In honor of the anniversaries of two national events – polar explorer, scientist and humanist Fridtjof Nansen’s birth, and polar hero and pioneer aviator Roald Amundsen’s historic trek to the South Pole – the Norwegian Government has declared 2011 the Year of Nansen-Amundsen.
Hurtigruten, which was established in 1893, the same year that Fridtjof Nansen set off into the Arctic Ocean in his newly-built vessel Fram, is celebrating the monumental year with several unique events.
Celebrations include a centenary party onboard their own MS Fram, named after Nansen’s famous ship on Dec. 14, the day Amundsen and his men reached the South Pole; a polar city walk that visits the Polar Museum, which has special anniversary exhibitions; and four special 2011 itineraries honoring their legacies.
· This year’s Climate Voyage, departing July 21, celebrates the 150th anniversary of Fridtjof Nansen’s birth with an eight-day voyage from Reykjavik to Svalbard aboard the deluxe expedition ship, MS Fram. Sailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Longyearbyen, the voyage takes in an ever-changing vista of glaciers, icebergs, and the midnight sun. Guests are privy to climate-related lectures and debates on a variety of topics. Stops include Ny Alesund, an important field station for climatologists; Isfjorden, where guests will enjoy a polar barbeque; Longyearbyen, home to the University Centre, with its core focus on the natural sciences; and the isolated island of Jan Mayen. Prices for the voyage range from $3,763 to $5,554 per person, double.
· The 13-Day Polar Bears, Islands & Fjords itinerary, departing Sept. 7, sails a path similar to the one forged by Fridtjof Nansen on his 1893 voyage with an combines Hurtigruten’s classic voyage along the Norwegian coastline, with highlights in the polar waters of the arctic. The voyage sails from Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago and home to nearly 2,000 polar bears, to Norway’s cultural center of Bergen. Highlights include the remote Russian community of Barentsburg; the Magdalenafjord set in the Northwest Spitsbergen National Park; Bjørnøya (Bear Island), well known for its seabird colonies; and the populous walrus colony on Moffen Island. Fares range from $5,154 to $6,832.
· Sailing aboard the MS Nordkapp, the seven-day Ice Breakers Voyage follows the path forged by maritime pioneers. Scandinavian historian and expert Arne Kertelhein gives detailed lectures about the polar heroes, their voyages and the cultures and inhabitants of the polar regions. The voyage departs Oct. 14, taking guests to the Art Nouveau town of Alesund; the medieval city of Trondheim; the Arctic Circle and the Lofoten Islands; Honningsvag and the North Cape; Kirkenes, just a few miles from the Russian border; and Tromso, where guests experience polar history firsthand on the Polar History City Walk. Prices range from $2,507 to $2,949.
· The popular 17-Day Chilean Fjords & Antarctica itinerary presents an opportunity to visit the vistas of the Chilean fjords – a large area of remote isles, deep sounds, impressive glaciers and narrow passages – as well as the fascinating wilderness of Antarctica, where guests partake in celebrations on Dec. 14 in honor of the centennial of Roald Amundsen reaching the South Pole. Early booking rates for the Dec. 4, 2011 voyage range from $6,329 to $11,374 and must be booked by March 31, 2011; fares booked after this date range from $7,911 to $14,218.