Since MS Midnatsol set sail on her maiden voyage on 15 April 2003 along Norway's coastline, she has become a favourite with guests. In common with the three previous Hurtigruten ships that bear the name (translating as Midnight Sun) she boasts a bright and colourful decor, alongside a collection of artwork that draws inspiration from the sunny Norwegian summer. On-board delights include her two-storey Panorama Lounge above the bow, which is flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows. There's also her 23 chic suites, many with balconies, which are available for a little more luxury if you wish.
The Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun are the highlights of many trips on MS Midnatsol, along with the laid-back and friendly on-board lifestyle. The casual dress code is equally matched by the simplicity of the cabins. The focus is very much on what you can experience ashore and the sights you can enjoy from on the deck as you travel around Norway and beyond.
The ship's open sun deck is the ideal place for chilling out in the sun during warm days at sea. The two Jacuzzis and sunbeds have a bar close at hand for refreshments. Unwind with a book in the library, keep in touch with home in the Internet cafe or simply watch the world go by in the Observation Lounge. You can also keep fit in the gym or enjoy some downtime in the sauna. A small playroom is available for fun times, if you're travelling with children.
The dining options showcase local Norwegian flavours and international cuisines, and change with the season. Restaurant Midnatsol serves a tasty buffet for breakfast and lunch with Norwegian specialities such as salmon, meat dishes, shellfish, and other fish to savour. Evening brings two sittings and a daily-changing menu of flavoursome starters, main courses and desserts to choose from. You can also pre-order from the a la carte menu of dishes. Midtsommer Cafe is open 24/7 and offers a selection of pre-prepared food options alongside fresh made-to-order choices including burgers, pizzas and chips.
MS Midnatsol has a trio of places to relax with a drink. The Pool Bar is open during the summer, while indoors on Deck Eight you discover Mysterier Bar and Paradis Bar. Each bar is well-stocked with your favourite tipple alongside a selection of wines, beers and mixed drinks.
The entertainment on MS Midnatsol is very low-key. Daytimes occasionally feature lectures and presentations from visiting historians and naturalists who bring to life the destinations and wildlife you may encounter on your cruise. Intermittent live music and piano playing sets the scene in the evening.
Day 1: Fly from the UK to Buenos Aires
Fly from London to Buenos Aires. Transfer from airport to a hotel for an overnight stay. You can join an optional city tour in the afternoon. Spend the evening at your leisure and discover the 'Paris of South America' at your own pace.
Day 2: Tierra del Fuego - Buenos Aires to Ushuaia
Transfer to the airport and fly to Ushuaia, where MS Midnatsol awaits. Once on board, your cruise adventure starts with a welcome-on-board dinner.
Days 3 to 4: Crossing the Drake Passage
Prepare yourself for Antarctica as the ship crosses the infamous Drake Passage! MS Midnatsol is designed especially to bring polar exploration to all ages and learning levels. As the cruise continues south, the 'Young Explorers Antarctica' classes start on board. Lectures on the surrounding environment and films about Antarctica will set the Explorer room buzzing with activity. This will be the heart of the expedition community; where you'll gather for talks, recaps and spontaneous events, mingle, and share stories.
Days 5 to 10: Antarctica … another world!
You are now in one of the most remote areas on earth! There have been spectacular photo opportunities so far, but Antarctica itself is a whole new ball game. Go ashore to explore the breath-taking Antarctic scenery and to come close to penguins and seals. From the moment you set foot on the endless expanse of snow and ice, you'll feel like a real explorer. There will be ample opportunities to sight whales from the deck and to enjoy close encounters with wildlife and glaciers, old whaling stations, and relics. Every second of this journey has something new to offer!
One of the highlights of the South Shetlands is Deception Island. You'll see an abandoned whaling station known as Hektor and a derelict British base as the ship sails into this volcanic island's natural harbour. You may also enjoy a visit to Half Moon Island, a photogenic island blessed with some of the most beautiful Antarctic scenery imaginable. Yankee Harbour and Cuverville Island both boast large colonies of Gentoo penguins. Neko Harbour is beautifully located in the innermost part of Andvord Bay, while Paradise Harbour takes its name from the whalers during the last century. Wilhelmina Bay has stunning scenery and is often called 'Whale-mina Bay’, because of the large number of humpback whales spotted here in December. There will be plenty of planned activities to allow you to experience Antarctica in the best way. This might mean that one day you'll go shore to see penguins, the next day you'll cruise between the sea ice looking for leopard seals, and on the third day, go kayaking or on a longer hike or walk.
Back on board there are countless activities in the Explorer room. Join gatherings where the expedition team recount the day’s activities, make presentations, and the expedition leader discusses the next day’s plan. For younger guests, there’s the Young Explorer Programme; a scientific introduction to biology, history, wildlife, and learning more about navigation with lectures, field trips, and visits to the science centre.
Days 11 to 12: Heading back to civilisation - Drake Passage
After exploring this exhilarating continent, the ship sets a course back to civilisation. Spend the day at sea re-capping your experiences, having fun in the Explorer room, or simply relaxing on deck.
Day 13: The end of the adventure - Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
Sadly, every adventure must come to an end. It’s time to say goodbye to the crew and all your new friends as MS Midnatsol arrives in Ushuaia. Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires and onward to London.