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Shore Excursions Can Now Be Booked Before Departure
New for 2005, Norwegian Coastal Voyage passengers can book optional shore excursions before departure in U.S. dollars via the New York office. Showcasing Norway's scenery, culture and history, the choices range from city tours of Trondheim and Trømso to birdwatching, dogsledding, Midnight Sun concerts, the Geirangerfjord, Lofoten Islands and North Cape. Eleven ships sail daily year-round along the 1,250-mile coast between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle, calling at 34 ports on seven-day northbound, six-day southbound and 12-day round trips. Seasonal and year-round shore excursions cost $30 to $130 per person.
Trømso, capital of Arctic Norway, is the site of the Midnight Sun concerts of Norwegian folk songs, hymns and classical music in the Arctic Cathedral, $35 to August 8; a new dogsledding safari on the frozen landscapes of Kvaloya Island with refreshments in a Sami (Lapp) tent, $120 from October 28 to April 26; and a daily tour of the city and interactive Polaria Museum tour, $35. Tours in Trondheim, Norway's first capital, visit the Ringve Museum of Musical Instruments or medieval Nidaros Cathedral and the Old Town Bridge, $35.
Options for nature lovers include a birdwatching safari by boat to Gjesvaerstappan nature reserve, known for large numbers of puffin pairs and flocks of kittiwakes; boat rides to the Saltstraumen tidal current, vast Svartisen Glacier and on the Pasvik River to the Russian border; the spectacular cliff-lined Geirangerfjord and driving down the 11-hairpin turns of Trollstigen (Troll's Path), and reindeer herds grazing en route to the windswept North Cape plateau, Europe's northernmost point, $75 to $130. Excursions from Harstad in the Vesteralen Islands and Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands combine dramatic landscapes with historic towns and charming fishing villages, $60.
Optional excursions are escorted by English-speaking guides and are subject to suitable weather conditions and a minimum number of participants. Five excursions operate year-round and 13 in summer or winter season. Dates and prices vary; details are in the NCV brochure and on the web site; refunds are available for any cancelled tours.
50% Off Second Person On Select Sailings
Norwegian Coastal Voyage is offering 50% off the second person for new bookings on four special sailings from Bergen to Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle, and back to Tromso. An August 30 departure is priced at $1,655 to $2,405 -- the second guest pays $828 to $1,202; three September departures -- 8, 15 and 29 -- are $1,397 to $2,158 for the first guest and $699 to $1,079 for the companion. The four ships in the promotion, MS Nordnorge, MS Polarlys, MS Nordkapp and MS Midnatsol, respectively, make 43 port calls along the fjord-indented 1,250-mile coast ranging from fishing villages in the rugged Lofoten Islands to the Art Nouveau town of Alesund and bustling cities like the university town of Tromso and 1000-year-old Trondheim and sail the length of the spectacular Geirangerfjord (except Sept. 29 departure) and Trollfjord. AARP members are offered an additional discount of $90 per cabin. The reduction is available on outside cabin categories U, P and N.
Rates include cabin category selected, meals, taxes, port charges and gratuities. The promotion is not combinable with any other discount except the one offered to AARP members.
Special Savings to Mature Travelers
Norwegian Coastal Voyage welcomes mature travelers on "the world's most beautiful voyage" with special savings aboard 11 ships departing daily along the fjord-indented coast of Norway between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle. AARP member discounts of $70 to $150 per cabin year-round can be combined with senior savings for passengers age 67 and older of $95 to $170 per person except in June and July. Solo seniors and those preferring not to share a cabin with a friend or relative can also save $279 to $981 between September 18 and December 31 when the single supplement is waived or reduced in select cabin categories.
AARP discounts are $70 per cabin on one-way and $100 on round-trip voyages applies to cruise-only bookings and increase to $100 one-way and $150 round trip on air-inclusive NCV Escorted and Independent Vacations. NCV's senior savings is $95 each for six-day southbound, $115 for seven-day northbound and $170 for 12-day sailings and packages. The single supplement is reduced $302 to $981 in six categories of outside and inside cabins from September 18 to 30; it is then eliminated in four cabin categories and reduced in two from October 1 to December 31, with savings of $279 to $903. Other promotional offers may be posted on the NCV web site.
The 2005 cruise rates are $688 to $1,712 per person, double occupancy, for six-day, $838 to $2,086 for seven-day, and $1,250-$3,113 for 12-day voyages; suites cost $1,307 to $3,596, $1,592 to $4,381, and $2,375 to $6,538 respectively. Rates include cabin category selected, meals, taxes, port charges and gratuities. Passengers must provide proof of age -- AARP membership number and a copy of the passport page with date of birth -- to obtain the senior reductions.
More Expeditions to Spitsbergen
Norwegian Coastal Voyage has increased the choice of soft-adventure expeditions to the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen by adding a 14- and 15-day special departure on August 2 and 12 to the summer schedule of eight- and 11-day air-inclusive programs on the MS Nordstjernen (North Star), a 114-berth traditional coastal vessel, and the MS Polar Star, a 100-berth ice breaker. AARP members receive a discount of $100 per cabin. Departures are from New York to Oslo and Spitsbergen from June 7 to August 19.
Midway between Norway and the North Pole, Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. With no roads linking communities, a small-ship cruise under the Midnight Sun on the Nordstjernen or the Polar Star is ideal for viewing Arctic landscapes with cliff-lined fjords, massive glaciers, rugged mountains and abundant wildlife such as polar bears, reindeer, Arctic foxes, whales, walruses, seals and migratory birds. A fleet of Zodiacs is used for landings on shore with excursions led by naturalist guides.
After overnighting in Oslo and Longyearbyen, the Svalbard capital and the ships' departure point, passengers spend four days on the Nordstjernen or eight, 11 or 12 days on the Polar Star sailing along Spitsbergen's northwest coast to the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, Prins Karl Forland Island National Park, the Ny-Alesund research center, Monaco Glacier in Woodfjord, old whaling sites, spectacular fjords and, weather and ice permitting, cross the 80° North Latitude line. More comprehensive Polar Star voyages, which include lectures by expedition leaders, continue along the coast to fjords in the archipelago's isolated northern and eastern regions where landing sites and the ship route are dependent on weather and ice conditions adding Hinlopen Strait, glacier-covered Nordaustlandet Island, the land of polar bears and may return via Edgeoya and Spitsbergen's Southern Cape.
The two special departures spend additional time exploring the archipelago's remote eastern islands, circle Spitsbergen and return along the southwest coast where the Hornsund fjords are surrounded by towering mountain peaks and 14 glaciers. Zodiac landings are made at numerous islands including Nordauslandet, Barentsoya and Edgeoya. The August 12 expedition adds ice-capped Kvitoya, the easternmost Svalbard island.
"One-Stop Shop" Cruise Tours
NCV Escorted Vacations is offering "one-stop shop" cruise tours featuring the best of Norway -- in-depth land and fjord exploration combined with the majestic scenery and intimate villages on a Norwegian Coastal Voyage aboard one of three new Millennium ships.
Three value-packed 13- to 18-day itineraries include roundtrip transatlantic air from New York on SAS, accommodations in first-class hotels, selected cabin category on six-, seven- or 12-day NCV sailings, all meals onboard and most meals on shore, deluxe motor coaches, extensive sightseeing, entrance fees and the services of a tour director. Departures run between May 5 and September 8.
An AARP discount of $100 to $150 per cabin available year-round can be combined with NCV senior savings of $95 to $170 per guest for those 67 and older, offered on sailings in May, August, and September.
The centerpiece of each vacation is the Norwegian Coastal Voyage. The fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands, the town of Alesund with its many art galleries and the bustling cities of Trondheim and Tromso are some of the 34 ports the ships call at between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle. Land highlights include traveling on the narrow-gauge Flam Railway and the scenic Bergen Railway, named one of the top 20 rail experiences in the world; touring the Viking Ships Museum and sculptures in Vigeland Park in Oslo, Norway's capital, the Hanseatic Museum and Grieg's home in Bergen, a charming seaport, and the waterfalls and orchards of the Hardangerfjord; and a ferry cruise on the scenic Sognefjord, past waterfalls, isolated hamlets and steep mountains.
NCV Crosses Arctic Circle to Lofoten Islands
Norway's Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle take center stage on Norwegian Coastal Voyage's new 11-day Lofoten Islands air-inclusive cruise tour. Mountains carved from glaciers, bird-nesting islands, whales in their summer home, two of Norway's largest glaciers, fishing hamlets and the midnight sun are some of the highlights while guide-led hiking tours, fishing trips and onboard lectures are featured activities. The cruise-tour, priced at $4,000 to $4,795 per person, double, has 11 departures from New York, June through August, 2005. AARP membership results in savings of $100 per cabin. Add-on airfare from dozens of U.S. cities is available.
Departing Bodo, the 171-berth MS Lofoten explores the northwest coast of Norway before heading to the Lofoten Islands, which stretch like a wall of mountains off the coast. Nature's marvels include Svartisen Glacier, Norway's second largest glacier; Moskenesstraumen, one of the world's strongest ocean currents; and Eggakanten, the edge of the Norwegian Continental Shelf where whale sightings are quite common. Gildeskal Island's Sand Mountain, Torghatten's landmark hat-shaped mountain and Lovund's famous bird cliff are additional landmarks on the journey.
Offering insight into the area's history and culture are the 12th-century church of the Alstahaug Islands, the arctic fishing villages of Selsoyvik and Reine, the whale museum at Andenes, the galleries and museums of Lofoten's capital city of Svolvaer and one of the country's best preserved trading stations at Kjerringoy. PolarCirkel boats allow passengers to explore otherwise inaccessible locations along the way.
The capital city of Oslo, a fascinating study in history and culture, hosts passengers before and after the cruise. The included Oslo Pass allows for free travel on public transportation (bus, tram, subway, boat, local train) within the city limits, free admittance to most museums and attractions as well as discounts on a variety of cultural and sightseeing attractions and parking.
Reminiscent of classic steamer vessels, the MS Lofoten is Norway's only floating national historic monument. Built in 1964 and continuously refurbished, the majority of its cabins have upper/lower berths, about half with private facilities.
The "Lofoten Islands" package includes roundtrip transatlantic flight between New York and Oslo, roundtrip Oslo-Bodo flight, train transfers from the Oslo airport, cabin category selected, all meals during the cruise, most shore excursions, air taxes, port charges and two nights accommodations at first-class hotels with breakfast. Add-on airfare from dozens of U.S. cities is available.
Antarctic Voyages Doubled
Norwegian Coastal Voyage is doubling the number of its 19-day, air-inclusive NCV Expedition Voyages to Antarctica and the Chilean fjords for the 2005-06 season with the addition of a second ship, the 481-berth MS Nordkapp. The MS Nordkapp and the 464-berth MS Nordnorge, both rated Ice Class C and limited to 350 passengers, depart Buenos Aires and Santiago on alternating Wednesdays, from November 2, 2005 to February 15, 2006; prices are the same for each ship, ranging from $4,980 to $8,290 per person, double, the higher prices are for suites. AARP members receive a discount of $150 per cabin.
"Adding a sister ship to our NCV Expedition Voyages program to Antarctica and the Chilean fjords has been an easy decision," according to NCV president, Rosalyn Gershell. "The enthusiastic response from the travel agents since we began offering the itinerary in 2002 and the positive feedback from the passengers reinforce our belief that this Antarctica cruise is unlike any other on the market."
The NCV Expedition Voyages to Antarctica combine stays in Buenos Aires and Santiago, the lively capital cities of Argentina and Chile, with a 15-day soft-adventure cruise between Ushuaia, Argentina, the world's southernmost city, and Puerto Montt, Chile. The cruise, featuring naturalist guides, noted guest lecturers and PolarCirkel boat landings, sails across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, past desolate Cape Horn, through narrow Lemaire and Neumayer Channels, and along the Strait of Magellan and the rugged Chilean coast, taking in the White Continent's glaciers and icebergs, gentoo penguins, humpback and killer whales, elephant and fur seals, and Antarctic terns as well as Chile's fjords, snow-capped mountains and fishing villages. Landings, weather-permitting, include Yankee Harbor on Greenwich Island, Half Moon Island, Whalers Bay on Deception Island, Almirante Brown in Paradise Harbor, Cuverville Island, Port Lockroy and Cape Horn.
Both ships were recently upgraded, adding two Jacuzzis and an Internet café to each; in addition, the Nordkapp, built in 1996, added eight junior suites to its two existing suites; the Nordnorge, built in 1997, has 14 suites. The ships have works by leading Norwegian artists in the public areas and add a distinctive Latin flavor to the expeditions with South American cuisine, Chilean wines and drinks like pisco sours. Executive officers are Norwegian and the crew is Chilean; the primary languages spoken on board are English and Spanish.
Expedition voyages include round-trip Lan flights from New York, intra-regional flights, five-star hotels and breakfast in Buenos Aires and Santiago, all meals aboard ship, naturalist guides, guest lecturers, some shore excursions, port charges, air taxes and transfers. Add-on airfares from other gateways, optional excursions and extra hotel nights are available.
"Scandinavian Sampler" at Reduced Rates
Norwegian Coastal Voyage has reduced most cabin fares by $20 to $305 per person, double, below the 2004 prices on its 14-day "Scandinavian Sampler." The air-inclusive cruise tour, part of the NCV Independent Vacations program, combines city stays in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Oslo and Bergen, Norway, with a seven-day northbound sailing along Norway's fjord-indented west coast between Bergen and Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle. Departures are daily from April 1 to October 31.
The package, which offers the greatest savings on outside cabins in May, August and October, costs $3,080 to $4,585 per person, double, for cabins and $3,745 to $7,040 for suites. An AARP member discount of $100 per cabin can be combined with senior savings of $115 per guest, 67 and older, except in June and July. Add-on airfares are available.
Designed for independent travelers who prefer to be on their own for sightseeing and dining in major cities but appreciate the convenience and cost savings of air-inclusive cruise tours, the "Sampler" allows participants to set the pace during six land days. Activities and sightseeing in and around Reykjavik, Iceland's fashionable capital, are extensive: the newly reopened National Museum, the Arbaejarsafn Reykjavik Museum, the National Gallery, the annual Arts Festival from May 14-June 5, the famous Blue Lagoon and during the summer months, the Thermal Beach. Optional excursions range from snowmobile safaris on glaciers and horseback riding to visits to national parks, spectacular geysers and geo-thermal hot springs.
The included Oslo Pass and Bergen Card provide free and reduced admission to museums and attractions as well as unlimited public transportation in both cities. Sightseeing choices in Oslo, Norway's capital, include Viking Ships Museum, Norwegian Resistance Museum and Holmenkollen Ski Jump and in Bergen, Bryggens Museum, Mount Floyen funicular and Fantoft Stave Church as well as numerous art museums in each. The Bergen Railway transports participants from Oslo over the mountains through panoramic scenery to Bergen. The "Scandinavian Sampler" includes roundtrip transatlantic Icelandair flights from New York to Reykjavik and Oslo, a Kirkenes-Oslo flight, a seven-day northbound coastal voyage, superior first-class or first-class hotels with buffet breakfast daily, one dinner in Bergen, all meals aboard ship, Bergen Card and Oslo Pass, the scenic Oslo-Bergen train trip, airport transfers, air taxes and port charges. A reverse itinerary is also available.
Western Fjords Highlighted
Narrow inlets along the rugged, mountainous coast, glaciers, castles, orchards, fishing villages and Stone Age settlements are some of the highlights of NCV's new 11-day cruise-tour to Norway's Western Fjords. The air-inclusive program, priced at $3,200 to $4,380 per person, double, includes guide-led hiking tours, fishing trips, onboard lectures and a variety of other activities. Seven departures are scheduled for April, May, and August, 2005. AARP membership results in savings of $100 per cabin; booking by February 28 reduces the price by $100 per person.
Venturing south of Bergen for the first time, the 171-berth MS Lofoten anchors at Mosteroy Island, home to the 13th-century Utstein Monastery before passing the towering "Pulpit Rock" on the Lysefjord. It sails the Sognefjord -- the longest, deepest fjord in the world, as well as the narrow Naeroyfjord, one of Europe's most scenic fjords, winding into the village of Gudvangen. Highlights also include a stunning train journey on the Flam Railway, the impressive Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjaerland, and the Rosendal Barony, a spectacular 17th-century Renaissance-style castle set on the shores of the Hardangerfjord.
The ship passes Floro and Bulandet, Norway's most westerly inhabited fishing villages, where passengers can fish in this idyllic island region. The last leg of the journey sails the Steinsundet Strait, crossing the mouth of the Sognefjord, before entering the island kingdom of Oygarden at Fedje. An onboard tour guide is dedicated to organizing lectures and activities, both on and off the vessel. Several PolarCirkel boats carried on the ship allow passengers to explore otherwise inaccessible locations along the way.
Reminiscent of classic steamer vessels, the MS Lofoten is Norway's only floating national historic monument. Built in 1964 and continuously refurbished, the majority of its cabins have upper/lower berths, about half with private facilities.
The fascinating city of Bergen, a UNESCO World Heritage city founded in 1070, hosts passengers before and after the cruise. A three-course dinner the first night provides an ideal welcome to one of Europe's cultural capitals. The included Bergen Card allows for free bus travel within the city limits, free admittance to most museums and attractions as well as discounts on a variety of cultural and sightseeing attractions and parking.
Cruise-tours include cabin category selected, all meals during the cruise, shore excursions, air taxes, port charges and ship gratuities, and two nights at first-class hotels with breakfast. Add-on airfare from dozens of U.S. cities is available.
Norwegian Coastal Voyage Expands Air-Inclusive Programs,
Norwegian Coastal Voyage is expanding its air-inclusive cruise programs and upgrading the fleet for the 2005 season. A regional cruise tour program to the Lofoten Islands and two fjord regions is being introduced in April on the traditional MS Lofoten, Norway's only floating national historic monument. Jacuzzis are being installed on five ships. The fleet has 11 ships sailing daily year-round along the 1,250-mile fjord-indented coast of Norway, calling at 34 ports from Bergen to Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle.
Designed for active, experienced travelers interested in nature, three new 10- and 11-day cruise tours on the 171-passenger Lofoten add hiking, fishing trips and lectures to enhance daily excursions to well-known and remote destinations accessible by landings in inflatable boats. The voyages from Bodo or Bergen on April 20 to August 31 go north to the rugged Lofotens and explore fjords as far south as Stavanger and the Lysefjord, stopping at many places not on the regular NCV itinerary. Cost is $3,200 to $4,795 per person, double occupancy.
The launch of the 643-passenger MS Finnmarken in 2002, the first Millennium-class ship, set a new NCV standard with many more suites and the line's first private balconies, Jacuzzis and Internet café. For the 2005 season outdoor Jacuzzis are being installed on two 674-berth Millennium ships, the MS Trollfjord and MS Midnatsol, and on the contemporary 464- to 490-berth MS Nordnorge, MS Nordkapp and MS Richard With. The Nordnorge is the fourth ship to be equipped with an Internet café. A new suite is being added on the Nordkapp.
Promotional offers, which can be combined for maximum savings, include year-round AARP membership discounts of $70 to $150 per cabin; a senior savings for passengers 67 and older of $95 to $170 per person except in June and July; and a waived single supplement in selected cabin categories on contemporary and mid-generation ships from January 1 to March 3 and October 1 to December 31.
NCV Independent Vacations are flexible 12-day to 17-day programs combining the coastal voyage with first-class hotels, one dinner, Oslo and Bergen Cards, and the Oslo-Bergen train journey; they operate daily year-round except one tour adding Iceland; cabins cost $2,780 to $5,115 and suites $3,360 to $8,680 per person, double.
Introduced in 2004, NCV No Frills Vacations are 10- and 15-day independent packages on the 312- to 318-berth mid-generation ships, MS Narvik and MS Vesteralen, matched with tourist-class hotels and a short land segment but the same ports of call and scenery as the larger vessels. Year-round departures are $1,955 to $4,110.
The 15- to 18-day NCV Escorted Vacations on Millennium ships from May to September provide extensive sightseeing in Lapland and/or the fjord region, first-class hotels and most meals at tour prices of $4,620 to $6,720. Two 12-day holiday cruise tours combine the coastal voyage with traditional Christmas celebrations in Copenhagen and Norway, a gala New Year's Eve aboard ship and an Arctic wilderness stay.
NCV has expanded its pre- and post-cruise extensions to include all three of Norway's best-known fjords – the Sognefjord, Hardangerfjord and Geirangerfjord – with the addition of a three-day Geirangerfjord program from Alesund to Bergen at $610 from May through September.
Cabin categories and rates have been simplified for the 2005 season. Cruise-only rates range from $688 to $1,712 for six days, $838 to $2,086 for seven days and $1,250-$3,113 for 12 days; suites cost $1,307 to $3,596 per person double for the six-day, $1,592 to $4,381 for the seven-day, and $2,375 to $6,538 for the round trip. Rates are lowest from October through March and highest in June and July.
Soft-adventure NCV Expedition Voyages are scheduled to Spitsbergen from June to August and to Antarctica November to March. The company also handles U.S. reservations for Sweden's Gota Canal cruises.
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