The Antarctic Base
Launching in 2019, the brand new MS Roald Amundsen from Hurtigruten was our Antarctic home. It’s a hybrid ship meaning that it uses electric propulsion to cut it’s CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. It’s namesake, Roald Amundsen, was the first man to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole. It’s got a Panomax 360 degree camera following its progress which is a great link for friends and family following your journey!
Some notes about how the Hurtigruten staff prepares you in Santiago for check in. They have a desk in the Sheraton Santiago hotel lobby where you’re assigned a bus # and boarding time for the following day. Honestly, it was pretty informal, we gave our names. Juices and wine were available for a little snack throughout the check in. That night, you tag your luggage with your bus number and leave it outside of the hotel room where they will transport it to the lobby for your departure the next day. The next morning, you enjoy a light breakfast, bring your luggage to the bus, board the bus and they have a separate check in desk at Latam for the charter flight. Pretty seamless. The charter flight to Puntas Arenas is about 3 hours and our flight was only about 2/3 full. A separate group from our hotel had a flight ~ 2 hours later. We also heard there was another hotel (The Intercontinental) were another group of guests stayed. In total, ~ 400 guests for a ship that holds a capacity of 500.
From Santiago To Puntas Arenas
After two night in Santiago we are headed to Puntas Arenas and the gates of the Antarctic. We are now only a short domestic flight away from our Arctic Expedition
The day of embarkation day was LONG. After our 3 hour charter flight, we had a bus tour of Puntas Arenas. This is not a large city and the 4 stops made were at a small museum, a cemetery, the Magellan statue, and an overlook of the city. A box lunch was provided which included an empanada, apple, water, and cookie, so I would suggest bringing snacks as the day is long. After our arrival in Puntas Arenas at noon, we finally boarded the ship around 5 pm.
The ship though…beautiful. It’s a brand new hybrid vessel which reduces CO2 emissions and the Scandinavian design is impeccable. Our Polar Outside cabin was spacious with plenty of drawers and hooks and our luggage slid neatly under the bed. Plenty of small touches of luxury throughout with a wool blanket printed with the Roald Amundsen name, cloudberry soap and moisturizer, 2 very comfortable reclining chairs and outlets galore. There was a huge TV within for streaming the science lectures from the auditorium if you felt like staying in your cabin which also had a selection of TVs and movies. The ship has no inside cabins, so there are Polar Outside cabins which include windows, balconies, and a plethora of jaw dropping suites if you have the cash!
The ship is equipped with 3 dining rooms, the main dining room Aune offering buffet breakfast and lunch, and a dinner seating assigned at either 6 or 8 pm, Fredheim, their more casual alternative offering their take on street fare like burgers, dumplings, and milkshakes, and Lindstrom, a more formal reservations only dining option. (We did not dine at Lindstrom but I believe the cost was 25 EUR per person). Food was plentiful and quite delicious, always offering a vegetarian option if preferred. There was a gym and sauna, and I initially thought the gym small for the ship’s size with only 8 total pieces of cardio equipment and some weights, but most days it was only us in there. On the other hand, the sauna is ample and boasts floor to ceiling windows so you can watch the sea go by. There’s a heated infinity pool and 2 hot tubs on the stern and an Explorer’s Lounge with lots of seats overlooking the ocean and some lounge chairs that recline to watch out the slanted bow windows. Finally, their science center has an auditorium for presentations, a large collection of Antarctica literature, some skulls, feathers, and furs of animals you may encounter, and microscopes to view specimens collected on previous voyages.
The 3rd floor of the ship is ready for expeditions. They have a large storage space where they keep their fleet of zodiacs and a launch room. This room is pretty tech savvy where you can wait for your expedition to launch watching a huge LED screen of the shore. You’ll get your cruise card scanned before leaving and returning and on return, there is high tech boot washing station to ride your boots of penguin poop!
It’s a gorgeous ship! They have a sister ship slated to launch in 2020 with a similar design and hybrid technology named the Fridtjof Nansen.