Posted November 21st, 2010, 12:14 PM
Last edited by dpro; November 21st, 2010 at 12:17 PM
I'm doing research now for a trip - possibly January 2012. If money was no object I'd choose Lindblad/National Geographic and second choice would be Quark. However, budget is a concern. The pricing on the Fram trip I'm looking at is a good deal less.
I know that the number of passengers on the Fram versus a smaller ship means we won't get to spend as much time on shore at landings. I'm willing to compromise because of the reality of our budget. But what I'd like to get a better feel for is whether that is the main compromise or if there are other things I need to consider.
The ship itself sounds very nice and I definitely like the idea of having private bathroom facilities which, on some of the other ships, would increase the price a lot. The larger ship size sounds like it might help with the amount of motion felt through Drake's Passage. The food sounds good from other reviewers here on cc and the trips, in general, sound well-run.
But, because this would be not quite the expedition level of some of the other ships do you miss out on the level of lectures and expedition staff? Are the landings lacking in comparison? These are the things I'm trying to determine and unless someone has done more than one trip with different companies it would be impossible to know. But just from trying to read between the lines of different trip reports I'm trying to reach these conclusions and am struggling.
So I don't know if my question even makes sense but I guess the bottom line is: is the 12 day trip on the Fram going to be "serious" enough or will I end up wishing I'd done a more rigorous trip if this is a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Is the Fram too much like a bigger cruise ship that only does drive-bys except with a few landings thrown in but on a very 'soft' level?
If anyone sees what I'm getting at and has an opinion I'd really appreciate hearing it. Thanks!
We were on the Fram this past February, for the 22 day Shackleton Route, and we have booked her again for January 2012 for the Weddell Sea.
We found the ship to be very well appointed, the food was certainly adequate but not outstanding. The ship does well in rough seas, we sailed across the Drake with 50 foot seas and a few times we had hurricane force winds, around 100 mph. We never felt endangered from the rough seas.
As for excursions, the ship forms groups of pax, and do an extremely good and efficient job of getting pax onshore. What a lot of pax do not know is that while you have to get off for shore excursions in an assigned group, you do not come back that way. You are free to stay on shore pretty much as long as you want, we did not have a minder telling us our time was up. Our sailing had ~218 pax. The Captain did an excellent job of getting us ashore if the weather was spotty, and readily changed the itinerary to allow us to get the most out of our experience.
We had excellent naturalists on board, as well as world class photographers, who were always ready to help those less experienced. The lectures were done very well.
The fact that we have booked a return trip on the Fram is an indication of just how pleased we were with our experience.
FWIW, you should take the longest trip you can, since there is time needed to cross the Drake coming and going, which cuts into your time on the Continent.
You can read our trip report here with photos. Feel free to email us if you have any further questions. [email protected]
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