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Cruise Norway reflects slight decrease in passengers in 2015

Cruise Norway reflects slight decrease in passengers in 2015
As the year draws to an end, Cruise Norway reports exactly 2,000 cruise ship calls were made at member ports in 2014, bringing 2.7m day passengers.

For 2015, the prognosis shows a slight decrease in numbers and at early December a total of 1,701 calls have been booked representing 2.6m day visitors.

This means that while the number of cruise calls are down by around 15%, the number of passengers is only about 4% lower, notes Sandra Diana Bratland, director Cruise Norway.

‘Looking ahead, our aim is to work together to ensure the best possible experience in Norway for both visitors and locals through product development and facilitation,’ she added.

‘We are particularly pleased to see Norway develop as an all-year cruise destination as there is continuing interest in winter cruising and the search for the Northern Lights,’ Bratland commented.

So what’s new on the excursion front in Norway next year?

New in Eidfjord, fast boat SeaXplore RIB rides in the Hardangerfjord and minibus excursions to Kjeåsen Mountain Farm are planned.

Every day from May 1, 2015 the Quality Hotel & Resort Vøringfoss will be offering fast RIB boat rides on the Hardangerfjord. Riding under the new Hardanger Bridge (among the ten longest suspension bridges in the world and the longest in Norway), looking at the waterfalls and watching the mountains along the fjord.

Or for a calmer experience, from April 1, 2015 a minibus from the Quality Hotel & Resort Vøringfoss will drive daily to the Kjeåsen mountain farm, offering views of the fjords, waterfalls and distant mountains.

From Harstad, a guided excursion travelling by bus, ferry and boat through Kvæfjord and Lofast to Svolvær in Lofoten provides an opportunity to go deep-sea fishing with an experienced crew. Eagles can often be seen during the trip.

Fredrikstad Cruise Port is located in an area with 100-year-old industry that has been restored. The old factory buildings are now home to creative industry, and artists, painters, filmmakers and media companies.

The Star Spangled Walk goes through Vaterland, an old working home area by the river with wooden buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.  The road ahead leads over green ramparts into the picturesque star shaped Fortress Town in Fredrikstad.

The Atlanterhavsparken Aquarium has now opened Europe’s largest seal pool surrounded by a landscape facing the ocean where the seals live in a natural outdoor environment.

The Cable Car in Tromsø is getting a major makeover, including new prams and a lift for disabled people. The upgrade will increased the capacity. The renovation period is planned to start in September 2015 and finish in January 2016.

A winter expedition to the northernmost part of Europe by snowmobile, followed by an overnight at the North Cape is new for this season.

The expedition starts with a three course dinner at a local restaurant of fresh produce from the Arctic, followed by a safety briefing ahead of the snowmobile ride in complete darkness providing a chance to see the Northern Lights.

Arrival at the North Cape is planned just before midnight with warm soup with bread served inside the North Cape Hall where passengers will spend the night before exploring the North Cape in daylight the following morning.

Time on snowmobile is around four hours. Total time from start to finish around 17 hours.