With the demand for unusual and educational experiences on the rise, Hurtigruten has created an expanded roster of fascinating theme cruises for 2011 – and with eight unique itineraries ranging from classical opera and photography to astronomy and New Year’s celebrations to birding and polar explorers, there is an option for everyone.  Early-booking prices on reservations made by Dec. 31, 2010, available on most voyages, offer savings of up to 20% and range from $722 to $4,989 per person, double.  Voyages booked after Dec. 31 range from $722 to $5,252; suites are priced higher.

• “Astronomy Voyage” gives guests the chance to see (without the interference of city lights) and learn about the Arctic night sky as well as the Aurora Borealis, with renowned guest lecturers and a visit to the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromso; high demand means there are now three departure dates available: Jan. 29, Feb. 20 and Mar. 25.

• “Winter Digital Photography Voyage” offers photographers with varying degrees of experience the opportunity to capture a diverse range of subject matter, from wheeling sea eagles to brightly painted fisherman’s boats, in the company of a seasoned photographer – Beginners Level, Jan. 11; Intermediate Level, March 8.

• "Celebrations in the Arctic" – ringing in the New Year as no one else can - with the countdown held on the North Cape, Europe's most northern point, departing Dec. 26, 2011.

• "Opera Voyage" is an opera-lover's dream trip - daily concerts on board and a Norwegian New Year's Concert at Oslo's Concert Hall with a tour of the Opera House the next day - Jan. 6, 2011.

• "Birds of the Nordic Coast" takes place as millions of migrating birds return to the Arctic for nesting and shows guests why Norway can justifiably be called “Nature’s Wonderland” - a true ornithological event with lectures and stellar bird-watching opportunities - May 20, 2011.

• “Norway’s Big Day Out” celebrates Norway’s Constitution Day and gives guests a deeper understanding of the Norwegian culture that Hurtigruten has been a part of for more than 100 years – departs daily May 6-16, 2011.

• “Hall of the Mountain King” is a classic voyage that immerses passengers in the music and background of Edvard Grieg, Norway’s best-known classical composer, and a program of captivating on board lectures and piano recitals – Oct. 9 and 15, 2011.

• “The Ice-Breakers” delves deep into the history of the polar explorers, their voyages and the culture and inhabitants of the Polar Regions; lectures and optional excursions ranging from a Viking feast to the Polaria Centre enrich the experience – Oct. 14, 2011.