7 best Northern Lights cruises

If seeing the northern lights, also known as the northern lights, is on your travel bucket list, you’ve probably already looked at the best places to see them: northern destinations like Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Scandinavia among them. But have you ever considered visiting these destinations by sea instead of land? Many cruise lines not only offer itineraries to these regions, but also offer aurora-specific sailings. Cruises are particularly attractive to northern lights seekers because the ships can access remote areas without light pollution, allowing guests to see the northern lights in their full glory. So if you have yet to see the Northern Lights – or if you want to see them again – here are seven Northern Lights cruises to help you achieve your goal.

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Over the course of 13 days, a luxurious Viking ocean liner transports guests from London to Amsterdam, then all the way up the coast of Norway and north of the Arctic Circle, before returning south to Bergen. (Although some sailings operate in reverse.) The Norwegian fjords in themselves are a sight to behold – and if they are together with the Northern Lights, it’s all the better! The sailings run from January to March when daylight is limited in the Arctic Circle, providing prime Northern Lights opportunities. Fares start from $4,999 per person in 2023, and it should be noted that Viking is an adults-only cruise line.

Given that the cruise line is named after the atmospheric phenomenon, it should come as no surprise that it offers an Northern Lights itinerary. In 19 to 22 days, depending on departure, there is plenty of time to hope for an aurora – or two, or three or more. The sailings start in the northern Norwegian town of Kirkenes before sailing south along the coast, returning north to the remote archipelago of Jan Mayen (a polar bear hotspot), over to the scenic fjords of East Greenland, and around the northern half of Iceland. . The longer itinerary continues with a visit to the Faroe Islands and disembarkation in Bergen, Norway. Aurora only offers one of these sailings per year in September. Prices start from $19,705.50 per person in 2023.

Hurtigruten is something of an outlier in this group because it does not offer specific Northern Lights routes. But the routes of this coastal ferry company in Norway happen to cross the perfect latitudes to see the Northern Lights. In fact, Hurtigruten is so confident that you will see the Northern Lights during the Northern Lights season (26 September to 31 March) that if they don’t show up on a sailing of 11 days or more, the company will give you a free six or seven day cruise to try again. For the best odds of seeing the Northern Lights, we suggest a 12-day round trip from Bergen up the coast of Norway and back. Prices start from $2,309 per person in 2023.

Specializing in polar expeditions, Quark Expeditions knows a thing or two about the northern lights, which is why the company offers aurora cruises every fall. These 14-day itineraries cruise from Iceland to Greenland and back from September to early October. Since most of the journey takes place above the Arctic Circle, the chance of seeing the Northern Lights is high, especially as solar activity tends to peak around the autumn and spring equinoxes in September and March respectively. And if they don’t appear, well, you can still explore Iceland’s west fjords and Greenland’s eastern shores – and that’s a worthwhile journey in itself. Prices start from $8,501 per person in 2023.

If you don’t have two or three weeks to take off work to see the Northern Lights, consider Oceanwide Expeditions’ eight-day Northern Lights sailings from Iceland to Greenland and back. The adventure begins in Akureyri, the unofficial capital of North Iceland, before we head for Greenland’s stunning Scoresby Sound, the largest fjord system in the world. If you have a little more time, you can choose the 13-day Spitsbergen – Northeast Greenland – Aurora Borealis itinerary, which sets off on the Svalbard archipelago before sailing to Greenland and down to Iceland. Both take place in late summer to early fall, when darkness returns to the Arctic skies. Fares for the eight-day itinerary start at $4,600 per person for the 2023 sailings.

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Every autumn, one or two of the ships in Cunard’s legendary fleet head north to Norway, where guests are treated to scenic cruises along the coast. The 12-day itineraries depart from Southampton, England, before traveling to Ålesund, Tromsø, Narvik and Haugesund, sailing through majestic fjords along the way. Since the ships sail this route from October to November, the sky will be dark enough to see the Northern Lights, should they decide to make an appearance. In 2023, the journey will be carried out by Queen Victoriawhile next season Queen Mary II and the coming Queen Anne will take the reins. Prices start from $1,689 per person in 2023.

The most affordable option on this list, British cruise line P&O operates 12-day sailings to Norway year-round, but during aurora season there’s a good chance you’ll see the northern lights while on board. Guests embark in Southampton, England, before sailing north to Norway, traveling as far north as Tromsø, well north of the Arctic Circle. We recommend using a room with windows for the best Northern Lights viewing options. However, those in interior cabins can always run up on deck – which you should do anyway to witness the full magnificence of the atmospheric phenomenon. Prices start from $1,385 per person in 2023.

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