Exclusive Voyage with Dr. Norm Thagard, NASA Astronaut

Kirkenes - Bergen

Dr. Thagard is a former NASA astronaut and veteran of 5 space flights, including an incredible 115-day mission as a cosmonaut/researcher on Russian Mir-18 with liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and a historic landing at the Kennedy Space Center.

  • Join NASA Astronaut, Dr. Norm Thagard, on a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive voyage
  • INCLUDES: Special lectures from Dr. Thagard, a cocktail reception with the astronaut and Hurtigruten ship captain, and special viewings of documentaries about the Russian Mir-18 mission and Dr. Thagard’s training and experience as a cosmonaut/researcher on the mission
  • INCLUDES: Private tour of the Snowhotel in Kirkenes, the Hammerfest City Tour, a visit to the Meridian Monument
  • INCLUDES: Transfers and one night hotel stays in Kirkenes & Bergen, including breakfast

Overview

This special voyage follows the itinerary of the Classic Voyage South, and includes special lectures from Dr. Thagard, a cocktail reception with the astronaut and Hurtigruten ship captain, and special viewings of documentaries about the Russian Mir-18 mission and Dr. Thagard’s training and experience as a cosmonaut/researcher on the mission. On this special voyage, Dr. Thagard shares his first-hand experiences with Hurtigruten guests.

Dr. Norm Thagard - Five Space Missions Spanning 12 Years

1983: Second flight for the Orbiter Challenger. Mission duration 147 hours.
1985: Spacelab-3 science mission aboard the Orbiter Challenger. 110 orbits of the Earth.
1989: Magellan Venus probe deployment mission aboard spacecraft Orbiter Atlantis. 64 orbits of the Earth.
1992: Payload commander on the Shuttle Discovery mission investigating the effects of microgravity. Mission duration 8 days.
1995: Cosmonaut/researcher on the Russian Mir-18 mission. 28 experiments and duration of 115 days.

Dr. Thagard is a decorated Marine Corps veteran, with 11 Air medals, flying over 163 missions in Vietnam. As a pilot, he has logged over 2,200 hours flying time – the majority in jet aircraft. After being selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1978, he trained for assignments on future Space Shuttle flights. 

A veteran of 5 space flights, he has logged over 140 days in space, performing many NASA ‘firsts’ including deployment and retrieval exercises, conducing various medical tests on physiological adaptation to space, launching the first planetary probe from the Shuttle, and serving as payload commander on the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module for investigators from 11 countries. Most recently, Dr. Thagard was the cosmonaut/researcher for the Russian Mir-18 mission, a 115-day research-based assignment with the Russian space program.

Now, with an impressive list of graduate degrees, Medals of Commendation, books and scholarly works, Dr. Thagard shares his firsthand experiences and photos with guests on this very special voyage with Hurtigruten.

Special Voyage Inclusions

  • Lecture: The Life and Times of Dr. Norm Thagard, NASA Astronaut
  • Lecture: The Russian Mir-18 Mission, including a National Geographic documentary about Dr. Norm Thagard's training and flying on the Mir-18 mission
  • Cocktail reception with Dr. Norm Thagard and Hurtigruten ship captain
  • Documentary film screening: The Northern Lights - A Magic Experience
  • Aurora Safari private tour in Kirkenes with visit to the Snowhotel
  • Hammerfest City Tour and visit to the Meridian Monument

Your Package Prices Includes:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel, and one night in a standard-class hotel in Kirkenes, incl. breakfast, Mar 21–22, 2017
  • Aurora Safari private tour in Kirkenes, with visit to the Snowhotel
  • Kirkenes – Bergen voyage in an unspecified cabin, on a full-board basis (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Cocktail reception with Dr. Norm Thagard and Hurtigruten ship captain
  • Hammerfest City Tour & excursion to Meridian Monument
  • 2 lectures and film screenings
  • 3-hour city tour in Bergen, transfer to hotel
  • One night at the hotel in Bergen, incl. breakfast, transfer from hotel to airport

Not Included:

  • Flights from US
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Optional excursions
  • Luggage handling
Itinerary

Voyage Itinerary

This exclusive 8-day package also includes one night in Kirkenes before your voyage, and one night in Bergen after your voyage.

Departure Varies by season

Daily Departures, Year-Round

Departure port Kirkenes
Day 1

Capital of the Barents Region and Turning Point


Location : Kirkenes

You emark in Kirkenes. At 30° East, Kirkenes is further east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul. It is also Hurtigruten’s turning point for the return trip sounthbound. Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents region and the gateway to the east. The Russian frontier is a just few miles away from Kirkenes. You may find it intriguing that the local road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian.

As a southbound cruise guests, many of our Kirkenes excursions will be available to you before departure. Please talk to a Customer Sales Center for more information. Depending on the season, there are many ways to visit the Russian border: Travel by bus (all year), enjoy a riverboat safari, or join an action-packed trip on ATV/quad-bikes. Kirkenes also boasts several fascinating small museums recounting the remote region's remarkably rich history and heritage. Spending time in Kirkenes before your cruise provides the opportunity to take part in several adventurous activities into the Arctic outback.

In winter, Kirkenes is home to the fantastic Snowhotel, a base for several exciting excursions. You can also greet the reindeer that reside on the grounds. During spring, you can still enjoy winter activities and excursions, for example, exploring the Arctic wilderness on a snowmobile and driving over a frozen fjord. During the adventure, guides tell you all about the history of the Sámi people, the extreme Arctic climate, and the area's unique wildlife. On our dog-sled adventures, huskies eagerly transport you across the frozen Arctic tundra. You can also catch and eat giant king crab from the Barents Sea. In summer, you can hike across mountainous terrain with your own husky companion. As the ship starts its cruise southward, you will enjoy lunch, and then view the surrounding Arctic landscape from our on deck or in the panorama lounge. 

In the afternoon, the ship again docks at Vardø, Norway’s easternmost port. Weather permitting, we may invite you to experience ice bathing in the Arctic Ocean. Onboard in spring, we show a presentation about shorebirds along the Nordic coastline. Heading west, we cruise along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord, before reaching Berlevåg in the evening. Berlevåg is home to one of Norway’s most famous male choirs, consisting mainly of local fishermen.

Day 2

Surrounded by Excitement


Location : Mehamn – Tromsø

In the middle of the night, we dock at Mehamn, where you can join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Experience snow-clad valleys, fresh winter air, and perhaps the mesmerizing northern lights in the clear, starry sky. At Honningsvåg, you can join a coach excursion that features breakfast at the North Cape, and discover hidden parts of Finnmark along the way. Before arriving in Hammerfest, you may want to enjoy an'energy coffee' and short onboard introduction to nearby Melkøya - the world's northernmost natural gas terminal. In autumn, we invite you on deck to taste dried reindeer meat.

The town of Hammerfest was founded in 1789, and over time became Norway’s polar capital, serving as a base for hunting expeditions into the High Arctic. Here you can see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise, geographic measurement of the Earth. You can also join a mini-mountain expedition to experience the Arctic outdoors and learn about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm. We then continue south to Øksfjord. In winter, our crew teaches you how to tie maritime knots on deck. After crossing open water, we make a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy, where Hurtigruten founder Richard With was born.

In spring, we sail through the beautiful Lyngenfjord, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps, and where a local fisherman may visit and share fresh, locally caught prawns. Then we dock at Tromsø, just in time to enjoy a magical Midnight Concert at the Arctic Cathedral. Or, walk around the town and enjoy a local brew at one of the city's many friendly pubs. In summer, you can join the expedition team for explorer boat activities to discover more of Tromsø and its surroundings.

Day 3

Lofoten, Where Nature Amazes


Location : Tromsø – Stamsund

This morning we arrive at Harstad, where you can participate in one of Hurtigruten's most classic excursions: A Taste of Vesterålen. On this tour you'll experience history, beautiful scenery, and a selection of breathtaking sights, including Trondenes Church, one of Norway’s premier cultural heritage sites from the late Middle Ages. Those who choose to stay onboard can admire views of this old church as we sail toward the Risøyrenna, a shallow, 23 ft deep channel made for Hurtigruten in the 1920s to provide an 'inside route' between Harstad and Sortland. Sandbanks along the Risøyrenna are visible through the clear, green water. The island groups of Lofoten and Vesterålen offer some of the most stunning scenery you see during the entire coastal cruise. The Lofoten region is renowned for its natural beauty with steep mountains, wild nature and small, picturesque fishing villages. The daylight sailing route through the Lofoten Islands is a highlight for many of our guests.

Risøyhamn is a small village with only 200 inhabitants, and we make a short stop here to deliver passengers, groceries, and mail. As a springtime tribute to the region's fishing heritage, our chef shows how to fillet the catch of the day on deck. We then continue south via Sortland to Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 120 years ago. Go ashore and pay a visit to the Hurtigruten museum here. Continuing southward, it looks like we are sailing straight into a mountain wall, but we end up slipping through an opening leading to the narrow Raftsund. This 12-mile passage between Lofoten and Vesterålen takes you through mountains soaring 3,300 ft directly out of the sea. Then we reach the spectacular Trollfjord, only one mile long and 330 ft wide, and surrounded by majestic mountains. If weather and time permit, the captain will make a detour into the fjord. Steep cliffs hug the ship's sides and the dramatic landscape conjures the imaginary land of trolls.

Trollfjord is also the realm of the sea eagle. Just north of the fjord, a smaller vessel awaits you to take you to see this magnificent bird up close on an optional sea eagle safari. To join the safari, you transfer to a smaller tour boat on the Trollfjord. To do this, the Hurtigruten ship must turn around in the narrow fjord, a magnificent sight and accomplishment in its own right! The eagle safari begins in earnest after leaving the Trollfjord, passing through narrow channels flanked by steep mountains where the birds dwell and can be viewed. These beautiful, rare birds of prey will circle the boat a few times before we toss fish into the sea for them to snatch and devour. Don't forget your camera!

Reaching Svolvær, you can choose from several optional excursions. Join our Lofoten Islands tour to learn more about the archipelago's fishing communities, beautiful scenery, and local art. You can also join a horseback ride and experience a sunset trot through powdery white sand on a beach along the Norwegian Sea. If you want more of an adrenaline rush, join one of our high-octane excursions by RIB. Lofoten is known for its excellent fishing, and in winter you can join a fishing trip to try your luck catching cod. Or, take a guided fishing village walk that provides insight into the local history and culture. From Svolvær, we continue to Stamsund, where we see the majestic peaks of the huge Lofoten Wall. We leave Lofoten during the evening and set course for the mainland.

Day 4

The Seven Sisters


Location : Bodø – Rørvik

Crossing the Arctic Circle at 66°33’N is an important 'rite of passage'. Today we celebrate the event out on deck with a taste of Arctic tradition: a spoonful of cod liver oil! Sailing along the Helgeland coast, we pass hundreds of islets, fertile farmland, and steep granite walls rich in local lore. On deck you can see the strange mountain Torghatten (rising 850 ft above sea level), famous for its distinctive hole right through the middle. The hole is 525 ft long, 115 ft high, and 65 ft wide, and was created during the Ice Age. Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. All seven peaks are between 2,800 and 3,600 ft high, and it is easy to understand how thid mountain range led to ancient myths. The story goes that there were seven troll sisters, the daughters of King Sulis, who kept them under strict control. One night, when the king fell into a deep sleep, the seven maidens slipped out. Vågekallen, who was eager for a wife, was lying in wait. He pursued the sisters, who fled southward down the coast. Several other trolls joined the chase to either capture or rescue the sisters. When night turned to morning, the troll sisters and their pursuers were petrified as the sun turns all trolls to stone.

These 'trolls' became the rocks and mountains that today make the Helgeland coastline one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Next we make a short stop at Nesna, an idyllic old trading post, before moving on to Sandnessjøen. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Vega Islands is on nearby Sandnessjøen and can be visited on an optional excursion during summer. This unique landscape consists of dozens of islands. The UNESCO designation was awarded due to the unique interaction between the eider duck and island population. Learn how the fishermen and farmers have cultivated a centuries-old symbiotic relationship with the eider ducks, and how this tradition continues to contribute to a livelihood of eiderdown harvesting and making down-filled duvets.

On another optional excursion between Sandnessjøen and Brønnøysund you can experience an exciting blend of culture, nature, and architecture. Visit the museum at Alstahaug, which is dedicated to the life of Petter Dass (1647-1707), the foremost Norwegian poet of his generation. The museum consists of several buildings, the oldest being the old vicarage from the mid-1700s, are features continuous exhibitions. The museum, church, and graveyard are preserved and protected by the Norwegian Cultural Heritage.

Day 5

In Cod We Trust


Location : Trondheim – Ålesund

Today provides another opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. Join the explorer team to discover even more of the city and its surroundings on explorer boat activities offered in summer. Back on board, the ship heads out into the majestic Trondheimsfjord, which is 105 miles long and up to 16 miles wide. Like all other Norwegian fjords, it is deep, plunging to 1,900 ft.

As we sail along the coast, you discover the importance of fishing to the Norwegian coastal communities. Kristiansund’s location has steadily provided the town with abundant opportunities in the fishing, shipbuilding, and oil industries. Today, Kristiansund is regarded as Norway’s 'dried cod capital' because of its longtime export of salted, dried codfish. Here you can join an excursion to the renowned Atlantic Road, one of Norway’s most visited tourist destinations. It is five miles long, built on a total of eight bridges, and surrounded by picturesque landscapes and open sea. You can also choose a sightseeing tour of Kristiansund, and visit Kvernes Stave Church on the nearby island of Averøy.

Day 6

Final Chapter of the Fairy Tale


Location : Bergen

A few nautical miles south of Florø, we navigate the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord and admire superb views of this magnificent, island-studded coastline. You disembark in Bergen, taking with you memories of a unique journey filled with unforgettable, immersive experiences and authentic interactions with local people, diverse wildlife, and stunning nature. If you'd like to explore more of Norway, add on a few extra nights with our Land Adventures program, where you can see breathtaking fjords; explore steep mountain landscapes in Lofoten; take an extraordinary train ride; experience Norway’s capital city, Oslo; or discover the jewel in the crown of Arctic Norway: Svalbard. We highly recommend staying a couple of nights in one of our featured cities and regions (Kirkenes, Tromsø, Lofoten, Bergen, Oslo, or Longyearbyen) to experience even more Norwegian cuisine, culture, and scenery. All accommodations are especially selected to offer the best and most authentic Norwegian experience.

Click here to read more about our Land Adventures.

Arrival Varies by season

Location Bergen
Your Ship

Meet the MS Finnmarken

Sail through narrow fjords and charming ports with MS Finnmarken, designed for true expeditions and personal encounters in arctic waters.

Experiences

Southbound Excursions

Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that Norway has to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions on the southbound sailing between Kirkenes and Bergen.

Photos

Explore the majestic scenery, culture and wildlife of the Norwegian coast from Kirkenes down to Bergen.

Flight Packages

Flight Packages

Please contact us if you want to add on a flight between the US and Kirkenes. All flight packages include transfers. We also have arrival and departure packages that include transfers and overnight hotel stays in Bergen and a departure package that includes transfers, an overnight hotel stay in Bergen, rail from Bergen to Oslo, and an overnight stay at a hotel in Oslo.

Pre and Post Programs

Complete your holiday in Norway with a pre or post extension program in Kirkenes and Bergen. Choose between excursions of several hours and multi-day tours including hotels.