Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Hurtigruten Excursions

norway cruise excursions
Excursions - getting off the ship and enjoying the local scene is an important feature of Hurtigruten cruises, so we have developed dozens of high-quality excursions. Port excursions range from city tours of Ålesund and Tromsø to the more unusual Lofotr Viking Feast" -- a true Viking feast held in a recreation of the largest Viking building ever found -- to the simply fun "Dog Sledding in Tromso" and "Scootertrip in Lapland" (see our Norway Adventure Excursions).

The “Polar History Walk, Tromsø” highlights this medieval town’s links with polar explorations; amid flickering lights, the elegant church in Tromsø is the setting for the “Midnight Concert in the Arctic”; a short drive through Kirkenes brings guests to the Gabba Reindeer Park and a visit to the snow hotel on the “Kirkenes Snow Hotel” trip; and the UNESCO World Heritage Islands explores The Vega archipelago, consisting of 6,000 islands and islets where guests visit the E-house and touch down on Vega. Most optional excursions can be booked before departure, saving 5% off the price. See also our pre and post cruise excursions.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When a man loves a woman - can't keep his mind on nothing else



"When a man loves a woman - can't keep his mind on nothing else," Percy Sledge is singing in the classic. This song was my first association when I saw this video. I love the penguins trying to help the victim of this aggressive lover.


And this is Percy Sledge performing When a man loves a woman:



Wonderful song, one of my favourites . And here are the lyrics if you want to sing-along:

When a man loves a woman (lyrics)

When a man loves a woman
Can't keep his mind on nothing else
He'll trade the world
For the good thing he's found
If she's bad he can't see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
Tryin' to hold on to what he needs
He'd give up all his comfort
Sleep out in the rain
If she said that's the way it ought to be

Well, this man loves a woman
I gave you everything I had
Tryin' to hold on to your precious love
Baby, please don't treat me bad

When a man loves a woman
Down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery
If she plays him for a fool
He's the last one to know
Lovin' eyes can't ever see

When a man loves a woman
He can do no wrong
He can never own some other girl
Yes when a man loves a woman
I know exactly how he feels
'Cause baby, baby, baby, you're my world

When a man loves a woman.....

Percy Sledge's great hit "When a Man Loves a Woman" was released in March 1966. The song's inspiration came when Sledge's girlfriend left him for a modeling career. Because bassist Cameron Lewis and organist Andrew Wright helped him with the song, he gave all the songwriting credits to them. It reached #1 in the U.S. and went on to become an international hit. The soul anthem became the cornerstone of Sledge's career, and was followed by "Warm and Tender Love" (covered by UK songstress Elkie Brooks  in 1981), "It Tears Me Up", "Take Time to Know Her" (Percy Sledge's second biggest U.S. hit, reaching #11), "Love Me Tender", and "Cover Me".

Percy Sledge

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Muddy Footprints on the Back

Did you know that during the breeding season, female penguins are sometimes identifiable by muddy footprints on their backs?

The footprints are left by males during mating activity.

Watch penguin videos on Hurtigruten.us

Antarctica cruise - visit the penguins

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gearing up for a Snow Mobile Adventure in Kirkenes


Gearing up for a snow mobile adventure in Kirkenes.  Let the excitement begin.

Photo: Jeffrey Sobolow

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Antarctica Photo of the Month

antarctica photos
Antarctica is white poetry: icebergs, total silence - and the cutest creatures on earth: the penguins!

Have you ever visited Antarctica with Hurtigruten or any other cruise company? Please share your experiences with other blog readers in the comments field below!

Hurtigruten's voyages to Antarctica

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Midnight Sun in Spitsbergen


Spitsbergen is above the Arctic Circle and therefore benefits from the Midnight Sun during the summer. This means 24 hours of sunlight to experience this unique landscape from April to late August.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Norway: Photo of the Month: Geiranger

Geiranger, one of the most beautiful fjords in norway
This month's photo is taken on one of the excursions you can take during your cruise along the Norwegian coast: The Geiranger Panorama excursion. This excursion is available on the northbound trip, starting in Bergen.

Norway means fjords, mountains, skiing, Nobel's Peace Prize, glaciers, sea eagles, the midnight sun and spectacular untouched nature.

With Hurtigruten you can experience a lot of this on the cruises along the coast of Norway - all year round.

Have you ever visited Geiranger or any of the other Norwegian Fjords? Please tell us what you think!

Visit Hurtigruten.us to see some of the things Norway has to offer
Northbound excursions
Southbound excursions

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Taste of Hurtigruten (pre and post cruise extensions )

the new opera house in oslo. photo: per-erik skramstad
Pre and post Norway cruise extensions can be added to your Norwegian Coastal Voyage before
or after your trip to enhance your total vacation experience.

This program - A Taste of Hurtigruten - would be taken in lieu of a traditional 6-, 7- or 12-day Norwegian Coastal Voyage.

Journey from Oslo to Bergen along the Bergen Line railway, recognized as being one of the top 20 railway experiences in the world. After arrival in Bergen, transfer to your Hurtigruten ship for an evening departure of your northbound cruise to Trondheim. Sail through exquisite ports of call, including the beautiful Art Nouveau town of Alesund, before arriving at your final destination - Trondheim, whose colorful history is reflected in its handsome civic architecture. From there, board a train through the scenic Gudbrandsdal valley to Oslo.

Enhance your sense of culture, discovery and adventure by adding our optional pre or post cruise extensions to your Norwegian Coastal Voyage vacation. Options includes day trips in Bergen, Flam, Kirkenes, Oslo, Trondheim, Røros and Voss.

Float in the icy Barents Sea with a special survival suite, or lunch on the Oslofjord in a wooden sail boat. Our optional extensions take your sense of Norway beyond adventure to new heights.

Experience Norway

All pre and post Norway cruise excursions

Cruise excursions northbound voyage

Cruise excursions southbound voyage

Facts about Greenland

The killing of baby seals does not and has never taken place in Greenland. The Greenland seals do not breed in Greenland and it is far from the Greenlandic hunting tradition to hunt baby seals, which do not carry much meat.

Greenland's art has historically been of a functional nature. Objets d'art did not exist in the old Eskimo society. Today much modern art is still inspired by the old cultural images.

Greenland cruises with Hurtigruten
Thanks to Greenland Tourism & Business Council

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hurtigruten on Facebook

Hurtigruten is on Facebook - of course. Join us and be updated with the latest travel news, videos, special offers etc.!




Join Hurtigruten on Facebook

Richard Bangs explores the coast of Norway

Enjoy spectacular scenery as Richard Bangs explores the coast of Norway searching for the Viking history, all while aboard Hurtigruten's exquisite vessels.



Richards Bangs - explorations, quests and concepts in travel

More videos related to Norway on Hurtigruten.us

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Norway Ranked among Top Ten Most Peaceful Nations in the World

The Top 10 most peaceful countries in the World were announced yesterday by the Institute for Economics & Peace:


1 New Zealand
2 Iceland
3 Japan
4 Austria
5 Norway
6 Ireland
7 Denmark
7 Luxembourg
9 Finland
10 Sweden


Western Europe is markedly the most peaceful region, with the majority of the countries in this group ranking in the top 20 overall.


According to the Institute for Economics & Peace, Norway’s score deteriorated slightly from last year, contributing to a slide of two places to 5th position in the 2010 GPI. Access to small arms and light weapons remains highly restricted. Relations between Norway and its neighboring Scandinavian countries, with which it shares a strong cultural and linguistic heritage, are very good, with close co-operation remaining a cornerstone of Norway’s foreign policy. Most GPI indicators relating to safety and security point to a harmonious society: violent crime is rare, human rights are accorded great respect, the political scene is stable and violent demonstrations are highly unlikely to occur. There are more security officers and police per head in Norway than in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.


The results of the Global Peace Index (GPI) for 2010 suggest that the world has become slightly less peaceful in the past year. The GPI, which gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarization in 149 countries, registered overall increases in several indicators, including the likelihood of violent demonstrations and perceptions of criminality. In some nations, an intensification of conflicts and growing instability appears to be linked to the global economic downturn in late 2008 and early 2009.

getting excited!

We're beginning to plan the voyage "in the wake of the Vikings"!

There are few things remaining on my to do in Greenland list, visiting the Norse ruins was on of them. I have read widely on the topic and visited some of the ruins. This trip will allow me to fill in some important blanks. To see 1. the church as Hvalsey (the best-preserved Norse Greenland ruins!) and the North American ruins at L'Anse sux Meadows (North America discovered ~500 years before Christopher Columbus!) are both big game sites to see.

I've actually take a ship through Prins Christian Sound and by the highest sea cliffs in the world at Torsukatat; part of the voyage.

I'm excited my parents are joining the voyage.

We're doing a pre-tour in Iceland.

Exciting stuff!

Jason Box

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Modern Conference Facilities Aboard Deluxe Ships amidst Breathtaking Scenery

Hurtigruten’s modern fleet sails deep into the heart of a unique and spectacular landscape -- between the cultural center of Bergen and Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle.

This perfect blend of scenery, great food, deluxe accommodations and modern conference facilities is on sale for those companies looking to give their meetings a bit more cachet.  The highly competitive price of 1,350 NOK ($218 US*) per person for a 24-hour package applies to any of the nearly 1,100 different voyage combinations and includes the voyage, unspecified single cabins, meals, meeting facilities and coffee breaks for the participants, and the assistance of Hurtigruten's Conference division in planning - the stunning views of the Norwegian coast are provided for free!

Hardly any conference host in the world is able to offer anything nearly as flexible.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the world's most remote destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway's coast.  Consumers can book directly or through a travel agent (Hurtigruten can recommend top-producing travel agents).  Additional information on all of these adventures, as well as brochures and reservations, can be obtained from Hurtigruten's site, a full-fledged source of information and assistance; or by phone: (800) 323-7436; fax (888) 524-2145; 24-hour number for brochures, (800) 582-0835.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hurtigruten Photo Competition

Your best Hurtigruten Memories

To us Hurtigruten is the source of fantastic nature, magnificent lighting, close encounters with nature and local culture, interesting fauna, exciting excursions, excellent food and a unique atmosphere. The beautiful Norwegian coastline through four seasons, mythical Greenland, awesome Spitsbergen and the vastness of the Antarctic – the photo opportunities are plentiful!

We would like to receive photos of YOUR best memories from HURTIGRUTEN.

The competition runs until 1 October 2010.

Good Luck!

Info on Hurtigruten.us

Saturday, June 5, 2010

National Geographic CSD & Hurtigruten

Geotourism is tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. We are proud to state that this in many ways reflects the historical “mission” of Hurtigruten. Hurtigruten is a part of Norway.

National Geographic's Director of the Center for Sustainable Destinations Jonathan Tourtellot talks about sustainable tourism in Norway.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Land of the Midnight Sun

From late May to late July the sun never completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north of the Arctic Circle - hence Norway being known as the "Land of the Midnight Sun".

The archepilago Svalbard (constituting the northernmost part of Norway) is above the Arctic Circle and therefore benefits from the Midnight Sun during the summer. This means 24 hours of sunlight to experience this unique landscape from April to late August.

Don't forget the souvenirs...



No wonder the souvenirs you can buy on board on your Hurtigruten cruise are popular. This is a video showing the souvenir shop on MS Trollfjord, a ship that sails all year round along the coast of Norway, from Bergen to Kirkenes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Norway Excursion of the Month: Sea Eagle Safari

sea eagle safari in norway
On the Southbound voyages from Kirkenes to Bergen you can join on one of the most exciting excursions Hurtigruten can offer in the summer: Sea Eagle Safari. You will get close to this majestic eagle and get a memory for life.

First you will follow the Hurtigruten ship into the Trollfjord where it turns around in the narrow fjord, a magnificent sight!

The sea eagle safari begins when you leave the fjord Trollfjorden, starting with the gulls, as they dive for fish right from your hand.

You then pass through a narrow sound flanked by a range of steep mountains - this is where the sea eagles dwell and soon enough they come flying in to get a share of the banquet. These beautiful, rare birds of prey circle the boat a few times, with wings outstretched, before we throw fish into the sea for them to dive in and collect.

Jason Box on Global Warming



Hurtigruten is very excited to have one of the worlds leading climatologists, Dr. Jason Box from The Byrd Polar Research Center about The Global Warming, lecturing on the voyage 14-DAY IN THE WAKE OF THE VIKINGS departing from Reykjavik on Sept. 26, 2010.

In this video Dr Box talks to talk show host Dave Martin from Ridin the Wave with Dave about global warming and what is happening to the Earth.

The voyage starts in Reykjavik, Iceland, where guests can take in some of the cosmopolitan city’s many museums and shops or sightsee among the glaciers, waterfalls and geysers just outside the city's boundaries. Four days are spent exploring the eastern and southern villages of Greenland including visits to Køge Bay, where the Greenland ice cap races to the sea; Umivik, the starting point of Fridtjof Nansen's epic first crossing of the Ice Cap; and Qassiarsuk, where Erik the Red in exile founded a colony that persisted for some 500 years. The ship then heads across the Labrador Sea, stopping in Newfoundland and then turning south to Halifax via St Anthony, Bonne Bay and Baddeck in Nova Scotia - taking time to visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: L’Anse Aux Meadows, where Norse settlers began to get a foot hold in North America; Red Bay; and Gros Morne National Park; among other excursions.

Climate change already visible on Greenland

Many scientists and governments are talking about what “will happen” once climate change begins to occur, but on the great island of Greenland global warming isn't just a future problem - it's happening now.

Greenland
is the largest island on the planet, and most of it - around 85 percent - is covered in ice. At over 656,000 square miles, it's the largest area of fresh water ice in the northern hemisphere. Scientists have predicted that if the Greenland ice sheet were to completely melt, ocean levels could go up by 23 feet, which would have catastrophic effects for low-lying coastal regions across the globe.

While scientists can't agree on how much or how fast the Greenland ice sheet will melt, what is certain is that the Arctic is warming up faster than the rest of the planet and that Greenland is already losing a large portion of its ice. As scientists continue to debate and take measurements, the effects of climate change are already visible on the island.

What are your thoughts on global warming?

"A pivotal moment in Earth's climate history with Greenland at the epicenter"

Jason Box
As we have already written on our blog, climatologist expert Jason Box will join Hurtigruten's "In the Wake of the Vikings" , which is a 14-day odyssey aboard the deluxe 318-passenger MS Fram that follows in the wake of the ancient Norsemen from Iceland to Greenland and then onto Canada’s Labrador and Newfoundland.

Making use of multimedia lectures and Q&A sessions, Dr. Box will leave Hurtigruten's guests with a clearer understanding of one of the world's most discussed climate issues, global warming, and its effect on Greenland’s glaciers and climate.

"We bear witness to a pivotal moment in Earth's climate history with Greenland at the epicenter of that change -- as its glaciers react to the planet's warming," explains Dr. Box. "During my lectures, I will be focusing on the current state of research undertaken by myself and other leading scientists and discuss some of the possible solutions and options available."

Other onboard experts from numerous disciplines, including geology, marine life, environment, history and culture, will also be on hand and will join the landings and shore excursions where passengers have the chance to get close to the culture, wildlife and communities of Greenland’s most isolated areas.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oslo

Did you know that Oslo is the fastest growing capital in Europe?

Read about Oslo, Norway's capital

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fridtjof Nansen's ship Fram



As you may know, Hurtigruten's state-of-the-art explorer ship MS Fram, cruising Arctic and Antarctic waters, is named after the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen's most famous polar ship. Nansens ship "Fram" was a purpose-built, round-hulled ship later used by Roald Amundsen to transport his expedition to Antarctica.

In Norway's capital Oslo you can see Nansen's ship in the Fram Museum. The Fram Museum shows the history of the polar explorers. Here you’ll find the world's most famous polar ship, the Fram, built in 1892. The ship is displayed in its original condition with interior and objects perfectly preserved.

Fridtjof NansenIn 1893, Fridtjof Nansen sailed to the Arctic in the Fram. The ship was deliberately allowed to drift north through the sea ice. The journey took more than three years.

Nansen conjectured the Polar current's warm water "could hardly have been other than the Gulf Stream" and was the agent behind the movement of the ice. During this first crossing of the Arctic Ocean the expedition became the first to discover the existence of a deep polar basin.

After more than one year in the ice it became apparent that Fram would not reach the North Pole. Fridtjof Nansen continued north on foot when the Fram reached 84° 4´ N. The theory that the currents would carry the Fram over the north pole were proved incorrect. Nansen reasoned this was caused due to the Earth's rotation which resulted in polar drift. This was a daring decision, as it meant leaving the ship not to return, and a return journey over drifting ice to the nearest known land some five hundred miles south of the point where they started. Nansen and his companion Johansen started north on 14 March 1895 with 3 sledges, 3 kayaks and 28 dogs. On 8 April 1895, they reached 86° 14´ N, the highest latitude then attained. The two men then turned around and started back. Their watches stopped during a twelve hour trek, however, and they were thus unable to correctly reckon their position, and did not find the land they expected at 83°N (it actually did not exist).

In June 1895, Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen had to use their kayaks to cross open leads of water. On 24 July they came across a series of islands. Here they built a hut of moss, stones, and walrus hides, and wintered, surviving on walrus blubber and polar bear meat. In May of the following year (1896), they started off again for Spitsbergen. After travelling for a month, not knowing where they were, they happened upon the British Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition (led by Frederick George Jackson) whose party were wintering on the island. Jackson informed them that they were in fact on Franz Josef Land. Finally, Nansen and Johansen made it back to Vardø in the north of Norway.

Fridtjof Nansen was the first to note and describe dead water. Dead water is the nautical term for a strange phenomenon which can occur when a layer of fresh  or brackish water rests on top of denser salt water, without the two layers mixing. A ship traveling in such conditions may be hard to maneuver or can even slow down almost to a standstill. The phenomenon is observable where glacier runoff flows into salt water without much mixing, such as in fjords.

This was the crew on Fram's first voyage:
Fridtjof Nansen
Otto Sverdrup
Sigurd Scott Hansen
Henrik Greve Blessing
Theodor C. Jacobsen
Anton Amundsen
Adolf Juell
Lars Pettersen
F. Hjalmar Johansen
Peder L. Henriksen
Bernhard Nordahl
Ivar O. Mogstad
Bernt Berntsen

Fram Museum
Hurtigruten's explorer ship MS Fram

MS Fram - Hurtigruten's Explorer Ship

MS Fram, Hurtigruten's cruise explorer ship

MS Fram is named after the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen's most famous polar ship. She is the newest, most luxurious vessel in Hurtigruten's fleet, and is specially designed for cruising Arctic and Antarctic waters. The main destinations in 2010 include Antarctica, Greenland  and Spitsbergen / Svalbard.

The technical standard is state-of-the-art and she handles icy conditions with no problem. MS Fram has 128 stylish and comfortable cabins, which feature two lower berths or a twin-size bed, and several well-appointed suites. The panoramic lounges and wide deck spaces give every guest the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic view on this masterpiece of an Arctic/Antarctic cruise ship.

MS Fram’s interior has been inspired by Greenland and the Arctic region; with a glass-enclosed observation lounge and excellent leisure facilities including a gym, sauna and two heated outdoor Jacuzzis.

Sailing aboard The MS Fram means large, comfortable lounges with panoramic windows and wonderful views from large outdoor decks.

There is no need to dress up for dinner (unless you want to) Going on a cruise with MS Fram also means open seating; fresh seasonal ingredients, plenty of incredible seafood and a comprehensive wine list; multilingual tour directors and comfortable cabins. The cabins vary from the smaller inside accommodations to the large outside suites that offer TV, mini-bar, queen-size beds and numerous bonuses including a free bottle of champagne, two free shore excursions, complimentary wine with lunch or dinner and a free round of mini bar use.

The crew is friendly and well-informed, and ready to offer assistance and suggestions when asked. The public areas also include an Internet café, a wellness center with saunas, work-out room and two glass-screened heated outdoor whirlpools.

Have you ever sailed with MS Fram? We would love to hear about your experience!

MS Fram
Visit Hurtigruten.us

Antarctica photo of the month

Antarctica wildlife: seals
Antarctica is white poetry: icebergs, total silence - and the cutest creatures on earth: the penguins!

Here is a photo of seals taken in Antarctica.

Have you ever visited Antarctica with Hurtigruten or any other cruise company? Please share your experiences with other blog readers in the comments field below!

Hurtigruten's voyages to Antarctica

MS Fram on Video

Here are some amateur videos showing you Hurtigruten's explorer ship MS Fram. Please tell us if you find more great videos that might interest others!



Boarding the Hurtigruten ship MS Fram, and heading down the Beagle Channel towards Antarctica.






Snowing in Antarctica.





Hurtigruten's explorer ship MS Fram