Cruise West Announces Voyages in Baltic, Norwegian Fjords and North Atlantic

Inspired by the intrepid journeys and legendary explorations of Leif Eriksson to the New World, three voyages mark the third chapter of small-ship exploration line Cruise West’s epic world adventure, Voyages of the Great Explorers. Starting from Honfleur, France and ending in St. John’s, Newfoundland, guests will visit the United Kingdom and Scandinavia — with excursions to multiple UNESCO World heritage sites — before charting a course across the North Atlantic.

Guests will save up to $1,550 per person ($3,100 per cabin) and receive FREE round trip international airfare from five select U.S. Cities: San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), Washington D.C. (IAD) and New York (JFK) or an air credit of $750 per person by booking and paying in full by December 18, 2009.

In addition to an included excursion at every port, each of the three voyages will be enhanced by an extraordinary ‘Ultimate Explorers Experience’ (UEE), designed to bring guests into direct personal contact with fascinating peoples, cultures and natural wonders. Engaging presentations by notable experts on the region’s culture, history and current events will bring each region to life.

The Viking’s adventures come alive in three distinct voyages

Cruise West’s own “Modern Day Explorer” Captain Reidulf Maalen, will take the helm of the Spirit of Oceanus for all three voyages. He brings not only a lifetime of maritime experience, but also a warm level of hospitality that has made him one of the most sought out captains in the industry.

Voyage 11: Honfleur to Oslo, encompasses Ireland, Scotland, and Scandinavia. The County of Wicklow -“the Garden of Ireland” — brings guests up close to domed granite mountains, deep glens and wooded valleys. Scotland’s Stornoway, with ancient standing stones, and the Orkney Islands, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and birders’ paradise, reflects Scotland’s wild beauty. Exploring Norway’s spectacular fjords and fishing villages includes another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Saltstraumen, just above the Arctic Circle. In addition, there are ample opportunities to observe the abundant wild life including large colonies of sea birds and pods of Orca whales. In Bergen, guests are treated to a private recital of composer Edvard Grieg’s music in the Troldsalen Concert Hall. 

An excursion of Magerøy Island and The North Cape brings guests up close to life in the north (UEE). Guests will travel along the Skipsfjord to the fishing village of Kammøyvaer, populated by 100 hardy souls, before a trip to see some of the Sami people’s 4,000-reindeer herd that roams freely here during the summer months. Then, it’s onto Skarsvåg, the northernmost fishing village in the world, to shop for knitwear, Christmas decorations and more at the North Cape Christmas and Winter House.

The 19-night voyage departs July 19, 2010; prices start at $15,195 per person before savings. Add-on: pre-cruise three-night tour of Paris. 

Voyage 12: Oslo to London focuses on history, art and architecture of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Russia. Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Swedish walled city of Visby; the Estonian city of Tallinn — one of the finest medieval old towns in all of Northern Europe — and the opulence of St. Petersburg. Notable excursions include a tour of Denmark’s small villages — including Gudhjem, a vividly scenic fishing village — en route to majestic Hammershus Castle Ruin. 

Excursion highlights include a visit to St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum (UEE). Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, it’s one of the largest and oldest museums in the world with collections comprising nearly three million works. Then a short bus ride to the Peter and Paul Fortress, built by Peter the Great in 1703 with a final stop at the Church on the Spilled Blood. 

The 15-night voyage departs Aug. 6, 2010; prices start at $12,495 per person before savings. Add-on: three-night pre- or post-cruise The Best of England from London.

Professor Ron Wixman, a specialist in world cultural and political geography and well versed in the societies of Europe and the former USSR, joins both Voyages 11 and 12. His expertise on the peoples and cultures of Northern Europe is extensive, and his informative lectures will provide both a historical and contemporary context for Norway. 

Guest lecturer David Perry, an authority on maritime history and an avid collector of maritime literature, artifacts and stories joins Capt. Maalen on Voyage 13: London to St. John’s. Perry’s expertise will prove invaluable on this transatlantic voyage that includes two continents and countless unforgettable stops along the routes that the Vikings charted more than a thousand years ago.

Guests explore the Royal London and Buckingham Palace, before heading for Scotland, Iceland and Greenland. Among the excursions: Iceland’s thermal and geological wonders, including Reykjavik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and a visit to the Greenland settlement founded by Erik the Red. The voyage culminates with arrival to L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland — site of Leif Eriksson’s Vinland and the first European settlement in North America, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A highlight of the voyage is a private reception aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, hosted by Rear Admiral Sir Robert Woodard, KCVO, DL, the last serving Admiral, followed by a stirring performance of the annual Military Tattoo, one of Scotland’s proudest cultural events (UEE). First staged in 1950, this dramatic spectacle in Edinburgh Castle combines the traditional sounds of the bagpipes and drums with military marching drills. 

The 19-night voyage departs Aug. 20, 2010; prices start at $12,795 per person before savings. Add-on: three-night pre- or post-cruise The Best of England, from London.

Book by Voyage or Multiple Segments

The Voyages of the Great Explorers – a cruise industry first — is a collection of 24 individual voyages (which can all be booked separately) that combine to form a 335-day circumnavigation of the world along the major routes inspired by history’s great ocean explorers. Beginning March 5, 2010, on board Cruise West’s flagship, the 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus, the world voyage will sail ever westward, returning to Singapore on February 3, 2011.

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