The Real Deal: Five nights' accommodations aboard the cruise ship, all meals, and taxes, for $1,299 for two people—plus fuel surcharges of $84 per person.
When: Daily departures through Dec. 31, 2008.
The fine print: When you purchase this cruise at the $1,299 rate, your companion will travel for free. Meals and taxes are included. Fuel surcharges are an additional $84 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts from $300. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Nov. 30, 2008.
Contact: Hurtigruten, 800/323-7436, hurtigruten.us.
Why it's a deal: Considering the buy-one-get-one-free promotion, you'll end up paying about $649 per person, or a 50 percent savings off the typical per person rate. This breaks down to roughly $130 per person per night and covers five nights' accommodations and meals.
Trip details: The two-for-one coastal cruise package includes all meals and five nights aboard one of 11 cruise ships. Hurtigruten's ships are relatively modern, small, and nimble, with no more than 674 berths. Amenities often include sundecks, saunas, bars and lounges, Internet cafés and libraries, and displays of contemporary Norwegian art. You can request to stay in an inside or outside cabin, pending availability.
You'll set sail from Kirkenes, then cross Varangerfjord, before reaching Vardø on the northeastern tip of Norway. Additional stops include Båtsfjord, where you can see the remains of a Stone Age settlement, and Berlevåg, home of the Tanahorn mountain, once a Sami sacrifice site.
Then continue on to Honningsvåg, Havøysund, Hammerfest, and Øksfjord. After making a stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy, the ship will dock in Tromsø, a mountain-ringed university town within the Arctic Circle that boasts a high concentration of historic wooden homes—and of pubs.
The ship will pass through the shallow waters of the Risøy Channel and the narrow Raftsundet Strait before reaching Svolvær and Stamsund. Then you'll cross Vestfjord to Bodø.
Next, pass by the idyllic island of Sandnessjøen as you cross the Arctic Circle again, arriving in Brønnøysund in the afternoon before settling for the day in Rørvik.
You'll also stop in Trondheim to visit Nidarosdomen Cathedral, Norway's largest medieval church. Sail through Trondheimsfjord, then stop by Molde, before arriving in Ålesund, a picturesque town with art nouveau buildings that stretches over three islands.
Nighttime stops include Torvik, Måløy, and Florø. Then cruise by Svanøy, the mouth of Sognefjord, on your way to Bergen, a harbor town established by the Viking King Olav over nine centuries ago. It's now a lively cultural center—the hometown of notables like playwright Henrik Ibsen and musician Sondre Lerche. From Bergen, you'll catch your flight home.
You can also choose from an array of optional excursions, including a Taste of Vesterlåen, which takes you on a discovery of Viking history from Harstad to Sortland ($89 per person for 4 hours and 15 minutes), or a visit to Trondheim, Norway's first capital ($59 per person).
If you'd like to spend more time in Norway, you can book a six-night cruise starting from $1,599 or an 11-night one starting from $2,299—and still have your companion travel free of charge.
For more tips on what to do in the area, visit Norway's official tourism website.
Getting there: According to a recent search on Kayak, the lowest multicity airfares, arriving in Kirkenes and departing from Bergen, start at $713 from New York City, $987 from Chicago, $1,051 from Miami, $1,195 from L.A., and $2,166 from Houston for departures in mid-November (multiple carriers).