New York, NY, March 2006 — M/S Juno, M/S Wilhelm Tham and M/S Diana, vintage ships built in 1874, 1912 and 1931 and lovingly maintained to preserve their classic interiors, ply the historic Gota Canal between Stockholm, the Swedish capital, and Gothenburg, the largest port, on journeys back in time — through lush countryside to medieval castles, ancient towns and a Viking city. Seven- and nine-day air-inclusive cruise tours are scheduled from May 17 to September 10 on an unusual route linking the Baltic and North Seas by three canals, eight lakes and a river and named after the 118-mile Gota Canal, an engineering landmark hand excavated from 1809 to 1832. A 15% discount applies to cabin rates through June 20 and from August 25 to September 12.
Designed to fit the narrowest canal locks, the recently renovated vessels cruise across Sweden at a leisurely five to 10 knots on tree-lined canals bordered by fields and forests, the 11-lock Berg staircase, huge Lakes Vanern and Vattern, and by many islands. Sightseeing, which varies according to cruise length and direction, may include Lacko and Stegeborg Castles, the Birka Viking city on Bjorko Island, the medieval towns of Vadstena and Soderkoping, the seaside resort of Trosa and the Royal Hunting, Trollhatten Canal and Motala Motor Museums.
The ships retain their stylish Art Nouveau décor, reminiscent of the hey-day of upper class sailings, with mahogany paneling, brass fittings and paisley fabrics. Each has a lounge with a bar and small library, a dining room featuring French cuisine with a Swedish twist and a large wine selection, and 25 to 29 cozy cabins with bunk beds, washbasin and shared toilets and showers with privacy locks.
Cruise packages, priced at $2,235 to $3,550 per person, double occupancy, for the seven-day, and $2,850 to $4,130 for the nine-day voyage, include roundtrip flights from New York, four-day/three-night or six-day/five-night cruise with cabin category selected and all meals, six or 11 stops, shore excursions, services of a multilingual crew and a one-night hotel stay and breakfast in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Fuel surcharges may apply. Add-on airfares from other U.S. cities and extra hotel nights are available. Rates are lowest in May and September.
Gota Canal information and reservations are available from Norwegian Coastal Voyage, (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; brochures at (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; and www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us.
For more on Sweden at ITKT