Norwegian Fjords Cycling Cruise

Bergen to Göteborg

Photo Itinerary

Norwegian Fjords Cycling Cruise

While two full years of interim scouting will allow us to fill in all the details, here are some highlights of the special Norway itinerary being developed for Santana’s 52nd chartered-ship cycling cruise.

Any tour of Norway should start in Oslo, where museums, art, and architecture celebrate the country’s viking heritage. We’ll host an optional 3-day PreTour that includes the 55 minute flight from Oslo’s OSL Airport to Bergen’s BGO Airport for our cruise embark. More details on flight scheduling and the PreTour will be provided a year before the cruise.

Embark is in Bergen, Norway—a picturesque coastal city that hosts international flights from all 3 airline alliances.

Imagine if the Alps or the Rockies were at sea level. The southwest coast of Norway offers warm summer cycling on smooth gentle roads skirting fjords, inlets and islands. Sunny days without steep hills or bothersome traffic.

Many would guess that a Norwegian Cycling Tour might be too tough to be enjoyable—But a Norwegian Cycling Cruise traces the coast to provide a week of rides that are deceptively easy.

Enthusiasts who want an epic challenge can turn inland and climb to reach unbelievable vistas. Each day has multiple cycling options, as well as our duo of non-cycling options.

What about the routes? Shortest routes will be around 35 flat miles, mid-length routes around 40-50 with some gentle hills, longer routes are 55+ with a few more hills.

Non-cycling options? Our panoramic-window coach bus will take anyone who wishes to have a non-pedaling day to many of the spectacular sites that our routes will see.

We selected the perfect slice of Summer to cycle Norway. The water is warm and the days have shortened—allowing us to experience the annual arrival of the northern lights.

Some rides will take us skipping across Norway’s coastal islands which are connected by uniquely engineered roadways.

Invigorating rides through pristine glacier-carved landscapes on roads that hug the shoreline. Breathe in the crisp clean air as you gaze across the serene water.

Imagine riding into a painting. A week of rides through landscapes that encourage you to pedal further. What will you find around the next bend?

Disembark will be in Göteborg (Gothenburg). ” The friendliest destination in Sweden” is a delightful university town with Volvo’s museum. Göteborg’s GOT Airport is also served by all 3 airline alliances. If you wish to see more of Scandinavia, direct bike-friendly trains can get you to the center of Oslo, Copenhagen, or Stockholm in 3-4 hours.

M.S. Le Bellot

Norwegian Fjords Cycling Cruise

A dozen years ago Jan and I realized the perfect opportunity for a Santana Adventure to Norway would be to charter a small cruise ship that would link together prime sections of Norway’s coastal fjords, inlets, & islands.

Years ago we heard faint whispers. A new class of smaller and more capable cruise ships. Polar-rated yachts with green propulsion and advanced stabilization. Ponant’s new “Explorer Class” cruisers will arrive in pairs. The first two will enter service this summer. Two more will arrive in 2019. The ship we’ve chartered for Norway will launch in spring of 2020, perfect for our summer escape later that same year.

Le Bellot is the most opulent cruise ship we have ever chartered. For our clients who wish to have the ultimate luxury experience, we’ve found the cruise ship version of a Ritz Carlton Resort.

Unlike every other cruise ship we’ve encountered, Le Bellot’s least expensive rooms have a large floor plan, king-size bed, interior sitting area, plus a balcony with table and chairs. In short, the least expensive rooms on this exotic new cruise ship are better than the priciest rooms on other ships.

Deck Plans

Floor Plans

(Click For Larger Version)

The 13 suites take this luxury experience to an entirely new level with floor-plans that are 50% larger, walk-in closets, and butler service. The four largest suites have additional floorspace, dual sinks, separate bathtub & shower, and a humongous terrace. The terrace on the Owner’s Suite comes with a private jacuzzi.

During our research we learned that Norway is not part of the EU, and has much tougher standards for cruise vessels. Cruise ships designed for the Caribbean and Mediterranean need not apply. Expedition class cruise ships, the only ones now permitted to operate in polar regions, have additional stability, safety, and security. Ponant’s “Explorer Class” vessels take the expedition concept one step further.

Their new fleet not only has the highest marine security standards in the world, advanced stabilizers make them feel like Cadillacs while cruising the tumultuous arctic seas. Even though Santana’s Norway charter won’t venture into areas with rough waters, we’ll enjoy this extra comfort and safety. Additionally, the older and larger ships that were strong and safe enough for Norway’s marine standards can’t meet the new environmental regulations (which start in 2019) that will allow them to enter Norway’s pristine fjords.

The World’s First Underwater Lounge – Another one of Jules Verne’s futuristic images comes to life with Ponant’s Blue Eye Lounge, where panoramic underwater windows will make you feel like Captain Nemo aboard his Nautilus. This truly immersive experience (replete with acoustics) allows you to gaze out at the marine life while sipping your favorite cocktail. Dolphins seem to love looking through these windows too.

Le Bellot has a five star restaurant where French Gastronomy rules the seas. What could be better than a panoramic-view dining room with fine linens and crystal? Every meal offers the alternative of outdoor dining in a more intimate setting. The most romantic option? Room service on your private balcony.

Would you like wine with dinner? An after-ride beer on the sun deck? A cocktail in the Blue Eye lounge? On this all inclusive cruise you won’t pay extra for liquor.

Le Bellot has only 92 balcony staterooms and suites, 2 crew members for every 3 guests, a panoramic infinity pool, deployable marina, and free water sports equipment!

Ponant is launching 6 new “Explorer Class” cruise ships, the first of which was launched last month, with 2 ships being launched per year, when we board Le Bellot it will be less than 6 months old. Here’s a dolphin approved video of the new ships –

Also, for those who are curious, the French name Bellot sounds like bay-low.

Frequently Asked Questions

Norwegian Fjords Cycling Cruise

Q: What are the exact dates?

A: Poring over charts showing climate and rainfall, we chose late-August for long days of sunshine and warmer temperatures. The Midnight Sun will have disappeared (which would be no fun for active cyclists trying to get a little shut eye), we’ll still be enjoying great weather, and Aurora Borealis will be starting to show across the night sky. We’re proud to have arranged the perfect dates: August 26 to September 3, 2020.

Q: Will I get seasick?

A: The MS Le Bellot was built to stabilize itself during expedition cruises to the extremely rough waters of Antarctica, the calmer waters inside Norway’s Fjords won’t even challenge the stabilizers. Compared to other vessels of it’s size, this ship is like riding in a Cadillac.

Q: What’s the cost?

A: Due to Santana’s friendship with Ponant Cruises, our per-person first-in pricing for this 9-day event in Norway starts at $6499. Premium stateroom categories cost more. Lowest pricing in every category is limited to the first few rooms. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE. Our reservations section shows pricing of available staterooms.

Q: Is this a good deal?

A: Le Bellot is the most opulent cruise ship we have ever chartered. For our clients who wish to have the ultimate luxury experience, we’ve found the cruise ship version of a Ritz Carlton Resort. This lavish option for 2020 is an all-balcony ship with an array of 5-star French Gastronomy.

Unlike every other cruise ship we’ve encountered, Le Bellot’s least expensive rooms have a large floor plan, king-size bed, interior sitting area, plus a balcony with table and chairs. In short, the least expensive rooms on this exotic new cruise ship are better than the priciest rooms on other ships.

How low? Even though our costs are considerably higher for Norway, we are passing on the same level of savings to our loyal participants that we have for all our previous cruises. With Deluxe Balcony Staterooms for our 9-day cruise of Norway starting at only $6499 per-person, rooms on this premier and exclusive Santana event won’t last long!

Q: What about tipping?

A: Santana’s cruise hosts don’t accept tips. Santana’s comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $300 per person includes cycling-specific extras, support teams, admissions, guides, and Sergio’s Coach (our non-rider coach bus). Shipboard gratuities, collected at the event, are $180 per person, and go to the ship’s crew. Port Fees are $400 per person.

Q: Are some staterooms better than others?

A: Certainly.Unlike every other cruise ship we’ve encountered, Le Bellot’s least expensive rooms have a large floor plan, king-size bed, interior sitting area, plus a balcony with table and chairs. In short, the least expensive rooms on this exotic new cruise ship are better than the priciest rooms on other ships. The rooms have a private bath with shower, air-conditioning with adjustable thermostat, and are soundproofed. All Caledonian Sky staterooms are located on the exterior, and all have private balconies balconies. 

Q: Suites?

A: The 13 suites take this luxury experience to an entirely new level with floor-plans that are 50% larger, walk-in closets, and butler service. The four largest suites have additional floorspace, dual sinks, separate bathtub & shower, and a humongous terrace. The terrace on the Owner’s Suite comes with a private jacuzzi.

Q: Has anyone done this before? 

A: We will be the first group of cyclists to experience a Norway Cycling Cruise. The entire ship is ours, which allows a cycling specific itinerary that makes use of Le Bellot’s expeditionary capabilities.

Q: What’s the next step?

A: A near-immediate sell-out of this event is anticipated. Early-in pricing is limited to the first few rooms in each category. Pricing listed on the Stateroom Reservations section is the current pricing. Refresh your browser to see any changes that may have occurred if you delay booking after loading this page. To lock-in availability and the lowest pricing on a RISK-FREE basis, reserve your space through our PayPal portal. PayPal’s secure website is open 24 hours per day, accepts all major credit cards, and automatically adjusts for remaining stateroom availability. Reserving your spot is RISK-FREE. In each category the prime location staterooms will be assigned in the same order as the time stamp of your booking.

Q: What do you mean by RISK-FREE?

A: When you use your credit card and book through PayPal, we’ll give you 14 risk-free days to think it over and clear your schedule. If you change your mind, send an email to Matt@SantanaAdventures.com within two weeks to cancel the PayPal transaction and obtain a full refund.

Q: What if we change our minds after 14 days?

A: Because full-boat charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-through-PayPal commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out—for any reason. This is no different than the clear written policy that existed for all except one of Santana’s prior chartered-ship cruises (this Norway charter will be our 52nd!). While preparing for our 2009 Danube event I neglected to include the following proviso. That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned! Here it is (again) in writing:

Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on rallies and tours, Santana’s cruises are non-cancelable and non-transferable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard trip insurance. For the past 20 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without complaint. An informative application will be mailed with your invoice; and further information is available online.

Q: Have you ever relaxed your refund policy?

A: Jan and I have willingly resold a number of fully prepaid staterooms for a fee of $500 per person—which was waived when a vacating couple found someone to take their place. When there has been more than one pending resell request, those who paid-in-full earliest had their space resold next. Using this non-guaranteed method (which is grossly inferior to trip insurance) Jan and I have cheerfully refunded over $250,000 in otherwise non-refundable and non-transferable cruise fares.

Q: How are staterooms assigned?

A: In any category all rooms are identical. Using the PayPal timestamp, those who reserve earliest get staterooms closest to the prime areas of the ship, which Bill and Jan both prefer. If friends desire a pair of adjacent staterooms the timestamp of the first reservation determines the location of both rooms. In short, we will not take requests for specific room numbers. Those who book early obtain prime positioning.

Q: How do we get to and from the tour?

A: Detailed info by October ’19. Those who arrive and leave on the embark and debark days will receive FREE Airport transfers.

Q: Are rental bikes available? 

A: Yes. If you own a nice bike that fits, however, bringing it with you is relatively easy and inexpensive. More info on this in Bill’s Travel Tips. Single bike rentals will be arranged, includes delivery to Bergen and retrieval from Goteborg, we will notify all participants about 60 days prior to the event.

Q: How many miles each day? 

A: In addition to our daily pair of zero-mile options (remaining on the ship or exploring the islands via our panoramic-window coach), every day has multiple cycling routes. Anyone who can ride a gentle 35 miles will be able to enjoy cycling every day. If you prefer hills or want to spend additional hours in the saddle, we’ve got you covered. At each morning’s breakfast you’ll get a map charting the day’s cycling routes and recommended stops. During a brief route talk you’ll hear about each route’s grades and difficulty. Santana’s vets have learned to love and rely on their handlebar-mounted gps units. Available for less than $200, these touch-screen marvels prevent the age-old problem of getting lost or riding unplanned miles. Santana supplies free electronic mapping and route files. Simply select the route and follow the highlighted map.

Q: What’s the difference between a SAG-wagon and Santana’s SOS/treasure vans? 

A: Most tour companies use SAG-wagons that haul luggage and “sweep” the route between overnight stops. The drivers refill water-bottles, fix flat tires, and retrieve riders who can’t manage the easiest route between the widely spaced hotels. The problem, of course, is that the roving vans tend to be annoying until you actually need help. At that point it’s common to wait for two or more hours until one shows up. Although SAG drivers can fix a flat, they don’t have the tools or know-how to handle serious mechanical problems. Instead, they drive you to a bike shop (which explains why SAG-wagons disappear for hours at a time). This tour’s SOS van is driven by a pro bike mechanic who brings tools and spares. When you phone him with the coordinates from your GPS, he’ll arrive in a flash to get you back in the saddle. Because Santana expects participants to fill their own bottles, fix their own flats, and choose a ride they can finish, our SOS drivers are underworked, and have time to retrieve your shopping treasures.

Q: Does Le Bellot have WiFi? Does the ship have an elevator? Laundry Service?
Will there be menu selections for vegetarians, vegans and picky eaters? 

A: Yes to all of the above.

Q: Does Le Bellot have a Liquor Package

A: It is INCLUDED in your stateroom fares.

Q: What if we have more questions?

A: The easiest way to get any further info is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to answer your questions.
+1 (949) 677-7896        Matt@SantanaAdventures.com

Q: What if I run into problems with Reservations or PayPal?

A: The easiest way to get help is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to help guide you.
+1 (949) 677-7896        Matt@SantanaAdventures.com

Norwegian Fjords Cycling Cruise

Stateroom Reservations

August 26 to September 3, 2020

Full Cancellation policy appears below. Your deposit signifies an acceptance of those terms.

Stateroom Category
Description
Fares*
Available?
OS – Owner’s Terrace Suite
Terrace Suite with Largest Floor plan & Jacuzzi
$10999
Wait List
GS – Grand Deluxe Terrace Suite
Terrace Suite with Largest Floor plan
$10399
Wait List
PV – Privilege Balcony Suite
Balcony Suite with Larger Floor plan
$9499
Wait List
DS – Deluxe Balcony Suite
Balcony Suite with Large Floor plan
$8899
Wait List
PS6 – Prestige Balcony Stateroom, Deck 6
Balcony Stateroom with Large Windows
$7399
Wait List
PS5 – Prestige Balcony Stateroom, Deck 5
Balcony Stateroom with Large Windows
$7099
Wait List
PS4 – Prestige Balcony Stateroom, Deck 4
Balcony Stateroom with Large Windows
$6799
Wait List
DX – Deluxe Balcony Stateroom
Balcony Stateroom with Large Window
$6499
Wait List
* Fares are Per-Person & Double-Occupancy
* Fares are set at time of purchase, and are otherwise subject to change based on availability.
* Please note that the number of rooms in each category is limited and unchangeable.

Please Note:
Stateroom Prices are per person, double occupancy
Deposits listed below are per stateroom, and are for two participants

PayPal Deposits

Stateroom Selection
Bedding Preference
Contact Phone Number
Our comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $300 per person covers a long list of off-ship activities, admissions, guides, rider support, SOS-Vans, and our non-cyclist panoramic-window coach. Port fees are $400 per person.
Crew Gratuities of $180 per person will be collected at the event.
Your initial Stateroon-Holding-Fee is an escrow-like payment which remains fully refundable for 14 days. After 14 days, your Stateroom-Holding-Fee will be converted to an Event Deposit. At that point a dated invoice will be issued. To get pre-existing coverage you’ll want to purchase Travel Insurance within 14 days of your invoiced date (or within 28 days of placing your Holding Fee). Unless you cancel in writing within that 14 day period, the following Scary Cancellation Policy applies to Santana’s chartered cruise events:
Because cruise ship charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-with-a-deposit commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out, for any reason. This is the same policy that existed on all but 1 of Santana’s 51 previous cruises. While preparing for our 2009 Danube event, I neglected to include the following provision (shown below). That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned!
Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on Rallies and Tours, Santana’s Cruises are non-cancelable, non-transferable, and non-refundable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard Trip Insurance. For the past 20 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without a single complaint. An informative application is available upon request; and further information is available online.