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.
While on Tour
While on Tour
The information below applies in general to Vantage cruises. .
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should
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.