Hurtigruten World Cruise Adds Florida Departure – 50% Off Companion

Another first in a decade of firsts for Hurtigruten is the addition of Pt. Canaveral, Florida as the October 18, 2008 embarkation point of a 41-day segment of its 67-day “Longitudinal World Cruise” – also a first in the industry – aboard the world’s newest and most deluxe expedition ship, the 318-passenger MS Fram.  Normally priced at $11,999 to $41,699 per person, double, Hurtigruten is offering 50% savings on a companion’s fare when booking selected stateroom and suite categories by April 30, 2008 – a discount of $5,999 to $13,075.  For bookings after April 30, Hurtigruten is offering per person savings of $750 on staterooms and $1,500 on suites.

Taking advantage of the reverse of seasons by passing into the Southern Hemisphere as the North begins winter, the one-year-old expedition ship MS Fram, designed and built especially for up close sailing in polar waters, departs Pt. Canaveral in late fall, stopping in Key West, before leaving the U.S. on its way to the trip’s most prominent feature – Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords.  The warm weather and sunny climes of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Columbia’s San Andreas Island,  precede the ship’s transit of the Panama Canal – in itself even more fascinating as the size of the ship offers eye-level views of the “mules” that pull the ships.

Stops during the journey down the west coast of South America include many smaller and more unusual ports than can be had by larger vessels – Salaverry, Peru; the pre-Columbian city of Manta, Ecuador; Arica and Iquique, Chile; and Ushuaia, Buenos Aires.  Other stops are Peru’s Callao and General San Martin, and Chile’s Coquimbo, Valpraiso, Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.  Guests are also treated to the stunning scenery, diverse wildlife and glacial environment while cruising the Cockburn and Beagle Channels, Chilean Fjords and spending several days in Antarctica.

Passengers interested in shorter segments may also disembark in Callao (19 days; $5,949-$20,699) or Valparaiso (27 days; $8,299-$28,949).  Or head up to Reykjavik, Iceland to take in the full 67-day event, adding the UK, Canada and the U.S. eastern seaboard to the Pt. Canaveral itinerary; priced from $17,499 to $60,899.

Optional excursions run the gamut — cave tubing in Belize; dolphin encounters; tour of a banana processing plant; cave exploration in Panama; visit to Chilean ghost town; fly fishing in a forest preserve; and the highlight, at no charge, the incredible vista, icebergs, penguins and other wildlife in Antarctica.  The ship’s size makes it easy to dock in the center of many of the ports with easy on/off capability.  And for those unusual ports of call where docking is not offered, the MS Fram offers landings with comfortable PolarCirkel tenders specifically designed to visit off-the-beaten-track destinations.

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