped to set foot, but that time has passed and even the "drive-bys" were scarce... but we were just able to book a 34-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago with 4 days cruising Antarctica! Now I am REALLY excited after reading this and seeing the pictures (I need to get a REAL camera!) Thanks for sharing how great it can still be for those not able to do the "expedition" trips. Bless you!

 

 

I am so glad that our review helped you to book what sounds like an awesome cruise. Thank you for your lovely and appreciated comments.

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I am so glad that our review helped you to book what sounds like an awesome cruise. Thank you for your lovely and appreciated comments.

 

I just wanted to add (again) that your various reviews and photos (!) have been EXTREMELY helpful in the past, and for a variety of cruises/ships. But we don't comment every time... or every time we "go back and look again"!

 

And I'm sure you are aware of all the times your posts and photos are mentioned in suggestions to others without further discussion.

 

But you make it difficult to wait for the next trip... ANY trip :D

 

However, you've been especially helpful with regard to our Antarctic thinking/planning. We haven't made a decision yet.

We are still dealing with "so many places, so little time..."

If we need to have any problem at all, we'll take that one!;)

 

Thank you again!

 

GC

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I just wanted to add (again) that your various reviews and photos (!) have been EXTREMELY helpful in the past, and for a variety of cruises/ships. But we don't comment every time... or every time we "go back and look again"!

 

And I'm sure you are aware of all the times your posts and photos are mentioned in suggestions to others without further discussion.

 

But you make it difficult to wait for the next trip... ANY trip :D

 

However, you've been especially helpful with regard to our Antarctic thinking/planning. We haven't made a decision yet.

We are still dealing with "so many places, so little time..."

If we need to have any problem at all, we'll take that one!;)

 

Thank you again!

 

GC

 

And you are most welcome again.

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Amazing photos and reviews of the Antarctica cruise experience.

 

I looked into this a few years ago and now I really want to go...LOL

 

Thanks for sharing!

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I'm not getting any signature to link to your review.  But- am looking at booking HAL Santiago to Buenos Aires. One port verandah left- plenty of starboard options,  Do I want the port room?

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7 minutes ago, Bea3 said:

I'm not getting any signature to link to your review.  But- am looking at booking HAL Santiago to Buenos Aires. One port verandah left- plenty of starboard options,  Do I want the port room?

Yes, you do want port side. My website is thepreismans.com

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