Seeing the northern lights is on many travelers’ bucket lists — and for good reason. Also known as the aurora borealis, these dancing green lights in the Northern Hemisphere night sky are jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Though they’ve been making rare appearances in the southern United States lately, most of the time, you’ll need to head up north — way north — to high-latitude locales to see them. Norway, in particular, is a great place to experience this otherworldly natural phenomenon, which occurs when solar particles ram into Earth’s upper atmosphere.
But timing a trip to align perfectly with the northern lights can be tricky. That’s why the cruise line Hurtigruten has unveiled its “Northern Lights Promise,” which guarantees you’ll see the auroral borealis on certain sailings. The long-standing cruise company is so sure the aurora will put on a show that, if they don’t materialize, it vows to give passengers another cruise for free.
Right now, this guarantee is available to passengers who book one of several specific itineraries: the North Cape Express from Bergen or Oslo, the Voyage of Discovery or the Roundtrip Voyage. Also included are two of the company’s expedition cruises: the 15-day Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from London, or the 14-day Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Amsterdam.
To be eligible, you’ll need to book a voyage that lasts at least 11 days and departs between Sept. 26, 2023, and March 31, 2024. You’ll know for sure that a voyage is covered if you see the little “Northern Lights Promise” box on the itinerary. There are multiple scheduled departure dates for these cruises during that window, so it’s time to start planning and putting your PTO to good use.
So, how does it work? When you’re on board one of these voyages, you’ll have a really good chance of spotting the northern lights on your own. But just in case you don’t fancy staying up all night long, you can rest easy knowing that the ship’s deck crew will keep an eye out, too — and make an announcement whenever they spot the glimmering green shapes in the sky. You’ll even be able to hear these announcements in your cabin if you choose (though you can also turn them off if you need to get a full night’s rest!).
“All the cabins and suites on our ships have a ‘Northern Lights alert’ which will tell you whenever we spot sightings of the aurora, so you can rush to your window or outside to catch them,” according to Hurtigruten’s website.
If the northern lights don’t appear during your voyage, you can take one of the company’s six- or seven-day Original Coastal Express Classic Voyage cruises for free from Oct. 1 2023, to March 31, 2024.
With the Northern Lights Promise at play, the hardest choice you’ll have to make is which cruise to book! And that’s not a bad problem to have.
Have you ever spotted the northern lights?