EuroCruises Offers Summer Sailings to Greenland

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NEW YORK -- EuroCruises here is venturing to Greenland this year with two new cruises aboard the Funchal and the Black Watch.

"I think its sort of a natural development in the cruise business," Bjarne Mikkelsen, president of EuroCruises, said.

"There is a lot of interest in Greenland."

The itineraries provide a change of pace from the usual European/Scandinavian vacation, providing more adventure offerings than museum tours, he said.

An autonomous state within the Danish kingdom, Greenland is cold for nearly the entire year.

Temperatures in summer, when the cruises are slated to operate, range from 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) to 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).

A visit to Greenland provides an opportunity to meet some of the 55,000 residents of the island.

Newcomers can explore villages largely dependent on hunting and fishing for sustenance and meet the Inuit, Greenland's native people.

The Inuits constitute 80% of the island's population and are related to the indigenous people of Alaska and Canada.

In addition to the cultural highlights, summer trips to the area offer the opportunity of enjoying nearly 24 hours of daylight and views of huge ice floes that will contribute about 10% of the world's fresh water.

Passengers can see a variety of wildlife during the cruise, including seals and whales, as well as musk oxen, reindeer, auks, arctic terns, ravens, falcons, eagles and ptarmigans.

EuroCruises expects to draw high-end travelers with its new offerings.

"We know there is a market for these unusual itineraries," Mikkelsen said.

Many of the passengers are repeat customers, he said, and are adventuresome and sophisticated travelers looking for something different.

Those who cruise to Greenland, he said, are not likely to be the same people who head to the Caribbean for margarita-soaked sailings.

"Its a totally different clientele," he said. "We are not here for the mass market. Let the other guys take care of that."

Activities during the Greenland itineraries are, in fact, a far cry from limbo on the lido deck.

Visitors can participate in options offering activities, such as climbing glaciers and touring Viking ruins, that the firm warns require plenty of walking and special clothing.

For the less athletically inclined, there are bird-watching by boat, island bus tours and shipboard lectures on what to expect while visiting Greenland.

The 19-day cruises aboard the Funchal includes stops in Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Island; Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland; Narsarssuaq, where guests can take a shore excursion to the Kuussuup Sermita Glacier; Dyrnacs, with its Viking ruins, and Igalikoat, with its Inuit residents.

The cost of the cruise, which sails from Gothenburg, Sweden, on July 21, starts at $2,615 per person, double, cruise only.

During its first trip to Greenland departing Sept. 1, the Black Watch offers a longer cruise, 31 days, sailing from Dover, England, to Norway, Iceland, Canada and Greenland.

Greenland stops are at the capital city of Nuuk and Narsarssuaq.

After visiting the Greenland's ice-floe dotted waters, the ship heads across the Atlantic to Canadian stops in Newfoundland, the St. Pierre and Miguelon Island, Quebec City, Montreal, Saguenay Fjord, Sydney and Halifax.

After the final stop in Canada, the ship hits the high seas for a week's return trip to Dover.

The cruise aboard the Fred Olsen Cruises Line's vessel can be taken as a whole or in portions, the spokeswoman said.

Guests can set their points of embarkation and disembarkation, paying a per diem fee starting at $190 per person, double occupancy.

For the entire cruise, prices begin at $6,904 per person, double, cruise only.

The firm expects to offer the two cruises with Greenland calls on an annual basis, Mikkelsen said.

Both cruises are commissionable at 10%.

EuroCruises

Phone: (800) 661-1119 (brochures); (800) 688-3876 (reservations)

Web: www.eurocruises.com

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