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Cruise to… The Northern Lights

Cruise to… The Northern Lights

Nordic gods celebrating in Valhalla, or the souls of Viking warriors riding across the sky? Whatever you see in the Northern Lights, this stunning phenomenon is, without any doubt, at the top of many holiday bucket lists.

Though this heavenly spectacle may not be due to the mythical clash of Valkyries in battle, they are nonetheless brought about by a collision of sorts, with an outcome that’s equally the stuff of legends. The colourful glow is the result of sun-charged particles crashing into Earth’s upper atmosphere. This high-impact jolt creates a transfer of energy that agitates the molecules, causing them to release light.

There aren’t many places in the world with front row seats to the spectacular dances of Lady Aurora, but any voyage to countries within the Northern Lights Oval — Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and parts of North Canada — will put you before the ideal stage for this breathtaking wonder. While summer getaways have their obvious appeal, a journey to this winter wonderland is worth getting wrapped up for!

Get the Scope on Lady Aurora

Timing can make all the difference when it comes to aurora-spotting. Although the lights are always on no matter what time of year — rain or shine, night or day — many factors are involved, such as weather and light pollution. With this in mind, experts on your cruise expeditions will arrange for you to visit the best spots where the aurora is most visible, usually away from cities and in rural areas which are darker.

Top tip: Your chance of seeing the Northern Lights increases as activity on the sun grows, reaching a climax also known as sunspot or solar maximum, before falling again. This occurs over an 11-year cycle, and the good news is that we are currently heading towards another pinnacle!

Winter months will also bring you more opportunities to see the lights since the days are shorter. The weather further north can be unpredictable too, so do not be too alarmed if you wake up to a cloudy day, as that can change faster than a sled dog in a speed mushing race! All the more reason to ensure you have a full itinerary, just in case…

Stellar Moments...Even in the Day!

There’s so much to see and do even when you’re not on a quest to catch the Northern Lights. The glittering snowscape that unfolds on a reindeer ride is bound to be magical, though the panoramic views you get from climbing the stone steps of the Sherpa Staircase or riding a cable car up Mount Storsteinen are also not to be missed. Whatever the weather, indoors or outdoors, there is an adventure for everyone!

Step back in time when you explore Stavanger with its architecture from the middle ages, examine the ancient rock carvings of UNESCO site Hjemmeluft in Alta Museum, let folksongs move you at a Midnight Concert in Tromso’s Arctic Cathedral, and enjoy the thrill of a snowmobile safari or cross-country skiing as part of your stopover in Helsinki. And if your cruise is during the festive season, why not add a jaunt to a Christmas market or take the kids to see Santa in Lapland?

From sampling local cuisine in charming villages, to beholding the majesty of colossal glaciers, memories of your time on this winter holiday will certainly be an icebreaker at any dinner party!

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Plan Your Northern Lights Adventure

Get off the beaten track, and take a look at some of our ideas below that will inspire the journey of a lifetime!

Say Hello to Seals

Polaria in Tromso is the perfect place to get up close and personal with arctic wildlife! Join in feeding the seals and meet other amazing sea creatures in the aquariums. But don’t stop there! Other eye-opening expeditions might take you to the polar bears in Svalbard or arctic foxes in Sweden, whilst indoor attractions include heritage trails that could lead to Viking artifacts in museums, or intricate art in glass-blowing studios.

Learn to Mush

Who could resist these gorgeous huskies? Bond with your own team of doggies when sledding through the beautiful Nordic winter landscape. Why not combine this with an overnight stay in an Ice Dome… or even better, a lavvu (Sami tent)? And whilst you’re there, explore the unique lifestyle of Norway’s indigenous people, with their traditional handicraft and reindeer culture. You’ll also discover joik – one of the world’s oldest vocal traditions.

Explore Frosty Fjords

The fjords are as much of a visual treat as the Northern Lights. Although cruises there are normally popular during the summer months, the snow-capped mountain peaks and calm mirror-surfaces of the waters are a sight to behold. Then too are the awe-inspiring glaciers, such as Hardangerjokulen at Hardangervidda National Park which was the setting for the ice planet Hoth in Star Wars Episode V. That alone is reason enough to see it!

Catch Your Own Dinner

Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this! Book yourself a luxury fishing expedition for a dining experience that is out of this world (and possibly catch a glimpse of whales cavorting in the waters)! If you fancy culinary theatrics, Vertshuset Skarven in Tromso offers courses and kitchen demonstrations on top of their exotic fare. Scandinavian cuisine is incredibly varied… whether it’s the famed Norwegian Gravlax, Swedish Lingonberry Jam, or Finnish Pierogi, savour a feast that’s fit for Valhalla.

Our Handpicked Offer

Northern Lights In Nine Nights 15 March 2022, 9 Nights

From glorious snow-smothered landscapes to enchanting native wildlife, you’ll encounter Northern Norway’s wonders at their most dramatic in just eight nights after departing the northerly port of Newcastle, aboard Balmoral. This winter adventure will be full of unforgettable experiences, with chances to witness the astounding Aurora Borealis the icing on the cake.
And, as if all that wasn’t enough, you’ll get to marvel at the magnificence of the unique Torghatten ‘mountain with a hole’ and striking Seven Sisters from the comfort of your smaller ship too.

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