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Antarctica expedition cruises

Fram

Fram is one of the largest expedition cruise ships that sail to the Antarctic region. Size brings space, choice and stability, but with a reduced number of shore excursions.

Class: Antarctic Category 2
Style: Polar expedition
Passengers: 318 maximum
Length: 374 ft
Cruising speed: 13 knots

Cabin prices:

Introducing 'Fram'

MS Fram takes her name from the wooden ship sailed by several Norwegian polar explorers, including Roald Amundsen. Built in 2007 with the aim of bringing her guests closer to nature, wildlife and unforgettable experiences, this 'Fram' uses today's advanced technology to explore the polar regions.

MS Fram is a comfortable 'expedition base-camp' with excellent viewing spaces. At the top of the ship there is an observation lounge featuring large panoramic windows, giving wide views of her surroundings. At the far end of the restaurant there is a quick-access balcony for grabbing photos when wildlife show up during a meal. The spacious outside decks include access to the very front of the ship.

The Fram's other features include a well-equipped fitness room with panoramic ocean view, a sauna and outdoor jacuzzis to watch icebergs float silently by.

Sturdy Polarcirkel boats take you safely from ship to shore from the Fram's expedition landing deck with its tender lobby.

The Fram has 8 decks and a capacity of 318 passengers, which places her among the largest expedition cruise ships that currently visit Antarctica.

Her 127 cabins range from comfortable outside and inside standard cabins, and superior cabins on two decks, up to exclusive 'grand' and exquisite 'expedition' suites named after Norwegian polar heroes.

 

On board 'Fram'

Cabins

Fram cabin Expedition Suite

Expedition Suite

Number of cabins of this type:

Bed configuration: twin beds, or a double bed

Fram cabin Arctic Superior

Arctic Superior

Number of cabins of this type:

Bed configuration: twin beds, or a double bed

Fram cabin Polar Outside

Polar Outside

Number of cabins of this type:

Bed configuration: twin beds only

Fram cabin Polar Inside

Polar Inside

Number of cabins of this type:

Bed configuration: Single bunk beds

Decks

Fram deck Deck 2

Deck 2

(Deck level: 7)

Fram deck Deck 3

Deck 3

(Deck level: 6)

Fram deck Deck 4

Deck 4

(Deck level: 5)

Fram deck Deck 5

Deck 5

(Deck level: 4)

Fram deck Deck 6

Deck 6

(Deck level: 3)

Fram deck Deck 7

Deck 7

(Deck level: 2)

Fram deck Deck 8

Deck 8

(Deck level: 1)

Voyages in detail

Important

Everyone visiting Antarctica and the South Atlantic must recognise the obvious: that conditions can intervene at short notice and a voyage's planned itinerary must be altered. Make sure you read 'A very important note on published itineraries' in 'How to choose an Antarctic cruise'.

Select a voyage

Some of the sites that may be visited

Falklands Museum

(planned for Day 4)

The main aim of the Falkland Islands Museum is to promote awareness and appreciation of the history and heritage of the Falkland Islands and to protect this for future generations.

The museum has a lot to offer. There are galleries covering the islands' natural history, social aspects and communications (such as radio and telephone), the maritime history (Stanley was a ships’ graveyard as well as a refuge for intrepid explorers and engineers), and the islands' role in Antarctic exploration. There is a moving display covering the 1982 war.

The museum is run by the Falklands National Trust and is located on the site of the historical dockyard at Stanley.

Fortuna Bay

(planned for Day 8)

Fortuna Bay has a colony of several thousand King penguins.

In the nesting season King penguins take turns to look after their single huge egg. They hold it carefully on top of their feet and cover it with a warm, bare flap of belly skin while the other goes to sea to fish for hours or days.

The egg is passed between them when the partner returns, but only when the parent with the egg is confident enough to entrust the precious cargo to its partner. Establishing that trust can take hours of gesturing, calling, and touching before the egg is eventually passed across.

Shackleton passed through Fortuna Bay on his hike across South Georgia from his landing at Cape Rosa to the whaling station of Stromness.

Gold Harbour

(planned for Day 9)

Gold Harbour is a small bay at the eastern end of South Georgia.

The spectacular Bertrab Glacier hangs over vertical cliffs at the head of the bay.

The bay is home to Gentoo and King penguin colonies. Elephant seals dominate the beaches while Southern giant petrel constantly patrol the site for feeding opportunities.

Gold Harbour appears to have been named after its sunrises and sunsets rather than any mineral deposits.

Grytviken

(planned for Day 10)

Grytviken was South Georgia's first whaling station. The station manager’s house is now the South Georgia Museum.

Whaling was not the first bi-product of European, American and antipodean exploration. Penguins had earlier been exploited for their oil, and seals for their fur.

Whaling replaced the penguin industry early in the 20th century and brought devastation to the whale population of the South Atlantic. The Falklands introduced the first control in 1908, having granted a lease to an Argentine company to process whales at Grytviken.

Ernest Shackleton is buried in the Whalers' cemetery here. He died here in 1922 during his Quest expedition, having visited earlier in 1916 after his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

South Georgia Museum

(planned for Day 11)

South Georgia Museum is housed in the villa at Grytviken that was formerly the whaling station manager’s residence, Grytviken being the island’s first whaling station. The museum was established by Nigel Bonner in 1991 as a whaling museum, but now covers all the main aspects of the island’s history, including its human heritage and its natural history.

Exhibits include discovery, exploration, Shackleton, surveying and mountaineering expeditions, sealing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the early days of whaling, techniques of modern whaling in the middle part of the 20th century, whalers’ social life, maritime history, and natural history.

Displays also cover the 1982 conflict and subsequent British military presence which ended in 2001.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s gravestone is close by and there is a picturesque church that was brought over from Strommen, Norway in 1913.

Coronation Island

(planned for Day 13)

Coronation Island is the largest island in the South Orkneys.

It is a forbidding sight from the sea, mountainous and heavily glaciated, with a coastline pocked by numerous headlands, outcrops and bays. Although just 46km long by 15km at its widest, the highest peak on island, Mount Nivea, reaches 1,265m.

Birds breeding on the island include Chinstrap penguins, Cape petrels and Snow petrels. Mount Nivea takes its name from the Snow petrel (Pagodroma nivea) which colonise its lower slopes.

A large part of the island is a protected area (ASPA 114) as a pristine reference for comparisons with other sites.

The island was discovered in 1821 and named for the coronation of George IV the previous year.

Elephant Island

(planned for Day 14)

Elephant Island is where Ernst Shackleton's second-in-command, Frank Wild, sheltered together with 21 men for 105 days while Shackleton and five others sailed off to look for help after their ship "The Endurance" was crushed by ice. They had landed on the part of the island, which did not get swept by the waves and therefore hosted also a penguin community, so they were able to store food for the forthcoming wait. They were eventually rescued by a Chilean ship and there is a bust erected to its captain, Luis Pardo, at Point Wild (named after Frank), which is where they sheltered. It is difficult to land here but from the boats you can get a perspective of how tiny this island was, which saved the men's lives, and you might get closer via Zodiac boats, weather permitting. Possibly, the odd glimpse of a Macaroni penguin nesting among Chinstraps or of Weddell seals that you initially mistake for rocks! Weddell seal pups are born late September to early November.

Deception Island

(planned for Day 14)

Deception Island is one of the most incredible islands on the planet. It is an active volcano in the South Shetland Islands, off the Antarctic Peninsula. Its unique landscape comprises barren volcanic slopes, steaming beaches and ash-layered glaciers. It has a distinctive horse-shoe shape with a large flooded caldera. This opens to the sea through a narrow channel at Neptune's Bellows, forming a natural sheltered harbour. It is one of the only places in the world where vessels can sail directly into the centre of a restless volcano.

It earned the name of 'Deception' from the concealed horsehoe-shaped harbour. The volcano beneath it was formed 10,000 years ago but erupts still in modern times, with fissures and cones in the late 60s and in 1970 that destroyed UK and Chilean scientific bases. Seismic activity was also detected in 1992 but no eruption occurred. This volcanic activity probably accounts for fewer glaciers on the island than on other islands in the area.

Telefon Bay is a small bay on the north-west coast of Port Foster, Deception Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It is surmounted by Telefon Ridge. The name appears on the chart of the French Antarctic Expedition under Charcot, 1908–10, and derives from the ship SS Telefon, which sat here awaiting repairs.

Points of interest include volcanic caldera, geothermal hot springs, scientific bases, extensive moss beds with the additional wildlife: Chinstrap penguin, Cape petrel, Antarctic fur seal, and Weddell seal, which is the most southerly of the Antarctic seals and lives mostly on fast ice.

Half Moon Island

(planned for Day 15)

Half Moon Island palls into insignificance against the glaciated shores of Livingstone Island, that is…until you reach its shore, where its peaks and ramparts of volcanic rock stand out clearly against the icy cliffs or low lying cloud. Wildlife is mainly found to the southern part of the crescent and consists mainly of Chinstrap penguins or Antarctic terns, Skuas and Kelp gulls nesting on the more prominent ramparts. Wilson’s storm petrels nest at the highest points as do black bellied storm petrels and cape petrels. Weddell seals are on the beaches and by late January Antarctic fur seals start to arrive, gradually taking over the beach area. There is also an Argentinian station here, open just in the summer months. More recently Camara Station has been used for research by ornithologists and geomorphologists.

Hannah Point

(planned for Day 15)

Hannah Point on Livingstone Island has more biodiversity than most sites in Antarctica so proceed with extreme care, as it is a vulnerable site. Visitors can do a lot of damage and it is important to take great care when ashore, especially higher up and on the cliffs where giant petrels nest. Make sure you go no nearer than 50m. Use your zoom not your legs!

Brown Bluff

(planned for Day 16)

Brown Bluff is on the mainland of the Antarctic peninsula and takes its name from its imposing brown cliffs - part of an ancient volcano.

The cliffs and the narrow beach below are covered in wildlife. If you land you may be able to walk (carefully) on the beach amid large numbers of nesting Gentoo and Adelie penguins. There is also a nesting kelp gull colony.

Other birds usually seen at Brown Bluff include nesting Cape and Snow petrels on the cliffs.

Leopard seals may be on patrol in the waters close to the beach.

Paulet Island

(planned for Day 16)

This volcanic island in the northern Weddell Sea is home to a huge Adelie penguin rookery and the pink guano stains feature widely in the landscape. You will also find an Antarctic shag colony and skuas also nest here. Leopard seal also visit as there are plenty of penguins for dinner! This island is also home to another dramatic escape, this time for a Norwegian crew from the vessel supporting Swedish geologist Otto Nordenskjold’s 1901-03 expedition. The Antarctic was crushed in the pack ice while trying to pick up various members in different places. Fortunately, they managed to make their way across the ice floes to Paulet Island, where they wintered in a stone hut and fed off seals. Sadly, one young sailor, Ole Wennersgaard, did not survive and is buried here.

Cuverville Island

(planned for Day 17)

One of the more popular islands to visit and named after a French Admiral, Cuverville Island's northern shore hosts large colonies of gentoo penguins. The eastern coast hosts breeding kelp gulls and Antarctic shags. Look out for mosses and lichens growing in the cliffs and from a Zodiac you may well see leopard or crabeater seals in the water or on the icebergs. Look out also for Skua and Antarctic tern.

Gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island

      courtesy Quark Expeditions

Danco Island

(planned for Day 18)

Danco Island is in the middle of the beautiful Errara Channel and is home to a large number of Gentoo penguins. It is one of the best sheltered spots in Antarctica. Some of Antarctic’s best Zodiac cruising is right around the island, and if you get the timing right and the snow and penguins make it easy for you, climbing to the top of the island for the views can be one of the best things you will do here. More than 2,000 pairs of breeding Gentoo penguins occupy the slopes behind the northern coast of Danco Island. Weddell seals are almost always present on the offshore rocks and beaches, and the Errera Channel is a favourite haunt of Humpback and Minke whales towards the end of the summer. Danco Island or Isla was charted by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under Adrien de Gerlache, 1897–1899. It was surveyed by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey from Norsel in 1955, and named by the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee for Emile Danco (1869–1898), a Belgian geophysicist and member of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, who died on board Belgica in the Antarctic.

Gentoo penguins on Danco Island

      courtesy Oceanwide

Lemaire Channel

(planned for Day 19)

Lemaire Channel, illogically named after an African Belgian Explorer, is a dramatic deep fjord guarded by looming volcanic cliffs. Sufficiently narrow to be blocked by icebergs, take every advantage you can to enjoy the magnificent scenery. Leopard and crabeater seals enjoy chilling out on the ice floes. See if you can spot Gentoo penguins and Antarctic shags, humpback and Minke whales.

Pleneau Island

(planned for Day 19)

Pleneau Island is situated at the southern end of the Lemaire Channel off the Atlantic Peninsula. The island’s cobbled beach (1.2km long) blends into smooth rock terraces inclining gently towards an ice cap that dominates the western part of the island. Tense moments for the crew… Large icebergs are blown here by the winds and become trapped so manoeuvering between them is quite a skill. You can take a zodiac cruise and hopefully see humpback whales cruising around doing shallow dives. Wildlife here includes Gentoo penguin, kelp gulls, south polar skua, Blue-eyed shag and Antarctic tern. Southern elephant seals visit plus the occasional grounded iceberg!

  • Observation deck
  • Sauna
  • Bar
  • Observation lounge
  • Sun deck
  • Jacuzzi
  • Fitness room
  • Lecture hall
  • Restaurant
  • Shop
  • Arcade
  • Medical room
  • Presentations and lectures
  • Snow shoeing (on selected itineraries)
  • Kayaking (on selected itineraries)

Maximum number of passengers

318

Naturalist guides

Crew members

Overall length (ft)

374

Cruising speed

13

Gross tonnage

11647

Draft

Other technical information

Year built 2007

Ship yard Fincantieri, Italy

Passenger capacity 318 Beds 276

Car capacity 0

Gross tonnage 11647

Length 114

Beam 20.2

Speed 13

The ship is purpose built as an expedition vessel with a higher ice-class, chart drawing tools, ship depth sounding database, extractable forward sounding sonar, iceberg search lights, autonomous tracking system, oversized oil retention system for self-sufficiency, and a full 'expedition tools-deck' equivalent to a car-deck that holds 25 vehicles.

This information has been provided by the boat operator and is subject to alteration

Customer reviews for Fram

Sailings for 'Fram'

Our prices

Prices are per person. The prices shown here are the current prices charged locally by each boat in their chosen currency. We charge our UK customers the equivalent price converted to British pounds at the current exchange rate. This helps keep prices low and protects you from currency fluctuations.

Our price promise

Our prices should be the best available anywhere. If you find a better price elsewhere please let us know: we will certainly try to match or beat it.

Complete trips

An expedition cruise is only part of your complete trip. Discuss your ideas with us. Our well-travelled experts can arrange your international flights from the UK, and design all the other parts of your trip in Argentina, Chile or elsewhere to fit the exact dates of your cruise and the things you want to do, and to make the best use of your time and budget. There is no obligation until you are ready to go ahead.

Your financial protection

By booking your trip with us you also benefit from our 100% financial protection and the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, or your plans change, our friendly experienced and resourceful travel specialists are here to help you.

Special offers

Special offers are often available (some are very generous) but they may only be open for short periods. Contact us to find out which offers are available now.

Cruise Starts Ends Nights Expedition Suite Arctic Superior Polar Outside Polar Inside