|Photo by Freeimages.com/Jelle Boontje|
Tauck has announced its lineup of 2017 small ship cruises, including a new “Norwegian Fjords & Coastal Treasures” itinerary. The 10-day trip includes a week-long cruise aboard Ponant's Le Soléal, complemented at either end with included overnight hotel stays and guided sightseeing in Bergen and Oslo.
Tauck's "Norwegian Fjords & Coastal Treasures" (from $7,990 per person, double occupancy, plus airfare) begins in Bergen, where guests will enjoy a walking tour of the Bryggen harbor area (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), take a funicular ride up Mt. Floyen for panoramic views of the area, and visit a traditional Norwegian stave church. Guests will also take a guided tour through the home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and attend a welcome reception and private piano concert celebrating his music. Later, guests will travel to the Norwegian Fisheries Museum for a welcome dinner, and then embark Le Soléal for their seven-night cruise through the Norwegian and North Seas.
Highlights of the cruise include a hike to view Kjenndalsbreen (an arm of Jostedal glacier, Europe's largest), and a guided private cruise on Lake Loen. Deep within Geirangerfjord (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), guests will take a guided walking tour through the small village of Hellesylt, ascend via gondola into the Sunnmøre Alps, and enjoy a ferry ride across the fjord to the hamlet of Geiranger where they'll have time to explore on their own.
Continuing on to the picturesque fishing harbor of Ålesund, Tauck guests will have a choice of a walking tour highlighting local Art Nouveau architecture, or a sightseeing tour of the seven islands that constitute the municipality. The following day in Stavanger includes a visit to the Swords in Rock monument, commemorating the 872 battle that united Norway into a single kingdom, plus a visit to an Iron Age archaeological site and a walking tour of the city's Old Stavanger historic area.
Le Soléal's next port-of-call is Kristiansand on Norway's southern coast, where a tour of the Kristiansand Museum awaits. After viewing the 30+ historic houses in the open-air museum (some dating back to 1580), guests can sample local delicacies on a culinary walking tour. Le Soléal then sails across the Skagerrak strait to Sweden, where guests will visit the Volvo Museum in Goteborg, tour the city's progressive Långgatorna neighborhood, and travel on a private trip on an antique trolley. The itinerary concludes in Oslo, with an overnight stay at the Grand Hotel Oslo and visits to a trio of museums highlighting Norway's Viking past, its more recent role in polar explorations, and the work of Norwegian sculptor Gustave Vigeland.
Operated by Ponant, Le Soléal has a maximum capacity of 264 passengers. Tauck, however, is limiting its group size to 80 guests. (The ship’s remaining capacity will be comprised of non-Tauck passengers.) Tauck's guests will enjoy the care and service provided by two professional Tauck Directors throughout their travels, and they'll attend exclusive presentations aboard Le Soléal by a special Tauck lecturer, Åsa Ovrelid.
In addition, Tauck guests will also travel on exclusive shore excursions designed and operated by the company (and included in Tauck's tour prices). Also included exclusively for Tauck guests are the overnight hotel stays and guided sightseeing in Bergen and Oslo, as well as complimentary airport transfers, free Internet, and other touches. Tauck will offer two departures of its new Norwegian cruise; a Bergen-to-Oslo trip departing on June 6, and an Oslo-to-Bergen journey beginning on June 13.
Tauck’s 2017 Small Ship Cruises
Tauck's 2017 Small Ship Cruising collection includes 17 maritime voyages, many aboard Ponant ships, in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Baltic, Caribbean and Sea of Japan. New to Tauck's fleet of featured vessels for the coming year are three Windstar all-suite power yachts, the Star Pride, Star Breeze and Star Legend. Each is 440 feet long and staffed by a crew of 145, with a maximum capacity of 212 passengers. As with the new Norwegian cruise, Tauck guests will comprise a portion of the overall passenger count on each voyage, and they will receive exclusive Tauck shore excursions and other special Tauck inclusions.
On the Windstar ships, Tauck guests will enjoy accommodations in 277-sq.-ft. suites with ocean views. The suites have queen beds with Egyptian cotton linens, and each is equipped with elegant toiletries, a waffle-weave robe and slippers, Wi-Fi, flat screen TV with DVD player, mini-bar/refrigerator, safe, granite vanity with magnifying mirror, walk-in closet, granite bathroom countertop, and 110/220-volt outlets.