Easter is one of the most important and deep-rooted of Spanish celebrations, and guests aboard Hurtigruten’s MS Fram will be able to join in the festive atmosphere as they visit the Canary Islands, Spain and Portugal on an eight-day Easter Adventure, April 8-15, 2009. Two leisurely days at sea combine with five ports of call – Las Palmas, Funchal, Seville, Portimao, and Lisbon – each with their own historical and cultural intimacies. Fares range from $2,479 to $5,839.
Arriving in Las Palmas, travelers get a dose of the island’s culture and architecture in the charming Vegueta section with Santa Ana Cathedral, whose construction spanned 350 years, beginning in the early 15th century, or a taste of traditional Canarian cuisine on a romantic island tour. On the shores of Funchal, the 500-year-old capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, guests can view the “amphitheatre” created by local geological features or go inland on a rugged Jeep Safari to see lush vegetation deep within the forests. The MS Fram sails into the heart of Seville during the Holy Week (Semana Santa), when thousands of people flood the streets in remembrance of The Passion. Optional tours include an in-depth exploration of the city with a visit to the Cathedral of Seville – the largest in Spain; and an excursion to Jerez for tastings of the famous sherry by the same name, and tours of the local sights. In Portugal’s Portimao, guests can sample the local specialty of charcoal-grilled sardines or take one of two optional excursions to Lagos, a fishing port once inhabited by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Moors. In Lisbon passengers may choose an optional tour that explores the highlights of the city or a combination tour that takes in Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais — or feel free to roam EU’s 1994 European Capital of Culture on their own.
Hurtigruten is also offering two other European itineraries in April that incorporate both ocean and river cruising, aboard the 318-passenger MS Fram. The 14-day “Spring in Western Europe” departs from Lisbon, Portugal, to Hamburg, Germany on April 15, with visits to seven countries as the ship sails the Gironde, Seine, Thames and Elbe rivers; and the 12-day “Baltic Sea” April 28 sailing, embarking in Hamburg and cruising the Elbe River to the Kiel Canal, and calling at a host of Northern European capitals — Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Finland. Depending on itinerary selected, fares range from $4,329 per person, double, to $10,849.
Onboard Expedition teams educate and guide the guests with lectures, activities and daily programs, as well as Easter specials. Optional excursions possibilities are extensive and can be pre-booked. The cruises include all meals aboard ship, taxes and port charges. Some restrictions apply; fuel surcharges of $98 to $154 per sailing are additional.
MS Fram, the world’s newest expedition ship, accommodates 318 guests in suites and staterooms and features a restaurant, two bars, panoramic lounges library, and Internet café and conference rooms. A new program aimed at the suites includes two optional excursions for free, beverages, a bottle of champagne on arrival and other amenities.