Smooth Sail­ing

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - Features -

The ship it­self is un­pre­ten­tiously el­e­gant in its sim­plic­ity. Hur­tigruten aptly de­liv­ers cruise com­fort with­out dis­plays of ex­trav­a­gance. Spa­cious pub­lic ar­eas have ex­cel­lent sight lines to the amaz­ing views along the way, and stylish fur­nish­ings through­out the lounges add to the clas­sic feel of the ves­sel. Req­ui­site pam­per­ing is de­liv­ered by gen­uine staff and life’s sim­ple plea­sures are hon­ored with on­deck hot tubs or a wel­com­ing sauna ses­sion to warm the soul. Ditch ex­pec­ta­tions of glitzy en­ter­tain­ment and in­stead fo­cus on Mother Na­ture’s pro­duc­tion show of stun­ning scenery. Rather than em­pha­siz­ing the thread count of li­nens or the lux­u­ries of in­dul­gence, this cruise earns its well-de­served ku­dos from the ex­pe­ri­ences and mem­o­ries of a life­time.

Grap­pling with the chal­lenges of Antarc­tic sur­vival is a daily rit­ual for the lo­cal wildlife, but trans­lates into an en­ter­tain­ing show for us.

The ship’s ac­com­mo­da­tions make an ap­peal to ev­ery lifestyle and bud­get. Grandiose suites with pri­vate bal­conies of­fer the al­lure of ex­trav­a­gance for plea­sure seek­ers, and 10 grand suites of­fer floor- to- ceil­ing bay win­dows com­ple­ment­ing up­scale cruise lux­ury. If bud­get con­cerns en­ter into the mix, an as­sort­ment of more mod­est state­rooms pro­vide value.

When hunger beck­ons, the main din­ing room an­swers with boun­ti­ful break­fasts that fuel bod­ies for a day of out­door ex­plo­ration, and ca­sual lunch buf­fets of­fer a va­ri­ety of dishes for mid­day crav­ings. Evening din­ners are mixed be­tween buf­fets and sit-down ser­vice and lean to­ward cur­rent trends, and an al­ter­nate venue pro­vides an in­ti­mate din­ing premise with more elab­o­rate menu de­signs.

One note­wor­thy spot on board for am­ple view­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties is the large, two-story panorama lounge above the bow with wall-to-wall win­dows that let in nat­u­ral light and pro­vide ex­tra­or­di­nary views.

In­deed, Antarc­tica is a per­pet­u­ally evolv­ing land­scape with re­lent­less at­tributes of sur­real scenery that sup­plies a min­den­hanc­ing po­tion of na­ture. Hur­tigruten as­sumes an ex­tremely proac­tive role in its IAATO mem­ber­ship, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that ad­vo­cates en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble prac­tices as­sur­ing that the ecosys­tem and its abun­dant wildlife is not threat­ened or over­whelmed.

Cruis­ing Antarc­tica is not so much sail­ing to­ward a spe­cific des­ti­na­tion, but trav­el­ing into the con­ti­nent with com­plete im­mer­sion into the sur­round­ings. There is some­thing mag­i­cal about the mul­ti­di­men­sional white blan­ket of ice and snow, dor­mant in a golden si­lence that stirs the soul. There may not be any roads, but there are av­enues of dis­cov­ery in ev­ery nau­ti­cal mile of this ad­ven­tur­ous ex­pe­di­tion cruise. Bliss­fully calm but never bor­ing, this iso­lated con­ti­nent will rock your world with spon­ta­neous sights avail­ing them­selves ac­cord­ing to the whims of na­ture.

Gala­pa­gos sea lion

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