MS Fram
MS Fram Photo: Dominic Barrington Photo

Practical Information for Explorer Voyages with MS Fram

From passport and visa requirements to general onboard information, get to know MS Fram before you embark on your upcoming expedition.

READ FULL MS FRAM HANDBOOK

Alcohol Policy

Please remember that only beverages purchased from the ships' restaurants and bars can be consumed on board. Alcoholic beverages purchased in ports-of-call and from our onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your cabin on the last day of the sailing. According to Norwegian law, persons over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase beer and wine. Spirits are only available to persons over the age of 20.

Announcements

To hear all announcements in the cabin, the TV has to be set to a channel number. Check your cabin folder for the specific channel number once on board. Important updates to our program and emergency information will be announced in the cabins via separate speakers overriding all other audio in the cabin.

Artwork

Local artists from the Arctic have contributed to making the MS Fram a modern masterpiece. There is a permanent exhibition of original artifacts from the original Fram used by Nansen and Amundsen.

Bar Service

The ship has a bar with an excellent selection of spirits, wines, beers, and soft drinks at moderate prices, and a lounge with self-serve coffee.

Cabins

There is a wide range of comfortable cabins on board, all with private bathrooms. Please note that check-in hours in reception may open before the cabin is ready for use. You will be informed at check-in when your cabin is ready for you. There may be some outside noise and vibration in a few cabins; this varies depending on the location of your cabin. Also, noise affects people differently and what may be a problem for one person may not be a problem for others. Please note that cabins on deck 5 with passenger access to outside areas may sometimes have an obstructed view due to other passengers walking past. Please ask our reservation team for advice on the best cabin location for you.

Changes to Itinerary & Excursions

We are sailing in waters where the elements rule, and weather, sea, and ice conditions may affect the itinerary. Because of this, the routes and excursions are provisional and subject to change. Excursions may also be subject to minimum/maximum number of participants. We reserve the right to change the itinerary and the content of excursions without prior notice.

Charter Flight to Ushuaia

The flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and the return flight are part of your voyage.  The flight from Buenos Aires usually departs early in the morning and the return flight to Buenos Aires in the afternoon. Please note that the airline will confirm the final flight times between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia only a few days prior to the day of departure. For final flight times and your boarding pass, please contact our hospitality desk at Emperador Hotel in Buenos Aires one day prior to departure. If you do not plan an overnight stay at the end of your voyage, please do not book your international flight from Buenos Aires before 20:00. Please note that the flight to/from Ushuaia departs/arrives at the Jorge Newberry National Airport. You need at least 3 hours transfer time in Buenos Aires for your connecting flight from Ezeiza airport. We are unable to accept responsibility if you miss your return flight in the event of any delay

Children

For safety reasons we cannot accept children under the age of 5 to travel with us to Antarctica or on "Wildlife in the South Atlantic Ocean", one of our voyages to South America. There is no age restriction on our other destinations. Also for safety reasons, children under 12 years of age will be individually considered on each landing. It is entirely at the captain’s discretion to allow children on shore landings.

Cruise Card 

A cruise card will be issued upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. All our guests are requested to wear this card when disembarking the ship in all ports of call and landings. The card serves as a control system on the gangway enabling the ship to know which of our guests are on board and ashore at any time. This card, in addition to being the key card for your cabin, is also your payment card on board. The card is the only means of payment for onboard facilities. To activate your cruise card account you must have a Visa, American Express, Diners Club, or Mastercard. The credit card must be valid more than 3 months after your stay on board. We regret that our system does not support Maestro Card. Please note that when using your credit card on board the ship, your account will be debited in NOK. The rate of exchange will be the one validated by your credit card company. The evening before the voyage ends the account will be totaled and settled on board, and a receipt will be brought to your cabin. We regret that there is no facility for cash withdrawals or currency exchange on board.

Electricity

The plugs in your cabins are all 220V/50hz. Suites have 110V for Shavers. The plugs are continental two-pin plugs. Adapters are available for purchase in the shop.

Entertainment

The emphasis on board is on relaxation and discovery, and not on commercial entertainment often  part of conventional cruises. Our aim is to get you closer to unique environments and to allow you to share the experience with your fellow travelers. Occasionally, there may be some musical entertainment on board in the evenings. 

Environment & Green Navigation

Our captains take 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. We never dump waste in the sea and we ask you not to leave any waste when you are on shore excursions. In populated areas there are containers for depositing waste; please use them. We ask you to respect the saying: “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.”

Expedition Team

The onboard Expedition Team is composed of an expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, and several lecturers and experts. Your expedition leader will regularly update you on the progress of the trip as well as the different points of interest and wildlife sightings that may occur. Biographies of the Expedition Team can be found on the Information bulletin board located close to the Information Desk. At the Expedition desk, you will be able to find information regarding the trip and book optional excursions. 

Fitness Room, Sauna & Jacuzzi

On deck 7, you will find our modern fitness room and comfortable sauna with a fantastic view through panorama windows. Two outdoor Jacuzzis invite you to take a warm bath.

Gratuity Policy

We have learned that many of our guests wish to acknowledge the service provided by our crew on board. It is at your discretion to honor service rendered by the crew in bars, restaurant, and cabins. In order to give you some guidelines, we recommend 80 NOK (approx 9 Euro, 12 USD) per guest per day as an average gratuity. Whatever amount you decide to give, please fill in the form you will find in your cabin and give it to the receptionist two nights before the end of the cruise. The amount will then be debited to your cruise account. 

Guide Dogs 

Guide dogs are accepted on board and can be booked in dedicated cabins. The guide dogs can stay in all public areas on board except for the restaurant, where the blind/visually impaired guest will be assisted by one of the crew members. Assistance by the crew is offered at all times when this is required by the blind or visually impaired guest.

Information & Services

On deck 4, you will find our reception and expedition desk, where the staff is available to answer your questions. In this area, you will also find our Internet café, our lobby with wireless access, and our lecture rooms. 

Jacket

A complimentary Explorer jacket will be given to each guest while on board. 

Language

The primary language on board is English, though announcements, lectures, and written information are also shared in German.

Laundry

Laundry service is available on board at low cost. No self-service or dry-cleaning is possible.

Lectures

The ship’s experienced lecturers have an in-depth knowledge of the areas in which we sail. They will give, on a regular basis, lectures on topics such as biology, history, and geology throughout the course of the trip. The lecturing schedule will be announced every day in the onboard daily program. Do not hesitate to contact our Expedition Team for any questions or concerns you might have. 

Library

The ship has a small selection of books on different topics that is available to guests while on board.

Life-saving Equipment, Life Vests & Safety On Board

The ship complies with all safety requirements and is a modern vessel suitable for sailing in icy waters. Upon arrival, all passengers will be instructed in safety procedures, and the use and location of the safety equipment. There is a safety plan  on the inside of the cabin door. We stress the importance of becoming acquainted with the ship's safety plan. Special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Polarcirkel boats. Please follow the instructions given by the expedition leader and crew/staff. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be handed out to all passengers before first landing. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given.

Mail

You can hand in your mail at reception, and for a limited amount covering service fee and stamps, we will forward your mail in every port where it is possible. The time it takes for postcards or other mail to reach the destination varies and may be relatively long. Hurtigruten acccepts no responsibility for lost mail. 

Medical Declaration Form

In accordance with Hurtigruten ASA requirements, all travelers to Antarctica, North East Greenland, and Transatlantic Crossings must complete a confidential medical declaration form, signed by a doctor, stating that they are fit to travel. This form will be sent to you well in advance. The form must be filled out, brought on board the ship and personally delivered to the doctor upon embarkation. Boarding may be denied if these forms are not presented at time of embarkation.  

Medical Emergencies & Medication

For your safety there is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board at all times. 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. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. We strongly recommend carrying sufficient travel/health insurance. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labeled and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival. Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain, must be followed.

Mobile Phone

Depending on the operator with whom you have a contract, mobile phones will function in some places on shore. Check with your carrier company for details. Guests may use their own GSM telephones on board the ship at all times as long as we have connection at an international price level. The price will vary depending on which mobile operator you use. Please check with your carrier company for rates and if your subscription is valid on the MCP Satellite System on board.

Observation Lounge

MS Fram's observation lounge is called Qilak, meaning “sky” in Greenlandic, and the name of this lounge sets the standard. Here you find large panoramic windows,  comfortable seats, and  binoculars so you can view the wildlife and details of the ever-changing landscape.

Outdoor Decks

MS Fram has spacious outdoor areas. Enjoy the views from the very front of the ship where there is a large viewing area, or from the back on deck 7. Both are perfect vantage points to sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. 

Resident Photographer

Our resident photographer will invite you to photography workshops and practical sessions out on deck to enable you to take the best possible pictures from your voyage.

Restaurant & Cuisine

Your voyage includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our restaurant is named Imaq – the Greenlandic word for “ocean”, offering scenic views from every table. At the far end of the restaurant is a balcony, an ideal place from which to take photos. The open seating for breakfast and lunch buffets creates a relaxed atmosphere. Dinner varies between buffets, set meals, and, weather permitting, barbeques. The type of dinner is announced in the daily program. Our Head Waiter will assign tables prior to arrival. Information about table number and meal times will be in your cabin upon arrival. Please provide information regarding special requests for seating arrangements to your sales office/travel agent. At some voyages we might serve the dinner divided into Boat groups. Where possible, we plan our menus around seasonal ingredients, taking advantage of local produce to satisfy healthy appetites stimulated by the fresh sea air. Regular coffee/tea is complimentary throughout the entire voyage. Other beverages and refreshments during the day are not included, but can be purchased on board in the restaurant, cafeteria, and bar.

Room Service

The cabins are cleaned daily. We regret that meals or drinks cannot be served in the cabins.

Rubber Boot Rentals

On board you will have complimentary access to a pair of high quality boots to wear during landings and hikes. These boots will be kept on the ship’s tender deck, and you will have your private pair during the entire voyage.

Passport and Visa Requirements
Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the required travel documents you will be asked to provide prior to boarding the ship. It is the sole responsibility of the guest to identify and obtain all required travel documents and have them available when necessary. Passports are the only valid identification for all of our voyages aboard MS Fram; ID cards are not accepted. The passport needs to be valid for more than six months after you return to your home country. At check-in, passports will be collected by the crew on board the vessel, in order to clear customs and immigration. Passports will be kept throughout the whole voyage and returned at the end of the trip. Please bring a photocopy of the passport with you. It is the guests’ responsibility to identify and to obtain the necessary visas before commencing their cruise. Based on nationality, many countries still require an entry visa. We regret we are unable to accept any liability if you are denied access to a flight or entry into a country or are otherwise affected by difficulties or costs resulting from your passport not being approved or if you have not obtained the required visa or other documentation. 

See Entry Requirements for updated travel information, visa requirements, and vaccination requirements. 

Polarcirkel Boat Landings

These sturdy boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. You will need to be fairly agile to board these but there is otherwise no need to worry about traveling in them. The crew will show you what to do and as long as you follow their instructions, after a few days it will become second nature. On all landings in Polarcirkel boats, guests are expected to wear proper footwear. In Antarctica it is mandatory to use rubber boots for all landings. For all other destinations boots can be useful. You are welcome to bring private boots, or you can rent a pair on board. Landing operations depend on favourable conditions.

Seasickness

Seasickness pills are available for purchase at Reception. If you are prone to seasickness, it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with. You may also buy “sea bands” on board.

Ship’s Security

Hurtigruten complies with the ISPS-regulations (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) where all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection at a facility or ship. The ISPS regulations also include hand baggage scans in all ports of call throughout the course of the voyage. 

Cruise lines which operate in United States waters are required by U.S. law to make a Security Guide and certain law enforcement points of contact available to guests.

The Security Guide can be found here.

Shop

In our onboard shop, you can buy modern clothes suitable for Explorer voyages. Our Expedition Team will be happy to give you expert advice on how to dress properly in polar areas. We offer a great range of both warm and practical clothing, and we focus fabrics with natural fibers. We also offer souvenirs, handicrafts, and postcards at good prices. In addition, we stock a small selection of soap, toothpaste, and other personal effects.

Shore Excursions

A selection of shore excursions is available to pre-book. Where available, we will supply you with excursion information in advance, otherwise you will receive full details and prices on board. Excursions and their contents are subject to maximum/minimum number of participants and local weather conditions.

Smoking

You are welcome to smoke in designated areas on outside decks, but not in your cabin or elsewhere on board. To show respect for the environment, please use the provided ashtrays when smoking. Throwing cigarette butts overboard is strictly prohibited. A cleaning charge of 1500 NOK will be applied for smoking in your non-smoking cabin, to cover for the cost of cleaning linen and curtains to return it to a non-smoking standard.

Special Requests

If you have special requests such as vegetarian, diabetic, or gluten-free food, please inform us at time of booking and contact the Head Waiter when on board. We will do our best to meet such requests but cannot guarantee to do so and under no circumstance will any such request be accepted by us so as to form part of a contractual agreement.

Suite Service

As a suite guest on MS Fram, we offer you an exclusive suite check-in area at deck 5 with a chilled glass of champagne to begin your voyage. Special amenities come with our magnificent suites, including a welcome onboard gift, complimentary beverages for lunch and dinner inclusive of chilled filtered water by the carafe, sodas, soft drinks, beer, and a selection of wine by the glass. We also offer an exclusive breakfast area with speciality buffet products. If local products are available, we will do our best to provide them to you. In the suite you will find a kettle for your convenience with coffee, teas, sweeteners, and cream, and the mini bar has a complimentary selection upon your arrival. Replenishment of the mini bar is chargeable.

Telephone / Internet

All cabins have a telephone. Buy a phone card in the reception to call from the ship. There is an Internet café on board (at extra cost) and Wi-Fi is available on deck 4 (in the reception area only) and in the bar on deck 7. Please note that the connection is a 512MB line and that both Internet and telephones from time to time will be out of range due to the vessel’s location. Due to the limited capacity we kindly ask you not to use live casting /live streaming websites. 

Vaccinations

Please check with your General Practitioner regarding the recommended vaccinations for your journey.

Water

The tap water in your cabin is potable, but we recommend drinking our self-produced potable water by the carafe in the restaurant. There is also a water station on deck 4. 

Walking 

We kindly remind you to be careful walking on board the ship while at sea, especially when out on deck, where you should mind the signs warning of wet and slippery decks. Be aware that the doors toward the outer decks on 5, 7, and 8 are potentially dangerous in windy conditions. Please respect signs and announcements advising or warning you not to go outside. While walking inside, hold on to railings but not to doorframes to avoid injury.

Welcome Meeting

Upon arrival on board, there will be a mandatory passenger safety drill before departure. There will also be a welcome meeting where security information, as well as practical information about the cruise, will be given. This is also a great opportunity to meet some of the crew and be introduced to the key personnel on board.

What to Wear

Onboard dress is informal. Although some passengers choose to change for dinner, the dress code is casual rather than formal. The weather can vary during the course of each voyage or even during the day. To cater for these variations we recommend the layered dress approach that enables you to adapt to changes in temperature, wind, and rainy conditions easily. For all voyages, we advise you to take breathable rain- and wind-proof clothing. A warm hat, gloves, scarf, and thermal clothing can be useful, together with thermal underwear, during the winter months. On land where it may be icy, sturdy shoes are important for shore excursions and a walking stick/trekking pole may be useful. 

Wheelchairs & Limited Mobility

MS Fram is suitable for wheelchair users. Persons in need of special assistance must travel with a companion. Please note that the ship’s gangway will be used in order to embark/disembark wheelchairs. In ports where tidal conditions or other circumstances require use of a portable gangway, or during landings with Polarcirkel Boats, it is not possible to use/take wheelchairs. Embarkation and disembarkation in Kangerlussuaq/Greenland is by Polarcirkel boat and therefore we regret that any voyages starting and ending in Kangerlussuaq are not suitable for wheelchair users. 

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