Hurtigruten's winter season officially kicks off November 1 with the hunt for the Northern Lights, a signature element of the line's winter voyages.
As a goal that appears on many a travelers’ bucket list, Hurtigruten guests have a greater possibility of seeing the Northern Lights during the company’s northbound, southbound and round-trip Classic Winter Voyages as the ships sail above the Arctic Circle. Although the Northern Lights are often viewable from September to April, the peak viewing season is during Hurtigruten’s winter voyages, as this is when nights are at their longest in Northern Norway. Sailing between November 1 and March 3, fares for departures through December 31 start from $1,078 per person, double through Hurtigruten’s “Winter Cabin Guarantee Offer.” For trips in 2014, prices range from $1,311 to $16,425.
Guests can learn more about the science behind the Aurora Borealis through onboard lectures, and they’ll also get photographic tips about how best to capture the light show. They can even sign up to be awoken during the night should the crew spot the Lights.
The coastal voyages run between the UNESCO-listed harbor city of Bergen and the Norway/Russia border town of Kirkenes. The fleet of 11 ships, which visit 34 ports of call during the seven-day northbound and six-day southbound sailings, and twice each during the 12-day roundtrip (Hurtigruten’s most popular itinerary), provides guests with an opportunity to experience Norway in a truly unique and meaningful way. A single journey on Hurtigruten shows each aspect of the diversity of Norway’s natural resources and culture while allowing guests to interact with locals, as Hurtigruten offers an everyday means of transport for inhabitants of the coastal region.
During these winter voyages, Hurtigruten’s onboard activities, menus and excursions are inspired by the season. Guests can take a ‘dip’ in the frigid Barents Sea, participate in a fish filleting demonstration on deck, and enjoy such seasonal menu items as freshly made fish cakes. A wide selection of exciting winter excursions are also available to passengers, including a snowmobile trip in the polar night for a star-studded sky and even stronger Northern Light displays - far away from the city lights, dog sledding, and the opportunity to spend a night in the Kirkenes Snow Hotel. As part of a special winter package, guests can book four excursions and receive a NOK 650 ($111 US)* onboard spending credit. Those experiences include a Lofotr Viking Feast at the Lofotr Viking Museum; a Polar History Walk in Tromsø; a visit to the North Cape, which is the northernmost point on the continent; and a Husky Sledge Adventure, during which guests can meet huskies and speed over frozen landscapes. There are a total of 21 optional excursions available, varied by cruise direction.