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    Hurtigruten MS FramHurtigruten, the Norway-based expedition cruise line known for its adrenalin-inducing, off-the-beaten-path itineraries (plying the waters to destinations like Greenland and Spitsbergen), has announced three itineraries for the coming Antarctic cruise season that will venture further south into the White Continent than most of its competitors. Setting out on the MS Fram – the cruise line’s newest ship (it debuted in 2007) – the sailings will trace the same route to Antarctica first followed by Norwegian explorers to the South Pole back in 1912 (the first successful party to reach the pole, the crew had in fact traveled onboard a ship touting the very same name).
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    The intimate MS Fram is the most luxurious of the Hurtigruten vessels, and the sole craft in the line’s 13-ship fleet designed specifically with polar expeditions in mind. During a rare stop in NYC over the weekend (pictured above, docked on the Hudson River), I was able to catch a glimpse of the beauty firsthand, and though the onboard offerings were basic as compared to the over-the-top city-at-sea cruise ships that the American traveler might be used to (à la “fun ship”), the restaurant (known for its sumptuous Scandinavian fare), saunas, duo of outdoor Jacuzzis, and observation lounge make for comfortable common areas in which to ponder the impending adventure. Of the 128 cabins, the Grand Suites are downright splurge-worthy with spacious digs and a private verandah area (they’re the only cabins on the ship with balconies).


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    Of course, the MS Fram aside, this Hurtigruten expedition can’t be beat in its offerings to the intrepid travelers. Once reaching Antarctica, guests can expect outings on PolarCirkel crafts for even closer encounters with the glorious glaciers and wondrous wildlife that define the continent. Priced from $6,237, the cruises will range in length from 13 to 22 days; rates are inclusive of round-trip airfare to Buenos Aires from JFK or Miami, flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, pre- and post-cruise accommodations in Buenos Aires, land excursions, and more.


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    For more information, visit www.hurtigruten.us.

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