HURTIGRUTEN – formerly Norwegian Coastal Voyages
A voyage and not truly a cruise. The Norwegian coastline has been the home of Hurtigruten since founder, Richard With, forged a route between Trondheim and Hammerfest back in 1893. Since then their ships have become a vital link between the cities, towns and hamlets, still a working postal vessel, that specialises in the ports of call and the on-board learning with guest speakers carrying local passengers, freight and guests.
What are the Northern Lights?
Since humankind first experienced the Northern Lights, we have been spellbound by its extraordinary beauty
The Northern Lights, the sky’s own light show, have always been the object of great wonder to mankind. Legend has it; the Northern Lights have been seen as everything from evil spirits to celestial wars with their marching armies. These beautiful displays have, over time, given rise to a wealth of works of art, myths, legends and stories.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon caused by electrically charged solar particles passing into the Earth’s atmosphere. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, which means ‘dawn of the north’, the Aurora can appear abruptly, filling the sky at incredible speed with great arcs, as ghostly wisps in green, yellow, red and violet dance above the horizon, before disappearing again.
The Inuit of Greenland believed the lights came from the realm of the dead, caused by the spirits trying to contact their living relatives, and Norwegian sailors believe the displays were the souls of young maiden’s waving and dancing in the night’s sky. The Danes believed the Northern Lights to be swans that had strayed too far north and got stuck in the ice. As they struggled to break free, each stroke of their wings was reflected in the sky, forming the Northern Lights. Whatever explanation to this natural phenomenon, everyone who has seen the Northern Lights have been caught in awe by this magical display, a celestial show which truly needs to be seen to be believed.
Witnessing the Northern Lights
As a natural phenomenon, a sighting of the Aurora Borealis cannot be guaranteed; it is principally dependent on the level of activity and the sun’s surface and the amount of cloud cover locally, however for many this is simply a bonus on an already truly exceptional voyage. All Hurtigruten Northern Lights Cruises operate in the region where sightings are most likely – Tromsø is a major research centre for the Aurora Borealis since the region experiences regular displays during the winter months October – March.
Hunting the lights
Credit: Arctic Light Photo / Hurtigruten
The Classic Expedition – Antartica
Various dates and ships available in December, January and February for 10 days
Buenos Aires/Ushuaia – Drake Passage – Antartica – Drake Passage – Ushuaia/Buenos Aires
Price includes 9 nights cruise outside twin cabin on half board. International flights not included
Prices from £3443pp