Exclusive opera performances, New Year’s on the North Cape, rich history and culture, the midnight sun, the Northern Lights, stunning fjords and exotic wildlife at every turn: these are just some of the extensive cruise and land opportunities outlined in Hurtigruten’s new full-color, 100-page 2011 Norway Brochure. A name synonymous with exploration cruising, Hurtigruten has once again found new ways to make their classic voyage even more exciting for guests with the addition of new theme cruises and more shore excursions. Savings offers are detailed as well: travelers booking by Dec. 31, 2010, enjoy a 5% to 15% discount; an additional combinable discount of up to 10% is available for members of the “1893 Ambassador Program,” a free program which rewards repeat passengers; all topped off by 5% savings on shore excursions when pre-booked. Discounted fares range from $866 to $4,486 per person double; higher prices are for suites. Single supplements are waived on a number of sailings through April 15.
Virtually all of the cruises are centered on six-, seven- and 12-day sailings along the spectacular fjord-filled west coast of Norway year-round – a route named the “world’s most beautiful voyage” by Lonely Planet’s “Bluelist.” The scenery changes from moment to moment as the company's fleet of modern ships, journeying 1,250 miles between Bergen and Kirkenes, make 34 port calls – from small fishing villages in the rugged Lofoten Islands and the ancient Viking capital of Trondheim to Tromso, Norway's "Paris of the North.”
Theme Voyages – in response to greater demand by more travelers seeking unusual and educational experiences to bring home with them, Hurtigruten has created an expanded roster of unique and fascinating possibilities for 2011.
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 over 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, with a program of captivating on board lectures and piano recitals – Oct. 14, 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. 11, 2011
Excursions – the dozens of exciting and unique excursion opportunities, lasting from a few hours to three days, are an important feature of Hurtigruten’s cruises. Port excursions range from charming city walks in Trondheim, Alesund and Bergen to the remarkable "Lofotr Viking Feast" – a traditional Viking feast with homebrewed mead, held in 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. take the train from Bergen to Voss, a boat to Flam and a train to Myrdal on "Norway in a Nutshell"; and visit the mining town of Roros, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most optional excursions can be booked before departure, saving 5% off the price; information on hotels for pre/post cruise and pre/post cruise extension programs is included in the brochure.
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.