Fram, New Level of Expedition Cruise

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After a decade of exploring some of the most spectacular waters on our planet, Hurtigruten’s MS Fram will receive a total makeover and reemerge as a brand-new expedition ship. Hurtigruten, the world’s largest expedition cruise company, is a traditional Norwegian cruise line. Since 1893 it is active in the mailboat service along the Norwegian fjord coast. They always focus on sustainability, that’s why the ships all sail with sustainable fuel and they don’t want to pollute the environment in which they sail. Rubbish collecting is only one of the interesting shore excursions. Another great thing about a Hurtigruten cruise is the opportunity to explore and learn about the chosen sailing in depth and as Hurtigruten themselves claims ‘Mother Nature provides the entertainment’.

A contract was signed on 9 September 2005 between the Hurtigruten Group and former OVDS ASA and the Fincantieri shipyard to build the ship. Construction started in March 2006, with the keel laying completed in August 2006. The MS Fram was floated for the first time in November 2006, followed by test sailings in February 2007.

MS Fram was designed with one mission in mind, to bring her guests closer to wildlife, nature and unforgettable experiences. Named to honor one of the most popular explorer ships in the history of expedition cruising, sailing from 1893 to 1912, items of the original Fram are also be displayed throughout the vessel, linking the present MS Fram with the rich history of its illustrious past.  The great explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen were pioneers in Arctic- and Antarctic expeditions and contributed to the conception of a vessel cruising oceans under extreme conditions. The name Fram means ‘forward’, lifting expectations of the voyage at hand. The new Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions. Its interior has been inspired by Greenland and the Arctic region. She remains true to the original spirit of this great sailing legend.

MS Fram is a purpose-built 11,600- ton vessel that incorporates all the best of both practical and traditional design. With a total capacity of only 378 guests, the ship has the perfect size to reach unique and distant destinations which are rarely accessible for most ships. It is an expedition vessel with a higher ice-class, chart drawing tools, ship depth sounding database, extractable forward sounding sonar, iceberg search lights, autonomous tracking system, oversized oil retention system for self-sufficiency, and a full ‘expedition tools-deck’ equivalent to a car-deck that holds 25 vehicles.

The ship is a comfortable expedition base-camp. It combines all oceans capabilities with safety, flexibility and environmental friendliness. The observation lounge, with comfortable sitting areas at the top of the ship and large panoramic windows, gives the passengers incredible views of nature. A pair of binoculars is installed for spotting wildlife and details of the ever changing landscape. Her 127 cabins carry passengers to the most remote locations on Earth in comfort and style. Because the ship is slightly larger than other expedition ships, it offers more in the way of on-board facilities and comfort. Facilities include a main reception area, a glass-enclosed observation salon and excellent leisure facilities, including gym, sauna and heated outdoor Jacuzzis. There is a range of cabins from comfortable standard cabins to luxury expensive suites with their own lounge areas; the suites are named after Norwegian polar heroes. Whilst sailing longer distances, educational activities are available to join to stay entertained, such as lectures, documentary screenings and story-telling. Where dining is concerned, there is one main restaurant onboard called ‘Imaq’ and blessed with some truly glorious views courtesy of the large, well-positioned windows, it boasts a wonderful atmosphere during meal times. Breakfast and lunch are both self-service buffet affairs with choices ranging from cold meats and cheeses to fresh breads, pastries, pastas and assorted salads and fruits.

Each exciting Antarctic expedition is complemented by a group of experts to accompany landings, wildlife spotting and answer questions. Every adventure is an educational one. There is also an on-board photographer to document each expedition and help passengers capture those perfect wildlife and landscape photos. Expedition staff on the MS Fram is experienced and helpful and the atmosphere on board is decidedly social so it’s an excellent choice for those who want an immersive experience with a friendly atmosphere.

MS Fram embarked on its first voyage in May 2007. During the summer months it will continue to operate around Greenland and the arctic. In the winter it will cruise Antarctic waters. The programs on board the MS Fram feature unforgettable experiences in a region that is largely undiscovered by tourists. In Antarctica, guests will explore this fantastic continent’s unique landscape and wildlife. The ship’s fleet of PolarCirkel boats brings guests up-close and personal to flora and fauna during the voyage. And whether it’s a day at sea or an evening after a day of sightseeing, the time aboard will be an intensely educational experience

Other Facilities & Services

Science Center – A brand-new signature Science Center will be packed with state-of-the-art technology and high-tech gadgets such as touch screens, science equipment and other interactive features. The “edutainment” area will be the place guests and staffs meet, mingle and create a deeper understanding of the destinations MS Fram explores.

Environment and green navigation – MS Fram takes pride in route planning that minimizes the load of the engines and reduces emissions. All waste is stored on board until it is deposited for treatment ashore. They respect the saying. “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures and kill nothing but time”.

Medical facilities – There is always an English-speaking physician and nurse on board. The ship has a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain, must be followed.

Disabled cabins / Mobility – The MS Fram is suitable for wheelchair-users. Persons in need of special assistance must travel with a companion. The gangway is used to wheelchairs-users to embark or disembark. In ports where tidal conditions or other circumstances require use of a portable gangway, or during landings with tender boats, it is not possible to use or take wheelchairs.

Safety on board – The ships comply with all safety requirements and the vessels travelling in icy waters are suitable for this. Upon arrival on board, all passengers will be instructed in safety procedures and the use and location of the safety equipment. Special safety regulations will apply on landings with tender boats. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given.

Shore excursions – A selection of excursions can be pre-booked with only remaining places sold on board. The registration is binding and once on board the Expedition Team will advise to book deadlines for excursions still available. All expedition shore landings and small boat cruising during call in Antarctica are included the program. The Expedition Team also arranges a variety of activities during the voyage. These will depend on location and season, but may include hiking, small boat cruising, kayaking, snowshoeing or camping. A limited amount of kayaking is available for booking prior to select voyages, but all other activities are booked on board and subject to availability.

Small boat landings – The sturdy boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas.

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