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jonikal

Anyone going on the Sept 10, 2018 Eastbound Northwest Passage?

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This will be only the second sailing for this particular route. Looking forward to another great experience on the Fram.

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This will be only the second sailing for this particular route. Looking forward to another great experience on the Fram.

 

We looked at these (both directions) with great interest, and we might consider it in the future, if they are continued.

 

You might want to post here:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2667663

 

... where I had started a post under the Canada/Alaska CC section, although no one else has posted yet.

 

There are also a handful of full transits of the NW Passage (other cruiseline), and DH met someone last summer who was planning to do one this summer. (But no personal report yet about it.)

 

You might also want to post a Roll Call here:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=72

 

in case others on your cruise are looking there for fellow passengers.

 

We'll be following along, definitely.

We came mighty close to doing this, but by the time we realized this existed, we just had too many other plans made (both travel and business).

 

We may not have noticed this much earlier, because we didn't take our first Hurtigruten cruise until March this year, a Coastal RT "only" to try to see the Northern Lights. We were on the Trollfjord, and we had no idea how much we would love the cruise, the ship, the crew, and the fellow passengers.

We are eager to sail Hurtigruten again!

 

GC

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The Northwest Passage looks to be difficult this year and some ships (including Ponant's Boreal) are currently stuck awaiting an ice-breaker. Hopefully your journey will be able to proceed as expected. I would be very interested also by knowing how this particular itinerary works with Fram. Please let us know (along the way if you can, or upon returning). I follow Fram's FB page, but obviously an inside advice will be more objective.

Have a great time.

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The Northwest Passage looks to be difficult this year and some ships (including Ponant's Boreal) are currently stuck awaiting an ice-breaker. Hopefully your journey will be able to proceed as expected. I would be very interested also by knowing how this particular itinerary works with Fram. Please let us know (along the way if you can, or upon returning). I follow Fram's FB page, but obviously an inside advice will be more objective.

Have a great time.

 

Thank you, and yes, I will gladly post comments as time permits enroute. I am in touch with the Fram reception desk and will ask re any difficulties with the passage due to ice. Various ship finder sites haven't updated in a couple of days, so location of the Fram is currently unknown.

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Thank you, and yes, I will gladly post comments as time permits enroute. I am in touch with the Fram reception desk and will ask re any difficulties with the passage due to ice. Various ship finder sites haven't updated in a couple of days, so location of the Fram is currently unknown.

 

Bon Voyage for your unique cruise. What a wonderful experience! I look forward to your comments on your cruise on your return. I will be embarking in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, when you disembark, on B2B cruises to Miami.

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Bon Voyage for your unique cruise. What a wonderful experience! I look forward to your comments on your cruise on your return. I will be embarking in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, when you disembark, on B2B cruises to Miami.

 

 

According to the Fram front desk, satellite is sporadic at best on their current heading so won't be expecting much in the way of wifi for that portion of the voyage. Your itinerary sounds wonderful - we had looked at that particular one but unfortunately aren't able to stay away that long. We did make a booking on the Roald Amudsen for next September - that is if the ship is ready by then! Be sure and take mozzie stuff with you for embarking at Kangerlussuaq! :):)

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From the MS Fram's FB page :

 

"Hurtigruten’s Northwest Passage sailings are carefully planned to give you the best experience possible. However, due to constantly changing ice conditions that are impossible to foresee, the exact itinerary may change upon departure. This year’s ice conditions in the area are proving to be quite different from previous years; the current conditions in the Victoria and James Ross Straits are such that unfortunately, no ordinary ship can sail through the area.

MS Fram will therefore be unable to reach Cambridge Bay and the embarkation point for the voyage will be changed. We are currently exploring various new itinerary options and will confirm the new embarkation point as soon as possible. The charter flight from Montréal will be redirected to this new port.

In the true spirit of exploration, the exact route of the voyage will be determined by the ship’s Captain. Along with the Expedition Team on board, the Captain will ensure that all guests will visit many unique and interesting landing points and enjoy a safe and thrilling expedition!

All guests on this voyage are being contacted by our customer service center."

 

I've been following Ponant's Boreal and Soleal progressing (actually, not progressing) in the NWP westward, and I'm not really surprised. This is proving a complicated year for NWP cruises. This is an area where you can expect the unexpected constantly. I'm pretty sure you will still have a surprising and amazing trip, but not exactly following the planned itinerary. Let us know?

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According to the Fram front desk, satellite is sporadic at best on their current heading so won't be expecting much in the way of wifi for that portion of the voyage. Your itinerary sounds wonderful - we had looked at that particular one but unfortunately aren't able to stay away that long. We did make a booking on the Roald Amudsen for next September - that is if the ship is ready by then! Be sure and take mozzie stuff with you for embarking at Kangerlussuaq! :):)

 

Thank you. I have a small collection of Mozzie stuff, so hope at least one works. They will smell me coming from the plane from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq!

 

Sounds like you are going to have quite an adventure due to this year's ice. Enjoy wherever the Captain takes you on your real Explorer Cruise.

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From the MS Fram's FB page :

"Hurtigruten’s Northwest Passage sailings are carefully planned to give you the best experience possible. However, due to constantly changing ice conditions that are impossible to foresee, the exact itinerary may change upon departure. This year’s ice conditions in the area are proving to be quite different from previous years; the current conditions in the Victoria and James Ross Straits are such that unfortunately, no ordinary ship can sail through the area.

MS Fram will therefore be unable to reach Cambridge Bay and the embarkation point for the voyage will be changed. We are currently exploring various new itinerary options and will confirm the new embarkation point as soon as possible. The charter flight from Montréal will be redirected to this new port.

In the true spirit of exploration, the exact route of the voyage will be determined by the ship’s Captain. Along with the Expedition Team on board, the Captain will ensure that all guests will visit many unique and interesting landing points and enjoy a safe and thrilling expedition!

All guests on this voyage are being contacted by our customer service center."

I've been following Ponant's Boreal and Soleal progressing (actually, not progressing) in the NWP westward, and I'm not really surprised. This is proving a complicated year for NWP cruises. This is an area where you can expect the unexpected constantly. I'm pretty sure you will still have a surprising and amazing trip, but not exactly following the planned itinerary. Let us know?

 

Am I correct in assuming that the following cruise from 22/9, from Kangerlussuaq, which I will be on, won't have ice conditions like in NWP?

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Am I correct in assuming that the following cruise from 22/9, from Kangerlussuaq, which I will be on, won't have ice conditions like in NWP?

As far as I understand from ice conditions, you shouldn't have issues for this itinerary. The NWP seems closed for now, but it still should be possible to cruise between Greenland and Northeast Canada (and I suspect this is the area that will be explored by jonikal's cruise, probably more towards the North than you will).

 

This is real exploration cruising!

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As far as I understand from ice conditions, you shouldn't have issues for this itinerary. The NWP seems closed for now, but it still should be possible to cruise between Greenland and Northeast Canada (and I suspect this is the area that will be explored by jonikal's cruise, probably more towards the North than you will).

 

This is real exploration cruising!

 

This all brings back memories of the more "exploratory cruising" of those adventurers in Antarctica a few years ago, on the scientific ship... the one that got stuck in the ice. There were some some tourists along with the scientific crew.

 

And then the first rescue ship also got stuck (I think it was an icebreaker, but not rated for the thickness of the ice at the time?).

Then the second rescue ship (with a helo?) got close enough...

 

I'm not remembering all of the details, but it seemed a bit dicey for a while :eek:

 

What an experience that was!

 

GC

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This all brings back memories of the more "exploratory cruising" of those adventurers in Antarctica a few years ago, on the scientific ship... the one that got stuck in the ice. There were some some tourists along with the scientific crew.

That was the Akademik Shokalskyi, and it was actually a tourist ship with "scientists" on board and not the other way round. I put scientists in brackets because my feeling is that these people acted with little scientific methods but with a lot of ego, and there were some poor decisions made. Anyway the people on board did live an adventure, but they were not in critical danger.

 

As far as I can remember (I followed the story quite closely, but that was a few years ago indeed), passengers were finally taken off the ship by other vessels working in the area, which spent a lot of time there instead of their allocated duty, so time and resources were lost by actual scientists in Antarctica's bases. And in the end, the Shokalskyi and its crew (minus the passengers) got naturally unstuck from the ice and reached civilized land before the rescued passengers, who had to stay onboard their rescue ships until they had completed their tasks.

Altogether, not a very glorious story, but I do hope the passengers had an interesting time.

 

The good thing is that this adventure made me aware of the polar exporer Douglas Mawson!

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Hi all. Have been spending time trying to find out what our route might be once we leave Pond Inlet, but I'm whatever it is, will be an adventure dependent on conditions and whatever the team and the captain decide. Hurtigurten has been very slow in letting passengers know but that's probably because they don't know either. The promised e-blast never did materialize - they probably expect us to read FB.

Apparently the go-to person in all of this, will be the Hurtigruten rep at the hotel in Montreal. I note from comments on FB that some of the pax currently onboard are not happy campers at missing the passage. Apparently there will be some of the Hurtigruten senior peeps onboard for our voyage, so they will do their best to keep us happy. Will post once we are underway to wherever.

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Hi all. Have been spending time trying to find out what our route might be once we leave Pond Inlet, but I'm whatever it is, will be an adventure dependent on conditions and whatever the team and the captain decide. Hurtigurten has been very slow in letting passengers know but that's probably because they don't know either. The promised e-blast never did materialize - they probably expect us to read FB.

Apparently the go-to person in all of this, will be the Hurtigruten rep at the hotel in Montreal. I note from comments on FB that some of the pax currently onboard are not happy campers at missing the passage. Apparently there will be some of the Hurtigruten senior peeps onboard for our voyage, so they will do their best to keep us happy. Will post once we are underway to wherever.

 

Well I found Pond Inlet Airport (YIO), Nunavut, Canada. I hope you have a smooth flight and your cruise, wherever you cruise, ends up being a wonderful adventure.

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Well I found Pond Inlet Airport (YIO), Nunavut, Canada. I hope you have a smooth flight and your cruise, wherever you cruise, ends up being a wonderful adventure.

 

Thanks for your kind wishes. We still await news from Hurtigruten but most info is from FB. YIO is teensy so we will be flying in on a bug smasher- likely a Bombardier or similar. Only carry-ons will allowed as suitcases will ship with separate aircraft (ha!)

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Thanks for your kind wishes. We still await news from Hurtigruten but most info is from FB. YIO is teensy so we will be flying in on a bug smasher- likely a Bombardier or similar. Only carry-ons will allowed as suitcases will ship with separate aircraft (ha!)

 

Yes, I saw that it would be tiny. Glad it is you, not me, as I'm not a good flyer, despite being a frequent traveller. At least, you will get a great view! What stories you'll have to tell, an unexpected bonus of your explorer cruise.

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I note from comments on FB that some of the pax currently onboard are not happy campers at missing the passage.

 

Then they should not have booked an *expedition* cruise!

 

We have had experience of this lack of understanding with expectations that the itinerary would be followed to the letter and the minute, wildlife would turn up as if we were visiting a zoo, even down to complaints that we had landed on a rocky beach!

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That was the Akademik Shokalskyi, and it was actually a tourist ship with "scientists" on board and not the other way round. I put scientists in brackets because my feeling is that these people acted with little scientific methods but with a lot of ego, and there were some poor decisions made. Anyway the people on board did live an adventure, but they were not in critical danger.

 

As far as I can remember (I followed the story quite closely, but that was a few years ago indeed), passengers were finally taken off the ship by other vessels working in the area, which spent a lot of time there instead of their allocated duty, so time and resources were lost by actual scientists in Antarctica's bases. And in the end, the Shokalskyi and its crew (minus the passengers) got naturally unstuck from the ice and reached civilized land before the rescued passengers, who had to stay onboard their rescue ships until they had completed their tasks.

Altogether, not a very glorious story, but I do hope the passengers had an interesting time.

 

The good thing is that this adventure made me aware of the polar exporer Douglas Mawson!

 

What is the "Akademik" cruise/ship/scientific group doing?

 

Apparently another of their ships (sounds like similar "tourists plus some science") got stranded along the coast of the Arctic Ocean just over 2 weeks ago.

 

:confused:

 

GC

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What is the "Akademik" cruise/ship/scientific group doing?

 

Apparently another of their ships (sounds like similar "tourists plus some science") got stranded along the coast of the Arctic Ocean just over 2 weeks ago.

 

It's not a group, it's part of the name of the ship (I think it means "Professor" in russian). These ships are former russian scientific ships which have been repurposed for touristic cruises. They are chartered by various companies over the cruising season.

 

I stand corrected on one of my earlier comment, the Shokalskiy was actually chartered for "scientific" purposes when it got stuck in the ice, but carried as many regular tourists as scientists. The Akademik Ioffe, which run aground in the Arctic recently, was operated by One Ocean Expedition (which is one of the leading operator in Polar travels), and this incident is totally unrelated to the other one (and, I believe, had a good conclusion as the ship resumed its cruise, but the company seems very discreet about the incident, so maybe there is more to it). You will also find the Akademik Vavilov among the ships doing polar expeditions. All ships have a good reputation and are well-liked by the people who travel on board. But indeed this is an unhappy coincidence!

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I'm too late to edit. I found this article about the Ioffe incident, and some issues raised by the increase of touristic cruises in the NWP area : http://www.highnorthnews.com/arctic-cruise-ship-runs-aground-in-canadas-northwest-passage/

 

Yikes... and double Yikes!

 

That link led me to another... where the MS Explorer (no bad news, passenger-wise) *SANK* near Antarctica.

 

Interestingly, the Nordnorge was nearby and rescued the passengers from their lifeboats and rafts.

 

And the Nordnorge also had rescued passengers from the Nordkapp, also in the Antarctic area. The Nordkapp didn't sink.

 

About our thoughts concerning an Antarctic cruise... Maybe we should focus more on a nice lake cruise :D

 

GC

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Given the large amount of ships that go every year in Antarctica (and the Arctic), and the small number of accidents, I think it is actually a rather safe activity, particularly when you think about how remote and even unknown some of those areas are. But the sea is the sea, and there is always a risk involved in a cruise (whichever the size of the ship). Don't let this put you off (but get a good trip insurance!).

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I noticed on my Antarctica cruise that there was usually another ship in the vicinity. I wondered at the time if that was a safety precaution.

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As far as I understand from ice conditions, you shouldn't have issues for this itinerary. The NWP seems closed for now, but it still should be possible to cruise between Greenland and Northeast Canada (and I suspect this is the area that will be explored by jonikal's cruise, probably more towards the North than you will).

 

 

 

This is real exploration cruising!

 

 

 

After 3 days trying to find places of interest in the Nunavut area, ice conditions are such that we returned to Pond Inlet this morning. We boarded the ship from here 3 days ago after many plane changes. This afternoon we depart for the West Coast of Grernland, essentially repeating our exact itinerary of 8 weeks ago. Will post more later.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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After 3 days trying to find places of interest in the Nunavut area, ice conditions are such that we returned to Pond Inlet this morning. We boarded the ship from here 3 days ago after many plane changes. This afternoon we depart for the West Coast of Grernland, essentially repeating our exact itinerary of 8 weeks ago. Will post more later.

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Thanks for letting us know what has been happening on your current cruise. I hope you have been enjoying yourself, despite the uncertainty with the ice conditions.

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At a meeting with the Captain and expedition team leaders we were told that they were very aware of the disappointment of the passengers. Most of the complaints stemmed from the fact that there was little it no communication from Hurtigruten once they realized that the passage was icebound. This information was known to them well before the West-bound itinerary sailed. In fact, we picked up a newspaper in Pond Inlet which reported that a Canadian Navy ship was unable to transit several weeks ago. While it was explained that ice conditions can change rapidly, it is clear from other attempts to use the passage this season that they were equally unsuccessful.

Notwithstanding all the upheaval this change in plans has caused, the crew is absolutely wonderful and making every effort to keep the passengers happy.

According to what we learned from the meeting with the Captain, compensation has been authorized by Hurtigruten leadership on an individual basis, presumably depending on the fare you purchased. That would be handled by the office you dealt with.

So we are now on our first day of a 2 day crossing to Disko Bay.

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Many thanks for the update. It must be tough for the crew because while they are not the one who deal with communication, they are the one in direct line of the passengers' disappointment.

 

I think it is a good strategy from Hurtigruten to be willing to consider compensation (even though they would totally be within legal rights not to, I think). It's good for their business image.

 

All this aside, I hope you will still have fun and see many beautiful sights. I'm not surprised that the crew is doing all they can to ensure passengers have as good a time as possible.

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Thank you for your latest update.

 

I can well imagine passengers disappointment, so am pleased to learn Hurtigruten will be offering some kind of compensation. I think passengers should have been given the opportunity to cancel prior to the start of the cruise, when ice conditions were known.

 

Despite the repetition of your itinerary, I hope you are enjoying the cruise and seeing some new sights, wildlife, etc. No doubt the crew would be working overtime to ensure you are all having a good time.

 

Enjoy Disco Bay.

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Here is a recap of our experience:

While we were understandably disappointed with the NW PASSAGE cancellation due to the prevailing ice conditions, it was the TOTAL failure on the part of Hurtigruten US to keep us informed prior to the voyage that we find unacceptable. Especially since it was known to Hurtigruten that the passage had been blocked to shipping for the entire 2018 transit season. Not only that, but the alternate sailing areas considered for us, such as Lancaster Sound, Bellot Strait and Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay were also known to be ice-bound. The Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown was unable to enter Lancaster Sound on Sept 6, 2018, due to heavy ice conditions. (See Nunatsiaq News dated Sept 7, 2018).

 

In our case we checked this roll call where there was a link to a Facebook posting by Hurtigruten, reporting the NW passage would not be passable due to ice conditions. That was the first indication we had that there was a problem - approximately 10 days before our departure for Montreal.

 

We immediately phoned the Hurtigruten US office in Seattle and were told that there was an eblast being prepared for all the east bound pax that would be sent out “within minutes.” This email never arrived. The day before we were scheduled to fly to Montreal from Tampa, we once again phoned Hurtigruten and the rep provided little additional info. When I expressed our frustration and disappointment with Hurtigruten's lack of customer service, we were told that it was the “Norwegian way” !

 

As loyal customers of Hurtigruten with 4 voyages to our name and a fifth one scheduled for next year on the new MV Roald Amundsen (the sailing date of this ship still uncertain), we can only hope that the customer service personnel are going to get the training that its passengers deserve, with timely contact when any kind of itinerary changes occur. We should not have to rely on a Facebook blog to get information about such radical changes to our itinerary.

 

To maintain or expand Hurtigruten’s US market share of expedition style travel, this event and the company’s response by way of fair and adequate reimbursement to its passengers will have a significant effect on the public’s perception, by way of the internet's many travel blogs, of the company and whether the affected passengers will consider Hurtigruten for their future travel.

 

In sum: Not once did we receive any information either by phone or via email from Hurtigruten US that we would not be going through the NW Passage. All the info we gathered was as a result of our own efforts.

 

 

By contrast, we have nothing but praise for the Fram's crew. The expedition team made heroic efforts to make the alternate itinerary less of a disappointment. They were dealing with a significant number of angry passengers and were unfailingly diplomatic in their responses despite the harsh comments and a tense atmosphere. The ship’s entire crew is a great credit to the company with their good spirits, excellent service and great attitude despite the long hours and heavy schedules they contend with. Their additional burden in dealing with many unhappy customers deserves our admiration and gratitude.

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We are from the UK and were on the same cruise has jonikal (sorry we never got to meet you!).

 

We would agree with everything they said. It was the lack of communication from Hurtigruten that was the main problem. Simply being told 3 days before to just 'go to Montreal' is NOT good customer service. Had we been warned 2 or 3 weeks beforehand of the potential problems, we would have had time to get our heads round it. No company should rely on social media to communicate: some of us don't do FB etc. With all the new explorer type ships coming on line, Hurtigruten need to be doing it better if they hope to even maintain their share of the market, let alone increase it.

 

Like jonikal, we have nothing but praise for the crew, who looked after us so well, and for the expedition team, who managed to organise landings and polar cirkel boat outings with limited time and resources.

 

in the end Hurtigruten gave us compensation, which we considered fair, given the voyage we actually did. Some people are still agitating for a full refund and money for disappointment. But this was an expedition cruise in an area notoriously tricky, so nothing is assured and Hurtigruten make that clear in their brochure. Maybe these people should have gone to Disneyland! Anyone booked on this route in future years needs to be aware that the itinerary might not happen.

 

Were we disappointed not to do the NWP? If course we were. But we made sure we enjoyed what we did.

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Thank you both for your feedback. Good on Hurtigruten for the compensation, I think it's unreasonable to ask for a full refund given that you have actually done a cruise (and a Greenland/North Canada cruise does not come cheap). I can understand the disappointment but congratulations for enjoying what you have been given. I am also happy about the comments on the crew, which matches my experience of Hurtigruten.

I also agree that the communication has been very bad and hopefully Hurtigruten learns from this. A company cannot be blamed for the unexpected problems, but they can be blamed for the way they handle those problems. Here there is some good, and some bad which can blemish their reputation.

 

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