New York, August 2006 — Traditional Norwegian Christmas and gala New Year's Eve celebrations highlight special departures of Norwegian Coastal Voyage's new, air-inclusive seven- to 10-day cruise tours from December 20 to 28. The itineraries give a choice of Christmas and New Year's festivities at sea; a Christmas pre-cruise visit to fun-loving Copenhagen and its famous Christmas market in Tivoli Gardens; and New Year's celebrations at the North Cape, Europe's northernmost point; a Northern Lights Festival concert in Tromso's distinctive iceberg-shaped Arctic Cathedral; or with fireworks and Sami traditional singing (Joik) in Karasjok, capital of Norwegian Lapland.

The holiday breaks, priced at $2,145 to $3,130 per person for the best-available double cabin, provide two to four nights aboard a 490- to 674-berth contemporary or Millennium ship sailing between Tromso, capital of Arctic Norway, and Bergen, Trondheim or Kirkenes along snow-clad coastal landscapes with lights glowing from villages, towns and lighthouses, and when atmospheric conditions are right, the shimmering Northern Lights flashing across the sky.

Norwegian Yuletide traditions on NCV ships include Christmas Eve celebrated together by passengers and crew with holiday specialties at dinner, carol singing by the tree and a visit from Santa Claus; a lavish Scandinavian smorgasbord on Christmas Day; and an after-dinner dance on Boxing Day. December 20 departures feature an eight-day all-Norway tour, at $2,390, with the MS Midnatsol from Tromso to Bergen and the opportunity to attend a Christmas Eve church service ashore in Rorvik; a 10-night program, at $2,865, adds Tivoli Gardens, lunch and a city tour of Copenhagen before the MS Finnmarken voyage from Bergen to Tromso.

New Year's departures are scheduled December 24, 25, 27 and 28. On the seven-day MS Nordlys package at $2,145, New Year’s Eve is at sea with a gala banquet, dancing in the bar, fireworks and a midnight champagne toast. A special dinner will be served on the MS Midnatsol before celebrating New Year's at the 1,000-foot-high North Cape plateau overlooking the vast Arctic Sea and home of the world's northernmost champagne bar; cost of seven days is $2,780.

On the MS Polarlys nine-day program at $2,630, passengers enjoy a New Year's Eve concert in the Arctic Cathedral followed by a reception and three-course dinner, disembarking in lively Tromso in time midnight buffet and toast to 2007. "Sami Encounters" — 10 days with a two-night Nordlys cruise at $3,130 — spends two nights in Karasjok, home of the indigenous Sami (Lapp) people's parliament and the base for included trips to Sapmi Magic Theater, a reindeer farm and the wilderness.

Shipboard activities include the Arctic Circle crossing ceremony and lectures on Norwegian Christmas traditions, the Northern Lights, Sami culture and history, Lofoten Islands fishing and Tromso. Depending on the itinerary chosen, optional excursions may take in dog sledging, snowmobiling, King Crab Safari from Kirkenes, a walking tour of Alesund, and Trondheim, Norway's first capital.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage vessels, which operate daily year-round between Bergen and Kirkenes on the “world’s most beautiful voyage,” are a unique combination of first-class cruise ship and a lifeline to remote towns and villages along the 1,250-mile coast with ports ranging from the bustling cities of Trondheim and Tromso to remote fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands.

Christmas and New Year's cruise tour prices cover round-trip flights from New York and local flights in Norway, three- and four-star hotels with breakfast daily, best-available double cabin, all meals aboard ship and in Karasjok, specified holiday program, transfers, port charges and air taxes. Single and triple rates are available. The winter brochure and reservations can be obtained from Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc., www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us.

For more on Norway at ITKT