It may seem like the magical green hues of the Aurora Borealis are something straight out of a sci-fi film, but if you head out on a Northern Lights cruise then you may just get the chance to see them come to life right before your eyes. With these voyages taking you mainly to Iceland, Greenland and the north coast of Norway, you can also experience what else the beautifully remote Arctic Circle has to offer, from quaint fishing ports and historic monuments to cross-country skiing and dog sled rides.
The incredible light show of the Aurora Borealis is a truly spectacular sight that's at the top of many people's bucket-lists and there's no better way to see them than on a Northern Lights cruise. When you cruise to see the Northern Lights, you can do so on a mini cruise, a longer cruise or even by incorporating a cruise and stay package to make your holiday that little bit more special, with typical ports of call along the way including Norway's Lofoten Islands, the Svalbard Archipelago and Reykjavik in Iceland.
As it's a natural phenomenon, it's hard to predict exactly when you're going to see the Northern Lights, however thanks to the fewer hours of daylight throughout winter, this is the best time of the year to see them, specifically from October to March. Clear skies also make for the best viewings, meaning that the beginning and end of this season provide some of the most spectacular views of this enthralling natural display.
With many lines providing Northern Lights cruises, there's guaranteed to be an itinerary that perfectly suits your needs. From short cruises to longer itineraries, luxury ships and more budget-friendly options, the perfect ship is waiting to take you on a cruise to see the Northern Lights. Here are some of the cruise lines which offer the best Northern Lights cruises:
While the Northern Lights may be the main draw of a cruise to this part of the Arctic Circle, it doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of other things to explore and discover when you arrive in this spectacular part of the world:
Top Northern Lights Cruise Destinations and Shore Excursions
The main destination for a Northern Lights cruise is the north of Norway where you get the chance to glimpse the spectacular Aurora Borealis as well as visit fascinating ports and embark on exciting excursions. Another option is Iceland and Greenland, during which you can visit the iconic capital cities in these countries before seeing the light show. In addition, during an Alaska cruise you might get lucky as there is a lot of Aurora activity here, however during most of this season there is too much daylight, so don't be disappointed if you don't get to see them.
The picture-perfect ports and mountainous landscapes of these beautiful islands are a must-see during your cruise to see the Northern Lights. Located in northern Norway, they are also home to plenty of archaeological sites and museums detailing Viking life, meaning you can learn more about this remote part of the world.
Follow in the footsteps of famous explorers and visit Tromso, said by many to be the gateway to the Arctic. Here you can visit historical sites including the impressive church and old harbour area, as well as learning more about Norway's polar past, before heading out on exciting expeditions such as snowmobile and husky dog sledding adventures across the snow.
For the more adventurous cruisers, this southernmost Arctic Circle island in Norway is the perfect stopoff. Almost completely covered in glaciers, while you're here you may get the opportunity to watch polar bears roaming freely, as well as having the opportunity to hike across the breathtaking landscape or travel by dog sled with guides holding rifles as protection from the polar bears.
If you want to enjoy a more urban experience during your cruise to see the Northern Lights, look no further than the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. From bathing in the iconic geothermal Blue Lagoon to diving into the thriving nightlife, a visit to this impressive city is a great way to visit somewhere new during your cruise.
With a visit to Nuul, the capital of Greenland, cruisers can learn more about this fascinating country by taking a trip to the museums, art galleries and historic old harbour area of the city, before visiting the country's largest microbrewery. What's more, there's also plenty of opportunity to glimpse some of the wildlife that calls this part of the world home, including several species of whale at Disko Bay.