FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orient Lines, based here, is taking its
Marco Polo ship to Scandinavia for the summer, and has chosen
Copenhagen, Denmark, as its home port.
The move, which marks the cruise-tour operator's entry into the
Scandinavia market, was prompted by client requests, combined with
the acquisition of a second ship.
Mitchell J. Schlesinger, Orient Lines' senior vice president of
marketing, said Scandinavia has been a region of interest to the
6-year-old company for some time, but with only one ship, it
focused summer itineraries on the prime Mediterranean market.
The newly acquired Crown Odyssey more than doubles the line's
Formerly Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Crown, the ship
carries 1,050 passengers, compared with Marco Polo's capacity for
"The acquisition of the Crown gave us the opportunity to expand
our Europe program," Schlesinger said. "The Baltic has become very
popular, and passenger surveys have showed a significant interest
in northern Europe."
He cited flexibility as a prime reason for choosing Copenhagen
as the home port. "We wanted to be in the middle of northern Europe
and get the passengers in a closer proximity to sites they want to
see." he said.
"A lot of cruises to the Baltic region sail out of London and
take four days getting in and out of the region."
In addition, he said, "Our itineraries from Copenhagen are great
for agents to sell. They can offer the Baltics or the fjords to the
baby boomers who seek seven to 10-day trips, and the back-to-back
combination can be sold as a longer cruise to the more senior
clients who tend to travel for longer."
Schlesinger also noted that the region has the desired
combination of air capacity, ease of roundtrip booking and
precruise tour options.
From May 27 through Sept. 1, the Marco Polo will set off on
seven-day cruises alternating between the Norwegian fjords and the
The line's Fjords & Fairytales cruise-tour features the
scenery of the Norwegian fjords, including the Sogne Fjord and
Geirangerfjord, plus the Viking capitals of Oslo and Bergen,
Norway, and Denmark's Fairytale Country -- made famous by author
Hans Christian Andersen.
The Scandinavia & Russia itinerary focuses on the cities
around the Baltic Sea -- Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; St.
Petersburg, Russia, and Tallinn, Estonia.
The total cruise-tour packages last nine nights, including a
two-night hotel stay and sightseeing in Copenhagen before the
voyage. The package is priced from $1,795 per person, double,
including advance-purchase discounts. Roundtrip air add-ons from
New York start at $595.
Because the fjords and Baltic cruises alternate, passengers can
combine the two for a 16-night Grand Scandinavia voyage, priced
from $2,925 per person, double.
There are also cruises available featuring Norway and Iceland,
and the summer solstice at Norway's North Cape.
To celebrate the summer solstice, the Marco Polo cruises the
North Cape at midnight and holds a champagne party on deck.
The 14-night Midnight Sun itinerary departs June 10 and cruises
the full length of Norway, with calls at Oslo, Bergen, and scenic
Midnight Sun is priced from $2,695 per person, double.
Fjords & Iceland is a 16-night trip departing July 14. The
cruise-tour visits the Norwegian fjords, the Icelandic towns of
Reykjavik and Akureyri, and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. The
cost is $2,895 per person, double.
The Marco Polo offers four-star amenities such as a dining room,
a bistro restaurant, four lounges, a casino, a health club, a
library, a beauty center, a swimming pool and three outdoor
Phone: (800) 333-7300