Roald Amundsen exterior
Roald Amundsen exterior / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen science center
Roald Amundsen science center / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen pool deck
Roald Amundsen pool deck / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen Explorers Lounge
Roald Amundsen Explorers Lounge / Courtesy of the cruise line
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 Roald Amundsen lecture hall
Roald Amundsen lecture hall / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen expedition launch pad
Roald Amundsen expedition launch pad / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen Expedition Suite
Roald Amundsen Expedition Suite / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen stateroom
Roald Amundsen stateroom / Courtesy of the cruise line
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Roald Amundsen restaurant
Roald Amundsen restaurant / Courtesy of the cruise line
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MS Roald Amundsen

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

MS Roald Amundsen, launched in 2019 by Oslo-based Hurtigruten — which has a 130-year heritage of coastal Norway cruising with its sturdy fleet of purpose-built vessels — definitely added some high gloss and polish to expedition cruising. Offering a range of adventurous itineraries in Antarctica, South America, Alaska, and the Northwest Passage, this 530-guest vessel offers all the comforts and amenities of a luxury-class small ship, including three beautifully designed restaurants and an inviting deck with an infinity pool with two hot tubs. 

Yet these amenities come with the added benefit of expedition-class construction and an ice-class rating that enables it to cruise into places other small ships can’t access. Better still, thanks to its first-of-its-kind hybrid electric-powered engine system, the ship's fuel consumption and carbon emissions have been reduced by 20%. As of 2024, MS Roald Amundsen is part of Hurtigruten Group’s rebranded HX expedition division.

What We Love

It’s an Expedition Ship with Style: With its sleek, neutral-hued Scandinavian interior design — think contemporary furnishings in birch, oak, wool, and granite — and striking art collection (there’s even a series of three paintings by Norway’s Queen Sonja in the Lindstrom specialty restaurant), this ship named for the Norwegian explorer who was the first man to reach the South Pole has taken expedition cruising to remote destinations up a notch. Guests can relax in the welcoming Explorer Lounge & Bar and dine in three restaurants featuring modern decor: Aune, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Fredheim offering more casual “street food” menus; and specialty restaurant Lindstrom, which is complimentary for suite guests and an extra charge for all other passengers. Soft drinks and wine and beer are included at mealtime. To relax, guests can head for the dry warmth of the spacious co-ed sauna, which features a picture window view of the passing scenery outside.

The Green Initiatives: In addition to being the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship (incorporating battery packs to support the engines and using clean diesel rather than heavy crude for fuel), MS Roald Amundsen also operates without any single-use plastics onboard — a policy Hurtigruten put in place fleet-wide in July 2018 to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The ship also carries battery-operated snowmobiles for emission-free land exploration.

The Aft Corner Expedition Suites: If you have the big bucks to cruise the Arctic in one these 212-to-323-square-foot suites, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the Northern Lights from the privacy of a spacious outdoor deck with a hot tub. But even the 161-to-205-square-foot Outside Cabins feel posh — and all feature a cozy wool blanket inspired by the one Amundsen used on his polar expedition.

The Helly Hansen for Hurtigruten Jackets: Every guest on an expedition cruise gets one of these bright red waterproof jackets with a yellow hood, which were specially designed for explorers.  

Best Known For

Focus on Education: Want to learn about the biology of Antarctica? Curious about sea ice and glaciers? MS Roald Amundsen’s onboard Amundsen Science Center, which is loaded with touch screens, microscopes, and high-tech gadgets and staffed by a team of scientists and expedition leaders, is a hive of information, lectures, and even onboard research and experiments.

Antarctica, Alaska, Central America and Northwest Passage Itineraries: From November to March, MS Roald Amundsen explores Antarctica, the Chilean Fjords, and the Falklands. In the spring, destinations include South America, Central America, and Mexico. The ships spends the summer months sailing from Vancouver to Alaska on itineraries ranging from 7 to 17 nights in length (calling on spots that most other cruise lines don’t, such as the Aleutian Islands) before offering a Northwest Passage itinerary from Alaska to Greenland.

Who It's Best For

Active Couples or Friends:  The posh surroundings can be deceiving. To get the most from an HX expedition cruise, one should be fairly agile and in good shape. Seas can be rough and shore activities require the ability to get around in cold and sometimes wet conditions, load onto and off of inflatable zodiacs, and walk distances (sometimes wearing snowshoes or crampons) to observe wildlife.   

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

There’s No Nightly Entertainment: Yes, you can sip a lovely Argentine Malbec or a crisp martini in the Explorer Lounge before or after dinner, but don’t expect any live musical entertainment as an accompaniment. Instead, the cruise line encourages passengers to attend evening lectures and engage in meaningful conversation about their experiences ashore.

Expedition Cruising Can Be Filled with Unexpected Adventure: Whether it’s adverse weather conditions or dealing with inevitable kinks in a new type of propulsion system, expedition cruising is at best unpredictable — so guests should keep expectations realistic. Some ports may be missed, and it won’t always be smooth sailing.

Donna Heiderstadt
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger
Cruise Expert