Hurtigruten, previously named Norwegian Coastal Voyage, is now
offering a series of spring and summer cruises on Sweden’s famous
Gota Canal. The two-, four- and six-day itineraries, found aboard a
choice of three restored vintage ships, sail from the country’s
second largest city, Gothenburg, to its capital in Stockholm.
Onboard the meticulously renovated late 19th and early 20th
century vessels, guests can enjoy the rich history of the canal in
the comfort of a modernized ship. The MS Diana, Juno and Wilhelm
Tham each offer 25 to 29 cozy cabins, complete with bunks and a
washbasin, as well as a bar, library and lounge, each with the
ambience of bygone eras.
The Gota Canal cruise focuses on the waterway’s history,
navigating its manmade locks, stunning lakes and lush Swedish
landscape. In fact, the six-day cruise covers one river, three
canals, eight lakes, 66 locks and two seas.
Throughout the journey, passengers have the opportunity to
disembark and explore the area’s towns and cities, including visits
to a number of museums, monasteries, and castles.
In Trollhattan, an area which was nearly impossible to access by
water before the completion of the lock system in the 19th century,
passengers visit the region’s Canal Museum and watch a film on the
history of the waterway. At Algens Berg’s Royal Hunts Museum,
visitors learn about the area’s geology, flora, fauna and wildlife,
especially the elusive Swedish elk. In Motala, which is often
considered the capital of the canal, guests can visit both the
Motor Museum and the site where Baltzar von Platen, the canal’s
creator, founded Motala Werkstad and catalyzed the development of
Passengers also have the opportunity to visit a variety of
Swedish castles, including Lacko’s 13th-century De la Gardie Palace
on Lake Vanern; the ruins of the ancient Stegeborg Castle; and King
Gustav Vasa’s Gripsholm Castle in Vadstena.
Adventurous travelers can swim in Lake Roxen at the Locks of
Berge, visit the medieval Vreta and Monastery, and then wrap up the
journey with ancient punch sipped in the Birka Viking City on
Bjorko Island, a World Heritage site.
The two-day cruise aboard the MS Diana ranges from $565 to $730.
Both the four- and six-day cruises are available aboard all three
vessels. The four-day ranges from $1,275 to $2,425 and the six-day
$2,075 to $3,095. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy
and include daily breakfast, two-course lunches and three-course