Stay far away from Hurtigruten cruises

Old May 4th, 2022, 08:12 AM
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Stay far away from Hurtigruten cruises

Hurtigruten Cruises—OUR ADVICE: CHOOSE A DIFFERENT COMPANY! Take your “inner explorer” elsewhere. We took the last cruise of the 2022 Antarctic season with Hurtigruten (Feb 28 to March 17). It turned out to be a COVID disaster for us and many others on the ship, MS Roald Amundsen, and Hurtigruten was completely disorganized, incompetent and unhelpful in its response.

After two pandemic years avoiding infection with the virus, 11 days on the ship was enough time for us to come down with COVID. We believe, upon good information, that COVID came onto the ship through the incompetence (and greed) of Hurtigruten. Thirteen passengers bound for the cruise were on the same plane from Europe to Santiago. When antigen tested before boarding in Punta Arenas, two of those passengers tested positive for COVID and were turned away. The other 11 passengers from the same airplane did not test positive and, despite exposure to COVID from the two who were positive, were allowed to board the ship without any further restrictions or period of quarantine. That we believe is how the virus arrived on the Amundsen.

Further, no efforts were made to enforce masking or social distancing on board. For example in the so-called Explorer Lounge, passengers would enter wearing masks but as soon as they were seated, usually within six feet of other non-affiliated passengers, they would remove the masks in order to consume coffee, etc. Thus an airborne disease is allowed to spread through a confined space. By day 11, both my wife and I tested positive and were sent to the so-called “Red Zone” on level four for quarantine. (I should say here that not everyone who was positive for COVID was sent to the Red Zone, since Hurtigruten soon ran out of space there and thus allowed some passengers to quarantine in their more comfortable original quarters.) Despite our many requests for information about the state of the illness on board so that we could understand what protective measures to take (e.g., remaining in our cabin), such as the number of infected passengers, Hurtigruten refused to give any information, claiming that such information was confidential which is of course absurd because we were not asking for the names of the ill passengers.

For those infected who were sent to the Red Zone, food was delivered to us cold and often inedible and by the end of our stay there, on sodden paper plates. Two times in each 24 hour period, we were allowed to go onto an outside deck of the back of the ship, filled with ship machinery, with other ill passengers for “fresh air”. I am 70 years old and my wife is in her 60s. Despite that, only once, early in our confinement in the Red Zone, did the incompetent so-called ship’s doctor knock at our door to determine if we were still alive; he appeared fully decked out in a HazMat suit, did not offer to enter our quarters and did not check our vital signs or even apply a pulse oximeter to determine if we were oxygenating appropriately.

As we arrived again in Punta Arenas, letters were distributed to the ship’s passengers. Incredibly enough, the letters conveyed the information that those passengers who did not get COVID, would be compensated by receiving either (passenger choice) a 40% reduction on a future Hurtigruten cruise or a 15% refund from the amount paid for the current cruise. Those of us who were infected with COVID on the ship were offered just one thing—-the advice to seek compensation from our travel insurance! I had several calls with members of the staff on the Amundsen about the crazy inequity of this arrangement and was told that it was a decision made by Hurtigruten corporate headquarters.

Insult followed injury. When the passengers were disembarked from the ship, the uninfected passengers went first, having been told to place their luggage outside the door of their cabin to be transferred by the staff to the buses awaiting below. Those of us who were sick/infected, having waited to leave our cabin until after the well were removed, had to carry our own bags to the first level and out to the buses. Imagine, the well were not to carry their bags but the sick had to do so. Very typical of the Hurtigruten experience. We were then taken by bus (35 COVID positive passengers—-we counted) to a “COVID quarantine hotel” (awful—-see our review on Trip Adviser). There we waited in queue for an hour in the cold outside (again, sick elderly people!) to be allowed to check in. I will not go into detail about the terrible COVID hotel experience except to say that Hurtigruten refused to pay for any part of it, and we were charged an additional 50% for early check-in at 11 am. We were told that there would be a “team” of Hurtigruten representatives at the hotel to facilitate; there was a single port agent who was not a Hurtigruten employee and did nothing whatsoever to “facilitate” anything. The final insult was that due to our need for additional quarantine time (Chile requires 7 days after a positive test), we missed the charter flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago that we had previously paid for as part of the Hurtigruten package so we had to purchase our own air tickets which of course Hurtigruten took no responsibility for, since we had made the mistake of getting COVID on their ship and thus obviously could not get on their charter flight.

DO NOT TAKE A HURTIGRUTEN CRUISE!
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Old May 4th, 2022, 11:52 AM
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I have fond memories of my one and only Hurtigruten cruise, up the coast of Norway, pre-Covid. I would definitely cruise with them again, but not right now.

From what I have read on cruisecritic.com, the only cruise company doing a good job of protecting cruisers and looking after them in quarantine is Viking. Viking has been testing every passenger, every day, and processing the tests on board. The others, not so much. If you want to find some fellow-sufferers, look up Ruby Princess.

If you choose to cruise right now, you are accepting a higher degree of risk than if you vacationed on shore.
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Old May 4th, 2022, 04:42 PM
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Reinforcing my point that the situation is not specific to Hurtigruten, this is about Carnival:

https://www.king5.com/article/news/l...4-42faa1cee184
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Old May 5th, 2022, 05:36 AM
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We had a very positive experience on Hurtigruten pre-COVID.
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Old May 6th, 2022, 11:55 AM
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https://www.cruzely.com/cruise-ship-...ossible-cases/

A few weeks ago, things were better, but more ships are dealing with Covid outbreaks now as it got worse after mask mandates were lifted and after Spring Break when families with kids filled the ships. This does not cover all ships and you have to interpret the specs, but it gives your at least some idea of what you might encounter on a cruise right now.

Because Hurtigruten does not port in the US, they do not have to report, so they are not listed, but some staff were fined last year for not following Covid protocols.
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Old May 6th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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That sounds exceedingly unfair, considering the cost of an Antarctic cruise. It is true that many cruise lines are now behaving badly toward their COVID-infected passengers.

I hope you did have trip insurance.

I'm glad I snuck in two cruises from my home port of Los Angeles when ships were at low capacity. I have recently heard of friends of friends being infected on a short repo cruise up to Canada. The current variants are nothing to mess with in a confined environment.

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Old May 7th, 2022, 06:45 AM
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Who owns Hurtigruten and from what country port are they based? Have heard great reviews of just-completed trans-atlantic via Oceania as well as Viking. Who in their right mind would cruise Carnival in these times, really?? They have always had issues pre-Covid!
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Old May 7th, 2022, 09:06 AM
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Hurtigruten is Norwegian. It started out carrying cargo and passengers between coastal communities that were not otherwise accessible. It still does so, but has branched out.

See: https://www.hurtigruten.com/group/about/history/
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Old May 7th, 2022, 09:34 AM
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Both Oceania and Viking have lost green status in the last few days and both have cases of Covid, so just because they are more expensive or exclusive than Carnival does not make them safer or more immune to the virus. Fewer passengers makes it perhaps seem less of a problem, but affected passengers went through some of the same issues. A few ships with each company have managed to keep Covid at bay for some cruises, but every line from luxury to cheap has been affected.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 07:57 PM
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Whatever you do stay away from the Ruby Princess!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/trave...rus-outbreaks/
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Old May 8th, 2022, 09:04 AM
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Yes, that's true, Sassafrass
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Old May 8th, 2022, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by aliced View Post
Yes, that's true, Sassafrass
I keep hoping for better news for cruising, but it has gotten worse. As a matter of fact, I was desperately hoping we could take a cruise during GD’s Spring Break this year. It had become a tradition. Didn’t happen for third year. Just speculation on my part, but Schools removing mask mandates coupled with Spring Break a week later and lots of families, with still unvaccinated children, cruising on some sold out ships overwhelmed ships’ staffs. 84% of ships using US ports did not have green status last week. I can’t see DH and me going onto a ship that already has known cases. I also think Princess was negligent to carry on with the next cruise when they knew they had so many cases. Add that passengers now roaming freely unmasked in ports can easily bring illness back onto the ship, then carry it onto people at the next port. I know being vaccinated and boosted helps, but not enough if you are immune compromised and I don’t want to spread it. I still want to cruise though.
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Old May 10th, 2022, 07:43 PM
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I'm so sorry you had such an awful experience. Shortly before the pandemic, I had one of the best trips of my life -- the Norwegian coast -- on Hurtigruten. They were more stringent about maintaining safety than any cruise I'd ever taken. You were not permitted into the dining rooms without sanitizing your hands--and remember, this was before COVID.

Just today, a friend returned from a Mediterranean cruise (I didn't ask the cruise line). He got quite sick and tested positive today, a few days after returning to the U.S. He said that 300 passengers tested positive and were left to quarantine in Barcelona. This is not a time when I would cruise with ANY cruise line.
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Old May 11th, 2022, 04:56 AM
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song doc, our experience on a Norwegian coastal cruise on Hurtigruten pre- COVID was also excellent. We have avoided cruises but that one was perfect for us.
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Old May 12th, 2022, 10:37 AM
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HappyTrvlr: <We have avoided cruises but that one was perfect for us.>

I felt the same.
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Old May 17th, 2022, 06:08 PM
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I also had a wonderful and memorable Norwegian cruise with Hurtigruten pre-Covid.

I think this is a bad time for cruising with any line, because you are somewhat a captive on a cruise and Covid has just increased that loss of autonomy that occurs when you board a ship.

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Old May 29th, 2022, 06:43 AM
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It is unrealistic right now to think that if you cruise you will avoid exposure. The tests can't pickup people exposed just before boarding or in ports. And I don't know how to eat or drink while wearing a mask. Wearing a mask and then removing it while you dine in an enclosed dining room is a crap shoot.

All you can hope for is that you are treated well while confined to quarantine. Many of the lines are overwhelmed right now with staffing shortages, in some cases of their own doing, they are trying to pack ships and had sent a lot of employees home at the end of contract and now are surprise that they are short (or maybe not surprised). COVID on board is underdisclosed (a lot of passengers testing themselves and not reporting). Quarantine complaints extend across many if not most lines, no matter their prior reputation.
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