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You’ll Enjoy a Norwegian Yule, All at Sea

Tired of the usual Christmas celebrations? You can be the first on your block (maybe in your town) to observe that time of year aboard a Norwegian Coastal Voyage ship, for as little as $747 for seven days at sea (no airfare included). The trips of 7 or 12 days take place on the NCV boats, which are working vessels carrying local passengers and cargo, yet offering the amenities of a first-class cruise ship.

Departures take place from December 14 through 30, 2002, from Bergen, a splendid little port, and meander along the 1250-mile coast to Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle. You’ll have a chance to experience the fantastic Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and enjoy the utter darkness of the nights, punctuated only by the glow from villages as you pass.

On board, holiday festivities begin with making decorations on December 23, followed by Christmas Eve dinner (with carol singing by the trees and a visit from Santa Claus). On Christmas Day, there is a lavish Scandinavian smorgasbord, and if the ship schedule permits, on that day and the 24th, church services ashore can be attended. There’s a dance after dinner on Boxing Day, December 26, and a festive New Year’s Eve dinner, dance and midnight toast.

You also get “baptized” when you cross the Arctic Circle, and there are other activities planned aboard, as well as live music. English-speaking tour guides will explain Norwegian Christmas traditions, the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun, Lapp (Sami) culture and history, as well as Norwegian culture and the history of the NCV line.

Cabin rates range from $747 to $1244 per person on a seven-day, one-way sailing, and $1110 to $1851 on the 12-day round-trip. The price includes three meals daily, taxes, port charges and gratuities. If you are 67 or older, you qualify for a senior savings of $150 to $220 per person, which may be combined with an AARP discount of $70 to $100 per cabin. No single supplement applies in some cabin categories, and suites are also available. If you wish, NCV can arrange transatlantic airfare at an extra charge.

For more information or to make reservations, contact Norwegian Coastal Voyages at 800/323-7436 or 212/319-1300, or at their Web site, (Brochures can be had by phoning 800/666-2374, 24 hours daily.)