A unique visit from the MS FRAM

Hurtigruten cruises the Hudson River

By Berit Hessen – Norwegian American Weekly

The MS FRAM entering New York Harbor. Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten.

It was very special for me to see Hurtigruten’s MS FRAM docked on the Hudson River with Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. Growing up in Ålesund, on the west coast of Norway, the sight of Hurtigruten always brings back fond memories. Every day at noon, like clockwork, one of Hurtigruten’s 11 vessels docks at the harbor in my hometown, before heading north-bound on the most beautiful coastal voyage in the World.

The Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) invited members and guests to a reception onboard MS FRAM on Friday, Oct. 9, when the vessel made a rare stop in Manhattan on its way to its winter destination. The vessel sails the Greenland waters in the summer and Antarctica in the winter. Onboard we were greeted by Hurtigruten’s VP of global sales Hans Rood, who mentioned: “things are looking better for Hurtigruten, after the difficult times the company encountered last year.”

We were also given a briefing by Master Arnvid Hansen, from Ål in Hallingdal, and Hotel Manager Else Kristine Tjessem from Sandnes. Then we had the opportunity to take a tour of the ship.

The intimate MS FRAM, which was built with an explorer cruiser in mind, is smaller than the rest of Hurtigruten’s vessels, but the most luxurious. It resembles a large yacht, and berths about 350 passengers. Onboard you will find a gym, sauna and heated Jacuzzis, as well as a friendly crew that will take care of your every need. This state-of-the-art vessel has everything you could possible need to feel comfortable. The restaurant even offers sumptuous Scandinavian meals.

The Italian-built vessel, which was launched in 2007, is especially designed to sail the polar waters. MS FRAM, named after explorer Fridtjof Nansen’s most famous polar ship, attracts a very diverse group of travelers from all over the world. If you are an adventurous and destination oriented person, in search of experiencing something extraordinary, a voyage on MS FRAM is perfect for you. The ship takes travelers to remote places and offers unique land excursions and expeditions where you can experience different cultures and a closer encounter with wildlife.

The vessel had a “homey” Scandinavian feel and was tastefully decorated with art made by local artists from Greenland, as well as Norway. Items from the original Fram were also displayed throughout the vessel, linking the present with the rich history of the eminent past. A glimpse of one of the Grand Suites, was the highlight of the tour. The sign on the door even displayed the signature of the renowned Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. The suite was spacious and even had its own private verandah with a swaying Norwegian flag.

I might never be able to splurge and stay in a suite, but when I drove home that evening, I could easily picture myself on the MS FRAM heading for the White Continent. A voyage on this spectacular ship is now high up on my wish list. Besides cruising the polar waters, I would also like to experience the magnificent Northern Lights in the wintertime, and I know Hurtigruten will take me there.

This article was originally printed in the Norwegian American Weekly on October 23, 2009. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly or to subscribe call (800) 305-0217.

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