Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Norwegian Experience Preview

This year’s Norwegian Experience winner, Bruce Johnson, says he’s “like a kid in a candy store” as he eagerly awaits his upcoming trip to Norway. After all, who wouldn’t be excited to spend 7-10 days enjoying breathtaking views of Norway from a Fred Olsen cruise ship? But before we cover more of the exciting details of Bruce’s upcoming trip, lets learn a bit more about our winner…

Bruce and his wife, Mary, are members of Maine Nordmenn 3-664 and were recruited by their neighbor 4 years ago. In those short 4 years, a chain of events were set into motion that would lead not only to the discovery of a great family story, but also a new connection with family in Norway, that Bruce says, “was all due to Sons of Norway.”

So what’s the story you ask?

Shortly after joining, Bruce learned through military records that his grandfather had emigrated from Tønsberg, Norway at the age of 16 to join the U.S. Navy. After discovering his grandfather’s Norwegian roots, Bruce soon went in search of his family’s ties to Norway, writing an article for the Olso-based magazine “Familien.” In the months afterward, Bruce was able to connect with his Norwegian second cousin and visit them in Tønsberg.

Today, Bruce and his wife Mary are looking forward to their next adventure in Norway as part of the 2010 Norwegian Experience contest. Here’s some of the highlights of their upcoming trip and of course, how Bruce got to this point.

The contest is open to anyone who recruited at least one new member last year. How many new members did you recruit?

“After the September 2009 issue of Viking our lodge started a number of recruiting initiatives in an effort to gain members. One of our ideas was to offer ½ price 1-year memberships to new members. Our lodge paid for one half of the membership and the new member paid the other half. I was able to sign up 10 new lodge members after that.”

Since you’ve been to Norway before, what are you looking forward to seeing on this trip that you’ve not had the opportunity to see before?

“We’ll be seeing much more of Norway from a cruise ship on this trip than we’ve done before, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of the western coastline… and of course, the fjords! I’ve been to Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and Norway is definitely the most beautiful! In Oslo I plan to spend a lot of time at Vigeland Park, I’ve never seen it.”

How has the trip planning been going? Are you having a good experience working with Borton Overseas?

“The people at Borton have been UNBELIEVABLE. They answer all of our questions! Our itinerary is step-by-step…they’ve thought of everything, Linda McCormick, especially, has been fantastic. The first part of our trip will start in Stockholm, but by August 29th we’ll be beginning our cruise on the MS Balmoral. Our accommodations on the ship are amazing; we’re staying in the captain’s suite!”

Any final thoughts before embarking on your trip?

“ This truly is the trip of a LIFETIME! I would strongly encourage members to take part and recruit as many people as possible.”

Check in with us on Friday for an additional post on the Norwegian Experience contest and on Monday as we follow up with Bruce during the first days of his trip.

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