Scandinavia is a European destination for both seasoned cruisers and for first-timers who have already experienced other areas of Europe by land. Stress to your clients that they will be paying for their cruise in U.S. dollars, which makes a European cruise one of the best vacation values going right now.
Scandinavia is positioning itself as a formidable cruise destination. Just this past month, Stockholm not only opened up a new cruise season, it opened a new cruise terminal. The Stockholm Cruise Center Frihamnen will receive a record-setting 265 ships in 2008.
The window to take a Scandinavia cruise is from May through September, with the high months being July and August.
If your clients are looking to really get an up-close, in-depth look at the extremely varied geography of Scandinavia, they might enjoy a cruise line with smaller ships, such as Hurtigruten. If your clients are more interested in what is on land, recommend a cruise line with larger ships, like Holland America Line.
Here is a look at which cruise lines offer Scandinavia cruises and the itineraries they operate. The 2008 season kicked off in May, so below is dedicated only to 2009 details. Most cruise lines are already accepting bookings for next season.
Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines (www.carnival.com)
Ship: Carnival Liberty
After a season of Scandinavian sailing on Carnival's newest ship, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Liberty will assume Splendor's duties in 2009, with a 12-day itinerary May 9 through August 25 roundtrip from Dover and calling at Copenhagen, Berlin, Helsinki, St. Petersburg (two-day call), Tallinn and Amsterdam. Pricing starts at $1,249 per person.
Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises (www.celebritycruises.com)
Ships: Celebrity Constellatin, Celebrity Century
Celebrity's Northern Europe cruise season kicks off May 9 on Celebrity Century, which will operate 12-night Scandinavia & Russia itineraries throughout the summer season departing from Amsterdam and calling at Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen. Celebrity Constellation also operates a Scandinavia & Russia itinerary, but with a 14-day itinerary, and departing from Harwich, England. It calls at the same cities as Celebrity Century.
Cruise Line: Costa Cruises (www.costacruises.com)
Ships: Costa Atlantica, Costa Mediterranea, Costa Marina, Costa Magica, Costa Luminosa
For Norway lovers, Costa operates a seven-night Norway itinerary from Copenhagen that calls at strictly Norwegian cities: Hellesylt, Geiranger, Flam, Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo. Costa also operates a Spitzbergen itinerary on Costa Magica that visits the Magdalene Fjord.
Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises (www.crystalcruises.com)
Ship: Crystal Symphony
Crystal's "Splendid Scandinavia" 11-day voyage in June from London to Stockholm includes Oslo, Copenhagen and two overnights in St. Petersburg. It follows up in late July with the "Scrumptious Scandinavia" 11-day cruise, which includes a Copenhagen overnight. It's luxury, so fares start at almost $5,000 per person.
Cruise Line: Holland America Line (www.hollandamerica.com)
Ships: Eurodam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam
Holland America's newest ship, Eurodam, which debuts next month, will offer a 20-day Ultimate Northern Europe itinerary beginning in May, which will call at such ports as Skagen, Denmark; Vik and Flam in Norway; and Stockholm. Pricing is from $3,500 per person. Prinsendam offers a 21-day Top of the World itinerary in July 2009 that hits three ports in Iceland: Akureyri, Isafjord and Reykjavik.
Cruise Line: Hurtigruten (www.hurtigruten.us)
Ships: Entire fleet
Hurtigruten is the only line that operates year-round Norwegian coastal voyages. A Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise begins at the base of Norway in Bergen and travels north all the way to the tip, then circles down into Kirkenes—all in seven days. It replicates the same trip southbound. Hurtigruten also offers other Scandinavian itineraries. Consider the 16-day Denmark, Greenland and Iceland expedition on MS Fram from Copenhagen, which calls at such ports as Ivittuut in Greenland and a two-day land stop in Reykjavik.
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line (www.ncl.com)
Ships: Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jade operates a five-day mini cruise from Rotterdam on May 16 with cruise-only rates beginning at $549 per person. Ports of call include Oslo and Copenhagen. In June, Jade offers a 12-day North Cape voyage visiting Alesund, Kristiansund, Honningsvaag, Trondheim, Hellesylt, Geirange, Bergen and Stavanger. Jewel will offer a 12-day Baltic Capitals cruise from May through August calling at such ports as Helsinki and Stockholm.
Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises (www.oceaniacruises.com)
Regatta will operate 14-day cruises from May through August between London and Stockholm with port calls in Helsinki and Copenhagen among others. It features three days in St. Petersburg. Two-for-one fares begin at $4,299 per person.
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises (www.princess.com)
Ships: Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Tahitian Princess
In 2009, Emerald Princess will operate a series of 10-day Scandinavia and Russia voyages roundtrip from Copenhagen from May through September. Ports of call include Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and an overnight in St. Petersburg.
Cruise Line: Regent Seven Seas Cruises (www.rssc.com)
Ships: Seven Seas Voyager
Regent offers a Scandinavian cruise from seven to 13 nights on Seven Seas Voyager. It kicks off its season May 21 with a Reykjavik to Southampton voyage calling Heimaey, Iceland, and Tórshavn,, Faroe Islands. Fares begin at $6,495 per person. A June 7 13-night Southampton to Copenhagen voyage is highlighted by Le Cordon Bleu Circle of Interest.
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International (www.royalcaribbean.com)
Ships: Jewel of the Seas, Vision of the Seas
Jewel of the Seas will specialize in 12-night Scandinavia and Baltic voyages. The ship will also sail one 12-night itinerary that combines the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords.
Cruise Line: Seabourn Cruises (www.seabourn.com)
Ships: Seabourn Pride
Seabourn operates multiple Scandinavian voyages from April through September ranging from nine to 56 days in length. Seabourn Pride's nine-day Norwegian Fjords itinerary starts at around $6,300 and calls at multiple Norwegian ports.
Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises (www.silversea.com)
Ships: Silver Cloud
In 2009, Silversea will offer cruises in Scandinavia of seven to 15 days in length. A 15-day roundtrip cruise in July from Copenhagen calls at three ports in both Norway and Iceland. A rate of $10,636 is available if booked by January 12, 2009.