Greenland, a rising star on the radar of many experienced travelers, is now both less expensive and more easily accessible for North American travelers.  Hurtigruten, a dominant player in the field of expedition cruising, has announced a 25% savings plan – amounting to a reduction of $1,990 to $5,795 per person – on 16 Greenland sailings during the 2009 summer season.  And to sweeten the offer and make the transit to and from the world’s largest island easier, the company is offering two free hotel nights in Copenhagen.  The offer is for new bookings made by January 31, 2009 and can be paid for through the company’s recently announced “Layaway Getaway” program, which allows travelers to pay for their cruise with no-interest monthly payments.  The discounted prices for the 11-, 18- and 19-day Greenland sailings range from $4,597 to $15,862 per person, double.  Availability is capacity-controlled.

Guests aboard the world’s newest expedition ship, the deluxe 318-berth MS Fram, get a first-hand look at the changing landscape of Greenland and learn about its history, geography, culture, wildlife and environment from onboard experts during lectures and land excursions.  Scenic highlights include Eqip Sermia Glacier, a huge wall of ice that calves directly into the sea; towering icebergs in Disko Bay and at the mouth of Jakobshavn Ice Fjord, a World Heritage Site; and Jakobshavn Glacier, the world’s most active glacier.

The 11-day itinerary sails from Kangerlussuaq Fjord, one of the world's longest fjords, along Greenland's west coast to huge Disko Bay.  Guided walking tours take in Inuit villages and towns with tongue-twisting names -- Qeqertarsuaq, Ukkusissat, Sisimuit, Uummannaq and Ilulissat – seeing how the friendly local populations flourish in on an island where 85% of the land mass is covered in polar ice and snow.  Departures run June -through September at discounted fares of $4,597 to $8,549 and guests spend a night at both ends of the voyage in Copenhagen with the free hotel offer.

The 19-day adventure, departing May 21, combines two nights in Iceland’s Reykjavik, the West fjords region of Iceland, a sailing to Greenland, extensive exploration of the island’s Southern and Western regions, and two free nights in Copenhagen, added at the end.  Discounted fares range from $8,174 to $15,277, a savings of $3,183 to $5,550.

The 18-day Thule & Disko Bay sailing explores much of the west coast of the island, going as far as Siorapaluk, the world’s most northern naturally inhabited settlement.  Stops include Kullorsuaq (“the devil’s thumb”); Dundas, abandoned in 1985 and not far from Thule US Air Base; Qaanaaq, the first part of Greenland colonized by Intuits; and Upernavik, site of the world’s northernmost open-air museum.  With the 25% savings, rates are $8,774 to $15,862.

A new cruise for 2009 is the 18-day Greenland/Canada/New York sailing.  The free hotel offer differs in this package with a pre-cruise night in Copenhagen and a post-cruise night in New York.  After exploring Greenland for five days, the MS Fram makes its way to Canada’s Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia, and then stops in Gloucester, MA before gliding past the Statue of Liberty as it makes it way to its final stop in New York.  Reduced prices for this incredible journey are $8,774 to $15,862, a savings of $3,433 to $5,795.

The 12,700-ton, eight-deck ship, makes significant use of Greenland’s culture as inspiration for design while incorporating a striking Scandinavian feel with the extensive use of wool, leather and oak.  Suites include seating areas, some with two rooms, TV, mini-bar and queen-size beds.  The ship also boasts an Internet café, a large glass-enclosed observation salon offering panoramic views of the outside scenery, restaurant with ocean views, wellness center with saunas, work-out room and two glass-screened heated outdoor whirlpools.

Programs include cabin category selected and three meals daily aboard ship, services of naturalist guides, specified land excursions and PolarCirkel excursions, ship transfers, government fees, cruise taxes and port charges.  Add-on airfares are available from dozens of North American cities.  A fuel surcharge of $98 to $210 per person is additional.