Friday 9 October 2009

Hurtigruten Offers Six New Winter Theme Vacations

This winter, Hurtigruten is offering six new winter theme vacations, each featuring a sailing along Norway’s 1,250-mile west coast between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle. The themes highlight different aspects of the region, from the Northern Lights Festival in Tromso to the beauty of Finnmark’s landscape with rookeries of puffins and gannets along its cliffs. Fares range from US$2,499 to $6,048 per person, double. All voyages can be booked using Hurtigruten’s “Layaway Getaway” monthly payment plan.

The 12-day “Arctic Voyage & Snow Hotel” kicks off with a night in Bergen, where guests have time to explore before embarking on a northbound Arctic tour. The ship calls at the Alesund and Molde, with breathtaking views of the Romsdal Alps, before arriving in Trondheim, Norway’s first capital. After crossing the Arctic Circle, the ship passes by towns and stops in Tromso before arriving in Kirkenes, where a night in a Kirkenes Snow Hotel Suite awaits. After flying to Oslo, travelers can explore independently or take in a performance at the new harborside National Opera House. Prices start at $2,739 for the January and February departures and US$3,019 for the March departure.

The eight-day “Arctic Highlights” tour is a glimpse into life in remote regions of mainland Norway. Guests spend a day and night in Oslo before transferring to Tromso for a round-trip voyage to the northern seaport of Honnigsvag. The ship sails along the coast for three days, arriving back in Tromso in the late evening. Prices start at $2,899. Those seeking to immerse themselves in Sami culture can spend 10 days on the “Sami Day & Reindeer Races” package. After one night in Oslo, guests fly to Tromso for a two-night stay. Here they can attend local festivities in honor of Sami National Day on Feb. 6 as well as witness the annual reindeer racing championship in the center of the city. Travelers then embark on a cruise along the Norwegian coastline to Bergen for a one-night stay. Fares start at US$2,699.

The seven-day “Ice Hotel Adventure” starts with an overnight stay in Oslo and then a flight to Tromso for a cruise to Oksfjord and Hammerfest and finishing with an overnight in the fishing village of Honnigsvag. Travelers then proceed to the edge of the Arctic Circle and a night in the Alta Igloo Hotel, a 21,525-square-foot complex with nearly all of its elements -- from guest rooms and beds to bar room drinking glasses -- built anew from ice and snow each January. Additional nights can be booked at the Alta Igloo Hotel, which has 30 bedrooms, suites, an ice bar, a chapel and several lounges. The trip ends with another night in Oslo. Fares begin at US$2,499.

The 10-day “Northern Lights Festival” coincides with the annual Northern Lights Festival of Music. The trip begins with a night in Bergen and continues on with a northbound voyage aboard the Finnmarken. Passengers disembark for a two-night stay in Tromso, the center of the festival. Local events cater to an array of musical tastes, from symphonic to soul, in the Tromso Concert Hall and the Arctic Cathedral. Travelers then fly to Oslo for a one-night stay. Prices start at US$2,699.

The “Digital Photography” vacation offers a chance to capture the vistas of a Norwegian winter, as well as the Northern Lights. The 10-day trip begins in Bergen, where guests spend one night before sailing and then arriving in Tromso for the Northern Lights Festival. It concludes with a night in Oslo. Fares start at US$2,919. Fares are capacity controlled and include round-trip airfare from JFK, domestic land transfers and flights, all meals onboard and port fees. Cruise fuel and airline fuel surcharges, air taxes, gratuities, ticketing fees and air add-ons -- available from dozens of North American gateways -- are additional.

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