This year is predicted to be one of the best for many years to view one of Nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – the majestic ‘Aurora Borealis’, or ‘Northern Lights.’ ‘In Search of the Northern Lights’ winter cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, known for its Norwegian heritage offers three itineraries this winter ‘In Search of the Northern Lights’, following the success of its first ever winter cruise to Norway in 2012. The three cruises, all aboard Boudicca, depart from Portsmouth in February and March 2013 and are between 14 and 16 nights’ duration.
The first two cruises – D1302 and D1303 – share identical itineraries and are both of 16 nights’ duration, with the first departure from Portsmouth on 9th February 2013.
After leaving Portsmouth, Boudicca travels north, making her first call into Molde (Romsdalfjord).This fjord town is famous for two very different things – roses and jazz. Winter visitors will find a very attractive, snowy vista, as well as one of the biggest folk museums in Norway.
After another day at sea, Boudicca reaches Tromsø; it is from here that guests can make their ‘Northern Lights’ pilgrimage. There is a two-night stay in this port, maximising the chances of guests seeing the spectacular sight. Other attractions include the Tromsǿ Wilderness Centre, where visitors can meet some of the 130 huskies. The tours to view the ‘Northern Lights’ take place late at night, because the best chance of a successful display is between 10pm and 2am.
The next port takes Boudicca even farther north, to Alta (Finnmark). This town was rebuilt after the Second World War, so most of the current buildings are relatively modern; however the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times by the indigenous Sami people. From Alta, guests can travel to Hammerfest, which is thought to be the most northerly town in the world.
On her return journey, Boudicca calls into Kristiansund. The old town – ‘Gamle Byen’ – has wooden buildings, as is traditional in Norway, dating from the 17th Century. Kristiansund is close to the Atlantic Road, a series of bridges linking small islands to the mainland and a great feat of engineering.
The final port is Bergen, a cosmopolitan and very attractive town and part of the Hanseatic League; it is a delightful city for a last day of sightseeing and souvenir hunting, before Boudicca sets sail for Portsmouth.
Prices for this cruise with a difference start from £1,619 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I’. This price includes all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes.
The excursion ‘Chase for the Northern Lights’ departs from Tromsø and takes five to seven hours, and is priced at £70 to £80 per person – advance booking is essential. Guests leave the ship in early evening and are driven into the wilderness; tour guides check in advance to find the most likely place for a successful viewing – although Nature’s most spectacular firework display obviously cannot be guaranteed!
Boudicca’s second departure for Norway in winter, D1303, has an identical itinerary and prices; this cruise departs on 25th February 2013 for 16 nights.
The third itinerary, D1304A, is for 14 nights, departing from Portsmouth on 13th March 2013. Boudicca calls first at Ålesund, the pretty Norwegian town famous for its Art Nouveau-style buildings and national Art Nouveau Centre, or ‘Jugendstilsenteret’. Next is Tromsø, far up into the Arctic Circle, where Boudicca will stay for two nights, giving guests the maximum chance of seeing the ‘Northern Lights’ – from here, guests can choose to take Fred. Olsen’s ‘Chase for the Northern Lights’ tour.
Boudicca then calls at Alta (Finnmark, Norway), the most northerly port on this cruise. From Alta, guests can travel to Hammerfest, thought to be the most northerly town in the world. On the return voyage, the ship visits Kristiansund, with its picturesque old town and quaint wooden buildings, complete with a unique ‘Klippfish’ – or ‘dried cod’ – Museum, before sailing back to Portsmouth.
Prices for this very special cruise start from £1,299 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I’. The price includes all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line operates in the UK with four intimately sized ships for a more personal cruising experience.