Hurtigruten offers Reindeer Races and Ice Hotels

Alta Igloo Hotel

Alta Igloo Hotel

This winter, Hurtigruten invites guests to experience Norwegian culture with six distinctive theme vacations, each of which feature a sailing along Norway’s stunning 1,250-mile west coast between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle, aboard one of its modern vessels.

The themes highlight different aspects of the region, from the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø, known as the “Paris of the North,” to the sheer beauty of Finnmark’s landscape, alive with rookeries of puffins and gannets along its cliffs. Fares range from $2,499 to $6,048 per person, double; higher rates are for suites. 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 classic northbound Arctic tour. The ship calls at the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund and Molde, with breathtaking views of the Romsdal Alps, before arriving in Trondheim, Norway’s first capital, where visitors can roam the charming streets and visit the restored wooden buildings in Bakklandet and the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Nidaros. After crossing the Arctic Circle, the ship passes by several scenic towns and stops in the bustling city of Tromso before arriving in Kirkenes, where a night in a Kirkenes Snow Hotel Suite – decorated in beautiful artwork made from snow – awaits. After flying to Oslo, travelers can explore independently or take in a performance at the chic new harbor-side National Opera House before returning home.  Prices start at $2,739 for the January and February departures and $3,019 for the March departure.

The Arctic Highlights tour is an eight-day glimpse into life in the most remote regions of mainland Norway. Guests spend a day and night in the cosmopolitan capital city of Oslo – with sights such as Oslo City Hall, Akershus Castle and the Nobel Peace Center – before transferring to Tromso for a round-trip voyage to the northern seaport of Honnigsvag. The ship sails along the spectacular coast for three days, arriving back in Tromso in the late evening; travelers can enjoy some of the local fare at one of many local restaurants or possibly catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights. Prices are from $2,899.

Photo: Vault Handler/ VisitNORWAY.

Photo: Vault Handler/ VisitNORWAY.

Those seeking to immerse themselves in Sami culture can spend 10 days doing so with the Sami Day & Reindeer Races package. After one night in Oslo, Norway’s capital city and cultural hub, guests fly to Tromso for a two-night stay.  Here they can enjoy a myriad of local festivities planned in honor of Sami National Day – occurring February 6 each year – as well as witness the annual reindeer racing championship in the center of the city. Travelers then embark on a cruise along the stunning Norwegian coastline to Bergen, where they spend one night before returning home.  Fares start at $2,699.

With the seven-day Ice Hotel Adventure, Hurtigruten invites guests to experience some of the most unique aspects of Norwegian culture. After an overnight stay in one of Oslo’s lovely hotels, guests fly to Tromsø for a relaxing cruise through several scenic port cities – including Oksfjord and Hammerfest – finishing with an overnight in the quaint fishing village of Honnigsvåg. Travelers then proceed to the edge of the Arctic Circle and a night in the breathtaking Alta Igloo Hotel, a 21,525 square foot complex with nearly all of its elements – from guestrooms and beds to bar room drinking glasses – built anew from ice and snow each January. Additional nights at the Alta Igloo Hotel – with its 30 bedrooms, Alta Igloo Hotel houses suites, an ice-bar, a chapel and several lounges – can be booked. Visitors next return to Oslo for a day and night of independent exploration. Fares begin at $2,499.

The 10-day Northern Lights Festival celebrates the much-anticipated “first dawn of the year” with the annual Northern Lights Festival of Music. The trip begins with a night in Bergen – named by Time magazine as one of Europe’s 14 “secret capitals” in 2004 – and then continues on with a northbound voyage aboard the MS Finnmarken. After sailing along the scenic, fjord-filled coastline, passengers disembark for a two-night stay in Tromso, the center of the Northern Lights Festival activities. Local events cater to a wide 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, where they can choose to attend a performance at the opera house or visit one of the many engaging sights such as the Nobel Peace Center. Prices are from $2,699.

The Digital Photography vacation offers amateur photographers a chance to capture the stunning vistas of a Norwegian winter, as well as the rare opportunity to photograph the Northern Lights. The 10-day trip begins in Bergen, where guests spend one night before sailing on a traditional Hurtigruten northbound cruise along Norway’s scenic coastline – with innumerable opportunities to photograph rare wildlife, impressive fauna, majestic glaciers and stunning fjords – before arriving in Tromso to take part in the local events and excursions celebrating the Northern Lights.  After flying to Oslo for an overnight stay, guests can tour famous sites or grab a bite to eat in a local restaurant before returning home. Fares are from $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.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen. Information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from Hurtigruten Inc., (800) 323-7436; fax (954) 486-9340; for brochures (800) 582-0835, 24 hours a day;

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