Best Served Scandinavia is to package sailings by new Norwegian coastal cruise line Havila Voyages with flights and hotels.
The new agreement will mean that agents now have access to inclusive packages via the tour operator.
Havila Voyages is already selling its cruise-only to the UK travel trade but has not been able to offer add-ons.
The line will be operating two new ships along the Norwegian coast from the autumn with a further two ships joining the fleet in 2022.
Havila Voyages confirmed that, “following a number of challenges,” Havila Capella (pictured) will now set sail on its first voyage on September 26 instead of this month as originally planned. Havila Castor is expected to start operating on November 15.
“Whilst every effort is being made to proceed on these dates, a final confirmation will be given around September 1,” the company said. “Havila Voyages strongly regrets the inconvenience that the delay causes those who have made bookings. Affected guests are being offered free amendment or cancellation.”
The delays are due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 outbreaks earlier this year in Turkey, where the ships are being built, together with on-going Norwegian travel and quarantine restrictions.
However, UK country manager Matthew Valentine, referring to the Best Served Scandinavia agreement, said: “The new deal means that travel agents can offer their clients packages that are Atol protected and tailormade to suit their needs.
“We have already seen strong demand from the UK trade for our cruises and believe this move will ensure that demand strengthens in the coming months.”
Best Served Scandinavia general manager Sue McAlinden added: “Havila Voyages will undoubtably bring a new level of service and sophistication to this popular route and Best Served Scandinavia is looking forward to working alongside both Havila Voyages and the travel trade to bring new and exciting breaks to the fore.”
The four vessels will be operating as part of a ten-year contract with the Norwegian government to sail the coastal route from Bergen to Kirkenes.
The 12-day return voyage visits 34 different ports sailing through fjords and open seas, travelling into the Arctic Circle.
Large battery packs fitted to each ship will allow them to sail through the fjords and other vulnerable areas for up to four hours at a time emission free. The batteries will then be charged in one of the ports along the route using clean hydropower.
Other environmental initiatives include the use of LNG (liquified natural gas), a hull specially designed to be energy efficient in the Norwegian coastal conditions and a heat recovery system.