Hurtigruten pumps up its roster of theme cruise vacations

Music, celebrations, cuisine, history, scenic vistas and birds lead the charge

2010 THEME VOYAGES

As a growing number of travelers seek to return home with lifetime memories, built from experiential vacations, Hurtigruten has responded to their passengers’ interests with an expanded roster of even more fascinating Theme Voyages possibilities for 2010. All of which take place aboard the company’s fleet of modern vessels as they make their way along Norway’s spectacular fjord-filled, 1,250-mile west coast, on 6- to 12-day sailings between the cosmopolitan city of Bergen and the Arctic town of Kirkenes — a route named the “world’s most beautiful voyage” by Lonely Planet’s “Bluelist.” Theme Voyages fares range from $1,205 to $8,042 per person, double.

Theme Voyages combine music, history, the culinary arts, national celebrations and traditional arts and crafts spiked with informative talks and activities. Start the New Year in the Arctic on the North Cape with the “Celebrations in the Arctic.” The “Rhythm and Fabric of Life” is a fusion of music, crafts, dance and folk culture. “Hall of the Mountain King,” aboard the MS Trollfjord, explores the life and music of Edvard Grieg, while the “Special Norwegian Fjords” sails out of Dover, England, crossing the North Sea, and explores some of the world’s most scenic fjords on Norway’s fairytale western coast. Passengers on “Lords of the Fjords” learn of the historic tales and adventures of the Vikings. “Tastes and Sounds of the Fjords” treats guests to musical performances from chorals to jazz and cooking classes and wine tastings, and “Norway’s Big Day Out” puts them shoulder to shoulder with locals decked out in their national costumes in independence day processions. Follow in the footsteps of Norway’s most famous polar heroes — Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen — and their voyages on “The Ice Breaker.” Arrive in time to follow millions of rare migrating birds returning to the Arctic on the “Birds of the Nordic Coast.”

“Celebrations in the Arctic” brings in the New Year as no one else can – with the countdown held on the North Cape, Europe’s most northern point. Expect dancing, fireworks and a midnight toast. 12 days sailing departs Dec. 27, 2010 with fares from $2,190 to $6,662.

“The Rhythm & Fabric of Life” showcases the deep-rooted traditions of the Norwegian culture, mixing music, crafts, dance and folk culture. Guests enjoy learning to folk dance and see how traditional instruments are made – departing April 11 & Sept. 23. Fares for the seven-day journey range from $1,697 to $4,981.

“Lords of the Fjords” is a step back in time to when the Vikings ruled the waters and land. Onboard experts, including documentary filmmaker Klaus Kiesewetter, provide talks and entertainment, immersing the passenger in the Viking history and culture. Departing Apr. 7 and 14, fares for the seven-day journey range from $1,697 to $4,981.

“Special Norwegian Fjords” visits 12 of Norway’s most spectacular fjords to the land of fairytales and trolls, of cozy villages clinging to dramatic landscapes, and fortresses and castles on the way from the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, U.K., across the North Sea to Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway. Fares for the 10-day journey, departing April 9, range from $1,568 to $4,703.

“Tastes & Sounds of the Fjords” is a series of choir, jazz and classical concerts, cooking lessons and wine tastings, combined to create a unique culinary experience – while in the midst of the majestic beauty of the fjords. Departing Apr. 15 and Sept 16, fares for the six-day immersion range from $2,097 to $4,676.

“Norway’s Big Day Out” is just what it sounds like – a celebration of Norway’s Constitution Day (May 17). Children’s parades and festivities take play across the nation and guests learn about the country’s history from experts. Six May 2010 departures of 12 days are offered at fares from $2,374 to $8,042.

“Hall of the Mountain King” explores the life of Edvard Grieg. Performances by pianist Rune Alver and talks by lecturer Eilif B. Lotveit bring to life Norway’s renowned composer – with daily recitals and daily lectures. Departures are Oct. 10 & 16; fares for the seven-day musical feast are $1,697 to $4,981.

“The Ice-Breakers” – Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen were two of Norway’s greatest explorers. And guests will learn more about them from famous lecturer Arne Kertelhein as the ship follows some their Norway routes, departing Oct. 11 & 18. Fares for the seven-day itinerary are $1,697 to $4,981.

“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: species such as puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, Northern gannets, and sea eagles are numerous in this area. Fans depart May 20 for six days with fares ranging from $1,306 to $4,423.

Excursions are an important feature of Hurtigruten cruises, so the company has developed dozens of high-quality options for their guests to get off the ship and enjoy the local scene and sights – from visits to Geirangerfjord, a World Heritage site, and stunning views of the fjord, mountains and the “Seven Sisters” waterfall, to a sailing adventure that transports guests through Norway’s second largest glacier, Svartisen, where sea eagles spread their wings, to witnessing the world’s most powerful tidal currents and mountains dating back more than 250 million years.

Sailing aboard Hurtigruten ships means large, comfortable lounges with panoramic windows and wonderful views from large outdoor decks; open seating for meals; 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; and a friendly and well-informed crew, ready to offer assistance and learned suggestions.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway’s coast. Additional information on all of these adventures, as well as brochures and reservations, can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten’s visitor-friendly web site, www.hurtigruten.us; or by phone: (800) 323-7436; fax (888)-524-2145; for brochures (800) 582-0835, 24 hours a day.

Source: Hurtigruten

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