Hurtigruten: Cold climes, ice floes, fjords and the like have a weird attraction

I guess I’ve lived in sunny South Florida so long that the idea of cold climes, ice floes, fjords and the like have a weird attraction for me. It is a kind of siren song attracting me to parts of the world where the sun is a stranger, but where a different kind of natural beauty exists.

Okay, I’m not moving to Alaska or Iceland any time soon, but I do love the look – the change of scene and the change of climate in two- or three-week doses – have special appeal.

That’s why I was interested in Hurtigruten, www.hurtigruten.com.

Hurtigruten, formerly known as Norwegian Coastal Voyages, offers a variety of cruises on 14 vessels ranging in size from 100- to 1,000-passenger ships. Itineraries include the Arctic, Antarctica, Norway, and Greenland. In all, Hurtigruten offers 240 passages.

Hans Rood, Hurtigruten’s vice president of global sales, says North Americans fill 50 percent of the space on the Antarctica runs and that business in 2010 was up 27 percent with a better forecast for the current year.

Rood adds that 16 percent of the company’s business is year-round, but that most Americans opt to sail in the summer. “In the winter,” he says, “our passengers come largely from the UK and Germany.”

Hurtigruten appeals to travelers who want to learn and specializes in providing information about the climate, nearby land masses, culture and history, including stress on the Sami people indigenous to northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Arctic. Another popular destination explores the Northern Lights, which the cruise line dubs “Hunting the Light.”

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