MS Fridtjof Nansen
MS Fridtjof Nansen / Hurtigruten
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MS Fridtjof Nansen
MS Fridtjof Nansen / Hurtigruten
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Explorer Lounge
Explorer Lounge / Hurtigruten
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MS Fridtjof Nansen
MS Fridtjof Nansen / Hurtigruten
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MS Fridtjof Nansen
MS Fridtjof Nansen / Hurtigruten
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MS Fridtjof Nansen
Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

MS Fridtjof Nansen, the newest ship from Hurtigruten—which built its business with less-glamorous vessels designed to transport both freight and passengers along the coast of Norway before venturing into luxury expedition cruising—briefly joined the fleet in summer 2020 before being sidelined by the global pandemic. Sister ship to 2019’s MS Roald Amundsen, this 530-passenger twin, named for the Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian scientist and explorer who led the first crossing on Greenland on cross-country skis, offers identical onboard amenities, which include three restaurants serving elevated Scandinavian-inspired cuisine and a Pool Deck with an infinity pool and two hot tubs. Equally important is the vessel’s expedition-class construction and ice-class rating, which allows it to cruise to points well within the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, including Greenland and Baffin Island. And with its hybrid electric-powered engine system, MS Fridtjof Nansen achieves fuel consumption and carbon emission levels that are 20 percent below normal.

What We Love

Its Authentic Scandinavian Style: The moment you walk aboard you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. The ship’s sleek Scandinavian interior design—notably the modern décor done in birch, oak, wool and granite—transport you to a place where cold-weather adventuring is second nature. Especially inviting is the Explorer Lounge & Bar with its panoramic windows and the spacious co-ed sauna, which features a picture window for viewing the scenery outside. Each of the three restaurants have contemporary décor with Aune serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; Fredheim offering more casual international cuisine; and Lindstrom, featuring modern Norwegian/Nordic menus with dining complimentary for suite guests and an extra charge for other passengers. In addition, soft drinks and wine and beer are included at mealtime.

There’s Luxury Indoors and Out: Fancy a hot tub soak on your private terrace as you gaze up at the Northern Lights or pass islands inhabited solely by penguins? It’s possible if you splurge on a 215-to-323-square-foot Aft Corner Suite with Balcony. But even if you book one of the 161-to-205-square-foot Outside Cabins you’ll feel pampered—and you can easily head to the shared hot tubs on the Pool Deck for a steamy dip.

The Environmental Initiatives: Not only is MS Fridtjof Nansen the world’s second hybrid electric-powered expedition ship (like MS Roald Amundsen, it uses battery packs to support its engines and runs on clean diesel rather than heavy crude oil), but per Hurtigruten’s fleet-wide policy, it also operates without any single-use plastics onboard. Another green perk: battery-operated snowmobiles for emission-free land exploration.

Best Known For

Adventurous Itineraries: Whether it’s in the Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere, Hurtigruten’s MS Fridtjof Nansen can take you to places far, far from home: along the western coast of Greenland to Disko Bay; a circumnavigation of Iceland; and an adventure to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands. If you prefer warmer climates, the ship also has itineraries to South America and the Galapagos; the Azores and Madeira; and the British Isles and Faroe Islands.

Scientific Education: Hurtigruten calls it “edutainment in action” and it happens in the onboard Nansen Science Center with its interactive touch screens, microscopes, and high-tech gadgets. The center is home base for the team of scientists and expedition leaders who’ll provide information, give lectures, and even conduct onboard research and experiments.

Who It's Best For

Active Cruisers: Yes, you could simply enjoy MS Fridtjof Nansen’s posh surroundings as you gaze out at the wonders of nature, but to get your money’s worth from a far-flung Hurtigruten expedition cruise, you should ideally be in good shape. Not only can the ship encounter fairly rough seas, but shore excursions require the ability to get around in cold and sometimes wet conditions, load onto and off of inflatable zodiacs, and walk distances (at times wearing snowshoes or crampons) to observe wildlife or see natural landmarks.  

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

They Call It Expedition Cruising for a Reason: While Hurtigruten’s modern and luxurious ships make exploration deceptively comfortable, adverse weather conditions and unexpected ice mean expedition cruising remains an adventurous undertaking prone to unpredictable moments. To avoid disappointment, it’s best to keep expectations realistic. It won’t always be smooth sailing—and some port calls or highly anticipated activities may need to be cancelled.

There’s No Music of the Night: If you enjoy listening to a lounge singer or watching a Broadway production after dinner, you’ll be out of luck. As you sip a cocktail in the Explorer Lounge the sole entertainment will be you engaging in conversation with your fellow passengers—or opting to attend evening lectures by onboard experts.

Donna Heiderstadt
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger