Antarctica: Penguins, Icebergs & Polar Exploration - 2017

Buenos Aires • Antarctica • Ushuaia

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Travel Notes



Before You Go

From money matters to packing tips, we’ve got all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming Vantage journey. Just click on an item below to read more about it.

Passports & Visas


Planning your trip

Your trip will be here before you know it! Here's some information specific to the destinations you'll be visiting to help you prepare for your journey.

Travel Documentation

The following information applies to U.S.citizens only. Those traveling on other than a U.S. passport are required to contact the embassies or consulates of the countries to be visited for further information and special requirements.

A valid passport is required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada and the U.S. effective January 8, 2007. This is a change from prior travel requirements and does affect any U.S. citizen entering the United States from countries within the Western Hemisphere. This new requirement will also affect Canadian citizens that travel by air to embark in U.S. ports. Expired passports are not acceptable and passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the scheduled return date of your vacation.

Passport and Visa

The following information applies to United States citizens only. Those traveling on other than a United States passport should contact the embassies or consulates of the countries they are visiting for further information and special requirements.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the scheduled return date of your vacation. Bring with you a photocopy of the pages of your passport that contain your personal information and extra passport photographs. These are useful in the event of loss.

Country Passport Visa
Argentina Y N
Brazil (extension) Y Y
Antarctica Y N

Passport

  • Must be valid for at least 6 months following your scheduled departure. 
  • Should be in good condition.
  • Bring a photocopy of the pages of your passport that contains your personal information with you and extra passport photographs. These are useful in the event of loss.

Visa requirements

Uruguay: No visa required for Uruguay.

BrazilA Brazilian visa is required prior to your arrival. Information will be sent 100 days prior to your departure. Please refer to Generations Visa at www.genvisa.com/vantage for up-to-date requirements and application fees. It may take 2 months or more to obtain the visa, and it is impossible for Vantage Adventures to speed the process along. 

NOTE: Argentina and Brazil (if post-extension) do require visas for U.S. passport holders:

NOTES:

  • For up-to-date information, please visit Generation Visa at http://www.genvisa.com/vantage
  • Non-U.S. citizens or passport holders, it is your responsibility to contact your local embassy or consulate for requirements which will vary from those above.

Tipping

Suggested tipping guidelines in USD:

  • Adventure Leader: $8-$14 per person, per day
  • Local Guide: $2-$3 per person per day                                                                   
  • Driver: $1-$2 per person per day
  • Portage at Hotels and Restaurants: Tips to luggage porters & included meals will be taken care by your Adventure Leader. 

Onboard expedition cruise ship ms Fram

  • Crew & Staff: $12 per person per day approx

Vaccinations

Post-extension ONLY: The Brazilian Ministry of Health is advising all travelers who are going to regions with risk of yellow fever receive the yellow fever vaccine. It is not required but recommended for Iguassu. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov or call toll-free 1 (800) 232-4636. Presently, there are no required vaccines for the base trip. Questions may be directed to the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel or by phone at 1-800-232-4636

Precautions

  • Do not drink the tap water at hotels, but the water IS safe for brushing your teeth. One bottle of water per person per day will be provided, as will most meals.
  • Drink plenty of bottled fluids, bring vitamins or supplements if you use them at home, and take precautions in the sun. Pre-moistened, individually antibacterial hand gel is also recommended.
  • Be sure to bring insect repellent (preferably with DEET), especially if you are joining the extension to Iguassu Falls.
  • Due to the rough sailing conditions of Drake Passage, you will need to check with your doctor for best options on seasickness medication options, as some of them could have negative side-effects
  • Bear in mind that you’ll be onboard a ship for many days, nowhere near a pharmacy, so please bring enough supplies along with the generic names of all your medication. 

Climate/Time Zone


Time Differences

Country
Time Difference
Argentina +2 hours
Brazil +2 hours
Antarctica + hours

Note: The above times are based on Eastern Standard Time.

Traveling to South America is very convenient, as you will not have to cross many time zones. Therefore you’ll suffer no jetlag upon arrival from your overnight flights.  

Climate

Keep in mind that the Southern Hemisphere is in the exact opposite season to you. You will be visiting during austral summer, so expect 15-20 hours of daylight in Antarctica and temperatures to be in the 30s depending on the month and wind conditions. Days will get longer and temperatures will decrease the further you head south (check temperatures below by destination in Fahrenheit.) 

Since weather is unpredictable, please use this chart as a general guideline and check weather sites online for 10-day forecasts closer to your departure date to plan your packing accordingly.

Average High/Low Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Jan Feb Mar Oct Nov Dec
Buenos Aires H 85 82 79 85 85 85
L 64 63 59 51 55 61
Iguassu Falls H 88 88 86 81 84 86
L 71 71 68 63 65 69
Ushuaia H 57 58 55 52 54 56
L 41 41 38 35 36 39
Deception Island H 37 37 35 31 32 36
L 31 31 29 23 25 30

Money Matters


Country Unit of Currency
Argentina Argentine peso
Get Exchange Rate
Brazil Brazilian real
Get Exchange Rate
Antarctica  n/a
Get Exchange Rate

  • ATMs are widely used in South America (there might be bank fees for using the ATM)
  • You MUST NOTIFY your bank with the exact dates of your trip to be able to use ATM and credit cards (otherwise the ATM may not return your card since your transaction may be deemed suspicious.
  • Credit cards are widely accepted at restaurants and some stores.
  • Major credit cards are accepted onboard the ms Fram.
  • Currency onboard is NOK – Norwegian Kroner.
  • Travelers checks are not recommended, as they cannot be easily cashed.
  • Cash (in USD) is still the most convenient and widely accepted currency in South America: Bring small bills (1s, 5s and 10s) for small tips and purchases. Bring $100 bills to exchange for local currency, as you will get better exchange rate

Be sure the bills are not torn or dirty; bills in poor condition won’t be accepted.

Argentina's Currency

The unit of currency in Argentina is the peso, divided into 100 centavos. Banknote and coin denominations are as follows:

  • Banknotes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and the new 200 and 500 pesos
  • Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos, 1 peso

Brazil 's Currency (POST-EXTENSION)

The unit of currency in Brazil is the real, divided into 100 centavos. Banknote and coin denominations are as follows:

  • Banknotes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 reais
  • Coins: 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos; 1 real

Exchanging Money

Money can be changed at some hotels (not at the best rates, however), banks or exchange offices known as Casas de Cambio. They are typically open during regular American banking hours on weekdays, and some hours on weekends. Your Adventure Leader will assist you on this matter upon your arrival.

How much to bring?

We suggest bringing $400-$500 per person in U.S. cash; bring even more if you are planning on shopping.

Meals

In major cities, allow about $13-$20 for lunches and $25-$35 for dinners that are not included in your adventure.  



Packing Guidelines


What to Pack

Items can be expensive to buy once in South America, and sizes will create additional issues. Please take everything you are likely to need other than food, especially medicines and health supplies like contact lenses, insect repellent and SPF. If you are bringing these items in a carry-on bag, please make sure they are in containers of 3 oz. or less. 

Please visit us online at www.vantageadventures or www.vantageadventurestore.com for a selection of products that may be helpful as you determine the packing list that’s best for you. The following suggestions are also available online by referencing the “Before You Go” section of our website. 

This adventure is casual since the ms Fram is an expedition vessel. Comfortable and casual clothing is recommended while on board the ship and when you’re ashore. Slacks, sweaters, turtlenecks, etc. are suggested for both men and women. Appropriate footwear includes at least one or two pairs of deck-type, rubber-soled shoes such as crocs. Air is a very good insulator. Therefore, if you trap air in several layers of clothing, you have a better chance of staying warm than if you wear one or two very heavy items. You will also be able to add or subtract layers more easily to remain comfortable at all times. Wool and silk are superior to cotton because they can trap warm air. Synthetic fabrics that spring back into shape after being compressed are also good. Polypropylene and Polar fleece gloves, turtlenecks and pants may be purchased from most outdoor stores.

NOTE: The 2 heaviest items you will need in Antarctica will be complimentary for you onboard the ms Fram so you do not have to worry about them:

1-    RUBBER BOOTS: Waterproof boots are essential gear for your shore excursions on the “White Continent.” These will be typical pull-in rubber, unlined, waterproof knee-high boots with strong rubber-ridged nonskid soles. Your pants should fit over your boots to maximize dryness. 

2-    PARKA: a hooded hi-tech parka

Suggested Packing List

  • Bringing the right clothing for this trip is very important, since you will not be able to participate in the excursions unless you are properly dressed for Antarctic conditions.
  • This is one of the more challenging trips for packing, since your adventure starts in Buenos Aires and ends in Montevideo with temperatures reaching the mid-80s F. However, in Antarctica temperatures will drop to the low 30s or 40s depending on wind factors! And if you join us on the Iguassu Falls extension, temperatures will reach the high 90s with very high humidity due to the tropical climate.   
  • For Antarctica, the key is wearing layers to stay warm and comfortable. Wool and silk are superior to cotton as they can trap warm air. Synthetic fabrics such as Polar fleece and polypropylene are excellent for gloves, turtlenecks, etc.

Packing essentials:

  • High-quality pull-on waterproof rain pants – these are a MUST. You will not be allowed to participate in the landings or cruise in the Zodiacs without these. The pants must be big enough to fit the long insulated underwear you’ll need to wear underneath them, and you must be able to zip the pants over your boots
  • Waterproof mittens or gloves (we highly recommended you get 1 pair of lightweight glove liners for warmth + 1 pair of waterproof mittens to go over them for avoiding spray while onboard the Zodiacs) 
  • Warm socks (several pairs as you may be wearing 2 pairs at a time)
  • Warm pants to be worn under waterproof pants – for example polypropylene , wool slacks, corduroy or jeans. Thermal or silk underwear is highly recommended for comfort.
  • Sweatshirts and turtlenecks are good insulators, and work best if they’re made of silk.
  • Light fleece/soft shell or wool sweater
  • Woolen hat, scarf or neck gaiters (some people bring earmuffs)
  • High U/V sunglasses and sunscreen. The glare from the water, snow and ice can be very penetrating even with the most overcast skies. Get sunglasses with protection from the wind. Some people prefer ski goggles (which are only used in very windy conditions)
  • Day pack for camera and layers since you must have both hands free
  • Binoculars

 

For the land portion of the trip and the extension to Iguassu Falls, temperatures may reach the high 90s F with high humidity:

  • 1 short-sleeved cotton shirt — for sun protection as well as for warmth

insect shield shirts, pants and mosquito nets are recommended for Iguassu Falls National Park

Lightweight safari-style convertible trousers that zip off at the knee to be worn as shorts. They are available at most outdoor outfitting and clothing stores. Also consider taking one pair of smart casual-style trousers that you can wear for evenings out, as we will be staying mostly in cities.

  • 1 pair of walking shorts
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • 5 or 6 changes of underwear
  • Safety neck wallet or money belt to protect your valuables
  • Sundries and toiletries

FOOTWEAR

  • While onboard, deck-type, rubber-soled shoes such as crocs have proven to be very comfortable and safe. Keep in mind you will be given rubber boots onboard the ship for landings in Antarctica.
  • Comfortable walking or running shoes for the cities.
  • If you’re taking the extension to Iguassu Falls, sport sandals are highly recommended for walking the metal catwalks. Good brands include Tevas, Nike, and Merrell.

Here are suggested items:

  • Hiking poles for Antarctica
  • Swimsuit (especially for those taking the Iguassu Falls extension)
  • Travel alarm
  • Travel journal/note pad
  • Extra pair of reading glasses (these are expensive to buy in South America)
  • Washcloth
  • Earplugs & eye cover masks (due to long daylight)

Flight Information


Flight Information

When planning your flights, Vantage considers each airline's reputation for quality, service, and routing options to the destination. Vantage selects flights that both serve our groups' needs and ensure the best balance of quality and cost. Our flight team members will do their utmost to select flights that will get you to your destination as quickly and easily as possible.

First and Business Class Airfare Upgrades
Many of our programs offer first and/or Business Class upgrades, for more information, please visit our FlightChoice page.

Vantage encourages you to check current airport security regulations well in advance of travel, as rules may have changed since your last trip. For the latest information on airline security guidelines and boarding procedures, please visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web site.

While on Tour


While on Tour

The information below applies in general to Vantage cruises. .

Briefing sessions

Prior to arriving at most ports, your Vantage Cruise Director will conduct an informative briefing concerning the daily schedule, local customs, and the included features of the program. It is strongly advised that all tour members attend the briefings.

Extending Your Trip

Vantage offers specially arranged pre- and post-extensions on many of our river cruises. See specific river cruises for details.

Additionally, if you would like to do some exploring on your own, either before or after your cruise, Vantage can help arrange the details. In most cases, your flights can be adjusted for an earlier arrival date or a later return date. A non-refundable administrative fee will be assessed, plus any additional costs that may apply to the air ticket and hotel. Transfers to and from your hotel are not included when traveling independent of a Vantage group. Please ask a Vantage Sales Representative for additional details. Note also that some airline contracts may exclude changes to routing.

NOTE: Should you wish to make any changes to your plans to extend your trip, please do so no later than 60 days prior to your scheduled date of departure. Change and cancellation penalties apply to changes made after airline tickets have been issued.

Your Health & Comfort

Vantage wants you to have a safe, healthy, and happy journey. Our river cruises are planned to combine just the right amount of activity and leisure.

For personal medical attention while on your river cruise, your Vantage Cruise Director can refer you to reliable physicians in the cities on your tour.

Please note that Medicare and U.S health insurance are generally not accepted in foreign destinations. If you have an insurance claim, it should be made upon your return to the USA and filed through your health insurance provider or through the Vantage Travel Protection Plan if you have purchased it. Keep relevant receipts and doctors' reports for processing your claim.

Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. Upon arrival your body must quickly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, and vague disorientation. You cannot completely avoid jet lag but you can minimize it. Here's how:

  • Try to sleep on overnight flights
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before - and during - your flight
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner

Pace of the Journey

Vantage Journeys are planned to provide a well-balanced mix of activities and free time. Certain journeys, however, may prove to be more challenging than others, particularly for passengers with physical limitations.

Passengers with physical difficulties or concerns about the pace of the travel program should contact their Vantage Customer Relations Representative for tips on which travel programs best suit their individual needs and abilities. See also Medical Issues, below.

Your Personal Safety

Please keep in mind that in any tourist destination, you need to be aware of your surroundings. We recommend that you use a money protector that can be worn around your neck. Flashy jewelry should be left at home. Never place your camera or purse down, or hang it on the back of your chair. Although incidents of theft and pickpocketing while on tour are rare, it is important to be cautious and aware.

Medical Issues

Click here to read important information about travelers with physical, emotional, or mental conditions that may require professional attention or the use of special equipment. "Medical Issues" information also appears in the "Tour Participation Agreement - Terms and Conditions" found on our website and printed on the back of your Vantage invoice.

Hotels

If your Vantage journey includes a stay in a hotel, please note that Vantage makes every effort to reserve only hotels that offer well-appointed rooms and a convenient location. We remind you that quality of accommodations may vary from destination to destination. Vantage strives to provide the best hotels available that meet our standards of quality.

How We Rate Our Hotels

While some tour companies devise their own ratings systems (based on their particular standards), Vantage ranks hotels based on the industry-accepted classifications published by the Hotel & Travel Index - the travel industry standard.

Deluxe/Moderate Deluxe ***** Outstanding accommodations in every way, offering superior service, facilities, and location.

Superior First-Class ****+ Above average accommodations, with many special amenities, including more restaurants, shops, and usually a fitness center.

First-Class/Moderate First-Class **** Comfortable, well-equipped standard rooms with private bath and attractive public areas and amenities.

Please Note: In some areas where the hotels aren't rated, it's often due to the fact that the hotel may be too new, too remote, or too small. However, the hotel where you stay has been inspected and approved by Vantage personnel.

Religious Services

At Vantage, we count individuals from all walks of life and all religious denominations among our customers. Although we do not offer religious services on our travel programs, services may be available in the cities and towns you visit while on tour. Your Vantage Cruise Director can advise you when religious services are available. Please keep in mind that not all religious denominations have a presence in every travel destination. We cannot guarantee the availability of religious services.

Shopping

Shopping for local merchandise is always a part of the travel experience. We are aware that local guides do recommend shops on their tours. Always keep in mind that a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. Always keep receipts and credit card copies. Shipping should always include insurance in the event of breakage. Some credit cards such as American Express also include insurance protection for purchases, but it is best to check with your card issuer for any insurance that may be included when you use your card.

Sightseeing & Cultural Connections

Vantage offers a variety of included sightseeing tours and special cultural events to enrich your travel experience and bring you "closer to the world." Our tours are specially designed for Vantage travelers. They let you feel the atmosphere, gain a cultural understanding, and become a part of the area you are visiting. They include all transportation and the services of expert local guides.

Optional Excursions

Vantage makes every effort to provide the right balance of both included activities and time for exploring on your own. We've found, however, that many of our passengers prefer an additional guided activity in lieu of free time. For that reason, some of our river cruises may include a limited number of optional tours and activities, which you may choose to take at a moderate fee. In no case do we replace an included sightseeing tour with an optional tour. Optional tours are strictly voluntary, providing you with the opportunity to visit an attraction that you may not see otherwise.

Transfers

All transfers between airport and hotel/pier are included when purchasing Vantage air. However, travelers purchasing their own airline tickets will be responsible for their own round-trip transfers to and from the airport/hotel/pier based on the itinerary.

Travel Itinerary

Each Vantage River Cruise is planned with two criteria in mind: It must be an interesting destination and the tour must offer good quality at an exceptional value.

Although everything is planned well in advance of your departure, our ultimate goal is to ensure that each departure is enjoyable, interesting, and safe. Therefore, the day-by-day itinerary provided is subject to change depending upon local conditions. If any significant changes occur in advance of your departure, Vantage will notify you by phone or by mail. If changes occur while on tour, your Vantage Cruise Director or local representative will notify you.

Your Vantage Cruise Director

During your river cruise you'll be accompanied by an experienced, English-speaking Vantage Cruise Director. You will also benefit from the insights of Regional Expert guides. Both your Cruise Director and Regional Experts can give you suggestions on the best restaurants, shops, and local sights; help coordinate optional tours and excursions; and assist in any manner possible.

Vantage Hospitality Desk

For your convenience, a Vantage Hospitality Desk will be available during scheduled hours aboard your ship (staffed by an experienced team of local travel professionals or by your Vantage Cruise Director). The desk hours vary, depending on your daily scheduling. Tour members will be advised of the desk.


MISCELLANEOUS

Electricity: Electricity is 220 volts in South America. Onboard the ms Fram, all outlets will be for 220v two-rounded European prongs.

Internet: Most hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi in their lobbies and in other social areas, and it’s usually available in guest rooms for a charge. There is an Internet café on board and access to it may be purchased at reception. Wi-Fi can be accessed pretty much throughout the whole ship.

Telecommunications: U.S. cell phones can be used in South America with different roaming charges depending on you plan, reaching up to $5USD per minute. There are phone booths (locutorios) in downtown areas that are more convenient. All cabins are equipped with a telephone. In order to call from the ship, a card has to be purchased at the reception desk. To call the U.S. dial 001, followed by the area code and number. If you are unable to connect, dial 119-1, followed by the area code and number. 

Photography: This adventure is a photographer’s dream. If you have semi or professional equipment, you definitely want to bring it. But please make sure:

  • You bring everything you need to protect you equipment from harsh conditions
  • You have 2 sets of extra batteries and memory
  • Telephoto lenses highly recommended for bird photography from onboard ship
  • You bring a small point-and-shoot camera for city tours so your professional equipment is safe. When not using your camera, always keep it in your pocket, in a case attached to your belt, or hanging on a strap around your neck.

Weights and measures: South America uses the metric system.

Postal services: Postcards can be purchased at souvenir shops in tourist areas as well as stamps. Post may take several weeks to reach the U.S. There is a mailbox at ms Fram reception.

Onboard the ms Fram

The ms Fram was built in 2017 as an expedition vessel with chart-drawing tools, a ship depth-sounding database, extractable forward-sounding sonar, iceberg search lights, an autonomous tracking system, an oversized oil retention system for self-sufficiency, and a full “expedition tools-deck” - equivalent to a car-deck that holds 25 vehicles. As an explorer, you need an “expedition base-camp” that is comfortable – something that combines “all ocean-capabilities” with safety, flexibility and environmental friendliness. That’s the ms Fram – simply the best expedition ship imaginable.

The observation lounge, with comfortable sitting areas at the top of the ship featuring large panoramic windows, gives you incredible views of nature. A pair of binoculars is installed for spotting wildlife and details of the ever-changing landscape.

In the restaurant on deck 5, you can enjoy fine cuisine. The floor has different levels, so no matter where your table is placed, there are views to the outdoors. The restaurant is located in the aft of the ship, and on your way there, you’ll walk through an exhibition of original artifacts from the historic expeditions of Amundsen and Nansen. At the far end of the restaurant, there is a balcony for taking pictures when wildlife show up during a meal. On Deck 7, you will find a well-equipped fitness room - with its panoramic ocean view, you’ll find no better place to exercise. On top of the ship, you can get warm and cozy in the sauna or bathe in one of the outdoor Jacuzzis. Let the warm water surround you while icebergs float silently past the sides of the ship.

With 127 cabins on the ms Fram, you have a choice of comfortable cabins and a number of superior suites to choose from. Our suites are named after Norwegian polar heroes, and the ms Fram travels in the wake of these great explorers. We are very proud of the art commissioned for the ms Fram – local artists from the Arctic have contributed to making the ship a modern masterpiece. The “tender pit” is where we embark, fully dressed in suitable expedition and excursion gear, on our sturdy Polarcirkel boats that will take you safely from ship to shore. 

MS FRAM factsheet

  • Built: Italy in 2007
  • Speed: 13 knots
  • Passenger Capacity: 318 (only 200 for Antarctica)
  • Crew: 130 (80 for Antarctica)
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Length: 114 meters/3,420 feet
  • Beam: 20.2 meters/606 feet
  • Tonnage: 11,600 tons  

Communication

All cabins are equipped with a telephone. In order to call from the ship, a card has to be purchased at the reception desk.

There is an Internet café on board and access may be purchased at reception. Wireless access is only available in the Deck 4 reception area. There is no connection in cabins and suites. Please note that the connection is a 516 MB line and that both Internet and telephones from time to time will be out of range due to the vessel’s geographic  location. There is a mailbox at reception for postcards.


Dress Code

The dress code aboard the ship is casual and you are not expected to dress formally for meals.Once aboard ship, all passengers will be given a complimentary wind- and waterproof jacket (sizes XS to XXXL) and will be lent one pair of rubber boots to wear during landings in Antarctica. Various boot sizes are available on board.

Dining Information

At breakfast and lunch, the ship serves a buffet of international specialties, while a three-course meal is served at the tables for dinner. Some nights, buffet dinners will be served. A selection of wines is available for purchase at lunch and dinner. There is bar service (cost not included) with a selection of spirits, wines, beers, and soft drinks, and a lounge with coffee service. The exact hours for meals will be given on board.

Q: What about special dietary requirements?

Please advise Vantage Adventures at the time of your booking if you have special dietary requirements. The chefs will do their best to meet your dietary requirements.

Q: Can I bring alcoholic beverages?

NO. Guests are respectfully reminded that only beverages bought from the ship’s restaurants and bars can be consumed on board. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports-of-call and from onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of sailing. According to Norwegian law, persons over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase beer and wine. Spirits are only available to persons over 20 years old.

Q: Is there a bar service?

The ship has a bar service offering spirits, wines, soft drinks at a charge.

Special Meal Requests

The ship is able to accommodate a variety of special dietary requirements, including low salt, low fat, gluten-free, and diabetic meals, provided that requests are received by Vantage prior to departure. Please submit any special dietary requests at the time of booking, then confirm with the Reception Desk once on board. We regret the ship is unable to guarantee special requests, and is not equipped to prepare or serve kosher or halal cuisine.


Medical

There is an English-speaking doctor and nurse on board at all times, and the ms Fram features a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle emergencies. In serious emergencies, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations, as well as medicines, will be charged to the passenger. The price for consultation is approximately 285 NOK (as of print time).

In the case of a medical emergency in Antarctica, the only means of evacuation is by airplane to the city of Punta Arenas, Chile, as there are no hospital facilities in Antarctica. This is very expensive and dependent on favorable weather conditions. Therefore, comprehensive travel/health insurance is a MUST. Remember to bring sufficient medication to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labeled and with clear instructions for its use, in case the ship’s doctor needs to apply it in the case of an emergency. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor. Illness on board can lead to quarantine, and orders from ship’s doctor and captain must be followed.

Travel/health insurance, including evacuation coverage, is MANDATORY for this adventure

Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty System, the ship is required to carry medical information regarding all passengers. Prior to departure, a confidential medical information report will be mailed to you to fill out and bring with you at the time of embarkation. Every section of this form must be completed, and the form must be signed by a doctor.


Safety & Regulations

The ship complies with all safety requirements, and is classified as a polar vessel suitable for sailing in icy waters. Upon arrival aboard ship, all passengers will be instructed in safety procedures, as well as the use and location of the safety equipment. There is a safety plan situated on the inside of each cabin door. We stress the importance of becoming acquainted with the ship’s safety plan. Special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Polarcirkel boats. Please follow the instructions given by the expedition leader and crew/staff. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be handed out to all passengers before the first landing. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given.

The ms Fram complies with ISPS (International Ship and Port Security System) regulations, and all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection upon arrival at the port facility or ship. You are kindly asked to keep this in mind when packing your luggage for the voyage. ISPS regulations also include hand baggage scans in all ports of call throughout the course of the voyage.

An identity card will be issued to you upon your arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure. All passengers are requested to wear this card when disembarking the ship in any port of call and on landings in Antarctica. The card serves as a control system on the gangway, enabling the ship to know which passengers are on board and ashore at any time.

Passports will be collected by the crew during the check-in process in order to clear immigrations and customs. Passports will be kept throughout the voyage and returned at the end of the trip. Please be sure to bring a photocopy of your passport with you.

Valuables

Safety deposit boxes are available in the cabins. We urge you to leave any valuable jewelry at home. The ship is not responsible for any valuables left in the cabins.

Special Environmental Policy:

All waste is stored on board until it is deposited for treatment ashore. The ship does not dump waste in the sea and you are asked not to leave any waste ashore when you are on excursions. Please respect the saying: “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures!” Human traffic in Antarctica is strictly regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which prohibits more than 100 people from being ashore simultaneously. Passengers will be instructed on how to comply with IAATO guidelines and rotations.  Hurtigruten is a full member of IAATO.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is only permitted in certain areas. It is totally forbidden to smoke during landings.

Money Matters While On Board

Currency on board is the Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Visa® and MasterCard® are also accepted on board. Please note that when using your credit card on board, your account will be debited in Norwegian Kroner (NOK) with the rate of exchange of that day.

Frequently Asked Questions about Antarctica Sailing

Q: What is the ms Fram like?

Upon arrival on board, there will be a mandatory passenger drill followed by a welcome meeting. Security information, as well as practical information about the cruise, will be given. The ship complies with all safety requirements and is classified as a polar vessel suitable for sailing in icy waters, equipped with a fleet of PolarCirkel boats for landings. The ship offers a comfortable restaurant, a stocked bar, lounges, and conference rooms. She also offers a library with a selection of books about the regions, a fitness room, a sauna, two heated Jacuzzis and a gift shop that holds assortments of local souvenirs, handicrafts, postcards, stamps, and basic personal effects. Unlike traditional cruises, however, there is no organized entertainment on board; Mother Nature is the entertainer!

Q: Are there lectures/briefings given on board?

The ship has experienced lecturers with in-depth knowledge of all the ports you will be visiting. They will conduct lectures of various topics during the cruise and hold recaps to sum up each day’s events. The time and place will be decided by the Expedition Team and will be announced through the daily program. Do not hesitate to contacting them for unanswered questions. Information on board is given in English and German.

Also, as a Vantage Adventures traveler, you’ll have an experienced English-speaking Vantage Adventure Leader to accompany you throughout your journey.

Q: How will I know what to expect each day?

The Expedition Team will inform you about the daily program, arrival and departure times, excursions, and other activities. To hear all announcements in your cabin, your TV needs to be set to a specific channel number. Check your cabin folder for the correct channel number once on board. Important updates to our program will be announced to the cabins via separate speakers. The onboard Expedition Team is composed of an Expedition Leader, a Trip Coordinator, and several lecturers. Biographies of the Expedition Team can be found on the bulletin board located by the Information desk. At the Expedition Desk, you will be able to find information regarding the trip and book any optional excursions. The program is subject to changes depending on weather and ice conditions or unforeseen circumstances. Please keep in mind that the weather and ice conditions in Antarctica are highly variable and may change quickly. The planned itinerary may change and landings may be canceled due to deteriorating conditions. The ship reserves the right to change the itinerary due to weather conditions and other unforeseen events.

Q: What are the cabins like?

Cabins aboard the ship are comfortable and cozy. All cabins on the MS Fram have two lower berths. Each cabin has air conditioning, heat, a smoke alarm, and a private bathroom with a hair dryer. There are only 220-volt/50 Hz sockets, so an adapter and converter are required.

Q: Is there room service?

The cabins are cleaned daily. The ship regrets that meals or drinks cannot be served in the cabins.

Q: Are there any other services on board?

A small fitness room and a sauna are available to the passengers. The ship’s shop has a limited assortment of local souvenirs, handicrafts, and postcards for sale as well as a small selection of soap, toothpaste, and other personal effects. Woolen sweaters, fleece jackets, and wind/waterproof hats and gloves are also for sale on board. There is also a small selection of books and souvenirs for sale. The ship has a library with a limited selection of books about Chile, Argentina, Antarctica and the other ports you will be visiting. As a courtesy to fellow passengers, passengers are asked not to remove any books from the library at any time.

Q: Are there laundry facilities on board?

Limited laundry service is available on board for a fee.


Payment Information


What does my Reservation Deposit Guarantee?
Payment of your initial deposit holds your spot on your journey. However, it does not guarantee the price of your trip. Participation in our Smart Pay Discount Plan can save you up to 10% on your Vantage trip AND it ensures that the land, cruise, and international airfare portions of your trip will not increase. This includes 100% guaranteed protection against most additional taxes (does not include entry fees or arrival taxes), fuel surcharges, and currency fluctuations, from the moment you pay in full under the terms of Vantage's SmartPay Discount Plan. If you do not participate in our SmartPay Discount Plan, all prices are subject to change.
When is my Final Payment due?
Final payments are due 90-120 days prior to departure, depending upon the program.
Can I extend my final payment due date?
Unfortunately, we are unable to extend any final payment due dates because of our vendor contractual obligations.
What is an E-Check?
ECheck is a commonly used term to refer to an online payment method via electronic check from your bank account.
What are the benefits of paying via E-Check?
Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. Plus, paying by E-Check with our SmartPay Discount Program, you can realize hundreds of dollars in savings right away. When you compare those savings to the frequent flyer miles you might earn when you pay by credit card, you come out on top for two reasons: first, you enjoy your savings right away, whereas frequent flyer miles need to be accumulated over time before you cash them in; second, frequent flyer miles have restrictions of usage.
How do I make payments via an E-Check?
It's easy to set up E-Checking on My Account. Have your checkbook handy and simply go to the Make a Payment screen and follow the instructions provided. Please note that E-Check payments appear on your invoice immediately but take 2-3 business days for your bank to process.
What is the SmartPay Discount Plan?
The SmartPay Discount PlanSM allows our travelers to receive a discount by paying for their trip in full before their final payment due date. The further in advance of the final payment date you pay, the greater the discount. Just as important, you’ll guarantee your price against price increases resulting from currency fluctuations, fuel costs, and other unanticipated occurrences.
How can I take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
You can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check. Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. All you need is your checking account number and bank routing number, both of which are printed on your checks. 50% of your trip’s total cost must be paid by check. Payments made inside of 60 days prior to departure will not qualify.
Can I pay by credit card and still take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
While we do accept credit card payments, you can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check, unless part of your payment is made by credit card and at least 50% of your total payment is paid by E-Check.
How do I redeem my Vantage Credit Voucher?
Vantage credit vouchers should be mailed once you receive your first invoice. Any overpayment that results from the credit voucher will be refunded to you, if applicable.
How do I cancel my trip and how long will it take for me to receive a refund?

If you must cancel your trip, you should contact our Customer Service department. Refund requests must be made in writing – indicating the reason for cancellation – and received by the respective final payment due date to avoid additional cancellation charges.

Vantage realizes that most people who cancel their reservations do so out of real necessity. Nevertheless, there is a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person for each program you cancel. This low fee covers only our costs of reservation maintenance or cancellation.

Payments made to your credit card will be refunded as a credit to that card. Payments made by check will be refunded by check. Payments paid by electronic check will be refunded electronically. Please allow 35 days for refunds to be manually verified and processed by our accounting department. Please refer to the Tour Participation Agreement for your program's cancellation fee schedule.

Why does it take just one day to charge my credit card at the time of booking but 30 days to refund it in the event of cancellation?
After you book a trip with us, we process charges within 24 hours in order to hold and confirm your reservation quickly for you. Because refunds are processed manually by our accounting department, we require a 30-day processing period to assure utmost accuracy.
I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should I do?
Please contact us and we will attempt to resolve the situation as soon as possible. To help expedite matters, you should print out your invoice and have it handy when you contact us.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-800-848-5773

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Ship Accommodations 13-day cruise in Antarctica aboard the ms Fram, a comfortable vessel built especially for a Antarctica polar exploration. Up to 276 guests. Aboard the French vessels Le Lyrial, Le Soléal or Le Boréal. Up to 264 passengers. Seasoned Antarctic operator with a specially designed and equipped ship.
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