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Cruise To See The Northern Lights

Which Cruise Holiday Is Best For You

TOP things to see on Northern Lights Cruise – Aurora Borealis

When looking for the best cruise deals it comes down to finding just the right package that suits you. This is where Vision Cruise comes in. We help you find a cruise deal that matches your budget and dreams. We pride ourselves on giving great independent travel advice to all our customers. Weve rounded up all the latest cruise deals across the major cruise lines to make its even easier for you to find your next cruise holiday.

Vikings In Search Of The Northern Lights Cruise

  • Cost: From $4,999 per person

For those looking to check multiple countries off their list and see the Northern Lights, Vikings 13-day sailing with stops in England, the Netherlands, and Norway may be a good option.

After departing London, guests spend a day in Amsterdam, where they can stroll along the canals, admiring the architecture and indulging in alfresco coffee and stroopwafel breaks. Then, after crossing the North Sea, the ship cruises the scenic Norwegian Inside Passage, a protected shipping lane that runs from the southern tip of Norway to Russia .

The first stop where the Northern Lights could make an appearance is in Narvik, a small port city within the Arctic Circle where cruisers can participate in a Sami Northern Lights Ceremony, go snowshoeing in the mountains, or ride the cable car at Narvikfjellet. Then its on to Tromsø, Norways northernmost city, for two days of Arctic adventures, before sailing to Atla, a town known for its bluebird days and ancient rock carvings for two days.

In other cities, Viking offers late-night excursions that take passengers deeper into the countryside to darker spots with clearer skies to help increase the likelihood of spotting the elusive aurora. The following two days are at sea, taking in the beauty of the Norwegian coast as the vessel makes for its disembarkation city, Bergen.

Feel The Spirit Of The North

Experience a land where dawn and twilight merge on the edges of the long Arctic night. Sailing far north during Norways winter, witness snow-covered landscapes dotted with rugged mountains and steep fjords, and seek out the brilliant aurora borealis dancing in the night sky. Delve into Sami legends and World War II history, and pilot a dog sled or snowmobile to further immerse yourself in the Norwegian Arctic as you join us on this illuminating voyage.

Experience a land where dawn and twilight merge on the edges of the long Arctic night. Sailing far north during Norways winter, witness snow-covered landscapes dotted with rugged mountains and steep fjords, and seek out the brilliant aurora borealis dancing in the night sky. Delve into Sami legends and World War II history, and pilot a dog sled or snowmobile to further immerse yourself in the Norwegian Arctic as you join us on this illuminating voyage.

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When Is The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska The Month Matters

When is the best time to cruise to Alaska? When you can see wildlife, fjords, glaciers and if you get very, very lucky the magical Northern Lights.

If youre considering an Alaskan cruise, youll have your choice of cruise lines, itineraries and shore excursions. Most cruise ships with Alaska itineraries sail to Southeast Alaska from late May to September. Some smaller ships get an earlier start in April.

The month you sail makes a difference.

Alaskas cruise season is relatively short, compared with other regions across the globe. Cruises really only sail from late-April to October. If youre looking for prime nature viewing, youll want to book between June and August, says Colleen McDaniel, Editor-in-Chief of Cruise Critic.

Thats when temperatures are warmest, wildlife is plentiful and tours are bustling. But with all of those perks, its also considered high season so fares and crowds will be at their highest.

McDaniel says if youre looking to save some money, sailing in May or September could be a great option. May is also the driest month of the season, so tours are less likely to be affected by bad weather.

These Cruises Give Amazing Views Of The Northern Lights

Northern Lights Cruise Holidays

by Contractor | Dec 16, 2020 | resources |

Cruises are considered by many to be the trip of a lifetime, the pinnacle of vacationing. Combine an arctic cruise with seeing the northern lights, and for most vacationers, two big items can be crossed off their bucket lists simultaneously. While watching the northern lights in person may very well be the experience of a lifetime, simply planning to see them does not guarantee it will happen.

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are naturally occurring phenomena by which brilliantly colored curtains of light dance high up in the night sky. These fantastic light shows result from the interaction between the earths magnetic fields and electrical matter expelled by the sun. It is widely accepted that the northern lights are best viewed near the arctic circle.

Cruises afford unparalleled opportunities to view the aurora borealis for several reasons:

  • complete darkness is absolutely necessary to see the northern lights, and being out on the open water will take passengers away from the bright lights of urban centers that would otherwise make them less visible
  • the best vistas tend to be remote locations within the auroral oval that would likely be difficult to access over land, whereas ships can sail over great expanses of arctic waters to access incredible viewing spots
  • cruise ships provide a comfortable platform from which to view the northern lights while in or near the arctic circle

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Best Time To Witness The Northern Lights

The best time to witness the Northern Lights is in the dead of winter, from 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., with peaks around 1:30 or 2:30 a.m. However, some say you can catch a brief glimpse of the Northern Lights 240 nights a year, especially during March, September and October. Your best hope is for a clear, cloudless night. Other ideal times include the equinoxes around September 22 and March 22. According to the Geophysical Institute, spring is twice as good as the fall for clear skies, with the best viewing around the new moon in March. The last two weeks of August and first three weeks of September are usually the clearest, if you must come in the fall.

Youll meet a lot of nature lovers aboard an Alaskan Northern Lights cruise. There are honeymooners, photographers and veteran travelers whove seen it all. A magical glimpse of the green, blue and red lights is an unforgettable experience. In addition to the Northern Lights, Alaskan cruises offer a glimpse at rarely seen wildlife like polar bears, seals, whales and reindeer. The changing of the seasons bring wildflowers in the springtime and colored leaves in the fall, but you can also see never-melting glaciers rising up out of the arctic waters.

Iceland Greenland And Eastern Canada Cruises

Roughly a thousand miles from Scandinavia and Northern Europe are Iceland and Greenland, both of which have caught the attention in recent years of travelers seeking to experience the northern lights. These island nations lie within the Arctic Circle between Northern Europe to the east and Eastern Canada to the west.

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You Can Cruise Alaska Anytime Between April And October

The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable and challenging , so youll always be at the mercy of Mother Nature. Winter is a strict no-go, so the cruise season typically runs from the end of April to the beginning of October . Not only is this six-month window the safest time for cruise ships to sail, but it also means avoiding the freezing months of January and February when the earth has tilted and theres hardly any sunlight. For those lucky enough not to be restricted by school term times, one of the best times to travel is in May and early June not least for the wildflowers blooming along the Inside Passage, the migrating wildlife, and the chance to see icebergs and snowdrifts just before the breakup turns it into a melting and slushy mess. Equally standout are the peak summer months for glorious light-filled days when the sun simply refuses to set, temperatures that range from 60°F to 80°F , and rainfall that wont ruin your sightseeing . This is also when cruise-goers make the most of ship facilities such as outdoor pools, sun decks, and swim-up bars.

Northern Lights: A Brief History

UNBELIEVABLE!!! Northern Lights in the skies from an Alaska Cruise!

There is deep and varied folklore surrounding the Northern Lights which gives a great insight into not only the Lights, but the early Arctic settlers themselves.

Amazingly, the Lights are often viewed by people as bad omens, particularly in areas where they rarely appear. The Lights supposedly appeared over London during the Blitz in 1939. They also appeared in the USA on the same night that Pearl Harbour was attacked in 1941.

Whilst this is almost certainly a myth, the Lights are not viewed as bad omens in areas where they are common. In Finland, the Lights are called revontulet which literally translates as Fox Fire. The story goes that a fox’s tail brushed against the snow, creating sparks in the night sky. However, coastal dwellers in the Arctic attributed the Lights as reflections off the scales of the abundant fish in the sea.

North American tribes believe that the Lights are torches lit by the dead whilst Vikings mention dancing maidens. The Inuit people believe that the Lights represent the ghosts of hunted animals.

This all being said, astronomers have known for a long period of time how the Northern Lights are created. The phenomenon is caused by electrically charged particles on the solar wind interacting with those in the Earths atmosphere.

Although the science behind the Northern Lights has been explained, this does not dampen the awe-inspiring feeling one recipe when looking up at them in all their glory.

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Can You See The Northern Lights From A Cruise Ship The Best Cruises For Viewing The Northern Lights

Glimpsing the Northern Lights in all their mystical and sky-transforming glory is one of those bucket-list life experiences that many world travelers often wait years to see.

But can you actually see the northern lights on a cruise? The conditions must be just right, but it’s highly likely to see this magical and sometimes elusive scientific phenomenon on a Northern Lights cruise sailing the Arctic Circle during the long, dark winter nights.

“Cruising is a nice way to see a lot of places, but in particular the Northern Lights,” says Stephanie Goldberg-Glazer, owner of Live Well, Travel Often, a boutique travel agency. “Cruise ships are able to be out at sea where it is dark for optimal viewing,” she says, and when in port, they can create opportunities for guests to access optimal viewing sites outside of cities and their lights.

Read on for our comprehensive guide on how to choose the best northern lights cruise for you.

What Kind Of Things Do You Do On A Northern Lights Cruise

The best northern lights cruises provide plenty of opportunities for passengers to learn about, celebrate and, of course, see the northern lights. But there will also be activities geared to exploring parts of the world filled with many other natural, cultural, and man-made wonders.


Onshore activities for cruisers might range from museum and science center visits to dogsledding with huskies, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, and scenic helicopter rides. Some cruises offer guests opportunities to spend a night in a snow-ice hotel and visit wildlife sanctuaries where wolves, wolverines, musk oxen, elk, reindeer, and other Arctic mammals might be spotted. And in some ports, cruise guests may learn about and visit with some of Norways indigenous Sámi people who, under Norwegian law, are generally the only people in Norway who may own and herd reindeer.

On northern lights-themed cruises, viewing activities and excursions will abound. Announcements may be issued when theres an opportunity to view the northern lights from your ship. Excursions may give you the opportunity to be transported to northern lights viewing spots by everything from buses and minivans to small boats and dogsleds.

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Vacations To The Northern Lights In Alaska

Alaska is a seasonal cruise destination, with major cruise ships passing through the state between early May and late September. The Northern Lights are brilliant colors that flash across the dark night sky, invoking a sense of wonderment in any spectator who has ever seen them. Even though the best chance to see the lights is the dead of winter, scientists and cruise passengers say its possible to spot the phenomenon any time of year.

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Northern Lights Cruise from Reykjavík

The most common Northern Lights color is green, but it can also present as red, purple, white, and pink.

The psychedelic light show that paints the night sky with multicolored neon streams, scientifically known as the aurora borealis, is an experience worth chasing for many. For the best chance of seeing the swirling spectacle, travelers should head to the northernmost climes on a cloudless night between late August and mid-April.

While its never a guarantee that the Northern Lights will be visible, one way to help stack the deck in your favor is to be on a cruise ship that can move in search of the lights, typically in the Arctic.

Beyond seeing Mother Natures kaleidoscopic display, passengers on these cruises will have the chance to spend their days adventuring in the polar regions, perhaps cross-country skiing, dog sledding across the tundra, riding a Zodiac near the face of a calving glacier, or meeting with Sami reindeer herders. In other words, if the lights fail to appear, you wont be at a loss.

These are some of the cruises where you have a solid chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

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See Greenland’s Aurora Borealis With Quark Expeditions

Courtesy of Quark Expeditions

Quark Expedition’s Arctic Express cruise is a 10-day journey from Reykjavik that will bring you along the shores of Greenland. On this trip, you’ll get to take in the world’s largest fjordScoresby Sundfrom the water, climb mountains, hike Greenland National Park, and visit an Inuit community. And, of course, you’ll spot the Northern Lights when it gets dark enough.

This is one of the more luxurious options when it comes to cruising around the Arctic, especially given the number of activities offered to guests.

Prices for this cruise start at $6,695.

Iceland Norway & The Faroe Islands With Hurtigruten

Whales in Iceland

Norway isnt the only spot to see the Northern Lights all of northern Scandinavia enjoy the lightshow in the autumn and winter months. Hurtigruten offer a spectacular showcase of Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway on their autumn cruise, starting in Longyearbyen keeping an eye out for polar bears before exploring Icelands Whale Capital and its world-class bird watching opportunities.

It all ends in Bergen, where you can explore the UNESCO-listed Bryggen district and journeying in late autumn means theres a good chance that the Northern Lights will appear. Enjoy included flights, a range of included activities and expert onboard lectures from the Expedition Team.

Regular departures from Longyearbyen. Find out more with Hurtigruten

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When Can I See The Northern Lights On A Cruise

Because of the late-setting and early-rising Midnight Sun, its way too light during the summer to see the northern lights in the destinations mentioned, though solar activity takes place year-round.

If you have a goal of seeing the aurora borealis in any of the destinations mentioned here, you are best off booking as far into the fall as you can find a cruise. Norway is the only prime northern lights destination with winter cruises.

As mentioned, the lights like to appear in the wee hours particularly between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. in Alaska. An advantage in Norway is its dark enough to see them for a longer period of time as you get into the fall and winter.

Explore Iceland And The Faroe Islands With Cruise & Maritime

P& O Aurora Cruise to Norway | What I wore to see the Northern Lights

Courtesy of Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Cruise & Maritime Voyages will bring you from Liverpool to the Faroe Islands and Iceland on its 13-night journey. While the views are the showstopper on this cruise, guests will also get to enjoy a ton of on-boat entertainment like guest speakers, arts and crafts, cabarets, and delicious meals. If you plan on spending time on the boat instead of some of the excursions, this is a great option.

Prices for this cruise start at $1,449.

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Under The Glow Of The Northern Lights With Saga

Cruise to Norway with Saga when the night sky hosts a mesmerising display of lights and enjoy an extended stay in Alta, where this natural phenomena can often be seen at its best.

Youll also visit Bergen, with its UNESCO-listed Bryggen, Tromsø, Honningsvåg, Narvik and Kristiansund on board Sagas boutique, luxury ship Spirit of Adventure, and enjoy talks from Musical Director, pianist and composer, Dr Simon Fricker, performances from the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and talks from explorer and adventurer, Sue Stockdale.

Best Cruise Lines For A Northern Lights Cruise

With many lines providing Northern Lights cruises, there’s guaranteed to be an itinerary that perfectly suits your needs. From short cruises to longer itineraries, luxury ships and more budget-friendly options, the perfect ship is waiting to take you on a cruise to see the Northern Lights. Here are some of the cruise lines which offer the best Northern Lights cruises:

  • Hurtigruten– offering coastal cruises, shorter voyages and expedition cruises, Hurtigruten have a variety of itineraries to take you to see the Northern Lights onboard their unique ships, packed with all the amenities you could need for the holiday of a lifetime.
  • Fred. Olsen– with cruises to see the Northern Lights sailing from Southampton and Newcastle, seeing this breathtaking light show has never been easier thanks to Fred. Olsen. What’s more, their smaller ships mean you’ll feel at home from the moment you step onboard.
  • P& O– enjoy the iconic British cruising experience on one of the country’s best loved cruise lines while voyaging to Norway to see the Aurora Borealis. Complete with exciting shore excursions and everything you could need onboard, this is bound to be a truly memorable experience.
  • Saga– designed for over 50s, enjoy a Northern Lights cruise that’s tailored exactly to your needs. Whether you like faster paced activities or more laidback excursions, Saga will help you tick these incredible lights off your bucket list in a way that’s perfect for you.

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