Hurtigruten’s modern fleet sails deep into the heart of a unique and spectacular landscape on six to 12-day itineraries -- from the cultural center of Bergen to Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle, and back again. New Year's Eve on the North Cape, Opera in Oslo, Viking history and myth, the midnight sun, the Northern Lights, stunning fjords, wildlife at every turn...the list of cruise and land opportunities goes on and on and interested travelers can get a sneak peek with a new full-color, 20-page 2011 Norway Preview brochure - an industry first. Savings offers are detailed as well: travelers booking a 2011 cruise vacation by September 30, 2010 enjoy a 10% to 20% discount on many departures -- more than $1,000 savings on a 12-day cruise; an additional 10% combinable discount is given to guests who have traveled with Hurtigruten during the past three years; all topped off by 5% savings on shore excursions when pre-booked. And, of course, the advantage of booking early is having first choice of the ship, date of departure, cabin grade and excursions. Discounted fares range from $815 to $4,618 per person double; higher prices are for suites. Single supplements are waived on a number of January through April sailings.
The centerpiece of every offer are the six-, seven- and 12-day sailings along the spectacular fjord-filled west coast of Norway year-round -- a voyage named the “world’s most beautiful voyage” by Lonely Planet’s “Bluelist.” Hurtigruten’s modern fleet journeys 1,250 miles between Bergen and Kirkenes, making 34 ports of call as the scenery changes from small fishing villages in the rugged Lofoten Islands, to Art Nouveau Alesund, the medieval Viking capital of Trondheim and Norway's "Paris of the North," Tromso.
Excursions - getting off the ship and enjoying the local scene is an important feature of Hurtigruten cruises, so the company has developed dozens of high-quality excursions. Port excursions range from city tours of Alesund and Tromso to the more unusual "Lofotr Viking Feast" -- a true Viking feast held in a recreation of the largest Viking building ever found -- to the simply fun "Dog Sledding in Tromso" and "Scootertrip in Lapland." The “Polar History Walk, Tromso” highlights this medieval town’s links with polar explorations; amid flickering lights, the elegant church in Tromso is the setting for the “Midnight Concert in the Arctic”; a short drive through Kirkenes brings guests to the Gabba Reindeer Park and a visit to the snow hotel on the “Kirkenes Snow Hotel” trip; and the “UNESCO Islands” explores The Vega archipelago, consisting of 6,000 islands and islets where guests visit the E-house and touch down on Vega. Most optional excursions can be booked before departure, saving 5% off the price.
Theme Voyages - as more travelers look to return home with memories of unusual and educational experiences, Hurtigruten has sought out the interests of their passengers in an expanded roster of more fascinating possibilities for 2011. Examples include: "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 brand-new Opera House - Jan. 4, 2011; and "Birds of the Nordic Coast" takes place as millions of migrating birds return to the Arctic for nesting - a true ornithological event with lectures and stellar bird-watching opportunities - May 20, 2011.
Sailing aboard Hurtigruten ships means large, comfortable lounges with panoramic windows and wonderful views from large outdoor decks; no need to dress up for dinner (unless you want to) and open seating; fresh seasonal ingredients, plenty of incredible seafood and a comprehensive wine list; multilingual tour directors; comfortable cabins - from the smaller inside accommodations to the large outside suites with private balconies, picture windows and even Jacuzzis on some; and a friendly and well-informed crew, ready to offer assistance and their suggestions when asked.