Ask Harriet: Optional tours in Norway

One of the most unique parts of our Norwegian Coastal Voyage & Lapland vacation is the coastal cruise on a working ship. But because this Hurtigruten vesssel isn’t owned by Grand Circle, reserving optional tours is a bit different from some of our other trips. This month’s question is about these special opportunities to travel inland and see more of Scandinavia.

Q: I will be going on the Norway fjord trip in May and noticed in some previous travelers' online reviews recommendations to book shore excursions early—pre-book—how is this done?

—Sarah Wiviott Young, 9-time traveler, Rogers, Arkansas

A. Hi Sarah,

Thank you for asking a great question. You’re in for a special trip, on a truly unique vessel. Grand Circle partners with Hurtigruten on the five-day cruise component which is an up-close experience of a working Norwegian ship. While you’ll be on the top decks, custom-made for the comfort of travelers like you, you’ll also be stopping in ports so that sailors may deliver supplies to small towns.

Since Hurtigruten operates the cruise on behalf of Grand Circle booking a shore excursion for just the cruise part of this trip is different than booking one of our regular optional tours. Hurtigruten shore excursion can be only reserved/purchased on board the ship, not in advance. However, like all Grand Circle vacations, your Program Director can offer you the best advice on which excursions are operating when & what the best ones are, says our regional associate Craig Waith. Once you board the ship, you'll be able to pick the best excursion for you out of what's offered.

As for the land portion of your Norwegian Coastal Voyage and Laplandvacation, you can reserve the optional tours before you go or when you arrive in Scandinavia. For more information about land optional tours, click here.

If you are taking the pre-trip extension to St. Petersburg, Russia, you mustreserve the optional Catherine Palace tour ahead of time, and you may contact one of our Travel Counselors at 1-800-221-2610 to do so.