Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Hurtigruten's Northern Lights Boost

A recent revision of NASA’s ‘solar maximum’ forecast means next winter could be one of the best in a decade for viewing the Northern Lights. Northern Norway is directly under the zone of maximum activity and is therefore an ideal place to experience this great natural light show. With this in mind, Hurtigruten has launched its winter 2013/14 programme packed full of itineraries in search of the Northern Lights and more direct flights to Norway than ever before. 

Its ships are the perfect viewing platform, as they can be seen against the dark night sky, away from the artificial light of towns and cities. To make it as easy as possible to go in search of the Northern Lights, a total of 47 direct flight departures are being offerednext  winter, including trips from Glasgow and Bournemouth for the first time. These sit alongside all the other existing regional airports Hurtigruten offer direct flights from in the winter, including Gatwick, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Bristol, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Packages with direct flights are available on two itineraries. There are 32 departures on the hugely popular ‘Arctic Highlights Voyage’ from Tromsø to Kirkenes, which spends its entirety within the Arctic Circle, thus giving the best opportunity to see the Lights. Prices are from £995pp, including return flights, three nights' half board on the ship and one night’s B&B accommodation in Tromso.

The ‘Classic Round Voyage’ from Bergen to Kirkenes and back has 15 flight inclusive departures this winter. The 12-day trip gives longer on the ship and therefore more nights with which to search for the Northern Lights. Prices are from £1,372pp, including return flights, and 11 nights full board on the ship.

Staying in a snow hotel continues to be a ‘must-do’ for many and five extra departures have been added that include a night at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel at the end of a voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes. There are 25 departures of the eight-day ‘Arctic Wonders’ voyage between December 27 and March 28, with flights included from either Gatwick or Heathrow. Prices start from £1,593pp.

After another sell out year, Hurtigruten has also added yet another Astronomy Voyage date, bringing the total now available to five. Accompanied by a renowned Astronomer, a series of lectures and a tour of the night’s sky ensures the world of planets, stars and meteors is better understood along with the myths and legends linked to our skies. The voyages follow the ‘Classic Round Voyage’ route and prices start from £1,608pp, including flights from Gatwick or Heathrow.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.