I was recently lucky enough to take a short trip around the coast of the UK aboard Hurtigruten’s newest ship the MS Fridtjof Nansen. She was built in 2020 and as she was ready early they were able to offer a few showcase voyages.
The voyage I took was Liverpool – Portsmouth, with a few stops along the way. The ship has a battery hybrid powered propulsion system making it a ‘greener’ vessel, she has some amazing features that combine state of the art technology with a great onboard experience.
MS Fridtjof Nansen cabins
The cabins are spacious, modern and very comfortable, we had a polar outside cabin on the 5th deck, it was very spacious and had lots of wardrobe and cupboard space so you could fully unpack, we were even advised that suitcases could fit underneath the beds so can easily be stored out of the way for the duration of the journey.
The cabin also had a seating area as well as the beds which is great for relaxing onboard.
All cabins also have en suite bathrooms, a mini bar/fridge and tea and coffee making facilities, as well as dressing gowns and slippers for use in the spa areas.
The onboard dining options
Aune – the main dining area where a buffet breakfast and lunch are served along with an a la carte dinner service.
Fredheim – is a more informal restaurant that serves more snacky food for lunch and dinner and serves a light breakfast for the earlybirds in the morning.
Lindstrom – this is an a la carte restaurant that offers a fine dining experience it is included for suite guests, but there is a surcharge for all other guests to dine in here, on my voyage is was 25euros/person but well worth the cost.
All of the food served on the boat is to a high standard with plenty of variety.
There is also a very large and comfortable lounge bar on board as well offering a range of hot and cold drinks…. I can recommend the espresso martini!
Fitness and Spa facilities
The ship is very well equipped, it has an onboard gym as well as the walking/running track on the top deck and a spa which offers a wide range of treatments, there is also a sauna, two outdoor hot tubs and an outdoor pool.
The outdoor pool and hot tubs are situated at the rear of the boat and are accompanied with a pool bar area and offer a great opportunity to take in your surroundings from the comfort of the warm water. The sauna is just inside from this area and features breath taking floor to ceiling windows that allow you to take in your surroundings whilst relaxing.
The Science Centre
The ‘Nansen Science Centre’ is based on the 6th deck and has an expansive range of facilities and crew on hand for the guests including telescope tables, a giant interactive tablet table, photography room, viewing decks and lecture space. Y
ou will find countless members of the expedition team in the area offering help, advise, lectures and talks throughout the duration of the cruise. You can find out what’s going on and where through the timetable you can access on a downloadable app on your phone.
The onboard WIFI is free too!
The activities range from animal spotting, photography lessons, to Art & History.
Also onboard this Hurtigruten voyage was a team from Orca cruise conservation, ‘ORCA is a charity that’s entirely dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters’ (https://www.orcaweb.org.uk/our-work/about-orca) they work to educate people while maintaining, protecting, conserving and studying the habitats and habits of the marine life.
The onboard teams are hosted by Hurtigruten and consist of volunteers, who use the time onboard to conduct scientific surveys as well as running talks and activities for the passengers on deck.
When the ports are bigger enough the ship will come alongside and Gangway to the shore is opened to get everyone on and off the boat.
In the smaller ports a tender service is provided and life jackets are provided in each cabin to use when using this service. And full safety guidelines are provided the night before in order for each passenger to board the tender boat safely.
We had to use the Tender service in Fowey and Dartmouth as they are both smaller ports. The team were quick and efficient getting the service running once the vessel was anchored, they then regularly went between the ship and shore allowing all passengers to come and go freely.
Exploring the river
The Ms Fridtjof Nansen also contains some smaller rig like boats known as Zodiacs. On this sailing they were offering 2 slots for trips in the zodiacs up and down the river Fowey… each zodiac had a local guide onboard and to talk you through the sights and local history of the area. These much smaller boats allow you to travel in to shallower waters and get much closer to the shores and wildlife.
On board they is a real mix of nationalities all speaking English, every member of staff I encountered was warm, friendly, approachable and couldn’t have been more helpful.
Is going on a MS Fridtjof Nansen worth it?
I had a wonderful time onboard the ship enjoying the all the facilities and welcoming nature of the staff. I would not hesitate to recommend this boat and in fact Hurtigruten to anybody.
The wide range of cruises the offer is great and due to the smaller nature of their ships they can easily get to some of the far-flung corners of the world.
I can only imagine how awesome it would be to take one of their trips along the Norwegian Fjords, around Alaska or discovering Antarctica ….. just a few for my bucket list!