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About SarniaLo

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    Sailing, photography
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    Arctic & Antarctic
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  1. Note that by booking on the Norwegian website the T&C are the Norwegian ones (they change from one country to the other, pay attention especially to the cancellation conditions), and in the (unlikely) event of anything going bad between Hurtigruten and you, the contract between you falls under Norwegian consumer laws. It's usually not a problem but it's worth knowing. I've booked on the Norwegian website several times with no issue (and substantial savings!).
  2. Official response of Hurtigruten on the social media group I was mentioning earlier : " Hi Everyone! MS Roald Amundsen is currently undergoing a short, unscheduled stop in Vancouver, Canada for technical adjustments and maintenance. This stay regretfully lead to a cancellation of the voyage from Puntarenas, Costa Rica, to Valparaiso, Chile, 10.Oct. to 26.Oct. 2019. All guests have been notified. We do not expect this short technical adjustment to affect any upcoming voyages. "
  3. There are testimonies of passengers with cancelled trips on a social media Hutrigruten group I'm not sure I'm allowed to mention here. But indeed on MarineTraffic the current position (as of 2019-09-27 12:11 (UTC)) is near Vancouver. This is really weird. https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:5842449/mmsi:257425000/vessel:ROALD AMUNDSEN
  4. I had a look at the disappointed reviews. Some issues are down to individual preferences (and maybe some lack of understanding of what an expedition trip is), some are down to teething problems, and some are more worrysome and indicate some real design and functionality issues (such as the size of various public spaces too small to accomodate all the passengers and the disfunctional dining room). I think RA has started sailing too soon, but it would have been a PR disaster for Hurtigruten to cancel the Arctic season and especially the NW passage. Now they can boast that they were the first hybrid ship to cross the NWP and few people will read the reviews (although it may affect future bookings). The repositionning and South America trips before Antarctica are not such "high stake" trips so maybe "easier" to cancel from a communication point of view. I truly hope that RA is back in dockyard to try and correct some of the aforementioned issues. I feel for all the passengers that were affected by these cancellations and I hope the Antarctica trips will be able to proceed as expected. This is extremely disappointing and does not reflect well on Hurtigruten.
  5. Yes, the "zodiacs" are actually PolarCirkel boats, very comfortable (easy to get in and out) and very sturdy.
  6. Depends on what you call "excursions". In Antarctica all landings are included and some zodiac rides (for instance when landings are not possible and a zodiac ride is offered instead). If you want to do some additional activities such as kayaking or camping (if available on the trip) then it is extra. There can also be some paying extra zodiac rides. Also if your trip visit the Falkland Islands (but with this short a trip I don't think it does) there can be some paying excursions in Stanley. But basically you can get all the enjoyment of your trip without paying anything extra, you will not be left on board. For instance when some people do kayaking (extra cost) the others will go on a landing (included). This above is based on my experience on MS Fram, so maybe there are some differences on the other ships.
  7. Well you can see the Northern LIghts at the end of August/early September with a bit of luck. Did you see them? There was a very strong solar storm on September 7th, picture taken in Tromsø that evening (not by me unfortunately) : https://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=156112
  8. That offer is still regularly on, but it's not "if you don't see them", it's "if there isn't an official sighting", ie an annoucement from the bridge that there are Northern Lights in the sky. Even if it's just a faint cloud-like formation at 4 in the morning and you personnaly don't see them, they have been officially sighted and the free cruise is off the table. I think Hurtigruten is taking very little risk with this offer (and I would really like to know how many people actually were able to take advantage of it?).
  9. Yes, I'm sorry if it came out wrong, I did not mean to dismiss your experience, and I'm sure it will help the OP (who seems to have disappeared). I understand that your whole trip was very different than a purely Antarctica expedition cruise (or one including Falklands and SG) and the most important thing is that you enjoyed it. I just felt that your wildlife experience would not have been as rich if you hadn't been able to do the shore excursion in Falklands, but again I may be wrong, I wasn't there. I hope all this will give the OP food for thought.
  10. To be fair the pictures above are not from Antarctica (I suspect Don's pictures are from the Falklands as well, maybe South Georgia?). So the overall itinerary (and ability to do shore excursions) is very important. Because what you are pointing out, scubacruiserx2, is that many highlights of your trip were the stops where you were able to do landings 😉
  11. Thanks (were you on the same trip?). I suppose (but I may be wrong) all the passengers cannot get on that excursion, it's only for a limited number? Do you have to pay extra for the excursion?
  12. I'm surprised this comes as a surprise, because daylight conditions in Norway in winter are not a well-kept secret and could be found out before booking. Here are the daylight hours for December in Bergen : https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/norway/bergen?month=12&year=2019 and in Tromso : https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/norway/tromso?month=12&year=2019 Indeed in Northern Norway at this time of year the sun does not come above the horizon. It's not 24/7 darkness though, because the sun is not far below the horizon and you have a few hours of light at mid-day (roughly between the hours indicated by "civil twilight"). It's like a long sunrise followed by a long sunset. If the sky is clear the colors and light during that time is spectacular. I've done my second trip with Hurtigruten over Christmas and brought quantities of book because I thought I would be bored, and I ended up reading about 10 pages of the first book. I did not get bored one minute. Those mid-day lights were spectacular, and on the plus side more darkness means more chance for Northern Light! You can see the pictures on my blog starting here if you want : https://voyageterremer.blogspot.com/2010/12/bergen.html (I haven't finished the whole translation but the pictures say it all). Excursions will happen, life goes on for Norway in winter even in darkness. Hiking at this season can be difficult anyway because of the snow. Many excursions are seasonal, you cannot hike in winter but you cannot do dogsledding or snowmobile in summer. At those date you are getting towards a full moon so there can actually be some light especially if there is snow on the mountains, but of course the darkness does impair the sightseeing. If you go to Norway in winter you need to embrace the reality of the conditions at that period. I found it quite an interesting experience and I really fell in love with the winter lights and atmosphere. But yes, it will not suit everybody.
  13. I'm sorry, I tried to follow your travelogue at the beginning but there are way too many messages and too many photos for me. That's allright, I'm sure there are people who find it enjoyable 🙂
  14. Many thanks for your answer. A shore excursion on Falkland Islands can almost make up for no landings in Antarctica 😉 . Where exactly in the Falklands was it? As for your question, if you are looking for a tour guide in Paris, I think it would be better to ask in the relevant forum (and I'm sorry, I can't help you).
  15. Can you please elaborate where exactly you saw the penguins? Because that is not in Antarctica (but it's nice!).
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