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Hurtigruten is always looking to intrigue its passengers, offering unique opportunities to explore remote regions and learn about different cultures — and the west coast of Norway in the winter offers another wonderful opportunity. From November 15 through March 15, Hurtigruten takes passengers on "Hunting the Light" voyages – an exploration that offers dog sledding, the nightly viewing possibility of the spectacular Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights), overnights at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, swims in the Barents Sea, incredible vistas, wonderful meals of local fare, and numerous presentations on the history and cultures of Norway.
Spending time in the Arctic Circle is a relatively rare and special event and Hurtigruten celebrates with a polar baptism – an ice cube ‘shower’ hosted by King Neptune himself. Guests voluntarily line up (few sit it out) and await their light, but cold, dousing; all guests receive an Arctic Circle Certificate announcing their accomplishment.
Other presentations and activities on board and ashore are unique and special: imagine eating freshly made fish cakes while learning about the 1890 "Battle of Trollfjord;" listening to the captain’s description about life along the Norway coast; understanding the science behind the Aurora Borealis; learning how to make bends and hitches; and gaining insight into native Sámi culture — all while watching the magical polar light colours of gold, pink and blue reflect off the snow-laden coast and being on the lookout for the Aurora Borealis display. Added treats during the holiday season include visiting Christmas markets and seeing the twinkling decorations light up the shore line.
Excursions, both included and optional are equally as intriguing. Passengers can enjoy a Viking feast with a Viking Chieftain in Lofotr, experience dog sledding on the frozen landscape, visit the world’s northernmost town, Hammerfest – the first town in Northern Europe to get electric street lights (1891), strike out for the North Cape and its incredible view near the top of the world, ride snowmobiles on a winter safari, visit and/or stay overnight at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, take the Arctic Ocean plunge, or take in a midnight concert in Tromsø’s Arctic Cathedral.
The six-day southbound, seven-day northbound and 12-day round-trip make 34 ports of call along Norway’s stunningly scenic, fjord-filled west coast. The fjords have had awards and honours bestowed on them over the years, most recently by National Geographic Traveler which named it the world’s most celebrated and iconic travel destinations.
Regular fares range from US$1,019 to $6,622 per person, double. Two special promotions are being offered on bookings made by Sept. 30, 2010: "Buy Six, Get Five Free" offers a 12-day round-trip itinerary between Oct. 5 and Dec. 31 for the price of the six-day trip, amounting to a 30% cabin discount on 22 selected sailings; "2011 Early Booking" reduces prices by 20% on most ships for sailings in 2011. Further savings of 10% are offered to passengers who sailed on any Hurtigruten ship in the past three years.
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 The Cruise People, Ltd. 1-800-961-5536.