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


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

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, all year

Departure port Kirkenes, Norway
Day 1
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Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen Photo

The Arctic adventure begins

Location : Kirkenes

Your adventure starts at the turning point of Hurtigruten. As the ship begins its voyage south, you can first enjoy a wonderful lunch followed by views of arctic wilderness from deck or the panorama lounge. There will be a presentation on Pomor trade history in the winter season. In the afternoon the ship docks in Vardø, Norway’s easternmost port. Weather permitting, we may invite you to experience ice bathing in the Arctic Ocean during winter season. On board there will also be a presentation of "Life in the sea" in spring. In winter, local Arctic divers will bring displays and give a lecture out on deck about life in the ocean. We continue along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord before reaching Berlevåg in the evening.

Day 2
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Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen Photo

The extreme north

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 in winter. In Honningsvåg you can enjoy an excursion and breakfast at the North Cape while discovering hidden parts of Finnmark. Before stopping in Hammerfest, you can enjoy an ‘energy coffee’ and a short introduction to ‘Melkøya - The northernmost natural gas terminal’ on board. In autumn we invite you to taste dried reindeer meat on deck. In Hammerfest you can participate on a mountain hike or join a city guiding and see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise measurement of the globe. We continue south to Øksfjord. In winter our crew will teach you how to tie maritime knots on deck. After crossing open water, we will make a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy before sailing through the beautiful Lyngenfjord in spring. Surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps, we may be visited by a local fisherman and enjoy a taste of local freshly caught prawns. We dock in Tromsø -  “the gateway to the Arctic” -  just in time to enjoy a midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral. Alternatively a walk around town will give you the chance to enjoy a local brew in one of Tromsø's many friendly pubs.

Day 3
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Photo: Nina Helland Photo

Welcome to Lofoten

Location : Tromsø - Stamsund

We arrive at Harstad this morning, where you can participate in one of the classic entries in Hurtigruten’s excursion programme: A taste of Vesterålen. The Risøyrenna channel is just 7 metres deep, and was made especially for Hurtigruten in the 1920s, providing an "inside route" between Harstad and Sortland. The sand banks are visible through the clear, green water.  Risøyhamn is a small village with only 200 inhabitants. We make a short stop here to deliver passengers, groceries and mail. From this port you can also join in on a spectacular whale-watching experience during wintertime. Then we continue via Sortland to Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 120 years ago. Continuing south it looks like we are sailing straight into the mountain wall, but the captain finds an opening and takes us through the narrow Raftsund. As a tribute to the fishing history in this region, our chef shows how to fillet the catch of the day on deck in winter. Now we reach the spectacular Trollfjord, only 2 km long and 100 metres wide, with majestic mountains surrounding it. If the weather and time permits it – the captain will take a detour in here. Join a sea eagle excursion to see the king of birds up close.  Reaching Svolvær, you can choose from several excursion options in summer, spring and winter. From Svolvær we continue on to Stamsund, where the majestic peaks of the huge Lofoten wall can be viewed. We leave the islands during the evening and set course for the mainland.

Day 4
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Crossing the Arctic Circle

Location : Bodø - Rørvik

Crossing the Arctic Circle at 66°33’N is an important ‘rite of passage’ today. We celebrate this with a taste of our Arctic traditions out on deck. Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. All seven mountains are between 900 and 1,100 metres high, and it is easy to understand why these ‘ladies’ have inspired ancient myths. We take a short stop in Nesna, an idyllic old trading post before moving on to Sandnessjøen. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vega Islands is close to our call in Sandnessjøen and can be visited on an optional excursion during summer. In Brønnøysund we offer an excursion to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre. 

Day 5
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Photo: Jan Menge / Guest Photo Photo

In the footsteps of the Vikings

Location : Trondheim - Ålesund

Today gives you another opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. The city walk is a journey through its 1,000-year history. Back on board, the ship heads out of the majestic Trondheimsfjord, 170km long and up to 25km wide. Like all other Norwegian fjords it is deep, reaching 577m at the deepest. As we sail along the coast you’ll realise the importance of fish to Norwegian coastal communities. Kristiansund’s location has formed the basis for a wealth of opportunities in the fishing, shipbuilding and oil industries. The town reigns as Norway’s ‘cured cod capital’ because of its long time export of salted dry fish. Here you can join a trip to the Atlantic Road, one of Norway’s most visited tourist destinations. As we cross the open sea to Molde, known as the ‘city of roses’, you will notice the steep, grey, pointed peaks of the Romsdal Alps.

Day 6

A day for masterpieces

Location : Bergen

During the night, the ship will call at Ålesund, Torvik and Måløy as the world’s most beautiful voyage starts to draw to a close. But before we dock in Bergen there are still a few nautical miles of fascinating scenery ahead of us, such as the picturesque Nordfjord below the enormous Jostedal glacier. We will make a call at Florø, a modern town representing the Sogn og Fjordane region’s oldest and Norway’s most western town. A few nautical miles south of Florø we navigate the estuary of the mighty Sognefjord. You also get the best views of the archipelago en route before you finally disembark in Bergen.

Arrival Varies by season

Location Bergen, Norway
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.


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.


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.