Monday, May 23, 2011

Ålesund - Rebuilt in the Art Nouveau Style

Leveled by a massive fire in 1904, Ålesund was then completely rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style. Conveying beautiful intricate detail and design throughout the city.

Photo: Jennifer Rosen

Thursday, May 19, 2011

High Scores for Hurtigruten on Environmental Awareness

Environmental awareness on expedition cruises to Spitsbergen and the Svalbard Archipelago is extremely high according to a recent study commissioned by The International Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). Hurtigruten’s MS Fram was one of four ships followed by research teams during the study.

The study, carried out by an independent Norwegian company, found that crew, expedition team and guests on MS Fram and the three other ships in the study displayed high environmental awareness. It found that ship’s officers were up to date on the latest legislation and regulations pertaining to the environmental protection of the Svalbard Archipelago and that this was a constant focus. According to the study, emissions from the expedition ships would have a relatively minor impact on the Arctic marine environment, provided that all international and national legislation was complied with.

MS Fram has an ice classed hull which reduces risk of grounding and runs on distillate only Marine Gasoil (MGO) - these two combined factors ensure it gives as little emission as possible.

Hurtigruten operates its voyages with the philosophy – "Take nothing but pictures – leave nothing but footprints." The study found that passengers were given the appropriate instruction on how to conduct themselves when in these precious environments from well-trained expedition teams.

To ensure we do our part to protect the environment in every way possible in Svalbard, Hurtigruten guests take part in a program called 'Clean up Svalbard' which helps to keep the coasts clean. Unfortunately, there are beaches that are littered with plastic, empty oil drums, fishnets and other waste that washes up on the coast. Hurtigruten guests, under the guidance of the ships expedition team, are invited to volunteer in helping collect the rubbish that is then disposed of in refuse sacks provided by the ship, so they can experience the wilderness of Svalbard as they wish to see it – pure and untouched.

Click here to learn more about Hurtigruten's voyages to Spitsbergen, Svalbard, contact your travel agent or call 800-323-7436.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 17th of May - Norway's National Day

May 17th is Norway’s Constitution Day and is celebrated with children’s parades and festivities. These colorful processions of children with their banners, flags and bands take center stage on this day of celebration.

After being part of the Danish autocracy for 400 years, Norway got its own constitution in 1814 and joined into a loose union with Sweden that lasted until 1905.

A limited and hereditary monarchy was introduced, whereby the king would exercise his authority through a government, while Parliament (Storting) would allocate monies and make laws. The Norwegian constitution was the most modern in Europe at the time.

Norway's Constitution, which declared the country to be an independent nation, was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814, and despite full independence having had to wait until 1905, this date remains Norway's official National Day.

The day is celebrated with as much enthusiasm in Norwegian villages as in the capital city of Oslo, where tens of thousands line Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main thoroughfare, every year to watch the parade.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Glaciers & Icebergs Voyage - Special Guest Lecturer Bud Ward

As a special treat for guests traveling on the June 12th Glaciers & Icebergs voyage through Greenland, in addition to our already stellar lecturers and naturalists onboard, special guest Bud Ward will be lecturing on climate change.

Bud Ward is founder and editor of The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media. Ward started his environmental journalism career in 1974 and later served as Assistant Director of a Congressional Clean Air Act Study Commission before founding The Environmental Forum policy magazine in 1982.

A co-founder of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) in 1989, he has written two books on environmental regulatory issues and has authored more than 1,000 bylined articles on environmental issues and on journalism. He twice served as a frequent environmental analyst and commentator for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." He also founded and managed the Central European Environmental Journalism Program. Ward is Advisory Editor for the Oxford University Second Edition of Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather (2007); and an adviser to the 2007/2008 United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report, Climate Change and Human Development. Ward administers the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment, at $75,000 the richest prize in journalism. George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communications in 2009 named Ward its “Climate Change Communicator of the Year.” A member of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Hurtigruten is very proud and excited to have Bud join us onboard the exquisite MS Fram on the June 12th Greenland voyage. We hope to see you there.

Check out this special Greenland video for a sneak peak at some of the awe-inspiring scenery Greenland has to offer.

Click here for additional voyage information, or to book now, please contact your travel agent, book online or call 800-323-7436.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hurtigruten Offering 12-day Antarctic Discovery

Hurtigruten’s very popular 12-day “Antarctic Discovery” allows the many North Americans whose vacation times are limited to two or three weeks per year the opportunity to visit one of the world’s most remote destinations.

The deluxe expedition ship MS Fram sails round trip from Buenos Aires on three 2012 departures, traveling through the famous Drake Passage and making stops in several stunning ports on the “White Continent” as well as Ushuaia, the world’s most southerly port. The mesmerizing effect of Antarctica’s endless landscapes of glaciers and icebergs is only broken when colonies of thousands of penguins come into view, one of several exotic animal highlights. A selection of optional excursions – including pre- or post-cruise packages visiting Machu Picchu or the Iguazu Falls, allows guests to customize their adventures. Early booking prices for the Jan. 3, 12 and Feb. 14 departures start at $6,190 per person, but must be booked by May 31, 2011. Plus 1893 Ambassador Loyalty Program members receive an additional 5% discount!

For more information, contact your travel agent or call 800-323-7436. Click here for Antarctica itinerary details.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Norway rated Best for Moms

Not news to Norwegians, but maybe news to us, according to a new study, the best place in the world to be a mom is Norway!

According to the Save the Children's 12th annual Mother's Index released on May 3rd, maternal and child mortality rates are low, women's life expectancy and years in school are high, and the average maternity leave is about one year - and paid to boot! Plus, a typical Norwegian woman lives to be 83 years old!

The United States meanwhile places 31st while Afghanistan comes in last.

Released every year in the days before Mother's Day, the international nonprofit group's ranking analyzes the maternal and child indicators and other published information of 164 countries.

So not only is Norway an amazing place to visit with stunning scenery and activities, but also a wonderful place to live.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Taste of Hurtigruten

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.

All pre and post Norway cruise excursions

Cruise excursions northbound voyage
Cruise excursions southbound voyage

Monday, May 2, 2011

Antarctica Photo of the Month

Antarctica is white poetry: icebergs, seals, 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 cruise to Antarctica

(All images © Hurtigruten)