These 12-day sailings along the scenic Norwegian coast allow guests to join the Aurora Borealis watching sessions on the ship's deck at night for possible views of the famous Northern Lights display, as well as visit the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø to learn more about this phenomenon.
Guest lecturers will also be on board to educate guests about the science and history behind the Northern Lights. Sailings in 2014 depart from Bergen on Sept. 25, Oct. 20 and Nov. 20, with fares starting at $2,579 per person, double. Sailings in 2015, currently offered at early-booking rates starting at $2,584, depart on Jan. 7, Feb. 6 and 9, Oct. 6 and 9, Nov. 9 and Dec. 4. An additional 5% early booking incentive, good through Sept. 30, can be added to the current 25% discount for all 2015 voyages.
The Astronomy Voyages run round trip between the UNESCO-listed harbor city of Bergen to the Arctic city of Kirkenes and back to Bergen. During the voyage, guests will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Art Nouveau city of Ålesund; the royal city of Trondheim; the legendary Lofoten Islands; Tromsø, the capital of Arctic Norway; Hammerfest, the world's northernmost town; and Kirkenes, located just a few miles from the Russian border.
In addition to a litany of optional excursions, all guests will visit the Science Center of Northern Norway's Northern Lights Planetarium. Norway's largest planetarium, it features the world's first all-dome, 360-degree theater showing screenings of “Experience the Aurora,” a planetarium movie about the Northern Lights. The film features footage taken over seven months of winter sky watching, hundreds of thousands photographs and hundreds of hours under the spell of the Aurora.
Guests will learn more about the science behind the Aurora Borealis through a series of onboard lectures conducted by acclaimed astronomy scholars and experts Dr. John Mason and Ian Ridpath. Four to five lectures per sailing allow guests to learn about this phenomenon as well as to share their enthusiasm for astronomy with fellow travelers. Mason and Ridpath will also be on deck in the evening to point out the wonders of the night sky, give photographic tips about how best to capture the light show and answer questions. Guests can sign up to be awoken during the night should the crew spot the lights.
Optional land excursions include a visit to Atlanterhavsparken, one of Northern Europe's largest salt-water aquariums; a polar history walk including a tour of the Polar Museum; a trek to the North Cape, the northernmost point on the continent; a Viking feast complete with homemade mead; and the chance to go reindeer sledging, the traditional Sámi way of transport through the Arctic landscape.
We highly recommend Hurtigruten sailings to some very remote destinations – Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic's Spitsbergen, for example. Our own big bucket list checkoff, setting foot on our 7th continent, Antarctica, was unforgettable thanks to Hurtigruten and the MS Fram (read the introduction of our Antarctica series here. More links are below under Suggested by the Author) Hurtigruten's fleet of intimate ships carry 100 to 646 guests each so travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of the destination in a relaxed atmosphere.
To Find Out More: Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's website, www.hurtigruten.us; by phone at 877-301-3117; or fax at 888-524-2145. To order brochures 24 hours a day, call 800-582-0835.
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Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.