Posted by: cruise2 | 8 April, 2011

Puffins, Guillemots and Razor Bills

Puffin (Fratercula arctica) at the island of R...

Image via T. Müller Wikipedia

A birder’s paradise, a rare opportunity, a fantastic spectacle – all appropriate phrases to describe the west coast of Norway during the spring movement of millions of birds.  Coming on the heels of “Lundkommardagen” (Puffins Day), when a black cloud of puffins descend on their Spring breeding grounds on Lovund, Hurtigruten’s “Birds of the Nordic Coast” sailing is a true ornithological event, departing Kirkenes on May 20, 2011, and heading south to Bergen.  A “Bird Watching Safari” in the North Cape, learning to photograph birds near Tromsø, a “Sea Eagle Safari” near Svolvœr, and a visit to the UNESCO-listed Vega Archipelago, home to 228 species of birds, are just some of the possible highlights on the voyage.  The six-day route follows the traditional fjord-indented Norwegian Coastal Voyage, stopping at 34 ports along the way.  Prices range from US$1,683 to $4,417 per person, double.

Lectures and stellar bird-watching opportunities are ever-present – as are the many species such as puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, Northern gannets, and sea eagles.  Passengers have the opportunity to view 30,000 nesting pairs of puffins, known for their orange bills and feet, on the island of Lovund, while in Honningsvåg an optional excursion heads of to the North Cape to see gannets and more.  An optional Midnight Sun trip in Tromsø takes guests to Prestvannet, a small lake that serves as home to an assortment of birds, including the red-throated loon.  A visit to the historic Viking grounds of Lake Laugen offers a look at the colourful Slavonian Grebe and Velvet scoter, and while en route to Trollfjord, an optional side trip allows for close up views of the majestic White-tailed Sea Eagle as they swoop in to catch fish thrown to them by the crew.  On-board lectures, given by experts, provide a better understanding of the birds and the history of their migration.  Of course, there is also plenty of time to also enjoy the many ports as well as stunning views along Norway’s 1,250-mile west coast. 

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 (expensive) 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.

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, fax 1-888-759-2990 or cruise@thecruisepeople.ca

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