Friday, November 3, 2017

Utterly amazing 1959 cruise from Norwegian American Line

This is the gorgeous cover of an elaborate brochure that Norwegian American Line (1910-1995) published to advertise a 41-day cruise of the North Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea in 1959. Destinations on the New York to New York cruise included Glengarriff, Ireland; Oban, Scotland; Hammerfest, Norway; Balestrand, Norway; Bergen, Norway; Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Visby, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Antwerp, Belgium.

I believe this is a cruise that my great-grandmother, Greta, took. Lucky duck!

Here are some highlights from the brochure. Prepare to be floored ... and jealous.

  • "Join the beautiful motor liner Bergensfjord for the most thrilling of vacation voyages, a cruise to Europe's Northern Wonderlands, where lingering sunset bursts into sunrise during endless summer days. Enjoy first a leisurely crossing of the mid-Atlantic to Ireland and Scotland — a new feature for 1959! Then the romance of the old Norse Sagas comes proudly to life during the approach to the North Cape of Norway under the glorious Midnight Sun. The stately ship sails among thousands of lovely islands and through the most spectacular fjords — majestic inlets of the sea ringed about with soaring mountains, snowy glaciers and glistening waterfalls."
  • "Ultra-modern from stem to stern, the Bergensfjord is fitted with stabilizers for smooth sailing. She is air conditioned throughout, with individual control of temperature in every stateroom. She has both outdoor and indoor swimming pools, steam bath and massage room. .... Two attractive dining rooms accommodate the entire cruise membership at one sitting. You will enjoy fine food, served in quiet good taste, and there, of course, the added zest of the famous Norwegian cold buffet specialties."
  • "Many of Norway's leading artists and craftsmen were called upon to create the decor of the Bergensfjord. The paintings, tapestries, wood carvings and mosaics in her public rooms are all typical of Norwegian art."
  • "The charming Club Bergen is an ideal setting for bridge and canasta tournaments. There are quiet reading and writing rooms..."
  • In Geiranger, Norway, tours were set to leave the ship "by ferry for a journey through majestic mountains to Eagle Bend, with a stop to observe the Bergensfjord gliding 1,800 feet below toward Geiranger. The tours continue to Djupvatn [Djupvatnet], with its ever-frozen lake, and onto Dalsnibba, a 4,950-foot peak, before returning to Geiranger in the afternoon."
  • Special side tours, available by arrangement, included "an air tour to Moscow and Leningrad in the Soviet Union and a four-day tour by air and train to West Berlin, Frankfurt and Heidelberg."
  • And the cost of all this? Prices, per passenger, ranged from $1,050 to $5,200 (for the Leif Ericson Suite or Edvard Grieg Suite). The average price per passenger was around $2,300. I hope you're sitting down for this, because that would be about $19,200 per person today, which would work out to about $468 per day for a 41-day summer-vacation cruise.


  1. Yes, please. At that price, I would have to travel "stowaway class" :) Good for Greta, though.

  2. Your mom got a catalog of cruises in the mail this summer that included one over $40,000. So... apparently it DOES scale...