Cruising for the Northern Lights
By Laura Gelder | September 2018 | 2 minute read
Nature’s most spectacular show shows up most regularly and most impressively in the frozen wilds so one of the best ways to see the Aurora Borealis is from a ship, with Scandinavia a top choice for Brits. Each cruise offers a very different experience, from astronomy lectures to wildlife watching, so here are some ideas.
This is still the only company which offers a ‘Northern Lights Promise’: guests who embark on the 12-day Classic Round Voyage or Astronomy Voyage get a free six- or seven-day voyage if the lights fail to appear. The latter is a limited edition voyage accompanied by expert lecturers on astronomy. In 2019, Hurtigruten will launch the world’s first hybrid-powered expedition vessel, with the aim of making cruising ‘greener’.
Hurtigruten released its 2019/2020 brochure in August, showcasing 12 ships covering 34 Norwegian ports. The flight-inclusive Coastal Round Voyage offers charter flights from nine regional airports to Bergen on select winter dates.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Magellan sails from London Tilbury to the frozen north this October 28, from £949pp. The Cruise & Maritime voyage will follow Norway’s ragged coastline, calling at idyllic fjord villages before venturing into the Arctic Circle in search of Auora Borealis. Highlights include Briksdal Glacier; the seafaring city of Kristiansund; Alta and the world’s first Northern Lights Observatory; Bergen and its funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen; and Tromsø, with the chance to meet huskies.
The line has a 12-night Norway and Northern Lights cruise on Aurora. It departs Southampton on March 11 and is priced from £1,099pp. Ports of call for P & O are Bergen, Narvik, Tromso and Alta, where expert Trygve Nygard will meet onboard guests to explain the phenomenon.
The Queen Elizabeth leaves Southampton on October 8 on its 12-night Norway and Northern Lights cruise, from £1,539pp. Excursions on this Cunard cruise include hiking up Sugarlump Mountain from Ålesund,
Norwegian Cruise Line
Across The Pond, Norwegian has a cruise in Alaska aboard its new ship Norwegian Bliss, offering a good chance to see the Northern Lights. Priced from £1259pp, the seven-day Seattle round-trip calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, Canada.
The 930-passenger Viking Sky sails from London Tilbury to Bergen on its In Search of the Northern Lights 13-night cruise (from £3,790). A highlight on this Viking cruise will be a trip to the Saltstraumen Maelstrom to learn about this impressive tidal phenomenon.
Fred. Olsen Cruises
Both Fred Olsen’s Cruises' In Search of the Northern Lights cruises are sold out for 2019 but the line offers others with Aurora Borealis potential. In 2020 the Northern Norway with Sami National Day cruise will leave Southampton on January 31, for 14 nights. This colourful indigenous festival in Tromsø will offer the chance to traditional hear yoik choirs. From £1,899pp.
Dog sledding through a snowy forest, a night in a tepee cabin and an exclusive organ recital in Bodø Cathedral are some of the experiences to be had on Saga’s Arctic Norway and the Northern Lights voyage, departing Dover on February 12 for 15 nights from £2,422pp.
Or sell the 15-night Norway’s Night Skies – Spirit of Discovery trip. Departing Southampton on February 16 and priced from £3595pp, it has a trip across the tundra to increase the chances of a sighting plus optional activities like a boat safari from Kålvag to watch white-tailed eagles, a meeting with indigenous Sami reindeers herders or an ski lesson in Narvik.
TUI’s cruise brand Marella Cruises has a 14-night Seeking the Northern Lights cruise which sails from Southampton in October (from £1,400pp) and visits eight regions of Norway for optimum Northern Lights viewing. Stops include UNESCO World Heritage Geiranger, a village with dramatic fjord scenery where excursions will include a high-speed boat ride, sedate kayaking or a farm visit.