Early-Bird Expedition Specials

Hurtigruten offers savings on a variety of cruises

By: Marissa Tinloy

Hurtigruten, formerly known as Norwegian Coastal Voyage, has announced its opportunities for early-bird savings. For destinations in Antarctica, Greenland and Spitsbergen, the cruise company is offering a wide variety of discounts for booking early for the 2008-2009 season.

These soft-adventure cruises are designed for active, curious travelers. Hurtigruten centers their cruising experience on the natural wildlife and native cultures encountered during their travels. The programs include roundtrip airfare, first-class hotels, all meals aboard the ship, naturalist guides, shore excursions and more.

With Hurtigruten, travelers to Antarctica who book by Dec. 31 can save up to $350 per person on all Oct. 2008-Feb. 2009 cruises. This deal applies to all itineraries, including the new 17-day venture, which goes as far south as Marguerite Bay on the White Continent. In addition, other Antarctica packages include the 13-day Argentina and Antarctica; 19-day Antarctica and Falklands/Malvinas and 21-day Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands cruise. Depending on weather, landings include Half Moon and Deception Islands, Ukrainian Vernadsky and Polish Arctowski Bases, Almirante Brown, Port Lockroy, Neko Harbor and Petermann Island. Regular rates range from $6,799 to $17,699 per person on the 318-berth MS Fram or MS Nordnorge.

For travelers embarking on Spitsbergen sailings between June and Aug. 2008, booking by Dec. 31 can mean early-bird savings again. For travelers on nine- or 16-day adventures, early booking allows savings of $200 per person and for those on any 12-day voyage it means a savings of $350. The expedition cruises include air and offer guests a unique experience in an Arctic environment where the Midnight Sun casts 24-hour light on the plethora of wildlife and stunning landscape. Regular fares for the Spitsbergen Arctic Adventure are $6,299 to $6,700 for the nine-day; $7,399 to $8,399 for the 16-day and $9,599 to $11,699 for the 12-day Grand Arctic.

Booking Greenland cruises before by Jan. 31 saves $350 per person on cabins and $500 on suites. The 15-day itineraries sail between Iceland’s Reykjavik and the eastern and southern Greenland coasts. There are also eight-day programs in the Disko Bay region and a 15-day combination package. With a combination of sea and land-based excursions, the packages before discounts range from $3,673-$21,899.