I want to see the Northen Lights too, and this cruise is who I've been
looking at "Hurtigruten Cruises" hope this is helpfull to you, have a great experince...Andrew.
Any cruise to northern Scandinavia in winter should stand a chance of seeing the Northern Lights, at least we hope so as we are cruising on Fred Olsens Balmoral on 20th December 2008. Fred Olsens Black Watch is a lovely friendly cruise ship, as is the Braemar if you are looking for a smaller ships. We have not sailed on Hurtigruten, but get the impression that they are in and out quick, lovely comfortable looking ships but somewhat like a plush ferry (and Norwegian prices on board!).
We spent a week in Lapland far, far north of the Arctic Circle in February 2006 and never saw the Northern Lights, so do not get your hopes up too much. A local told us that it goes on a cycle of 7 years (I think) during which they appear more and then less frequently. I suggest a google search to read up on it and establish which year would be best to do the trip!
We have been on Hurtigruten twice and can highly recommend it as a truly excellent way to see Norway. For this type of trip, the working ship is preferable to a cruise liner as it can get into far more interesting places that the cruise liners never go. We were fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights in early October - quite unexpected so early - an amazing sight.
Thanks for the information - I have already requested their brochure. Is there anything else I should be aware of that will be different to other cruises? Do www.cruise (Victoria travel) do bookings?
Hurtigruten is really a "voyage" rather than a cruise ... all the ships are working ships and stop both day and night so if you are a light sleeper it is a good idea to make sure youhave a cabin away from the hold area (usually the stern) as the doors opening and closing at nights can clang quite a bit. There is no dressing up - it is all very informal and smart slacks and top are more than adequate for the evening meal. There is no entertainment, as such, although if, for example, a group of folk dancers are using the ferry to get to their next engagement they might do an impromptu performance. Drinks are quite expensive (as you are still in Norwegian coastal waters it is Norwegian shore prices) and the food provided is excellent. A blanket is provided in your cabin so you can sit out on deck (even when it is quite cold) and just watch beautiful Norway float by. They have got an excellent balance between ferry passenger/cargo/cruise passenger and the excusrions offered, whilst quite pricy, are good value and you can leave the ship at one port, take an excursion and re-board at another port - very flexible. If you have cruised you will find it quite different but it is rightly called the "most beautiful sea voyage in the world" as the scenery is stunning. As for booking, I usually book our holidays through Cumbria Cruises (part of the Co-op so you get your Divi!) and I think you can book Hurtigrutne through them. Also, Titan Travel used to offer one of its trips withich included Hurtigruten and a couple of days in bergen before and after the cruise and they also pick you up from home and return you back there.
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