Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Ship Cruise
Exploring the Arctic Land of the Caribou tour

Exploring the Arctic Land of the Caribou

Hurtigruten
3.8 . Great
88%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
15 days
From: $ 8,667 $ 578 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Visit two national parks in Canada
  • Learn more about the people living in the area
  • See archaeological remains and learn about Viking history
  • Exciting excursions

Short Description

Explore the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada on this amazing adventure.

This expedition includes the chance to visit two national parks, several different settlements and some intriguing cities. While the vastness of this immense region can easily prove unsettling for visitors, the cheerful and friendly manner of the region’s inhabitants, the Inuit, will quickly put you at ease. Enjoy learning more about the fascinating history of the people that have lived here for thousands of years, and the people living here today.

Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Trip Type Small Ship Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City St.Johns
End City Montreal
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Itinerary

Day 1: St. Johns, Newfoundland

St. John's is the oldest and most easterly city in North America, and it is said that this is where heritage lives. With its narrow streets and hidden alleyways, the city is full of character. We recommend that you explore this historic town, with its striking twin clock towers of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, before you embark on your adventure.

Day 2: St. Pierre and Miquelon

Even though Paris is around 2,500 miles away, the people living in St Pierre and Miquelon are very proud to be French. The islands are part of the French Republic and are, in fact, the country's oldest overseas territory. Today, you can enjoy a taste of the typical French way of life with nice bistros, cafés, wine, cheese, baguettes, chocolates and pastries. 

Day 3: At sea

Enjoy a day at sea. There will be lectures on various topics or you can spend some time on deck enjoying the wildlife we'll see on our journey.

Day 4: Gros Morne National Park

The Gros Morne National Park is one of the highlights of a trip to Newfoundland. The landscape, with its deep valleys, steep cliffs, sandy beaches and spectacular fjord system, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moose, caribou, foxes, black bears, ptarmigans and eagles are all a very common sight here. A visit to the higher regions of this ancient landscape will be unforgettable.

Day 5: Red Bay

Between 1550 and the early 17th century, Red Bay was a centre for Basque whaling operations. During the whaling heyday up to 2,500 whalers came on 50 ships from France and Spain for the whale-hunting season. The discovery of the wrecks of whale-hunting galleons and chalupas has made Red Bay one of the most exquisite underwater archaeological sites in America. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you feel like going treasure hunting while we are here, local legend has it that the infamous pirate Captain Kidd hid some of his treasure in the 'Pond on the Hill'.

Day 6: L'anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland

In L'Anse aux Meadows, you'll find the first known evidence of European presence in America. It is here that a Norse expedition built a small camp around 1,000 years ago. In 1960, two Norwegian archaeologists started excavating in this area and discovered the fascinating remains of this Viking camp. In 1979, L´Anse aux Meadows became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the recreated camp, you can see original artefacts from this internationally renowned archaeological find.

Day 7: Battle Harbour

Located on the edge of the Labrador Sea, Battle Harbour is a nature lover's paradise. For two centuries, it was the economic and social centre of the southeast Labrador coast. Today, it is a wilderness adventure destination, where you can encounter whales, dolphins, seabirds, Arctic foxes, icebergs and the spectacular island scenery on one of our hikes or boat tours.

Day 8: Cruising the Coast of Labrador

We will spend three days sailing along the coast of Labrador and exploring this area. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking along the trails and the countless miles of wilderness to explore, while others will appreciate learning more about the history, cultures and traditions of the area at the numerous his­toric sites we will visit.

Day 9: Cruising the Coast of Labrador

One of the places we may visit is Red Bay. The discovery of the wrecks of whale-hunting galleons and chalupas has made Red Bay one of the most exquisite underwater archaeological sites in America. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 10: Cruising the Coast of Labrador

We may also visit the picturesque town of Rigolet, the southernmost Inuit community in the world. This small, isolated town has a population of just 300 and cannot be accessed by road. However, it is accessible by ship all year around, and in wintertime also via snowmobile. We offer several outings here: You can explore the beautiful waters in a speedboat or go fishing, riding or whale watching. We may also visit Hopedale, originally the Inuit settlement of Agvituk, meaning 'the place of the whales', and Hebron, a former Moravian mission and the northernmost settlement in Labrador.

Day 11: Torngat Mountains National Park

The spectacular wilderness of Torngat Mountains National Park comprises 3,700 square miles in Northern Labrador Mountains.

Day 12: Torngat Mountains National Park

The peaks of the Torngat Mountains National Park are dotted with remnant glaciers. The landscape was formed during the last ice age and features steep fjord systems rising up to 900 metres directly out of the sea. It is truly rough and wild. 

Day 13: Torngat Mountains National Park

Today, the Inuit people continue to use this area for hunting, fishing and travelling throughout the year. Torngait, means 'place of spirits', and the Torngat Mountains have been home to the Inuit and their predecessors for 7,000 years, as we can see from archaeological sites in the area.

Day 14: Torngat Mountains National Park

You might get to see polar bears hunting seals along the coast, the Torngat Mountain and George River caribou herds crossing paths as they migrate to and from their calving grounds or any number of moose, foxes, wolves and black bears that are native to the park.

Day 15: Kuujjuaq/Montreal

Your adventure ends in Quebec's Arctic region – an immense, pristine territory lying north of the 55th parallel. Experience the Nunavik Inuit’s corner of the world, and maybe see the distinctive characteristics of their cultural and linguistic heritage, art and history, as well as traditional clothing and tools before you fly to Montreal.

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Price Per Day: $ 578 per day
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Stride Featured in

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8 Hurtigruten Travel Reviews & Ratings

88%
3.8 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3
Great 3
Average 0
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
3.8
Guide
3.3
Activities
3.8
Lodging
3.5
Transportation
3.8
Meals
3.8

Exploring the Arctic Land of the Caribou

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Company Reviews

Great Time with Grandfather

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide3.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I technically took the abbreviated version of this exact cruise a few years back, essentially a one-way trip through the Fjords starting in Bergen and going up to Kirkenes on the Russian border. It was a graduation present from my grandfather, and we took the trip together. He is not the most mobile of travelers, and a cruise was a great compromise for us. I loved being able to talk and read with him on the many rocking chairs looking out the ship's walls, and it was helpful to get the occasional reminder from the Captain about the feature we were passing. We got a solid feel for Norway's coastline and culture from watching attentively from the boat, and also getting off at the majority of the daytime stops. We took part in a bunch of the optional activities (which we booked right beforehand, there was no trouble with that) and there were plenty of options we both liked. One my favorites was seeing a Sami settlement, learning about their culture and how they farm reindeer. The bus ride that took us from the boat to the Sami was also incredible -- the landscape had totally changed, we saw the rows and rows of fish racks, and we even saw wild reindeer run past! The optional activities also meant that when I wanted to take a hike one day, I could go and my grandfather could do whatever he wanted, and we'd see each other in a couple of hours.

A couple of other things that made this trip for us: the food and the ship itself. The ship's room was definitely close quarters, but my grandfather is a big man and we still had no trouble with anything. The entire ship is handicap accessible, and there is a gym and a hot tub I utilized multiple times! Most importantly: the food. My grandpa is a HUGE foodie and an adventurous eater, and that was definitely his primary concern, and we were both satisfied with the quality of the food. We both felt there was a good balance between having good food, and having enough classical Norwegian food. Plus, if you feel like getting fancy, there is a separate restaurant on the ship that is an extra fee.

The only reason I give "guide" a lower rating is because we weren't really guided for much of the ship, only during the optional excursions and the occasional information from the captain.
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One of the world's most beautiful voyages

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide3.0
Activities5.0
Lodging3.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The Hurtigruten, which travels the coast of Norway north from Bergen beyond the Arctic Circle almost to Russia, is nothing short of gorgeous. You get to stop in big cities/towns like Tromso and Trondheim, but also in little villages,including one known as the farthest north in Europe. You also get to cruise down some beautiful fjords. One of the best features is that the ships double as cargo carriers along with passengers, so at every stop you can watch the crew load and unload the supplies that keep these far-north villages going all year round. (The summer trips are almost all 24-hour daylight, while the winter trips are mostly in darkness.) There's nothing fancy about these ships, and the food isn't as memorable as on some other ships, but the experience is hard to top. Hurtigruten has expanded beyond Norway, too, but I haven't taken any of their other trips.
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very cool Antarctic cruise

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
We had wanted to take an expedition style cruise to Antarctica for a while now. Having traveled previously on Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coast a number of years ago, when they started cruising to Antarctica last year at reasonable prices we were definitely interested. Antarctica promised to be a remote and unusual adventure with unique scenery and wildlife.

The Fram is a new ship (went into service in 2007) and is very comfortable with attractive Scandinavian modern style, and excellent public spaces, especially the observation deck on the 7th deck with comfortable chairs and floor to ceiling windows, and the 4th deck dining room, also with extensive windows and views.

Cabins:

We signed up for QJ mini suite with limited view. (Cabins below suite category are very SMALL--be aware of this before you book one). Initially we got less than we had expected or paid for: suite 503 instead of being a limited view suite was a NO view suite, with superstructure almost completely blocking the window and any views except at an extreme angle. After complaining to the Hotel Director, who confirmed that this should have been booked only as a no-view suite (as should the comparable one on the port side of the ship) and then, vehemently, to the Chief Purser, we were switched to suite 516, which was perfectly fine. Moderately roomy, with a comfortable queen bed, adequate floor space, good bathroom with shower, this suite had a decent outside view with only minor obstruction. Note: all the deck 5 QJ cabins have an accessible deck directly outside, so there is limited privacy unless the drapes are drawn.

Perks of having a suite on this cruise: 2 free shore excursions (Tierra del Fuego National Park and a tango show in Buenos Aires for us); a bottle of French Champagne in the suite, and free beverages with lunch and dinner (soft drinks, beer, mediocre wine).

Service: The dining room and cabin crew seemed to be almost exclusively Filipino. The staff were uniformly pleasant, courteous, and helpful, a real plus. We thought overall service levels were equivalent to the highly rated and expensive cruise lines like Regent and Silversea.

Shore excursions: Two a day while in Antarctica, and we didn't miss any because of bad weather which sometimes happening. These were the highlight of the cruise. Only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at one time, due to Antarctic regulations. So excursions were limited to 1 hour shore time. The Polar Cerkel boats which took us ashore are nicer than Zodiacs, with better protection from wind and spray. During the excursions, we could walk around on the snow and ice, climb small hills, walk past penguin rookeries (Gentoo, Adellie and Chinstrap Penguins) and past elephant seals and Antarctic birds. Vistas were spectacular, vast fields of white snow, white and blue snow and ice, icebergs, distant and mostly hidden mountains. It was foggy the entire trip, so we could never see the mountain peaks, which remained partially hidden and mysterious.

Food: This was usually good, never great. Most meals were buffet style, and we always were able to find something palatable. My vegetarian brother-in-law did fine. Best were the salads, fresh fruits, meat dishes. Not as much herring as I would have expected in a Norwegian line. (On the Norwegian coastal cruise there was abundant delicious herring preparations, salmon...) On the few set meals there was an alternate main dish offered (which had to be requested in advance, though).

Lectures: disappointing. We stopped going after the first few, as the lecturers weren't that interesting, mostly around Antarctic history. Not nearly enough about wildlife, our primary interest. Too anecdotal.

Entertainment: none that we went to, so I can't comment. Not much expected by us or offered.

Fitness: There is an adequately equipped fitness room which my wife used regularly. On decks 7 and 8 there are limited walking areas with excellent views. Two outdoor jacuzzis which we never had the opportunity to use.

Passengers: younger than we had expected,many people in their 40's and 50's and a few even younger. At least half seemed to be from the US, then about a third or more German, with some Asian, French and UK passengers as well. Announcements and lectures were offered in English and German.

Overall, we were all very pleased. The ship offered an extremely comfortable way to see this remote part of the world. Views from the ship were often spectacular, especially going (twice, once each way) through the Lemaire Channel. The shore excursions met all our expectations.
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Hurtigruten - bad experience on FRAM Cruise boat

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Hurtigruten is a cruise company operating in Norway, Greenland, Arctic and Antarctic. I booked a cruise in Greenland last june 2015 and i never had such a bad experience for an exploration cruise :
- i booked thru email and when they sent me the rate : there was no mention of the paying excursions (most of the excursions in fact) - when all their competitors included 2 excursions per day when possible. So i can't really compare the rates between cruises companies and i was trapped. For excursions, you can add 2000 euros for 10 days, so it's significant.
- cabin was very small with 2 tiny beds and a small bathroom. One of their towels had a huge hole and for such expensive cruise : it's unacceptable
- The boat was too big for exploration and i have few experiences in Artic and Antartica (4) with 100 passegers boat and with a smaller boat, it was more convenient for sighting and pictures. Hurtigruten Fram ship was too big with limited access to outside views despite its size (5th floor only for the front view, 7th floor for rear view and it's too high and far for good pictures on whales for instance).
- The cruise was supposed to be an exploration cruise and everybody was expecting to see wildlife : we didn't see much. The ship was cruising at night and was anchored all day in a harbour - so in fact, we visited only the cities and i was really bored
- this company was pushing a lot to buy excursions, to visit their shop and also was pushing a lot to buy alcohol with specials offers by 11 bottles - and for me it was annoying and shocking for alcohol because some people were drinking more than reasonnable on that boat.
So i don't recommend that company and there is more serious companies, with all excursions included with a normal attitude : no push to buy or drink.
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Check the cost of transfer package

2.0
Details
Value2.0
Guide2.0
Activities2.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation2.0
Meals2.0
This trip on the Finnmarken was a re-run of a similar cruise we had made several years ago on the M/S Lofoten. Onboard entertainment was limited mainly to port lectures but as we had travelled this way previously and also matured in age we were happy to relax with a book or watch the scenery drift by. The cabin on Deck 3 (N4) was larger than many others on the higher decks as the outside decks reduced the length of the cabin. It was on the same deck as the shore gangplank and one deck up to the dining room. The food was acceptable and the staff very helpful. When you have to join a queue to thank your waiter at the end of the trip you have some idea of how attentive the staff were. This is not a cruise ship but a working ship that makes several stops up and down the coast. Some port calls are long enough to go ashore and although we only did one excursion (ice hotel) we did go ashore whenever possible and enjoyed the local scenery.

We were well aware what to expect from this trip and and overall enjoyed the experience. Sadly we made the mistake of taking the transfer package, London/Bergen /ship at £660 for the two of us. Checking the Norwegian Air Shuttle web site against our tickets we discovered that the top airfare on those dates meant the coach element of this package was going to be very expensive to make up the difference. The figures went even further adrift we discovered that transfer coach tickets, port to airport, were being sold onboard at £15 each sector.

On our return I took this up with Hurtigruten, supported by a copy of the airline quote from their web site. The answer I received back the company was that they work on a contract price.

This is now history, the deal is done and Hurtigruten have their money. I was not convinced by their response and would suggest to anyone contemplating this deal to do your homework first. Taxi cost less than £30 to the port, this plus the airfare would still been cheaper than the package price.
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To the High Arctic on the MV Fram

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Before we began the cruise, we spent three days in an apartment in Reykjavik. I would recommend a stay in Iceland to anyone cruising in that part of the world. Iceland is beautiful in a wild and unique way.

MV Fram, built by Hurtigruten in 2007 especially for cruising the polar regions, is a wonderful ship. According to Hurtigruten, it carries 318 passengers, but we were told the ship was full on this voyage with 227. The average age of passengers was typical for an expedition-type cruise, i.e., younger than on large ships. There were two or three people with physical handicaps (one in a wheelchair) and a number of children. Eighty to ninety percent of the passengers were Scandinavians (93 Norwegians) and Germans. There were only four Americans aboard, along with a handful of people from other English-speaking countries. The official language of the voyage was English.

Check-in on the ship in Reykjavik was chaotic. Help with luggage was available upon request; otherwise everyone managed their own bags. As on more traditional cruises, a cruise card was used for all purchases aboard. There was a small gift shop with clothing appropriate for the voyage, along with some souvenir items and toiletries. Alcohol, soft drinks, and premium coffees could be purchased. Shore excursions were included in the cruise price, and all passengers were given windbreakers as a memento of the voyage.

There were two dinner seatings with assigned tables, but due to the nature of the trip, all but two nights were buffets with open seating. The food was Scandinavian, meaning good fresh fish (such as salmon) at dinner, and smoked or marinated fish as a choice at every buffet. Besides the fish and excellent desserts, the food was uninspired, to say the least. Vegetarians, diabetics, and people with gluten intolerance were provided for. A snack bar with complimentary coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cookies, and small sandwiches was open 24/7. There was no room service.

The cruise itself was an unforgettable experience. After one sea day we reached Jan Mayen Island, a tiny Norwegian outpost 370 miles NE of Iceland. It is inhabited only by fourteen hardy souls who run the weather station there. There is no harbor, no regular air service, and no tourist facilities. The only visitors are the occasional yachts that anchor there. The Fram was the first cruise ship to call there. Our landing was made on a rocky beach from "Polarcirkel" boats (similar to Zodiacs), and required waterproof boots. Jan Mayen is a wild, desolate place with essentially no vegetation. The perfectly shaped volcano last erupted in the 1970's, and the whole island consists of lava rock. The weather was relatively mild, with calm seas and temperatures in the forties. While we were ashore the volcano was obscured by clouds, but later that night the midnight sun appeared and illuminated the snow-covered peak with its glaciers. As if on cue, three Minke whales also appeared.

After another sea day we arrived at Spitsbergen, where our first stop was to be Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the Svalbard archipelago. As luck would have it, an ice-field totally filled the Isfjorden. The Fram is designed to break through such ice floes, but progress was so slow that after two hours the captain made the decision to cancel that stop and head north. Standing on the bow (fully covered with wind-proof pants, jacket, hood, boots, and heavy long-johns) watching our laborious progress through the ice, I felt a long, long way from home. We saw many birds taking advantage of the shifting ice floes: puffins, guillemots, auks, fulmars, gulls, and arctic terns.

Our trip north along the west coast of Spitsbergen took us past an incredible landscape of mountains, glaciers and blue skies.

The next morning we stopped for a guided tour of Ny Alesund, a small settlement made up of scientists from different countries doing various polar research projects. Cruise ships and yachts do stop there, but there are no facilities except a small gift shop and a museum. Ny Alesund used to be a mining town, and most of the buildings are remodeled houses from that era.

Later that day we made a landing at the beach in beautiful Magdalena Fjord, where blubber ovens were still visible from the days when whaling ships used this natural harbor (ice-free year round due to the Gulf Stream) as headquarters for their activities in this part of the world. While leaving Magdalena Fjord we saw our only polar bears of the trip, unfortunately far in the distance. It was a mother and cub.

After midnight that night (still bright sunlight) we reached Moffin Island off the north coast of Spitsbergen. It's a walrus preserve, so we were not allowed to go ashore but could see the walrus colony quite clearly.

There were other wonderful experiences sailing through the many fjords and past the countless glaciers and bird nesting cliffs of Spitsbergen. Days and nights were spent watching the scenery and profiting from the excellent lectures and slide shows of the scientists aboard the ship. Among them were five Ph.D.s in such fields as Geology, Glaciology, and Ornithology. All were experts on the polar regions and also gave talks on the history of polar expeditions, animals of the Arctic, and the like.

There was no nightly entertainment per se, just a pianist in the lounge, and a couple of events such as a crew talent show. In addition, all passengers were taken on a tour of the Bridge.

The voyage ended on a dramatic note with another passage through the ice-field in the Isfjorden to get to our final destination, Longyearbyen. It took all of the last day, so the scheduled landing had to be cancelled. But the ship's breaking through the ice was such an exhilarating experience that it was worth it.

We had a few hours in Longyearbyen before our flight to Oslo (included in the cruise fare). The settlement has a history of coal mining and other attempts at making a profitable permanent town here, including many international disputes over sovereignty, especially between Norway and Russia.

The Fram is a beautiful small ship, nicely appointed with a large observation lounge, lecture rooms, attractive public areas, a fitness room, two on-deck hot

tubs, and interesting art work. Our cabin was tiny but acceptable. The service was impeccable and friendly, although with mostly open seating we didn't have much personal interaction with the dining room staff.

The Expedition Team was fantastic, comprised of exceedingly competent and knowledgeable men and women.

All in all, this was an incredible cruise for someone who wants to get way off the beaten path. A memorable experience all around.
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Details

Ship Name

MS Spitsbergen

Ship Stats

Year built 2009
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 320
Beds 20
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7025
Length 97.53m
Beam 18m
Speed 17 knots

Ship Description

Summer 2016 is an outstanding chance to join the most extraordinary of all our coastal voyages. Our new ship MS Spitsbergen will take you on itinerary beyond the ordinary.

Our new vessel will be starting her operation on the Norwegian coast from May 2016, sailing parallel to our Classic ship MS Lofoten. She will follow the same departure dates as MS Lofoten and call at all regular coastal route ports at daytime.

Deck & Cabin Plans

Deck B

Expedition Suite

Cabin: Our Expeditions Suites are the most exquisite cabins on the ship. Situated on upper deck, you can enjoy the most comfortable suites on board. Inside you will find seating areas with TV, bathrooms with shower/wc and most of them have double beds. All of the suites offer cabin kits, which contains bathrobe, slippers and other beauty articles.  Some of the suites do have more facilities than others.

Suite on upper deck: These elegant suites are situated on upper decks with one or two rooms, seating area, TV and mini-bar. Some of them have a private balcony.

Mini Suite for 2 people: Suites with double bed, TV, mini-bar and great view on lower decks.

All Deck & Cabin Plans Trip Photos

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group - 25 + people

Cancellation Policy:

You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the person who made the booking or your travel agent must be received at our offices. We recommend ‘Recorded Delivery’. Cancellation takes effect the day we receive your letter or email. Since we incur costs in relation to your arrangements from the time we confirm your booking you will have to pay the applicable cancellation charges as shown in the table below (which also applies if we cancel because you have failed to make payments on time - see ‘Payment’ section) together with the cost of any air fare for which we have had to pay at the time of the booking and will be payable immediately on cancellation.

When the cancellation letter is received by us before departure

Charges as a % of the total holiday cost (excl. insurance premiums)

60 or more days Retention of deposit

42–59 days is 30%

28–41 days will be 60%

14–27 days is 90%

Less than 14 days is 100%

If you have to cancel for a reason covered by your travel insurance you may be able to reclaim the cancellation charges, less applicable excess. Insurance premiums are not refundable.

Trip ID#:

ExpArcHur

Trip Excludes

  • International airfare
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Personal expenses

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