New NCV ships offer unprecedented features

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NEW YORK -- Adventure-cruise specialist Norwegian Coastal Voyage will introduce the largest, most feature-rich ships in company history in 2002, with two 15,000-ton vessels that will increase the 11-ship line's capacity by 23%.

The 643-passenger Finnmarken begins operations on April 20, and the 674-passenger Trollfjord enters service on May 7.

Each ship will have 40% more berths and 50% more deck area than the six ships the company introduced in the 1990s. Also, each will include the line's first staterooms with private balconies and on-deck whirlpools.

NCV ships, a longtime lifeline to Norwegian coastal towns, have emerged in recent decades as sightseeing-intensive cruise options for North American vacationers.

Along with local passengers and cargo, the line carries leisure cruisers from the U.S. to 34 ports between Bergen and Kirkenes, Norway.

NCV's Finnmarken, the third company ship to be named after Norway's northernmost region of Finnmark, will be the first company vessel to feature passenger amenities, including an indoor/outdoor cafe, a wine bar, a swimming pool and a squash court.

The Art Nouveau-styled ship also will offer 32 suites, 14 with private balconies.

The Trollfjord, featuring contemporary decor, also includes glass elevators and 21 suites, eight with private balconies. The two new ships will replace the 171-passenger Lofoten and 164-passenger Nordstjernen.

Those vessels will move to NCV's Expedition cruises division, which sails to the Lofoten Islands and Spitsbergen.

Rates (excluding air fare) range from $813 to $1,488 per person, double, for six-day cruises; $988 to $1,811 for seven-day voyages and $1,470 to $2,824 for 12-day roundtrip cruises.

Junior and full suites range from $1,085 to $3,378 for six days; $1,319 to $4,113 for seven days and $1,964 to $6,134 for 12 days.

NCV launches a third new ship, Midnatsol, in the spring of 2003. Two additional new ships are scheduled to debut in 2004 and 2005.

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